What to buy the husband who has everything he wants and wants nothing.

Children are like ants. I once read this and no truer word has ever been spoken. They pick things up in one place and drop them down in another location. And they do this all day long. What ants, like children, do NOT do is pick things up from the place they left them and return them to the place they belong. No amount of storage shopping can solve this dilemma. And you all know I have tried.

There are 4 ants in this house and only one Queen (cleaner) Ant. I am fighting a losing battle here. 

Right now (2.43pm), I am sitting here on my throne. Afternoon tea has been prepared, the dishwasher has been unloaded and re-loaded, the washing machine is washing the dirty washing, I have folded and sorted the clean washing, dinner has been cooked, Baby (a)N(t) will need to be woken in 10 minutes to go and fetch the other ants from school. There is a random assortment of toys, books, socks, shoes and pieces of homework strewn across the communal living areas of our home. And normally I would spend these final 15 minutes repatriating the assortment. But if I do that now, I will NEVER write again. And the shopping stratosphere will be out of balance. So even though I am going suffer extreme embarrassment in 1.5 hours when the guitar teacher comes over, and even further mortification in 2 hours when the piano teacher arrives* (the guitar teacher is an aging hippy, whereas the piano teacher is an extremely composed professional), I am taking one for the team.

2015 is proving to be hectic one for Shopping Girl, so far. It started with a bang – Working Boy turned 40 and I threw him a party with all of his friends to celebrate – and it hasn’t really stopped. 

Working Boy is not great with presents. That is, he really does not want any. Really. He does not like stuff. He is (unbearably) practical. 

It was tricky. I knew that WB did not want me spending his hard earned money on him. He wanted me to spend thought and time, rather. Which left me in a quandary because his birthday fell on the 2nd day back of Term One. It is hard to find time when you have 4 children with you 24/7 for seven weeks. In fact that scenario has rather the same destructive effect on thought process as well. 

So this is what I did. The day the children went back to school, I headed straight to Westfield. I breathed in that shopping mall air and felt the school holiday weight lifting from my shoulders. Some people need to sit alone on a tall mountain / deserted beach / cave to think clearly. Some people need to go on a yoga retreat. I also need to retreat. To Westfield Bondi Junction. 

I went to David Jones and bought Working Boy a pile of shirts I thought he would like. This doesn’t sound all that romantic but it’s actually quite thoughtful . 

Working Boy tends to wear his clothes until they are falling apart. He has come home in hospital scrubs (he is not a surgeon) on the odd occasion because he wears things literally until they fall apart, and one time the time they chose to fall apart was while he was at work. The last time we bought him clothes, Baby N was a foetus. And this is Baby N now:



(Gratuitous baby photo)

You can see Working Boy and I have slightly different philosophies when it comes to clothes shopping. Anyway his shirts were starting to look blah, and he had a very hectic working summer with little time for eating and sleeping let alone shopping, so I decided to bring the shop to him. I bought him about 15 shirts that I thought he would like (from David Jones, where I won’t have hassles with returns), I borrowed a clothing rack, and I sent up a little David Jones in the living room, with me playing the part of personal shopper. He loved it. Partly because I had thought about him, and partly because he didn’t need to go shopping anymore. 

Then for another thoughtful touch, I bought him these fabric photo stickers and applied them to his office wall. 





With a ruler and spirit level app and everything! Actually in all honestly I was ordering name labels for the kids (had I had time, I could have done an awesome back to school special…..maybe next year. Working Boy is not getting a big 41st party) and the website, tinyme.com.au, was advertising a special on their photo stickers. It’s easy as anything – their website logs into your instagram, and you just pick your pics. Yeah, Working Boy loved that too. And the kids were pleased with their name labels. 

Finally we decided we would choose an Aquabumps print together to mark the occasion. We haven’t got around to that yet. As mentioned, Working Boy is not great with non-urgent shopping and it’s hard to urgently need artwork for your walls. Believe me I have tried, but there is no “pants split at work” equivalent to photos on the walls. We’ll get there eventually.

Despite the fact that it was HIS birthday, WB composed and PERFORMED (in front of gathered friends and family) a song for me. It’s really good. Not just because it’s about me. It is actually good. That is the ultimate cost-free present. And if that’s what I get for his 40th, I can’t WAIT till mine!

*okay so I started writing on Tuesday but it took me another 3 days to finish.  Baby N woke so I neither wrote NOR tidied. The ultimate injustice.

Boxing Day Musings

I know you’re all feeling neglected. I have left you, dear readers, to fend for yourselves at the busiest point of the shopping year. I have no words to beg your forgiveness. But please know, it was all in the name of shopping.

There is SO much shopping to do at the end of the year. Teachers’ gifts. Chanukah presents. Christmas presents for Working Boy’s colleagues. Sandals for the kids. School shoes for the kids (if you want to be SUPER sneaky and miss the January queues. Their shoes fit for a year – they will not grow out of them over the 6 week vacation). It has seriously been one long shop-a-thon. With no time
to write about it.

And it is by NO MEANS over. I woke up this morning to find my email inbox crammed with all the Boxing Day steals and deals. So if there’s anything you’ve been hanging out for, and it wasn’t discounted in the lead up to Xmas, as retailers vied for our affections, it is BOUND to be on sale
now. Some retailers (Zimmermann I’m looking at you) put their sales up Xmas Eve, I assume to avoid having to do any work on Xmas or Boxing Day, but only scheduled the email sale notice for the 26th. Some savvy shoppers (Shopping Girl, I’m looking at me) deduced this could be the case and nabbed their dress reduced before it sold out. Winning.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/0e4/69889076/files/2014/12/img_6305.png My inbox this morning.

However, I’m not going to be doing so much shopping in the Boxing Day sales. I think it’s time to dedicate some of the budget to what I really need. Saucepans. As opposed to what I don’t actually need. Another dress. When we moved into our house in August last year, it emerged that every pot and pan I owned was rendered useless by the now, much adored, induction cook top. Despite the fact that we had invested every last penny we had into our house deposit, I informed Working Boy that we would have to dig deep and find a few MORE pennies for some induction compatible pots and pans. I bought the bare minimum. 18 months later I am still cooking with the bare minimum and every time I want to make soup and pasta AT THE SAME TIMES, or more than one type of vegetable (which anyone with children who like each type of food SEPARATE will relate to), I curse myself for forgetting that every once in while frypan trumps shoes. So this Boxing Day, it’s all about the pots.

Being able to differentiate between essentials and frivolity has always been an issue of mine, and it’s
not only noticeable in my somewhat sparse cookware drawer. Yesterday I flew to my hometown of Perth. Packing for myself and 4 small to medium to slightly big people is sometimes not the easiest task, but Perth in summer is not complicated. Per child I needed, 5 t-shirts, 4 shorts, 2 boardies, 2 rashies, 6 undies, 2 pyjamas, 1 thongs, and…….packed.

I don’t know who I think I am but for myself I packed…..a little unsuitably. I packed my runners and compression leggings (Who knew I had compression leggings? I don’t even KNOW what they are for, let alone when I bought them). At some stage in the packing I moved away from Michelle Bridges and began chanelling Talitha Getty. If I were Kate Middleton with multiple appearances and poolside parties, I would be well packed. Presumably, if I were Kate I wouldn’t have been packing myself in the first place, but details, details.

I have come to Perth. To chase a toddler around parks. To dig sandcastles at the beach. To watch the children roast in the sun, jumping on the trampoline. To lie on my parents’ sofa. To eat icecream. It’s not a fashion capital and I’m not going to any celebrations. The only paparazzi snapping will be me, behind the camera, lens trained on Baby N, the cutest of subjects. It’s too hot to exercise. And even if I wanted to,
I am too busy lying on the sofa. So where the hell are my comfy, hanging out clothes? Why am I packed like Poppy Delevigne on her way to her nuptial festival in Morocco? Why,
Oh Why, have I packed for an It-Girl’s St Tropez vacance when I have as much chance of having that sort of holiday as……as……as……well that’s just it – I have absolutely 0 chance of having that holiday.

On the bright side, at least 4/5 of us are suitably packed so that’s an 80% success rate, really.

Anyway must dash. We’re off shopping. For Baskin Robbins. Yep I’m off to take the kids for ice-cream. In 100% dry-clean only silk.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Why I’ll never be thin or rich

This morning I dropped the kids at school (which was blissfully short after one child refused to go in yesterday and I spent 1.5 hours trying to drop him off. I tried. I failed. I tried again. I failed again. Multiple teachers tried. Multiple teachers failed. Until the school receptionist came to the rescue and although it is totally NOT her job, she magically kept him inside school as I left. All hail the mighty receptionist).

So after this normal length drop off, I came home, popped my runners on and headed out, Baby N in pram, to pay the bakery and the butcher a visit.
Bread in bag, bagel in hand, chicken and steak in the pram, home we went. As I passed the corner store, I saw the Ben & Jerry’s fridge and I lingered momentarily.

“Mmmm” said Future Shopping Girl. “That icecream will come in mighty handy later when you start craving that sweet, creamy deliciousness to comfort you through the difficult part of the day. Get in now and you’ll be SO pleased later”.

“Nooooo” screamed Future Future Shopping Girl. “You’ll eat the whole tub and be filled with self-loathing and regret. And Ben & Jerry’s really isn’t THAT great icecream. It just has really amazing flavours. It always sounds better than it tastes”.

“Future Future Shopping Girl is right”, I thought to myself. And I kept walking.

Later, I was innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed (okay I was checking how many likes last night’s post got) when this appeared:

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Now, I know there are some people who can look at the poster, think “yum”, and carry on with their day. And there is that weird, small percentage who think “ugh too sweet”. “Too” and “sweet” are two words that simply do not belong together.

I am neither of those people. And this is why I will never be thin or rich. I saw that poster and thought “Must. Have. NOW.” Tout suite. And then “OMG English toffeeeeeeeee”. Baby N was due for a nap and I had just BEEN in Bondi Beach, but I immediately started working out the rest of my day, and how I could work in a trip to Ben & Jerry’s. I don’t know if English toffee is any different to Australian toffee or French toffee for that matter but the words have always held a very dear place in my ice-cream flavour heart.

My options were split – I could go after Baby N’s nap, buy a tub and eat it myself…….which isn’t great for the thin but better for the bank balance OR I could take the kids after school which is better for the thin but harder on the wallet.

But I can’t just take the kids to Ben & Jerry’s……too much of a treat just for an everyday afternoon tea. So I start wracking my brains for a reason. Thinking…..thinking…..got it! First Born and J played in their first piano concert on Sunday and didn’t stop in the middle of their pieces shrieking “I can’t do this!” as they are wont to do at home. Sure, going for icecream straight after the concert would have made more sense but it was passable.

As an aside, icecream is not the only reason I will never be rich. I am constantly looking for reasons to treat my kids. Enter “the report present”. The arrival of First Born’s first school report co-incided with me spying a toy that he (ie me) could not possibly live without. With no birthday or Chanukah near, an occasion had to be found. “Here First Born!”, I presented it to him “This is for getting an excellent report! Well done on all your hard work”. And thus “The Report Present” became a thing until some point about a year or two ago when I realised that the kids actually thought “The Report Present” was a real thing, and were
planning what they should get. “You haven’t even got your reports yet!! And anyway – there is no such thing as a report present!” I shrieked. Let’s just say, the tooth fairy exposé pales in comparison.

Report presents have been relegated to a thing of the past but the underlying problem still remains….which leads us to icecream for a piano concert 5 days ago.

I kept planning. I would enjoy my icecream much more if I didn’t have Baby N on my lap shrieking for the spoon. I wondered if the new flavours came as tubs, or were only by the scoop. But if they were by the scoop, perhaps I could get it put into a take home pack?

I consulted the website. So I could have my flavours “hand” packed into a take home tub (as opposed to foot packed?). And then I saw this:

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A brand new take home tub flavour. So now there were two flavours in store I needed urgently to try and one take home tub too.

Butterscotch. Toffee. Cookie dough. Brown sugar. Blondies. Brownies. Toffee. TOFFEE. TOFFEEEEEEEEE.

The words swirled around in my head like……flavours swirling around in icecream. It’s that suggestible personality thing again. And suddenly it was all clear – the reason I will never be thin or rich is purely due to icecream*.

Epilogue.

I decided that I would leave early to collect the boys, drive past Ben & Jerry’s. If there was a parking spot right outside, I would take that as a sign from g-d to pick up ice-cream for myself only (and Working Boy, of course). If there was no spot, I would take the boys after school. I drove past, and there was the closest spot to Ben & Jerry’s free, highlighted by a sunbeam streaming through the clouds.

I went in and bought my HAND packed tub, but alas, they did not have Brown Sugar Blondie in stock yet.

You should all know that A Cookie Affair and English Toffee Crunch are WORTH IT. Worth the calories. Worth the money. Worth shlepping Baby N in and out the car. Oh, and I also picked up a free Ben & Jerry’s 2015 calendar which, in a brilliant piece of marketing, has about $70 worth of B & J’s vouchers attached to the 12 pages, 2 vouchers valid per month.

2015 will be a great ice-cream year.

P.S. On my walk along Curlewis St, I also passed a gorgeous new shop / gallery, which has the most awesome Astro Boy canvas I have ever seen. I was debating which son I loved most, who would get the canvas, when I discovered said canvas is $800. Unfortunately, as discussed, I’m prone to blowing the budget on ice-cream, so no-one gets the canvas, but I will be making a return trip to check out their smaller prints, and I would encourage you to do the same.

*and possibly a very sweet tooth and a complete lack of self control.

XOXO Shopping Girl

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…..

SHOPPING GIRL’S NURSERY PROFILE #1.

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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(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……

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*Lovestar vase, filled with pom-poms

And next on the shopping list is this:

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And this:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Another bag in this category is The Paper Bag

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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.

Crates
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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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