Monday, June 24, 2013

New releases and my HG of skincare

One of my guilty pleasures is Glasshouse Candles and they have just released the Glasshouse vintage collection ...



Winding cobblestone streets, classic stone architecture and the sound of flowing streams. Back by popular demand, Avallon's sensual b

lend of cassis, vanilla and jasmine takes you to the heart of seventeenth century France. 



Try a little rumba. Add a bit of salsa. Mix in a tropical vibe. Back by popular demand, Cuba's energetic mix of fresh pineapple, tangerine and cherry, with a touch of amber, is a Caribbean classic. 



Enter a mythical kingdom where peace, tranquillity and happiness rule. Back by popular demand, Shambala's ancient blend of bergamot, candied honey, patchouli and vetiver create a karmic connection.

- does Cuba sound like the most divine of fragrances... or is it just me? Either way, I've already got mine ordered and expect it in my hot little hands early next week. I'm also desperately hoping for a Versailles re-release however I won't hold my breath.

In other news, I have found my holy Grail skincare range at long last! My spa visit a few weeks ago introduced me to O Cosmedics. They were used as part of my facial and as well as smelling good, they felt amazing on my skin - deeply cleansing but not at all drying. I was interested in learning more about the range and purchasing some of it but unfortunately at the end of my final treatment, I was rushed to the changeroom and out the door as it was a few minutes after close time - not the smartest move on their part as I was in such a state of relaxation, they would have made a fortune out of me. I did however grab a brochure on the products and followed up with some online research. 

O Cosmedics are medical grade products with active ingredients to protect and repair skin - Rather than claim the Holy Grail on barely-there volumes we’ve formulated O with potent ingredients. Our world exclusive V8 Peptide Complex™ works behind the scenes on the essential cell structure to age proof your skin and accelerate healing and rejuvenation. Only superior formulations and chirally correct active ingredients will do when it comes to taking action for healthy skin. O knows just where to look and how to transform your skin at the deepest level.

Put simply, O corrects the passage of time and lays the foundation for timeless beauty. There are few who can lay claim and back that with irrefutable proof. We’ve taken the O range through its paces to make sure it stacks up to what you’d expect from a high performing product. Based on international research and clinical data there’s no room for error. O represents precision skin care. No surgery or needles, simply a daily commitment to feeding your skin with the very best in skin science. 

Preferring to purchase online given the average spa service, I bought the:

 Gentle Antioxidant Cleanser $49
A gentle daily facial cleanser strengthened with powerful antioxidants. Suitable for all skin types including reactive and rosacea skins, post peel, laser and surgery cleansing. Fortified with anti-pollutant boosters that trap & remove dirt and excess sebum. V8 peptide complex™ leaves the skin super hydrated & refreshed. 

Exfoliating Cleanser $59
Cleanser and scrub in one. Empowered with not one but four physical exfoliating beads (cranberry seeds, jojoba beads, diatomaceous earth and hydrated silicone crystals) to offer the skin an invigorating, deep cleansing experience. Fortified with V8 peptide complex™ the skin is left super hydrated, radiant and awakened.

Immortal Cream $99
Cutting edge super-antioxidants and potent concentrations of V8 peptide complex™ make this age defying cream a five star anti-ageing treatment. Fortified with mega doses of vitamin C it works to awaken and hydrate the skin, assist relaxation of muscles and help to reverse and diminish the signs of ageing whilst providing a feeling of instant lift.

Now, I have used pretty much every decent skincare range out there from Dermalogica to Clinique, Chanel and Nuetrogena. The last few years I have been pretty satisfied with Cetaphil cleanser and moisturiser - cheep, cheerful and I don't seem to have any breakouts however my skin does feel dry in some parts, oily in others and I'm prone to blackhead congestion around my nose and chin. 

I started using O Cosmedics about 10 days ago and was seeing results in about 3 days! I use the cleanser in the morning, Cetaphil to remove makeup followed by the cleanser at night and the scrub on Wednesday & Sunday nights. My skin is already smoother, blackheads clearing and less visible, skin colour and tone more even. My make up goes on better than I ever remember and I feel more confident without makeup. 

I will be adding a serum to my routine soon and have heard good things about Vitamin C so I'm interested in trying the Pure C + BHA - Pure and potent. Protect your skin from free radical damage using the most powerful antioxidant benefit of fresh, chirally corrected vitamin C. This pure L-Absorbic Acid with encapsulated BHA offers daily exfoliation and antioxidant benefits second to none.

Reasonably priced for truly amazing results, this is a brand I am telling all my friends about and will definitely repurchase. I will also do a followup post in a few weeks to let you know if the results are continuing.

Tomorrow I will try and get in a post about Ethan's birthday party on the weekend! My little teddy bear is now officially one and had a wonderful Picnic on Saturday with our nearest and dearest there to celebrate with him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A small fact about me

I don't like hot drinks ... not coffee, tea, mocchas, hot chocolates ... none of it. People always look at me disbelievingly when I tell them that after the offer of a coffee. I'd prefer a glass of water any day.

I was told I would definitely become a coffee drinker after having a baby as I would need the caffeine hit each morning. Well E turns 1 on Saturday and I still don't drink coffee. I thought though I would have at least taken up tea drinking by now though.

I have tried, really tried to drink coffee and each time Nespresso releases a new variation, I snap it up in hope. I was almost there with the coconut pods but then they were no more.

Tea on the other is something I have drunk and do drink but not out of enjoyment. I drink green tea for health and its a gulp down not sip and savour.

There has been a change though ... last week, I used my mother's day spa gift voucher. I was greeted in the tranquil reception and offered tea while I completed the obligatory introduction form (what skincare do you use, what part of your body do you want to improve etc). Ah why not, I accepted ... and was pleasantly surprised. I actually asked the receptionist what the tea blend was and would have bought it then and there if they hadn't of already sold out. It was raspberry and lime if you're wondering.

To digress, in my Tupperware career, I won (yes, won) their Teaz me tea set. Its a really beautiful set with all kinds of brilliant features... like not letting the tea steep excessively in the water and made from extra strong European tempered glass. Its made a really lovely ornament thus far but as I don't drink tea, its never had a drop of liquid poured from it.

Well after experiencing the refreshing blend of raspberry & lime tea, that's all about to change!

I have been researching teas and obviously it would appear I prefer fruit blends/infusions at this early stage. Unfortunately we don't have a T2 locally which is such a pity although we do have a Tea Centre. I could still do an internet order or T2 but it might be worth actually visiting a store and learning a little more to start with.

A sucker for a good description, my selection to investigate -

Japanese Garden
Green tea, white tea, pinapple, strawberry, mallow leaves, papaya & rose flowers.

Summer Fruits
Ingredients: Hibiscus, apple, beetroot, elder berries, blackberries, black and red currants, raspberries, strawberries and blackberry leaves.

Sydney Special
Black & green tea with mango, jasmine flowers, rose flowers, cornflowers, safflowers & calendula flowers.

Raspberry Zing
 Ingredients: Hibiscus, rosehip, citrus peels, apple, raspberries and lemongrass.

Berry Delicious
Ingredients: Hibiscus, rosehip, apple, elder berries, blueberries, blackcurrants and strawberry leaves.

Any other recs for good tea of the fruit infusion variety? Anyone able to provide a review of the teas I have shortlisted?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Queen's honours ...

My amazing papa was named on the Queen's honours list this long weekend!

He is now the proud recipient of an Medal of the Order of Australia and can use the letters OAM after his name.

There is a lengthy and involved process for one of these awards. You have to be nominated with a resume and supporting information including 4 referees. The nomination is then reviewed and if found deserving, the referees are contacted and requested to make a submission in support of the nomination.

I nominated him 2 years ago - yep, TWO YEARS! 

Taken from the 'Its An Honour' site...

The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievements and service of their fellow citizens.
Nominations to the Order of Australia come directly from the community: either individuals or groups.
Appointments in the Order of Australia are not made posthumously. However, a nomination will be considered if the person is alive when the nomination form is received by the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat at Government House in Canberra.
The 19-member Council for the Order of Australia then considers the nominations. The Council makes its recommendations, independent of government, direct to the Governor-General.
Awards in the Order of Australia are publicly announced on Australia Day (26 January) and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday (June).

I was hoping it would remain a surprise until the day as he pores over the newspaper each year on Australia Day & the Queen's birthday to send out congratulations to those he knows but turns out the committee write to ask if you will accept the honour and verify its accuracy. My dad is a very humble man so was shocked and overwhelmed to receive such an accolade. 

My mum organised a big celebratory lunch at Point Break at Burleigh Heads with all our family and dad's closest friends. The media came along too to interview dad and get some happy snaps of him, the family and the three grandkids who stole the show and most of the screen-time on the news last night.

Its such a privilege to be the daughter of a really wonderful community minded person and I am so very proud of my dad.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What I do best

As promised, its not all serious mothering and self-reflection here...

I have been adding to my 'mum' wardrobe - think lots of pants (practical for getting down to play/bending to pick up tossed food, toys & the boy), comfortable modest tops... you get the idea. Well, I added the ultimate 'mum' piece this past week (in my mind anyway)... a puffer vest! I know, I don't know myself these days. I was really excited about this piece... although I'm yet to wear it thanks to the Gold Coast's half assed attempt at Winter. I bought it from Country Road (of course) for two reasons... the Witchery one sold out so I didn't even get a chance to try theirs and two, because the fur is detachable. I didn't realise this when I tried it on and felt a bit Vegas showgirl with that much fuzz around my face and the way it made my hair sit up - I swear E was laughing at me as I tried it. Luckily for CR, a helpful enabler  Sales Assistant paused long enough to tell me the fur buttoned off. Well, I was sold - I know, I'm a tough cookie aren't I? I love the contrasting knitted back on this one that adds a little wow for me:

A week later of course, CR had one of their ever present sales. I was quite restrained and managed to cull my $700+ cart to these three items:

With the intention of getting these when my status voucher and spend and save come through (bound to be the next few weeks):

I didn't even browse the childrens' items for fear of a major blowout - E does not need another thread or stitch and I feared temptation of buying for my nieces given how adorable the CR girl's Winter range is.

I have always loved Country Road but my love has grown more since having bub. The vanity sizing can be a PIA but the clothes are (mostly) well-made, flattering cuts, fashionable/on trend without being to out there, suitable for work and play and reasonably priced if you wait for a sale/member offer.

On that token, I have never seen the fascination with Witchery and have maybe 1 or 2 items from them and that's it. I have just never found their cuts to fit me all that well (probably a good thing) although I live in hope.

Which chain store is your go to?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Big changes

So you may have noticed, there has been a name change.

As I mentioned previously, I'm not a GC Real Estate Girl anymore and its time for a change as the heading doesn't suit my new direction in any which way. The new title came to me quite quickly amazingly... it was inspired believe it or not by a Slim Dusty track that my beloved maternal grandparents loved and I therefore grew up listening to despite not being a Country Music fan by any means -

Looking forward, looking back

I've come a long way down the track

Got a long way left to go

Making songs, from what I know

Making sense of what I've seen

All the love we've had between

You and I, along the track

Looking forward, looking back

There are strange days

Full of change on the way

But we'll be fine, unlike some

I'll be leaning forward, to see what's coming

Looking forward, looking back

I've come a long way down the track

Got a long way left to go

Making songs, from what I know

If I'm alone at night, I can see

Through all the triviality

Of the day and I'm okay

I just think of those who are dear to me

Looking forward, looking back

I've come a long way down the track

Got a long way left to go

Making songs, from what I know

Making songs, from what I know

Looking forward, looking back ...

The name (and song) seem to fit where I am right now. Motherhood and life in general is very much a journey and I find as I move forward , I also look back ... my own very happy childhood is teaching me how to be the best mummy I can and many experiences with E are reminding me of times with my little brothers and sister growing up as well as fun times with my parents and grandparents. It is also inspiring a lot of reminiscing and sharing with my sister and our mum now we are both mummies. There is a little bit of sadness of course that my grandparents are no longer with us and therefore don't get to meet any of their great-grandchildren but our children will know their stories thanks to our close relationships.

Don't worry, there will still be lots of frivolous posts on my shopping binges but there will also be some sharing on my experiences as a mummy and juggling everything else with that.

Monday, June 3, 2013

1st bday presents

The World's most spoilt little boy really doesn't need anything else... but of course, all the beautiful people in his life insist on gifting him something on his special milestone.

Its really hard to come up with ideas for us to buy let alone others but I've finally completed our presents for the big day.

We are giving E:

Tupperware stacking cups

Aldi tunnel tent activity set
Peter Alexander Sailor pjs

and the beautiful Teddy Bears Picnic book to commemorate his party

We are also going to purchase E a block of blue-chip shares that continue to rollover and reinvest the dividends so that at 18 or 21, he has a nest egg for a car, property, travel etc. I had heard about this suggestion from another friend and thought it was an excellent investment for E's future.

I have told most people in E's life that books are a lovely gift and would be very treasured by us. To me, books are a gift that keep giving year after year and create precious memories of childhood as we grow up. I love reading to E and there are so many beautifully written and illustrated children's books I look forward to sharing with him.

Other than books, I hate telling people gifts to buy but family and friends have been quite insistent so I will share some suggestions I have given after wracking my mind for ideas ...

 puppets are always lots of fun & good for learning

a sturdy wooden table and chairs for activities - grammy & granddad have already picked this to buy
 Little People provide hours of entertainment and imaginative play

 Wooden blocks for stacking and learning

Wooden musical instruments are a hit anytime any age

A quality easel for drawing - E may be a bit young for this though

Mike & Michelle's Playmates - I grew up listening to this in the car & want to share that with E 

 A Cosy Coupe - we bought one for his cousin Hayley for her 1st birthday and he and H 
were both enamoured of it instantly 
Wooden puzzles of any kind are fun, challenging and good for learning

If people are going to go to the effort and expense of buying E a gift, I want them to be gifts he will use and enjoy for some time, not a few weeks hence the request for wooden toys.

What do you generally buy for first birthday gifts? What did you buy for your bub's first birthday?