Friday, February 15, 2013

Australian Subscription Boxes

I have a new blog, dedicated to all the subscription boxes that are available to Australians.  Just head on over and check it out - I have box profiles, news and reviews.  There's even a cheese box out there. Who knew!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Four Beautiful Vintage Valentine Gift Ideas

Do you need some ideas for Valentine's day gifts for your vintage loving significant other?  Ladies, I'm not too sure I have very many male readers so you might want to forward this post "accidentally" to your valentine if he needs a hint or two!

Huge bulk pack of vintage costume jewellery.  I've purchased a bulk pack myself from this seller and it was amazing value.

Vintage rhinestone shoe clips.  Beautiful sparklers for your feet.

Vintage red slip with lace and mini pleating.  The only thing to wear in bed.  Throw those big t-shirts in the bin ladies.  Vintage slips are THE way to go.

Garden Date Dress by Modcloth.  I have so many pieces in my wardrobe by Modcloth and they're always the ones I get complimented on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Treasure from the Rubbish

I spotted a treasure in my mother's hard rubbish pile.  It had three broken wheels, dirt, spider-webs and was rusted all over.  I do regret not taking a photograph before just to show how bad it really looked.  It was so bad that I wasn't even sure that it was fixable.  I suspected I was making a mistake and actually left it on the rubbish pile for a week until I changed my mind and went back for it.

The trolley had belonged to my grandmother and had spent years and years (decades I believe) outside in the rain and heat in my mother's garden.  It had suffered but the design was just so beautiful I really felt it was worth saving.

My darling husband fixed it up for me and it looks amazing.  He pulled off all the wheels, scrubbed it all over with a metal brush, wore out the brush completely, and scrubbed it all over again with a metal sanding disk on his circular saw.  He said it was much easier the second time.  Then he spray painted two coats of white rust-proof primer.  We finished with a couple of coats of metal gloss spray paint and it's ready to rock!

I have plans for a tray on the bottom for my son's outside cars and trains and some pretty pot plants on the top.  We're in the process of building a pergola outside the laundry and this is where it will live when it's finished.  It will be undercover so it will hopefully last for many years to come.

PS I'm going op (thrift) shopping tomorrow to a store that's new to me that I've been told has lots of deceased estate vintage stock.  Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lust Have It - January 2013

This is the best beauty box I've received in a long time. 

The new packaging is lovely, the only thing that would improve it would be the removal of the company's logo on the spine.  I'm not likely to keep and re-use the box with advertising showing on it.  Looking around the web, I think I got the best version of this months's box.  I received:

  • Lush Emotional Brilliance in "Sophisticated" (full size).  Described by Lush as shimmering taupe I found the shade to be very wearable for a less dramatic everyday eye look.  It was extremely easy and mess free to apply and lasted and lasted.  I think I'm going to buy some of the other products in this range.
  • Nude by Nature BB Cream in "Medium" (full size).  I would have chosen "Light" but at least I can have a go with medium.  I wish Lust Have It would send out foundations tailored to people's skin tone.  I got luckier than some bloggers (some pale skinned girls received "Dark") and I'm pretty excited to try this.
  • Lust Have It Kabuki brush (full size).  This is actually the third kabuki brush in my collection so it will be perfect to put in my travel bag as it's a short handled version.  I use a kabuki brush every day and find them perfect for foundation application.  This brush is lovely and soft and dense.  I tried it out straight away and it works very well.
  • Klorane Shampoo and Conditioner (sachets).  I'd prefer a slightly larger sample size as it's difficult to assess a product on one application and I have long hair so there's never enough conditioner in a sachet.  Having said that, there were three full sized products in this month's box so I'm not too annoyed at the small size.
  • Avene Cleanance Skin Range (large sample size).  I've already received this range in Bella Box but I've just finished the gel cleanser and loved it so I've happy to have another to go on with.  I don't try the exfoliant or anti-shine moisturiser as they're not suitable for my skin type.  The gel cleanser is, however, very good indeed and worth a purchase when I run out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Packing List - Just One Carry On Bag

I promised to post a copy of my packing list that I use when preparing for an overseas holiday and here it is! 

I like to take one carry on bag (slightly smaller than the full size allowed) and one small day-pack for myself and one of my sons (my husband carries the other).  This list includes items I will be wearing, as well as what is in the bag.

I can go for an indefinite amount of time with these items as they can be washed in the room's sink or bathtub and left hung out to dry overnight.

My oldest son when he was one year old hiking in New Zealand.

And now the list:

2 blouses (I take the long sleeved travel shirts by Gondwanda that can be buttoned up to be short sleeved as well).

2 tshirts (I have one bamboo travel shirt by Gondwanda and one wool t-shirt by Kathmandu that is meant to be a base layer but I find it useful as a tight but breathable t-shirt).

rollup ballet flats/dress/cardigan/black stockings (This is my solution to a "dressy" outfit.  It's not anywhere near as dressy as what I wear on a regular basis at home, but I just don't feel comfortable turning up to high tea at a fancy hotel in hiking boots and trousers.  My dress is a black ankle-length maxi dress by Capture which doesn't show packing creases.  The cardigan is a black cardigan by Modcloth to add a bit of warmth.  My ballet flats are Rollasole.  They do the job of being light weight and pack small but they are not very durable.)

skirt (A Macabi ankle length travel skirt.  This allows me to be culturally appropriate when visiting religious places of worship and countries where it is not appropriate for a woman to wear trousers.  It washes and dries overnight without creasing too badly.  It does have the option to convert to shorts but they look pretty bad so I stick to the skirt configuration.)

pants (Gondwanda travel pants with zip off legs that convert to shorts.)

2 socks (Tilley endurables travel socks.  Wash and dry overnight!)

2 underwear (Tilley endurables travel underwear.  These don't look particularly sexy but they are full coverage (i.e. come up to my belly button) and wash and dry overnight.)

bra (You don't need details on this do you?  OK, in the interest of over-sharing I take a black t-shirt bra that will work with everything.  I made sure that this won't show through my lighter coloured blouses before selecting it.)

bathers (My usual black polka-dot retro style one piece.  This is actually one of my only piece of "normal" clothing I take.)

warm jacket (Kathmandu thermal zipped up jacket.  It's cozy and warm.)

raincoat (Rainbird black zip up jacket style coat with hood.  The hood can be zipped away if I'm just wearing the jacket against wind rather than rain.)

sun hat (Kathmandu travel hat.  It packs without showing crush marks.)

hiking boots (I love my Gondwanda hiking boots.  They're very comfortable and provide good ankle support.)

thongs for shower (Just a cheapie pair from Kmart do the job here.  I did pick a black pair with sparkles because let's be honest, a pretty pair packs just as small as a plain pair.)

night gown (Black silky nylon vintage slip.  I wear these all the time to bed, and it packs so small and light and is easy to replace, unlike my more precious vintage dresses.)

silky scarf (Big enough to wear as head scarf.  At home I wear these in a 40's style turban for housekeeping or bad hair days and when travelling I like to have one on hand for locations where it's appropriate for woman to cover their heads.  If it's just to enter some religious buildings I keep my scarf folded up in my pocket to put on as needed, otherwise it's worn all the time.  This scarf does show packing marks, so I keep it folded neatly in a zip lock bag so at least the marks are regular rather than just looking crumpled.)

warm hat (A thermal grey beanie that I got at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.  Excellent for keeping warm in the snow.)

warm gloves (Matching grey thermal gloves from the same place.  These are pretty thick so if I was going to Antarctica or anywhere where I would want to be wearing gloves while taking photographs I would also take a thin pair to wear underneath.)

long johns x 2 thermal top x 2 (If visiting countries where thermals are necessary.  The Kathmandu woolen thermals are pretty good and come in nice colours that look like clothes rather than underwear.)

carry on travel bag (Mine is slightly smaller than the full size allowed as I find that a bit too much to carry - I need to keep my hands free to hold my children's hands when necessary and a big bag gets in the way.)

day pack (I have a little triangular day pack that is designated as my son's "carry on" bag for the flight and thereafter is carried as a day pack.  For the flight this contains children's entertainment and my Kindle and while on holiday it contains water, first aid kit, torch, travel guide, camera, and children's toileting supplies.)

laundry bag (A super big one with a draw string but it's actually too big now that I wash every day.  I might re-think the need to bring this, though it does corral all my laundry supplies together.)

watch (I don't bring a mobile phone so I need this to get to things like the dawn flag-raising at Tiananmen Square, which was great by the way, well worth getting up early.)
travel clock (One with a good loud alarm so we don't miss flights or trains.  I'm a heavy sleeper.)

torch (One of my emergency supplies.  Is also good for looking inside tombs/ruins/caves without electricity.)

Toothbrush, cap, tooth powder (I take tooth powder tablets that Lush make so I don't have to show them at airport security.  Normal toothpaste gel has additional security requirements.  The cap is to stop my wet toothbrush smearing all over the inside of my toiletry bag.)

glasses cleaning cloth (Nothing worse than dirty glasses.)

camera (We have a digital SLR that's pretty big and heavy but it does take very nice pictures.)

guidebook (Lonely Planet is my favourite.  We did try out switching to the digital version but found the maps and index to be cumbersome so have reversed to the heavy printed one.)

first aid kit (I carry this in my day pack and have had cause to use it twice so far.  An essential.)

paper nail file (I hate having a broken nail, it really bothers me.  I do remove all my nail polish and cut my nails short before travelling to decrease up-keep.  I leave my toe-nails painted though, they usually last better without chipping.)

hair comb/brush (A cheapie one from the supermarket that also has a mirror and folds up into itself for storage.)

foundation/brush (A short handled kabuki brush with my Chanel Pro-Lumiere works just fine.)

hair band/tie, two bobby pins (I made the mistake of travelling without these once and had to put up my hair in a very strong wind with just one old bobby pin I found in my pocket.  I have very thick wavy hair and it was a challenge.)

laundry rope, sink plug, hard soap (For all that daily washing.)

razor (Ladies you know what this is for!)

bar shampoo, soap container (I have a Lush bar shampoo that doesn't need pulling out at airport security.)

concealer (Whatever one I am wearing at the time.  At the moment it's Mirenesse Icon Sealer.)

bar soap, soap container (Better than liquid body wash as I don't need to pull it out at security.)

solid deodorant (As above.)

tweezers (Ladies, you also know what this is for!)

viscose travel towel (Dries quickly and does a suprisingly good job of exfoliation if used a little damp.)

air sickness tablets (I get motion sickness just driving to my in-laws house so a good strong tablet is essential.  At the moment I'm using Quell.  I did try Sea Bands which did nothing for me.)

passport, air tickets/boarding passes, visas, cash, credit/debit card, drivers licence, vaccination certificates, spare passport photos.  (I carry these for myself and my children.  My husband looks after his own.)

kindle, charging cord, power adaptor (I read so quicky that taking paper copies of books is a nightmere.  Hooray for the Kindle!)

inflatable travel pillow (Economy long haul is quite an endurance test, anything to make it easier.)

aspirin (I get migranes.)

pads (One for the ladies.)


lip balm

eye mask

mini moisturiser

condoms (And one for the gents.)

copy of eye prescription

guidebook (Cover with paper so you don't look quite so much like a tourist when consulting.)


notebook (For diary writing.  I carry one for each of my children as well.)

two packs cards (I have a book of card games on my Kindle.)

security pouch

black stockings/thermals (Depending on the temperatures you're expecting.)

face wash cloth

door lock


medicare card

For the kids I also include clothing, bathers, entertainment (readers, bedtime stories on kindle) mini crayons, activity books, mini activities, diaries, glue stick, little car), pullups, nappy sacks, undies, wipes, toothbrush (I purchase children's toothpaste on arrival), socks, rain coats, beanies and a swimming nappy.  I haven't forked out for children's quick drying travel clothing as it's very expensive and they grow out of it so quickly. We just make do and they will wear a pair of jeans until they really REALLY needs a wash and then we go to a laundromat and do all their clothes at once if it's a country where that's possible.  They have each got a child's size Rainbird rain jacket as they use these at home as well so we get our money's worth out of the purchase.

That was long!  Has anyone got any questions or suggestions?  Do you do something different that works even better?  Would you like links to specific products?  Let me know :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our next trip

Here's the next big announcement:  our next trip will be the big one to England! 

Photograph from Singapore Airlines.

Travelling this time will be myself, my dear husband and two sons (5 and 7), my parents and my brother.  My ancestors come from England (my husband's come from Ireland) and I was raised with British children's books.  Enid Blyton, Edith Nesbit and Arthur Ransome were some of my most read authors growing up and I still revisit them today.  I also prefer English weather.  I don't cope well with Australia's heat - I get a headache after only 20 minutes in the sun wearing a hat and sunglasses and I've had heat-stroke twice.  So it feels a little like we will be going home, even though I've never been there before.

We'll be going for a whole month in October 2013 and will be flying Singapore Airlines with a stopover in Singapore each each way for a 6 hour sleep in a real bed.

I'm especially excited about:

  • My youngest son's first overseas trip.
  • My oldest son's first overseas trip that he will remember.  He has recently learned how to use a camera and is able to tell me a short sentence about what happened in the day so I'm excited for him to start his first travel diary.
  • Seeing the country I've been reading about my whole life.
  • Castles and stately homes.
  • Stonehenge.
  • The children being old enough to manage two activities in a day with a break for lunch and a playground or garden in the middle.  Previously one activity in a day has been all they could manage.
  • Having extra family travelling with us to help occupy the children, particularly on the VERY long flights.

Some challenges this trip will be:

  • My youngest son's disability includes difficulty walking quickly or for a long time.  He gets pretty tired and often wants to be carried.  He'll be too heavy to be carried around much by the time we travel so I'm planning lots of opportunities for him to rest and will look out for a cheap umbrella stroller to purchase when we get there if we can cram him in it.  I suspect our next trip after this one will involve a wheelchair, but we haven't got one yet and are putting it off as long as possible.  My father also has a dodgy knee and back so a slow pace will be good for him too.  We will split into a couple of groups when the more fit and active people want to do the more physically demanding activities.
  • My youngest son is also having difficulty toilet training, again related to his disability.  We will be using pull-ups (unless he manages to toilet train in the mean-time) and having a messy change once a day, which will be interesting when change-rooms are only designed for babies and tables can't take his weight.
I'm also planning to take only one carry on bag for myself and one of my son's.  My husband will carry the other so our family will have two bags total.  More on this and a copy of my packing list later.  This plan is so we have one bag to carry and one hand free to hold a child's hand.  My boys both have an intellectual disability so being able to hold their hand is essential to keep them safe. 

As you can tell, I'm a little bit excited!  We're going to be saving madly until then so don't expect any posts about big purchases between now and October :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Super Easy Last Minute Christmas Nails

It's Christmas Eve and I suddenly really wanted to have red and gold glittery Christmas themed nails.  Sadly my nail polish bowl (I use a vintage Pyrex bowl which is just gorgeous for nail polish storage) had absolutely no glitter at all.  I did find the perfect Christmas red polish in my collection - Red Hot Ayers Rock by OPI.  It's a really bright red that isn't brown or orange at all.  If you imagine the classic Christmas red colour it's exactly that.

So a couple of coats later and I had my red Christmas nails, still lacking glitter.  Now there's lots and lots of glitter nail polish options. I had in mind a clear polish with gold glitter in it to go over the red nails.  But in a small town on Christmas Eve there's not a lot of options to purchase nail polish (OK actually none at all).  If I'd been a bit more organized I could of course get anything I wanted in the world online.

Then I had a brainwave and raided my husband's top drawer where he had secreted some gold glitter dust he'd used to help the kids make birthday cards for me a month ago.  A nice thick wet coat of clear top coat, a thin dusting of glitter and another thick clear top coat and I'm good to go.  The gold glitter stands out really well over the red and it turned out just as I'd imagined.

If you need some last minute Christmas nail art that's super easy give it a try, and just for fun check out the Christmas nail art that's going on around the web at the moment.  There's some very talented people out there.