Ensuite Reno

The ensuite is finally complete!

Some of you may know, the hubs dropped quite the bombshell about 3 weeks before our Fiji trip: “Do you want a new ensuite? Ok sweet, you got 10 days to pick out everything so that it arrives in time before we leave for Fiji. Go.”

So it was a bit stressful. I dropped the kids off at my mum’s multiple days in a row, using up all my mum-favour cards for a couple of months. I drove up and down Blenheim Road about 16 times in a week. I learned about all the weird one way streets on the Moorhouse end of Colombo. I learned that lights are really expensive. I learned that toilets are still at the bottom of my list of things I find exciting.

Anyway. But prior to my frantic shopping I had a couple of late nights pinning obsessively the bathrooms I liked the look of.

Bathroom
image via Housebeautiful.com
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image via Homepolish.com
Elegant bathroom features a white vanity fitted with an angled cabinet to make room for a corner shower topped with gray marble under an inset mirror lined with polished nickel sconces.
image via Decorpad.com
Get the Look: Fresh White Home with Pops of Pink - http://www.stylemepretty.com/living/2016/03/12/get-the-look-fresh-white-home-with-pops-of-pink-3/
image via Stylemepretty.com

Then I made a Polyvore set of the overall FLAVOUR I garnered from my fave bathroom pins: lots of white, texture, elegance, semi-traditional but still modern…

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The original vision that had to be compromised severely cos… #ChristchurchProblems

Then I readjusted according to what was available in NZ (far less than what is available in the States or Aussie. Dejected, unimpressed and unsurprised sigh of resignation).

Then I had to readjust AGAIN for what was in stock in Christchurch. So see ya later pivot mirror from Early Settler 😭 They told me back in June, to expect it to arrive in October if I ordered one. BTW, they’re actually from Pottery Barn. Yeah – I flipped their broken floor stock over and it had a Pottery Barn sticker on the back. #BringPotteryBarnandRestorationHardwaretoNZ

Mirror-wise I went with a cheapie bevelled mirror from Bunnings. It was either that or a smaller-but-3x-more-expensive-and-only-marginally-prettier mirror. I decided it was more important to have a larger mirror than a slightly prettier mirror. Compromising like a champ.

ANYWAY. Our builder got started the day we left.

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Ewww. Prosciutto floors. Dont ask why theres 2 toilet brushes. But I’m not a huge fan of wall-hung toilet brush holders. A gift from the previous home owners.
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Bunch of dead space in that far corner so I chucked a kmart bamboo unit there. The old vanity’s a 1200mm long one. We debated putting double sinks in but it encroached too much on the shower space and would’ve meant 2 stupidly small and close-together sinks in a small bathroom. I’m one of them Neutrogena TV ad face-splashers. I need big sinks.
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The stippled ceiling was falling down. The shower’s a 1000 x 1000mm corner shower. We put a shower dome on top a couple years back and while it’s not the height of stylishness, it defo made showering in the winter bearable AND I LOVED IT VERY MUCH. Open showers may be very sexy but are not for a Canterbury climate 😂

I went for white everything but in loads of different textures. Tiler was confused when I said wanted white grout with my white tiles – he was like, “You sure you don’t want grey?” And I was like, “POSITIVE. I have a vision. Wanna see my moodboard?” Lol. They got to work.

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Our tiler was fantastic. Thorough and great communication. He also worked around Benji’s naps 😁 This is the waterproofing part of the process. He did 3 or 4 coats I think.
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Tiles in. Hex on the floor and glossy subway tiles in the shower.
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Love at first sight. And touch 😍

So once all the tiles went in, the plumber came round and installed all the main stuff with our builder. Toilet, shower, vanity… And then came the most nerve-wracking part: the stone top.

We said from the start that we would invest in a marble-look stone top vanity. We hit up a couple of stone specialists – I specifically wanted engineered stone that looked like marble because 1) it’s WAY cheaper than actual marble, and 2) being non-porous, it doesn’t stain or discolour like marble does. No brainer.

In the end, we got some Caesarstone Quartz Essence Carrara, from Precision Stone in Sydenham, Christchurch. Since we only needed a piece around 1500 x 460mm (+ 10/20mm overhang), we used an off-cut, which made it EVEN cheaper still.

So the nerve-wracking part… because of our massive sink of choice (Neutrogena Ad Face Splasher here, remember?), the stone ended up being cut into the shape of a massive “U,” essentially. Which meant there was a high chance of the stone SNAPPING IN TWO !!!! We were told under strict instruction to NEVER lie the stone flat EVER, until it came time for installation. Like legitimate NIGHTMARES. Thankfully, our builder and plumber got the stone on no probs. They were all, Psssch~ piece of cake man, what you sweating about??

ENOUGH YAMMERING. HERE’S THE FINISHED ROOM.

 

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I hear angels singin’ in the back
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My big ass sink for adequate face splashing. LED lights were half price from Lighting Plus – couldn’t find anything that looked remotely like this from Bunnings or Mitre 10.
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I had an orchid in here before but it was dying by the time this room was finishing up. Olive tree to the rescue
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All the tapware (shower, mixer etc.) is Methven. This sink mixer is the Methven Echo – the shower mixer is also the Echo.
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Vera Wang for Wedgwood vanity tray; Marvis toothpaste; Go Bamboo toothbrushes; Jo Malone cologne and handwash; ornate photo frame is from Bed Bath ‘n’ Table; simple frame is from Living and Giving
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These tiles make me sooooo happy – always puts a stupid smile on my face
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Mini Circa Home candle – they’re my fave candles. Such a chic glass jar with wooden lid and I like pretty much all the fragrances. I find other brands a bit overpowering and really floral/two sweet. Circa Home tends to lean towards the more ‘refreshing’ side? My fave is the Pear & Lime. Also can’t beat the really kind price point!
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I had the Kmart step stool in here for a while before I decided it’d make a better side table in the nursery haha. I sanded it down before assembling it cos it was a bit too shiny for my liking and I prefer the more ‘worn down’ look. The woven basket is also from Kmart. That also started off a lil plastic and shiny looking but after the kids used it as a toy basket for a while, it’s now looking softer and nicer 😉
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Methven Echo shower mixer and Englefield chrome corner shower (900 x 900mm) – all from Chesters Plumbing and Bathroom.
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I hate shampoo bottles. They’re so hideous. They should be as invisible as possible. So I bought this minimalistic body wash/body lotion set from the Aromatherapy Company and PUT SHAMPOO IN THE LOTION BOTTLE. I’m so extra it makes me laugh. I even put a lil blob of nail polish on the top of the pump so I don’t have to read the bottle to figure out which is which 😂
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The shower is the Methven Alpha MKII – the other Alpha model has a larger shower head but doesn’t have the adjustable spray (for spraying… your ass?? Husband rates it LMAO). Also, I got to test the shower-heads (not on ass) at Chesters and I found the larger head was too heavy for my skinny weak ass arms. So this one wins. I also like how this one doesn’t have the ugly black/off-white rubber thing on the shower head. The all-over chrome just looks way neater, right??
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I even got textured towels. These are from Bed Bath ‘n’ Table. I really dig the tassled edge and subtle stripe detail.
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I framed one of my fave Fiji photos – cute lil reminder of where we were when this ensuite reno began hehe.
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My fave lil house plant (climbing fig) in the corner windowsill. We’ve got soft close everything: drawers, toilet seat AND rubbish bin! Not kidding – I dig it. The bin’s from Storage Box. Also, I hate toilet brushes. Evil necessity. So I got the most invisible looking stainless-steel-and-ceramic one from the Warehouse for $9 (it’s hiding behind the bin!).
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Frame is from Kmart; oversized mat was custom-made (ask any framer). I purposely darkened the photo and made it super artsy-looking with filters so that it’s not your typical glaringly obvious holiday snap. Looks more like ‘art’ when the ‘mood’ hits you first, then the subject matter upon closer inspection (just my opinion).
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Now if I could just use this room without having my kids bang on the shower door that’d be great. At least now when they’re watchin Youtube on my phone, both of them sprawled on the tiles, I’m not revolted. What is it about white tiles and the essence of CLEANLINESS. Maybe it also helps that I obsessively clean this bathroom everyday. Bottom left drawer holds squeegee and sponges and microfibre cloths 😂

The overall process, start to finish, was pretty painless. Our friend was our builder; he hired the electrician and plumber. The tiler he hired was found through a friend and I’m happy with all the work they did. They were all excellent to deal with. Also the crazy noisy messy demo was done while we were away so that was AWESOME.

Ok big-emphasis Before-and-After to conclude:

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I’m amazed at how little our old ensuite used to bother me. It bothers me more right now that it didn’t bother me 😅 literally when Hubs first proposed a new ensuite, my first response was, “is it really necessary though?” 😁

Thanks for reading! Sorry this took so long!

 

Annie, xoxo

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Fiji: What I Wore

Ahhh yaaay finally my fave part 👏👏👏

I knew the forecast was going to be mid/high 20s but as I was packing in freezing cold -2° Christchurch, I found myself doubting the teeny short shorts a little. In the end though, I trusted Metweather and packed for the perfect Fijian winter.

I knew we’d be hitting the pool daily and going out to dinner a bit, so with just those 2 ‘moods’ in mind, I packed accordingly with mix’n’match-y, super casual outfits.

If I’m hitting an urban sort of city (eg. Singapore, Seoul etc.), I tend to pack monochromatically; lots and lots of black and white in different textures and some ripped jeans and moto jacket for ‘toughness.’

But for relaxed, cruisy/beachy sort of destinations, I tend to pack a lot of white, beige and cream colours in floaty and/or boho sort of vibe fabrics as my base layer. And ripped denim. Apparently I don’t do clean and neat, un-hole-y denim ever 😂😂😂

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“When I finally do what frozen things do in suuummmmerrrr~~🎶🎶”

I packed 2 straw hats cos I couldn’t decide which one shouldn’t make the cut. In hindsight, the wide-brim could’ve stayed at home – I ended up reaching for my old fave H&M panama hat more often.

*packing note: I put the 2 hats inside each other, then I rolled up clothes and stuffed it around the hats to make sure they kept their shape in the suitcase. It’ll help your wide-brim last more than one season. RIP old white wide-brim of 2010.

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The wide brim. Can’t remember where I got it from… Dotti? The Warehouse? Kmart? 🤔 I’ve had it several years now.

In an attempt to make my luggage go the distance, I tried to pack pjs that could double as casual/beach-wear. The white broderie cami, for example, was part of a sleepwear set I got on clearance from a Peter Alexander outlet.

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The broderie cami again with my Chanel scarf . Got manky hair? Chuck a scarf on it! (Also handy as a sarong 😉) Look at the boys in the background lol
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Beach wear? Sleep wear? ‘Double-duty’ are a lazy-person’s fave words. Other than, you know, ‘sleep.’
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This romper was from a Bendon outlet – I’ve forgotten the brand but it’s supposed to be sleepwear as well 😉

Our day started with a buffet breakfast at the restaurant with like 100 other people so ya know. Gotta bring it. Cue my many tank top + shorts + jandals combinations 😂

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Pop of colour through my Kmart work out top and Bonds printed sports bra (paired with my ASOS Petite cut offs)
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Adidas work out top, One Teaspoon shorts, Tory Burch jandals, same Bonds bra as before. I bought these OT shorts at the start of the year and now they’re too baggy since I cut down on sugar and dairy and shit. Btw I’m workin on buildin an ass so hopefully won’t need to buy a new pair. Shorts I mean, not ass.

No work outs were involved in this trip ever. I just love athleisure cos it tricks people into thinking you’re so fit #FITISLIFE you’re gonna spontaneously work out like all throughout the day or something.

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Kid-wrangling counts as working out though, right??
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Slightly sheer tops make for the perfect pool cover up – this ones from Alexander Wang
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Striped buddies
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Side note: how adorable is Nate’s striped linen top?!? I love the boxy fit. My aunt in Korea got it for him (I chose it bwahaha). And gratuitous husband-calf-appreciation moment 😍👏👏👏
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I bought the harem shorts for him last year when I went to Korea from one of those underground stores for like $7 (BARGAIN)
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He’s a total cutie, this one. The linen cardi is from the same Korean brand.

I always bring a couple of ‘fancier’ items for going out to dinner and stuff – generally a silky top, a dress, a skirt and/or tailored shorts. I brought a scuba-material skirt but it was too hot (even at night) to wear it. What a shame the weather was so damn nice 😉

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My fave outfit from the trip: silky crop top (hand-me-down from my cousin lol, no label!), Witchery shorts, H&M hat, Forever New beaded bag, Quay Australia sunnies and wedges I bought on clearance from a Wildpair outlet 😂 I don’t remember the brand!
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how bomb ass are these Quay Australia sunnies right?? This specific design is the ‘My Girl’ (ordered off The Iconic – they don’t have this mirrored version atm though sorry)
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Applause for my humble Cotton On Body kimono robe. I wore it in hospital when I had my babies. I wear it around the home for a bit of glam. I wear it out when I need a light cover-up. Also works as a cover-up by the pool. I work it bloody hard 👏 (paired w Peter Alexander slip here)
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Maxi dresses also make great pool cover-ups. How lovely is this ASOS maxi dress with crocheted trim?
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Date night outfit: same wedges as before, Free People mini dress
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Chucked an oversized blazer on top cos I though it might be a bit chilly having dinner on the beach (it wasn’t really 😅)
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Me and baby boo at the Marina for dinner. I’m wearing my striped linen top, some silky material jogger shorts from Witchery, the same oversized blazer and fave wedges. Lots of neutrals means it’s brainless and easy work to whack together outfits 😂
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On one of the cooler nights I threw my Free People gauzy long sleeve on top and wore my Soludos espadrilles – gave my feet a break from the wedges lol
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Airport: I used the same gauzy top and the oversized blazer from before to layer on once we departed/landed in freezing cold Christchurch. I wore my moto leggings from Electric Yoga, the Witchery cotton/silk tank (suuuuper comfy and breathable) and the Soludos (with ankle socks) as the base layer.

Swimwear-wise, I brought 4 bikinis and only wore 3 (the high-waisted ones were given a miss this time) 😂 Pre-trip I had a bit of a packing dilemma and realised how old and shit most of my bikinis were and these were the ones that barely made the cut. Literally I’ve been in one-pieces or high-waisted bikinis for the past 5 years, but after my health kick this year and just not giving a shit anymore about the post partum stretch marks, I’m back to legit two pieces. Kind of felt a bit liberating to be in a legit bikini again but yeah I defo need to up my game a bit next year 😂 I think I’ll experiment with more colour next time?

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The 3 in rotation – the aztec print one is 7 years old; the snakeskin one is 11 or 12 years old 😵🔫 *nun slap* SHAME!! *rings bell* SHAME!!

Hair-wise, I bought a Remington curling wand just before the trip after watching a hair tutorial on Youtube from InstaBABE Pia Muehlenbeck cos I thought if I got one too I’d instantly become a babe like her. Not quite, but one can dream.

I fixed my hair at night after the kids were in bed (mum life); sprayed it with Lush Sea Salt spray and most mornings dry-shampooed with Batiste spray. When it got super gross I either bunned it or whacked a scarf on it.

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Messy hair tucked away

Make up-wise… (dont judge cos NO – I am unfortunately NOT a natural beauty. I know my inner beauty shines bRiGht like a DiAmond~ but the outside needs some polishing ok. Most days I am 20% bb cream, 20% concealer and like 50% eyebrows sooooo) 😣 SO make up-wise, I took ye old faithful eyebrow tint – couple of nights I whacked it on so I wouldn’t have to fill em in as much in the mornings. I had eyelash extensions done a few days before the trip so gave my curler and mascara the middle finger.

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I used the Stila stick foundation for contouring (it’s a few shades darker than my normal tone) and used the Chi Chi brow pomade to fill in my brows when they were lookin a lil sparse. The waxy consistency makes it a little more stay put in humid/wet conditions so it’s perfect for when you need your brows to accompany you poolside 😂

I packed on my Maybelline FitMe foundation, FitMe concealer and Nude by Nature loose mineral foundation, then sprayed MAC fix spray. My skin is far from perfect (hormonal acne and scarring etc) so I like to cover that shit up with as much war paint as poss.

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Also dusted on my fave Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in Beige, every single day. It’s a fantastic, warm, golden highlighter (perfect partner for a tropical getaway). I remember I was sold instantly when I read it being described as a, “warm, candlelit glow” 😍
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I used just one eyeshadow palette and lip tint for the whole trip
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Etude House palette from their Wonder Fun Park range (I used the shimmery shades everyday) and Tony Moly lip tint

Now, you may have flawless radiant skin and actual eyebrows that show up in photos and stop you from lookin like Smeagol but I don’t, so I like to remedy that with make up k? Dang you gorgeous, flawless mermaids and your unrealistic standards!!

So on this note,

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Me without make up

(via LotR Wiki)

Thanks for reading!!

Annie, xoxo

Fiji: What to Do

So our whole aim of going to Fiji was to RELAX.

When we do trips to Singapore or Korea, we visit family, extended family, long-lost family we never knew we had, old friends, friends of family, old friends of long-lost family that just wanted to get in on the free feed… apparently most of these folks have never seen a baby before as well. That’s their reason for wanting to catch up, right? Meet the babies. What can I tell ya. They’re cute babies?

So we wanted to go to Fiji.

Where we know NO ONE. Where we got no obligation to visit anyone. Just relax. Rest. Eat. Chill. Sleep. Other superlatives of Do Nothing. Ya know, the good life.

But if you got a hankering to do something other than nothing, there’s the Marina? I mentioned it in my last post. But they’ve got some souvenir stores, a grocery store with super expensive groceries (I’m talkin’ $7 bag of chips), restaurants, the actual port where you get on the boats to go to the legit islands with the crystal clear oceans and sparkling white sand. You can do day trips out to some islands if staying on them for the duration of your stay isn’t what you’re after.

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Back in 2010, on Malolo Island

We did one to Malolo Island last time – absolutely gorgeous and lots of fun cos we did snorkelling and hand-line fishing – but I didn’t think Benji could hack it at his age. You know, other than his paralysing fear of sand, I don’t think he would’ve last 10 minutes on the boat before jumping overboard. And it’s like 2 hours on the big boat, then another half hour on the little boat over the coral to the island. If you don’t know my child, he is always trying to dive in head-first into large bodies of water. It keeps me up at night.

 

So no day-trips for us this time. But the fam (excluding me and Benji) did a wee bus trip into Nadi town. Not much to do there except marvel at the enormous crowds and squish through the market. Everything in town is really cheap – super affordable. Like a bunch of the cutest lil tiny finger-sized bananas that taste like lollies cos they’re so sweet, are only $2!! The aunties and uncles were all lovely and were hi-fiving Nate and just overall, friendly folks. Nate was incredible. He survived the trip with no tantrums, even with his excessive sweating, the overwhelming crowds, the-worst-sushi-in-the-world (hubby’s words, not mine) and stifled, hot air.

So town was a one-time, novel thing for them. But we hit up the Marina most days.

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The kids loved watching the boats and yachts and stuff. And the fish! You can see fish in the water too 🙂

The Marina is a 5 min taxi ride away – costs like $7 to get there and back.

You can get on the Bula Bus and it’s $8 for an entire day and it takes you from hotel to hotel to the Marina, round and round. Novel for kids; inefficient for adults lol. We did it one time to the Marina and back, and that one time was ENOUGH. Benji was a nightmare – just wanted to jump off the moving, open bus. I think with just Nate it would’ve been fun to do a couple of times – he loved it.

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Waiting for the Bula Bus, trying to hold onto Benji who kept trying to run onto the road
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Empty Bula Bus passing by us
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Crammed Bula Bus. Don’t be an idiot and buy your accident-prone kid a ball and then go on the Bula Bus. HUSBAND. He was screaming the whole way back cos he wanted to bounce the ball on the bus.

They’ve also got the $1 yellow bus around Denarau  – I can’t remember its route exactly, but I think it also goes into town? But it gets awfully crowded at times. We caught it once from the Marina back to the Sheraton when, for some reason, there were nooooo taxis lurking about.

Oh! And since we went to Fiji in 2010, somewhere between then and now, they’ve opened a water park! Right in the middle of Denarau Island, so you can catch the Bula Bus or taxi or walk there. We didn’t go though cos it’s massive water slides and obstacles and bouncy castles and a bunch of other hazards. I dunno, Benji-at-home is hard enough as it is… I didn’t really wanna throw him at slipping/sliding contraptions for him to knock himself out on. Seriously. Nightmares. I’m saying it again: keeps me up at night.

Around the resorts, they’ve got gyms, spas etc. The gym was very nice, so says my father-in-law. I was tempted to go try it out cos I felt the need to work on my non-existent glutes but I didn’t bring any shoes for working out in. How convenient 😉

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Waiting for more chilli fries from the Flying Fish at the Sheraton, doing my fave thing: lounging.

They also have resort activities – like zumba, aqua fitness, yoga, coconut tasting, torch-lighting ceremony, flax-weaving, kokoda-tasting, beach volleyball… all free and provided by the resort. I think the cooking class you had to pay for, but the other stuff was free I think. And no, I didn’t do any of them COS I’M LAZY AF. The others did coconut-tasting though. Apparently it was fun. Like the dude climbs the tree and stuff. I was sleeping I think. General take-away: I did nothing. I excelled at it.

The spas are eye-wateringly pricey within the resorts. We ended up booking a more reasonable one just outside of the island – but they do free pick-up and drop-offs to any of the Denarau resorts. It was super reasonably priced and hubs said it was his best massage ever. He’s a sucker for deep-tissue massages but I’m not. I felt like a bruised, sad apple after. I don’t know what it is, but out of the 4 or 5 massages I’ve had in total in my entire life, I’ve only ever enjoyed 1 of them. My track record ain’t good, so I’m always hesitant to try another.

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Pre-massage before the lady bruised my shoulders trying to work out some persistent knots. They’re still there.

Our fave restaurant was Indigo at the Marina – it’s Indian (and other asian) cuisine. Best biryani and dal EVER. LEGIT. We had it like 4 or 5 times?? Like actual. Most folks eat at Hard Rock or one of the places that do big seafood platters and stuff (we did that last time), and Indigo was pumping too, but honestly, not only was the food at Indigo amazing, but the girls were also lovely. We were put off a couple of the other restaurants cos we couldn’t get service, but the ladies at Indigo treated us like family. My mum-in-law got so emotional saying bye to them on our last night lol.

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Best Biryani ever (we ordered the lamb one). My in-laws are Singaporean. They eat biryani all the time and they were all, “WOW this is better  than back home!” The tall bronze pot contains the dal – I never knew dal could taste THAT amazing. The chef was South Indian – he knows his stuff.

So defo try the biryani, dal and if you feeling game, THE CHILLI CRAB. We had it 2 nights in a row and we prob would’ve had it more had we discovered it earlier. Roughly half way through our trip my father-in-law was all, “You guys do crab?” And they’re like, “Duuuh~~” and we’re all, “Ok we’ll try that next time we’re here…” The following day, so much sadness and regret that we’d discovered it so late. It was so damn good, we ordered 2 bowls the following night. I might’ve had 1 entire bowl of crab to myself.

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Two bowls of mud crab. Apparently on the islands, if you’re lucky, they do coconut crab – coconut crabs are enormous, climb coconut trees and eat coconut. So their flesh is incredibly sweet apparently from all that coconut. NEW BUCKET LIST ENTRY.
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Just like a baby: that pocket at the bottom of the bib was handy for catching rogue flying bits of crab/claws (I was ravenous, ok)

You need the bib cos you get legitimately MESSY. Like I had sauce in my hair. So good. They provide the things that crack open the shell (handy for the massive claws), but we mainly used our teeth like animals. They also provide a long skinny scoopy thing (the technical term) for you to scoop out the flesh. Or if you’re a primitive caveman that’s yet to discover tools, like me, you can suck that sucker out. It’s funny cos the photos and the verbal description of me on this trip are not of the same person apparently.

After the dinner, around 6.30pm, they generally had a show in the middle of the Marina most nights. Lots of traditional dances. Nate’s fave was the fire dancing.

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We also tried dinner at the resort restaurant, the Flying Fish. It’s the Sheraton’s beach-front, table-in-the-sand restaurant. That was pricey. But we had the 5-course degustation menu. Also, worth noting that if you enroll as an SPG member you get 15% off dinner there – handy. Anyway, gorgeous, delicious, wonderful and of course the ambience was lovely. A quartet of waitresses serenaded a couple near us – likely celebrating an anniversary? That was utterly charming. I kinda wished the Hubs and lied and said it was my birthday or something.

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The stunning entry to the Flying Fish. Ambience is spectacular. Very zen spa-esque.

We had a few cocktails and had the chilli fries a couple of times during the trip. The cocktails were around FJD$35 and the chilli fries were around FJD$20. Spendy. My fave cocktail was probably the strawberry daiquiri – soooo yummy. You can drink it poolside, or you can sit in the pool like a G and shiver from the pool and the cold drink freezing your core. Anything for a photo op.

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“No, I’m not cold. HURRY UP AND TAKE THE DAMN PHOTO SO I CAN GET OUT.”
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Pina colada here. You don’t need cash – the resort restaurants/cafes are cashless so you charge it back to your room. You sign a docket and you’re done.

If you’ve got older kids and you’re keen on palming them off and you don’t have the grandparent option, they’ve got Kids Clubs for over-4’s or you can hire one of their nannies for only FJD$27 for 3 hours. I saw heeeaps of people using nannies and allll of them seemed ABSOLUTELY LOVELY. Like they’re in the pool laughing with the kiddos, pushing a sleeping baby around in the stroller, cuddling wee bubbas and singing to them… honestly, I was like, “yeah let’s use a nanny!!” but the husband would be all Sad Guy all, “but I wanna make memories with the kids~” and I’d be all, “Boo, you whore,” and he’d be all, “You gotta stop referencing Mean Girls (2004),” and I’d be all, “Whatever. Those rules aren’t real… YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.” Self hi-five.

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Making memories and shit
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This dude tho. He was a total stud muffin in his swimgear ay? Lol another one for the 21st. So stinkin’ adorable ❤

So nannies – great idea.

Um for the adventurous folks, the resort had jet-skiing and paddle-boarding and other exteme sport nonsense that I’d look at and go, “Damn that’s cool, but I like lying down so…”

If you got littlies that aren’t petrified of sand like Benji, you can obvs just sit on the sand and build sand castles. I mentioned in my previous post about the wee shop that sold floaties – you can also buy sand toys there. Actually all the little souvenir stores around the resort sold the same stuff: togs, sunscreen, hats, floaties, sand toys etc. as well as the usual souvenirs.

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The Sheraton Resort has an actual beach that leads to the ocean – the Villa side and most of the Westin is rocked I think.
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We spent a long time collecting beautiful shells and digging for coral bits. Note Benji, ever the fun guy.

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This guy had THE BEST time. THE BEST. Such a great attitude and sooo easy. You can literally take him anywhere. 4 year olds rule.

They’ve also got a playground (on sand) next to Feast restaurant. The Westin has an excellent enclosed playground (on sand). Nate played on them daily. Benji cried from the sidelines cos sand.

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Grandad having a lol

 

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Benji was limited to pavements and grass…
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… and crippled by his kryptonite: “SCHAND. SCHTUCK!!!”

Like I mentioned in the previous post, there’s heaps of sand on the resort side and loads of loungers for any sun-bakers. Guys, I saw heaps of people lying right under the sun, all sorts of shades of brown and red… if you must, please use your sunscreen and don’t fall asleep.

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Adamant the sand will melt him. This is the Westin side I think.
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The Westin loungers – nutha brief photo op before Benji realised he was marooned and surrounded by lava. I mean sand.

Our villa was one of the ‘garden view’ villas – the back doors opened out onto a grassy patch and then there is this massive shallow pond full of lilies and fish!! HEAPS of fish. Nate and I spent AGES just watching them (Benji kept trying to dive in so we quarantined him inside). There’s also frogs! You can hear them at night when you’re walking back to your room and if you look hard enough you will see them, all throughout the day. I thought maybe this was something cool, purely for littlies, but I saw a lot of older kids (teens? Youths??) running around laughing and screaming, trying to catch the frogs. Fun for all ages.

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Gorgeous gardens everywhere; pond full of fish. Like hundreds and thousands of fish. And teeny tiny frogs in the grass if you look hard enough.
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It’s fun to just wander around through the resort – lots of expansive land. I saw a bunch of kids running around, kicking a ball around. Heaps of space for it.
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Walking to the Westin

So yeah. Lots of fun. Hopefully next time we go, Benji’s conquered his fear of sand and doesn’t have a death wish, so we can go to one of the boat-ride-away islands. I don’t know what my father-in-law would do trapped on an island though… he’s like a friendly, colossal-sized, lone wolf… you gotta give him loads of space to stalk around at his own pace, wonder at how much the buildings and staffing costs  (asian thing), talk to all the locals and eventually wander back to his angry wife. I wonder if an island is big enough for him.

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Nutha goose egg from the resort lobby. He fell over again in the airport and smashed his mouth. We literally spent most of the trip running around, tryna catch him, screaming, “STOP BENJI STOP!!”

Anyway. So that about sums up the Doing portion of the trip. Next up I’ll have a post about What I Ate and What I Wore. Forewarning: temptation was rife. I did have 3 cocktails. There was a buffet breakfast every morning. Like I’m only human. I didn’t go too crazy with tryna be healthy, but I also didn’t want it to be a bitch when I got back home to my plainer, healthier routine. Spoiler Alert: it’s been hard. Tim Tams, Caramilk and Pringles OH MY.

Annie, xoxo

 

Fiji – Getting There & Staying Where?

Self-praise moment for my rhyming headline *slow clap*

Little victories, my friend. I self-hi-five all the time.

Anyway.

So we just got back from Fiji and my first thoughts, directly after, “WOW IT’S COLD AF,” were, “Oh yay; blog content, finally!” Hahaha so I guess I just have to keep travelling?? Hubby?? You hear?? 😉

For a few years, the husband had been saying off-handedly, “We should do a family holiday to Fiji cos it’s not far away, ya know? Maybe with my parents?” and he’d been saying this for years and I got fed up when he said it for the 10th time, so I was all, “Dude. You say that multiple times every year. What’s new??” and he was all horrified/shocked/offended and booked some tix that very night LOL. #marriage #traphim #winning

So I think our flights were AirNZ Grab-a-Seat deals? When we went to Fiji back in 2010 I think it was Fiji Airways, direct from Christchurch to Nadi? This time round, we booked Christchurch to Auckland, Auckland to Fiji (cos that was the deal) and fortunately, for us, the in-laws were on the same Auckland to Fiji flight. They took the shuttle up from Tauranga at some batshit crazy hour (3am) cos there was no flight that’d get them there on time in the morning and they didn’t wanna stay in Auckland the night before. Old-school Asians I dunno what to tell ya.

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6am lounging

Benji was a lil poop on the flight. I’m trying to be nicer to him. But wow he was a poop. Little gremlin child. I know I’m not supposed to compare the spawn BUT NATE WAS WAY EASIER AS A TODDLER.

Shit you not, we took Nate to Singapore and Korea when he was 20 months (Benji is 22 months) and he was The Perfect Child on every single flight. Like on 11 hour/6 hour flights. He watched his iPad quietly in my lap; fell asleep for 2 hours when he got tired (didn’t wake, even when all the other kids were screaming); woke up and watched his iPad again; ate quietly; slept whole way back on the red-eye… The Perfect Child. CMON BENJIIIIIiiiii.

Benji = Perfect Baby, Nightmare Toddler. Nate = Nightmare Baby, Perfect Toddler. I love my children. Parenting is hard.

 

Anyway so Fiji right? Wowsers.

Once there, we took a private shuttle to Denarau Island. UniquelyFijiTransfers.com – you book in advance and the dude waits for you with a sign in the airport and the best part about it is that you can book carseats. It’s a 40min drive to Denarau from the airport and I didn’t wanna have to juggle Benji in a taxi for that long – even though it’s legal in Fiji. Not necessarily SAFE… but legal. SO we had carseats for both Nate and Benji. Worked out perfectly, cos Benji worked in a wee overdue snooze.

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We stayed at the Sheraton on Denarau.

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The Resort side
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The Villa side

We had initially looked at the timeshare option of the Wyndham on Airbnb but the one we were after wasn’t available for our dates – very reasonable, 3 bedroom suites! So our second option was the Sheraton. We booked the Sheraton Resort for the in-laws and the 2 bedroom villa for ourselves. The villa had a main door to a wee foyer, then 2 separate doors to each suite, if that makes sense? So the left door led to the main living room and kitchenette, which then had a door to the large bedroom with 2 double beds and the bathroom was accessible via the bedroom or living area. The door on the right led to another master suite with king size bed, couch, TV etc., and bathroom.

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Main door to our suite. The gardens inbetween each suite that lined the pathway were gorgeous – like actual legit bananas growing on the trees. The trees near the in-laws suite were amazing too. Jackfruit and shit. AMAZING. The gardeners always asked us if we wanted fresh coconuts from the trees around us and we always got some 🙂

Benji and I slept on the right; Hubs and Nate used the double bed suite.

It worked out really well cos Benji always hit the hay first so we put him to bed and you’ve essentially got 2 doors shutting him away. So we could go about the kitchen and living room and not tip toe around in fear of waking him. Then when Nate went to bed, he was closed off away in the bedroom and the Hubs and I could hang out in the living room and kitchen. Nate’s at an age where a jumbo jet could land in his room and he won’t wake if he’s fast asleep. #4yearoldsFTW #freedom

So yeah. Family-friendly esp if you got younger ones that maybe need to be a bit isolated for their sleeps?

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We bought some groceries from the Marina and made the kids noodles and fish fingers most nights.
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Benji watching the iPad in the main room – cushion on the floor for Mr Accident-Prone

 

 

 

 

The pools were great – the pool by the bar was the one we used the most. It’s on the Villa side – oh it should be mentioned that the Sheraton Resort, Sheraton Villas and the Westin are all owned by the same folks, so if you stay at one you are allowed to use the facilities at all the others.

The Villa side had this pool (pictured below) that gradually got deeper – annoyingly it gets really dang deep. Like 1.7m deep at the end. Like I’d drown man. So Nate could play until just a lil bit past the rocks you can see. Doesn’t look like much but it was plenty of space for us.

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I personally really like the pool at the Resort but for some reason the water was noticeably colder there. So even though it was handy cos it was neck-height for Nate at its deepest, we kiiinda sorta preferred it where it was warmer.

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Resort pools – sorry about the low light. It was super early in the morning.
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Grandma helping Nate to have faith in the damn floaties

The Resort side had the nice beach-front restaurant and the sandy beach bits (the Villa side was rocky where it met the ocean), so even in front of the pool on some parts you could lay on loungers on the sand with the palm trees all around you. Stunning.

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Overpriced $35 pina colada for me, ice cream for him.
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Again, early morning shot. Hence why the place is empty.
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Benji was terrified by sand. Don’t ask. Good thing we didn’t stay on one of the actual islands. FFS child.
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Terrified by sand.
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#thefloorislava

So, most days were the same: we’d head to breakfast at Feast. The buffet’s quite expensive but I think we got a deal? Just email them and ask if it’s not part of the expedia thing. That’s another thing – they’re all so damn friendly there. All the hotel staff: front desk, night manager, housekeeping, the gardeners… you just chat to all of them and they’re the loveliest, warmest people you’ll ever encounter. They knew the kids names, they knew Benji’s sleep schedule. They were incredibly accommodating and thoughtful.

So Benji got up most mornings just before 6. We’d fluff about then head to breakfast around 8/8.30am.

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Benji was a tyrant unless the phone was out. Nate used to be a breeze to take out to restaurants cos he’d be busy people-watching. I know I know, don’t compare yada yada yada.

After brekkie we went swimming. Who waits half an hour before swimming? Well, to be fair it probs took us more than half an hour to go back to our room, get kitted up with sunscreen etc. before we managed to dip a toe in the pool.

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You can buy goggles, floaties etc. from that wee store you can see at the top. The orange float was FJD$10 – comparable to Warehouse prices man!! And they blow it up for you, so don’t bother bringing your own. Their goggles are also $10. And super easy to deflate at the end of the trip and bring home with you if you want.
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I’m a fan of the Garnier kids sunscreen – we bought it on clearance and wow it rubs in easily. No need to be dry beforehand either. And no burns to report of. We spent hours in the sun and in the water.

The Fijian sense of hospitality extended to the airport even: on our way back we didn’t have passes for the in-laws to use the koru club, but they asked anyway and the lady let them in with us.

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Captivated by cartoons while mama downs a wine.
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From the lounge buffet

I’ll post about the food, shit to do, outfits etc. in a diff post. This was long enough ay? Thanks for reading!

Annie, xoxo

Kids Kitchen

I’d been meaning to write about this kitchen hack I did as Nate’s birthday present ages ago but I kept losing parts and therefore putting it off. If you’re a mother you know it’s basically impossible to keep all the parts of a toy together for an extended period of time. Unless you’re one of those ziplock-bag-and-labelled types… in that case, I am sorry for being unworthy of your presence cos I’ve lost pots and pans and spoons and the batteries ran out in that time…

I’m carrying on nevertheless, otherwise I’ll never post this. Or something’s gonna break. Here we go.

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So this is the IKEA Duktig I got from TradeMe – there’s a bunch of IKEA sellers on there. The one I got, the seller was selling this kitchen set the cheapest at the time AND it included shipping ($280 at the time). And yep, I’m well aware it’s only USD$99 in the States. We may as well be on the moon for how much we pay to get stuff shipped here.

Anywho. I chose this lil baby over other toy kitchens I had seen cos HELLO LIGHT UP ELEMENTS. All the heart eyes, am I right?

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I did consider spraypainting the whole thing white, adding white subway tiles, spraypainting the hardware gold and covering the benchtop with either marble or wood duraseal, but Benji’s at a chompy age… nothing is safe. He would eat the hardware/paint I’m sure of it.

So regrettably letting go of that daydream, I settled for a simple tweak of just adding a tiled splashback and push lights.

I got the lights from Bunnings (3 pack for $9.95, comes with batteries). They’re slightly triangular in shape so I angled the lights so that a flatter side faced outwards (so you can’t really tell they’re triangular from the front). They just stick on and you press them to turn them on or off.

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I got the tiles from Mitre10 Mega (linked to different coloured version) – they’re actually just stick on tiles. I’m rubbing my eyes in disbelief at the moment cos I paid $33 for a pack of 4… it currently says it’s only $14.88 for a pack? Maybe there’s limited colours available… back when I bought these they had these grey mosaic tiles, white subway tiles, silvery subway tiles and a couple more colours for this mosaic style.

Anyway, I bought some cheap board, cut it to size, then methodically stuck on the tiles. I had to use all 4 – 3 for the bulk of it, the last one for scraps to fill in the bottom.

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Then I just staple-gunned the whole thing to the back of the kitchen.

The silver kitchenware set (pots/pans/utensils) were from Mighty Ape – the kids have misplaced one of the pans. All the utensils minus the mini whisk (kmart) and the wooden items were part of the set.

The lil silver flour cannister and creamer were from a local Japanese dollar store. The marble coaster is part of a set from Kmart. The lil egg cup and salt shaker were part of a wooden breakfast set on clearance from The Warehouse but I’ve since seen it sold at Nood. The lil plant in faux stone square pot (it’s some soft squidgy material) was from Bed Bath ‘n’ Table.

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The coffee set is actually part of Fisherprice’s new-ish wooden range – I’ve only ever seen it in one Toy World, ages ago, but I’ve seen NZsale stock it on their website several times – just gotta keep an eye out.

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The mini wooden fruit set is from Kmart (the basket and silver tray is from the dollar store).

The linen napkin (used as a tea towel here) was actually something I found in a quaint little linen shop in a wee corner of Avignon. I’m so fond of it and the memories tied to it. I bought 6 of them and considered bringing home a table cloth and some curtains as well but Wayne was like LOL NO.

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It’s hard to find non-flowery, non-pink tea or dinnerware sets for kids, so I settled on this very breakable but at least, plain, ceramic tea set from Kmart. It’s plain cos it’s one of those paint-your-own tea sets (comes with 4 sets of cups and saucers – the other 2 are in storage in case these ones are broken hahaha).

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The little frame is from Bed Bath ‘n’ Table. The faux succulent was from a dollar store. The boys cologne was bought for Nate by a dear friend and it’s from Zara – it smells amazing.

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I bought some stick on mini hooks from the dollar store and put a hook on either side of the kitchen. This side has a baby calendar so Nate sort of gets an idea of what’s going on. For the other side I had intended on sewing him his own lil linen apron but I haven’t got round to it yet.

That’s it! Phew. I’m so glad this is over with hahaha. Now I can lose utensils and break the lights in peace.

Annie, xoxo

 

How I slowly changed my diet and discovered what they call, ‘abs’

If you’d told me last year, that 2017 would be the start of a ‘new year, new me,’ I would’ve laughed in your face. No no, I’m kidding; I would’ve politely smiled and said, “Naw, that’s wonderfully ambitious!” and in my head, laugh maniacally cos I’m about as sloth-y as they come.

My, how the tables have turned.

Backstory

Me and fad diets go way back. I wasn’t ever overweight, but at 159cm and 55kg, I was definitely… ‘solid’ during my high school years. I distinctly remember my aunt telling me that I needed to lose 2kg to look prettier and that number has been burned into my brain like a cow tat. What are they actually called? Brands? Cow brand? Poked with a hot pokey cow poke?? Cow tattoo. You know what I mean.

Anyway. High schoolers be impressionable right? So I tried drinking nothing but protein shakes cos I read somewhere that that’s what Nicole Richie did and she’d lost only 5kg, but it’d made a huge difference in her appearance cos she’s short like me? Problem was, I’d binge on ramen after I couldn’t take it anymore after a day of watery vanilla protein shakes. Ew.

I’d read about celebrities eating only lettuce or kumara. Or remember how the Atkin’s diet was big for ages?? Ugh. Seriously, my silly teenaged brain was so vulnerable to all these unhealthy influences.

Anyway, my point? Even if I reached my goal of losing 2kg, I always put it straight back on, sometimes more, once I couldn’t cope on said fad diet anymore. It just wasn’t sustainable.

During university and after some trying times, my weight went completely the other way – 45kg at my lowest point, mentally and physically (life kicked me in the metaphorical balls hah) – but since then, and since I perked back up, I’ve always been around 50-52kg (not including pregnancies), and I’ve been completely happy with my size for the past 8 years. Sure I was never ripped or super toned, but I was ok with that.

Also, I hate exercise. There was a time when I couldn’t make it up the ramp at Coundown without getting puffed. I’m quite petite when you consider the global spectrum, so a lot of people automatically assume I’m healthy and fit, but actually I’m surprisingly unfit. And weak. I’ve always had very low blood pressure and low iron levels so that kinda gives you an idea into the inner workings of this lil boy-looking body.

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6 months preggo and taking benji bump to dance fitness

Cue 2017

Since the beginning of this year, Husband started counting every single calorie after about the millionth time I noted his gluttony when it came to meals. With our Fiji holiday coming up, he thought he’d make it his goal to lose the Dad Bod by then. And me being super-awesome-encouraging-wifey-supreme, I started portioning our dinners as all the health textbooks say: smaller dinner plate than your restaurant-standard (cos they’re HUGE) with 1/2 veg, 1/4 protein and 1/4 carbs.

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Hubs plate and my plate (chicken nugget for the lil nugget – he steals from my plate a lot so extra rice and chicken on here)

Ho-ly. Shit.

For the first 2 weeks we were so damn hungry. We had to top ourselves up at around 8pm with some yoghurt and fruit to curb them hunger pangs I tell ya. Ugh. Bit of a drag. But cos we were both in it together (I didn’t have any goals; just wanted to support the hubs and be healthier), it was a bit like that whole misery shared thing, which we all know, is… misery halved? Hmm… isn’t it technically doubled in total? Or at least 25% more that you’d feel if you’re sharing all venn-diagram-like? Whatever. I digress.

Fast-forward 5 months, we still portion our food the same way.

Our stomachs got used to the new, smaller portions so the hunger pangs went away eventually. First 2 weeks were the hardest. But now it’s just part of our lifestyle. Being in it together means we hold each other accountable. No scoffing an entire bag of chips every few nights a week!! No more cheese, wine and crackers every other night!!

I admit, there are still times that I indulge terribly (eg. half a block of camembert, whole bag of Starburst Snakes…) but I don’t punish myself for it after or lose hope that that’s me officially ‘off the wagon.’ I just rein it in after, carry on with my new ‘normal.’ It’s a small but effective mental shift that I feel has had the biggest impact on how I live my life.

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Still gotta indulge. All in moderation!

I’ve also made a smidge more of an effort to be fitter – walking the dog more, walking to my mum’s house instead of taking the car (she’s literally a few hundred metres down the road)… I’ve also been going to dance fitness once a week for a couple of years now (minus late pregnancy and newborn stage).

But I hate running and I hate dedicated exercise. As in, weights, crunches, push ups, planking, lunges, squats etc. I run on the odd occasion (say, during holidays or wedding season, or even winter, when the calorie consumption goes through the roof), but I never enjoy it. I hate it. Every second of it. But to compensate for bonus calories in a bit of long stretch, I know I need to balance it with some extra calorie-burning. Makes sense. It’s basic math; addition and subtraction.

Also in the past few weeks, I’ve attempted to lower my sugar and dairy intake – for the sake of my skin this time, as hormonal acne is a bitch of a problem that I can’t remedy with drugs cos I’m still nursing the little one. So I’ve swapped regular milk for soy, almond or rice milk; I have dairy-free yoghurt in the fridge; I’m trying to eventually make my way to completely sugar-free dark chocolate (baby steps; for the moment, it’s still Whittaker’s, which is high cal’s but not as yummy as their regular creamy milk choc so I’m not tempted to eat half a block in one sitting hahaha).

So far, Husband has lost around 8kgs. Using the MyFitnessPal app, he input his height, weight, usual amount of daily activity and goal to lose weight, and it told him in order to be in a calorie deficit at the end of each day, he needed to consume 1800cal’s. It was pretty painless for him cos the app allows you to scan barcodes at the supermarket and it spits out all the calorie info, right there and then. He still gets to enjoy Maccas, Dominos, Burger Fuel, you name it. So long as he’s under 1800 by the end of the day, he’s sweet.

I personally don’t weigh myself unless I’ve been asked to by the doctor’s, or it’s been a few months and I’m just curious, but last I checked I’ve lost around 2-3kg’s (so around 48-49kg now) unintentionally since we started eating better. My goal was never to lose weight as I thought I was at a good weight anyway and I don’t mind if I gain a bucket-load (as long as I see a bucket-load more definition hehe). I’m not sure if I’m technically in the ‘healthy’ range for BMI anymore but that’s a load of bull anyhow. Just a very rough guideline – nothing to take to heart. It’s more telling to have your fat pinched by a doc with one of them fat pinchy grabbers… jargon. It’s beyond me today.

So yeah. Even without any major change to the physical activity, I’ve somehow achieved more definition. I don’t think I’ve seen my abs since I was 7. All through a healthier diet apparently.

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Is that… wait, are those… WHAT the… ! The one time I praise bathroom lighting: good job. Way to make me look ripped yeeeea boi.

Anyway. Here’s my usual daily consumption.

BREAKFAST

Toast with Pic’s PB, quarter of a banana, teaspoon of flaxseed

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or

Toast with pesto, roast chicken, red onion, pepper

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LUNCH

Toast with pesto, roast chicken, red onion, pepper

or

Rice/Noodles, with chicken/tuna, veg

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or (in case of maj calories of late)

Salad with chicken/tuna

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DINNER

Rice/noodles, with protein (half steak/fried chicken & capsicum/roast chicken/fried fish), veggies

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Yep – I butchered my steak here. What can you do when you got kids in the kitchen screaming for milk in a different cup.

SNACKS

Rice cakes

or

2-4 small squares of dark choc

or

Dairy-free yoghurt with flaxseed and cut fruit

NOTE: I know I need to eat more fruit. I hate fruit. I’m getting there.

I’m also trying to find a form of exercise I enjoy, to do in the earlier half of the week as currently, an hour of dance fitness on a Thursday night is all I do at the moment. I shall see what I can find. I hate yoga. I hate running. I do prefer dancing cos it’s not like exercise to me so I’ll see if I can find another class nearby and at a baby-in-bed time lol.

Eventually, my goal is to be stronger and way fitter and overall just a healthy lil human being (whatever the scales say). But as I said: baby steps. This sloth has come a long way already and now I gotta nap.

Annie, xoxo

 

March Favourites

The first month of autumn has pretty much come and gone. And quite uncharacteristically, the chilly autumn weather burst through the door so suddenly and without warning… it wasn’t long ago that we had the fan on, the windows and doors wide open, or the AC on during some of those desperately sweltering, migraine-inducing, 30°+ days. I could’ve sworn in the past, our March’s have still been pretty nice??

Anyway. So to summarise my March 2017, here are some of my obsessions of late.

1. Eyebrow Tint

RiRe Luxe Gel Tatoo (lol… no spellcheck); $7.21, currently 60% off from Yesstyle; shade No.2 Grey Brown.

I got this to hopefully use when we go to Fiji in a couple of months – I don’t really wanna be filling in my brows every day and have it wash off in the pool.

I put aside an hour in the evening and apply the crazy dark and sticky gel, leave it for an hour, then peel. I take a bit of care to not scrub my brows or get it too soapy when I wash my face in the morning and night and it stays for a few days before it’s faded really noticeably 👌

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At night when I got a spare hour I chuck it on and it’s perfectly subtle and natural-looking for the next few days. I tend to touch it up a lil by Day 3 and 4.

2. Macqueen gel eyeliner

Macqueen waterproof gel eyeliner, $4.55, currently 60% off from Yesstyle, shade French Latte

Wow. It’s almost like a NARS Satin Lip Pencil but an eyeliner version: goes on like butter but once it dries it’s reasonably stay-put. By the end of the day it’s defo a lil faded but compared to other eyeliners (or even eyeshadows) I’ve used in the past, this one doesn’t crease as much. How is this possible?? And the shade I bought is like a gilded chocolate brown. I’m obsessed. I’m buying one in every colour next time😅

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The full set (5 colours) is only $22 and that’s def gonna be making it’s way into my cart next time 😆

3. NYX Lip Lingerie in Bedtime Flirt

This was a spur-of-the-moment purchase. Normally I wouldn’t pay full price for anything at Farmers since they do sales so often, but on a whim (and a serious case of FOMO – everyone’s been using some form of liquid lipstick these days), I got this one for $18.45. So. Expensive. But the silver lining is that I LOVE IT and I’ve been using it everyday. I don’t really like how sticky it feels when it first goes on but you do eventually kind of forget about it. It’s staying power is reasonable and of course, the application is easy, seeing that it’s liquid. Overall, I prefer the non-stickiness and slightly superior staying power of my NARS lip crayons (and it’s ‘high-end’ badge of honour), but this is a solid ‘drugstore’ liquid lipstick.

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A dark pinky-nude – a touch cooler than my NARS lip pencil in Waimea (top right frame, l: NARS, r: NYX).

4. Lush African Paradise body conditioner

I’ve been using this since the peak of summer but I feel its benefits will be appreciated even more come the chilly season when harsh heatpumps, the wind and the cold in general, make the skin on my legs resemble a desert.

The idea is to use it after washing yourself like you would a hair conditioner, but for your body. You’re supposed to rinse it off but I like to turn the water off completely once I’m done in shower, then generously apply the conditioner all over my body. The water that’s already on my skin makes the conditioner go milky and translucent and eventually seems to sorta just get soaked in mostly. I dab off the rest with my towel. No need for moisturiser after and I smell saaaaah gooood and I can’t help but rub my legs together like a creepo cos my skin’s all silky soft!! It is defo hubby-approved 😉 Like his hand just flies off me like a rogue skateboard on a half pipe cos I’m so smooth 😎

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Other shower faves, but the body conditioner is crown prince here.

5. Affogato at home

If I’m out at dinner, my dessert of choice is either creme brulee or affogato. (I can’t stomach the overly sweet chocolate pudding with cream after such a big dinner 😝 )

I’ve had my coffee machine for a few years now and it never occurred to me that I could easily make affogato’s at home for some reason. Til husband one night was like ‘I wonder how many cal’s in a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream…’ (cos he’s on a less-than-2000cal-a-day diet) and I was like, ‘Boo, boring, how we can make it nicer-‘

* lightbulb on *

So, 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream, 1 square of Lindt milk chocolate (shaved and remainder as decoration), espresso shot poured on top… heaven. It’s like iced coffee; what’s not to love??

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Blisss.

6. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic

Holy shit. MJ lives on. Serious 80s and early 90s vibes all throughout this album and I LOVE IT. OBSESSED.

Nate hates that it’s not the Wiggles but is starting to get fond of Straight Up and Down for the echos in the chorus (‘straight up~ straight up~’) 😆😂 And yes, I know the lyrics aren’t kiddie-appropriate, but you can’t tell me you understood ‘Wannabe’ when you were little hawhawhaw…

6. Live-action Beauty and the Beast

Eeeeeeeeeeek. That was my reaction (x100) when I found out they were making the movie. Finally, it’s almost here. I’m away when they start screening it here but I’ve pencilled in a girls’ night and we watching this. I mean come on. Hermione? Playing book-worm Belle?? It’s almost too perfect. Though, I did see a few trailers (by ‘a few,’ I mean ALL) and I wasn’t too impressed with her singing… seems they cast her cos… well, she’s Hermione, right? Everyone else holds their own regarding singing chops… and is it just me or does Gaston seem WAAAY too old for Belle? Is it cos Hermione has baby-face? Should I call her by her actual name? (No.)

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SO ready.

What are some favourites for you lately? Anything new you’ve discovered that’s worthy of sharing? Even if you don’t think it’s worthy, share away! ‘Sharing is caring,’ as I tell my 4 year old 😀

Happy autumn, friends!

Annie, xoxo

Mum Uniform, Pt.2 – Tops

Excuse me – this has taken a while. And now it seems irrelevant cos the weather’s turning hah. Anywho. Just picking up right where we left off (for sake of completion) with the staples in my mum uniform wardrobe…

TOPS

Silk/linen tank tops

Tank tops are a simple, somewhat boring shape, but having it in an interesting texture like silk (for a more posh vibe) or linen (for a more relaxed vibe), gives it that extra something. If I’m leaving the house and can’t be bothered to put in any effort, I chuck on one of these tank tops and a cardi/jacket on top. It’s minimal effort but looks quite polished.

Witchery brings out plain silk tank tops pretty much season after season; I wait for their sales and thus, my collection is where it is.

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I have 2 of these in black, a striped one, red one and pink one all from Witchery
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I just need to acquire a cream/white one (that’ll constantly be in the wash, let’s face it)
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In Singapore. I don’t take a lot when I go away on holiday – normally the suitcase consists of easily pairable monochrome pieces. My silk Witchery tank top is guaranteed to make the cut.
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They’re also handy for chucking over dresses – changes the look instantly (still in Singapore here)

Oversized Tshirts

Perfect with skinnies, tights and shorts. I tuck mine in the front a lil or tie a knot to give my frame a bit more definition.

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Fave Kmart pocket T ($16 and this one is a few sizes bigger than what I normally wear for an oversized look). Excuse the contrast – you couldn’t really make out the pocket when it was darker.

 

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Go up a few sizes for an off-the-shoulder look
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Alexander Wang pocket tank – I’m waiting for the tshirt version to go on sale haha
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I got it very recently but it’s been on repeat ever since

Plain long-sleeved T’s

In grey, white, black and stripes. Bonus points for pockets.

If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ll often see me post about my fave basics brands on ShopBop – Free People is one of those brands. They mainly do boho/Coachella-esque/cool-kids type stuff, but they’ve got some neat basics too. It often goes on sale and especially during one of ShopBop’s many Friends & Family sales, you can get stuff dirt cheap.

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Free People gauzy long sleeve top (originally around $80, I got it during the F&F sale for less than $30)
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Dance appropriate
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Casual outing appropriate – I love how it’s a bit longer in the back
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Blue Life stripe T, made in the USA (originally $90, got it on sale for $18 on ShopBop)
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Such a 2012 way to edit photos hahahaha

Button ups

For when you wanna look a lil smart. This is my last resort cos honestly I hate button ups. I surprisingly own a lot of button ups though ahaha. But they’re really great for when you need to peg back your super skimpy short-shorts or look a bit smarter. They look cool half tucked in and cuffs rolled up roughly. If you like em oversized like I do, find a way to add some definition to your frame either through skinny jeans, a belt or even pointy stilettos.

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Fave oversized silk button up blouse from Country Road (oversized cos I got it a few sizes up hah). Got it from DressSmart dirt cheap.
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PTA meeting. I’ve belted myself to prepare for talks of bake sales and fundraising. Hahaha
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But generally I prefer my shirts loose, baggy and boxy. Kind of a 90s androgynous look and I gravitate towards this button up more than any other prob cos it’s comfy 🙂

OUTERWEAR

Drapey vest

Handy for layering some warmth or adding a little bit of interest to an otherwise plain outfit. Also great for when your outfit is lookin’ a lil… shall we say… hookerish. Chuck a vest on top. Sussed. It’s been pegged back a tad.

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Marilyn Seyb vest I got for $40 (used to be $200). I love outlets. And it’s got pockets!
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The vest grounds the look a bit
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Drapey black vest. The front fabric has a slight shimmer to it and the back is sheer with a tie. I have worn this to death since I got it around 8 years ago.
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Can you even really see it here? Lol well, its’ there. And it’s been paired with a black silk tank and sheer black pants. This was in Paris, 2012. My entire wardrobe for this 40 day trip was black, black, grey, white and more black!

Cardigan

Cos what else do you wear as a cover up when you don’t want to wear anything else? I own too many and in all shapes and sizes and colours… Currently, my Maison Scotch one is getting loads of wear for it’s metallic chunky-knit awesomeness. It has a sort of Serena van der Woodsen vibe in my eyes (xoxo fellow Gossip Girl fans!).

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And yet another outlet purchase ($90 so still pricey, but the original price would’ve made your eyes water).
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Current fave: metallic chunky knit
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Another combo of staples: Country Road cardi, glam joggers and silk tank
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Longer, boyfriend style cardi
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Chunky drapey style cardi

Jersey blazer

I know it’s a little laughable (like either go full blazer or full hoodie – what’s with the half-assedness?), but it’s bloody comfortable. And it’s sort of smart. Don’t wear it to the office though. It’s good for coffee dates, looking smart on a plane, looking tidy whilst running a billion errands with 2 kids in tow… but for the evening, go for a regular blazer yeah?

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A crazy printed version from Maison Scotch – another outlet purchase
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Paired with a silk tank and cutoffs and a clingy koala
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Esprit jersey blazer and yup, you guessed it, from DressSmart again.
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Another day, another variation of the mum uniform: got the silk tank, the jersey blazer and black jeggings.

Trench

It’s like the blazer of rain coats. My current favourite is my tencil one (tencil is cousin of cupro and lyocell) in black from Shilla – I found it on NZSale for $30. I thrash this baby about. Looks kinda glam but it’s honestly like wearing a dressing gown. I repeat: IT’S LIKE WEARING A DRESSING GOWN. Mmmmmhm.

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Striped linen tank top, leggings, jandals and trench. I typically look like this at kindy drop off. I confess I’ve even worn pjs under this trench to kindy hohoho~😎

Anorak

Like the hoodie of rain coats. Aaaand it’s black again. I do have a brown one and a thick khaki one, but my black one goes with everything and I don’t have to think twice. If it’s cold and/or raining, this is my go-to.

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$50 at DressSmart – do I ever buy anything NOT on sale? Hardly ever.
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With a bright blouse, leggings and DKNY gumboots. I thrash these pieces like there’s no tomorrow. They’re comfy but I still look pulled together, even if I’m pulling pasta bits out of the baby’s hair.

That’s it!! Phew. Made it.

Summary of this post:

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And I apparently I have a VIP pass or something to DressSmart. Out of the above, the only thing I paid full price for was the Kmart tshirt ackackackack. (Maybe I should do a post on how I shop? How I find a good deal? Hmm.)

Obviously, there’s tonnes more to the wardrobe but these are my staples. They’re the items I wear day in, day out and if you catch me by surprise while I’m out, I’m likely in a combo of these.

Have I missed anything that you swear by personally? I’m always game to try new styles. See: white puffy moon boots of 2003. 

Annie, xoxo

Mum Uniform, Pt.1 – Bottoms

I’ve got lazy dressing down, folks. Turns out the magic formula is black, black and more black. Who knew? What a revelation.

Sarcasm aside, I just thought I’d share with you some of the staples in my ever-evolving and currently mum-life-appropriate wardrobe. I’ve gone from a dedicated Just Jeans Outlet girl, to an almost purely online shopper (naw who am I kidding, I love DressSmart forever). But still! This is a honed skill people! If such a thing existed, I’d have a PhD in sale-shopping. Just call me Doctor McCheapo.

Here’s my list of easily pairable (? it’s not a word?) items – they are the bread and butter of my wardrobe sandwich. Yummy.

BOTTOMS

Black leggings

I will fight you if you tell me I cannot wear them as pants. They are like pyjamas. I’m 1000% wearing them instead of ‘actual’ pants.

Pro tip: long over-sized tops are bffs with leggings, otherwise, if you have any belly bands leftover from preggo days, slap that over the lower lady lumps as a sort of micro mini. You’re welcome~

*EDIT: cos it’s bloody freezing and I happen to be wearing them today; I have thicker ribbed moto leggings for autumn and winter. Similar here.

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Athleisure all the way!
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Throw it on, out the door

Or you could try the leggings that have a mini skirt built over top. Mine are a cheap pair from Korea and you can buy similar off YesStyle or there are some branded versions on Shopbop.

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They look pretty hungus on the hanger…
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…But they’re pretty damn handy when I’m not digging a pants day.

Black jeggings/skinnies

They’re as versatile as the leggings but for when you gotta put in a lil more effort. Yeesh.

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Plain black jeggings
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3 weeks post partum and I wanted to dress up a lil but not go too crazy – jeggings sucked it all in and were comfy enough for all of 3 hours. These ones are just a cheapo pair from New Look (petite range, available on ASOS.com)

‘Glam’ joggers

My fave. They’re like sweatpants but made of swishy material. This one just below with the side stripe is made of cupro, which is a man made fabric that looks and drapes like silk, is softer and not as garish as poly, and it launders better than silk. Like, talk about being MADE for lazy people. All the heart eyes. Some people get heart eyes for their babies. I get heart eyes for my trackpants. She’s my baby.

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Kinda unassuming and boring on the rack and my shit photography does it absolutely no justice. But trust me when I say, it’s the bomb.

 

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Pyjama dressing is a thing and I love it. Here the joggers are paired with a lavender silk blouse from Friend of Mine and simple flats.
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These ASOS joggers are made of lyocell, brother of cupro. It’s another silky man made fabric that’s a lot more breathable and softer than poly.
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Swishy silky joggers are my jam. The Soludos espadrilles are from ShopBop and the work out top is a cheapy from Kmart. The waterbottle is by Kor and the Furla micro purse is from ShopBop as well.
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These Country Road ones are poly so they get a bit static-y (at least I can just throw em in the wash without another thought) but I still love em. Mainly cos they were only $25 from an outlet. But they’re smart, have pockets, have a relaxed slouchy fit and bet of all, they have an elastic waistband.
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I can dress em up or down, depending on what I feel like. A blazer adds structure to the otherwise very slouchy silhouette.

Black trousers

For when you really gotta chuck in some effort. Ugh. But I still like mine slack and slightly drop-crotch to keep things edgy and rebellious (kidding: I meant comfortable). Like no, you will not make me go 100% formal. I might get to 95% but come hell or high water, I’m not bringin’ that crotch hem up another 5%.

trousers
These are a slightly different pair to the ones below; the shape’s exactly the same, this one just has sheer legs and a slightly shorter hem. They’re both from ASOS.
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When I must put in more effort than I desire. Slouchy trousers to the rescue. These cigarette pants are from the ASOS Petite range – note how they’re still too big on me hahaha, but no matter, I like em oversized.

 

High waisted jeans

Tummy sucking in properties. It’s like built-in spanx. Need I say more.

skinnies

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These ASOS pair are my fave. I love the acid wash. Here they’re paired with a Witchery silk tank, Naf Naf blazer and ASOS snood.

Ripped jeans

Perfect for when the outfit’s a lil prissy and needs some sass. If you’re folding up the cuffs a bit, don’t fold it up in even chunks; fold it up half the distance you want it in the end, use a combo of rolling and scrunching to fold it the rest of the way up, leaving some of the hem visible, otherwise you get stumpy blocky-legs.

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Stumpy and blocky vs. intentionally asymmetrical – the combo of rolling and scrunching makes it uneven, but tapered, and gives it a more effortless look overall.

rippedjeans

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4 years ago, when the same jeans were more in tact.
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They’re falling apart now and I love em so.

Ripped shorts

Same as above, regarding the prissy-contrast (lol), and adds a bucket load of seks appeal too. My OneTeaspoon pair are a fairly recent purchase cos I randomly started freaking out that I wasn’t edgy enough. PROBLEM SOLVED.

shorts

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Paired with a Witchery silk/cotton tank and white blazer.
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They’re so short eeeeek. But I keep reaching for them. They’re dang cool.

That’s pretty much it. Those are my go-to’s for bottoms.

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I’ll be covering the tops next – I split this topic up into 2 parts cos hot dang, I just can’t help myself and get all long-winded.

Stay tuned! It gets frickin exciting.

I’m totally kidding. It’s not really. Unless you’re a total fashion-phile like me and hyperventilate when it comes to wardrobe essentials. I get all crazy-nerd-like all, Where did you buy yours from? How much was it?? How does it wash?? How long have you had it for? Have you tried other brands?? I MUST KNOW!!!

*snort* ohohoho clothes get me all sorts of excited. Like take it all off baby~~ So I can read the fabric composition and care instructions. Ohhhhh yeah.

Annie, xoxo

Make Up 101

A make up newbie, I am not. No, I’ve been playing with make up ever since high school. Back in the days, where our largest mirror was actually pretty small and in a dimly-lit corner and there were no Youtubers to guide a keen, but poorly-instructed 14-year-old me.

I’ve had some seeeeriously bad looks. My parents were always working so there was NO ONE to pull me up on my porn-star brows (razored off by a shitty mcshitson korean make up ‘artist’), my spidery lashes, my panda-like smudgey eyeliner, my too-sparkly Caboodles lipgloss… hoooly shit. If I could go back in time and throat-punch dumb little me…

But alas. I cannot. And thank goodness there was no Snapchat back then, cos I can only imagine what the boys would’ve uploaded behind my back 😂🙈 (“porno brows is back. Im callin her PB from now on lololol” “holy shit dem eyelashes tho #spiderman”). Someone would’ve screenshotted it and posted it to their meme account on Instagram for sure. DANG am I stoked I was born in the 80s.

Wow what a tangent – it apparently doesn’t cut me up inside one bit 😂 But if there’s any way forward, it’s by imparting some lil nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned the hard way over the past 15 years. If you’re a make up newb, there’s just four basic principles, I think, that are critical to an overall ‘tidy’ appearance. They’re the two B’s and two L’s: Brows, Base, Lashes and Lips. Sit tight and hold onto your butts, cos this is a long one.

Rule no.1: Brows Brows, Baby

If your hair is dark, go 1-2 shades lighter; if your hair is light, go 1-2 shades darker MAX, otherwise the end result can be quite jarring.

Your brows should FRAME your eyes and eye make up (if you’re doing a dramatic cat-eye, same goes: extend out your brows just a tad).

No need to go full-on with the whole Instagram brow look either. Just lightly fill them in with a pencil or powder – doesn’t matter which.

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The 3 eyebrow solutions in rotation atm but my fave is the Etude House brow pencil – it’s my 3rd one and absolute favourite by a landslide. Helps that it’s barely $7 online and $3 in Korea!

Fill in gaps, even them out and follow your natural brow line. Less is more; if it’s looking too chunky and severe like you’ve used a Sharpie, use a spooly (the stiff miniature toilet brush looking thing) to blend out any harsh lines and touch up again with more pencil/powder if you’ve removed too much pigment. Small, light strokes work best – like you’re drawing on individual hairs.

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kinda looks like a mini toilet brush right? Sort of?

Step back from the mirror, double check with the front-camera on your phone if you can, to make sure they’re even-ish. Don’t stress over them; the idea is to just frame the eyes, the nipples of the face (name that movie).

If you’re aiming to get a nice arch in there, point your pencil/brush from the corner of your nose through your pupil. Wherever your brush hits your brow, that’s where the arch should be. Do the same thing for the corners of your brow if you’re after a ‘perfect’ brow.

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rough sketch of not-yet-drawn-on brows: follow the natural shape, fill in the gaps!

Rule no.2: the Base

You don’t need to go straight to full coverage if that’s not what you’re used to. You can literally just cover up any imperfections with a concealer if you’re after a simple, tidy look (or you’re in a rush to get out the door!). Just set with a teeny bit of pressed powder afterward so the concealer doesn’t slide off.

If you’re wanting a little bit more coverage then you probably want either a tinted moisturiser or BB cream, or foundation. To give the formula more staying power, it pays to cleanse, tone, moisturise, then lay on some primer. Think of when you want to paint over an old wallpapered room: strip, prime, then paint, right?

If fine lines are starting to be a bit of an issue, I recommend a facial oil (after moisturising and before priming) to really plump up the skin – a little goes a long way. I’m currently using a very pungent one from Antipodes but in the past I’ve enjoyed Trilogy and Sukin facial oil as well. Just use a teensy lil bit on areas where it’s dry and you find foundation doesn’t sit as nice.

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The two oils I’m currently using

Next up is the primer. Any primer that leaves your face smoother than a baby’s butt is a winner. Doesn’t have to cost the earth. I really liked my last one from Elf Cosmetics and before that, two different Body Shop ones – one of which I think they discontinued? I really hate when brands do that to my heart – sucker me in, then cut me up with their sudden no-notice, no-show, dick move (I’m still salty, Maybelline Dream Mousse concealer).

I’m currently using a NARS primer but I honestly still like my Body Shop ones better – it has a more silicone-y finish which I find better for resting foundation/bb cream on top of.

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L-R: NARS, Body Shop and a cheapo Kmart one. For less than $10 it’s not bad, but it’s not great either – I’d rather pay a lil more and get the Elf one again.

Now the paint. What does your skin want? Something hydrating? Something matte? Ugh sometimes there’s just way too much to choose from! But whatever route you choose to venture down, my best tip is this: choose your applicator wisely.

While you can use your fingers for sure, a buffing brush and/or sponge can be the difference between smeary/cake-face and an airbrushed-looking face.

Real Techniques brushes are cheap and generally fool-proof. Sponge-wise, I’m gonna go rogue here and recommend something you prob won’t hear from a beauty vlogger/blogger…

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5 pack of cushion compact sponges – $10 from YesStyle.com

This lil baby is actually meant for cushion compacts (bb cream compacts) but you can buy these separately as a refill for those compacts and I use them for applying any BB cream or foundation. There’s heaps of different brands to choose from and I chose the cheapest one cos they’re pretty much all identical to each other – they all have one dark navy side. Anyway, these are super easy to use and ensure a light and even coverage.

I just put a little bit of product on my palette (the back of my hand 😅), and dab sparingly on my face. Dab dab dab. Dab dab dab. Easy peasy. I also use it to blend out my contour or any blush that’s too bright. It’s my BFFEEE (bestfriend forever and ever and ever and everrrrr). It essentially works like a Beauty Blender but it’s way cheaper and way more sanitary cos you keep your fingers solely on one side.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a BB Cream sort of girl – I’ve tried loads of different foundations and I haven’t really found one that I’m truly obsessed with. I find them too cakey, too dry, too oily, too EXPENSIVE… Out of all the different ones I’ve used (Lancome, Bobbi Brown, NARS, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Rimmel etc), I’ve liked the Revlon Colorstay Stay Natural one best, but honestly to this day, nearly 15 years later, nothing beats a good BB Cream for me. I’d say my two faves are the Missha and Etude House one. The Missha one has insane coverage. I’ve also enjoyed the IOPE Cushion Compact immensely too – it’s just a bit pricier which stops me from enjoying it TOO much hahaha.

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I’ve used a bunch of others BB creams, but these are my fave and all empties (I’m keeping them til I re-buy them so I know what shade to get lol) except the IOPE bottle. The Missha one is my fave by a smidge. And yup, they’re all SPF something, so if you’re hoping for some coverage as well as sun protection when you’re poolside, these do the job.

I mentioned pressed powder before. Don’t use the puffs that come with the compact cos the amount you get on them, combined with when it oxidises on your skin once you’ve pressed it on, generally means you’ll be left with an orange circle on your face. Nope nope nope. Use a really fluffy brush (nothing with dense, tightly-packed, short bristles), swirl, dust off the excess and lightly press onto any areas where it tends to get oily: forehead, nose, upper lip and chin. Less is more.

Rule no.3: Lashes

Unless you’re blessed with long, full, dense lashes, all you need is an eyelash curler and mascara.

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Top: bare lashes with no curl. It is actually pitiful. Bottom: bare lashes after they’ve been curled.

If you’ve got very short, lightweight, sparse lashes that naturally point straight down like mine, you will probably benefit from a waterproof formula vs a regular one. Regular mascaras are too wet and heavy for my sad and sorry lashes, causing them to droop and lose any curl I’ve put in. A waterproof formula is drier/tackier in consistency and won’t mess up your curl (you just have to work quicker before it dries fully). If you still want more oomph, you can always layer a regular, wetter, non-waterproof formula on top once that base layer has dried.

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The difference between waterproof and non-waterproof on shitty thin lashes like mine

 

Rule no.4 aka the Finale: kissy Lips

No chapped lips. Wear lip balm. Maybelline Babylips is my fave for its cheap but powerful moisturising goodness. I have them all over the house and crevices of my car. You don’t need to go crazy with the lip colour either. A tinted lipbalm is just fine. If you hate touching up lipstick throughout the day, lip pencils, lip stains and lip crayons are the best solution – though the darker the colour, the more likely it’ll need some touching up during the day.

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I have a bit of a lip crayon problem. L-R: TonyMoly gloss bars, Hera Color Balm, Kmart one, Clinique Chubby Stick, Etude House Vivid Popstick, Revlon Colorburst, NARS Velvet Matte and Velvet Gloss lip pencils.

My absolute favourite lip crayons are the NARS Velvet Matte lip pencils – particularly the shade Dolce Vita which is a nice muted red. It’s staying power is unbelievable considering it goes on like butter and doesn’t crackle or strain against any lip movement. Yes, it’s pricey, but I buy mine off Strawberrynet (when they have stock) so they work out to be CHEAPER than what you would get per milligram in a $13 NYX lip pencil.

I’ve made more than 20 purchases (36 to be precise) off Strawberrynet, so I automatically get 10% every purchase. Also, if I hang out for one of their frequent sales, I can get another 10% off. So often times when I’m buying my NARS lip pencils, instead of paying $42 in store, I only pay $28 online. SO worth it.

Here are some honorable mentions in the lip department:

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Lipstains: Covergirl, Revlon, TonyMoly and Etude House. I hold a very dear, special place in my heart for my Covergirl Outlast lipstain – that one was the shit. All I took with me to France/Italy a few years back, was that and NARS Dolce Vita for nights out –  I didn’t wanna fuss with my make up whilst away and legit, I had my packing DOWN!

Phew so that’s that. If you managed to stay til the end, kudos to you. You’ve got some stamina on ya. I really, really wanted to share this info with someone – dudes, this is like 15 years of terrible terrible looks and I really feel like I’ve now got this honed down to something simple and do-able, by anyone’s standards. Anyway.

Hope that was somewhat enjoyable, hopefully informative? No? Well at least you got to look at some purdy make up stuff right? Doesn’t it make you wanna play with make up and sit in good lighting with the pretty snapchat filters and take selfies and be like DAAaamn. Just me? What. I do it for poor ugly duckling 15-year-old me with porno brows ok.

Annie, xoxo