Sass and Spice

15/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: Tonsillitis has reared its ugly head again. Hopefully you will you get better soon.

Nyla: This week you are looking less like a baby and acting more like a toddler with the whole arching your back and high pitched shrieks when you get frustrated.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 15/52.

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Winston Wolfe AW 2014

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(Left to right): Raccoon structured Jacket (AU$1140), Leather Cream Biker Jacket (AU$400), Blue Raccoon Vest (AU$850), Leather singlet top (AU$290), Boyfriends for Girlfriends Leather pants (AU$380)

Winston Wolfe only launched a year ago, but has already created much hype – and deservedly so as Kristie Kahler has created an edgy line inspired by stylish girls from around the world: the laid back style from Australia, the chic and sophisticated ladies from Paris and the cool cats from New York City.

Pieces are fashion forward and ultra cool with a certain rawness. Whereas Sass and Bide started with denim, Kristie has chosen leather has the brand’s shining star. And even though other luxurious materials (such as fur) are heavily used,  prices are kept relatively affordable.

Her savvy business model relies on social media to promote her collections online (a strategy which creates intense hype and excitement) before they are manufactured so pre-orders ensure upfront and early payment. The savings are then invested into being able to use the quality materials such as New Zealand lamb leather. Clever right?

And it’s also refreshing to hear innovation working for a new fashion designer when it’s so common to hear of all the struggles of the fashion and retail sector.

Be sure to check out the website at winstonwolfe.com.au and add Winston Wolfe on Instagram (@winston_wolfe)

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14/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: Your bottom two teeth finally came out this week! Unfortunately we had a few sleepless nights as it was quite painful for you. (BTW, anyone recognise the onesie?)

Lily: Excited to be on a boat for the first time!

Last week I was so envious of this little girl’s coat.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 14/52.

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Why you need to watch Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Image courtesy of HBO

I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking about Season 4 of Game of Thrones coming out tomorrow. I have to confess when it first came out I thought it was only something that die hard fantasy fans would watch. You know the dungeon and dragons type that speaks Elven fluently and hosts medieval birthday parties.

And when I watched Season 1, I really thought there was way too much sex and violence (gosh I’m a prude) but maybe I just got used to it as I loved each subsequent season since then and super excited about Season 4.

So are you a fan? If not, here are my five reasons to watch Game of Thrones now!

The characters are complex

There are so many characters that it took me a while to work out who was who and how they were all connected (thank goodness for re-runs).  But even with all the special effects and beautiful locations, it really are the characters – their dialogue, tortured lives and power struggles – which really makes this show a standout.

Who hasn’t falled in love with Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of the strong willed and witty Tyrion Lannister (who also happens to be a ‘little person’).  But I think it is the female characters which really makes the series shine as whether they are queens, warriors, ladies, prostitutes they exude their own authority with their razor sharp lines. And refreshing to all the one dimensional characters on TV at the moment…

Made for TV

I haven’t read the book series (yet) but I can’t imagine the TV depiction being disappointing with all the special effects, dramatic fight scenes and dazzling sets and costumes. With spectacular scenery in locations such as Croatia, Morocco, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Iceland combined with the drama it’s hard to not admit this story wasn’t made for the screen.

There really is nothing on TV at the moment (in my opinion) which matches this series based on it’s sheer scale and huge budget.

It’s unpredictable and controversial

There are several story lines running parallel and an abundance of intricate plotting, back stabbing and twists so you never know how things will turn out. Several times there have been favourite characters who have been killed unexpectedly which does make you pissed off but it keeps you on the edge of your seat I suppose!

The stories are loosely based on actual history

I’ve picked up that some of the storylines (minus the sorcery and dragons) have been inspired on actual history. War of the Roses, The Hundred Year War, and  the geography and politics of Westeros doesn’t sound too different to the United Kingdom with the ‘North’ and ‘South’ divide and there is even a wall (Hadrian’s) which separates England and Scotland.

So it’s not all fantasy as you get a loosely based history lesson. And the drama is a lot more credible than reality TV right?

But it still is Fantasy

White Walkers (Zombie like creatures), sorcery, and did I mention dragons?? Enough fantasy and CGI to intrigue the geek in all of us and provide the needed escapism from our real lives.

So who else is excited about Season 4?

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13/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: Crawling has officially started. And it’s surprising that my house isn’t baby proof anymore so I’ll need to go through all of Lily’s toys and chuck out move anything which is a choking hazard.

Lily: If it wasn’t for your tutus, you would be a total tomboy.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 13/52.

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Small nude coloured bags

nude bags, blush bags

As I’m envious of the northern hemisphere welcoming Spring, I’m lusting after these gorgeous nude and blush toned small bags. It’s not as bold as black or brown, but you have to agree that the pastel hues work to sweeten any outfit. Perfect for Spring and because it’s a neutral tone, it’s still acceptable to use all year around – yes, even for us heading into Winter!

These are my top 6 picks for the best small nude coloured bags:

Top (Left to right):

Gyptian Triangle Planet bag (RRP AU$180) – The geometric detailing edges up this lamb skin satchel. Western Australian designer Salma Elbatanouny is behind the Gyptian brand and takes inspiration from elements of her Egyptian heritage to create modern leather and jewellery pieces.

Proenza Schouler PS11 Classic Textured Makeup (RRP AU$2395) – This cult famous bag comes in this gorgeous camel colour and the usual cube jewel embellishments have been changed to a marble effect.

Saint Laurent Monogramme Small bag in Blush (RRP AU$2287) – The tassel and classic logo makes this bag very elegant and I just love the blush tone with the gold hardware.

Bottom (Left to right):

Louis Vuitton Louise clutch in Rose Velours (RRP AU$1790) – I love the Louise range from LV and how it’s minimal aesthetic and use of actual leather is elevating this brand to uber luxurious again.

Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5 Zip Clutch in Peach (RRP AU$219.07) – Gold hardware, extra long zip pulls and metal feet are some of the features of this soft leather bag. And the best thing is that there is no ‘zero’ missing from that price! Too good to be true right?!

Mulberry Lily in light blush (RRP AU$1439)- I’m a lucky gal to own this bag already but it’s a favourite of mine so I had to feature it. I’ve wanted the Bayswater bag for years but having this feminine little number with the classic postman’s lock (which can be worn long or short) has fulfilled my Mulberry lust but maybe I love it because of its name?

Which bag is your favourite?

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Working Mother Diaries: It’s not an easy choice

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As a mother I feel I’m forever being bombarded with conflicting comments relating to being a working parent or a stay at home parent:

“What do you do at home all day?”

“What’s the point of having kids if you are returning to work?” 

“You must be so bored and unfulfilled all day at home with the kids.”

“Your kids are only young once. Think of your kids…shouldn’t they be your priority?” 

“So what is it like spending your partner’s money and hanging out at cafes all day?”

“No one can look after you kids better than yourself. You don’t need a nanny or childcare to do the job you are supposed to do.” 

“If you have a choice (to not work), why go back then?” 

“Don’t you get sick of talking to kids all day? I’d miss all the adult conversations.”
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It seems everyone has an opinion about what it’s like to stay at home or return to work as a parent. It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions we make (as parents) and the last thing we need is all the judgemental comments over something which is deeply individual and personal.

Next month I’ll be returning to work. It’s a huge decision but I’ve put some safety nets in place (Part-time hours, able to work from home, 3 month contract) in case circumstances change and I need to be back at home again.

I’m lucky that Lily loves daycare and has made quite a few friends. She is enrolled in the pre-kindy programme and seems to be flourishing from the more structured curriculum. Nyla is enrolled at the same daycare too and both of them will also be spending a day with my parents when I go back to work too.

I’m not looking forward to the hectic mornings getting the girls fed, bags packed and dropping them off and making sure I make it to work on time with everything I need as well. It’s always heartbreaking saying ‘goodbye’ and the massive guilt that follows when making the mad dash to the peak hour train.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach so it’s important to weigh up the options with your own circumstances. My decision certainly wasn’t an ‘easy’ choice and it doesn’t stem from me not wanting to be with my children. Yes, I get to contribute financially to the household but it will be a continuous juggling act to work in a job and run the household. And to maximise the time I get to spend with my kids. I’m lucky to have a supportive partner too.

I enjoy work. I do get a sense of fulfilment with my career as this is something I’ve worked hard for many years to achieve. The financial reward is difficult to ignore and it will make it a lot easier on us to contribute to the children’s future education and the new house. And with the government’s childcare rebate and my parents who are looking forward to spending time with the kiddies without me (i.e. getting away with spoiling them) it’s something worth giving a shot for at least 3 months right?

Everyone’s situation is remarkably different and I know what might work well for my family might not work fantastically well for another. As long as parents provide a loving environment and spend quality time with their children – with them always being a priority – it just baffles me why we still get judged?

No matter what I’m doing I will always and still be a loving mother and my children will always come first. And whether you choose to go back to work or stay at home, both come with sacrifices, pros and cons – but we are just all trying to be the best parents we can be.

Was it a difficult decision for you to stay at home or return to work?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

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12/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Blue and green. The weather is still very much summer so we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors and enjoying all the bright colours.

Last week I loved these pictures of these cheeky brothers.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 12/52.

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11/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: You just love drawing and painting at the moment.

Nyla: The ‘reaching’ continues and now you are doing push ups and moving backwards.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 11/52.

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Autism Awareness: Living with two Autistic brothers

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It’s not something I’ve fully elaborated on this blog before but I grew up with two autistic brothers. I don’t keep my brothers’ autism a secret but it’s not something I typically announce after five minutes of meeting someone either. I guess it stems from growing up in a small town in the Pilbara (where everyone knows everyone), and enduring the many nasty remarks made about my brothers in school. The word ‘autism’ isn’t on a typical seven year old’s vocabulary list but words such as ‘retard’, ‘slow’, ‘dumb’, and ‘stupid’ unfortunately were used instead.

Now as an adult I get lots of questions with many people being curious about autism. But sometimes it can get really annoying even though most of these people mean well. You know like when you get asked the same question ALL the time and nothing you say seems to be the answer they want to hear? At the end of the day I know my brothers will never not be autistic. Just because you might have read something in a magazine doesn’t mean there is some miraculous cure out there. And no…none of my brothers have a special ability like that guy from Rain Man either sorry. When autism is part of your everyday life you just learn to accept things the way they are as it’s the only reality you know.

My older brother to this day doesn’t speak. When I was five, I kept trying to get him to simply say ‘Hello’. I thought it was my purpose in life to get him to speak so then maybe our mother will be a bit more happier during the day. And that I’ll finally get to have a normal older brother where we argue over what to watch on TV, blame each other over everything and having someone credible to teach me martial arts.

As each childhood milestone passes, I would accomplish, achieve and ultimately progress further and further away from my older brother. And as time went by it wasn’t my purpose in life to make him speak anymore. He was just who he was. And not like me.

My younger brother was such a happy baby who loved sucking on his thumb. He could always talk but he would just repeat things over and over again and not really care if you were listening or not. I clearly remember mum talking to dad about her suspicions that my younger brother was also autistic but it wasn’t until after the final specialist confirmed it that she started to sob uncontrollably every night…even though she had always known.

There is always a sense of awkwardness when we are out with them in public. Both of my brothers stare and smile at strangers way too long to be socially comfortable. A shopping outing is never easy when my younger brother would easily lose his temper and start screaming or hitting his head against a wall. We all began to just live with the fact that our friends wouldn’t invite us over in fear that my brothers might break something in their homes or make their children cry.

It does makes me sad knowing my brothers will never grow old the ‘usual’ way and will never know the joy of being loved as a husband, father or grandparent. But for the most part they are both happy. My older brother loves working and my younger brother enjoys living out of home.

We are family and this is our ‘normal’ and the most important thing is that my brothers get to laugh everyday and have constant love and support around them.

It’s Autism Awareness Day on the 2 April. I’ll be writing more about autism next month on this blog. You can find more about autism here.

Linking up with IBOT with Essentially Jess

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