Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inspire Me With Lovely Lovisa

Loving Lovisa...

I was so inspired by the variety and purely gorgeous pieces of jewellry and headbands at Lovisa, I came home and wrote a whole story about the way my heart raced with exhilaration when I stepped into Lovisa, and I'm not even a jewellry kinda girl. Stay tuned...

Many thanks to the lovely and accommodating Kate who gave me a guided tour of the store (pictured right, wearing a metallic stretch flower headband and Shannen, left, wearing a stunning Grecian hair chain.)

Here are a few photos I snapped with my iphone, (excuse the quality) but hope they inspire you to check it out for yourself for that little something special.
(I visited the Chermside store.)

Alice in Wonderland range ---headbands for grown ups & Sex in the City range.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle Little Store

Some women have shoe obsessions, for others it's jewellery. I didn't think I fit into either category until I stopped outside a little shop today and my eyes started glistening, my head started twitching and I felt drawn into this twinkling parlour of feminine accessories.

Wall-to-wall gold, silver, jewels and feathers (yes, feathers - I know, how exciting!). I almost hyperventilated. It was like Aladdin's Cave but this time, not a fluffy pillow in sight. (See "Unfamiliar Territory" 6 May 2010). I wanted to grab a fellow customer and squeal, "Can you believe it?" as if we were standing in line to meet Michael Buble', but everyone else was very self-controlled and calm. I bet their feminine hearts were doing back flips every time their eyes caught a glimpse of something new.

Instantly, I found earrings and snatched them off the hook. Perfect. Mine. Never have I found exactly what I wanted in such a short space of time. I'm almost as dysfunctional selecting jewellery as I am with soft furnishings. Almost. Now look at me... within the first few minutes I was ready to make a purchase but there was more... so much more!

Racks and racks of glittery jewellery and heavenly headbands that all seemed to be welcoming me in whispered tones. Incidentally, only women can hear their hushed tones. Men are oblivious. Mr Practical refused to enter the store, possibly out of principal as we were actually in the mall to find another store we don't have in our area. That was the sole purpose for trekking across to the other side of the city. I suggested he find a seat somewhere and wait just like the men of a certain generation who understand women don't want a man hanging over their shoulder while they're browsing. That's where a handbag should be - not a husband. Neither does she want to have to go searching for him post-purchase. She wants him ready and waiting so she can bask in the glow of her purchase without being irritated or disturbed.

Chatting with the gorgeous and extremely helpful Kate, she gave me a tour of the store. Some enjoy guided tours of historic buildings or places of significance but I was over-joyed by the Bangle Bar, revived by the Sentimental inscribed range, in adoration of the Breakfast at Tiffany's sterling silver line and I fell head over heals for the French Vintage range. Ooh la la!

Across the room I was introduced to the Sex in the City line where every piece was inspired by a poignant moment from an episode - apparently. (Not really a fan - don't stone me!) Ooh, the adorable Alice in Wonderland range. Too cute. By now my heart rate had climbed off the charts and a sense of euphoria had set in and I'm not even a 'shopper'. Bravo me!

I found the most adorable ring in French Vintage then glanced towards the door. Mr Practical was standing in the middle of the mall aisle, directly in full view. His stance said it all. He looked like a security guard outside a niteclub in the Valley and the look on his face made me feel like I was an under-age student trying to run a fake ID past him.
It was time to quickly snap a few photos for blogging and reminiscing purposes and hit the road. All the way home I tried my new ring on every finger and tinkered with my new earrings. I thought about the gorgeous silky plumes in the Peacock range and frilly fabric headbands and I began planning my next visit. Next time, not with Mr P but arm in arm, girlfriends galore we'd be back, eyes glistening, heads twitching and hearts racing exclaiming,"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

©2010 Philippa Vette

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Matter of Attitude

It was one of those weeks. There were on-going complaints, criticisims galore, grumbling, complaining, tantrums and grievances... and then there was the children's bad behaviour!

Mornings were met with strong opposition to wearing suitable winter clothing from a certain 3 year old and breakfast time presented 'issues' over there being "nothing to eat" despite Big Mama being stocked to the hilt. This child who normally shovells his food into the gaping hole we believe is his mouth, had suddenly become anti-cereal and anti-toast and wanted me to cook a meal. Aint gonna happen, sunshine.

Requests for money, clean sports socks and AWOL library books were yelled through the house, usually when I announced five minutes to departure. When I finally got into the bathroom and was attempting to tame my hair so people wouldn't stare and point or fall on the floor laughing, a fight would break out. Body slams, wrestling and highly-skilled elbow-digging manoeuvres were popular, although immdeiately followed by shouts of, "Mum, get Caylee off me!"

If I could just get them out the door and off to school before I blew a gasket, I'd survive the day. Visions of me slowing down outside the school and hurling them out the car door with, "Love you - see you after school," flashed pleasurably through my mind. Hey! Don't judge. I said I'd slow down! What kind of mother do you think I am?

By the time the car was vacated, I felt exhausted. Usually then I'd have to race to work and be nice. Hence, my attitude had got a little out of hand and needed to be 'tweaked'.

Time to Re-Adjust

After a little 'quiet time' and re-adjustment, I re-approached life. I discovered I'd sailed through events I envisioned would be arduous, I found size 3 tights which were adored, making dressing a breeze, I kept left-overs for the gourmet 'eating-machine' and came up with a great remedy for the disorganised teen: FIND IT THE NIGHT BEFORE OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES. Even the brawling has stopped. (That may not last...)

So much of what we do as parents involves leadership. And leadership with the wrong attitude still leads - though maybe not in the direction we really want.

One thing is certain; if our attitude is not right, it has the ability to block and hinder valuable insight, direction and opportunity simply because we get so wrapped up in ourselves and the drama of our little world (also known as a pity party) that we simply don't see golden opportunities when they come our way.

Don't miss your moment. Set aside time to check your attitude and 'tweak' where necessary and allow yourself to be postioned for greatness. You'll be glad you did.

Available soon: ATTITUDE card and matching framed print.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inspire Me with a Blast from the Past

Just one look at this retro Tupperware at Chandler markets is enough to hurl me back into my mother's kitchen and I'm ten again.

Stallholder, Tom knows all there is to know about the Tupperware obsession many people have had over the years. He even has collector pieces from the 1950's.

It was an absolute delight meeting Tom and equally delightful perusing his timeless Tupperware.

Chandler Markets are open on Sundays from 6am - 1pm.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Memories Worth Remembering

Friday afternoon arrived after hours of frenetic activity in the kitchen baking tiny biscuits, butterfly cakes and Masterchef sausage rolls. But at 3.30pm Misty the pony arrived sporting flouro stars and hearts on her rear and it was suddenly party central at our place.

After a bout of gastro on her birthday and subsequent postponing of the pony party, Caylee was left feeling like her birthday was a non-event. Her friend had his party the following week but not actually on his birthday, which added to her confusion, followed by Mother's Day to which she said, "Happy Birthday Mummy!" We needed to get the party rescheduled and quickly to help this little girl feel like she'd had a birthday and was now officially three.

Far and Wide

One of the issues we face being separated from our family is amplified on special occasions such as birthdays. Often we've celebrated just as a family but a tiny fragment of sadness would creep into my heart, thinking about our loved ones who had missed out again because they lived so far away. There had to be a solution to this - one that would fill the void, if only during those important times.

The Solution

We'll rent a family. Perfect. What a great idea! After a quick scan through the address book and corresponding police check, the invitations were sent out to surrogate Grandma's, Aunts, Uncles and cousins. (If you didn't get an invite, maybe your record wasn't as clean as you let on! Joking.) So, they came from surrounding suburbs, clutching gifts, scoffing savouries and supping teas, coffees and together, we soaked it all in.

There was a soccer game for the boys and Caylee who, dressed in her white party dress braced herself with hands clutching her knees called continuously, "Tackle, tackle!" Whenever the pony passed through, there were shouts of, "Hold the ball!" That was to avoid the pony getting a head-knock from a spinning stray ball. Incidentally, the pony did an excellent job leaving behind a mine field of fertilizer right where the boys were playing. How many times the ball rolled through the piles of poo ? I do not want to know!

When one little boy was asked if he wanted to ride the pony he replied, "No, I've got to hold my lipstick." O-kay. I'll be speaking to that child's mother!

Good Therapy

As the children delighted in the tiny party food, I realized all the preparation and effort had been worth it. I enjoyed every moment. Jordan (10.5yrs) had helped me throw together the ice cream cake (many thanks to my Facebook friends for tips and suggestions of which most I read after making the cake!) And with every cupcake that was iced and every cookie that was baked, I thought about the daughter we lost mid-pregnancy seven years ago, who I never got to do this for and also the daughter who was getting to enjoy it but who I'd held out for despite years passing by and still no sign of another baby. I'm so glad I never gave up on what I knew in my heart was right and simply kept believing until it happened.

The pony, the friends, the party food, the presents, the rent-a-family and friends was all such good therapy. Though it passed by in a blur it still enabled us to build another memory and acknowledge another milestone. In the future when we cast our minds back to this time, we will smile and agree it was a memory worth remembering.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inspire Me With Mother's Day Tributes

Mother's Day stirs many different memories, thoughts and emotions and it seems only fitting to pay tribute to some inspiring women, on "Inspire Me".

I said, "My mum has taught me, who you are as a person is more important than what you do because the kind of person you are filters through everything you do. Mum once cut my fringe so crooked she had to keep trimming it to even it up. It ended up being so short I never let her do it again. My mum still makes the best apple shortcake and she makes it everytime we go home to visit. I admire her because she gives me room to make mistakes in parenting but is always available when I need her near. I whole-heartedly wish I could see her more than once a year. (No, she's not in prison, she lives in another country!)"

"My mum is pretty amazing, leaving her friends, life, family and work on the otherside of the world to give me better opportunities in life. I will always be appreciative of that. At 58 my mum decided she wanted a new career, studied IT and web and at 61 is now working in a dynamic web team updating websites, coding, negotiating with clients and being all round awesome. I'm so proud of my mum and love her dearly." Lauren, Brisbane.

Now that I'm a Mother I appreciate so much more what my Mother did for me. So much was taken for granted at the time. Now I apprciate all the times she sacrificed her time and energy or the chance of a quite cuppa to help me with something. I hope I can develop many of her wonderful qualities of Motherhood and make a wicked raspberry jam as well. The special memories last a lifetime. Helen, Darwin NT (My big Sis.)

I'll keep posting your tributes as you send them through so keep checking back.

Unfamiliar Territory

In search of a birthday present for Caylee's little friend, I entered a certain department store with a plan and a goal in mind but something happened along the way that took me on a detour into a mysterious and intimidating new world.

Passing through the Home Decor department, aisles of vibrant autumn colours caught my eye. Remembering my frumpy, bland cushions at home and seeing the red SALE signs beckoning everywhere, I couldn't help but take a closer look.

Mid-way along the aisle was a woman of about the same age, 28 - (whaaat?). She was already well advanced in her cushion selection and she seemed to be working by a definite system of elimination. She pulled cushions off the shelf, compared, fluffed and stuffed them away if they weren't right or if they held promise, she allowed her hand to caress the fabric to get that full, sensory experience. If it qualified, it was promptly plunged into her trolley. It was obvious - this woman knew a thing or two.

First Contact

"I think what I need is a total room makeover!" I said, randomly. She had to hear me because she was standing right next to me. She threw her head back and laughed. "Tell me about it!" she replied. With a response like that, there had to be more to her story. I was intrigued.

"I love these," I said, pointing to her Aladdin's cave of trolley treasure. She had neutrals with a splash of red, small rectangle cushions of pleated pleasure, next to shiny dual-toned chargrilled reds with ruffles that would satisfy even Jeannie Little. (Iconic Aussie woman who wore clothing fashioned out of plastic supermarket bags to a black tie event - bananas - love it!) But my favourite had to be the fluffy white number. It looked like a scruffy, unclipped Maltese Terrier. I half expected it to leap out of her trolley and race away yapping!

Back to Reality

"I know what would happen to that one at my place," I announced, pointing to the shiny, ruffled cushion. "It would get kicked from one end of the house to the other until all the frilly bits flew off it!"

"You've got boys too?" she replied. A-ha! Something in common. We discussed ages and sporting obsessions then returned our attention to the matter at hand.

"And that one," I said, pointing to the Maltese, "I'd be vacuuming up bits of that for months!" She laughed but I could tell something on the inside registered. Those darling cushions were going to be destroyed by her very precious and very active eight and six year old boys. Her four-year-old daughter would probably take a liking to the Maltese, brush it regularly and give it a name.

"But they're gorgeous!" I reassured. "And sometimes you should buy 'gorgeous' simply because they make you feel happy just looking at them." She relaxed. She admitted she had considered their practicality. Don't talk to me about practical, sister - I'm married to Mr Practical! After all these years, he now accepts that I will choose the side-by-side refrigerator with the smoothe handles over the chunky ones because it's prettier.

Dilemmas and Deficits

"It's hard to find some that are the same tone," she murmured. I nodded and sympathised. It was clear just by looking in her trolley, she knew a thing or two about style. I had much to learn. Teach me Obi Wan. I, on the other hand was still stuck with beige. Call it latte or cappucino but really beige is still beige.

I picked up two with autumn highlights and looked for her approval but she polietly informed me they were different tones. D-oh! Why couldn't I see that? When you're born without the home decorating gene - it's an uphill battle.

The Departure

As my style guru moved away to lay-by her stash, I was still utterly bewildered by the choices set before me. I let a disappointed sigh pass between my lips which made a tiny sqeaking sound like a car tyre had run over the edge of a child's plastic toy. Without further assistance, some medicinal dark chocolate and a dose of fast-acting headache tablets, I decided it was best to move to the comfort and familiarity of the toy department.

Go You Good Thing!

With the birthday present all sorted very quickly (see, that I can do!) I made my way towards the front of the store to pay. That's when I'm sure I heard a voice, "Just choose something!" It was Mr Practical's voice. We're so intune he must've felt my frustration all the way at work. It was time to stop being indecisive. The worst thing that could happen would be to get the cushions home and they didn't look good. I had a receipt - I could return them. Yeah, go girl!

I marched back into the cushion aisle, picked up two, compared, fluffed and stuffed them back and picked up two more. I'm happy to say, I left with not one or two, but four new cushions. I took them home, plonked them on the sofa and ... I liked them! With renewed confidence as an interior designer, I went to another store and bought two more. Woot! I was on a role.

A short speech was delivered to the children after school, consequences were outlined and I'm happy to report that only once have I seen the cushions sprawled all over the floor and only once did I have to intercept a flying rectangular beige and red flying missile. (I went crazy and added colour.) The only problem now is: nothing goes with the curtains!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Real Fizzer

Somewhere this weekend, within a forty kilometre radius of our house, is a pony grazing contently, blissfully unaware of the toddler-induced mayhem it just avoided. For five hours the day before, I baked teeny toddler food; itty-bitty quiches, cutie-pie cupcakes, prepared bowls of pillowy marshmallows, crunchy tortilla chips and litres of sugary drinks to keep the littlies hydrated and hyped up for a certain three-year-old's pony party.

Party Day

We awoke early on party day. The weather was perfect. Caylee was excited as she had been for the past two weeks. It was the same routine: bound out of bed and ask the all-important question,"Is it my party today?" This time I could say, "Yes!" Just two days earlier, she'd been taken to the hospital after hours of vomiting. She was limp and pale. So when she ate some toast and had a drink on the morning in question, I leaped into hyper-drive and delegated the fairy bread to one child and whipping more cream to the other. We were officially having ourselves a par-tay!

Suddenly it all came screeching to a halt when I noticed the guest of honour, curled up on the sofa, whiter than the balloon that was bobbing nearby. Within minutes she was tucked up in my lap after being sick and I knew it was time to make the call.

A Sad Decision

It seems the Pony Lady was used to children getting sick and parties being rescheduled so it wasn't a problem when I called her. However, not all our guests took the news as well. I went through the list, sending message after message. One by one they sent the standard reply such as, "sorry to hear she's not well etc..." except one. Apparently, my friend's husband (who shall not be identified, so as not to embarrass their three teenage boys), was so upset he almost cried! He was distraught even on Facebook. He really wanted to see the pony!!! Am I missing something? Was the pony party supposed to fill a void from his own childhood? Is there more to this? I dare not even ask. That's some other wife's problem.

The Aftermath

The day after and we are down to only one vagrant balloon bobbing around the living room. I'm not entirely sure what happened to the others. I did yell at one child, (the one who turns almost any household object into a ball to bowl down the hall or kick from the front door to the dining room) to stop kicking the balloons through the house. Gradually they popped I think. All I know is that I stopped jumping after the third one burst.
Big Mama is now bulging with extra of everything to cater for the pony party and the full buffet for the adults. The chocolate fudge party cake has been dispersed to various sectors and some frozen for those stressful moments when the children have gone to bed and I need to collect my thoughts and gain my composure. I find that a good, dense, dark chocolate cake helps. The beauty of it is though - in about three weeks time, we get to do it all again. Hip hip hooray!