THE ABCs of shopping

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A is for Apple. Apple made my iPhone and iPad. I would virtually find it impossible to sit down at a PC every time I want to go online (euphemism for online shopping). Thanks to Apple, I can do my fruit and veg shopping in my pjs while I have my (first) morning coffee. And no-one pulls items out of my online cart and throws them on the floor.

B is for Baby N. Obviously. Shopping for babies is so much fun! Babies look good in everything. Fat is cute on a baby. Babies need lots of clothes, and other bits and pieces which are so much fun to buy. It’s endless. Yippee!

C is for coffee. You can’t shop if you’re asleep.

D is divorce. Unfortunately sometimes you can spend too much.

E is for EOFS. It’s a bloody stupid acronym, but who cares? Everything gets cheaper. And even though the financial year ends June 30, the sales seem to start earlier and earlier each year.

F is for friends and family: money buys you neither. But once you have them, some of them can be very good to go shopping with.

G is Glenmore rd. Part Paddington, part heaven.

H is for hunger. You have to make sacrifices for the greater good. The greater good is shopping.

I is for Internet. Where the shops are open 24 hours a day.

J is for justification. Justification is an art you have to teach yourself, and if you haven’t learnt it yet, phone a friend. I am excellent at justifying my friends’ purchases for them if they are struggling. I am also great at justifying my own.

K is for kids. More people to shop for! Kids’ stuff is more fun than adults’. Also not only do I get to dress myself however I want, I get to dress four whole other people however I want too. My latest quest with the boys is to make sure that EVERYTHING in their wardrobe can be worn together. Because I may still choose everything that goes into their wardrobe but they get themselves dressed. New Project: ultimate kids capsule wardrobe.

L is logic. This goes out the window. It’s also for Lego. If you have kids anything like mine, a significant portion of your shopping money will be spent on this. It’s worth it.

M is for money. Unfortunately you’ll need this to go shopping. This is the only negative that I can see to shopping.

N is for no-one. That’s who I like shopping with best. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy shopping with others. I do. But nothing replaces the ultimate escape – the solo browse.

O is for outlet shopping. If you bought it at the outlet then it’s guilt free. Hell, it’s not just guilt free, it’s practically FREE free. And you deserve it for rifling through all those disorganised outlet racks.

P is for pretty. Pretty is a justification (see J), as in “I know I don’t need another pair of sparkly boots, but they’re just sooooo pretty!!!”. Justified. The world is an ugly place at the moment. The more prettiness the better.

Q is for quality. It’s not always worth paying more for quality (camp ugg boots anyone?) but if you are looking for longevity then it is. Also, chocolate.

R is for research. 13 years of being married to Working Boy is bound to rub off in some regards. Big purchase? Do your research! “We” don’t make any major purchases without hours (and hours) of research. In our house it’s called a PHD. And with good reason. Working Boy has a fear of making the wrong decision. And also unnecessary expenditure. So he spends A LOT of time making sure we make the right decisions for the least amount of money possible. P.S. we got the Asko dryer.

S is for storage. If you do too much shopping you will need a lot of this. Fortunately, there’s a shop for that. It’s called Howard’s Storage World. It’s awesome – you can buy almost anything there. You can also find anything from there cheaper in other places, like Bunnings, Ikea and K-Mart
S is also for SEPHORA! Sydney! Dec 2014!

T is for Therapy. You don’t need a mental health care plan to go shopping. Sometimes you don’t actually need to see a psychologist, you just need a good shop.

U is for Uniqlo. At the moment there is a Sydney pop-up in The Glasshouse Shopping Centre, Pitt st. Unfortunately I can’t comment because I haven’t been. Like Topshop, GAP, the Scanlan & Theodore outlet, and countless other city destinations, until Baby N is at preschool, or you open within a 10 minute driving and parking radius from my house, I cannot visit you. Too hard basket. Please open online.

V is Veruca Salt. Sing with me! “I want the world…..I want the WHOLE world”.

W is for Westfield Bondi Junction (WBJ), my mothership.

X is for Xpensive (yeah I know, I cheated). Unfortunately shopping is not a cheap habit. On the upside it’s good Xercise (who needs e’s anyway). There’s a lot of walking involved and there are bags for weights. You can spend the money you just saved on gym membership. You’re welcome.

Y is for Yes! Sound made, together with fist pump, when you discover the dress you have been visiting all season (am I the only person who visits items in store that I can’t take home?) has been reduced by 50% and they only have one size left – yours.

Z is for the zoo. The kids don’t always want to go to Westfield. Sometimes you’ll have to go to other places. I don’t say this often but avoid the shop there – it’s overpriced and crap.

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Smooth moves

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I am smooth. Soooooo smooth. Just call me 95.3 (Sydney reference). I refer not to my exceptional (though admittedly somewhat under-utilised) pick up skills, but to my skin. My face. It is unbelievably smooth. It’s not quite as smooth as Baby N’s bum…..but it’s on it’s way.

I turned 36 a couple of weeks ago. What’s that you say? I don’t? No, I swear, 36. Yep 1978. What? Why thank you! Oh please….stop! You’re embarrassing me!! Anyway despite what you say, I have been beginning to notice the tell-tale signs of *whisper* ageing…….I said ageing………Seriously do I have to shout it? I said AGEING.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. I read an article on 30 secrets to better skin or 20 ways to keep your age a secret…..or something along those lines (ha ha). Clearly I didn’t read the article that carefully because I’m pretty sure that announcing your age in the second paragraph of your blog was NOT one of the top so-called secrets but I read enough to know that it was time to make some changes if I wanted my face to age slower than my……age. Call me a sucker for marketing (because I am) but by the end of the article I decided that it was time to permanently import a serum, eye cream and night cream into my skin regime. I use the term regime somewhat loosely. I wash my face in the shower, I moisturise, and I buy exfoliants, masks, and all sorts of other potions which really do have serious magic to do as they have to work their wonder on my skin from the bathroom cabinet). I’ve always been really into beauty and skincare….just more into buying it than actually using it.

Realising that I might have reached that point in my life where I could no longer rely on the kind hand of G-d for half decent skin, I went off to my friendly Estée Lauder counter and bought Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Complex II (you know it must be potent and effective with such a long, complicated name) and Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum. They had a free gift offer on (free gift time is my favourite time of all) which means I got decent sized pots of Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Line/Wrinkle cream and Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Eye Cream. The sales assistant also wanted me to try their new MicroEssence Skin Activated treatment lotion, which at first, and second glance, could be mistaken for water. Slightly scented water. On my way past the Clinique counter I noticed that they were advertising a new serum too. Clinique Smart Custom Repair. Given that there was a seed of doubt as to the aptitude of my brain for its infallible belief in expensive skincare, I decided that perhaps having clever skin instead was the way to go. People always say that Clinique are very generous with samples so I bounded up to the Clinique lady and asked her for some to try. Strangely she was not all that happy to part with it, even thought she had a drawer full of generous sized samples. I told her I wasn’t going to buy a serum until I’d tried it (okay so brain still has some function), and she relented and threw in a sample of their Repair Wear Uplifting Firming cream too.

So that night I was all ready to begin my new night routine when I realised there was a problem. I don’t wash off my make up at night. Yep skin sin of all sins. I don’t. Or at least I didn’t. Too tired. The dentist wants me to floss each night, and the magazines say you HAVE to wash your face, and the obstetrician says do your pelvic floor exercises, and the kids say “read just one more story”, and the hand and feet people want you to pop some cream on your digits. And they all say it just takes 5 minutes. And technically they are right, but when you add those 5 minutes up, that’s half an hour of sleep, precious SLEEP I could be sleeping. So I say no to ALL of it. Oh yes I do. (Sorry Brian).

Well at least I did say no, but then I realised that if I was going to try out this night cream lark then I was going to have to wash my face first. But it’s winter and the water is cold, so I use Bioderma Crealine H2O, which I had initially bought to inspire myself to remove my make-up at night. It had been doing some serious time in the bathroom cupboard.

So first I remove my makeup, then I pat on the night serum (Estée Lauder), and then the night eye serum, and then the Estée Lauder cream and then the eye cream. In the morning my skin (apparently) activates the Microessense lotion, before I put on the Clinique Smart serum, and the eye serum, and the Clinique Repair Wear, and the eye cream. Except this morning I was in a super rush (it is REALLY hard getting four kids and myself out the door by 7.30. Really, really hard) and I put the night creams on by accident, and now my smart skin is all confused and thinks it’s time to go to bed. Anyhow. I figured once I was doing all of this I may as well start exfoliating, so I’ve been swiping every few nights with GoTo Swipeys. Seeing as they already have residence in the cabinet. Yep it’s a party on my face and the whole bathroom cupboard is invited.

I think philosophy’s Hope in a Jar is the most aptly named product ever. Because that’s what we’re buying when we buy a moisturiser isn’t it. Often little more than hope, in a jar or bottle. Or tub. Or tube. There is no stopping me when it comes to container synonyms. Still waters run deep.

After almost a week of my newfound skin fervour, my skin looks bloody fantastic. And seriously? It feels like silk (you’ll have to take my word for it, unless you see me, in which case have a stroke. Of my skin, I mean. Don’t have a stroke). I feel like I have dropped a few years from my face. Not that anyone has actually commented…..so technically it could be that Working Boy replaced 100 watt halogens with 40 watt, and my skin looks the same, I just see it less clearly. But it still feels good.

The only problem is: which product is it? Is it the Night Repair? Is it those serums specifically or would a supermarket brand have the same effect? Is it the MicroEssence? Or is it just that I am taking my make-up off at the end of each day? I estimate that to work it out would be a year’s worth of scientific experimentation. That seems like an awful lot of work. I think I’ll just keep going with all of it. As I said, I’m a marketing exec’s dream.

XOXO Shopping Girl

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OT #2: 10 best Shopping Apps

So I’ve had my pensive moment, and now it’s time to get back to the task at hand. “Thank g-d!” you’re thinking. “You promised us shopping hints and tips and all we’re getting is a discussion of the origins of your predilection for sweets, and glorified accounts of Baby N, under the guise of a “shopping blog”.

So back to business today. As I have mentioned to you before, a not insubstantial amount of my spending is done online. Without further ado I present to you:

Shopping Girl’s Top 10 Shopping Apps

(Okay just a bit more ado first – Remember when I said I don’t speak some languages like practicality? I also don’t speak HTML or whatever it is I need to speak to do special things on my blog. My idea was to have the icon of each app that you would be able to click on, which would take you to the AppStore. I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out how to do this, and I am not spending anymore precious writing time trying to figure it out). Now, onto the list:

1.Shopbop
Let me count the ways in which I love the Shopbop app. On the other hand maybe let’s not, because they really are bountiful. Shopbop’s best feature is that it emails me when items on my wish-list go on sale. Not even my best friend does that (however, it should be mentioned, she makes up for it in other ways). It also emails me when stock of a wish list item is running low. Seed from Bondi Junction calls me when new stock comes in but no-one calls me when stock is running out! And for that not so subtle hint, you can share your wish list 😃 Plus really fast, free world-wide delivery. It’s a winner.

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2. eBay
The most important thing to remember is: one girl’s garbage is another girl’s Gucci. When funds are running low, and you cannot survive another moment without an army green parka (this is just a theoretical example of course…..ps. check ASOS) sell your stuff on eBay. We all have stuff we don’t use or wear. Often quite good stuff. Sell it. Those are dollars sitting in your cupboard that could be better spent…..spending. The app makes it ridiculously quick and easy. Seriously I can cook dinner, help kids with the homework, feed a baby and list an old Country Road shirt simultaneously.

3. Safari
Okay I know technically this is not an app, but it’s on my iPhone and has an icon. And it is the GATEWAY to all Internet shopping. On that basis alone it makes it into the top 10.

4. Booko
What? You don’t know Booko? Get with the times! Type in the name of the book you want, and all the online retailers that sell the book will appear before you IN PRICE ORDER including shipping. It is equal parts genius and dangerous. In the unlikely event that you want to purchase a DVD, you can look that up too. I got the app because the website was difficult to use on the phone, but seems they have rectified this problem recently with smartphone interface.

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5. Shopping list
I LOVE ShoppingList. I NEED Shopping List. There is nothing more frustrating than getting home in the nick of time to put the baby down for a nap and cook dinner. Only to discover that you forgot to buy your main ingredient. Or you forgot the nappies. It’s always the nappies. And there is NO getting out of having to go back to the shops if it’s the nappies. There is no substitute for nappies. You cannot choose a different recipe with nappies. I have different categories on shopping list – you can make up your own, and have as many as you like:

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As I run out of groceries, I add them to my Coles list. If we are entertaining, I plan my menu and then add my ingredients. I use it as a “to-do” list for errands. You can drag and drop your items easily so I order my shopping list in order of the supermarket aisles. I would lose my mind if I wasn’t mostly organised. Shopping list is my life.

6. Shopstyle by POPSUGAR
Shopstyle is awesome. Trying to find green sequinned leggings because you’re having a Kermit fashion moment? Filter your search terms and watch the options appear before you. Dying for a pair of Rag & Bone Newbury boots? Type it in and you can clearly see where you can get them and how much they cost at each store. PLUS like beloved Shopbop you can set sale alerts on the items that you like. So the second your shoe goes on sale, you’ll be the first to know. Along with all the other Rag & Bone and Shopstyle fans out there.

7. xe.com
If you’re going to shop internationally, you need to know your exchange rates. If your brain is fried from too many readings of “Where is the Green Sheep?” (If I was a sheep, and my only responsibility was……nope can’t think of a single sheep responsibility, I would also be asleep. I’m thinking I should consider being a sheep)……See, child-induced brainfry. I cannot even finish one train of thought without getting distracted. I am so used to being interrupted, I interrupt myself. AS I WAS SAYING – xe does the currency conversion for you, so all you need to calculate is if your bank balance can take the hit.

8. Instagram
“Instagram is not a shopping app!” I hear you protest. Au contraire mes petits pois (that translates as “on the contrary my little peas”….I think something gets lost in translation), and I will prove it.

A few months ago (I am being deliberately vague), I was scrolling through my Instagram Feed, when a picture of a gorgeous black lace dress caught my eye, and purse. It appeared in the feed of Gail Elliot, former supermodel, and current designer of Little Joe. The accompanying text indicated that the dress was on sale at Fashion Weekend for $80. Reduced by hundreds. Size Medium. Someone had already replied to hold it for her. I posted a message below to say that if the original buyer did not want it, I would love to take it. Gail wrote to me herself (yes, herself! The woman is besties with Cindy Crawford!) to say she would get her “girls” to check if there was another, but later she wrote back to say she only had a small and would keep that for me if I wanted. Great! Thanks so much!!! I said. No I didn’t. Size small I said to myself? I think medium was already pushing it. A few weeks later a message popped up on my Instagram. It was Gail. She said that she and Cindy wanted to go for drinks. Oh and also that another medium had turned up when they unpacked from Fashion Weekend, and did I want it? You bet your bottom dollar I did. I went to Paddington the next day and picked it up.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you shop on Instagram.

9. Pinterest
I use Pinterest not actually to shop, but to keep track of what I want to buy. Like this:

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I don’t need the whole world to see everything I have my 👀 on, so I have secret boards too 😉.

10. Lasoo
Does your son want an iPod for his birthday? Would you rather not pay top dollar? Did your dryer recently catch fire? Do you have an aversion to paying retail? Then Lasoo is the app for you! Lasoo is basically a database of catalogues from popular (Australian) stores. This is not the place for your boutique buys, but if your toaster’s toast this is a great place to check out where your product is on sale at the moment.

So that’s it. My top 10 apps.

XOXO Shopping Girl

This post is dedicated to the sparkly silver ex-lolly bowl featured in the previous post, who has moved onto a better place where there aren’t babies cruising around, hell-bent on bowl destruction. Rest In Pieces, lolly bowl. You don’t really have a choice.

Magazine issue #1 (nostalgia)

It’s the little things…..the small details that etch their way into people’s hearts, imprint their memories. It’s the gelato coloured cotton wool balls in a glass jar on my grandmother’s dresser. Her Elnett hairspray. And her scent – face-powder and Clinique cream blush. Her bedroom had such a distinctive smell: a combination of her, the furniture, the briny Sea Point breeze…..I keep thinking if I breathe deeply enough I will smell it again.

There is something so unbelievably evocative about scent and taste. While I was at Coles last week, I bought some Fox’s Glacier Mints and Glacier Fruits. I love the idea of having a bowl of wrapped sweets on the lounge room coffee table for when guests are over. I like the look of it during the week. It makes us look like a fun, lolly filled house. My own little Wonka’s chocolate factory. The problem is that we have a whole lot of Oompa Loompas in the house too. 4 to be exact. They know I won’t say no when they have their Oompa Loompa friends over. No-one wants to be the mean mummy (I use up all my meanness saying no to sleepovers and shouting at them to clean up their mess when they do “experiments”). So my lovely little bowl of lollies has been offered to my own guests once and the Oompa Loompa’s guests approximately 43 times (they are quite social, my Oompa Loompas).
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The other problem with the lolly bowl
is that, like Willy Wonka, I too am
partial to a sweet or 10. So perhaps the rapid decline of the bowl is not entirely the Oompa Loompas’ fault.

Up until last week I had only bought Fox’s mints. On Wednesday I added the fruits to my bounty. As I emptied the packets into the bowl, I unwrapped a blackcurrent one. It was my childhood in a hard boiled lolly. You have to understand I was weaned on Ribena. That and Strawberry Quik. I seem to have scores of sensory memories of blackcurrent pastilles and the lack of responsibility that came with that time. One suck of that blackcurrent, and just for a moment I felt a million miles and hours away.

This week I bought the Donna Hay Kids’ edition #11. It comes out once a year which means I have been buying it since Firstborn was born (possibly I bought the first issue on back order). I used to absolutely hang out for the kids’ issue. This year, more than anything, it just made me feel nostalgic.

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Partly, it was the recipe for homemade musk sticks. My taste buds sprang to attention. Just the thought of a musk stick, or some Musk Lifesavers, has me hankering for that taste, and a few minutes of that time of my life again. I scoured the internet for kosher musk essence so I could, thanks to Donna Hay, make my own musk sticks, but so far I haven’t found any.

But the nostalgia was not just for a long ago taste. When I used to buy the Donna Hay Kids’ issue (DHK), I was convinced that in its folds I would find the perfect meals for my preschoolers and toddlers. That somehow the key to getting them to eat healthy, balanced meals was in the pages of the magazine (yes I am a marketers dream). All I needed was the right recipes. Now that my kids are older, I know, through trial and error and hours spent making snubbed dishes, that no such recipe exists. Even though I know this, the quest for the holy grail of cooking magazines / cookbooks continues. My kids aren’t even that fussy any more (well Master 6 is, but he gets told each night – you can have what we’re having or your can have cereal. He often chooses cereal but I don’t care – I OFFERED the well balanced meal and that’s all that counts on Planet Mum).

A couple of months ago I bought a new “family cooking” magazine called One-Handed Cooks. Full of expectations, I thought that I would find pages of healthy lunchbox, dinner and snack ideas that would leave my kids begging for seconds, that I could easily whip up with one hand, whilst the not insignificantly sized Baby N sat nestled in the other. It’s a clever name that, One Handed Cooks. The magazine is beautifully laid out, and there were a few recipes I will try…..but not surprisingly it did not fulfil my (unrealistic) expectations.

The other reason I used to yearn for the new issue of DHK was parties! There are always gorgeous pages of perfectly styled kids’ parties. I got plenty of ideas and recipes from these pages. There were years when I would take out a stack of back issues and tell the kids to pick their birthday cake. There is one word why this is less exciting than it used to be and that is Pinterest. And Internet explosion. We have access to kids party porn (yeah that really sounds wrong…..but so wrong it’s kind of right) 24/7……the pages of the magazine just don’t hold the same allure anymore because now I see this stuff all the time.

And so paging through the magazine I felt less excitement and more…..just nostalgic. Nostalgia for that time when I would note down in my diary the release date on the kids’ issue. When I eagerly read through it and envisioned all the well eaten dinners I would create, all the brilliant kids’ parties I would bake for, style and host (now I just buy my way out of them). When the kids were all small and the days were hectic but relatively simple because when your oldest child is in preschool, your children’s needs may be endless, but they are relatively simple.

I can’t go back in time, but if I can find that musk essence I might, even if it’s just for a sensory based flash.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Shopping with baby: the 5 best and 5 worst things about it

Five best things about shopping with a baby.

1. Heavy bags.
You don’t have to carry your shopping bags, or even your handbag. When my pram basket is full, I hang the extra bags off the bugaboo’s brake.

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(Disclaimer: that is not my finger)

2. Friendliness.
People are nicer to you when have a baby. Strangers talk to you. The world is a friendlier place. AND people compliment your baby (or maybe it’s just when you have as cute a baby as *I* do) which as all parents know, feels like you personally are being complimented.

3. Excuse.
If you bump into someone who you don’t feel like talking to, you can use the baby as the excuse to keep moving. “He hates it when the pram stops”. “He has limited patience in the pram, and I’ve just got to get through my errands”. Having the baby as an excuse to get out of anything you don’t want to do is actually one of THE best reasons to have a baby at all.

4. Ears.
My personal favourite – you have someone to talk to. You don’t have to walk around the shops muttering what you need to do to yourself. Your baby has no choice but to listen to the fact that “first we need to take back J’s pants, then we need to do daddy’s banking, then we need to check out the new things in Country Road and THEN we’ll go to Coles and get milk!”. Even just “I LOVE this” sounds better directed at a person (no matter how small) rather than thin air. As someone who feels the need to comment aloud during my shopping trips, baby-as-pair-of-ears is a useful addition.

5. Coffee.
Babies get hungry and need to be fed, food or milk. This requires being seated. Sometimes it requires the assistance of hot water. This means you must stop and have a coffee.

6. Numbers.
I know I said 5 but we should have one more positive than negative, so number 6 is it’s just the baby with you. Not all 4 children. Just thinking about that makes you happy you’re shopping with (just) the baby.

You don’t have to have the most vivid imagination to come up with a list of reasons why shopping with a baby can be problematic. It takes a special kind of positivity to appreciate the flip side. As you have seen, I am that Optimist. I have easily told you the five (well, 6) best things about shopping with a baby, but I have also BEEN shopping with a baby so here’s the reality check…..

1. Throwing.
Baby N has a throwing habit. If he dislikes the taste of something, or even if he just doesn’t absolutely love it, he throws every last scrap across the room, or just onto the floor at the very least. Last night at dinner he threw a corn cob directly into my face.

In the pram, it’s socks. The second he sits down he starts pulling hard at the toes of his socks. Once they are off, quick as a flash, he extends his arm horizontally, opens his hands, and then instantly pulls them in again, in a movement so fast it’s barely perceptible to man. Or woman.

Lost socks aside, this throwing habit is completely out of hand as I discovered at Coles two days ago. Once the goods got to a level in the trolley that he could reach, everytime I put something in the trolley, he turned around, picked it up and threw it onto the floor. Every single time. The shop took me twice as long as normal. I don’t think I can go grocery shopping if this is how it’s going to be now.

2. Not so friendly after all.
People insult you when you have a baby. And all parents know when they criticise your baby they are really criticising you. That’s why sometimes I want to say “So are you!” when people
say in faux adoration “Your baby is so fat!”. Or they say “I just want to pinch his cheeks!” and I think “I want to pinch you too. Hard”. Because the next line is “What are you FEEDING him????”.

And yes, you think people are being friendly but really they just want to give you unsolicited advice. Like “Your baby’s feet are cold”. Actually they aren’t. As we have COVERED ALREADY, he has an internal heating system called baby fat and if I let you touch his magnificent feet you would see that, actually, they are warm. Besides which, it’s bloody irrelevant because he just threw his socks out of the pram when I wasn’t looking. There is no point putting socks on these feet.

3. Momentum.
If you DO bump into somone you want to talk to, you can’t actually do so. That thing about liking the pram to be moving is true, and Baby N will only stay in it stationary so long before he starts getting cranky. And that’s about 10 seconds.

4. Impatience.
The limited patience thing is also true. I list my shopping / errands on my shopping app in order of the levels and shop placement in the mall because time is at a premium. Going to the shops with baby is not a leisurely, meandering browse. It’s an exercise in time & risk management. Babies don’t always have a great appreciation for the need to get things done. And they have a habit of voicing this loudly. Or sometimes they just want to be held, which, with 14kg in one arm, and needing to still push the pram with the other, is equally restrictive.

5. Lack of coffee.
Yes you have an excuse to stop for coffee but you don’t actually get to drink it. The baby’s hunger comes first (I’m not game to ruin everyone else’s peaceful coffee with my baby’s screams) so you’ve missed the hot stage of your coffee (only temperature I like to drink my coffee at). The coffee has to be out of reach of the baby, too.

Once the baby is fed, you now have a wriggly, grabby baby on your lap, who is all like “Okay I’ve eaten, what are we sitting around for? Proceed with the walking tour of the mall!”. And as you regretfully strap the baby back into the pram, and he alternates arching his back with planking even though he clearly wasn’t enjoying sitting at the cafe, you regret not asking for your coffee to go.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Shopping with baby – love it or hate it or neither-it’s-just-life?

What I bought today # 1

When I was younger, in the late eighties, “matching” was where it was at. I matched my (roll down) socks to my top. And my earrings. And my eye shadow. I loved to match.

The seeds of matching were planted in me young.

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Dresses courtesy Marks & Spencer – looks like around 1981/2

I’m the one on the right, with the haircut like a Mario Bros mushroom and the Hello Kitty bag. Please note how my sister and I are some 30 years plus fashion forward, rocking the sandal and sock look.

Somewhere along the way matching lost its credentials. “Too Matchy Matchy” is a scathing fashion insult. Black bag no longer means black shoes. You can clash prints, red & pink, black & navy – the list is endless. The less you match the better. I can no more imagine wearing pink eyeshadow (which is supposed to “wake-up” your eyes in incidentally) because I’m wearing a pink top, than I can imagine wearing 4 different colour roll down stocking socks, 2 on each foot. And yet once upon a time I wore it all. Together.

I tend not to dress my kids in matching clothes either. This is not because I have something against it. It’s more that when you have 4 kids of the same gender, and are passing down clothes, you get sick of them. The last thing you need is for your son to finally grow out of the green Seed t-shirt with the the map print dog, and low and behold, there is the next size up waiting for him. I never want to see those dog t-shirts again. Sorry Seed. They did look quite cute at the time.

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But today I went against my grain and bought Master 6 and Baby N matching tracksuit pants. Both needed a pair, I really liked the print, I didn’t want to spend Baby N’s limited pram
patience hunting for another pair I liked…..and I knew Master N would get a kick out of it. I was right. He is thrilled. It will be 5 years before Baby N wears the size 6 pants – I think that’s
plenty of time for me to forget about them and like them again.

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Jack and Milly tracksuit pants from Myer

Unlike my mother, whose motives I assume were intentional (I can’t imagine any other scenario where we could all wind up in the same dress), what I DO tend to do is unintentionally dress myself and my boys matching. I dress myself first; there is a mood that contributes to my choice, or a look i am trying to achieve. When I lay my kids’ clothes out, subconsciously that aesthetic is lodged in my brain. It is embarrassingly not uncommon for people to say to me “oh cute you match!” And I will look at myself and my offspring both dressed in Breton stripes and grey denim and realise, indeed we do.

It happened again this morning, again without me even thinking about it. I put on my long grey Maison Scotch dress, and, to break it up a bit, added my white furry gilet.

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I had a few things to do at school (check lost property, uniform shop, visit beloved ex-pre-school teacher) and cogniscent of the apparent SUB ZERO morning temperatures in Dover Heights, I popped a Seed white fluffy bunny (it has ears) snow suit over Baby N’s pyjamas, to keep him cosy in the icy winds. Our school, I swear, is 5 degrees colder than the rest of Sydney. So there we were, both in white faux fur, without me even noticing. Until it was pointed out.

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I bought a school jacket too today. For my son. I don’t have as much to say about that, though it is in keeping with the theme. Uniform is about as matchy-matchy as you can get.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Shopping: style

As I alluded to last week, our dryer died in a somewhat dramatic fashion.

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I was out with the kids when Working Boy called to tell me that the house fire alarm was going off. I wasn't too far from home, so I packed the kids into the car and made my way there. I opened the front door……there was not any billowing smoke but it was hazy and there was a very strong smell of burning plastic. I ran back to the car (where I had left the kids) and made my first ever 000 call. The boys were thrilled although Master 6 had grave concerns for the iPad.

The firemen arrived, and after I quickly briefed them to head to the laundry, in they ran. They emerged a few minutes later to inform me that indeed the dryer motor had been on fire and that I should always clean my lint filter. I told them I absolutely do. They said the smallest amount of lint can cause a fire. Personally, I think that's a problematic feature for a dryer.

So now we have no dryer. We have also had 5 extra people staying at our house (read 4 sets of bedding, 5 sets of towels), and J came back from camp last night (read: a full suitcase of washing…..). We generate a lot of washing anyway (my last machine, 5kg, died after I belted it on average of 3 times a day). To complicate matters, it is not warm outside.

In this situation my instinct is to simply go to Harvey Norman, and buy a dryer. Working Boy has a slightly different style.

First, he consults his (other) bible, Choice magazine. He looks up dryers and reads the article carefully. He uses their filter and compare function to narrow down which machine we should get. 7-8 kg …..check. Under $2000 – check. He points out that though the one that is closer to $1000 is obviously cheaper than the one closer to $2000 (4-unit maths comes in so handy), the running costs over time are significantly lower than the more expensive model, so ultimately it may not be the better financial solution.
He asks me to read the article and consider our options. I start reading it and then baby N wakes up and it's all over. By the time baby N is asleep (which ends up being a 2 hour process), J is back from camp and wanting to catch up on all the news and eating of the last 5 days. By the time HE is in bed (and the other two too), I have no energy to choose dryers.

So that's where we are now.
And it's not over……once, somehow Working Boy and I have chosen the machine, WB will see where he can find it cheapest. This is not a straightforward process either. A quick google will not do. He will spend hours comparing. Once he has found the cheapest available price he calls the Advantage Shopper service and asks them where they can get it cheapest. They take 24 hours to come back to you, but it is often significantly cheaper.

And then, finally, we will order the dryer. Sometimes in the middle, I start googling reviews and Working Boy and I argue about the merits of Choice magazine over Whirpool.

Meanwhile, my towels have air dried like cardboard, and my washing is hanging in all sorts of places.

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By day Aero Saerin puppy.

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By night, clothes line.

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Working Boy likes to know he has gathered all the available information and made the right choice. I do too…..but I also like clean, DRY washing, and especially towels that don’t have the added benefit of exfoliation.

What’s your shopping style?

XOXO Shopping Girl