Friday, 28 November 2014

the Makers Pop Up Event: Get Giving


My friend Lisa Tilse of the red thread has teamed up with Shibori Textiles for an awesome shopping event that's sure to troubleshoot your Christmas gifting woes. Together with Lisa and the Shibori team, the makers include Jacqui Fink, ther.a.py, me we, Louise M Studio, felt divine, Sally Campbell Textiles. How good does that sound?!

Shop small this Christmas, support the makers, and give those you love something really special and handmade. 

Maybe I'll see you there? 


the Makers
Saturday 29 November
from 10-4

Shibori Textiles
30a Sailsbury Road 
Stanmore


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Pinks



Today I went with one of my favourite friends, Emilie,  to Bread & Circus. If you haven't already been there, the styling, palette and interiors are enough to make it a treat - let alone the food. Amazing. 

Em and I talked about the pinks. From the cups through to the plates, to the tiles, the menus. Everything is pink. It might sound like Barbie vomited everywhere, but you are so, so wrong. So wrong. It's just perfectly perfect. 

It got me thinking why this pink interior resonates so much. 

Pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It also makes me think of my childhood, when colour was so pivotal, and I couldn't get enough of this candy shade. 


Which makes me think about how I can work this into my wardrobe. Next post - best of the pinks. I'm going to go internet shopping and share my finds. 


Are you loving pink?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Lists



1. Exercise: 
I dumped it. 
You probably predicted it. 
I bought a FitBit, convinced I would use it - and I don't. 
I don't know how to fit it into my life.
Do you find it tough?

2. A haircut:
It's been months since my last. 
Maybe it will give me an overhaul. 
Chop. Chop.

3. Salad days:
I've got some ideas. 
And a new Tupperware Mandochef. 
I need to get cracking. I need to take lunches to work.

4. Should I get into smoothies?
Tell me dear reader. 

5. Christmas shopping: 
It's on my mind. 
I've bought one present.
I need some lists. 


What's on your list? 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cholesterol Happy Brownies (Sp)


Matt got told a few months ago that his cholesterol levels were not good. Not good at all. 

Not only was this bad news for him, it was bad news for me. Firstly, you don't want high cholesterol. Secondly - I need to bake. 

I looked up what I could do to help him get his cholesterol in check. He started exercising at least five times a week. He reviewed what he was eating. We feel like we've got this stuff figured!

But baking? How could I still bake when Matt was fighting bad cholesterol?

Enter Flora Pro-Activ. The good news? I've switched it in instead of butter, so I can still bake, and Matt can still enjoy my baking! Hoorah!   


This is a super simple no-fail brownie recipe that I love. And because you've been so good dear reader, I am willing to share!


Lexi's No-Fail Double-Choc Double-Happiness Brownies

180g Flora Pro-Activ, melted
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups castor sugar (or brown, whatever takes your fancy)
a teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
100g sifted plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of chocolate, chopped
small pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 160C. Line a brownie tray with baking paper. 

Mix Flora Pro-Activ and cocoa in a large bowl. Once combined add sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir through remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until quite firm, but moist (I like mine a bit gooey, so I take them out a little early - when the top is quite firm). Allow to cool in tin and cut into squares. Dust with a little icing sugar. Serve with a strong coffee. All will be well.



What is cholesterol? Even if you think 'Oh I am too young to have high cholesterol!' - you should get it checked. Click over to learn the difference between 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol.  




* This is a sponsored post. Very occasionally I will do sponsored posts - when they resonate with me, because maybe they'll resonate with you too. This is my honest opinion which is why I can blog openly about it.  I wanted to share. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Yo Mama! An Interview with Claire Aristides



Imagine your day surrounded by diamonds, sapphires, gold, silver, (no myrrh), all manner of 
luxe beauty. Swoon. I can't imagine the ecstasy. Let's imagine really, really hard, because it sounds pretty fabulous.

Today's Yo Mama! interview is with Claire Aristides. She doesn't need to imagine all that 
sparkly fun because she is amidst it every day. A jewellery designer with a minimalist, luxury approach to jewellery. SO up my alley. 

She reinterprets classic designs for modern women, and I've spent waaaaay too much time
over on her website and Instagram feed drooling over just about everything. So between her time designing new collections, and being a busy mama, she was able to answer a few
about what it's like to be Claire Aristides. 

Let's do this!



PMM: Claire Aristides. Tell me about a normal day in your life. (Is there such a thing?)

CA: Yes, no. No normal day ever. Which has its pluses and minuses. I think most people's 
days are really mixed up as we all seem to be so busy! 



You create beautiful jewellery that's highly covetable. How did you get started? 

It's a cliche but my mum passed down the passion for jewellery to me. I have vivid memories of her trying on fabulous shiny jewels in the 70s when we lived in Singapore. I started down the corporate track for a bit but then took the leap of faith to start my own line. I first started in fashion jewellery then branched out into the real thing! Diamonds and precious gems!  And I've never looked back.



What did you dream of being when you were little? What were you going to be when you grew up?

I'm not sure. I just remember always enjoying making things, being creative expressing myself etc.  Isn't it so hard to know what you want to do? I feel so lucky that I found something I love. 



Where do you seek inspiration?


Travel definitely. For many reasons - the obvious being different sights, sounds, smells. The 
senses are completely stimulated. But also because you 'get away' from day to day and that's when your mind 'thinks - and creates. Going for a big long walk, run, or swim can bring out my creative juices as well. My main inspirations are always redefining classic fine jewellery in a modern context. I love stones too, so seeing a beautiful gem set simply yet stunningly always makes me happy. 


How do you juggle motherhood with your work? 


I have the best husband. I honestly could not do what I do without him.  He is an incredible help. I do get very stressed juggling it all, but it's my choice to do so much. So you've just got to be happy, be as relaxed as you can. I think what you don't realise with motherhood is how little 'alone' time you get - and I'm very much a person that recharges when I have some alone time. You also just have to prioritise whats important, you can't do it all.

What's one tip you'd love to share with another mother?

Everyone finds it tough on different levels at different stages over different things. So don't 
judge! Don't think someone else has it super easy - and you've got it tough all the time. 


Do you have certain pieces of jewellery that you wear every day?

Ha - this is going to be a blog post soon. Diamond Hoops. Some people say they live in jeans I live in Diamond Hoops.



What's your favourite part of your job?

Seeing other people happy. Again it's a cliche, but my job is making people happy - with 
something sparkly, precious, sentimental!



And do you have a worst bit?

Filling in forms. Admin. Paperwork bits and bobs... Can't stand it.



Juggling work-life is tricky. How do you take time out for yourself?

I have neglected myself. And this resulted in being sick this year. So I am trying really hard to look after myself more. I started with the basics - like eight hours of sleep, taking vitamins, not checking my phone every minute of the day! I'm hoping for a sisters getaway in January.


What's coming up next for Claire Aristides?

We just launched our search for the babyface of my Bambino Diamonds collection. So after 
Christmas madness it's shooting the winner with Tiny Tribe Magazine.



Make sure you enter Claire's new competition to see if your baby could be the new face of the Bambino Diamonds Collection

Shop the Claire Aristides collection here
Follow Claire on Instagram.
Or hop onto Facebook for more inspiration.



This is the 12th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

PlayStation:: Talking Gaming with Dr Jason Fox (AKA Gamers gonna game)

A couple of weeks ago the smalls and I were invited by PlayStation for a morning of games and a chat with Dr Jason Fox. Well the games sounded exciting, but who wants to spend a morning listening to a middle-age podgy doctor banging on about something?

Oh how wrong I was, dear reader. 

We spent three blissful hours hopping across a range of PlayStation games - including an epic SingStar battle between Tiny and I (where she tried to sabotage me by covering my mouth) - where I leapt ahead to claim the title of SingStar champion with over 2 million points. WAY TO GO MAMA! 

And the middle-age doctor bit? Oh man. SO wrong. SO WRONG! I really, really loved listening to the good doctor. He was smart. He was funny. He had sharp threads. And a really good beard. 





As with many parents I am constantly worried about how much screen time my kids are getting, so I leapt at the opportunity to ask Dr Fox some questions. 


What's an ideal amount of time for children to spend gaming? 

Ah, what’s the ideal amount of time for children to be engaged in immersive, mentally stimulating puzzles and creative challenges (aka games)? A heap! 

Of course, like all things, this needs to be balanced. On a school day, one needs to ensure that kids are getting the right mix of time for homework, outdoor activity and indoor play. I’d suggest that 60–90 minutes is good for a weeknight, and something best done before dinner.

The key is balance. Another important question to ask is: what’s the ideal amount of time for parents to invest playing games with their kids? Again, it’s a heap. This is probably one the biggest opportunities modern parents have today — playing with their kids. Much akin to building sandcastles together, or kicking the footy — playing games is a wonderful shared experience parents can tap into with their kids.


Steve Jobs was once interviewed and talked about how his children weren't allowed much screen time - because he knows how addictive it can be. What do you think about this?

I’d tend to agree with Steve — but it’s important to make the distinction between passive screen time (simply watching tv) and active screen time (playing games, engaged in challenges). While it’s important that we’re all allowed time to ‘switch off’, passive screen time doesn’t convey the same learning benefits as active screen time. 

Making progress is highly motivating. We love seeing how our effort contributes to something, and it’s partly why screen activities are ‘addictive’ — we can see that our effort is making a difference. Rather than simply limit screen and game time, we also need to explore how we can bring the benefits of game design into the real world.


I've noticed my son goes red, and becomes pretty intense (read: obsessed) sometimes when gaming. What's that all about?

He’s probably entering a state of flow — that perfect balance between challenge and skill, where he is achieving something very complex or difficult, beyond his comfort zone. Here things become ‘autotelic’ — he is at one with the task, in the same way that champion golfers or surgeons get when doing their thing. 

Coupled with this is the perception of ‘fiero’ — an Italian word meaning ‘pride’. According to Dr Jane McGonigal (multiple TED speaker, and author), this is an important outcome of games. After periods of intense flow in which we are triumphing over adversity or epic challenges, we can experience a fiero as a powerful neurochemical high.

In her book, Reality is Broken, McGonigal also writes that “games not only gratify intrinsic needs for happiness, but also ‘do it safely, cheaply, and reliably’”. 


Our family really loves spending a couple of hours on Sundays playing Little Big Planet together. Is this a good thing? 

Yes definitely! You’ve got a real shared experience in which you are creatively and collaboratively engaged in the resolution of meaningful, story-driven challenges. It’s hard to think of anything better. The fact that Little Big Planet 3 allows up to 4 players to play together means that the whole family can be involved in this shared experience. And, you can create new levels too, opening up opportunities for you and your kids to create challenges for each other too (imagine: special birthday challenges). This gets them into ‘user experience design’ — an important new skill and industry in the modern world.


And do you have any other similar games you could recommend for us to play as a family?

Well, the PS4 now supports 4 x player Minecraft, and there are games like Singstar which are immense fun for the entire family. For younger kids, there’s Disney infinity, which is another open game like Minecraft. 



Do you game with your kids?


* This post is not sponsored. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Best Beauty Buys:: Max Factor Colour X-Pert Waterproof Eyeliner


You and me. We both know I'm no beauty pro. But I love to dabble in new products, I'll always try something new. 

As part of the festival that was Frocktober, I became pretty good at applying the winged eye. This is no easy feat given I usually go all wonky. But practise makes perfect, and I became pretty good. From a Betty Draper wing tip, to a fuller Amy Winehouse flow, I got it down pat. 

Maybe you want to give it a try too?  Want to know my secret? 

This Max Factor Colour X-Pert Waterproof Eyeliner is the shiz. It's awesome. 

The tip creates a strong, defined line to create a dramatic line. If you're wanting to create a smooth, strong line - then this is the eyeliner. Plus it's waterproof so you won't have to worry about smudged lines, it stays in place all day - impeccable!







Disclosure:: This product was sent to me for review and editorial consideration. I considered it. Tried it. And loved it. I thought you might like it too! This is not a sponsored post.