Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Three Years of Frocktober: Ovarian Cancer

When I started participating in Frocktober three years ago it was to help women in need. To raise money for women who needed help. It was because I wanted to be part of something bigger than me, more important than me, and to do something good. 

In three years I have raised over $22K. Thank you for your help, your generosity, for all of your support. 

I couldn't have done it without you. Three years of Frocktober to raise money for research into ovarian cancer has raised over $22k. 

The news that there is a new ovarian cancer that detects twice as many women with early signs is a gift!

Not that I did it solo. Of course not. But I - and you- have been part of it. 

Ovarian cancer - for society, is not sexy, it's mainly older women, but for me, it's really important. Everyone is important. Everyone integral. Everyone special. Don't make me cry!

But for a reality check, Ian Jacobs has spent not three years, but 29 years (!) trying to develop a test that detects early signs of ovarian cancer.

This is freaking awesome. 

He is freaking awesome. 

He has devised as test that picks up 86% of women who have ovarian cancer before they have symptoms.

You can read more here

And to support further research into Ovarian Cancer you can buy a white shirt at Witchery.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Love Film? Watch This

This is so watchable. Nine kisses. I loved it. Watch it now and report back.  

Friday, 24 April 2015

8 Mother's Day Gift Ideas:: Blog Hop!

With Mother's Day just a breath away, I've been thinking of things I'd love to give to my Mum. Gifts with personality, spunk and style always resonate, so without further ado - let's do this thing!

1. Naomi Murrell 'Thrills' Token $75 (on sale): After a good friend gifted me a Naomi Murrell ring with a teeny tiny bell on it, I've pretty well become obsessed. Cute, quirky and totally of the moment (while having that certain enduring style that you could keep on wearing), it's fun to wear. I love this necklace, because at first glance it's a regular little pendant, but on closer inspection, it's all about the thrills. Sums me up.

2. Nancybird Lounge Gown - Woodland $149: Don't tell anyone, but I wouldn't wear this at home. I'd wear it out. All the time. It's beautiful, draped, long lines, the perfect palette, and the print - well it's pretty well my dream jacket to pair back with a pair of jeans and some oversized jewellery. 

3. Obus Starry Night Socks $12: I am a bit of a sick puppy when it comes to socks. In the latter years, I have become addicted. Because my feet are always cold. I love these cool Turkish made socks that have style. There'll be no more borrowing Matt's anymore! 

4. Jennifer Loiselle Love Heart Sweet Message earrings 25 pounds (guys, I don't know where the pound key is): I am a massive fan girl of an Aussie in the UK. Jennifer Loiselle creates witty, wonderful jewellery that makes my heart go boompity, boompity BOOM!

5. A Table In the Orchard by Michelle Crawford $35: If you have never visited Michelle's blog 'Hugo and Elsa' you haven't lived. Michelle is living my fantasy life. And now her first book is about to launch - I can pretty well be her. Or at least cook and eat like her. Failing that, I can indulge in the incredible photographs and dream. This is not just a cookbook. It's pure indulgence. 

6. Mr Kitly - Flax Line Organic Face Washer $24: I really like having my own face washer. I get a bit annoyed when someone else in the family uses it. Call me crazy (whatevs), I really love this one. And I'd love some beautiful handmade soap to go with it too. Yes please. 

7. Craft for the Soul - How to get the most out of your creative life by Pip Lincolne $29.45: These last few months I have been looking for a crafty outlet from my work and parenting life. To make something and feel like you have instant success, or the powers of creativity wielded in your fingertips. This book holds the key.  

8. Little Tienda Catalina dress $299: Fairtrade and handmade in Mexico, I can vouch for the Catalina dress' easy beauty. Lightweight cotton it feels fabulous on - and looks just as awesome, can be belted or worn loose. 

Want more Mother's Day inspiration? 
Be sure to check out: 
Bondville for loads of clever Australian ideas 
Ish and Chi for loads of style
To totally drool check out eat read love 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

5 of the best umbrellas

This weather has been so crazy in NSW. Blustery, bitter, rainy and ridiculous. 

Which brings me to this. An umbrella is imperative in anyone's at home repertoire. 

Which in turn brings me to this. My five favourite brollies to keep you cool, calm and collected for the rainy season. 

1. Kate Spade Rose Umbrella from Lark Store $85: Yes it's exy, but it's Kate Spade. And it has roses. And it's cute as punch. And when it's grey and gloomy, this perfectly punchy brolly will keep the rain clouds at bay.

2. Clifton Windpro Navy and White Stripe umbrella from $55.95: If you're looking for large and lofty, and really want to take cover from those oversized raindrops, this jumbo-sized super-powered umbrella will do the trick. I can vouch for its awesome-ness, it gives excellent coverage and won't blow inside out. 

3. Parisienne Series Cheetah Print from ParasolUmbrellas $52.95: Ditch boring black and take shelter under some animal print - you'll tread those footpaths in serious style. Plus even the handle is cheetah print. What's not to like? 

4. Senz XXL Golf Umbrella $99: It's an investment but it comes with some serious credentials. Winner of all major design awards globally, the aerodynamic design of the Senz umbrella means it won't flip - not even at winds exceeding 100kph. That's some seriously sweet design. 

5. Gina and May Grasshopper umbrella $59.95: Definitely one of my favourites for the retro tip of the  hat to polka dots, print and colour. Fun, full of personality, and super cool for super dreary days. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Yo Mama! An Interview with Nearly Nude's Lucy Hosken

Back in 2013 I launched Yo Mama! - a series of interviews with creative, working mums, chatting about work, life, inspiration and the juggle. I've had some awesome women onboard, gaining some brilliant insights into what makes them tick. 

It's been a long time since my last Yo Mama! interview - not for lack of talent, but for lack of time.

Funnily enough, today's Yo Mama! is a wee bit funny. I'm chatting with Lucy Hosken from Nearly Nude. Lucy is very good friends with two of my very good friends. But what I didn't know until I'd met her recently, is that she's the sister of another of my friends (hi Edwina!!). 

I don't know if you can hear it but 'It's a small world' is now playing in your subconscious. (Blame me for that later.)

Anyone that knows me well, knows I love a good foundation garment. It's not just because I am a frockstar (pun intended), it's because underwear can really make or break a gal's day. 

Launched in 2005, Nearly Nude is an Australian brand with a strong global presence. 

Without further ado, let's cut to the chase and chat with Lucy.

How did Nearly Nude all start? I started NN 9 years ago. I had a really low cut top and couldn’t find the right under garments so with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart I though, 'Why not, I can do this!!' Little did I know how much work it would be! Such a roller coaster ride, a fabulous one though.

What was life before Nearly Nude? 
I studied Marketing at University and then worked in magazines for 10 years. I started Nearly Nude in my last year at ACP Magazines and tried to juggle both, then NN got so busy I eventually left the world of magazines. I also had two children whilst trying to build the business so this was a huge challenge just trying to balance my life, work and trying to put the kids first. I think that is an ongoing battle for all working mums.

Tell me what a normal day looks like for you. 
I am not a morning person so normally my little ones jump on me and wake me up at around six. I take the children to school then come home and start my day. I am lucky enough to work from home so it’s very flexible. I normally check emails for for the first hour, then get into any calls I need to make, do the days NN social media and work on any product developments or website strategy. I then pick the kids up, take them to the park or go swimming, make them dinner then pass out!

How do you juggle motherhood with a busy work life? 
Well, this is the ongoing question everyone wants to know and after seven years of doing it I can now confidently say you can’t do it all!!! I used to think I could back in the early days but I genuinely think something has to give and it’s all about priorities. Mine are obviously my children, I love Nearly Nude and it’s my 3rd child in a way but to be honest I realised very early on that you cannot sweat the small stuff. Children are only small for a small time frame and I never want to miss out on anything. I no longer work any weekends or nights, I try to balance it all so we have a happy and balanced family life. I do feel though that this has taken me a good seven years to master! I am finally in a happy balance. In the early days I worked day and night, all weekend and never rested when they were babies, I think after a few years of doing that I almost fell in a heap, it ’s not sustainable. It’s not fun for anyone either but this is what happens when you start your own business.

Career highlights? Getting approached by a large US based lingerie company about selling the overseas rights of my business to them! This was five years ago and we did in fact do that deal. I am still involved in the international business but on a much smaller scale. After all these years of hard work, someone was interested in buying my little underwear company!!

What's the best bit of your work? 
The creativity….I love the design side of it and being able to imagine something and bring it to life. Then taking that product to market and then watching it sell, it’s very rewarding.

And is there a worst bit? 
The admin - which I don’t often do too much of anymore. I luckily joined forces with The Ambra Group in Melbourne earlier this year so they are the most wonderful group of people and they assist with all aspects of running Nearly Nude, it’s a dream come true.

Running your own business, and being a busy mum is tricky. How do you take care of yourself? 
I make sure these days I go to bed early, I am an eight hour a night type of person. When the kids were younger I think I got an average of about three hours a night so I figure I have a lot to catch up on! I am also trying to go swimming a few times a week these days and I have just started Yoga.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 
Stay true to your values. In my case it’s about priorities and for me my priority is always my family. If we spend a lot of time together and have fun that is the fuel I need to have the energy to run my business. The rest comes easily.

What's your favourite, must-have piece from the NN collection? 
The Cotton Slip dress, it's made of almost 70% Egyptian Cotton and is also super shaping but Comfortable. It is a staple piece to have in your wardrobe that goes under anything.

What's next for Lucy Hosken? 
At the moment I am just trying to consolidate the existing Nearly Nude Collection, we are also working on some exciting new launches for NN in 2015. We are branching out into everyday underwear so this is very exciting for us. I am continually coming up with ideas and I am sure my family and friends think I am crazy but I love it.. I am sure I will continue to create ideas but for the moment I am in a very happy place with my work/life balance.

Take a look at Nearly Nude's website.
Follow Nearly Nude on Instagram.

This is the 13th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. Or almost weekly. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Life of a big foot: Shoe Shopping tips for ladies with large feet

On the weekend I posted a pic of my new kicks. 

My Converse had lived a long and dedicated life, but they're so flat and don't give support - and you know, it was time for something new. Well Matt told me to buy something new, and so who was I to argue. 

I kept selecting all these cool women's kicks (we were at Hype DC) only to be told that I had to in fact look at the men's shoes. Because my feet are so darn big. 

This is going to sound crazy, but I wanted to walk out. I could feel the heat climbing from my chest, trying to reach my face. I felt really sad about my huge feet. And the fact that not many shoe makers make shoes big enough for big-footed babes. 

But Peter, who was helping me in Hype DC was so super helpful, I stuck around. 

Since forever, shoe shopping has been a real pain the watoozie. During school years I usually wore Doc Martens, men's sneakers, and then graduated to Converse. I remember my Year 10 graduation, I was so stoked to have this new pair of black suede Converse and one of the mum's had a go at me and asked why I would wear *those* shoes with my dress. 

Well - put simply, because I had no other choice. It was Converse (which made me feel cool and kick-ass) or Doc Martens. Needless to say, I didn't feel very grateful for her comments on my footwear, and have remembered what she said to this day.

So this made me think - I know I am not the only woman with big feet. And over the years shoes HAVE started to be upsized (hoorah!), but sometimes navigating your way to those shoe shops is not easy. So here is a list of shoe retailers/makers who accommodate ladies with a lovely long foot.

Habbot: I have a few pairs of these, and it can be hit and miss to what fits me (I have REALLY long toes) - but their returns/exchange policy is excellent, their staff super knowledgeable, and me being in Sydney, and them in Melbourne? Well I've got four pairs of Habbot shoes and that alone can vouch for their awesome-ness. But have a look at the range - aye carumba. Annie Abott is super clever, creative, and they're made in Italy, so you know you're getting some high-quality shoes. 
Goes up to: size 42

Bermuda Black (formerly Marcue): These guys seem to have gone a bit quiet, but keep an eye out for them. Hand-made in Sydney, beautiful shoes and custom made, and with personality to boot (pun intended). Yes please! 
Goes up to: custom

Hobes: the quintessentially cool shoe, Hobes go up to a size 42 in women's shoes. They're more a casual kinda gig, but the cool palette and look can work back with jeans or dresses. 
Goes up to: size 42

Trenery and Country Road: I used to always be able to shop here for shoes, but then they switched who made their shoes a few years ago, and that all went out the window. I can occasionally find heeled shoes that fit. The enclosed flats never fit me, but if it's got a bit of a heel, I can usually make it work. Sandals are usually also good (with a little overlap, but I can live with that). 
Goes up to: size 42

Boden Clothing: Super cool, cute and quirky, on-trend and excellent, Boden has a great range of shoes that make my heart boompity-boompity boom!
Goes up to: size 42

Radical Yes: In case you haven't been on Instagram in the last forever, Radical Yes are the latest cool kid on the shoe block - with a range of ace, quirky and cool flats to take you 'round the world and back.
Goes up to: size 43

Bared: Cool and classic AND designed by a podiatrist (schawing!), these shoes not only look good, but they're ultra-comfy too. 
Goes up to: 45 in limited styles (43 in lots)

Got a big foot? Where do you find kicks? 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Reading:: Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris)

I'll be honest - I've been pretty crummy at reading lately. I started the year with great gusto, tearing through three books in one month, and have dwindled to taking two months to read this book.

Which - let me clarify, is no reflection of this book. It's a reflection of me needing to unwind in front of bad tv, with tired eyes, instead of read a book, propped up in bed. 

But today I finished it. Lying on the sofa, with the Doctor fast asleep right next to me, I laughed out loud - so funny is this book, it makes you laugh the whole way through.

I don't think that's an easy thing either, to make someone laugh out loud via a book. But David Sedaris never fails. First published in 2000, it's been out for a long time. A really long time, but it's still as relevant, entertaining and hilarious as ever. 

I read David Sedaris' piece regarding his obsession with his FitBit a few months ago - and it spurred me on to read more of his writing. 

If you want an easy read, that's funny, self-deprecating, and totally good value - read this. I am sure it won't disappoint. Particularly the chapters on living in France. Bloody funny. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris $16.95 from Booktopia

* Reading is all about what I'm reading. It's not sponsored. It's simply me, reading a book and sharing with you. A book club of sorts. In 2015 it's my goal to read at least one book per month - and share my lowdown on them with you. Maybe you'd like to read along? If so, let me know and we can virtually have a book club.