Sass and Spice

10/52

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

Nyla: You have started trying to grab things out of your reach. Does this mean crawling is around the corner?

Lily: You have such a cheeky demeanour and often laugh yourself silly at your own jokes.

Last week I enjoyed these shots which to me captures the ordinariness yet beauty of life at home with kids.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 10/52.

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S x

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Dear Nyla: 7 months

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My monthly letters to Nyla during her first year

Dear baby,

7 months already? Seriously, I felt like I was pregnant only yesterday! But yes, you are over 7 months now and the whole going back to work thing is just around the corner. Which also means massive ‘Mother’s Guilt’ will be upon me until…well probably only for the rest of my life?

You continue to grow at rocket speed and you have the chubbiest legs that I just want to blow raspberries on all the time. One sleep has been dropped and you are down to two a day. You are eating well – so well that you have dropped your 11am milk feed so you are down to only four feeds including the dreamfeed late at night.

I haven’t seen any teeth yet, even though months ago you seemed to be showing the signs. I’m not in any hurry as I’m  enjoying the ease of breastfeeding right now.

You are bouncing up and down a lot which means you are eager to get around and move. You love touching,  scratching and banging toys as you explore –  I have a feeling (unlike your sister) you will be the type to get into the kitchen draws. You just have a very curious nature.

Sleep is still a problem from 7pm – 10pm but at least on most nights you sleep from then so we all get around 8 hours all up. An improvement from the last couple of months.

As always, looking forward to the next month and beyond.

Love your Mummy x

Visit Nyla’s 6 month letter here.

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Wedding at Bunker Bay

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Seven years ago, a young man from England joined my workplace and we got chatting. We found out we lived on the same street and then funnily enough in the exact same apartment complex. We exchanged numbers thinking it was the right thing to do as neighbours but I personally didn’t think we would see much of each other outside of work.

A few days later I get a call from him saying he had somehow locked himself out of place (while having a smoke on his balcony) and got stuck outside*. I organised a locksmith and as it was going to be a few hours we got chatting again. In those hours we left our work personas aside and after a few cheeky beers we were talking like two old mates in the pub. After that I decided to make more of an effort to get to know him better and show him around Perth.

We became good friends and a few months after he introduced me to his long lost university buddy (also living in Perth as a coincidence) and I guess my life changed from there as his friend eventually became my husband and he became the godfather to my first born child.

So it was extra special for both DH and I to witness our mutual and good friend getting married a few weeks ago. We solidly approve of his bride (who I’ve become really close to as well) and his choice of wedding location in the beautiful Bunker Bay.

This wedding at Bunker Bay was an intimate and heartfelt affair with its fair share of tear jerking speeches and laugh out loud moments. The bride made all the flowers, her headpiece and some of the decorative lanterns (she is annoyingly very crafty).

The girls had fun but they had an early night with a babysitter. Lily wore a gorgeous Tutu Du Monde dress with a Madison Grace headband and Nyla wore a Little Coogie dress from L’Amour Kids and Giftware with a Tutu Du Monde headband. I wore an Ae’lkemi yellow lace gown which I’m dying to wear again.

Congratulations to my friends on their special day. And I’m so glad that my friend did lock himself out of his room that day as I would never had met DH and consequently my beautiful girls. My happiness is very much owed to him and this fateful day.

Linking up with Maxabella Loves Weekend Rewind.


* To this day, we still have no idea how he locked himself from his balcony but I guess fate can be funny sometimes. He also promptly quit smoking the next day and never went back!

S x

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9/52

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

This week we have spent a lot of time indoors in order to escape the heat. The new house behind us has finally started (after more than a year of signing the contract!) and everyone is excited especially Lily who got to see the big concrete mixers.

Last week I loved seeing these pictures of brothers playing in the cot together.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 9/52.

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S x

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Frugal February – Save or Splurge? (Part 2: Fashion)

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I can’t believe it’s already the end Frugal February. To tell you the truth, it hasn’t been too challenging so I’m going to extend it a bit longer into March and see how I go. Hopefully this will also give me a bit more time to purge unwanted items around the house.

Last week I shared what I choose to save or splurge on when it comes to beauty and this post is about how to be smart with spending on fashion. Temptation is everywhere and because we are consuming more than before at lightning speeds, it’s easy to overspend and end up with a too many clothes.

In general, I save on trendy items and invest in classic pieces to last at least a couple of seasons. I ask myself before buying something new whether it would integrate with my existing wardrobe and if not, what I’ll be getting rid of in order to accommodate it. I try to resist impulse buys and to see if I can get a better price elsewhere. I find waiting to purchase is a good way to determine if I really want the item.

I used to spend the majority of my income on fashion but now it isn’t as much of a priority anymore when you have mortgages and kids to feed.

So here is what I choose to save/splure on when it comes to fashion:

  • T-shirts -  Save: I have owned everything from Alexander Wang and LNA and because of their delicate nature I find it a hassle to always be hand washing and making sure they don’t snag on anything. The high street has caught up in terms of producing  soft comfortable tees so even though the cut might be a teeny tiny way off you can afford to buy multiples and in different colours. My favourite brands for basic neutral coloured t-shirts are Country Road, Witchery, Uniqlo and Kookai (get them during a sale), Dotti , American Apparel and Cotton On.
  • Jewellery – Both: Invest and spend as much as you can afford on special  items such as your engagement ring, watch and special classic pieces like a gold/diamond bracelet or pearls. For everything else costume jewellery is perfect and much more affordable. Cocktail rings and statement necklaces are found everywhere and opshop stores always has something really quirky, unique and usually ultra cheap.
  • Shirts: Save: You don’t need to spend a fortune on a reliable shirt. For everyday wear I prefer something I can just throw in the wash and requires minimal ironing. For work shirts I love Thomas Pink, J-Crew and Cue. Try the Daily Edited for  100% silk shirts for less than AU $100.
  • Day-time dressesBoth: I save on daytime casual dresses but will usually spend more on a dress for work or to a cocktail event.
  • Jeans - Both: Look around and you might be surprised at what fits and suits you best. I  love JBrand as they have mastered the skinny jean but I find surf shops and brands such as Dr Denim and even Topshop to have great fitting jeans for less than half the price.
  • ShoesBoth: I like Wittner, Nine West, Witchery and Zara for trend based shoes for less than $200. But I have a weakness for statement shoes and comfortable boots and find you need to spend money to get the quality.
  • BlazersSave: I always manage to find well priced blazers from Zara, Country Road and even Bardot.
  • CoatsSplurge – A good coat should last you years and years so worthwhile to invest here.
  • Evening Dresses – Splurge: This is where you want to spend to look your absolutely best for a special occasion.(Edit – If you don’t go to a lot of events, try renting a dress instead so you won’t have an expensive dress just sitting in your wardrobe.)
  • Handbags –  Splurge: Invest in a timeless bag; treat it well and it will outlast you and probably your grandkids.  Handbags are unlikely to get as damaged as easily as shoes and clothes so that is how I justify spending a bit more on bags.
  • SunglassesSave: I’m always losing or dropping my sunnies so rather save here.

What do you save/splurge on with fashion?

S x

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Scenes from Dunsborough

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Missing Dunsborough already…

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesdays.

S x

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8/52

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

Lily:  You spent the afternoon running away from sting rays and making a moat for your sandcastle.

Nyla: Last week you were in the laundry basket and this week it was all giggles in the laundry sink.

Such a hectic week for us as we just got back from wedding festivities over in Dunsborough, Eagle Bay and Margaret River. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some more pictures soon as it such a beautiful and peaceful place.

I loved this 7/52 picture of this boy happily eating watermelon - immediately makes me think of summer.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 8/52.

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S x

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7/52

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

Lily: Since watching the Peppa Pig puppet show, you have been doing your own ‘performances’ which usually involves running around in circles and jumping like a kangaroo. Here you are taking your final bow.

Nyla: The laundry basket is a hit and this is where I had you one day as I had a shower. Note to all the non-parents out there, having a shower with the door closed is a rarity!

Last week I enjoyed seeing the sister love in these pictures and also the use of texture and light.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 7/52.

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S x

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Frugal February – Save or Splurge? (Part 1: Beauty)

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We are close to the middle of the month and so far I’ve been quite good ignoring all the sales and besides the usual groceries, Chinese New Year dinners and Hen’s night (which I planned for anyway) I haven’t bought anything new besides a cup of coffee and a copy of the Big Issue.

I’d thought I’ll share some of my personal tips on what to save or splurge on when it comes to beauty. We can get so caught up in the marketing and celebrity hype that many assume the most expensive is the best quality which isn’t always true. At the end of the day it’s about being smart and spending on items which deserve the investment and saving our precious pennies where we can…

Here is what I choose to save on with beauty:

  • Lipstick -  I would say to save on the majority of lipsticks as most brands offer a wide range of colours, staying power, moisture and protection. I’m a big fan of Revlon and Nutrimetics lipsticks and they are perfect for everyday use. You can always splurge on a classic red from the likes or Dior, Chanel or Lancome and for pinks/nudes I’ll go with MAC but definitely look around first to see what suits you best rather than buying it just for the brand as it’s quite a personal choice.
  • Mascara – If you have to cut down on your makeup costs, mascara should be the first choice. Firstly, it is recommended that you throw out mascara after 3 months so this can be quite costly especially if you are spending on expensive brands. Secondly, cheaper brands such as Maybelline and even Loreal do everything they promise. Maybelline Great Lash is still the number one mascara in the world and for the very reason that it works well at a very competitive price.
  • Bronzer/Blush - If you are using a bronzer for the whole of your face, it is similar to foundation in which you would want something which lasts and be finely milled so it isn’t noticeable and therefore worth the splurge (I’m a big fan of the Benefit bronzer). But if you are only using it on parts on your face to define (like blush) I would shop around as cheaper brands such as Natio can work just as well.
  • Cleanser – As long as you wash your face thoroughly, I haven’t found any difference or added benefit in using something expensive especially if there are cheaper chemist brands which offer a range of quality cleansers for every skin type. Lots of people swear by Cetaphil, but if you want something sulfate and chemical free you should try Burt’s Bees or Sukin. The secret to the French flawless skin is the chemist brand Bioderma Creàline TS H2O Solution Micellaire and the Japanese love the oil-based cleansers from DHC. Both of these brands are cheaper than having lunch in Perth.
  • Toner – There aren’t really any special ingredients in toners besides neutralising your pH levels and it’s marketing which hype up ingredients such as salicylic acid and witch hazel – which can be spent on speciality skin care (see below) instead. I love a quick spritz of toner to my face and a big fan of Eau Thermale Avène.
  • Body Lotion – The only difference I notice with expensive brands as they are highly fragranced. I’m using a chemist brand Nourish Naturals for dry skin and it’s an all natural product (sulfate and paraben free) and specially formulated for dry and sensitive skin. Oh and it’s super cheap too.
  • Exfoliation – Again, I don’t notice a difference using a cheaper brand such as Burt’s Bees than with using more expensive brands.
  • Beauty appointments –  Unless you suffer from specific skin products, beauty appointments (e.g. facials) are really just a luxury. With waxing look around for savings, most salons offer days dedicated to discounts. Check out Scoopon to save big on things like laser therapy and microdermabrasion.
  • Eyebrows - Splurge and then save: Get a trusted eyebrow therapist to properly shape your eyebrows. Between appointments you can tweeze to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Nail Polish - I go for specific colours so look around for the best deal. I tend to get OPI and Chanel overseas where it is cheaper and I can get tax back. Otherwise, Ultra3 is a great brand from the chemist which is long lasting, easy to apply, and very cheap.

Here is what I choose to splurge on with beauty. Remember to not blow your budget, look around for specials/sales and to only spend as much as you can afford:

  • Foundation and Concealer - Foundation and concealer is worth investing in so you get the best coverage and skin benefits such protecting and moisturising the skin.  You don’t want to get anything clumpy or a poor colour match and the more expensive brands minimises these risks.  My favourite foundation is NARS and Chanel.
  • Eyeshadow - I used to be a beauty addict and my aim was to buy a pot of MAC every month to build up my whole collection. But now I realise I really just stick with mainly the same nude colours most of the time so there isn’t any point in buying new eyeshadows all the time, so buy few but buy well. More expensive brands tend to have better quality pigment and more staying power. Most are also finely milled so you can use them wet or dry too. Look online to save on Too Faced, Stila, NARS and the Naked palette.
  • Makeup brushes - Invest in good quality brushes and if looked after well they should last you years.
  • Moisturiser/Eye Cream - Invest in good skincare and spend as much as you can afford. Your skin is your best asset so look for anti-aging night and eye creams catered for your skin type. Also, day creams should have SPF and if it doesn’t  you will need to get a separate SPF product either in another skincare cream or your makeup.
  • Perfume - I’m a snob when it comes to perfume and cheaper brands just smell too artificial. A good quality fragrance goes a long way though so you can use it sparingly.
  • Speciality skin products (masques, serums etc) – This is skincare made to correct specific skincare problems so it’s best to look around for the best price and invest.

Stay tuned for my next post on what to save and splurge on with fashion!

What do you save/splurge on with beauty?

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6/52

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

Lily: You are always putting on voices and having conversations with your toys. The other week I heard you saying in a stern voice “Lily, please stop saying ‘WHY’ all the time…” obviously you were being me!

Nyla: I can still see you while I’m hiding and playing peek-a-boo with you!

Last week I loved this photo which captured the light perfectly of this little girl’s hair.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 6/52.

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S x

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