Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This week I'm thankful...that even celebrities make mistakes

It's been one of the most talked about issues in Australia today...yep what has now been dubbed Australia's Next Top Muddle.

For those who are puzzled as to exactly what I'm talking about - here is the clip. Last night's live announcement of Australia's Next Top Model winner on Foxtel went horribly pearshaped when the wrong girl was named winner. There's a whole lot of debate about whether the gorgeous Sarah Murdoch was told the incorrect name or misheard it and whether it was all a stunt.

It all appears to be quite genuine and it's not something I could imagine Sarah Murdoch being part of. She's far too classy for that. However, it just shows that absolutely everyone makes mistakes, whether it was Sarah Murdoch or the producer feeding the result through.

Making mistakes is not fun - we've all done it and we've all felt our stomachs drop or our heart start beating as the reality of our mistake sinks in. Oh to be able to turn back the clock a few moments and do it right. But we're human and the reality is humans make mistakes.

And for mere mortals like me, it's reassuring to know that everyone, no matter who they are can make mistakes and experience the odd oh no! moment too. Thanks Sarah for making us all feel a little better about that. But in closing, can I just add, well done on handling it so well!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What beauty products make you feel fabulous?

My beauty drawer is a collection of tried and tested products, representing a range of product names and prices. Over the years I like to think I've learnt enough about cosmetics and my skin to determine what works best for me. Maybe, maybe not? I am however willing to give most products a try! And a good recommendation always helps.

I freely admit I can be a sucker for luxurious brand names, like my Chanel and Dior lipglosses, but other times when I realise how ridicously expensive beauty products can be, I try a cheaper brand and am usually pleasantly surprised by the result. So I thought I'd share a few of my favourite beauty products; products that I really do adore and that make me feel a million dollars.

Chanel lip gloss. I love lipgloss and this one goes on like satin. It also doesn't have the sticky feel that some lipglosses have. Plus there's something to be said for occasionly splurging on a luxurious lipgloss.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish mineral powder foundation - I have tried quite a few foundations in the search for a flawless finish. I think I may have finally found it in this product. Because it's mineral foundation, it's light and lets my skin breathe. It can be lightly applied for a more natural look or built up for better coverage or a night out. A brush set can be bought for this product as well and it includes a little one that folds into the compact. Perfect if you need to retouch during the day.

Savvy by DB concealer - I'm pretty fussy when it comes to concealer largely because I do have shadows under my eyes. This product for a bargain price of $4.99 is pretty good. It gives good coverage and blends in under my foundation.

Benefit instant eye brow pencil - as a natural redhead I am lucky to have darker eyebrows naturally but they're not very thick and tend to thin out at the ends. I was introduced to this pencil with a brush to blend the colour in. I am slowly building up the confidence to apply this product and am really liking the results. I'm starting to realise what a difference eyebrows can make to your face.

Bloom organics rosehip oil - this is a great product to apply at night before a moisturiser. Rosehip oil has a number of benefits including hydrating the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and any scars or marks.

Eyeshadow - I love eyeshadow and beautiful colours. I refuse to buy any more eyeshadow until I use what I already have in my busy little makeup drawer. Too many colours and shades and not enough eyelids!

Oh and another tip, I'm a huge fan of for my tried and tested cosmetics, hair care and perfume. It doesn't always have what I want, but when it does it's always a huge saving. Gotta love that!

If you have any tips to pass on or a favourite product/s to share, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This week I'm thankful for...unconditional love

There aren't many people in our lives, aside from our parents, who offer unconditional love. It's a rare gift.

However those who have a pet will know unconditional love is par for the course. Pets bring so much joy to our lives and they ask very little of us in return. Food, shelter, a warm bed, regular exercise, some play time and cuddles.

Max is our little maltalier - our gorgeous little puppy dog - who makes up our little family. I have written about him before and will continue to do so. I am willing to be accused of bias, but Max is an absolute pleasure. He's a happy little dog with so much personality and love to share. On arriving home from work each day Max is there to greet us with excitement, cuddles and lots of licking. We can't ever claim to feel unloved with Max around.

He is smart, kind and gentle. There have been occasions when I have been upset and he has come to me and put his little paws on my knees and snuggled in with a cuddle, as if to say, 'it's ok, don't forget I love you'.

It's the simple pleasures that keep Max happy - a walk around the neighbourhood has him wearing a grin from ear to ear, a bone to munch on, a game of fetch in the backyard followed by a snuggle on my lap while enjoying the warmer weather. He doesn't ask much of us but gives us the priceless gift of unconditional love in return.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself at war?

One of my favourite teenage novels has been made into a movie and after seeing it on the big screen last night it has raised a lot of questions for me.

Tomorrow, When the War Began is an Australian movie based on a novel of the same name by John Marsden. The first novel was so successful it went on to become the Tomorrow series with seven books and a follow up series of novels, The Ellie Chronicles.

Tomorrow, When the War Began is a story set in a fictional country town in Australia. A group of seven teenagers – Ellie, Homer, Corrie, Kevin, Robyn, Fiona and Lee - head off for a weekend away before they begin their final year of school. The main character is Ellie Linton, a likeable independent country girl. They trek to a beautiful and remote camping spot named Hell. During one of their nights in Hell a few of the group are woken by jets flying overhead and while a little perplexed don’t really think further about it.

On returning from their camping trip, they discover Ellie’s family dog dead and her home empty. On further inspection there is no power, no telephone signal, no television reception and no internet connection. Puzzled and a little panicked they move onto the next home – Homer’s – and are met with a similar scene. After visiting the homes of Kevin and Corrie, both of which are outside the main town – they come to the conclusion that something tragic has unfolded during their absence and that it is linked to the planes they saw a few nights prior. The next home they visit is Robyn’s which offers a view over the town. Here they discover the whole town is in darkness apart from the showground and the local hospital. They make the decision to split up – Robyn and Lee to check out Lee’s home in the centre of town, Homer and Fiona to do the same at Fiona’s and Ellie, Corrie and Kevin to try and discover what is going on at the showground.

Ellie’s group manages to get to the showground and see that residents of the town are being kept there with large numbers of foreign soldiers on guard. Ellie creeps a little closer and sees her parents behind a barbwire fence and after witnessing a man killed for arguing with a soldier, she quickly departs and attracts the attention of the soldiers. Running from the soldiers, Ellie is forced to stop them by blowing up a ride on lawn mower and seriously wounding, possibly even killing the soldiers.

From this point on the teenagers begin to fight back and undertake a form of guerrilla warfare. Combined with their local knowledge and experience around firearms, machinery and explosives gleaned from their rural upbringing, they cause plenty of problems for the invading army.

The movie was remarkably true to the book and most impressive. There was no cringe factor which is sometimes evident when a book becomes a movie, or as sometimes occurs as an Australian watching a local film. It was a nice feeling to see the characters on screen and I developed a real liking for Ellie – she was wonderfully brought to life by actress Caitlin Stasey. Homer was another character I really liked from the novel and I wasn’t disappointed with him either.

When I first read this book, as a teenager, I did wonder what I would do if Australia was invaded. Could I be as brave as these young characters and fight back to defend loved ones, would I struggle with the idea of killing other people as one of the characters does, or would I simply be too scared and surrender? It’s a confronting question and one I hope that I never have to answer.

There were moments during this movie that I was emotional and despite these characters being fictional I felt deeply for them. I also shed a few tears as the movie explored relationships and the thought of losing loved ones.

I asked myself why I was so emotional about it (aside from possible hormonal reasons) and I’ve come to the conclusion that my emotions are partly influenced by a book I am currently reading. It’s called the Strength of a Nation and it tells the real life stories of the many Australian men and women affected by World War Two and the threat of invasion Australia faced during the war years.

It tells of the heroics, sacrifices, mistakes and bravery that cost the lives of so many young Australians on shores far from Australia and those who fought in the Pacific to prevent a possible invasion of Australia. These young men and women, not much older than the characters in Tomorrow When the War Began, were real people with families and friends. The non-fiction book I am reading tells us more about who these people were and the enormous sacrifice they made to protect the innocent from invading forces.

One important note, John Marsden doesn’t ever reveal the nationality of the invading forces but states Australia has been invaded because neighbouring nations are overpopulated and they believe Australia should share its territory and natural resources. The movie however depicts the enemy as Asian soliders without defining a particular nation. With Australia’s neighbouring nations predominantly within the Asia region, it’s a common assumption that most readers of the book would have made.

On a final note, my recommendation is to take a few hours and see this movie. It’s impressive, great casting and it will make you consider a whole range of issues. Plus it’s a great chance to support our local film industry. It’s well worth it. I highly recommend Tomorrow When the War Began.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time to unveil our new kitchen

We’re done. We now have a sparkling, beautiful and oh so clean new kitchen and it’s time to take a break from renovating, enjoy our handiwork and put some more dollars away for a rainy day.

The task of renovating the kitchen was easier than the mammoth bathroom and en suite and caused considerably less disruption to our lives, but no means was it an easy or stress free task. But we’ve made it through our renovations and can now enjoy the improvements to our home.

After four and a half years in our home, it’s nice to look around and list off the work we have done and the mark we have made on this house. The house was not unattractive when we bought it. As soon as we walked into it we really liked the house and could see the potential.

We started off with small improvements like painting and redesigning the garden and then moved onto the big ticket improvements like the bathroom and kitchen. Our vision was to create a stylish and modern home that flowed from room to room while always adding value.

We also wanted to create a house that would appeal to as many people as possible. While we really enjoy this home, it is not where we see ourselves for the next 10 years. So with the intention of selling in the next year or so, we wanted a house that would feel like a home to prospective buyers. And I truly think we have achieved that.

I actually think I’m in love with our new kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s ok to be in love with a room, but if it’s possible I am. It is shiny and bright with a gorgeous new oven and cooktop and with a new dishwasher to boot. The kitchen didn’t have a dishwasher when we moved in, although there was a rather large gap where one could/should have been. At times it was as if the kitchen was taunting me – that very large space under the bench is just perfect for a dishwasher, come on why don’t you just get one to fill the space. Well that space has finally been filled and I am loving it.

The gorgeous vase of roses on the bench was a gift from my hubby. We spent Friday night and Saturday morning cleaning the house together. I had a girlfriend coming to visit for morning tea and after a few weeks of non-existent cleaning and crap everywhere it was time for a big clean up. Who doesn’t love a deadline? So with the house clean, muffins in the oven and minutes to spare, my hubby headed out for a game of golf. He came home a few hours later with a beautiful bunch of roses in his hand. His reason: just because I can. When really it was me who was so appreciative of his work to get us over the line moments before the doorbell chimed for morning tea.

We have a small list of things left to finish in our home including adding some vibrant plant life to the garden and replacing the much loved grey carpet. And we are waiting on a new venetian blind for the kitchen window. For now however, we will take a few moments to smell the roses and enjoy the improvements we have made to our home and to our lifestyle. Take a look and see what you think.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This week I'm thankful hubby

This week I'm thankful for my hubby. To clarify I am grateful and thankful for him constantly, but over the past little while he has given me many extra things to be thankful for and all without complaining.

My hubby has planned, demolished and rebuilt a bathroom and en suite, tiled, painted and all the jobs in between. He has then moved onto the task of renovating our kitchen. We hired professionals to do the more technical and involved tasks like the bench-tops, plumbing and electrical work, but he pulled the old tiles up, removed all the old doors, cleaned out the cupboards, painted the window and retiled the kitchen floor. During this time he has worked full-time, kept our garden and vegie patch looking beautiful, helped with chores and shared the cooking and washing.

On top of all this he has not blinked an eye when I had a weekend away to help a friend with the election or spent a long weekend with my family interstate. And each and every day he is my best friend, my entertainment, the one who listens to me rabbit on about my day and who celebrates my achievements with me and commiserates on the frustrating moments.

So each and every day I am thankful for my hubby, but this week I am particularly thankful for all his effort, love and commitment to our home, our family and our relationship.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A touch of gown envy

If you have plans to visit Brisbane in the next few months, be sure to take a few hours to see the Valentino exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art at Southbank.

I spent the weekend in Brisbane with my mum and sister and we spent a bit of time at Southbank, to see Mamma Mia! on Friday night. I first saw Mamma Mia! in London with my Mum and loved it. The Brisbane show didn’t disappoint.

We ventured back to Southbank the following day for a visit to the Valentino exhibition. It was just gorgeous. So many beautiful and timeless dresses and fabrics! I had a few favourite dresses, but one of my favourites would have to be the stunning dress Julia Roberts wore when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2001.

Many of the dresses on display were from the 1960s and are timeless. Valentino used classic fabrics and colours and as a result they would not look out of place on a red carpet today.

The exhibition is well worth the $20 entry fee. You’ll leave with a feeling of old world glamour, sophistication and a touch of gown envy!

Rekindling the relationship

I'm back! It's been a hectic few weeks but I have finally rekindled my relationship with my blog. I missed my blog and the wonderful people who read it.

When I booked my weekend in Brisbane with my sister and mum, when I committed to helping out a friends election campaign and when I said I'd love to attend a friend and former boss’ tribute dinner I had no idea that they would all occur one week after another. But hey that's life and I’m so glad I could actually do all three. So my weekends were pretty full combined with the air and road travel to get to the events. My weekdays have been filled with work and my weeknights have been a mixture of kitchen renovations and holiday planning.

Yes our kitchen has been made over. Photos to come. We also booked a holiday and third wedding anniversary celebrations to the US. So all in all I have been a busy little bee.

So today I have had a day at home. It has been 21 days without a day or even half a day at home so it's nice to finally have had a free day to myself.

I’ve only had a few tasks today: my blog, a haircut for Max and the grocery shopping. Max is looking a lot like a little apricot sheep at the moment. When I dropped him off for his haircut I should have asked about whether there is a niche market for apricot fur with a woolly feel, we certainly have enough of it at the moment.

Each of my weekends away has been fantastic for a multitude of reasons! Catching up with old friends and spending precious time with family.
I have missed blogging and the moments taken to read others blogs. But I have returned and I won't go missing for this long again I promise purple notepad!


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