Feature Nursery

About a year ago, I met the editor of a very popular parenting lifestyle website. Sensing my enthusiasm for baby products, 4 kids on, she suggested I send in pictures of Baby N’s nursery. Every few weeks the website profiles a beautifully or interestingly decorated nursery.

And so I did…..picturing the day when I would open my email and there would be Baby N’s nursery in all its tidied and photoshopped glory.

Alas it was not meant to be. Unfortunately, countless other parents share my (flawless) aesthetic and I can only assume there was somewhat of an oversupply of dot decalled / metallic pouffed / incy egg chaired nurseries. Baby N’s nursery is simply not unique.

But I don’t care. I love it. And luckily for me, as I have my own captive audience (you), I can profile my own nursery if I want. And want to, I do. So without further adieu, I present to you…..



SG: L, this nursery is exquisite. Are you a professional interior designer?

L: Ha ha ha ha – not at all, Shopping Girl. I am a Pinterest/Instagram designer. I see it on Pinterest, I copy it. Instagram now provides the basis of Baby N’s room decor.

SG: L, I understand this is your fourth child, 4th son, no less. How did you justify buying all this new stuff?

L: Well Shopping Girl, I didn’t actually get that much new stuff. I bought a bit of new bedding, and change table covers, to give Baby N his own “look”. The change table and cot are the same I’ve had since First Born was born. The Ikea Expedit shelf was imported from our old playroom. I just bought the cute little chalk boards (from Pottery Barn Kids) to fun it up. Lots of Baby N’s nursery was simply borrowed from other rooms in the house. I keep his little shoes, socks and hats in acrylic boxes that I bought years ago as party wear (disclaimer: I hate people in magazines who say things like this).



SG: But the chair? You couldn’t get those 11 years ago when First Born was born!

L: That’s true SG. You are savvy! So, previously I used a friend’s old Ikea rocker. Being ancient, it had started to make shocking squeaking sounds everytime I lifted myself off the chair. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a baby fall asleep in your arms, but let me tell you, a loud squeak announces to the baby “I am about to try and desert you”, and in that discreet movement, tiny eyes spring open and you lose 30 minutes of settling in an instant.

My brothers and sisters in law chipped in for the chair when Baby N was born. When we no longer need a chair in the nursery I love that I can put it anywhere else in the house and it will look perfectly at home (There goes magazine mouth again).

SG: What is your favourite thing about the nursery?

L: Baby N


SG: Fine, what is your favourite INANIMATE thing in the nursery?

L: Oooh that’s a tough one. It’s actually a boring one – shelf space and wire baskets. As you can imagine with 4 boys I have A LOT of hand-me-downs to keep. Now, as Baby N grows out of one lot of clothes I can easily take out the next size. I can’t tell you how much I used to hate the change of seasons. We had old clothes stuffed in cupboards and space bags all over the place. Everytime I needed to put away the boys’ old clothes or get out bigger ones for a child, it took hours of reorganisation and cupboard Tetris. I used to say the only reason I wanted a girl (apart from the obvious: frilly undies, tulle and sparkles) was so I could just buy new clothes each season and not have to go through this rigmarole twice a year. In the end it turned out I didn’t need a different gender, I just needed more cupboard space.


SG: How did you know when the room was finished?

L: Is it finished? It kind of looks finished but I keep adding things to it. When Cotton On Kids releases cute little house shaped cushions for under $20, it’s kind of hard not to incorporate it (it now lives with the bunny in the cot.

(Actually that’s not true. Master 6 has decided bunny is his. The house is alone. Bunny now lives with Master 6 and his three identical teddies. But that’s another story for another day). I keep adding things. It’s a sickness.

Working Boy: Is it treatable?
L: You should know, you’re a doctor. No.

SG: What’s next in the nursery?
L: Well I recently added this……

*Lovestar vase, filled with pom-poms

And next on the shopping list is this:

And this:


SG: Well let’s have a look at the rest of this nursery then….
L: Thanks for having me, SG. It’s always a pleasure to see you.









XOXO Shopping Girl


Faking It

Sometimes you’ve just got to fake it ’til you make it. Except when there’s no hope of making it, what’s a girl to do?

I keep waking up looking like death. Pale, pasty, dull. This has much to do with Baby N having a spate of mildy bad health recently, and consequently me having MILDLY* disrupted nights.
Not only do I not want to look in the mirror, I can’t imagine staring at this bleary,pale, smudge of a face inspires much confidence in my family.

So I fake sleep. This involves a lot of caffeine and a few key skin products. I chop and change my skin routine a lot. I am the most disloyal customer imaginable. Or to put a better spin on it, I am a beauty chameleon. Even when I love something, there’s always something new to try when it’s close to running out (I can count on one hand the number of products I have actually finished to the last drop). Possible I have mentioned before I am an advertiser’s dream. I believe spin. Or to put it another way, I am trusting. Sometimes naively so. When my sister first said “The word gullible has been taken out of the dictionary”, I said “Why?”. I really BELIEVE that the new Omo will lift more stains than the previous one. So coupled with my love of magazine reading, when they profile that new serum that’s gonna drop 20 years off your face, I am queueing at the counter.

But I digress. You’re not interested in what a gullible junkie I am, you want to know how I glow (yes you do, because that is the topic today).

So I wash my face in the shower, apply a serum, and I’m already looking slightly better. But then comes the first key product. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Face Oil. Adorebeauty sent me a sample of this with my last order, and it just goes to show that sending samples pays, because a couple of weeks later I ordered the full size product). A few drops of this pressed onto my face (although to be honest, I rub and swipe more than I lightly press) and honestly, I look at least 30% better than I did 10 seconds previously. I look glowy, rested. And I smell amazing because Jurlique smells of eau de day spa.


Feeling all happy with myself I get dressed and go and face the zoo downstairs. On goes sunscreen and moisturiser in amongst the getting of breakfast (me), the eating of breakfast (the zoo), the finding of uniform (me), the getting of socks which have been left upstairs (me), the fielding of never ending questions (me), the putting on of shoes (me and zoo – combination effort), the swearing under breath (me, me, me).

Then comes key product number two. Nars Light Optimising Primer. Also sent to me initially as a sample by Mecca Cosmetica. It has a pearly finish, designed to give me, what the beauty industry refers to as the “lit from within” effect. I hate that phrase. It makes me think of bad heartburn, and has me reaching for a Rennie just reading it. I prefer “candlelit”. That makes me think “glow” more than “burn”. On it goes. Now I am glowing, and my complexion is smooth enough that I need just a very thin layer of foundation.

However, I am still pale. I need a bit of colour. Some blush on the cheeks (I am partial to this at the moment). Very summer. Very fresh. A little bronzer and….hello! Alive! Well slept! Relaxed and freshly holidayed!

Except, the body. Nothing says Aussie girl like bronzed limbs. But I was born in England; ergo I come in two shades – pink, and pale pink (winter). Clothes simply do not look as good with two pink pins poking out. And so I have to fake this too. Right now I am loving St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil, as suggested my one of my trusty magazines. I don’t know if it is fool-proof, but it is mother-trying-to-get-showered-and-dressed-in-under-10-minutes-proof. It has a colour and shimmer to it, so the effect is immediate, as well as becoming more permanent over the subsequent few hours. No bad smell. Moisturising. No streaks or patches. Dries fast. I’m sold.

At least I am until the bottle is running low and I read about something that sounds better…..

XOXO Shopping Girl

*in the ironic sense of “mildly”.

Where to put the stuff

I can’t remember how to write. Actually it’s not really the writing that’s the problem. It’s the time. I cannot remember how to make time to write. Cerebrally I know it is possible. I am no busier now than I was a few months ago, although arguably Baby N is at a somewhat all-consuming stage. I am busy but I am not so busy that there is not a single second to spare. As finite as it is, time can also be elastic. You can always squeeze a little more in.

It’s like storage. Sometimes when you think there’s just none left, somehow if you just re-arrange the cupboard, or throw away a couple of things, it all fits again. The only difference is, when you really can’t fit anything else in, you can always buy more storage.

I love storage. It’s a first world shopping category, storage. In order to need storage, you first need lots of stuff to store. A guy called Howard has made an absolute mint, no doubt, off our inability to limit our rates of acquisition, married with a desire for our homes to appear clutter-free and orderly. Howard is a clever man. He knows that when I run out of coat hangers, I don’t think to myself “gosh I really have too much clothing”, I think “I need some more coat hangers”. When you need clear perspex boxes to organise your make-up you have TOO MUCH make-up (and I know I do, because mine doesn’t fit in all my little Perspex boxes).

There are so many gorgeous storage options available at the moment. They have become quite the decor item du jour. Here are my picks:


Wire Baskets (mine are these Robert Gordon Fishing Baskets).
There are variations on this theme popping up everywhere. We all know I love everything metallic but these are so useful. I have nappies and wipes in one, magazines in another and a proliferation of toddler toys in the third. Fisher Price has never looked so chic.

Washable Paper Storage Bags
These are EVERYWHERE. It started with Uashmama. The second I saw those silver bags I snapped them up for Baby N’s nursery.

I can’t say it improves the experience of changing a nappy. And some may say that storing nappies seems to have taken up a not insignificant percentage of my storage budget in the last year. My rule is simply that whatever I buy must be multipurpose – when it’s done storing nappies (that time seems so far away) it needs to have a future elsewhere in the house. For now, the change table is organised and the nappies look better in little silver sacks. Except used ones which look better in plastic sacks in the outdoor rubbish bin.

Country Road have just released some washable paper bags too, in plain neutrals. I’m thinking they’ll be perfect for Lego storage. Lego storage could definitely be a post of its own. Even if I just detailed the history of our Lego storage journey (p.s. If you store Lego in woven raffia baskets, the Lego absolutely WILL disappear into the raffia). The important thing for you to take away is that with 10 years of Lego storage under my belt, I am thinking that washable paper bags might be my best stylish solution yet.

Paper storage bags
These are much like the washable paper bags except not washable and more papery. Thick, tough paper. I have recently purchased two. First, the toy bag, by Tellkiddo.

It has that whole Scandi vibe that I love so much, the toys look neat and organised in it, and what’s more it makes it SO easy for the kids to work out WHERE they need to put the toys. I have a lot of complicated organisational systems, and then I wonder why I am the only one who knows where everything goes. This one is self explanatory.

Right now I have soft toys in there. They look really cute peeking out the top. A very happy solution to a very annoying problem (what to do with all the bloody soft toys), and much cheaper than that cute soft-toy zoo.


Another bag in this category is The Paper Bag

There are so many places I want this in my house. Right now it is being used as a waste paper bin in First Born’s room but the bag is showing a lot of promise. I think a promotion could be on the cards.

The best thing about all these bags (and their sister, the coated fabric bag) is that they look great standing alone, sitting on a shelf or as part of a storage system, like the omnipotent Ikea Expedit. Win, win, win.

What is with wooden crates? They are sooooo unbearably chic. Especially if they are vintage, or look vintage, or they could just be repurposed and not that old at all. I am on a major hunt for the perfect crates. I want to put our piano music in them. They will provide the right amount of “rough” in my polished lounge room. I love these at Loft Furniture. I like the wheels. You know, cos me and Working Boy live such a spontaneous, fly by the seat of our pants life that we just never KNOW when we’ll need to wheel something from one room to the next. Who can tell? You just can’t limit us to keeping our possessions in one room. That’s just how we roll. Haha. Roll. Wheels. Hilarious. Or maybe just a bit tired.

Anyway that’s me. And that’s a wrap on storage.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Please excuse my absence of late. It’s all a bit “steroids on crack” around here. I have been somewhat busy. Mostly busy shopping.

This coming week is Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). This is our calendar’s big event, and we have to be ready. There’s a lot of praying to do. A lot of eating to do. A lot of entertaining to do. And everyone is supposed to have new clothes, because it’s a new year, fresh start. It’s an important spiritual occasion, and we have to look the part.

So I have been buying. Buying new shirts for the boys, replenishing cleaning products as we run low in preparing the house, boxes of wine to serve. And meat. Lots of meat. The two days of Rosh Hashanah are holy, like our sabbath, which means no popping out to the shops if we’ve run out of something. Because Rosh Hashanah is Thursday and Friday this year it goes straight into the Sabbath, which means THREE DAYS. So of course we all start stocking piling like there’s a famine. And not just food….candles, foil, glad wrap, nappies, wipes…..anything that it would be cataclysmic if I were to run out of. If Baby N were to run out of the amount of nappies I now have in 3 days, he would need hospitalisation, not more nappies.

I have not stopped to actually plan my menus of course because NO TIME. So I am just buying food, lots and lots of food. And hopefully I will fashion it into some banquets.

In past years I have done things like this:

This year I’m setting my personal bar a little lower. As in I’ve bought some tubs of apple sorbet.

Baby N has had a cold of course. He is a hypochondriac baby, so it’s basically Man-flu. I can only get things done when he sleeps. He’s up to the coughing stage so he keeps waking himself up coughing. Oh, the fun we have.

And just for more fun, tomorrow is First Born’s 11th birthday. This coming Saturday is J’s 9th birthday. Due preparations need to be made (and accordingly I have two birthday parties to plan but that is on hold for now). Presents need to be purchased and wrapped. (Note to self : must get cards and wrapping paper today!!).

It’s manic. Manic. Not just Monday, every day.

All for good reasons, of course (apart from the cold) but still there’s an air of general panic through the smile on my face.

So bare with me…..I will be back. And hopefully absence is making your heart grow fonder.

To those for whom it is applicable, Shana Tova! To everyone else, Happy September.

XOXO Shopping Girl

p.s. This has been written walking behind Baby N, as he wreaks general havoc, playing with powerpoints, pulling down baby safety gates, filling his nappy repeatedly (maybe 3 boxes ISN’T enough), pulling all lego creations off shelves, and the nose…..the streaming nose…..aaagghh gotta go – he’s found a large packet of loom bands. Oh. Too late.



Milk with Weetbix

I used to read these Graffiti books, by a chap called Nigel Rees. I love how English men are automatically chaps. An Aussie could never be a chap. He’s just a guy. The Graffiti books were a series, published in the 80s, of one-liners from walls (often toilet walls) around the world, or billboards that had humorously been “adjusted”, footnoted with the location of the scrawl. Being a sheltered, precious, 13 year old living in the world’s most isolated city, I didn’t get half the jokes, but the ones I did I thought were hilarious.

The one line that sticks in my mind is “Cleanliness is next to godliness” to which someone had added “only in an Irish dictionary!”.

Personally, I’m with the original sentiment.

As I have previously mentioned, I find staying tidy a challenge (there are just so many forces working against me…..4 to be precise), but cleanliness is another matter. I am into clean. I like my glass to be shiny and streak free. I like my cupboards to be fingerprint free. I like my clothes to be stain-free. I like my skin to be oil and odour free. I like my benchtop to be germ free. And my hands. Certainly no graffiti.

I like my children germ free too. And stain free. And odour free. And banana free. Snot free. Yoghurt-on-eyebrow free.

You are most likely laughing at me now. 4 boys, you’re thinking, and you don’t like dirt and muck? Good luck.
Well I don’t need luck…..I just need lots of different varieties of wipes (my top two are Water Wipes for hands and faces after meals and Pine O Cleen crisp apple for wiping down the table – often on special and lovely apple scent) and really good baby shampoo and bath wash.

Nothing is harder to remove than dried Weetbix. NU-THING. Even if you don’t have time to wash up – always rinse your Weetbix bowl immediately or you will regret it a few hours later when you need a heavy duty paint scraper to get it off.

That stuff has serious holding power. If you harnessed its power and
put it in hairspray you would make the best hairspray ever and be a millionaire. I can just see the advert now “New from Loreal…..Elnett, now with the active ingredient of Weetbix. Think it’s just a cereal? Think again! Eat it, wear it. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Weetbix. Because you’re worth it. Feel like a woman, having breakfast. Easy, breezy, beautiful…..breakfast”. You get the idea (and if you don’t, there’s really not much more I can do for you).

Baby N often styles his hair with Weetbix during the course of breakfast – it really holds his coif in place I find. I also find that I want it to come out at the end of the day. Wipes most definitely are not up to Weetbix hair removal.

When Master T was born, a good friend was working at Jurlique. So we received some of their beautiful baby care products in gifts, and that is what we used.

Since my friend now works for a bank, and they don’t sell boutique baby skincare, I have been using Milk & Co baby products with Baby N. They are good value products (especially when on special). They are available in Coles and Woollies so super convenient. And they smell absolutely delicious. I don’t know what the shampoo (Shampoozle and Conditioner) is designed to smell like but it smells like jelly beans to me. But in a lovely, baby way. Jelly babies. It is super gentle but somehow it gets every last trace of Weetbix out. The Bath Time Wash gets the peanut butter from under the fingernails. And the yoghurt in the eyebrows. And that mysterious gunk that gathers between baby fingers and toes…..

I highly recommend both these products. Also the suncream. Oh the suncream. I used it last summer. You know how smearing a wriggling baby with suncream and ensuring full coverage is one of the more JOYFUL experiences of motherhood? This suncream has beautiful consistency and again with the incredible smell so it makes the job slightly more pleasant. Baby N did not burn so it looks like it is effective. And did I mention the smell?

XOXO Shopping Girl

P.s. This is in no way a sponsored post. I just thought you’d all be as FASCINATED by Baby N’s skincare as you were mine.


Spring is sprung

It’s the first day of spring and the sun is out in all its glory. There’s that hint of warmth in the air that has me thinking leg wax and pedicure. Just as I waited so desparately for it to cool down after thrashing my post-baby summer wardrobe, I am now officially over my warm clothes and I’m ready for some cool (new) ones. The sales racks are being packed away, and the new collections are out.

This is what I have my eye on. Please note: these are NOT suggestions. They are MY picks…..got it? MINE:

Sportsgirl Mono Zip Back top
They did this top a while back in Zebra print. I didn’t act quickly and it was sold out by the time I tried to move on it. Lesson learned, love the new pattern.

Ginger & Smart Floral Confessions Shift Dress
Ohhhhhhh how I love this dress. BFF stay away from this dress (remember the denim floral vest from Little Horrors in 1989?? We don’t want to go there again…….). Ginger & Smart are always bang on with their dresses. I feel like we are spiritually connected somehow. In every collection there is always at least one dress that it seems criminal not to add to my wardrobe. Yes, criminal. At $500 a pop, I’m going to have to wait it out until the sale. Nail-biting stuff. Readers, do me a favour and DO NOT BUY THIS DRESS.

Karen Millen Pointelle Knit Jumper
I love a detailed back. And this one was a surprise. I normally don’t go into Karen Millen. It’s just not on my radar. But I went in yesterday and I could have walked out with 4 or 5 pieces in that many seconds. This was another favourite:

which looked gorgeous but a) its soft, fluffy nature is partly due to angora, which makes me itch. There are no two ways about it, I cannot wear angora no matter how divine it is to stroke. b) This looks warm. It is not a spring piece. Not in Australia anyway (although THIS jacket on The Outnet


almost made me rethink that whole idea, because as I said to Uma (remember her?) there’s always next winter).

Anyway moving on……this dress from Trenery is surprisingly lovely. It’s a bit of a statement though and I’m worried that statement is “I bought the dress from the latest Trenery advertisement”. I haven’t tried it on yet…..could fall into the category of looks gorgeous on tall, willowy model but less so on regular flawed human. I may not have the height to carry it off and I am more pear than willow so the jury’s still out on this one. I’ve got time – Trenery (and their mum, Country Road) discount so often, I would never consider paying full price. I’ll wait for the next store-wide promo before I think about it.


The Slouch Knit from Witchery
It’s possibly a little bit Nina Proudman and not so much Shopping Girl. But I’m always suckered in by the slouch. It promises that unattainable stylish insouciance which I am dying to master and never will. I think I am
just a deliberate dresser. I look like I deliberately put on my clothes and that’s because I did. How can anyone look accidentally stylish when NOT walking out of your house naked requires such a purposeful action? On Sunday I just threw on my clothes but far from looking like a Witchery model, I spent the day in a skirt that I’d worn on Thursday and forgotten I’d stained with chocolate whilst baking. Anyway I do really like this top and if her thighs are available I’ll buy them too. PS Witchery has a worthwhile rewards program.

No spring look is ever complete without sunglasses. My beautiful Chlôes died a premature death a few months ago. They were years old and are no longer available. They improved everything I wore. They fit me so perfectly I could not feel them on my face. This proved to be their ultimate downfall because I could not feel them on my head either. One evening I was leaning over our upstairs railing when they slipped off my head and fell to their untimely, irreparable death.

Anyway I quite like these Tom Fords. They’re not Chlôe…..but maybe I have to move past my grief. Maybe it’s time to let a new pair of sunglasses into my life.

XOXO Shopping Girl

What I bought today #2

I have pulled a muscle. Not so much pulled as stretched the living fibres out of it. It’s somewhere along my shoulder or my neck and also the back of my head. And it’s really not surprising because as has frequently been mentioned on this page, Baby N is not a lightweight. Or as J likes to say to Baby N when we get to the “Babies come in all shapes and sizes” page of Baby N’s favourite book about babies, “You’re an extra large!”.

My body has put up a valiant effort, but I think it’s starting to fold under the strain.

So today I bought some relief. I went for a massage. I haven’t had massage since I was pregnant with Baby N. My obstetrician recommended I go to help with the constant migraines I get when pregnant. Massage on doctor’s orders. G-d bless my obstetrician. Massage didn’t help the migraines at all, but it was bloody fabulous.

I have tried a few other pain relief methods already for this neck issue. Panadol does not work. Nurofen brings short-lived, minimal relief. 3 glasses of red wine, I discovered last night at our friends’ housewarming, is remarkably effective. However this is not a good day time solution, what with school drop offs and the like; sobriety is somewhat important in my line of (unpaid) work.

Coincidentally, I received an email from my kosher wine suppliers today, Five Stones. Their timing could not have been better. They are having a Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year) special for the club members (club is quick and free to join) as follows:
“Rosh Hashanah Case Special $144.00 (just $12 a bottle – save over $35 off Klub pricing)
4 bottles 2013 Autumn Harvest white, 2 bottles 2012 Rose, 2 bottles 2012 Reserve Verdelho, 4 bottles 2012 Soft Red.

Connoisseur’s Case Special $168.00 ($14 a bottle – save over $30 off Klub pricing)
4 bottles 2013 Reserve Chardonnay, 2 bottles each of 2012 Reserve Verdelho, 2011 Shiraz, 2012 Cabernet Merlot and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.”

You need to use the K4KK promo code, and you can make your own mixed dozen. Price includes delivery.

I always take advantage of their specials. Because they are good
value. This time I may need to buy two boxes: one actually for Rosh Hashana and one for medicinal purposes. I really should get a Medicare rebate.

Anyway back to the massage. The lady had the strongest fingers of anyone I have ever met. Possibly she had just been through a bad break up, and had mistaken my body for her boyfriend. She poked, pressed and pummelled. No knot was to be left knotted. She zeroed in on that spot where my neck joins my head and I thought I may pass out. I have not breathed so deeply since I was in labour. For 30 minutes I varied between “oh….sore……but good sore” and “I’m going to die”.

But when I got up off that table after half an hour, I felt nothing. Complete blissful absence of twinges or pains. My bum has never felt so relaxed. Turns out I was squeezing those cheeks for dear life as my jilted masseuse toyed with my pain threshold in her unconscionably strong hands.

After my massage I went to try on a dress. Working Boy thought me
somewhat odd when I said “I’m going for a massage and then I’m going to try on a dress”. He started laughing, “You mean you want to buy a dress”. “No”, I explained, I just want to try one on”.

Off to Zimmerman I went to try on the dress I had seen hanging there, beckoning me with its luscious pleats and tucks, every time I power walked past, Baby N in pram. I went in and asked for my size. She only had it in plain black, and I wanted the floral. She told me try it on and if it fit she would try and track one down for me. So into the change room I went and tried on the dress.

It was gorgeous. Really stunning. Classic. An investment really. I mentally filed it on my “buy when on sale” list, and started planning a spring/summer Pinterest board. The sales assistant came back.

All sold out.

She suggested I try the next size down in the black and she would see if there were any florals available in that size.

The smaller size looked even better. The sales assistant returned once more to tell me that there were three left in the country, and she would phone around to see if she could get her hands on one for me.

Working Boy may be more inciteful than I first credited him for. Now I really wanted the bloody dress. Nothing like knowing the rest of the country is hounding down your dress to turn it from a “just trying on” to a total outright must have.

So that’s it really. I bought a massage. I want to buy some wine. I really, REALLY want to buy that dress, and……I bought some more nurofen. My pain returned within a couple of hours and the wine takes a few days to ship.

XOXO Shopping Girl


The language of shopping

Shopping is a language and you either speak it or you don’t. I speak fluent shop. It’s one of my many talents.

Recently, Working Boy took the kids to an indoor trampoline park. I had planned to take them myself but of course Baby N managed to change his nap schedule as a one-off special and he ended up having just fallen asleep when we needed to leave for our booking. Luckily Working Boy had taken the day off and happily obliged in taking the kids. Not so luckily, 1 hour after their departure, he rang me to say he had been called in to an emergency, and he had to leave. I woke up baby N and jumped in the car. I have never been to the trampoline park before. I didn’t know exactly where it was. I called a friend, who gave me the street directions, which I mostly got, but was slightly unsure, especially the part about turning across traffic into a small side street off a busy road, before you actually got there.

As soon as I got there (once I had done an illegal U-turn after missing anonymous side street) it was obvious. Skyzone is across the road from Space Furniture and Domayne, just behind Nick Scali and Cosh Furniture.

If my friend had said that, I would have known exactly where to go. Because that is my language. Note to Skyzone – I would put my description under “address” on your website rather than 75 O’Riordon St.

When we bought our car three years ago, they wanted to know what colour we wanted. It’s often hard to tell from their colour chart how it’s going to look as a car, rather than a small square on a piece of glossy paper. We were told we could go and visit a different dealership to see our car in our colour. If our salesman could have just said “You’re considering the charcoal? Think Chanel Black Pearl” we could have saved the shlep time.

That is the colour of my car

To speak shop, you have to think shop. And that I do. I have an imprint of Westfield Bondi Junction behind my retinas. And it must show, because random people constantly come up to me and ask me if I know where a certain shop is. It’s eerie. Luckily for them, I always do. I never lose my car in the car park.

And yet I have been known to lose all sorts of things in my house. Maybe if I set up little shop fronts throughout my home, I won’t lose things as often. Or aisles even. I know my Coles aisles by heart too. Who knows? Perhaps this is genetic and my kids will stop losing their things too.

“Mum have you seen my school bag??” “It’s in aisle 2, sweetheart. Across the road from “Mess is us” where all your stationary is, and a few odd sheets of homework, two random pieces of Lego and a key to unknown lock”.

I am not intrinsically a tidy person but I’m trying. I think this could be the key.

XOXO Shopping Girl


It’s raining, again. Last week it rained for a few days straight. We are spoiled here in Sydney….brought up on a diet of fresh air and sunshine. After day two of incessant rainfall, I had to get out of the house. Baby N tires of 10 years of collected toys in 10 minutes.

I did not have anything pressing beyond the usual housework / cooking / kids to do. So I decided to go to the Supa Centa (yes that is how it is spelled. It’s a bugger to find in the Whitepages if you don’t know this). The Supa Centa, as its name does not suggest, is a mall comprised of homeware shops. As we are still furnishing our house it was time not wasted, and it provided long stretches of undercover ground to wheel Baby N, with interesting windows for me to look at.

It is also home to fluffy foot stool, which I am patiently waiting to go on sale. If you could see my wardrobe you could see why FFS is a perfect fit.


Sadly FFS (hereby known as FO-fluffy ottoman- because FFS stands for something else too…..oh wait……okay FFS/FO will henceforth be known as TFS – The Foot Stool) was not on sale, so I admired her woolly glamour and kept charging along the mall.

This is what I saw:
1. In the window of Bo Concept


I want a day bed or chaise for our bedroom. Working Boy has his own study – that will be my office. I will sit, coffee and iPad in hand, and do all my writing and business. Office furniture is a tax deduction, no?


There was an exhibition through the middle of the mall, called Workshopped. This made me feel cultured, and instantly turned me into the sort of person who goes to cool design events that no-one’s heard of. Go me.

3. In the window of Top3.


I really, REALLY love that lamp. The recent proliferation of logs, mushrooms, owls, deer and the like has revealed that I am somewhat of a woodland fan. I know, I didn’t have myself pegged as a woodland kind of girl either. Anyway that lamp is perfection. I’m just not sure it goes with the house…..although Baby N could do with a log lamp surely? (Decorator rule 1: when in doubt, put in the baby’s room).

4. Concrete table – Nick Scali


Would someone please buy this coffee table??! I love it. Concrete and wood. And cheap (for a coffee table). Unfortunately we need a larger one, and one that is NOT the same colour as our sofas) but I wish I could buy this one. I love a bit of industrialisation. This is also perfection. Table perfection, not lamp perfection this time. Just the right amount of industrial, polished, simple, unscratchable.

5. Side table – same shop as TFS – Contents International Design


As difficult as it is to find a large coffee table for our lounge room, it is ridiculously easy to find a great, round side table. They are everywhere. I saw at least 3 during my walk. I’ll have one for next to my one-day chaise but in the meantime I’m looking for one for the living room. The problem is they are ridiculously easy to find. How do I begin to choose?

6. Coffee table noughts and crosses

I like the idea of this on our (yet to be purchased) coffee table. However, and it’s a big however, at the moment I spend a not insignificant amount of time picking up my magazine off the floor and replacing them on our existing coffee and side tables.
Baby N : 53, Magazines & Shopping Girl: 0.
Baby N has a “thing” against things on tables it seems. He’s broken my lolly bowl. He pulls down and destroys every magazine. 3 out of 4 of my Kate Spade glitter coasters are missing. I don’t fancy adding “hunt for 1 nought and 2 crosses” to my never ending to-do list.

7. Trunks in window of unremarkable shop…..

I love a vintage trunk. Oh yes, I do. It seems the world loves vintage trunks too at the moment and there are many to choose from. Ideally I’d love to find an authentic vintage trunk…..but I’ll settle for chain store vintage if it saves me hours of trawling. Having something old and worn provides balance to all the new and polished…..though it should be said that the children are helping to provide the “worn” balance to the best of their abilities. They are adept at providing the “distressed” look to any piece of furniture you have. Going for the shabby-chic look? I’ll rent them
out to give the shabby to your chic.

After the trunks, things got a little strange.

We have a built in display unit that came with the house. I love it but I’m not really sure what to put on it. I know it needs some objéts d’art but we don’t have any. I came across this in Adairs:


I think our display shelf needs some random pieces. And what better for a random piece than a giant hourglass? The problem is that I think watching time slipping away will make me feel stressed. I already watch time disappear before my eyes (and also items on coffee tables) trying to get four children dressed, fed and out the door.

Also Baby N. I see shattered glass and sand everywhere in my future. Which makes me think actually a crystal ball would look amazing on the shelf. Adairs? Got any crystal balls?

Whilst doing a power walk through Oz Design Furniture, I saw these:


As far as I can tell these are mass produced shoe blocks. I just can’t even begin here. Shoe blocks? On display? Are people going to think I am an artisan shoe maker? No they are not. And if not, I cannot work out what message the shoe blocks are supposed to send. I would sooner put an actual pair of shoes on display (and trust me, if I can get it past Working Boy I actually will). Shoes can be art. Shoe blocks are just…….just……odd.

And finally this:


My sister did gymnastics and as far as I can tell, this is a mini vault for Baby N. I’m sure the designer thinks “ottoman” . I think “vault”. I see “Perth College gymnasium”. I hear “the music my sister did her year 9 floor routine to”.
This belongs in a baby gym, not in a lounge room. Sorry Oz Design.

So there you have it. I burned 153 calories on my walk and mentally spent $3852.

XOXO Shopping Girl.

Boys and their toys

September is our birthday month, with one third of our family’s birthdays falling then.
Firstborn and J are turning 11 & 9 next month. Their birthday wishlists are no doubt something like this:
1. iPod 5
2. iTunes card
3. Electric scooter
4. Firstborn : Wheely shoes
J: Giant Lego Star Wars set which has not been released yet.
5. Minecraft for Wii U, also unreleased.
6. Lollies and more lollies.
7. Never having to do homework again.
8. Getting to stay home from school whenever they want.
9. Unlimited screen time.
10. Baby N to not grow any older and less cute.

As I am unlikely to provide 7 – 10, I feel as though they should get 1 or 2 things from their wishlist. If you can’t get what you really REALLY want on your birthday, then there’s not much hope the rest of the year. My problem with their wishlists (which may be of my own creating, but I guarantee you, it’s accurate) is that with the exception of wheely shoes, it’s rather sedentary. And uncreative.

Whilst I don’t think their birthdays are necessarily an educational opportunity, I do feel a compulsion to provide a balance of birthday presents, and not just feed the screen-driven beasts I am rearing.

So I present to you:

“Shopping Girl’s Guide to birthday presents for boys aged 9-11”.

1. iPod Touch. It’s their number one, their Cabbage Patch kid, if you will.

The magic of birthdays is kept alive by getting that one thing you really want. And if everyone has a screen then I get what I really want – peace and quiet.

2. On-the-Go Game Pad

My boys would love this. Not as much as they would love an iPod, but it still has the potential to keep them busy. If I tell them to go and play noughts and crosses for an hour they will not so much laugh in my face as whinge in it. However give them a notepad like this where the lines are all neatly and graphic-designer-y laid out for you, and “cool!” they will exclaim. Who knew home drawn parallel and perpendicular lines were so lame?

3. Letter light.
Since we moved house a year ago, I have had an obsession with my boys’ rooms. I keep trying to make them
Pinterest ready. Unfortunately the rooms contain the antithesis of Pinterest: live boys. I arrange their toys artistically, instagramatically, upon their shelves…..they play with said toys and if I am LUCKY they put them back….but the shelf now resembles a jumble sale. Baby N does NOT understand that his books are in rainbow colour order. I have decorated their rooms to the best of my financial and artistic ability in the hope that they will love them and treat their possessions respectfully. This is not going entirely to plan. Anyway I love this, and I think firstborn would too.


4. Crayola Marker Maker


This is not something they will love and keep forever. They will not walk down the aisle with this toy. The marker maker is a summer fling……they’ll think they’re in love for a month or two and then they’ll never look at her again. Intense, passionate. But they’ll alway have the memories. Ah, the memories. My best fling toy was Barbie Charms the World.

The kids enjoy being creative, and I enjoy them being creative. According to the experts, the benefits of being creative are endless. Unless it’s creative accounting. Then you might end up in jail.

The other day one of the kids was complaining about being bored. I suggested we make a pet rock. Child looked at me like I had grown two heads and both of them were alien. The marker maker is creativity for the child of 2014 (not 1986 where I seem to be stuck).

5. Hover Soccer

I think this looks like fun. Like turning your back courtyard into a life sized air hockey table. Token “outdoor”, “exercise” present. This is more about me than them.

6. Board Games.
J wants “The Game of Life”. Firstborn played “Settlers of Catan” at a friend’s house and was very enthusiastic. I saw this at Questacon :


I think it looks great, and sneakily educational. The batteries are a pain though. I am all for board games as long as the kids understand they are to play with each other, not with me. My sister never wanted to play Monopoly with me when we were kids. I used to play by myself. I was the thimble AND I was the dog. The thimble always won. Unfortunately for my kids, playing solo monopoly is thus a viable option. I think it builds resilience. Because when you play Monopoly by yourself, you’re always the winner, but unfortunately you’re always a loser, too.

7. Snap circuits


First born likes taking electronic things apart to see all the wires and circuit boards. Unfortunately he cannot put them back together. Perhaps this will teach him. Last year we did chemistry sets. Too much parental supervision required. Snap Circuits are this year’s token science present.

8. The 52 Story Treehouse
It’s the next in the series and it comes out in J’s birthday month. Although he has probably slightly outgrown this series now, J’s bound to get excited that the latest is being released. My kids have this strange compulsion to continually want to read new books. When we were kids, my parents bought us new books from time to time. The rest of the time we RE-READ the books we already had. This is a foreign concept to my children, but one which they must learn. Then they can play one of the best games my sister and I ever invented. The quote game. One of you recites a quote from a book, the other has to say what book it’s from. But you need to be really, REALLY familiar with your home library to do this. So I’ll buy J the new book but really I think he should re-read the first 3 books a few more times, or how else will he ever know the proper response to “She salted her egg, then bit into it”?

XOXO Shopping Girl