Monday, September 30, 2013

What to wear: the dramas of shopping for tweens

If you have a daughter who is wearing a size greater than 6, you will know exactly what I mean when I say there is a big change in the type of clothing available once you go from "little girl" to "big girl" sizes.  I could rant on and on about it.  Your daughter turns seven and suddenly instead of rainbows and kittens, the tops have black cats, pouts and chains.  Similarly, I could give you a good rant about little boys' clothes and why I object to shirts that proclaim my son "baddest", "toughest" or "naughtiest".  How about "helpful", "clever" and "thoughtful"?

But I'll spare you my rant because I'm sure you've heard it before.  The other day, I logged on to Target and found this ad "Grow up! Uh uh, stay young!"  Obviously an appeal to those of us who have long been complaining about the tarting-up of their girls' range, the ad presents a selection of their range that they believe would appeal to mums like me.  Interestingly, it's not their full range - just some selected pieces to show me that it is possible to buy Target clothes of that kind.  It's a good start at least.  Shows that retailers are becoming aware of a slowly changing (please, let it be changing!) attitude in this area.

An alternative that we've tried a couple of times is Land's End.  It's an American retailer that ships to Australia.  The shipping is expensive - yuck - but if you buy during a sale (right now) it kind of evens out a bit.  They have a boys, men's and women's range but it's the girls clothing we've had the most trouble with so we've bought more girls clothing than anything else. The sizes go up to 16, and while the clothing is cute, it is still styled for children rather than young adults.  If you are especially looking for modest girls' clothing, or slim or plus sizing, it may be a help to you.  They also have a product on some of their boys' and girls' pants called 'Iron Knee' for those kids who wear through pants.

The current 30% off sale finishes Oct 1.  I don't want to be inciting anyone into spending so let me just say what my bank sometimes says: "Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you." And, no, sadly I did not get a discount for this post.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Best friends already

There's this scene in Notting Hill, where Will's sister, Honey, meets the famous movie star Anna Scott for the first time.  She's totally giddy with excitement and says,

"...this is one of those key moments in life, when it's possible you can be really, genuinely cool - and I'm going to fail just 100%. I absolutely, totally and utterly adore you and I just think you are the most beautiful woman in the world and more importantly I genuinely believe, and I've believed for some time now, that we could be best friends. So what do you think?"
Sometimes I feel that way when I read blogs.  I find a new blog and after a bit of reading, I come to a well-reasoned conclusion: this person and I would definitely be besties if only we met in real life.  We were totally meant to be friends!
Which is ridiculous.
It seems superfluous to point this out but here goes anyway: people's blogs are not the same as the people themselves.  Even those bloggers who are super-revealing about their lives and want to present themselves as true-to-life as possible are still only able to give you an edited representation of their lives.  It is never the same thing.
And yet it's really tempting to forget this and think you "know" the person at the other end.  And I'd like to say I think that's a really dangerous thing.  And I'm not talking about stalkers or online predators of some kind.  I actually mean the nice stay-at-home-mom-type blog and the Christian-wife-and-lifestyle-type blog.  It's these kinds of blogs that we by nature tend to warm up to and then go and imitate.  We see a great parenting idea, recipe, craft, solution to life's deepest problems, and we think, "Oh, wow.  She really gets me.  That's exactly what I need to do."
In times past, we would have talked to a person.  A person whose life we knew (at least to some extent), and whose family, habits and decisions we'd observed over time.  And we'd weigh that all up before we took their advice or copied their decisions.  Bring back the person, I say.  I find some of the whole internet influence pretty scary - I think most of the time we don't realize how deeply we are being etched by people who we only think we know.
But not my blog of course.  You and I: we'd totally be besties.  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Midnight delivery

Mixed Rose Bouquet (Midnight)My parents live in India.  From time to time, I send gifts online.   And sometimes I see some funny options. But I think this latest offering is fantastic.

Midnight Surprise
Gifts multiply the happiness and are the best medium of showering love and care to the person you value the most. At, we offer Midnight Delivery Systems. Send gifts to your dear ones in India, when they least expect it. The feelings conveyed through the gifts and the moment of surprise will be cherished by your dear ones in India, for a longer time to come.

Oh yes. "The moment of surprise" would "be cherished by" my "dear ones in India, for a longer time to come" alright. I doubt it would ever be forgotten.

Because who wouldn't want a large black forest cake arriving at the stroke of midnight? Taj Black Forest Cake - 1Kg (Midnight)

Monday, September 23, 2013

The dying gum tree

Aghast!  That's what I was when I drove home from church a couple of weeks ago and saw our royal gum tree had been knocked over by strong winds.  One of its support ties had ripped under pressure.  Though we propped it back up and didn't see any initial damage, we now realise that it had suffered a massive snap at the base.  It's leaves have been slowly drying out and turning brown.  It's gone.  Two years' growth gone.  Sigh.  We'll have to start again.  But it won't be the same because it won't be planted on the royal wedding day and it won't have bloomed at the birth of Prince George.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How did I not know about this?

I did a fair bit of Australian geography in school.  How was it that no one mentioned that Australia has an underground fire that has been burning since....who knows!  It was certainly already burning before European settlement.  Burning Mountain Nature Reserve is located on the New England Highway, about 300 km north of Sydney.  A two-metre thick coal seam is continually on fire about 20 -30 metres under the surface of the ground, releasing heat and toxic fumes from outlet at ground level.  That's amazing.  And I can't believe no one ever mentioned it.  Or maybe I just wasn't listening at the time.  You can read more information here.

So, did anyone else out there know about Burning Mountain?

Friday, September 13, 2013

At last

At last, my reports are done and my mountain of official paperwork due today is sorted.  It's been a very, very busy last three weeks.  But the end is in sight!  Here's a little amusement to celebrate the moment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This is probably only fun if you are Presbyterian..

..and know a bit about who some of these guys are.... but I've baited Gary into taking selfies at the GAA.  Great fun!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Work, work, work

I'm afraid I'm all work and no play till my essays are marked and my reports written.  I promise to return soonish.  Feel free to talk amongst yourselves while I'm gone.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A fleeting moment

Have you ever received a totally unexpected and overwhelming gift?  I did today.  In my letter box was a gift I hadn't even imagined existed.

When I was a little girl, I spent a year at boarding school.  I have only one or two photos from this time in my life.  Today, I was blown away when I discovered my oldest friend had sent me a book of photos from that year.  Precious beyond explanation.  Her parents were my dorm parents.  I never even thought about the fact that they would have photos from that year!  Her kindness in bothering to go through those photos, scan them and have them printed for me is such a gift.  I don't have words.  Thank you, my dear friend!

This guy

This photo was taken in June 1936 in Hamburg.  It shows a gathering of workers at the official launch of a naval training ship.  The guy refusing to give the Nazi salute is thought to be August Landmesser, although no one is completely certain.  Whoever he is, he's one courageous guy.  He makes me want to stand up and cheer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


This is a list of early American grave inscriptions (via how about orange).  Specifically, details of the different ways they say 'die'.  It's an interesting read (really).  And I've found mine!

"Changed a fleeting world for an immortal rest"

See?  Just right. What about you?  Any that you particularly like?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I washed my hair

After about five months of 'washing' my hair with only bi-carb and vinegar, I gave in and grabbed the shampoo bottle.  I think I hung in there pretty well.  On the plus side, my scalp issues completely disappeared.  But the ends of my hair were becoming extremely dry and brittle.  After a failed attempt at reviving the dry ends with a homemade recipe (which left me wearing my hair in a French roll all day trying to look sophisticated when really my hair was not fit to be seen), it was time to bring back the shampoo.

I'm a bit sad - I liked the benefits to my scalp and the low cost and my hair felt clean and normal.  The dry ends weren't evident at first.  But as the months wore on, I could feel them getting worse.  I think if I had shorter hair and it was cut more often, I probably wouldn't have had a problem with it.  Anyway, here endeth the experiment (at least for now).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Spare me the phone

We headed off to another church yesterday afternoon for a special church service to welcome a new minister.  I couldn't help but notice that there were phones, phones, phones everywhere during the service.  Now admittedly, it was a special "event" service and people wanted to take some photos to remember the moment.  But it was weird looking up to the front and trying to see past the phones people were holding up.  Thankfully, I didn't see anyone taking selfies so that's good.

It all felt a bit like this ...