Thursday, April 29, 2010

Need shopping advice? Listen to Auntie Violet

If your body shape is an apple (I prefer to call it a wide-waisted hourglass), you can buy skinny jeans to fit your waist (rather than your hips) and the end result is a very nice pair of straight jeans!

It is utterly possible that you can pay $30 for a lovely tween skirt suit from an op-shop and spend another $25 getting it dry-cleaned, only to find that the fabric is the fibre-equivalent of rabid fleas. If the itch weren't enough, you might still find a previously unnoticed tear on the back of the jacket, which is somewhere you'll normally never see a leather patch.

You can spend big bucks on a pair of low-heeled, well cushioned and super-supportive black shoes which a) go nicely with your black tights and skirts, and b) will be perfect for those 50-min walks home from work - and then realise  they look EXACTLY like school shoes.

The big advantage of shopping where the customer service is terrible, is that you won't fee any obligation whatsoever to buy something from there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

black out

I'm currently labouring on a task which is both boring and requiring a high degree of attention - the worst of both worlds, really. So when my computer sputtered and went dark this afternoon, I was only a teensy bit annoyed.  Sometimes enforced breaks are all the breaks you get.

We figured that the power outage must be limited to our block, but the boy rang up and said it was out at home too. Apparently he'd just missed out on getting his vital beer lifeline, as the lights went out just as he pulled up at Pak'n'Save. Apparently alarms were going off, traffic was all over the place and rioting was surely imminent.

I wondered where our civil defense kit was, because it would've been handy to listen out for updates.

But after half an hour my colleague gave me permission to go home (not that he had any power to say yea or nay).

And by the time I was home the power came back.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Exploring her Indian heritage

TLM does not, in fact, have any Indian genes. But from the way she's decorated our clothes-airing frame, reminds me of the inside of my friend Vinod's car.

This is what she likes

This one of the many gaudy trims that TLM loves so much. So I got her to find me a white t-shirt, and I hand sewed the trim onto it. Actually I had to sew it on twice, because when she wore it to daycare the next day kids kept snagging their little fingers in it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

At last, a novel I want to get my hands on

Lionel Shriver's We need to talk about Kevin is one of my favourite novels, and one of the few which I am happy to re-read multiple times. Not because I have a special interest in high school shootings, but because I was fascinated by how she portrayed something that people never admit to - having ambivalent feelings about your own child.

And now she's written about about a guy who decides to put his life dream on hold, for the sake of his cancer-stricken wife, So much for that. Time passes, the man's bank balance dwindles and his wife is still going to die. Like Kevin, it sounds like a really depressing read. But I'm convinced I am going to love it, because I myself am often tortured by the conflict between pleasing oneself and doing the right thing for someone else (it might be a Chinese thing, I dunno).

Though it might be a while before I am willing to shell out up to $30-40 dollars for my own copy. I'm so very used to borrowing from the library (even if it means waiting a few years for it to become available).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blame it on the doona

I've just finished reading a book about skincare by Hugh Molly & Garry Egger, called Skin Fitness Safe and healthy skin care. I borrowed this from the library because it looked current and sounded sensible and down to earth. But now that I've read it, I get the feeling these guys are veering into crackpot-dom.

Basically, the authors - both Australian doctors - say that many skin problems are caused by overheating and over-cleaning of skin and hair. This appealed to me, because it suggested that I could save money on heating, soap and shampoo and improve my complexion. The before-and-after photos are promising - and all those people had to do was stop using their doona (that's Australian for duvet or comforter) and wash less often.

What's confusing though, is that the authors constantly refer to the Australian climate - which most of us think of as being hot and dry (except for Sydney and Darwin which I know can get hot and humid). What about people in far more temperate New Zealand, especially those of us who are living in uninsulated wooden houses and need to drape ourselves over the column heater night after night in mid-Winter?

There is nothing in the book which allows for non-Australian climates, which is a real shame. They suggest that you go to bed with just one blanket and maybe add a second one for winter. If I had to get through Winter with just two blankets, I'd never sleep (and my feet would freeze off). And nowhere in the book does it say what the ideal temperature is for one's bed.

So, while the ideas are worth thinking about, I won't bother trying to implement them. Unless I move to Australia.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Lately I have been  buying pre-loved clothes online. I'm so much more likely to buy something online or from a catalogue than in a shop. Mostly it's because I don't get the chance to try it on first, which is the point at which most items are weeded out when I'm in a shop. Plus, I'm motivated by the prospect of getting something cheaply (which is relative in the case of designer clothes). And if I order something from a catalogue and it doesn't fit properly or look any good after all, often I can't be bothered sending it back. In other words, it's probably not very wise.

Most op shops, I can't bring myself to try anything on because the place just smells like old people. You know that smell?

Consignment shops tend not to have that smell, which is good, but then the prices are much higher.

Last weekend there was a big pop-up op shop near my home and I went down to have a look. I had to bypass the beautiful silk shift dress at $20 because it was a little too big and one of the darts was oddly puckered. And I bypassed all the trousers and skirts because they just looked or felt too used. And I bypassed all the sets of beautiful vintage buttons because they were all different sizes.

But I did find a lovely purple-y pink boucle skirt suit, which I bought just because I liked the jacket. It's roomy enough that I can wear a couple of layers under it, but the skirt is too big so I might cut it up and make a matching beret or something out of it. The jacket is very similar to the Chanel-style jacket which I have been trying to make (but haven't got very far on)*.  The only difference is that it does have a collar. Oh, and it is finished. I just have to get it professionally cleaned first because at the moment it does look kinda grubby.

As soon as it's wearable I'll post a photo up.

*This means that I now have even less motivation to make my jacket. This happened last winter too, when I planned to sew my own winter coat and ended up buying one on sale before I had even finished the test garment.

Monday, April 12, 2010


So now it starts.

I have the cold that nearly killed the boy over Easter, and which gave TLM a few sniffles the week before that.

It'll be okay as long as this doesn't end up like last winter's  hell-in-a-snot-rag.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Real life window shopping a way more difficult proposition.

It's easier to just not go near the shops in the first place. But I had some unexpected spare cash a few weeks ago and thought it wouldn't hurt to check out the second-hand shops (because that was all I could afford). I was quite sure I wouldn't find anything to buy, and I was right. But it was nice to have a reason to step in and have a look around, just in case.

So I then took the next step, which was to go into "normal" shops to window shop. I went into the Max shop, tried on a bunch of jeans, and found some I really liked. And I managed to walk out of there without spending a cent. 

A few days later, I went into Hurricane Jeans, which has the best customer service of any jeans shop I have ever been into. I tried on lots and lots of jeans, and found some I really really liked - Workshop skinnies with a high-ish muffin-busting waistline, dark (but not matt) grey-blue and more of a straight leg than a skinny. Even taking into account that fact that one of their mirrors was a slimming mirror, I was impressed.

Again, I left without buying anything. It helped that those Workshop jeans cost almost $200.
But there's a voice in my head that keeps telling me to go back and bring 'em home. I think I might just stay away from them shops for a wee bit longer...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

Dishwashing is contraindicated

I went to visit my GP last week, and as usual I had a shopping list full of things to ask her about. But to omit the TMI and suchlike, I'll just tell you that I was advised to stop doing the dishes if I want my hand eczema to get better.

Actually, what she recommended was that we get a dishwasher, but a) we can't afford any big ticket items at the moment and b) the boy is biased against them. And apparently wearing rubber gloves religiously for all dishwashing and cleaning tasks is not good enough, because the gloves themselves can harbour nasty fungi and bacteria. So I thought about how I was going to break the news to the boy.

The boy was not overjoyed to hear that he'd have to cook and do the dishes, though in my own private opinion which I pretty much keep to myself and a couple of hundred of my most attentive listeners/readers, he should count himself lucky that he's a bloke and therefore completely blind to all the dusting, mopping and bathroom cleaning that he hasn't had to do thus far.

I had told the boy this news over the phone, and all the way home I stressed that he might rebel and leave me with no option but to produce a line-by-line report of all the household chores that are mysteriously done, without his input, in order to avoid us living in a veritable pigsty, over the last decade we have shared.

But when I got home he was already finishing off a sinkload of dishes, and I mentally kicked myself for assuming the worst.

I promised that as soon as my hands got better I'd start doing dishes again (until they got worse again anyway). But it's been a week and they haven't, so he might be in for a long haul...