Monday, 30 July 2012

CSM: Drinks are on me

I seem to have found a lot of cool shit recently that is drink-related.  I'm not a big alcy, in case you were worried, but I do partake every so often.  Also there's something about not being able to drink for an extended period of time (pregnancy/breastfeeding not abstinence by self-discipline) that makes you appreciate the chance to have a refreshing beverage.  It's not just alcohol either.  Caffeine has a renewed focus in my life and now I know I'm not wiring my baby and keeping her up all hours, I'm back on the java like there's no tomorrow.  I actually think what you miss is the rituals surrounding these drinks.  The drinks on a Friday at the local or the Saturday night house party, the G & Ts on the deck relaxing in the sun, the second coffee following a leisurely Sunday brunch.  It's the associations with these things which are so much more precious for their scarcity.  First world problems right there.  Anyway, here are some beverage-related things that are pretty freakin' cool.

You've all heard some saying that warns you not to mix beer and harder alcohols.  Personally, I think feeling rough after combining the two is more to do with the fact that you reached the stage where you wanted to move from beer to hard liquor.  Several beers are usually required to make you want to drink things called "Afterburner" and "Slippery Nipple".  Well this glass flies in the face of all that advice and blatantly encourages you to move from beer to shot and back again.  Although if you try to do both at the same time you may have some issues.  That would be your cue to stop drinking I'd think.

And here's a wine glass for my musically inclined vino lovers.  I can see some awesome party anthems being attempted with these after a couple of drinks.  I can also see them swiftly losing their tunefulness as the drinks continue to be consumed.  But it could be fun for a few minutes.  If you've had a rough week, you might want to opt to play the B flat - 2.5 standard drinks to get to that pitch.

And while we're on the theme of cool vessels, here's one for the coffee lovers.  Your short black and your biscotti in one.  You have to like a bit of sugar with your coffee though because the inside of the cup is a patented sugar coating.  Probably not a good collectable investment but as a quick drink with a snack?  I think I like it.

And if you manage to acquire these fabulous vessels, you will obviously need somewhere fabulous to keep them.  Society Social is the place to go.  A business made with love (always the best kind of business) from a lady who was over being dull so she decided she wanted to make life as beautiful as she knew it could be.  They have fabulous furniture and knick knacks, some vintage, some new, but all utterly wonderful.  She has a particular penchant for bar carts which are the ultimate in great home accessories if you ask me.  Which you didn't but you've read it now so there you go.  I was particularly taken by the photo of the bar cart with in front of the blackboard which read "Hold onto your Highballs".  Puerile humour rarely fails to amuse me.  But this cart is my pick.  Table tennis bats and ping pong balls are surely the pinnacle in bar cart accessories.  Vodka, smarties and ping pong - a match made in heaven.

It's Monday, have a wee tipple people.

Thanks to Design Crush for introducing me to today's drinking vessels.  Always inspirational.

Friday, 27 July 2012

WTFF: Otago Sunshine

It was another beautiful day in Dunedin.  That statement could be dripping with sarcasm, but actually it's not.  We have been having the most incredible run of weather.  There's been the odd rainy day, but mostly, it's been frosts and sunshine.  Now I've put you all to sleep with talk of the weather, let's move on to more interesting topics: my frock.  It was a celebration of Otago and the lovely winter weather.  For those of you who aren't so au fait with Otago, gold and blue are the colours sported by the rugby team so have by proxy become the region's colours.  I didn't apply to the Rugby Union for a fan fashion frock, however, I bought the dress off ASOS.  I very much doubt a British clothing store intended to make a dress to support a New Zealand provincial rugby team so it's pure coincidence but on a lovely day like today, it was very intentional on my part.

The dress (now covered in pumpkin and cream cheese thanks to Edie's food art finger painting, Mumma as canvas) was bought in a sale several months ago.  When you buy things in a sale you must always, always ask yourself the question, "Why is this on sale?".  You will find the answer is often, "Because there is something wrong with it", in which case, you don't want it either.  Here are some hints: read reviews - people will give feedback on a garment that they didn't like; look at the shape - could it be tricky to fit?; look at the material - is it poor quality/wrong for the garment/fugly?.  Here are some reasons why you could be getting a bargain: the price point - was it ridiculously expensive for what it was, but on sale it's fine; it's a definite style - one that not many people choose to rock, but you do; it requires a bit of thought - you can see what you need to do with it but others might have missed the trick.
With this dress, I think it was the colours.  The combination of the gold and blue works, but maybe it's not easy to imagine how to accessorise.  Also they're not very 'in' colours (in combination) at present so the dress looks different from things you see around in the stores at the moment.  That could be bad and good.  I decided it was good.
From a practical point of view, the dress is a wool blend so has a bit of warmth in it (always handy in the deep South).  And from an impractical point of view, it's a pain in the arse to breastfeed in.  It requires lifting the whole skirt up.  Just as well I have few inhibitions in that sense.
Because of the knit fabric, it's really comfy to wear and the shape is flattering and comfortable too - no gut-sucking required.    I like the shape of the skirt with it's slight fullness which complements the waistline and length nicely.  And because of where I live, the colours are great.

The hat.  Don't ya love it??  Phil bought it for me years ago.  It was one of those "Just Because I Love You" gifts that people give each other when they're in love and they don't have kids and boring things sucking up their disposable income.  I'm not a complete cynic.  We do still buy these kind gifts for each other but these days it's more likely to be a trim latte and a cream bun than a beautiful wool hat.  And this is fine as I love me a good cream bun (catch the name of the blog by any chance?).  I can't remember where Phil got the hat but he was so proud of his gift-buying skills when he presented it to me.  He knew I'd love it: I love hats.  My Mum has always had this thing about her not having the right head/face/anything to wear a hat.  Every time she tries one on for fun, she pulls this 'hat face' (Phil and my sister will know the exact face I'm talking about) which makes her instantly look like she's escaped from the funny farm and then reiterates that she can't wear hats.  Perhaps because of this, Natalie and I love the things.  I have a modest collection of hats that I don't wear half as often as I should.  And the sad thing is, I've never worn this hat before today.  I know, I'm a bad wife.  Basically, I have this image in my head of the way in which this hat should be worn, and I have never had the outfit or the occasion to live up to my ideal.  It's not a dressing up hat in the sense that you would wear it to a wedding or to the races.  And yet it's not a snow day, cold outside, wear it on duty in the school playground kinda hat either.  It has its own special place with a black wool suit and 1920's shoes to match its almost-cloche style.  But today I lowered my lofty visions of suited beauty and wore it with my Otago Sunshine dress.  And I liked it.  I know the black ribbon with the blue dress is less than ideal (in my matchy matchy world) but I figured with my black shoes, it ties in top and toe.  I shall try and find more excuses to wear my beautiful hat gifted with love.

The Oompa Loompa tights have made a reappearance this week, as have the noisy shoes.  I am rolling with the tights but I'm still sure I'll look back in 5 years and shake my head at my fashion-victim choice.  And I didn't wear any jewellery this week as I thought the hat and tights were enough accessory for one outfit.  Don't want to get to greedy now.

This week my little Edie Maeve is wearing a repeat frock.  Gasp!  Hey, if it's good enough for Kate Middleton, it's just acceptable for my baby.  And it's a tricksy repeat: it's the reverse side of the corduroy smock I made her.  I chose this sea green cord to tone in with the same Paris pants but I like running with the blue hues instead.  The knitted nappy cover was given to Edie by Aunty Natalie and I love it with the dress.  The t-shirt is a hand-me-down and the tights and hair clip are from Pumpkin Patch.  Her cute See Kai Run Smaller boots (bought to match her purple glasses frames) feature again.  I made another little "flower" to pin to the dress, this time in blue.  A vision in blues and purples.  The pics where she is not charging headlong toward the camera were taken because Edie-hypnotherapy was playing on the TV and it's not what you might think.  I might write a wee post about what keeps her happy because it's bloody hilarious.

A little blue and sunshine from Otago to brighten your day!

And some dancing in the dark to finish.  This is me forcing my husband to take photos when there is almost no natural light left.  But what light there is, is really pretty.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cool Shit Monday: Fashion - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

You may be wondering how fashion can be cool shit if it's 'bad' or 'ugly' but it can, believe me, it can.  I shall first lure you in with beautiful things, then entertain you with some astute fashion observations (not my cleverness unfortunately), and then amuse you with some of the Ugly.  Or actually my friend Georgia will.  She's a very amusing person as you'll soon discover.

Because I'm all about making this a positive place, I shall be responsible for the Good in today's Cool Shit Monday.  I've been storing up a few wee gems that have me drooling into my keyboard.  It's amazing it hasn't shorted out yet.  Let me share my excess saliva with you.  "HOORAY", I hear you all shout.

Modcloth.  I've made reference to it a few times around the blog but it's time I come clean and divulge the full level of my obsession with this site.  Modcloth began while its founder was in College.  She needed to offload some of the huge collection of vintage goodies she had accumulated over the past years trawling thrift shops so she established an online shop.  She had such a great response that she extended to vintage-inspired clothing and the rest, as they say, is history.  The business now has 275 employees but maintains a friendly feel and stocks a wide array of products that are simply things that take the fancy of it's creative team.  The best (and most dangerous) news is they do ship to the Shaky Isles and pretty much anywhere else in the world.  Go nuts people...

Bait Footwear are relatively new to the fashion world having only been established in the (Northern Hemisphere) Summer of 2011 but are fast making a name for themselves making cute retro-inspired shoes at a reasonable price.  Their shoes come in the coolest range of colours and look like just the ticket to wear with that summer dress you've had your eye on.  Splash out and make me feel better about my finger hovering over the checkout button.

And when you want to see what your new cute dress and shoes look like together, and some other accessories you might like to try with them, you can go to Polyvore.  I can't decide if this website is useful or just fun, but if it is just fun, it's good clean fun that will help you procrastinate from the productive things you should be doing.  Basically you can assemble outfits so you can... well... make outfits.  You could then share them with people so they buy you the cool shit you find.  You could get ideas for the perfect accessories for your frock.  You could create pretty fashion collages just to make you happy.  The only downside to Polyvore is that you can't put any item in there - you're limited to their selection of (what I assume are paying) fashion lines.  But they have a lot.  And they have Modcloth so I'm happy.

First Floral
My first attempt at a Polyvore -  throw a few items together, and voila! an outfit.  The bag's not quite the right shade, but like I say, a quick first go.

First Floral by charlottecarman featuring yellow leather handbags

And now for The Bad.  I follow a blog called Not So Lonely Londoners.  It's a fashion blog so not unusual at all.  What is unusual about it though is that it's written by a straight male.  I enjoy his passion and perspective on fashion and I love that he fights the stereotype.  I hate stereotypes even though I probably make them and am one all the time.  He wrote this post a few weeks ago about fashion blog posing.  I know this may not be a subject all of you are partial to, that's fine, but I think you will be able to appreciate his observations anyway.  You don't have to follow people's blogs to have witnessed self-photography.  It's a bit like the duck face phenomenon that people are backlashing against (you know, girls who pull that bizarre pouty face in photos): people strike the strangest poses thinking it's hot/flattering/modelesque.  But if they actually looked at those photos objectively, they'd see they look pretty bloody ridiculous.  I'm almost certain that I'm guilty of some of the blog fashion poses he writes about, so I'm not throwing any small, hard objects inside easily breakable buildings, but it is bloody funny.  And it never hurts to have a good laugh at yourself from time to time.  So The Bad of today's fashion themed blog: ridiculous 'fashion' posing.  Have a gander.
The Agony.  Just one of Stu's fashion blogger poses.

And The Ugly.  More specifically, It's Still Ugly, an ever-growing collection of high-priced fashion that might be fashion, but... well the title speaks for itself.  My friend Georgia is an avid fashion follower but is also a lass who calls a spade a spade.  And boy does she dig up some ugly shit.  Georgia brings a bit of reality to the high-flying world of couture and reminds us that just because they tell us the Emperor is wearing clothes designed by someone with a fancy name and a large paycheck, we still may need to be reminded that he's actually naked.  Ok that was a confusing metaphor but I just mean some fashion is crap and Georgia points out why.  She also manages to show that sometimes even the ugly has it's own alluring siren call.  But mostly it's a good healthy kick of realism and I love it.  The Ugly is cool shit.
One of Georgia's short but accurate observations.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

WTFF: Cabaret Cool

Last night I did something I haven't done in a while - I sang in front of an audience.  Over 100 paying guests actually.  Thankfully they weren't really there to see me so I didn't have to worry about the pressure of disappointing.  Also thankfully, my number came up close to the end when most patrons had downed at least one alcoholic beverage.  It's like the Karaoke Equation in reverse - the more drinks you consume, the more awesome you become at singing but this is the more drinks they consume the better I become at singing.  Win win for everybody.
Good times were had by all and hats off to Greg and Heidi for pulling the whole Little Winter Cabaret together.  Fingers crossed there will be more nights of great music, great No. 7 Balmac food, and great company.
Singing faces - never make for a flattering photo

So what did I wear for my foray into my past music life?  A frock of course!  Never look a gift horse in the mouth and pass up the chance to tizzy yourself up I say.  I have a moth-eaten wardrobe of "performance attire" that I never really get to delve into.  However I didn't feel this was the night to slap on a full-length ball gown so the moths were left to their meal.  Instead I picked a dress I bought a few years back at Hype (Dunedin fashion store) to cover me for a wedding or two.  It's clearly a dress I bought pre-babies.  No woman in her right mind who's had a baby would choose a dress like this unless they were an A-list celebrity with a bevy of personal trainers and nutritionists tucked in their size 0 back pockets.  But I was determined to wear this dress again as I really like it and if I have more sprogs, it probably really will have to go in the "I once wore this" pile.  You basically can't wear underwear with this dress (too much information?  Possibly but I've written it now and I can't be bothered back-spacing it all) as it's so close fitting so I had a few... 'functionality' issues with wearing this dress.  NB.  If you thought the no underwear thing was TMI then you probably don't want to read the rest of this paragraph.  Firstly, if you read my last post you know I'm breastfeeding.  No bra or more to the point, no breast pads, is a dangerous proposition.  So I jammed a couple of breast pads into the crop top that goes with the dress.  I was incredibly paranoid I would have two circular lumps over my boobs that would be clearly visible on the stage, but I figured that would have paled in comparison to having a milk-stained frontage.  Secondly, I have really, hairy legs at the moment.  Really.  Tights were a compulsory accessory so I just had to hope that no big tights seam weaved it's way up my belly.  See, no post-baby woman in their right mind would choose a dress like this.
I'm really selling this to you aren't I?  It's a fine line when you really want to wear something, but it just doesn't fit you like it used to.  How many times do you see people wearing something that probably looked fine on them at one point in time but they just haven't bothered to look in the mirror for the last 3 years?  I considered this a lot before I decided to don this dress, especially when I was going to be in front of an audience and decided I still had a little bit of wear left in it.
You can see what I mean about the underwear - had it on for this shot.  And note corner Gremlin...

What do I love about this dress apart from the fact that it's underwear-incompatible?  The colour.  It's what drew me to it in the first place.  The dress is like a classic Little Black Dress except it's teal.  I think the label called it "Kingfisher Blue" although it's not quite what I think that colour is but either way, it's beautiful.  I love the back of this dress. the shape, the twist in the jersey at the top, the reveal without too much reveal... it's awesome.  The length and neckline - the dress shows a bit of skin at the back and it's figure-hugging so it does the right thing and doesn't show decolletage or too much leg.  And finally the material.  What make the dress so unforgiving is also what makes it beautiful - the knit is soft and light but not too light that it doesn't have shape.

The one concession I made to any self-consciousness I had in wearing this dress was in the tie I wore around the middle.  I thought that by adding that small accessory, I broke up the line of my figure and highlighted my waist so that I had a more hour glass shape.  I bought the scarf at Guess when I was in the States years ago.  I'm not very good at using scarves and belts so I haven't worn it that much but I love the pattern and the colours which toned in perfectly with the dress.  It also allowed me to wear my navy blue opaque tights and keep in matchy matchy mode.  I tried to have the knot of the tie sitting low around the back so it didn't spoil the line of the back of the dress.

Earrings (that you can't really pick out in the photos) are old and falling apart but the wee white stones hopefully picked up a bit of light on stage.  And when holding a mic, having a large ring is obviously an eye-catching accessory so I wore the same ring from this outfit.

The shoes are French Connection and are my go to basic heel.  The deep brown colour makes a nice change from black and I love the stripe detail on the heel and toe.  Heels are an obvious essential for this dress as my arse needs all the help it can get.  Heels = top arse help, in case you didn't know.

My Cabaret Cool served me well for my wee trip back into music.  I feel I may have to look for another  cabaret outfit just in case I decide to work the vocal chords again...

Wee Edie had a bit of a rough week with broken glasses and croup etc so I didn't put a frock on her and take her photo.  That would probably have been more than she could handle, poor wee mite.  Edie frocky goodness this week, I promise.

PS.  A big thanks to Greg, Heidi, the band and other musicians, and all the helpers who made Little Winter Cabaret such a good night out.  I hope the good word spreads and you get lots of support for future adventures.  And an extra thanks to Heidi for taking the 'action' shots.
Me and my dress think you should Hit the Road, Greg.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Biggest Myth of Early Motherhood

When you are pregnant and preparing to have a baby, it's quite hard to see past Labour.  Yes, I did capitalise that word on purpose and no, I do not mean the centre-left political party that are the current Opposition in New Zealand government.  It's Labour with a capital L because it's so momentous.  In fact it really should be Labour with a capital L A B O U R but that's too fiddly to type repeatedly, so just the L will suffice today.  You are struck with the idea that you will never attempt anything more momentous or challenging in your entire existence.  Life will continue to provide you with other challenges, some which you will prepare for and work towards, others out of the blue that you just have to stump up and manage, but nothing, nothing will be as big as the physical act of bringing a new life into the world.  While you are also trying to prepare yourself for life after Labour, you know you actually can't comprehend what this will be so there's only so much time you can dedicate to this aim.

I am someone who is pretty realistic and philosophical about the big stuff.  I don't tend to sweat things out or worry about infinite possibilities of 'What Might Go Wrong'.  I just don't see the point when so much of it is out of your control.  When I was pregnant, my sister, sister-in-law, and bestie had all recently had children plus a few others in my circle of friends and acquaintances so I knew a wee bit about expecting the unexpected.  I had those 'spin out' moments that everyone gets where it suddenly hits you that 'Woah, there's going to be a baby in that room soon', or 'This could be the last time I go to the movies for quite some time' but they didn't worry me, nor did I kid myself that I was in anyway prepared for what having a little person relying on me would be like.
On the flip side, I'm hardly a 'head in the sand' kinda gal either.  I like to be informed, I like to make educated choices.  I made sure I had the information I felt I needed to make the best decisions for Phil, Edie & I regarding Labour and early days.  I cannot express just how lucky I was to have the most amazing midwife who is the master of informing and educating without judging - a true and rare skill in the medical world.
In summary, I was relaxed about Labour, and impending motherhood, but not without some vague idea of what I was getting myself into.

One of the things I had made a definite decision about for life post Labour was that I wanted to give breast feeding a go.  I understood that some people weren't able to breast feed for a whole host of reasons.  I also felt that some people copped out of it for a whole host of reasons.  Controversial, I know, but it's undeniable that some people have different tolerances for difficult situations.  Some people endure despite huge odds, and others get off the bus at the first stop in Tricky Town.  Let me be clear, in no way did I, or do I think, that people who don't breastfeed their babies are flakes.  I do think that human nature creates differing abilities in each of us to cope with adversity.  Both extremes on this scale are as flawed as each other.

And so we (finally) come to my point.  Breastfeeding is widely known to be the optimal source of nutrition for your baby for a long list of reasons.  It is heavily promoted and people encouraged to try breastfeeding as the first response when they have their babies.  It is portrayed as the most beautiful, natural, and wonderful thing that can happen between a mother and child.
But here's what they neglect to tell you:
Breast feeding is FUCKING.  HARD.  WORK.
All you ladies out there who are up the duff, heed my words.  FUCKING.  HARD.  WORK.

Now I know why when people promote breast feeding they don't tell you this.  There is a lot of negative (some of it frankly ridiculous) press about breast feeding and the people who support breast feeding.  Women who breast feed in public have been decried as perverts who need to keep their norks to themselves.  The people who are pro-breast feeding have been labelled militant hippies who turn their noses up at those who don't breast feed.
So when you are trying to show people that breast feeding is good, having the tag line "Breast Feeding: It's Fucking Hard Work" probably isn't going to be a winner.
But as a woman who was (and still firmly is) pro-breast feeding, I would have appreciated some more realistic information before I hit the wall.  I don't think that trawling the internet for horror stories is a valid source of said information either.  I simply wish that someone with a brain, who was neither a militant breastfeeder, nor a wounded anti-breastfeeder, had sat me down and shared their point of view. Someone who wanted to support me in my desire to breastfeed, but who had an appreciation for the fact that my choice may be a difficult one.  Maybe they tried and I didn't listen.  There are so many people giving you tips and advice it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.  But I wish I'd had or had listened to a person like that.

I hope I might be that person for someone out there reading this post.  So if you are pregnant or ever plan to be, or if you are or plan to be the partner of someone who has a baby let me give you a heads up (I have mentioned the "hard work" part but let me elaborate):
- Most women struggle with some part of breast feeding.  Why no one tells you this until you are having problems is beyond me.  I mean it, nearly every woman has some issue they have to overcome.  The ones who say "Oh it's so wonderful" are probably the most concerning of all.  And need a good slap with a cold fish.  So...
- If you find it challenging, stressful, or overwhelming, this is more than OK, this is normal.
- It turns out you have to learn how to feed, but so does your baby, and oddly enough you can't sit down with them over a cup of tea and talk it out then sit a wee exam together and share your test scores at the end.
- It may take weeks or months to sort it out.  It's like Pantene, it won't happen overnight but it will happen.  Don't kid yourself into thinking that it's all the first week that's terrible and then it'll be fine.  It may work like that, but it might not.  Don't think you are a freak because at 10 weeks you still feel unsure about feeding in public because of the rigmarole required to get you and your baby settled in for a feed (hello 5 pillows at specific angles).
- It seems so crazy that after millions of years of evolution, we can find something so primal so difficult.  I don't pretend to know why we are so inefficient, I just want to tell you that it's not you that's inefficient, it's us as a species!  It's not personal, you are fine, you are fabulous, but humanity is flawed.

So, when you see those lovely photos of women and babies feeding and you look on with wonder and awe thinking "that will be me!", remember that it will be you, but there is possibly a lot of fucking. hard. work that has to happen first.  Those women you see in the cafe or at the park just feeding while supervising 2 other kids, drinking a coffee, and holding a conversation all at the same time?  They probably put in a lot of fucking. hard. work.

It really is a wonderful and natural thing, I promise.  If you can do it, you won't regret it.  But go in prepared to have some lows before the highs.
Edie's first feed.  See?  Lovely!  It all turned pear shaped after this but surprisingly I didn't take a lot of photos of that...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cool Shit Monday: Kiddy Kool

Not all of you have kids so I have avoided putting too many child-related items into CSM.  Just the odd sprinkle here and there.  But the reality is, I do have a kid and so I can't help but find cool shit that is kiddy-centric.  So today I am indulging the mummy shopaholic in me and showing you some Kiddy Kool.  If you don't have a kid, you could just peruse the items, appreciate their cuteness, then purge them from your memory as useless trinkets.  Or perhaps you could use some of this on pets or sprogs of people you know.  If you do have sprogs, prepare to get your wallets ready and your 'awww' faces prepped.

Lou Clifton is a Dunedin lass who has been designing and making children's shoes for several years under the banner, Lou's Shoes.  She has always made totally fantastic shoes but she recently took a break from her children's line to go to Australia and develop her shoemaking skills.  She went and worked with a variety of bespoke shoemakers and came home to Dunedin with an adult shoe range in her sights.  I'm not sure if she's released the big people shoes yet, but she has released a new line of kiddies shoes and they are to. die. for.  If the adults shoes are anywhere near as cool as her baby shoes, I'll be looking at some serious shoe-debt.  In the mean time, I am just trying to decide what shoes need to make it into Edie's wardrobe.

I think these Pierrot ones will be on the shopping list

Another lovely Dunedin lady showing her talents is Rachel Owen.  After Rachel had her son, she asked her mother to teach her all her crafty secrets.  She passed over quilting, decided knitting wasn't for her, but crochet was just her cup of tea and away she went.  Once she'd crocheted entire wardrobes of clothes for her own child, she decided it was probably time to share the love and started to sell her creations.  And so Kid Lidz was born.  Edie was lucky enough to be given one such creation for her first birthday - an owl hat - and we get so many comments about it.  And you no-kiddy people are in luck.  She makes them in big people sizes too...

Edie jazzed to have an owl on her head.
Well this is turning into a Dunedin love-fest as I'm now about to rave on about Helen Riley-Duddin who is the brains behind Tinch Design.  She designs restickable wallscapes for kidlets (and big people too).  Now this idea is not new.  When I went to decorate Edie's room before she arrived, I found a bizillion cute wall stickies I could have put on her wall.  In the end, I chose two different designs that were not Helen's work.  They're cute.  I like them.  But Helen's are cool so I was stoked when Harriet gave us one after Edie was born. What makes them different?  She uses upcycled textiles (mainly wallpaper and fabric) to make them so they just look... funky.  Helen describes them as "half way between play and art" and the lady knows what she is talking about.  Plus on a practical note, they are restickable.  Really.  Not like those stickers that stuck ok at first but after you moved them, seemed to attract fluff from your carpet, your cat, and the back of the refrigerator, and have started to peel off the wall.  But if you were still worried about the fluff, you can get magnetic backing instead.  You'd happily have them on the walls of your house, unlike massive Dora or Spiderman decals that I would begrudgingly accept if Edie really wanted them and they would certainly not appear in any non-kiddy-zone room.  They have become my new 'go to gift'.

Edie's wallscape.  Edie points to it and says, "hooo! hooo!"
And just to prove this isn't all about Dunedin, here is one of my favourite online kiddy stores - Frugi.  There is so much to love about this stuff.  It's organic, it's ethical, it's made with cloth nappy bums in mind (they're fat and therefore can be tricky to fit into normal trousers in case you were wondering), and it's totally cute.  The people are awesome too, which helps.  They have such a cool wee community going (they call it Planet Frugi) and they truly seem to 'get it' - they are in touch with their customers who they treat more like friends than dollar signs, and they truly love their product.  They do ship to New Zealand (postage is usually around 12 pound) so there's no stopping you.  Or at least there's no stopping me as Phil can attest to.  But Edie clearly needs cute stuff to match her own cuteness.

So there you have it peeps - some of the kiddy stuff I've been fixating on.  The list is long however so I may need to slip the odd bit of kiddy kool into other posts but I'm sure you'll forgive me.  After all, we'd all like a wolf t-shirt and white leather pom pom boots at heart.

PS.  You can get the Tinch designs and Kid Lidz at Miracle (of this post) but I wrote about them because I think they're truly cool, not to be a cheer leader for that business.  It is, however, no coincidence that Miracle stocks cool shit.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

WTFF: Cityscape

Today Edie and I went to a surprise Yum Char.  Yum Char of any kind is excellent but yum char of the  surprise variety is uber excellent.  It was a wee party for one of my mummy friends who is leaving us to return home to the States.  I really wish she wasn't going but I'll take dumplings as a small consolation.

The dress I wore today has absolutely nothing to do with yum char, or my friend, but I mentioned the story because I was a little nervous about wearing this dress to yum char.  No, I wasn't silly enough to wear a white frock to a place where there were likely to be slurpy things flying, it's just that I really can't breastfeed in this dress without pretty much taking it off.  And it's not a dress where you wear things underneath it to make it seemly when you do get undressed.  As mentioned in this post, tights are not pants, after all.  I have very low levels of prudishness.  By which I mean if I wanted to get undressed in public as it suits me, I would.  However, sitting in a restaurant in my tights is probably a bridge too far even for me.  I don't feed Edie that often any more but it was lunch, right across sleep time and knew she might be scratchy.  There's nothing like a bit of boob to ease scratchiness, I'm sure you'll all agree.  So by wearing this dress, I was depriving myself of a vital tool in Kiddy Management. I'm happy to say that Edie managed admirably so I didn't have to expose the restaurant to my mustard-covered midriff and I got to wear the dress I love.  It's exciting to be able to do this as tunic dresses are pretty much a dead wardrobe item when you're breastfeeding and I do love this dress so much.

My mum bought me this dress for my birthday a couple of years ago.  She bought it when she was staying with my sister in the Lakes District at a shop that sells many cool things (or so they tell me, I've not been there) and they were a wee bit nervous about buying it as it's quite different.  But I love it.  I love the crazy, fantastical print, I love the colours, I love the sleeves, I love the neckline... there's a lotta love here people.  I think my favourite thing, if I had to pick something, would be the hedgehogs floating away with balloons.  If that's not a whacky sentence, I don't know what is.  The dress is made from wool so it's perfect for Dunedin's cooler climes.  I put a long-sleeved merino underneath today that's pretty old and funny but it has lace cuffs so I think it ties in with the little splash of lace around the yoke of the neck.

Tights.  I bought some, hooray!  I normally wear this dress with black tights and I think I actually prefer it that way, but you have to try something new sometimes, don't you?  My thought process was that the mustard tights would pick out the bits of yellow in the buildings along the bottom of the dress.  When Phil saw the tights he said I had Oompa Loompa legs (no offence) and I can't help but be reminded of a costume I wore as a tacker that was the Ugly Duckling - a feathery tutu with orange tights and bird feet.  But I'm sure they're actually cool.  Right??

I bought these shoes on one of those online sale sites.  I've never heard of the brand, I'm sure they're made from the tears of small Sri-Lankan children that have been mixed with petrochemicals, but they look pretty.  Swell.  They're plastic so at least they're recyclable.  I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of plastic shoes.  Here's a quick run down.
- recyclable
- remind me of jellies from when I was 5
- waterproof
- shiny and a bit odd

- don't breathe (although these ones do have little breathy holes at the side.  This however effects the waterproof thing)
- remind me of jellies from when I was 5
- don't mold to your feet like leather does

And because I bought these shoes online, they came with an extra surprise that I did not anticipate over the internet.  They are noisy.  I sound like I have a maraca on either foot.  Again, love/hate.  Love: party, fun, make an entrance; Hate: noisy, slightly embarrassing, no sneaking in anywhere (bad when you're a late person like me), no catching birds.
Overall though, I'm happy I bought them.  They're cute and they didn't cost much.

Mum bought me these earrings (man my Mum buys me a lot of stuff.  Love you mummy!) a few years ago, again for a birthday.  Super useful earrings as they go with so many things due to the array of hues.  Edie likes them too of course, but so far I've managed to get by with my earlobes still intact.

Hope you love my Cityscape frock, it's one of my favs so break it to me gently if you think it's hideous.

Today Edie wore a dress I made her.  That's right, I sewed it.  This is momentous for me because it represents a completed craft project and it was me who completed it, not my Mum (read this if you're not sure what I'm on about).  It was a Butterick pattern and I figured the cord would be useful in the cooler months and the rough and tumble lifestyle of a 1yr old.  The material for the wee bloomers is obviously cotton and I just thought it was so cute with all the Parisian things on it.  Her onesie is a Pumpkin Patch number.  The flower and the shoes are the same ones Edie wore in this WTFF.

And so another Friday passes in Frockdom.  Mad props to all my ladies who wore frocks today.  You are all foxy bitches xo

PS.  This was written on Friday (hence the tense used) but I didn't get photos until today.  The bonus for me in this is that was a frock for Friday and also Sunday.  Double wear.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

WTFF: Patriotic Pretty

It's taken me the better part of a week to get this post to you but I couldn't let it slide.  I'm committed to the frock and I am gathering a loyal following of fellow frockers who I need to pay tribute to.  So late or not, here's Friday's frock.

I have absolutely no claim to any American heritage or anything to do with America.  The best I can say is that I've been there a couple of times and I have a couple of good friends who are American or live in the States.  Oh, and I LOVE Disneyland.  Actually the happiest place on earth.  But I am always up for a good party and you've got to celebrate when the chance is offered.  The chance was offered this week with Independence Day, so my frock this week says, "Hooray for America and Independence".  Just because it's fun and I can.  And you can say all the bad stuff you like about America, but they sure know how to do a good party.

I tried to further the party spirit by hosting an afternoon tea for my Mummy group.  I decided to be the Frock Police and insist that my guests wear a frock.  My ladies really came to the party.  In every sense.      It was a frock success - we all looked gaw-jus and there were more than a few remarks made about how comfy a dress actually is.  See, frocks aren't just impractical fluff.

My ladies rockin' their frocks.  Floral was the order of the day!
My Nana bought me this dress not long after I became pregnant.  I don't know if she really intended it as a maternity dress, I don't think she did, and it's just as well as I don't think I wore it once when I was pregnant.  It's so voluminous, it just made me look like the main attraction inside the big top.  But now that I'm not knocked up, I really like the fullness of it.  It's quite sheer so I have to wear a slip with it.  I mostly wear this dress with something to draw it in at the waist, but when I really feel like indulging my Peter Pan complex, I wear it without.  I don't know if the photos capture it, but there is a silver stripe that runs through it which is rather lovely.  Also it has buttons down the bodice so I can breastfeed in it without having to undress myself (something I have actually done in order to wear some of my other dresses).  And it has pockets - SOLD.

Today I wore it with a cardi I bought in Balmain in Sydney.  It's a summery cardi really: it's cotton, it has 3/4 sleeves... but it's about the only blue thing I own that could be used for my Independence Day theme.  And it's such a happy blue (if there can be such a thing) that I couldn't resist.

The 'belt' is a hair ribbon.  The hair ribbon used to be on a present.  So it's a bit of wrapping really but I loved the stripes so I kept it.  Again, it fit nicely with my theme.  I only wished it was it a little wider so it made more of an impact.

The shoes were a last minute buy from Overland on the day of my brother's wedding.  I had an outfit all planned of course but I wasn't really happy with the shoes.  I bought these and changed the rest of the outfit to match.  I love the ruffle detail on the toe and the wedge heel.  You might think that the wedge makes these shoes comfy, but it doesn't.  It's a commonly held myth that heel height and width is the crux when it comes to comfy shoes but it's all about physics - weight distribution, angles... these don't tick the physics box but they do look lovely.

The earrings and the ring were also a wedding number, this time my sister's.  I was her only bridesmaid so was given free reign on outfit choice, just make it some sort of red.  I wore a beautiful top and skirt combo and these were the accessories.  I do love a good bit of red.  It suits me well as long as I don't have a face full of zits to match.  Too much information?  Sorry.  We (Mum and I) got this jewellery at Flying Saucer which used to be at Shore City Mall in Takapuna and Auckland Airport but I have a feeling they've closed.  Sad as they used to have interesting things.

Slap a hint of red lippy on there, and there you have it, America the brave!  Alternatively, it's now close enough to Bastille Day that I could say Vive la France instead.  You choose.

On Friday Edie wore a gorgeous little corduroy smock from Boden that she has worn a lot and I just love it.  Aunty Natalie helped me pick this one as there was so much cuteness to choose from, I was overwhelmed.  I love that it has so many colours in it so it's easy to accessorise.  I'm not sure which nation sports all those colours though so she's not in on the patriotic theme.  On Friday Edie wore the dress with a organic cotton onesie from Frugi, Marks & Spencer tights, and her See Kai Run Smaller boots that were bought from Miracle to match her glasses of course!
Favourite job: 'loading' the dishwasher

Added bonus: icing from the beater.

And this is what happens when mummies leave their babies for 1 minute to pose for a photo.  Baby chaos!