Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Reading:: Hector and the Search for Happiness (a book review)

By now you should know that there's no rhyme or reason why I pick up books. I just go for random books and read them. By no means is this Oprah's book club either. I don't have enough dress changes to warrant that. 

But again (I know, I know) I saw the movie trailer for this film, and was drawn to reading the book.

So Still Alice was about a psychologist, and Hector and the Search for Happiness is about a psychiatrist. Maybe there's something going on with my sub conscious ? Never mind, I saw the trailer and thought it looked pretty darn funny. It made perfect sense to me to read the best selling book as translated from French to English by Lorenza Garcia. 

I did wonder if some of the depth was lost because of the translation (Lost in Translation anyone), but then again - I really enjoyed this - delightful, simple and fun, this book has been read by over two million people. It delivers an easy-to-follow story, and some important lessons along the way.

About 18 months ago I read The Happiness Project. I am always on the hunt for happiness (who isn't!), and reading this book (it's a really swift and simple read) was a good - and different - kind of adventure. 

It's the story of Hector. A psychiatrist who leaves his office in Paris to travel the world to find out what makes people happy. In over 20 neat lessons, Hector narrows his lessons down to succinct findings - and then tests them against a happiness researcher with happy results. 

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord $18.50 

* Reading is all about what I'm reading. It's not sponsored. It's simply me, reading a book and sharing with you. A book club of sorts. In 2015 it's my goal to read at least one book per month - and share my lowdown on them with you. Maybe you'd like to read along? If so, let me know and we can virtually have a book club. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How great is this? Cinderella. And Cate Blanchett. And Helena Bonham Carter.

A couple of months ago I was at a friend's farewell - and I was chatting to this man at the bar (just chatting people, I am a married woman). 

It was hours later (and a few drinks too) when I caught sight of that man's shirt, and realised he was sitting next to the luminescent Cate Blanchett. And then I connected the dots, in a belated fuzz and realised it was none other than Andrew Upton.

Anyway - that story is totally irrelevant except for the fact I wanted to tell you how beautiful Cate Blanchett is in real life. Like really, really gobsmackingly beautiful. 

So on with this post - how great does this look? I am not usually in to movies like this, but this?!??! 

Cate Blanchett is the Wicked Stepmother. Helena Bonham Carter is the Fairy Godmother. Directed by Kenneth Brannagh. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. 

If you want me, I am busy googling when this is coming to Australian screens. 

Best Summer Beauty Buys:: Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint

I've never been a big fan of tinted moisturiser. It's never the right colour - and it always feels a bit slick when applied to the face.

But as a huge and dedicated Dermalogica fan, I had to try this Ultra Sensitive Tint, because I've never met a Dermalogica product I didn't like love.

Perfect for application (you just need a little more than pea size), I used my fingers for easy and silky smooth application. I wore this everyday of my holidays and loved it - and didn't even go near my everyday foundation, because this was the perfect base. 

It's sheer - but not too sheer, it gives a nice even coverage and feels really good to touch. It worked well with my regular make-up too. 

Offering SPF30 and tinted using earth minerals it helps guard skin against sun and UV damage with Grape Seed and Green Tea extracts added to help fight against anti-oxidants. 

I really loved this - and would definitely recommend it for a really light everyday coverage - and sun protection. But if you don't love tinted coverage - I want to recommend the Super Sensitive Shield. Why? It's really gentle, smells amazing, and it was so good I used it on Tiny (she really, really hates wearing sunscreen - and she didn't complain with this, not once!). 

Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint $52

Disclosure:: This product was sent to me for review and editorial consideration. I considered it. Tried it. And loved it. I thought you might like it too! This is not a sponsored post. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Movie Review: The Little Death (Australian film)

Matt and I really love watching movies together. And since it's a rare day indeed that we get to go to the movies together - we're avid DVD watchers. 

It's well documented how much I love Australian film. And I really love funny Australian films. So how perfect, I thought - to share my review of this Australian film on Australia Day. BOO YAR! 

The Little Death (a reference to the French term for orgasm 'la petite mort') is big on laughs. In fact it's so big on laughs, I had to replay many of the moments because they just made me laugh. Not just haha, but belly laugh laughs. Like achingly funny laughs. 

A comedy about sex, love, relationships and rounded out by taboo, it's the kind of film you'll recommend to your friends in dire need of some laughs. It's not a shy film, by any means, which makes it all the more real, and a catalyst for conversation. 

Written and directed by Josh Lawson and nominated for six AACTA Awards in 2014, the cast is quality - a whole host of familiar faces, playing complicated, realistic and crazy-normal people. 

I have so many favourite moments from this film - and the trailer gives you a pretty succinct slice of what it's like - the whole way through. Fast paced, cracking and funny. My absolute favourite slice of the film features TJ Power as Sam who is hearing and speech impaired, calling up a sex call worker. Seriously funny and poignant too. 

I give it 8 stars!

The Little Death is now out on DVD and Blue-Ray. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

10 things to do these holidays

Holidays are still going strong (but not strong enough when they're nearly over - well a couple of weeks to go). Maybe you're flagging and you need some inspiration. Wave the white flag my friend, I have ideas to get you through. I do! 

1. Penguins of MadagascarI know the audience is divided but both Matt and I loved this movie. And that's the main thing. Wink. Wink. Ok the kids loved it too - so it's a full house - adults and kids both rated it. And Benedict Cumberbatch is a voice in it. That's always a good thing. 

2. Uno wars: We lie in bed in the morning and play Uno. Endless rounds of it. And then we play it at night too. And pretty well we play it all day. And all afternoon. And just all the time. What's not to love?

3. Hide and seek in the park: We love going to a small park and playing good, old-fashioned hide and seek. Seriously it's so fun, gets the bodies moving, and the feeling of play can't be beat. Obviously I have older children, so if you've got smaller children - use your noggin and do this in a fenced space where you can keep an eye on them. But you already knew that.

4. Flip out: I'd heard so much about it, and I finally took the smalls to Flip Out this week. It's a massive warehouse space full of trampolines. I paid for an hour for each of the smalls - and they jumped until they could jump no more. But oh man, they were so, so happy. 

5. Art Gallery visit: There's a great pop art exhibition at the AGNSW at the moment. I wanted to see it, and Matt and I thought the bright colours and content would appeal to the smalls, so we met up with my sister and niece and made a day out of it. 

6. Go Gramping! We were lucky enough to go gramping recently on Cockatoo Island as guests of Aeroguard. What is gramping? Camping with grandparents! It's a great way to spend time together, and help bonds grow. We loved this experience - the kids hadn't been camping before (I know, I know!) - and there's a recent study that shows there's a growing concern about development of life skills with 42% of Aussie parents believing their children are missing out on important life lessons by not spending enough time with grandparents, this is a great fix! We explored the island, BBQ'ed for breakfast, lunch and dinner, watched the boats (and world go by) and slept side by side in tents. It was so much fun and good for the soul. 

7. Roadtrip: If you can't go on a holiday - go on a road trip. We've been exploring up at Palm Beach (HELLO HEAVENLY HAMBURGERS!),  but it doesn't have to be anywhere fancy. Drive to another suburb or a small town and go exploring! 

8. Playdates: Honestly one of the best things to do with kids is organising a play date. They're happy. You're happy. The whole world is happy. 

9. Museums: Being a tourist in your own town is a good thing to do. Check out the museums, go look at the botanic gardens, it can create awesome conversations and memorable days out with your smalls. 

10. Drawing wars: We sit at the dining table with huge sheets of paper and draw. And collaborate. And we spend long periods of time doing this together. It's fun to do after dinner too - it can last for as long or as little as you like, and requires very little drawing skill. Seriously - I am proof of this! 

Got any extra inspiration to get everyone through the holidays?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Date night = great night

 images: Joe Frost's current exhibition at Watters Gallery 

My Mum has been down helping with the kids while the school holidays are on.

It's been such a huge help - she cooks, cleans, entertains, declutters, gardens, weeds, and so much more. It's so nice coming home to my Mum.

And as a bonus - Matt and I have been able to go on a couple of date nights together. SCORE!

The first date was to see Taken3.  And then a really below par, horrible meal at Miss Chu that made me feel cross.

The second date was last night - an art exhibition opening, followed by dinner at iconic low-brow Bill  & Toni's. And it was awesome. No expectations, just hanging out looking at art, and then a quick and cheap meal together, chatting. It was gold. 

Now I'm thinking we need to have at least one date a month for the year. I know this is a great thing for our relationship, so we gotta aim high! 

So my ingredients for a most excellent date night are?

- an activity that gives you something to talk about: an exhibition is ace, a movie is great, or even just people watching

- follow it up with dinner/coffee/something so you can sit and chat about what you've seen
- I am a cheap date. I like simple things, and fancy things are not for me. My favourite meal out would be an awesome burger. And a beer. And plenty of conversation. And then maybe a gelato. 

I asked some friends what their secrets to a good date are:

1. 'A dude.'

2. '500gm personality

450gm attraction
Add a sprinkle of class, chivalry and a touch of humour... 
Stir well with great location...
Garnish with a couple of cocktails...
Then leave for 2-3 days to settle...
However you'll know well before that if the recipe worked...'

3. 'Mojitos.' 

4. 'Dont be a tightass.'

5. 'A: Free Babysitting with no end time B: Actually that's about it.'

6. 'A good bottle of wine, dinner out, no dishes, no children and no time limits... I'm also totally in to dumplings, beer and a movie!'

7. 'To have a date in the first place hahaha...'

What's your secret to a great date? 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Getting School Ready (sp)

Faber Castell Single Hole Pencil Sharpener: keep them en pointe this year!
Document Wallet Printed (A4): perfect for notes and readers
Staedtler Norris Club Coloured Pencilsget them colouring within the lines (or outside!)
Studymate MegaMonster Premium Scrapbook: make lunches more exciting by keeping a scrapbook

I can barely believe the school holidays are almost over. Gasp! I love school holidays, it's relaxed. There's no school lunches, no morning rush, no fossicking through the laundry searching for clean uniforms. It's living the dream. Ha! Particularly when I am on holidays from work too. 

But these holidays I've decided to use the time to get a bit organised. When the kids got sent home last week of term with a list of stationery requirements for the year ahead - I sighed. It felt like forever away. But fast-forward and we're just a few weeks off being back in the grind, so together with Officeworks, I'm sharing my top tips on how to get your child school-ready. 

1. Talk about it: Don't go into the cone of silence, talk about school. Talk about what it's going to be like (particularly if they haven't started school), talk about teachers, about friends, maybe even talk about playground politics (because heck, we have SO been there). We talk about the year that has been - and what a big year it was - recognise this, and then talk about all the opportunities that lie ahead. Communicating allays fears and helps their growing minds. 

2. Involve them: When you're getting prepped for school - you might just want to knock it all over by yourself (we all know that's quicker), but by involving your child, you can make them feel like the captain of their school-ship. I let my kids have input into things like lunch boxes, school shoes (but they have to be fitted properly), and a couple of key rings on a school bag helps them feel like they're personalising their kit!

3. Sleep isn't for the weak: While I could sleep for the week, my kids love to stay up late in the holidays, and they love to get up early too. Sigh. A couple of weeks before school goes back, start that nice routine again so that they are getting enough rest. I also wind down activities in this period too so they're not so tired from running about everywhere. We stay home and have quiet days, playing board games and soaking up the together-ness. Children love routine, and love to know what's happening next, so if you can set this up early, it should help to make things easier.

4. Cut corners: I'm not usually one for cutting corners, but if you can outsource something. Outsource it. Officeworks has a free School List Service that allows you to submit your list at your local store - and their team members will pick and pack on your behalf for free. They'll even call or SMS you when it's ready to collect. 

5. Start a scrapbook: School lunches get so. darn. boring. Start a scrapbook with lunch ideas so you're never stuck for fresh, nutritious ideas. (I love this Studymate MegaMonster scrapbook for just 88cents!)

Officeworks has also just launched a new app for growing minds - suitable for both primary and secondary students, that's fun and educational. Check it out! 

It would be remiss not to mention Officeworks support for The Smith Family's Back to School Appeal - aimed at helping 638,000 disadvantaged Australian children succeed at school. You can buy a donation stationery card in store, or go online and help provide a child with their school needs. 

Are you ready to get back to school?