Archive | July, 2011

A Real-Life Designer Baby

29 Jul

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this video of fashion stylist, Rachel Zoe, showing us around her four month old son’s nursery. (Sorry, you’ll have to watch an ad before the video begins). I use the word ‘nursery’ advisedly. Little Skyler’s walk-in wardrobe is bigger than most people’s master bedrooms. And that wardrobe is chock-full of designer threads like a Gucci leather jacket which would come with a five-figure price tag. Not that Zoe paid for it. Or at least, I don’t think she did.
As she breathlessly tells us, ‘It came in its own garment bag’ which indicates to me that it was probably a gift from the canny PR folk at Gucci, who, spotting a golden publicity opportunity, probably gifted the jacket to Zoe knowing that she and her son are paparazzi gold – and if the baby’s snapped in that Gucci jacket (a picture that will be beamed across the world) well that’s great, free publicity, isn’t it? Nothing like using a baby as a walking billboard. Look, that probably sounds more mean than it should. Zoe adores fashion, and clearly adores her son, so combining the two probably makes a lot of sense. To her. But the excess makes me feel a teensy bit ill. It just seems – so much – or, in Zoe’s words, it’s ‘everything’. Literally. The baby seems to have everything – as long as it has a logo on it. The upside is that soon Skyler will become a toddler – and like all toddlers, will no doubt revel in jumping in the muddiest of muddy puddles, wearing his prisine white Ralph Lauren shoes. And as he becomes a rebellious teenager, he will probably hate designer fashion altogether and choose to dress in saggy no-name jeans and horrible t-shirts bearing the names of death-metal bands. I wonder how that beautiful walk-in wardrobe will look then? I envision just one big messy pile of dirty clothes on the floor, and Zoe, standing at the door in dismay, wondering what happened to the her little designer baby with the Gucci leather jacket.

Ticking Off the Bucket List

26 Jul

In the next few weeks, I will (hopefully) tick off two items from my bucket list – you know – that list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. The first is to attempt the City to Surf (14km fun-run), the other is to commence further university studies. Note that I have not set myself the goal of finishing either. Of course, completion is my aim. But there are obstacles in my way – they’re called children. But they are also my inspiration and my motivation.

Before you have a baby, everyone tells you the same thing – your life will change. No, really? I thought babies loved nightclubbing? It goes without saying that you enter into parenthood realising that you won’t be out every Saturday night, dancing till dawn. No, a rocking Saturday night involves take-away on the couch watching the footy. And that’s just fine with me. I reached parenthood at a time in my life when I wanted a change. I was more than ready. I didn’t want to be out on the tiles on a Saturday night. So, before you get that crying newborn in your hands, you know things are going to be different – but nothing can prepare you for how your changed life will feel. It’s mostly joy. Utter, ridiculous, joy. There’s also frustration (for the 50th time, eat. your. dinner), occasional boredom (not Dora the Explorer, AGAIN!), and definitely guilt. For me, the guilt arises when I have ‘me’ time. This comes in the form of going for a jog, using the computer, or trying to read a magazine. These activities are not aided by the presence of children, so I try to avoid them (the kids) while I do them (the activities). So, it comes down to trying to squeeze it all in while they are asleep. But with my two bucket-list projects, that’s just not possible. Uni studies are going to take up 12 hours a week, and City to Surf training takes up about 6 hours a week. 18 hours altogether. That’s a part-time job. Fortunately, I have great family support, which allows me to even contemplate these crazy projects. I guess the question I keep asking myself is – is now the right time? With two very young children who need their Mummy, a lot, is this the right time to be undertaking projects that require a fair chunk of solo time? Is it fair to them?

My conclusion is this – there will never be a right time to tick off these bucket list items. There’s no point in waiting for our lives to get less busy – it ain’t gonna happen. Once you become a parent, life seems to be put on a trajectory of busy-ness which only goes in one direction – and that’s up. My brother and sister have school-age children – and from what I can tell – school doesn’t seem to free up much time at all (for the parents, that is). So – now it is. I’m already really feeling guilty. But I’m also coming to the realisation that my bucket list projects are also important for my kids. Being a parent involves a couple of things – showering your kids with love – but also – being a good role model. Sounds a bit pious, doesn’t it? But the reality is – the way a parent lives their life is incredibly influential on the way a child lives out theirs. I want my girls to understand that it’s important to set goals, and work at achieving them. I don’t want them to be afraid of trying new things, and I definitely want them to know that learning doesn’t stop in your early twenties. So what’s the best way to teach my girls these ‘life lessons’ – well, I think for me, it’s to live them. And that’s what I’m going to try to do. Wish me luck. I think I’ll need it. That, and babysitters. That would be help too.

Fab Fashion of the Week

25 Jul
Olivia Palermo

I really don’t know who Olivia Palermo is. I think she was in that faux reality show ‘The City’. But I do know one thing – she’s really making me desperate for summer so I can bust out a long, floaty skirt. She’s been photographed in a couple over the last week and she looked like a breath of fresh air on the red carpet, which is always awash with flesh – legs or boobs – sometimes both. It gets quite stale. Not sure that I could do the tucked-in white shirt. But gosh it looks fresh and crisp, doesn’t it? There’s just something very feminine and thrown-together about the maxi-shirt and tucked-in top. If I really wanted to wax-on, I would describe it as effortless chic.

The Good, Bad and Cuddly – crazy name crackdown, a sick winter, and feline Harry Potter

22 Jul

The Good – Crazy Name Crackdown
Being a celebrity is like being in a club. To gain membership, you have to be rich, well-known, and have a child with a kooky name. Jamie Oliver is one of the worst offenders with four kids, named Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear Maurice. I don’t get the kooky name thing. Surely if you’re rich and famous, then you have all the attention you could want in the world. Do you really need to draw more attention to yourself and your child by giving them a weird name? The problem is, where celebrities lead, the general public seems to follow meaning kooky names are spreading like a contagion in the wider population. Thankfully, the authorities in New Zealand are drawing a line in the sand. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the names registrar has rejected 102 names in the past 2 years, including punctuation marks such as . (Full Stop), * (Asterisk) and / (presumably “Slash”), along with Baron, Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice, King, Knight and Mr. Thank goodness common sense has prevailed. Can you imagine the poor child turning up to school with the name ‘/’? Oh the humiliation. I’m pretty sure authorities in Australia have the same power – would love to see the list of what’s been rejected here.

The Bad – There Really Is a Lot of Sickness Going Around
Every year, I find myself making the same (slightly inane) comments. ‘Gee, this year’s gone quickly’ (they all do). And ‘Gosh it’s been a hot Summer’ (all Summers are hot). My latest favourite is ‘There’s a lot of sickness around this winter’. Seems like another rather obvious statement, right? Well, seems there may actually be some foundation to it. The Daily Telegraph reports Australia is in the grip of a grim flu outbreak, with the number of influenza cases four times higher than a year ago. So there, it’s true – it has been a bad winter for bugs. I’m over it.

The Cuddly – Cats Sum up Harry Potter in One Minute
When it comes to popular culture, I’m not ashamed to say I’m a trend follower. I don’t like to be left out. If there’s a hot new TV show that everyone’s watching, then I want to watch to. But there’s one trend that’s never grabbed me. And that’s Harry Potter. I’ve never read the books and I think I may have seen the first movie – but it was too scary for me. So – this video of a bunch of cats telling the story in less than a minute is perfect for me. At least I’ll know who the hell Voldemort is when he comes up in conversation.
 

What’s the perfect age?

21 Jul

27. That’s it. Post finished. Almost. I think my answer needs a little explanation and context. To me, 27 sounds like the perfect age – not too young but definitely not old – just right. But do I wish I were 27 again? No. Definitely not. Thanks to my fab husband and two gorgeous little girls, I have a lot more love in my life now than what I did at that age. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about? What I’m saying is this – in our rather youth-obsessed culture, 27 is the ideal birthday age to celebrate – not necessarily the best age to be.

I’ve had somewhat of a rollercoaster relationship with birthdays. As a child, I adored them. In our house there were established birthday traditions. The day always began with my parents, creeping through the early dark into my bedroom, with candles on a birthday cake lighting their path. It would be the first of about 10 renditions of ‘Happy birthday’ sung to me during the day. Next came the presents, opened while still in bed. Ah, what bliss. Opening pressies in bed. My parents were always generous but not over the top. At school, there would be more singing of ‘Happy birthday’ and gifts of flowers. Friends always gave flowers at my school. Dinner would be a meal of my chosing – roast chicken was a favourite – followed by more singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ and the cake that had been presented in the early morning would be recycled as dessert. The birthday festival usually lasted a few days, with a party on a Saturday arvo in which 30 of my closest little buddies would descend on our house for games of pass the parcel, or my personal favourite, the chocolate game. At that age, the prospect of getting older was exciting. It brought me a year closer to exciting milestones like driving a car, leaving school, and having my 21st.

Birthdays in my early to mid-twenties were still pretty fun – usually involving alcohol, and plenty of it. But by my late 20s, when hangovers weren’t as enjoyable any more, the enjoyment started to wane. I started to understand that getting older kind of sucked. And after my 30th birthday, there was the realisation that the next big milestone birthday would be my 40th. Eeek!! At least, that’s what I used to think until I read something a few months ago that triggered a lightbulb moment. I have no idea who said it, or where I read it, but basically some famous person said that they always celebrated birthdays with great joy because it’s a privilege to get older. Not everyone makes it. And if your life is good, then that surely is something to celebrate? I’m also rediscovering the joy of birthdays through my two little girls. My toddler is obsessed with them. We have already started discussing her upcoming third birthday and looking at pictures of cakes. It’s still four months away but we already know what games will be played. Musical statues – yes. Egg and spoon races – no.

Next year I will turn 36. Four years from 40. It’s not 27. But that’s OK. Because while 27 looks good, 36 actually feels a lot better. Except in my knees. I still wish they were 27.

Fine Dining in a Food Court: Eating at Becasse

18 Jul

This week I experienced one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. And it was in a food court. OK, well not exactly in a food court; we didn’t have to forage for our own table like seagulls scavenging for chips, we didn’t have to wipe someone else’s smear of tomato sauce off our table and we weren’t eating with plastic knives and forks. It was a restaurant within a food court. A restaurant called Becasse – one of Sydney’s best fine diners, which now resides on the same level as the new Westfield Sydney (Pitt St) Food Court. As far as food courts go, it’s very glamourous – with lots of stainless steel, black marble and chrome. Still, it’s a food court and you do have to walk past lots of diners filling their faces with burgers, sushi, chips and sandwiches in order to reach the sanctuary that is Becasse. The fine dining experience starts outside the door. The vine-covered entry gate is guarded by the maitre-d’, who checks our names off a list, unlocks the gate and leads us into the secret garden. Believe me, this really is like a secret garden.
 Beyond the gate lies a long corridor which is covered floor to ceiling with leaves and branches. It’s like walking through a five metre long arbor. At the end of the corridor sit four or five barren tree trunks, sitting like a sentry point to what lies beyond. And what lies beyond is an exclusive dining enclave – an intimate space with room for 25 diners only. Seating is at curved, velvet-covered banquettes. There are little footstools upon which to place your handbag, or shopping bags given the restaurant’s location. Even the tables are soft, shaped like an ellipse and covered with ostrich skin. There are more vines around the central pillar of the room, against an exposed sandstone wall backdrop and floor-to-ceiling arched windows, looking out onto the busy Pitt St shopping mall below. It’s kind of rustic luxe. The secret garden theme continues on the menu. We plump for the five course degustation, which includes dishes like ‘forgotten’ vegetables with smoked pork jowl, yabby tails and aromas of cedar. What arrives is a slab of hot stone upon which sit a collection of delicious baked and roasted root vegetables, a morsel of tasty pork (complete with crackling), some delicate tasting yabby, and a smear of creamy and sweet veg puree underneath it all. Topping it off is a sliver of cedar, the tips of which are gently burning, sending a waft of cedar smoke across the table. It’s like having a five star camp fire dinner, except we are sitting in velvet chairs in the middle of Sydney CBD. It is refined rusticity and it’s a dinner of many thank yous. Staff are there with comfortable regularity to refill our water glasses, clear plates, explain the menu, or ask if we would like to have a little break between courses (we can’t, the babysitters are waiting). And the icing on the cake? We are given a little gift bag containing a sweet treat to enjoy on the ride home. Not that we’re hungry. After five courses (eight really if you count the amuse bouche, pre-dessert and petit fours) we are replete. I’m more than happy to pay the rather large bill. It’s that good. But it’s over. Time to leave. The waiter leads us back to the front gate, produces a key, and unlocks it. We’re hit by the chaos of the food court. No wonder they keep the gate locked. We ask the waiter for a quick way out. He leads us through the middle of the food court, and keeps on going. There clearly is no quick way out. I think he’s going to escort us home but finally he points out the lifts. They are out of service. Eventually, we catch the service lift which delivers us back to Pitt Street. So does the food court location enhance or taint the experience? On one hand, a restaurant like Becasse is a special occasion kind of place (at least it is for me). It’s the type of meal that you dress up for, take someone special to, celebrate an occasion. So, you find yourself wearing your Sunday best…and walking through a food court, trying to convince your ‘someone special’ that Becasse really is (apparently) a two chefs hatted restaurant. It’s just not quite right. On the other hand, Becasse is perhaps more memorable because it’s such a surprise. It’s hard to comprehend that such a culinary oasis can exist in the midst of a burgers and burritos food court. Maybe it’s easier to appreciate blackmore wagyu with jerusalem artichoke, burnt butter and porter ale (it’s on the menu) when you know that someone is sitting 20 metres away from you eating a ham sandwich.

Fab and Fail Fashion of the Week – Nicole Kidman and Lara Bingle

17 Jul

Fab – Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman really confuses me. Sometimes I love her movies, sometimes I dislike them. Sometimes I think she sounds very down to earth, sometimes she comes across too self-conscious. Sometimes I love what she wears, other times I wonder if she looked in the mirror before she left home. I think I’m not the only one who’s confused – she seems to be quite a polarising person. Anyway, I think we can all agree (or can we?) that she looks fab in this red Elie Saab number. Red hair, red dress, red lip – all fantastic. I love how the dress is giving her an hourglass shape (which she doesn’t normally have) with with a fair bit of boob (more than usual), a cinched-in waist and a little curve around the hip and tummy accentuated by the peplum (bits of material on the side). It does all the right things in all the right places.

Compare it with what Melissa George wore at the same event. She looks completely washed out. What she needed to do was borrow some of Nic’s red lipstick. Would have made a tonne of difference.

Fail – Lara Bingle
Oh Lara. You’ve got such a hot body and gorgeous face – why hide it all in a boxy suit and all that hair over your face? And what’s going on the crotch area? Way too much fabric, for one. And – it’s just – a weird cut, like a cloth nappy. Don’t let me start on the jacket – it looks like it’s choking you – almost like a straight jacket. The button sits right on your boobs, making you like a size bigger than you are. And bunching the sleeves just makes your biceps look huge. But you know what I really don’t understand – you wore this to the launch of a new sunglasses range (of which you are the face) which was held at night, therefore depriving you of any chance to wear the said sunnies. Weird. Anyway, I think you’re a gorgeous looking girl so I’m posting a photo below of you from the sunglasses ad campaign – why didn’t you style yourself like this for the launch party? I don’t get it.