Things I Love Thursday 29/1/2015

Holy crap!  Can you believe that 2015 is nearly one-twelfth over already!  Where did January go?

 

This week I love:

– My new job.  Seriously you guys, it’s going so well.  I feel well settled now and all the people I work with are so lovely.  I have a quiet desk and I get to do paperwork all day.  I know that sounds boring, but after years of retail and customer service based jobs, it’s an absolute dream.  I’ve been learning how to process tax returns and company statements and I’m really enjoying myself.

 

– Trips to the stationary cupboard.  I’m a stationary nerd, so getting to work with all manner of pens, highlighters, folders, dividers and labels all day is fantastic.  I get so excited when I run out of something because it means that I get to meander over to the stationary cupboard and rifle through the packs of paperclips and staples to find what I’m looking for.  Ahhhhh!

 

-Ringo’s new girlfriend!  For years I thought that Ringo was gay, because he had a long-standing affair with a black cat called Vincent when I lived in Melbourne.  But now he’s latched onto this pretty kitty.  She’s just moved in down the street, and she visits Ringo on a regular basis.  When he hears the bell on her collar tinkling, he starts purring and whips himself into the most excited state.  They love to stand at the screen door, rubbing their noses through the screen and purring at each other.  It’s so cute!

 

Miss Jelly doesn’t like her though.  She caught me patting her the other day and snobbed me for the whole afternoon.  Poor Jelly doesn’t realise that no other cat could ever replace my Calico Diva.

 

– Miso soup.  Light and delicious.

 

– Buying stacks of new movies.  The local Video Ezy store is closing down and they are selling off all of their stock for crazy low prices.  I bought twenty five DVDs and spent about $120.  That’s seriously good value!

 

– Exchanging emails with a fun gentleman who shares my love of The Wizard of Oz, British comedy and reading.  It’s been an absolute pleasure reading about his adventures everyday and swapping photographs of our Wizard of Oz fan collections.

 

– Receiving a surprise parcel from this same gentleman containing a copy of The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I’d been dying to see.  Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.

 

-Unearthing this vintage teatowel from my grandmother’s extensive tea towel collection and noticing the gorgeous Tudor roses in the corners of the design.

 

– Planning ahead for Galentines Day.  I can’t wait to spoil all of my favourite single ladies.

 

– Friends who take huge leaps towards their own happiness.

 

– Gold nail polish.

 

– Crunchy handfuls of macadamia nuts.

 

What do you love this week?  I’d love to hear all about the things that are bringing joy to your world, so leave me a comment!

Daily outfit 27/1/2015

I’m struggling a tiny bit with my work wardrobe.  On the one hand, I have a collection of great work clothes that are appropriate for the office.  On the other hand, I have a lot of other wardrobe items that I’m keen to wear.  On a third hand (really Vanessa, a third hand?  Are you a mutant?)  the dress code in my office is fairly relaxed, and as long as we look clean and tidy we are pretty well free to wear what we want.  So I’ve been flitting between conservative business wear and some more casual ensembles, like this one.

I am wearing:

- White Sportsgirl peasant tunic (thrifted)

- Black velvet leggings from Cotton On

- Brown boots (gifted from a friend)

- Peacock scarf (Christmas pressie from friends Matt and Jude)

- Gold hoop earrings

- Floral celluloid ring (inherited from my Great Aunt Anne)

On this particular day we’d had a nice reprieve from the sweltering Summer heat, and a thunderstorm was forecast so I opted for boots.  The cooler air gave me an excuse to break out this gorgeous scarf that I got for Christmas from my friends Matt and Jude.  Matt picked this scarf out for me and he did a top job.  The colours go very nicely with a lot of my favourite outfits and I have a deep-seated love for peacocks.  This piece is just so gorgeous.

I’ve been having fun experimenting with my work wardrobe.  I’ve worn a mixture of vintage pieces and modern business wear and so far I haven’t felt the tiniest bit out of place.  In fact, I had the lovely lady who works at the post office tell me that she looks forward to my mail runs so that she can see what I’m wearing.  She told me that I have a “distinct sense of style” which buoyed me up.  Lovely compliments like that are so heartwarming, so I’m trying to make a bigger effort to tell people when they are doing something fantastic or looking awesome.

What have you been wearing to work lately?  Have you received any fabulous compliments?

Product review: Bandelettes.

 I’m a card-carrying member of the Chub Rub Club.  I have generous thighs that touch at the top and generate enough friction to start a fire when I walk long distances.  I like to imagine that my thighs like each other so much that they just can’t keep their hands to themselves. But all this thigh-action can cause some pretty painful chafing. So I’ve been on the lookout for something that will prevent the chub rub.

I came across a product called Bandelettes.  Bandelettes are bands that you wear around your thighs to prevent chafing.  The kind folks at Bandelettes sent me two pairs of their revolutionary thigh bands to try out.

My Bandelettes arrived just as the weather in Benalla reached scorching temperatures.  It was perfect timing and I was eager to take them for a spin.

The first step to getting the best performance out of your thigh bands is ensuring that you buy the right size.  To do this, you should measure your thighs with a flexible tape at the point where your thighs touch.  Then, refer to the sizing chart to make sure that you select the correct size.  The reason I got two pairs is because I’m on the cusp of size A and B.  The website recommends to size down if you are in between sizes to ensure a snug fit.

I got two different designs and colours.  This design is called Black Onyx. As you can see, the Bandelettes resemble the tops of stay-up stockings.  They are lined with two non-slip silicone strips to help them to stay in place.

This design is called Beige 1004.  My first impression of the Bandelettes was that they are so pretty!  So many shapewear and utilitarian underwear designs are ugly and matronly, but these look downright sexy.  If I happened to be wearing these on a date and things started to heat up, I wouldn’t be at all embarrassed to let my companion catch a glimpse of these.

To wear your Bandelettes, simply pull them up onto your thighs and position them at the point where your thighs touch.  This will be slightly different for every person.  Make sure that the bands aren’t twisted and are lying flat against your skin.

After I’d positioned my Bandelettes, I threw on a maxi dress and headed out for dinner.  I had to walk quite a long way to get to the restaurant, and I didn’t feel so much as a twinge.  The Bandelettes were so comfortable to wear.  They didn’t rub, slip or roll at all.  I was worried that they might make me feel even hotter in the humid summer air, but actually I felt cooler without the friction from my thighs.

The following day I wore my beige Bandelettes to go shopping.  I walked for hours without any chafing.  Once again, the bands didn’t budge at all.  I experienced similar results with both sizes.  The bands were also extremely discreet, and weren’t visible at all under my clothing.  I had been concerned that the lace might create a static effect that would cause my skirt to cling to them, but this wasn’t the case at all.

The bands are very easy to wash and dry.  I hand-wash them with my delicate items and then lay flat to dry.

Bandelettes retail for $14.99 each  and come in a huge range of colours, including black, red, beige, white and chocolate.  There are even unisex bands if you don’t like the feel or look of lace.  The unisex bands would be a perfect addition to your active wardrobe to prevent chafing while jogging or cycling.

I would highly recommend Bandelettes for my fellow members of the Chub Rub Club.  Not only do they look cute, but they work brilliantly too.

These items were provided for my consideration.  The opinions contained in this review are my own honest views.

5 Fandom Friday: Songs that changed my life.

This week’s topic is one of the most difficult ones that I’ve had to write about.  Not because I couldn’t think of any songs that have changed my life, but because the list of songs is so long that I found it next to impossible to narrow it down to just five.  But I’m going to give it a shot.

 

Music is a powerful force.  It drives us, churns up emotions and tickles our feet to dance.  A series of tense notes can leave you hanging on the edge of your seat and a thumping beat can make you involuntarily start tapping your toes.  The music we listen to is like the soundtrack of our lives.  It is beautiful and it can be heartbreaking.  It can remind us of people, places and moments previously forgotten.  It’s quite amazing.

 

So here are 5 songs that changed my life.  Not necessarily my favourite songs, mind you, but ones that had an impact on me and my life.

1. Move in the Right Direction by Gossip.

This song came to me during one of the darkest moments in my life.  I’d just been dumped by my boyfriend of nine years, I had to move out of the house we’d bought together and things felt desolate.  My whole world, the future I’d been building towards for years had been utterly shattered.  I had to completely re-assess my personal views about love and life and work towards untangling myself from the relationship.  In addition to that, I had to do it all without my boyfriend, who had been my closest companion and biggest source of support for nearly a decade.  It felt impossible, it hurt so deeply and I wanted to die.  I mean that. I actually wanted to end my life.  I had no concept of how to move forward and pick myself back up.

 

At about the same time that I was in crisis councelling, I heard this song on the radio.  It just spoke to me and I rushed home to listen to it again.  And then again.  I began listening to it every morning and for a while it was my anthem.  When I was feeling at my lowest, I’d sing to myself “One step closer, one day at a time” and just try to take those baby steps towards being Ok.  And then in time I was OK.  And then after a bit more time, I was fabulous.

 

 

 

2. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths.

This is another song that got me through a tricky time. I got really into The Smiths about halfway through college.  In my final year at university I was unemployed.  My job hunt was not going well at all, and I spent months applying for literally hundreds of jobs before I even got an interview.  I became extremely disheartened and depressed, convinced that I would never find anything.  I would listen to this song, and the words almost became like a prayer to me.  I’d whisper it as I rode the bus to my interviews, I’d hum the melody as I scanned job-search websites, and I kept hoping.  And eventually I did get a job.  I think this song was one of the things that kept my head above water during that time.

3, Mmmmbop by Hanson

In my teen years, I was a massive Hanson fan.  It all began when I was about eleven years old and I heard the opening jangling notes of Mmmbop on the radio.  This kicked off an obsession that would last until I was fifteen.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to Mmmbop over the years, and even now those first few bars whisk me back to my bedroom one summer afternoon just before I began my final year of primary school.  It’s nostalgia at it’s finest.

 

4. Overture from CATS by Andrew Lloyd Webber

I’m a huge lover of musical theater.  The first show I ever saw live was CATS.  I vividly remember sitting in a giant circus tent, the dimming of the lights and the electricity in my limbs as I heard those haunting bars that herald the beginning of this amazing musical.  It lit a fire in my belly and I sat there with my mouth open, eagerly waiting to see what would happen next.  I’ve now seen dozens of shows on stage, but to this day CATS is still my favourite.  That overture set in motion a life-long love of musical theater and the desire to feel that electricity that always zips through me when the lights go down and the curtain opens.

 

 

5. Where did you sleep last night? by Nirvana.

In my late teen years, I was deeply into grunge and alternative music.  And by far my favourite band was Nirvana.  I just loved the gritty rawness of their music.  This was a time in my life when I felt supremely frustrated.  I was eighteen,  living at home, halfway through my final year of high school.  I was tired of living by my parent’s rules, tired of studying, tired of going to the same old places every damn day.  I was a sexually frustrated nearly-woman in a long-distance relationship with a man who lived hours away, and private moments together were precious and few.  I was just itching to get the hell out, to get some experience and excitement.  To be able to do My Own Thing.  And this song just crystallized all my frustration and longing. I would listen to it loud, and want to shriek along with Kurt in the final stanzas.  It was a kind of release, a catharsis, that would substitute any real escape until I could make my exit into the world.

 

What songs changed your life?  I really enjoyed this prompt, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Things I Love Thursday 22/1/2015

Wow, it has been a massive week and I have so much to share with you.  I feel pretty blessed at the moment.  It’s just been one of those rare times when everything seems to be falling into place.  I just have this feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this point in time, and that all the bad stuff that’s happened in the past has led me to be the person I am at the moment.  Now that I’m done with being corny, let’s leap into Things I Love Thursday!

 

This week I love:

– Settling into my new job.  I have my own desk in a quiet corner of the office with a window.  I answer the phones for one hour each day while the receptionist is at lunch, and other that that I barely have to talk to anyone.  I just do my work quietly and happily.  It’s an introvert’s dream.  Plus I get to use a dizzying array of stationary and I’m doing work that I actually enjoy.  It’s brilliant.

 

-Going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and coming back to find this cheeky critter wrapped up  in my blanket!

 

-Also, Ringo’s new love of sleeping in my suitcase under my bed.

 

– Fresh salads eaten down by the lake.  Lunchtime picnics for the win!

 

– Re-watching The Office on DVD and discovering a bunch of episodes that I’ve never seen before.

 

– Finding three pairs of awesome and comfortable shoes in my size, for $5 each.

 

-Finishing these hand-knitted socks for my etsy store.  I’m making them in a bunch of different colours. Socks were always something that I felt too scared to learn how to make.  But now that I’m confident knitting on four needles, they’re a breeze!  I don’t even need a pattern anymore!

 

– Daily chats with awesome gentleman who share my love of British comedy, Game of Thrones and TMNT.

 

– Planning for Galentines Day.

 

– Getting a haircut.  It’s not a drastic change, but it felt like a big step.  I got some long layers put into my hair and I kinda love it.  To begin with I felt as though I’d lost half of my hair, but now that I’m used to it I love the movement that my hair has.  Although styling it is proving a bit challenging.

 

– The discovery that Disneyland holds a “coronation ceremony” for each new princess to welcome her into the royal court.  I watched a few on Youtube and I think that Princess Merida’s was my favourite.  I thought it was brilliant that she rode her own horse in the parade, rather than being pulled in a carriage like all the other princesses.

 

– This Jurassic Parks and Recreation trailer.  I wish this were a real thing.

 

What do you love this Thursday, nerds?  Let me know in the comments.

Daily outfit 20/1/2015

I was lucky enough to unwrap a rad new Dr Who shirt on Christmas morning.  The bright design and the artsy print had me smitten from the moment I tore away the wrapping paper.  I couldn’t wait to wear it.

Multi-coloured TARDIS print?  Yes please!

I was feeling a bit rough and ready when I got dressed this day.  Here is how I styled my TARDIS shirt for it’s debut.

I am wearing:

- Dangling cat earrings (gift)

- TARDIS shirt from The Doctor Who Pop Up Store

- Tartan mini skirt from Target

- Dr Martens boots

- Silver ring (thrifted)

- Leopard ring from Equip

It was super hot the day I wore this outfit.  I have been experimenting with different ways to wear my hair up and off my neck.  It just keeps things breezy and cool.  I am so happy I no longer have my extreme mermaid-hair to contend with during summer.

I wore this outfit to do some shopping, read a book on the grass and do some knitting.

Did you get any rad new clothes for Christmas?  Have you worn them yet?

Sweet potato fritters recipe.

Wow, it’s been ages since I posted a recipe on my blog. I’m trying really hard to get back into cooking this year in a bid to eat a bigger range of foods.  I’m also trying out some different ways to cook some of my favourite vegetables, to include a bit more variety in my diet.

One of the most delicious vegies around is the humble sweet potato. Not only does it taste great, but it’s low in fat and sodium, it contains loads of vitamins (B6, A and C to name a couple) and is a rich source of potassium.  It is also low GI, which means that it will give you sustained energy and keep you feeling full longer.

I usually serve my sweet potatoes as chips or roast them in the oven for a delicious side dish.  But last week I decided to have a go at creating some pan-fried sweet potato parcels.  These yummy fritters are so easy to make, they are vegan and gluten free and they taste scrumptious.  I like to serve mine as a side with pan-fried tofu or some salmon.  They also go down a treat when slapped between a bun and layered with salad and a slice of cheese for a delicious burger.

You can make the mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours until you are ready to cook it.  This recipe makes about 6 patties.  You might also like to adjust the spices and herbs used to suit your own tastes.

Sweet potato fritters (makes 6)

Ingredients

2 cups sweet potato

4 spring onions

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon parsley

1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil.

Method.

- Peel and dice the sweet potato and cook in a pot of boiling water until soft.

- Using a fork, mash the sweet potato and set aside.

- Finely slice the spring onions and add to the mashed sweet potato, along with the spices.

- Heat the oil in a frying pan.

- Using your hands, roll the sweet potato mixture into balls.  Each ball should use about 1-2 tablespoons of mixture.  You can adjust the size of the fritters if you wish.

- Place the fritters in the frying pan over a medium heat.  Use a spatula to press the fritters flat in the pan.  Cook until browned, and then flip and cook on the other side.

- Serve and enjoy!

If you wish, you might like to add an egg to the mixture to help it to bind together a bit better.  You may also like to add some other vegetables, such as peas or diced carrot, to the mixture to change the flavour.

Let me know if you’d like to see more recipes on the blog.  I’d be happy to share my cooking exploits if you’re interested.