2016, a love list.

December 31 2016

2016 had some rough moments, a quick glance at social media will show you it’s a year many are hoping to forget and for valid reasons. But I can’t join them. Because despite some challenges and sad spots, 2016 was great to me. So with determination to recognise the good when it comes you way and more than a sprinkle of nostalgia I’m sharing some of the things that brought some sparkle to my year.

In no order whatsoever, these are the things I loved this year:

  • My Lean In Circles, who gave me a safe space to look at my life and determine what was working, what was not, and keep pushing myself.
  • Seeing my friends who have become mums, and are becoming mums, blossom into these even more loving, more giving creatures. While none of them start with – or will every have – all the answers, their love for their tiny people have shone a path to follow and it has given me so much joy to see the joy their beebees have brought and continue to bring to their lives.
  • These schnoodles! The little one joined us in February and despite the big one trying repeatedly to resist her charms, he now loves her, perhaps even as much as we do.

    Archie Boo and Sadie Sue, saying goodbye to me through the fence.

    Archie Boo and Sadie Sue, saying goodbye to me through the fence.

  • These people, who came together entirely in the aim of fostering diversity and inclusion and amazed me by how quickly our time together felt like coming home.

    tribe

    The wonderful people of the Diversity Practitioners Association who this time last year I (mostly) didn’t know, and now count among my most favourite people.

  • Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara. Va va voom lashes.
  • Leina Broughton, the brand (and the great team behind it) and more so the lady. For not only creating gorgeous frocks that I love to wear, but inviting me behind the scenes and giving the opportunity to learn a great deal about myself.

    lb

    Will the amazing Leina Broughton

  • My day job, which I not only love but feel entirely privileged to do. I remain in a constant state of reminding myself not to take for granted what a super privilege this is.
  • Europe. My word, she’s got some pretty. Spending two weeks cruising around with my long-lost-husband was absolutely two of the best weeks of the year.

    europe

    Pics from our European adventures! From L to R, top to bottom: Nice, Venice, Monaco, Venice, Lake Bled in Slovenia, Milan, Hallstatt in Austria, Nice and Lucerne. Oh the loveliness!

  • Bloggers, who despite all the reasons not to be, are largely a wonderfully supportive, giving, open and lovely bunch. I feel so grateful for the kindness shown to me by other bloggers this year and to call myself part of this community.
  • My mum, who never tires of my jibber jabber in our daily chats, continues to offer me a safe spot to leave my worries, dyes my hair (yes!) and made and brought me chicken soup this week in the midst of man-flu-ing.

    the-mumma

    Me and The Mumma

  • Finding more and more women who are fighting for women. Sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly, but all resolutely committed to achieving equality.
  • The Jacarandas this year! Gosh they really dazzled me!

    jacarandas

    2016 Jacarandas

  • The Chat10Looks3 podcast by Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales. Every time a new episode pops up (new episodes are entirely reliable in their absolute inconsistency) I am overwhelmed with joy. I recommend starting from the beginning if you are yet to enjoy the loveliness and lols of Salesy and Crabb.
  • This guy, who after 11 years still cracks me up every day.
ja-and-ra-in-nice

JS and AS <3

  • Astroturf! We replaced some non-growing grass with some astro and it’s bloody great!
  • Walking out to King Island from Wellington Point. It is one of my favourite (and only) ways to enjoy the outdoors.

    wellington-point

    The walk to King Island from Wellington Point at low tide. Perfection.

  • The women I call my friends who never cease to amaze me with their courageousness and compassion and lols.
  • Frocktober! The fun! The frocks! And experiencing the amazing generosity that went along with it as we bandied together to do some good for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

    frocktober

    The frocks of Frocktober!

  • You. Last and most of all, you. Who visit the blog, join me on facebook and instagram and have offered your wisdom and encouragement and well wishes and have made me feel confident and brave and propelled me forward. I am so grateful for the support you offer me, and hope in 2017 I can give some of that back to you in this little corner of the internet we occupy together. You absolutely rock my world.

I’m going to head off and transform my *still* man-flu infested self into a party-worthy dame (we are going to a wedding this afternoon! On NYE! I have been excited for months, nothing is keeping me from this event!) and leave you with my most sincere thanks for all the ways you lit up my 2016 and my most bedazzled and love-induced wishes for a great 2017 for us all.

The gift I’m most looking forward to giving this Christmas

November 19 2016

love gift giving. It is a natural extension of shopaholicism (a thing, without doubt) and the quest for finding a gift that is *just right*. I take great joy in shopping for my loved ones and finding thoughtful ways to show them how much they mean to me.

But this Christmas has already been a little different, because the gifts I’m most looking forward to giving have been shopped for with love… but I don’t know the recipients.

I am participating in Share The Dignity’s #itsinthebag campaign, encouraging women to take a handbag they no longer use and fill it with essentials (and a couple of little luxuries) for a woman who’s put the needs of others ahead of her own this Christmas.

Share the Dignity’s amazing founder Rochelle Courtenay explains why this campaign matters

“Let me tell you WHY we Share the Dignity with the #itsinthebag. I was told of so many stories but one that sticks out the most in my head is this one… 

A woman who had turned to a domestic violence refuge for help and happened to be there on Christmas day, she had two children and NOTHING. This handbag was hers, given with love, received with LOVE.

She cried upon receiving it, throwing it over her shoulder, feeling it and commenting on how kind people were. She looked into the bag and started crying, she now had a toothbrush and a hairbrush things that mean so little to us, but to her it was so important. After going through the bag she also discovered a Rockmans gift voucher, she was overwhelmed with emotions, really crying because someone cared enough to give her this gift. The lady waited until her kids went back to school and she headed to the big sales, well she found a great dress and felt a million bucks. She then headed off to a job interview and got the job!!

This bag, this gift changed her life in so many ways.”

A life changing gift is the sort of gift I want to give this Christmas!

So over the past month and a bit I’ve been collecting little bits to make up two bags. I didn’t have two handbags I was ready to part with, so I bought two newbies from Collette on sale (super versatile options there!). A snapshot of what’s going in the bags I’m gifting below:

#itsinthebag

What’s going in the bag: (most of) the contents of the two bags I’m putting together for Share The Dignity’s #itsinthebag Christmas campaign!

Bag collections have JUST opened, if you want to pull together a handbag (or two, or three) for a woman who could do with an act of kindness, you have ’til December 3 to get your bag to a collection point!

Share the dignity have put together this handy guide of ideas for bag contents:

#itsinthebag quick guide

#itsinthebag quick guide

And some beautiful printables are available on their website to include in your bag.

#itsinthebag

#itsinthebag printable

Words for all of us.

Are you participating in #itsinthebag this year? Is there something else you or your family do at Christmas time to help those less fortunate? Love to hear the ways you are sharing kindness in the comments below! 

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars Available in Australia

November 1 2016

Melbourne Cup is over and so the retail world is officially turning its eyes solely to Christmas! One highly sort after Christmas offering that gets snapped before December even arrives are the strictly limited release beauty advent calendars! What’s that you say? You heard right: switch the weird daily chocolate out for a bite sized beauty product and the 12 or 24 days before Christmas get a major dose of end-of-year treat yo’self!

The offerings available in Australia do not match the bounty of gorgeous options in the UK, but nevertheless there are some great choices to add some beauty-induced cheer to your December! 15 in fact, and here they are:

1. Clinique

There’s a great range of products in Clinique’s countdown calendar – it contains makeup, skincare and fragrance! Reasonable value too when you compare it to some of the other big name cosmetic houses.

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars 24 Days of Clinique

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars: 24 days of Clinique, $150 at David Jones (may be available with other stockists of Clinique, but I’m listing David Jones as it’s Femeconomy approved!)

2. ASOS

I was initally a bit dubious on the quality of the ASOS pack, but there’s some great brands contained within (think Burts Bees, Dermalogica, Model Co) and the contents is estimated at £175!

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars Asos

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars: ASOS The Beauty Advent Calendar, $97.61

3. The Body Shop

The Body Shop has two offerings this year with the most exquisite packaging! This juicy pack contains skincare, makeup, bodycare and accessories. While the little sister calendar (below) has a similar mix of products, the quality and value of this pack is a little higher.

4. The Body Shop

The Body Shop’s second advent calendar also has a mix of makeup, skincare, bodycare and accessories – valued at over $200. A slightly cheaper alternative to it’s pink sister above!

5. LookFantastic

The LookFantastic advent calendar has a high level of mystery surrounding its contents but also insanely good reviews! They say it contains haircare, skincare, bodycare and makeup and is worth more than £300.

2016-beauty-advent-calendars-look-fantastic

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars: LookFantastic Advent Calendar, $120

6. NYX Cosmetics

An advent calendar for lips and lids – the NYX Advent Calendar is packed with 12 soft matte lip creams and 12 mini eyeshadows in a range of brights and softer hues. Despite NYX being stocked at Priceline, the calendar is not available in Aus so this one needs to ship from the UK.

2016 Beauty Advent Calendar

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars: NYX Advent Calendar via Selfridges, $84

7. Ciaté London

For those who love polished paws, this is the set you’ve been waiting for! Packed with 22 polishes and 2 x accessories this calendar packs a lot of punch!

8. Benefit

Benefit have shrunk their usual offering of a 24 day advent colour to a 12 day version. The result? All the good stuff and none of the fillers. A great alternative for the festive season at a more accessible price point!

2016 Beauty Advent Calendar Benefit

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars; Benefit Girl O’Clock Rock, $75

9. L’Occitaine En Provence

L’Occitaine’s Advent Calendar is laden with little luxuries you’ll want to take in your handbag or beauty bag when you travel.

2016 Beauty Advent Calendar L'Occitaine

2016 Beauty Advent Calendars: L’Occitaine Advent Calendar, $85

10. Molton Brown

LookFantastic is also distributing the luxurious Molton Brown Scented Luxuries Advent Calendar. This pack contains body lotions, hand washes, hair care and homewares (? Yeah not sure about that…) to amp up your festive season. Loving the classic packaging!

11. Clarins

An option for the man-folk! Skin, bath and haircare essentials for men. Not available in Australia, the Clairns Men 12 days of Christmas set also comes via the UK.

12. Technic 12 Day Cosmetic Advent Calendar Christmas Countdown

Another 12 day option, this calendar is the cheapest on our list at just over $20 and contains a range of makeup items. Would caution that you get what you pay for to a certain extent with beauty products, but this may be a great option for girls starting to experiment with makeup!

13. Charlotte Tilbury

Luxury plus with Charlotte Tilbury’s World of Legendary Parties holiday Advent Calendar! Containing Charlotte’s best known products. The $295 price tag definitely makes this a true festive luxury… but I dare say it won’t disappoint through the 12 days of Christmas!

14. Estée Lauder

I have saved the most luxurious calendar of all for last! Estée Lauder’s Holiday Countdown Advent Calendar contains the brand’s best skin care, makeup and fragrance and even includes a couple of full-sized products. It is truly a gift to yourself at $450! Limited availability.

15. DIY!

Couldn’t pull together a list of advent calendars without including a DIY option. I love this idea so much of creating a calendar for a loved one that includes things you know they will absolutely love. Target has a couple of options, this one’s my favourite.

My pick!

If money was no object I think I’d indulge in the Charlotte Tilbury World of Legendary Parties calendar. So much luxurious loveliness! In the more realistic price range, I think the L’Occitaine calendar will have lots to love! Ultimately if you head for a brand whose products you love, you’re unlikely to be disappointed! (NB: if your calendar of choice is sold out, try eBay and Amazon – often they’ll pop up for resale!)

Are you planning on indulging in a beauty advent calendar this year? Have you had one before? Is there one you’ve seen is available in Aus that I’ve not included? Lets chat more in the comments below! 

9 things I learnt during Frocktober

October 30 2016

Frocktober has finally come to a close! I’ve worn a different dress every day of October to raise funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation… and I learnt a bunch of things along the way! This is them!

1. Taking a GOOD photo every day is a not as easy as it looks!

Think the outfit-of-the-day bloggers are nabbing a quick shot in the 30 seconds before they walk out the door? If that’s how they’re doing it, it is not a skill I possess! I have had some major bloopers along the way that have made me lol and ask myself ‘Seriously, what were you going for there? how did you think that photo was going to turn out?!’. Here is my one minute blooper reel! (No sound):

Respect, outfit-of-the-day bloggers. Respect.

2. I own the same dress in 17 different colours and patterns.

Frocktober dresses on repeat

Keeping Cue in business since 2011.

17 may be a bit of an exaggeration but I am definitely buying the same dress. It’s a Cue frock, a shape that never goes out of style and clearly I’m a bit addicted to it. Several of these I bought in the boxing day release and despite the fact I clearly don’t need any more, suspect I’ll be hitting refresh online on December 26 to see what prints it’s out in this year!

3. The schnoodles want in on the snaps!

After discovering how painfully long it took to get a frock pic I was happy with, I started setting my camera up to take 5 photos in a row. Unfortunately, this meant that sometimes the schnoos would bolt in and ruin a shot… it’s almost as if they heard the first click, looked at each other, then came rushing in for the next four. Yeah, thanks team.

Frocktober fails with the schnoos

Through gritted photo-bombed teeth: the schnoos get in on the action!

4. I look way more awake with lipstick on

Never been much of a morning person (apologies, employers) so perking up for a shot before I scoot to work has at times been a struggle. Along the way I discovered I look WAY more awake with lipstick on! Life hack I’m taking all the way to the bank.

5. When opportunity knocks – say yes!

Even if it makes your tummy flip flop with nerves. More on this in yesterday’s post!

6. When you Frocktober (Yes, I’m using it as a verb), you’re in excellent company!

I have loved following along on Instagram with the #Frocktober2016 hashtag to discover the other dames frocking up for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. While there were SO MANY exceptional women getting in on the action, these ladies have been some of my favourites:

Frocktober dames I love

The Dames of Frocktober – ladies I so admire, who I hope don’t mind I nabbed some of their pics from Insta! (from left to right, top then bottom: Kimba (@kimbalikes), Tonia (@toniawithaneye), Marisa (@hanworthhouse), Birgit (@birgit_w), Lauren (@thudandpop) and Jasmine (@prettychuffed).

As you can imagine, many of these women have had their lives touched by ovarian cancer – they’ve made a huge effort and together have raised more than $23,000 at the time of writing this post.

7. We desperately need an early detection test for ovarian cancer.

I’ve learnt a lot about ovarian cancer this month – it’s an insidious disease that claims the life of one Australian woman every 10 hours – that’s 75 this month. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague (you can read about them here) and as a result, tragically, many women don’t receive a diagnosis until the cancer has spread. While mammograms and pap smears are helping to curb the mortality rate for women diagnosed with breast and cervical cancers, there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer. This is what the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is desperately trying to achieve and we’ve been helping them do this month.

8. You are so generous

When I set up my frocktober fundraising page, I set the target at $500 then at the very last moment switched it to $1,000 thinking ‘aim high!’. I am so humbled to have raised more than $1,600 with your generosity – it was beyond my expectations. THANK YOU.

Hopefully it will not be too long until we hear news that an early detection test has been developed. On that day, lovely donors, know that you helped make that happen.

9. Frocktober was A BUNCH of fun!

And I will so look forward to doing it again next year! I’d love you to consider joining me next time – remember you don’t have to wear a different frock every day, or even a frock every day, there are lots of fun frocktastic challenges.

Anyway plenty of time for all that, but for now I’m thinking about pulling on some pants and celebrating a bloody good month! Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm along the way!

Do you love a good frock? Have you enjoyed Frocktober? Is this cause close to your heart? Do you end up with a bunch of bloopers when you try to get a good selfie? Love to chat more in the comments below!