Category: Useful Stuff

A messy girl’s guide to cleaning up your side of the bathroom.

I know this will shock you, but I am not a domestic goddess. And by ‘shock you’ I mean, ‘probably not going to surprise you in the slightest if you even vaguely know me’.

I have a very busy brain and I can lose focus easily. Sometimes this means that my organisation skills suffer a lot little. I’ve had years of practice being me, so I have overcome a lot of these issues by planning better and making things easier for myself in life in general, but things do slip through the cracks. Especially when I’ve been out of my mind busy. Which is very different to being ‘got your shit together’ busy. Ha!

Lately, my side of the bathroom vanity was left to suffer. I’d been rushing around a lot – doing my make-up and then running without time to tidy up after myself. I’d dumped my stuff there rather unceremoniously after we got back from our recent trip to NSW and never really sorted it out. It was a f*cking dumpsite. Very embarrassing. I have photographic proof…

It looks like something from a hoarder’s house. Or one of those ‘rental tenants from hell’ pieces on a current affairs show. And quite honestly, I thought I’d removed any truly embarrassing items from view before taking the ‘before’ photo, but I clearly missed the tiny end of a tampon wrapper. I’m sorry. I can’t believe I’m posting this. Just #keepingitreal I guess!

Also, I should note that the martini glass was not used for drinking martinis out of and then abandoned (geez – I’m not an animal). Once upon a time, I had used it as a ‘trendy’ earring holder because I saw it on Pinterest like a bajillion years ago. You can see how well that went.

Anyway, I have redeemed myself. And it only took me probably less than an hour once I’d picked up a couple of basic things from Kmart (last of the big spenders).

Here is the ‘after’ picture (to help you recover from the awful ‘before’ picture):

I am not a perfect stylist (white flecks on the counter damn it) but I think I did OK! Mr Unprepared will be stoked haha (we have that stereotypical situation where his side is all minimalistic and tidy and mine is ALWAYS a mess).

Here’s what I’ve learned…

STOP KEEPING ALL THAT SHIT YOU NEVER USE.

I cannot stress this enough. I had make up items that I knew were the wrong shade for me, did not do my skin/lips any favours (i.e. dried everything out etc), or were so old that I could vaguely remember purchasing them before my son was born!!!

I had accessories that had once been really trendy but were now decidedly daggy and hadn’t been worn since forever. There was  cheap jewellery that had discoloured or gotten tangled up beyond recognition. Odd earrings. WTF.

What freaks me out is that this stuff had actually survived multiple clean outs! I do not know what I was thinking. If you think you’ll use it one day, but those days have turned into years, it’s got to go!!

I am going to be far more mindful of what I purchase from now on. I was never a frivolous spender, but I think sometimes when you’re trying to learn about make up or what works for you, mistakes can be made. It’s all trial and error. I think I’ll learn to gift it to someone else when appropriate or just admit that it’s never going to work for me and throw it away!

Be brutal. You can find info on how long is too long to keep certain cosmetics if you do a little internet research too. Helps to have a little reality check.

Put the ‘sometimes’ items away in a caddy for easy access.

I bought a nice open caddy style container (fitting with the theme of the above containers in the ‘after’ pic) to fit all the things that aren’t used daily, but that I go to regularly. Things like extra hair ties (I’m usually a hair down kind of gal but I do up my hair around the house when working out or on hot days), bobby pins, hair removal products (haha), face masks, eye shadow pallets that only come out on special occasions and the like. Everything’s together and easy to grab now. YES.

It’s also great that this stuff is no longer cluttering up my counter space. AWESOME SAUCE.

Group ‘like’ things together so they’re easy to find.

I know you’re thinking, DUH. THIS STUFF IS SO OBVIOUS. But I really hadn’t put any of it into practice before. That’s the key – who knew that actually doing it is just as important as thinking about it haha.

I put all the make up brushes together in one tumbler thingy. I put eye, brow and lip pencils etc in another. I put lipsticks/glosses in a make up stand so I can see them easily. Skin stuff in another container. And so on.

I think this will save me so much time trying to find my every day items. It will also make it easier to tidy up afterwards. It will take me the same amount of time to tidy them up as it would have to throw them down on the bench in a rush.

Now if only I had some sort of inbuilt motivation to clean my brushes as often as I should!

Bring the space to life. 

I’ve been working on activating ‘dead’ spaces around my home. I want every part of my house to feel alive and inviting. I have a long way to go, but I’ve been slowly working on it for a while now. I think that some of the more utilitarian type spaces of the house tend to get forgotten around here and they can end up making you feel flat and unexcited when you have to spend time in those areas and then they start to look progressively shabbier.

I bought me some cheapy fake succulents in cool geometric vase thingies and put them on a shelf that is usually strewn with clutter. Voila! Suddenly, I feel a teensy bit more house proud and happy when I look at them. They also serve the purpose of stopping me from mindlessly cluttering up the shelf from now on. It was a real problem spot!

Be on the look out for inspiration.

I love to get ideas from Pinterest and Instagram when I am not sure where to get started. I saw so many great ideas to draw inspiration from before I purchased some of my storage stuff for the ensuite. With so many on-trend items available at affordable prices these days (as well as great online tutorials on how to do it yourself if you’re crafty), it can be really easy to recreate your favourite looks/ideas. Just be sure to update things every now and then *cough* martini glass *cough*


So, tell me.

How’s your bathroom counter looking?

Got any amazingly spectacular/terribly awful pics to share with me? 

Christmas gift ideas…for me. OK, so it’s basically my wish list. Shut up.

OK, so I don’t actually expect anyone to buy me this stuff (friends and family who are reading this with incredulous looks on your faces – it’s all good – you’re off the hook haha). It’s more of an aspirational wish list and hopefully something that will help any of you who are looking for ideas of what to buy a 32 year old chick who is like, totally exactly the same as me. Yeah. So that’s kind of specific. Ha!

See, I have always loved the idea of writing a list of great gift ideas for Christmas (or Father’s Day or Mother’s Day) but often I realise I’d just be giving up my secrets and the recipients of my gifts would know exactly what was up. We can’t have that!

But if I write a list of stuff I would not be mad at receiving, then no secret squirrel business will be betrayed!

I did write a little guide full of affordable, feel good options a couple of years ago though,  so that’s probably worth checking out.

Anyhow, here’s stuff that I would (hypothetically) be really stoked to receive. Hope it helps! If you like this stuff too, feel free to ‘accidentally on purpose’ leave this post somewhere your partner/kids/parents/rich uncle will see it!

Subscription for Marie Claire Magazine

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I don’t tend to buy many magazines these days, because I have so many things at my fingertips, electronically (ahem and I have a kid who doesn’t know about adults’ me time). But there’s something really relaxing and indulgent about flicking through a big, fat magazine full of thought provoking articles and amazeballs fashion and lifestyle stuff. It’s usually my ‘treat’ magazine. For those times when I am lucky enough to be child free or we go on holiday. Or even when I had my surgery earlier this year and I knew I’d need a pick me up during recovery.

You can purchase it here

Kylie Cosmetics

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I am obsessed with make up. OBSESSED. Especially with creamy, matte lip products. I keep seeing Kylie Jenner’s lip collections and fantasising over them being on my face, wishing I could have one of each colour. Don’t even get me started on how she’s doing the eye shadow palette thing now too. But I know I will never get around to treating myself. It’s the kind of thing that seems too indulgent for me to buy throughout the year (not to mention it’s shipped from the US). It’s the kind of thing I will always say no to, because other priorities get in the way. I can never justify it. So basically, these cosmetics are the perfect treat for a loved one (perhaps one who loves make up and watches a bit more of KUWTK than they’d like to admit). Something a bit special!

You can buy them here

A good quality bluetooth speaker

I love my music. It recharges me when I feel like crap. It makes housework bearable. It makes exercise really enjoyable. It’s also something that reminds me of who I am when I’m not just being ‘mum’. I’m that bad ass chick (OK so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch) who still listens to punk rock and ridiculous hip hop. I like it loud too.

I’ve had a crappy little speaker for a while which I take around the house with me, but I’d love to invest in something a bit more reliable and solid.

I love this one from Bose:

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I love that it comes with a charging cradle and that it can be plugged into the wall. Sticking USBs into stupid ports on computers or a travel adaptor charger gets old after a while.

It’s a bit pricey but hey, this is my fantasy list. Maybe you could go in on it with some other friends/family members. Or buy it as a joint present for yourself and your partner.

You can buy it here

iTunes gift card (with a nice big amount on it)

You know. So I won’t feel guilty all year buying the music to play on my imaginary BOSE bluetooth speaker. Or in my car. Or those TV shows/movies I never ever get to see at the cinema anymore. It’s those little things that add up when you’re watching your budget throughout the year, but that make a weekend evening in seem a little bit more exciting (yes – I know – how did my life become this).

I know some people feel like they’re slack for buying vouchers, but I honestly would not be mad if I was given this. If thought is put into something, then it still has meaning. This would be so useful to me and would feed my TV and music obsessions quite nicely.

You can purchase them online or you can get them at some supermarkets (I’ve seen them in Woolies) and other retailers.

My Life Story 100 Year Journal

 

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I have been lusting over this for a few years now, but I’ve never bitten the bullet and purchased one. I think there’s something really romantic and lovely about the idea of recording your life for future generations to keep and have that insight into what your life was like. Or you can fill it in for a child and they can continue it when they’re old enough! I know that if I could have things like this to read about my parents’ lives or my grandparents, these sorts of precious memories would live on forever in writing. That’s pretty cool.

You can buy it here


So, there you have it. Stuff to buy the awkward music loving/make up obsessed/me time starved/sentimental idiot in your life.

I could have continued my wish list forever, but I hope this gets your creativity flowing.

I also recommend supporting small businesses – think handmade gifts, personalised prints, unique t-shirt prints etc. I bet it wouldn’t take much searching to source some great local traders online and offline. I wish I’d been able to get to all of this in one post. Definitely something I should revisit!

What is on your wishlist this Christmas? 

(please note that none of these products have sponsored me in any way – I just genuinely like the look of them – also, please check individual websites etc for online order cut offs in order to ensure you get your deliveries by Christmas or you can try to source some of these things in stores if you’re pushed for time)

How to feel safer on social media.

If you’ve been anywhere on the internet lately, you probably haven’t been able to avoid the news of Kim Kardashian’s run in with some armed burglars. While my life is absolutely nothing like hers in many(!) aspects, it sends a shiver down my spine to imagine what that would feel like – the violation, the trauma and the fear that your children could lose their mother.

While she’s received a lot of hate and victim blaming comments online, I do feel for her – sure her case has been widely publicised and talked about, because she’s super duper famous – but it’s still something that can happen to anyone. Even if you don’t have millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery on your person.

I have read that the Kardashian/West/Jenner family have really locked down on their social media since the scary event and while I wish this was the ideal world in which it did not play a role in the exploitation of people, I think this is a smart idea for them in the circumstances.

Please be mindful that I am in no way victim blaming anyone. Just offering some advice that I try to live by.

When I say ‘try’ I mean I am not perfect in this oversharing culture we live in, but I do try to have a somewhat cautious approach and I’m hoping to improve.

While the Kardashians are not to blame for the awful decisions made by others to traumatise or stalk them (yes I know a lot of people are disagreeing with me right now but I stand by what I’m saying), I do think this raises a good discussion about how we can keep ourselves as safe as possible. We can’t control everything that might happen to us, but we can put some safety measures in place – even without access to giant burly bouncers and bodyguards!

Here are the ways we can try to keep ourselves/locations/valuables safe(r) when on social media/blogs…

Reveal your location after the fact (or not at all)

It’s probably unrealistic to expect people to never reveal where they’re going or where they’ve been. Social media empires have been built on being able to promote exactly this.

Social media is amazing for its sense of immediacy. We can live blog, live stream, we have apps like snapchat. But it can come with its risks.

People know exactly where we are, what valuables we’re wearing and can deduce many other things about us in that place and time. While I wish there weren’t people out there who would exploit this, there are.

Sometimes for privacy reasons, I will do things like ‘check in’ to a location as I’m leaving it. Or I will save snapchat posts straight to ‘memories’ and add them to my story later.

I will keep certain locations to myself, but promote others. I recently went on an awesome holiday, which I shared a lot of, but I did not reveal the exact place where I was staying with family. Until recently, nobody even knew the exact name of my hometown on this blog!

Sometimes it can help to be a little enigmatic. Don’t always be consistent. Makes it a little harder for people to determine if you’re alone, or who you’re with/not with etc. Check a lot of settings on your social media accounts, because some reveal your location automatically. Try to disable as many of those as you can! You should be in control, not the app!

Be selective about who you share certain details with

I keep both personal and public social media profiles. While nothing is completely foolproof, my personal/private profiles are much more locked down than my public profiles and information. I try to keep my private contacts as people I know personally and feel like I can trust (I could probably even stand to do a bit more culling). I don’t give access to those I do not know well and what I share more ‘privately’ is quite different to what I share publicly.

I think it’s really important to have your private/public online presence sorted. While the urge to overshare to a wider audience can be bloody tempting, I like having people I can message/snap privately without that audience. I just ask myself before posting: is this for a couple of select friends/family members only or is this for a wider audience? What am I willing to reveal about my life right now? I’m allowed to decide what’s best for myself and my family. Some things are just not for social media.

Do not openly say ‘I’m home alone’ or my home is empty.

I try not to ever openly say whether I’m home alone (especially at night time) or that my home is empty. I’m happy to publicly show off my rather annoyingly protective dogs too haha.

I once gasped when I saw an acquaintance publicly post that she was enjoying a bubble bath right that minute, with a check in location at her house. I knew she lived alone and it freaked me out. Please don’t do that! Please!

It’s all about timing and inclusion/exclusion of critical details.

Do not allow people to virtually case your joint 

I can be quite selective in which things I share images of around my house. I don’t show off valuables (not that there are many – if any – mind you haha). I do not think that I have ever given a virtual tour of sorts of my place – i.e. while my house is a pretty standard design, I don’t think I’ve ever revealed the layout in its entirety.

I might just show the pretty generic parts of my place that happen to be in the background of whatever I’m snapping that day. If it reveals too much, I send privately to people who I know and trust in real life, who have probably visited anyway!


I know I may sound a little over cautious to some (it’s not like I’m super rich or famous or a particularly desirable target – something I do not mind AT ALL), but in reality I am really not. I probably could stand to tighten up a lot more. In some ways I envy those who can share so much without fear/paranoia (sometimes it’s even inspiring), but in other ways I can feel concerned.

None of the tips I have written here can guarantee anything. Some awful people have a will and they find a way and there’s nothing much we can do about it (which is why victim blaming is absolute nonsense). This advice just makes me feel a little more empowered and maybe these things make a small difference in deterring some morally bankrupt individuals.

I definitely could learn a lot more about keeping myself and my family safe online, but I am trying to be more mindful of what I share – especially in light of this recent news story (yes I referred to it as a ‘news’ story,  Hatey McHaters!).

How do you manage your online identity/presence? Do you have personal safety online measures put in place? (please make sure your comments do not betray any personal details that could put you at risk) 

Winter 2016: Finding my casual style.

It’s taken me a while, but I am finally getting a grasp on how to dress myself (yes I know how dumb that sounds – I’m 32). In fact, I am actually enjoying myself. I am noticing my style re-emerging after a bunch of ‘lost’ years and I am digging it! I guess I’ve had to lift my game since I became a school mum (I just won’t stop banging on about that will I?) at the beginning of this year. I’ve been trying to nail that whole casual/looks like I haven’t put in too much effort/OK to be seen in public look! I wanted to start feeling like a grown up, but the kind of grown up I feel comfortable being. Which means the ripped jeans and silly tees and ever so subtle rock and roll feel totally get to stay!

I’ve learned a lot this winter and found inspiration in the people around me and on the internet. I haven’t had to spend a lot – I’m learning it’s all how you put it together!

Here’s the stuff I’m loving…

Ripped skinny jeans

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I will scour every sale table for a pair of ripped size 12s (they are so hard to find)! I have a pair in black and a pair in denim blue. They are great for being comfy in a hoody with or for pairing with cool T-shirts, plaid button up shirts, and jackets. I love how the ripped effect gives my outfits a little bit of edge and because I’m feeling that my legs are a bit chunky (and short), I love how the rips kind of break up the big blocks of denim.

You can dress them up and down – so versatile!

I used to be scared of jeans because of the constant muffin top situation, but they make them stretchier now (slightly higher rise ones are the best) and I think I’ve finally got the sizing right (don’t always listen when the sales assistant tells you to go down a size to allow for wearing them in)! There are also really clever ways to layer and hide the ‘bloop’ around the waistline – especially in winter!

Footwear: pairing those ripped jeans with sneaks and ankle boots and (wait for it) open toed wedges!

I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under, but I only just learned about the ‘rolling the hem of your jeans up’ trend this winter. Not only does it weirdly lengthen your leg (something to do with the showing of some ankle bones – sexy) but it helps you to wear almost any footwear with them too!

Great for a shorty like me!

I love cute little Converse style sneakers for a really casual look and I love ankle boots for a bit of warmth and dressed up style.

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I have black boots myself, but you get the idea! Ankle boots are everywhere at the moment so it’s really easy to find an affordable pair that suits your look!

Here’s the surprise revelation I’ve just made…here in WA, we get a lot of sunny winter days. I don’t know why but I’ve always had this stupid fear of being shamed for wearing open toed shoes in winter (there’s always that bitch that says “aren’t you cold in that” implying all kinds of whorish things). Yet there are days where I could totally justify it! If the ground is dry and the sun is out and you are the kind of person who doesn’t care if their feet are a little open to the cool breeze, then why the hell not? I have made the resolution to stop neglecting my wedges this winter and get adventurous (even us short/stubby leg people can go strap happy when pairing with jeans)! Well… maybe when I get a pedicure (it’s not looking pretty right now)!

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Tees

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I love a good tee. For me, the requirements are that it must be juuuust baggy enough that it hides some muffin top (but not so baggy you end up looking bigger), a good quality fabric that can be washed forever because you love it so much, and those cute slightly rolled up sleeves. I pick greys, patterns and dark colours – the best for flattering a slightly bumpy mid section!

If they have cool (or funny or ironic or kitsch) stuff on them, I don’t mind either!

Bright scarves

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I often find myself wearing a lot of monochrome and neutrals in winter. It just seems easier, I guess. I like to brighten things up with a pop of colour around the neck! Scarves are great for keeping you warm, they hide the double chins, and they even disguise a bad hair day a bit! Yay!

Black puffer jacket

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I love my black puffer. It’s longer than the one pictured here, but it’s great. It will go over any casual outfit and offers an extra layer of much needed warmth! It’s so easy and comfy!

There are so many styles, shapes and prices – there’s one for everyone out there!

Now I want to go shopping more – oops haha.

How would you describe your winter style? What stuff are you wearing the hell out of?

 

disclaimer: All images originally found on Pinterest. I do not own any of these specific items (just items like them) and this post is not sponsored in any way. I am so not a fashion/style blogger. 

Don’t freak out! Easy last minute Christmas gift ideas.

Despite our best intentions, sometimes we can be a bit shit at getting all of our Christmas shopping done on time, or circumstances can change and suddenly we’re a few gifts down. Also, there’s also nothing more annoying than realising you missed a bunch of online Christmas shopping deadlines and you’re gonna have to do this in real shops! I thought I’d put together a little list of gifts you can get at the last minute, without having to go too far out of your way or do anything that is too logistically/financially difficult as time gets away from us. I hope this helps!

Shop your pharmacy

There’s always some pretty cool stuff if you browse through your local pharmacy. Cosmetics, pamper items, specialised gift packs, fragrances (like the gorgeous Cosmopolitan* that I’m lucky enough to be wearing right now that can be found at Priceline/Terry White/Nova)! You can make themed care packages: mani/pedi, skin care, shaving kits etc.

Just run around like a headless chook and stop when you meet your budgetary limits!

Shop your supermarket

While you’re stuck fighting for the last minute Christmas feast stuff with the masses, might as well also grab some gifts to stick in the trolley! The supermarket often sells DVDs, a limited selection of children’s toys, books, beauty products, etc. You can also create a foodie’s hamper. Think some good quality chocolates, some boxes of the good tea/coffee, some fancy biscuits. Or think savoury: fancy crackers, cheeses, quince paste, fancy relishes etc.

The key is to not let it look like all you did was raid the supermarket – style things up a little. Put things together in a way that shows you still put some thought in. You’ve got this!

A lot of supermarkets now also stock great gift vouchers for lots of outlets/experiences. If you know your intended recipient would rather choose their own gift/experience, this can be a really easy option!

Bake in bulk

It might be last minute and you are probably pushed for time, but if you can get your hands on a couple of nice recipes and you don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen for half a day (and you’re pretty confident with this stuff), this can be quite achievable.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve loved…

Gourmet Rocky Road – It looks festive and decadent, is really really easy to put together (we’re talking microwave and fridge – ingredients you’ve heard of – no oven).

Chocolate truffles – I’ve used these as a non alcoholic alternative for rum balls (which are also awesome). Again. No oven – minimal stove top time. Only 4 ingredients that you have heard of. Yippee.

Choc chip cookies – A classic that never seems to disappoint!

And look, I’m so not going to judge if you buy some Betty Crocker or one of those cute gingerbread man box mixes. Go nuts! Splurge on some of those Christmas coloured M+Ms. Bling things up!

People love a nice sweet treat and when something has been home made (even with the help of a box mix), it’s extra special. It means someone put their precious time into it.

If you don’t want to cook, you can even just raid the baking aisle at the supermarket (see above for tips on shopping your supermarket) and put together some cute patty pans, sprinkles, etc to make a little cupcake decorating kit! Even easier!

Shop your bottle shop

Obviously one just for the over 18s (21 if you’re in the US). You can get something for every budget. I’ve personally never turned down a nice bottle of vodka or a beautiful bubbly. I know Mr Unprepared just loves receiving a selection of obscure craft beers that he can try out.

Also, you can do this if you’ve got some craft supplies lying around (or that you managed to scrounge from the supermarket)!

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Most importantly, you might be pushed for time or you might be feeling stressed at this time of year, but just remember that it’s all about showing we care about our people. There are so many little ways to dress things up a bit and make a person feel special or thought of, without killing ourselves to achieve it.

I hope this list has helped to inspire you and I wish you well! Good luck!

Do you have any other tips/hacks to add?

 

*Cosmopolitan fragrance was gifted to me for my bloggy consideration. I really really like it, which is good because I am shit at buying that stuff for myself and I never know where to start 🙂

WTF will I wear this summer?!

OMG, guys. I am going clothes shopping tomorrow. I don’t know how this happened, but my spring/summer wardrobe is dismal! I either look like I’m wearing the universal SAHM uniform of denim shorts at a practical length, with a flowy, generic t-shirty top (which is totally awesome for those who like it and wear it well but I think I have trouble being the ‘same’ – maybe I’m a closet hipster deep deep deep down) or OMG IS SHE WEARING THAT OUT OF THE HOUSE?! Yep. Those are my current two looks. I know what you’re thinking. STUNNER.

Seeing as mapping out my dream autumn/winter wardrobe earlier this year truly worked great guns for me, I am going to give it a very very last minute attempt for summer. I honestly have no idea where this blog post is going to end up, but I hope it will inspire me (and you if you need it)!

Here are the things I think I’ll need (with Pinterest sourced pics to illustrate what I’m going for)…

Casual sun dress

But it can’t be some kind of skimpy, spaghetti strapped thingy. I just don’t think I’m skinny enough to pull that off. I want something that won’t reveal everything if I’m kid wrangling. Something I can throw on if I’m going to the shops or for a coffee. Something I can dress up when I shop in the city or dress down because I want to head to my local supermarket or do the day care/kindy drop off. We’re talking minimal effort, but stylish enough that it’s flattering to my figure (i.e. we do not want to look pregnant or like we belong on the People of Walmart website). Something that’s not too heavy and warm to wear but not so flimsy a fresh coastal breeze will show everyone my knickers. Something I can live in and wear until it’s in tatters. Something that if I love it enough and it’s really cheap I’d buy two of it. Y’know? Gee, I’m probably asking a bit much. But gosh dammit I’ve managed to achieve this in the past – why not this year, hey?

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Wedge shoes

I have some pretty sandals for every day wear, but some occasions call for a proper shoe. I love my stiletto heels for special occasions, but I need something practical (and cute) for day time events. I do struggle to find wedges that fit my small feet and don’t have too many crazy straps around the ankles to make my legs look shorter and stubbier than they already are. Wedges that have just enough straps that my dumb feet can’t slide out of them. I like a bit of height! Also? Wedges are perfect for strolling along boardwalks (ever tried it in stilettos?!)! A nude, neutral tone would be flattering and go with most things. Did I mention I’m picky?

I think it is definitely a trial and error thing for me. Also, I reckon this will be the hardest thing for me to find. But I will keep it on the list because OPTIMISM. You know, gotta visualise and all that shiz.

If I find something slightly different that serves the same purpose I will still be happy.

I have a feeling the ones pictured below would be a bit bulky for me, but I’d love to somehow capture the ‘vibe’ of them.

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Patterned button up sleeveless shirts

These tops are so easy (and cool) to wear and they are flattering because they seem to shimmy over my lumpy midsection bits – yay! They are also great because they can be quite quirky and I like to look a little different. These tops can go with skirts or shorts, so I would be able to mix and match really easily.

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Bright, stretchy mini skirt 

I love these. I’ve had several of them. I’m just disappointed that I stained my coral coloured one last summer. I’d love one in a block colour so it pops but I can match lots of tops with it. I love that I’m short, so ‘mini’ skirt is not too risqué for me. You can also dress them up and down (that’s a real theme with me haha).

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Distressed denim shorts

I’ve really enjoyed my new love affair with my distressed jeans, but with the weather heating up I figure I can still enjoy the look with a pair of shorts. I also figure it’s a way to give my ‘mummy uniform’ a bit of an edge. Because I am a mummy and denim shorts are kind of compulsory, it seems. I’ve tried to fight it but they’re so practical, damn it! I guess this just feels like a good compromise?

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So there you have it. My aspirations for a functional and fresh, every day summer wardrobe. Wish me luck!!!

What clothing items are you wishing for this summer? If you’re a mum, has your style changed since you became a parent?

How to survive those last few days before pay day.

How to survive...

 

OK, so this isn’t exactly the most sexy topic. I am sure you’re not quivering with excitement at the thought of talking about your family finances. Or doing a happy dance when you hear that offensive B word. BUDGETING. Holy shit. Have I lost you yet? I don’t know about you guys, but I hate the stress that comes with stretching those last few dollars before the next pay day. It’s scary at worst and it’s frustrating at best. I am so crap at maths and I am definitely not an accountant. Hell, I’m not even that good a blogger that this post is sponsored by an expert on finance or anything. But I think that’s kind of cool too. Because I want you to know that if I can do this stuff each month (or fortnight if that’s how you get paid), then you smart cookies can too!

So…here are the things I do to help prevent that pre-payday chaos…

Set a budget

OH HELL NO. SHE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT. Yep. I did. And it’s easier than you think. It doesn’t involve spreadsheets or fancy apps or complicated mathematics either. That’s just not how I roll. It’s just me, a page of my diary, a pen, access to my bank account details and a calculator. I do it every time we get paid and it gets easier the more you do it, because you get to know what’s coming in and out, and when!

So here’s my routine (which I do each pay day):

1. Note the current bank balance. Put it at the top of the page.

2. Have set amounts to spend on groceries, fuel, and personal spending – my husband and I get the same set amount each to spend how we like on socialising or clothes or stuff we want that is just for us – we also budget a small amount for the Little Mister. The cool thing? If we’re thrifty with our personal spending, we can roll it over and let it accumulate from month to month (often making the other person jealous haha)! Write that shit down.

3. List all of the direct debits due to come out during the current pay period. Including rent/mortgage (the killers).

4. List all of the other bills you’ve got to pay/that are due during that time.

5. Allocate a small amount to transfer to the credit card and/or a separate savings account. It could be anything from $20 to $500 or whatever you can spare each time. Stick to it wherever possible. You’ll be amazed at how much that stuff can add up for bigger ticket items, holidays, home renovations, or even to fall back on when times truly do get tough or the inevitable unexpected expenses arise.

6. Do a little maths. Subtract all the amounts from the current bank balance. See what’s left over (if any). As long as you’re not in the negatives, you won’t have to juggle anything. If you are in the negatives, then do some little adjustments until it fits.  🙂

Done!

It may not be the most sophisticated system, but it’s simple and easy and it works for me, which gives me incentive to continue with it!

Plan your groceries (and do them online)! 

There was this one miraculous day where I entered a physical supermarket and only spent the exact budget I had for that shop. To the dollar. But it was just that. One miraculous day. Ain’t nobody got time for taking their damn calculator, am I right?

I do my groceries online whenever I can. Why? Because it’s harder to impulse shop just because I’m hungry or I saw something I wasn’t planning on buying just staring at me. Also, it adds everything up for you as you fill your virtual trolley. You can literally shop to the dollar within your budget. It’s easier to meal plan (which also saves our waistlines and our moolah) – you can google a recipe and easily select all the ingredients as you go. Hell yes. It’s also comforting to know that if you plan it right, your family is GUARANTEED to know where their next meal is coming from when pay day is looming!

If you can avoid top up visits to the supermarket, you’ll find it’s harder to fritter away extra dollars each time!

I know that sometimes they inflate the prices for online shopping (naughty!) and you might have to pay for delivery, but for me it’s a small price to pay for convenience (and much less than I’d spend on impulse buying outside of the meal plan throughout the month).

Use EFTPOS where possible.

How many times have we taken out $50 to buy a couple of things at the supermarket, then chucked the change (maybe a $5 or $10 note and a bunch of coins) in our purse/wallet and forgotten about it? Then later, we feel like an impulse buy (for Mr Unprepared that’s an iced coffee treat or for me it might be a magazine) and oooooooh, there’s that cash in my purse! Instead of it going on say, groceries, it ends up being haemorrhaged here, there and everywhere! It’s harder to track where it’s gone, too!

If I withdraw cash (because let’s face it – some can be handy), I make sure it’s from my little personal spending budget (see first tip) and I try to use an ATM that is connected to the bank I am with (so they don’t charge you for its use). That way, I’ll be more reluctant to fritter it away, but I know it’s there as back up if I find myself in a bind where cash is necessary.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule (i.e. when you want to surprise your partner with a gift and you don’t want the source to show up on the account history and spoil it for you both), but I find this really helpful.

Have a bunch of free activities you can do while you’re waiting desperately for that next pay

Here are some things that have worked for us…

  • head to the beach
  • have a baking/cooking day where you use everything you have left to create something new and yummy – it can be as simple as googling all the odd ingredients and seeing what comes up. I keep a supply of basic baking ingredients stocked away just for this kind of thing – flour (self raising and plain), caster sugar, etc. It’s exciting because by now you’re probably sick of living off the bare bones. It almost feels like you’ve been shopping for new groceries!
  • Take a mish mash of the stuff you have left in the fridge/pantry and have a picnic!
  • go for a family bike ride/walk
  • play dates with friends or visiting the grandparents (hey sometimes they even throw in a free meal hahaha)
  • go to the park
  • have a movie day at home – there are so many things you can stream these days either for free or with services like Netflix (the most basic monthly package costs not much more than renting ONE new release DVD from a store on the weekend, so definitely cost effective if you like your movies and binge watching).
  • use the lack of moolah as an excuse to stay home and get stuff done – all those things you wish you had made more time for while you were running about constantly. OK, so housework or collating receipts for tax time might not be overly thrilling but you’ll love the feeling of accomplishment afterwards…and what else were you going to do anyway? 😛

Got anything to add to my list? I bet you do, you clever people.

Learn how to say no (without feeling guilty or dying from FOMO).

This used to be a really hard one for me. It can be really tempting to want to keep up with the Joneses. Those Joneses have a lot to answer for! The Joneses are the people who can buy tickets for every concert or theatre show that ever comes along. They’re the ones who can go out for those blissful boozy dinners every weekend. The people who can get their kids into every cool activity (that comes with an admission fee). The people who can buy everybody who was ever born once a fancy birthday gift every single year. The people with the shiny new cars. New houses in the latest upcoming neighbourhoods. The people who can do big renovations. The people who go on regular group holidays to Bali with their other friends. Those Joneses. Of course, the Joneses aren’t always as real as we think. When money is tight for you, it can feel like EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world can afford everything you can’t. It’s probably not true at all (you never really know another person’s situation and you might have exaggerated things in your mind out of frustration). And even if it was, it’s not our reality and it’s certainly not worth the stress or debt to keep up!

It can seem really awkward to say, “Sorry – we can’t afford it this month” (especially if you are worried they will scrutinise your spending thereafter and be really unfair about it in which case they probably aren’t the best kinds of friends to have anyway). So if you don’t want to mention your financial situation, don’t! Your finances are nobody’s business but yours. Simply say, “Sorry. We can’t make it! Catch up with you soon!”

When it’s your turn to organise a catch up, make it something that is affordable and fun! You might even find some of those alleged Joneses confessing to you that they were relieved you chose something cheaper to do!

You don’t have to justify anything to anyone and if your friendships are true, they’ll be there no matter what you can afford or not afford to do. Let them know it’s nice to be invited and that you appreciate them, even if you can’t be there for everything.

On the flipside, say yes to all the things you can do (and WANT to do – never do something you’re not that into purely out of fear of missing out) that come earlier in your pay period or that you have prior warning for so you can pop the expense in your budget! Then when things are getting a bit tighter, you can comfort yourself with the fact that it has only been x amount of days/weeks since you last caught up or did that awesome thing anyway – what’s another few days/weeks?

Sometimes just putting things into perspective can really make all the difference. It’s sad that money can sometimes affect how we feel about ourselves, but we don’t have to give in. We can be awesome people no matter what the bank balance says! While we are not exactly millionaires, I am very thankful for all that we have and I try to use it wisely. I am well aware that we have a pretty fortunate and stable situation at the moment (we have learnt the hard way in the past that things can always change in an instant) and I am thinking of everybody else out there who may be doing it a little (or a lot) tougher.

How do you survive those last few days before pay day? Any tips to share? 

Trying new things: Periscope.

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You might have noticed, but I have suddenly become a little obsessed with the Periscope app. I had no idea what it was until a week or so ago, but I was intrigued when I found out that it’s an interactive live streaming app. I was curious about how a blogger might use it and basically, I’m a sucker for the next big social media ‘thing’. At least I’m pretty sure this is the next big thing. The app has only been around since March 2015 (that’s THIS year – only a few months ago), so it’s really kind of exciting. I thought about waiting to use it, to see if it might get more popular first, but then I remembered how long I took to get on board with Facebook (“Oh whatever – it’s never going to be as good as MySpace!”) and realised there’s no harm in jumping right on in!

Basically, you can use Periscope to broadcast your life live in video form on your smart phone. People can join your experience and they can comment as you go along. You can answer their questions or respond to their comments as you go. If you’re watching somebody else’s broadcast, you can also tap the screen at any point to send ‘hearts’, to show that you like what they’re showing you or what they’re saying about an issue.

If you miss someone’s broadcast, it will stay up for 24 hours before expiring and disappearing. Kind of like the snapchat experience.

I’ve seen some cool things from around the world and I really feel like I’m seeing things through other people’s eyes. Knowing it’s in real time is kind of exciting. It makes you feel like you’ve teleported into somebody’s holiday or their work day or their lounge room! It’s like having your own very very low budget reality show haha.

I’ve been using Periscope for a few days now and I think I’m getting a bit better at it each time. I talk about bloggy things or I let people ask me questions to get to know me better. I started off not knowing how to use it, blathering about like a total nitwit (it’s a bit embarrassing just being on the spot like that) and now I feel like I’m slowly gaining confidence.

I send a tweet out each time I am live on Periscope (the app is owned by Twitter), so that people know I’m ‘on’. You don’t have to have an account to click the link and watch, but if you’d like to add me on either app, my handle is @KezUnprepared 🙂

I like that I can just be me, warts and all. It’s a test of my confidence! I’ve been stealing little ‘alone’ moments to broadcast and I haven’t worn make up or nice clothes in a single broadcast yet (not necessarily an intentional thing)!! Brave, I know! I’m trying to learn to be more comfortable in my own skin and with the sound of my voice played back… and my chins (plural).

I have really tried to do my research, though. Because with any social media sharing, there are certain things to be aware of. I’ll share the things I’ve learnt or that I am careful about…

Sharing your location/private details

There is an option that allows you to share your location on the app. I turn this off before each broadcast. Turns out, if you don’t, people can see pretty much where you are, down to the street name by zooming in on the map (I experimented). If you don’t want people to turn up and crash your broadcast or stalk you at your home, perhaps you might not want to share this detail. It is slightly less fun when people don’t know where you are in the world (unless you tell them), but DEFINITELY more safe.

I also don’t show things people might recognise. Landmarks or signs that show exactly where I live or go about my daily life regularly (especially as I don’t live in a massive place). I don’t want to show too much of the stuff that’s in my home (usually just the white wall or a closed blind or something really generic). I don’t want people to know what they can steal or how to get into my home, should they somehow find it. I will never broadcast the Little Mister, because he cannot consent at this point in his life and to be honest, you don’t know who is watching if you choose to broadcast publicly (there is an option to broadcast only with your specific followers too if you prefer).

I have noticed people sharing away with great abandon and the mum in me has been shocked! Young people showing exactly where they are hanging out alone at night (like I could literally get in my car and go pick them up). Kids showing where they are at school or how they walk home. While I wish we could all feel safe to do so in this world, it’s not the ideal world and the thought of some perv using my broadcast to get an eyeful of my child (or worse) just seems too awful. Not. Going. To. Happen.

I know I’m a massive security nerd, but I think the main point is to make educated decisions that you can be comfortable with.

Physical safety

So many people broadcast while they’re driving!!! What the hell? They’re reading the comments their viewers are typing and moving their phones about the whole time! Not only is it illegal in certain places, but it’s scary and dangerous! Please don’t do it! I saw one guy do it with his KIDS in the car the other day. He only stopped the broadcast when his partner got on his case! OMFG. Just. Do. Not.

Since then, if I see someone is driving, I switch off. The less viewers they have, the less incentive they might have to do such dangerous stuff!

I do not want to witness some wally falling off a cliff while trying to show me the sunset or crashing their car!

Try to have a focus/title for your broadcast

I try to have a broad topic or title for my broadcasts. A direction that it can go. I think about it a little bit before I go live. What I might say and how I want to say it. Any broadcast can change direction depending on audience interaction, but I like when I see a broadcast that kind of has a point to it. You can give your broadcast a title so people will know what to expect if they choose to watch. Some broadcasters are awesome at having a really engaging chat about not much, when they’re hanging out after work or something, but some…not so much haha. I kind of like using a personal vlog kind of style. Others might want to show you the awesome sunset near their place or what they’re cooking or how they’re working out or where they’re travelling. They might talk to you about their passion or even play you some music. They might even open up a Q & A.

Be engaging

I am working on this. I am trying not to blather on pointlessly (key word trying) when I feel a little lost for words. I also try not to let too much dead air happen while I wait for someone to answer a question I’ve posed. I also try not to interrupt myself every two seconds to say hi to every single viewer that logs on (if you watch someone who does this you will find you get uninterested quickly and you lose track of the message the broadcaster was trying to get across to their audience). I like answering questions and seeing little hearts bubble up on my phone screen but I try to finish each sentence first before addressing them haha.

I also am learning when to end a broadcast. Sometimes you just know it’s got nowhere else to go. Nothing wrong with gracefully ending the session. End on a good note, not an awkward ‘is anyone out there’ one! 😉

I also don’t mind if not many people want to watch (if I’m talking about something a little niche). I’d rather quality interaction than just a quantity of people who aren’t ‘my’ audience.

I’m finding there seems to be an art to doing it well and I like the challenge! I’ve got a loooooooong way to go, but I’m having fun!

 

I am not a tech minded person, but I am a people person and I think that’s why social media always fascinates me.

Do you use Periscope? Would you consider trying it? Want to share your user name so I can follow you? Any recommendations on who I should be watching? Ideas for future broadcasts? x

Pretty things.

I’ve been watching too many home make over shows. OK, just the one. And now I have realised that if the contestants on these shows can completely gut, rebuild, design and make over several difficult rooms in a week, then I could probably get off my arse (after seven years) and start prettying up my place a bit more proactively. I think I procrastinate a lot. Shocker.

The other night I had a flash of inspiration. A vision. My living room (the first room you see when you walk in the house) was looking pretty tired, despite having great basic pieces of furniture in it to work with already. It needed a freshen up. It’s our sanctuary in the evenings – our little parents’ retreat. Also, I want it to invite people into our home. It’s kind of spent a bit of time being that first room we rush everybody past when they visit. Oops.

It looked cute when we first decorated it, but seven years (this month) is a long time between improvements!

I have been excited to have a little bit of extra money and time lately (thanks to going back to work and putting the Little Mister in day care a couple of days a week), so I couldn’t wait to catch up on lost time!

I decided to front up to some homewares stores and got my (extremely) amateur interior designer on. I was walking from section to section, carrying bits and bobs. Putting them near each other. Rearranging and primping and matching stuff. I used to be too embarrassed to do that. I used to just leave the things where they were and work from memory as fast as I could in case the store staff wondered why I was still there or why I was bothering to pretend I knew what I was doing (“It’s day 3 and they’re starting to get suspicious”).

Now I’ll spend an hour in a store, getting things just right (which is also why I never have time for it haha)! This kid is growing up. No more self conscious shenanigans!

It’s amazing how a few cushions and stuff can make a person (me) so happy.

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Isn’t this cushion a beauty?! It tied everything together. Also, I’m so in love with the whole geometrical thing that’s happening lately.

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I’ve never really had throw rugs before. This one is a shocker and I LOVE IT! It is neon pink chevron and it livens up the room so much! Also? It’s really comfy to lean against and snuggle into (totes tested it out last night). Still working on my draping technique, but we’ll get there!

I wondered what Mr Unprepared would think of the colour, but he was typically non fazed. He acknowledged that it wouldn’t necessarily be his first choice of colour, but he saw the whole look I was going for. And I quote, “I’m not bothered by it.”

I’d take that as a positive review from the least-likely-to-ever-become-an-interior-design-guy that I’ve ever met haha.

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I went through all of my magazines and only kept the prettiest, best quality ones. The kinds you go back to. The kinds that visitors might want to browse through. Bye bye crumpled up old TV Weeks! I updated some dull looking photo frames and I bought a little coral statue thingy (I love beachy things) and shoved it on a celebrity cover girl’s face (sorry love)! Suddenly that stack kind of looks like it’s meant to be there.

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I then splurged on some little milk bottle thingies with hydrangeas (pretend of course) in them. The purple ones remind me of the flowers we had at our wedding. Add a photo from when we were newly engaged and a kissy smoochy one from our wedding and we’re good to go.

Of course I couldn’t forget some coasters for the coffee table. Mr Unprepared loves his night time cup of tea.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?? Glass was a calculated risk because the Little Mister is growing up just that little bit more (and he’s blocked by a safety gate when we want him to stay out haha).

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a better looking living room!

All I need now is some amazing white wallpaper with some kind of cool textured effect on it (for a feature wall behind the TV) and I do believe I will be very pleased with myself.

I can’t wait to keep tackling my house room by room! And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my future lady cave. We will get there eventually!

Do you enjoy decorating your home? Know where a gal can get some wicked wallpaper??

None of the items in this post were gifted or sponsored. 
I bought them because I love them!

Children are gross: A journey through time with NapiSan.

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BC (Before Child), I couldn’t have cared less about the existence of fabric stain removers. Seriously. Could. Not. Give. A. Crap. Sure, I had a token tub of Vanish NapiSan sitting neglected in the laundry, for extreme situations, but I just didn’t understand the fuss.

Now? Three and a half years into this parenting game? Literally cannot go a week without it. There’s always something. I honestly have no idea what people used before NapiSan existed. Elbow grease and something complicated you’d find on Pinterest that you had to make yourself with items no-one has ever heard of? Um…no. Could. Not. Deal.

When the Little Mister was a newborn, I knew there’d be a lot of horrible nappies to change but I had NO idea what number threes (also known as the poonami) were. You know the kind. The kind of liquid madness that obliterates entire jumpsuits and car seats. The kind that you swear only happens when you’re about to leave the house or while you’re driving.

*shudders*

Sometimes the cheaper jumpsuits were hastily put in a bag and thrown out – ain’t nobody got time for that!! But a lot of the time, we needed to salvage what we had. And into a bucket of NapiSan it went to soak before being chucked into the washing machine for a quick cycle. It was always such a relief to see the pristine, sweet smelling item at the end. Yay! I can touch it! It’s like that terrible terrible TERRIBLE thing never happened!

Then solid foods came along. Purée flying all over the joint in all colours of the rainbow. Bibs meant nothing. They were just arbitrary pieces of fabric or plastic. If I could have put the Little Mister in a full length water proof jumpsuit for meal times I would have. In the summer we settled for nearly naked. I must have soaked about a million bibs and tiny outfits daily. OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it! Oh, that bucket and that little tub of Napisan were my best friends. FYI, did you guys know that mashed banana dries on really really hard and turns black? GROSS.

After all that came *dun dun dun* toilet training! I won’t go into too much detail (either you’ve lived it and are traumatised enough already or you are blissfully not living with it and you might be eating or something right now), but you can imagine what happens to little pairs of jocks when your kid is learning to get to the toilet on time. Or when your kid is in denial about needing to do number 2s without nappies or pull ups to fall back on (literally – ew).

Then your toddler becomes a pre-schooler. Paint stains. Dirt. Mud. All those things that mean your kid is learning and getting busy doing the best kid stuff. Totally fine with me as long as I have my NapiSan! I’m so stoked to have just discovered the Vanish Preen Oxi Action trigger spray. It’s very satisfying to use – not to mention easy.

It’s been quite the journey with my good friend NapiSan. One of those every day things you take for granted. I’m sorry, NapiSan. I love you. I appreciate you.

Without you, clothes stains would be a nightmare and ‘stain removal’ would mean throwing everything with a stain in the bin (i.e. removing it from my house – get it? Stain removal?). Which is not exactly economical. What do you think I am? A gazillionaire?

I trust you, NapiSan. You have been there when things have gotten really really really ugly. I know you’ve got my back. You haven’t judged me as I’ve made ugly dry retching faces over the bucket or the machine. You have pretended not to notice some of the stuff I’ve put my hands in (don’t worry I always wash and sanitise afterwards). You’ve never wrecked my family’s clothes.

You’re awesome and I’m glad you’re in my laundry.

So tell me, lovely readers, what every day household products are you grateful for?