HELLO 2020. It’s so nice to be getting stuck into you after what felt like a staggered start in January. I don’t know about you but I feel like we can finally get on with this new decade now that regular programming has resumed. For me, regular programming is always the start of the school, well it will be for the next four. I’ve been a school mum for 20 years 😱and it’s the same every year. I do what’s needed to be done on the work and home front but until that routine is back and happening, my brain doesn’t register a new year.
But here we are. I think I’m ready to saddle up for the ride ahead.
It’s been two months since my last journal post, so settle in with a cup or glass of your preferred beverage and have a read of what I’ve been up to, reading, watching and listening to.
It’s been a huge and exciting start to the year for me. After 11.5 years of working and building my business from home, we moved out. Our Brisbane warehouse, office and showroom is now open six days a week (except in peak launch times – we’ll keep this page updated with any closures). The new space means that customers can come and try on before they buy (or do free click and collect) and we can easily host our regular Sip and Style style workshops. The first one is this week … it’s sold out but you can follow along on Facebook HERE.
We’ve also just restocked our best-selling basics from summer. Check them out HERE.
We fell in love all over again with Hawaii, spending time in Waikiki and Lanikai on Oahu. The downtime that you get to spend with family, whether that’s around the corner or around the world, is precious. We talked, walked, swam, read, laughed, got a bit shouty, brought the attitude, showed compassion and bonded. Getting away gives you the space to do and feel all those things. I’m trying to hold on to that and try for more of that SPACE in 2020.
Last weekend, I was reminded how lucky we are to have world-class destinations on our doorstep. We spent the weekend in Noosa for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and boy, oh boy, did Noosa turn it on. We used to live on the Sunshine Coast and have since visited as tourists but it never ceases to blow me away with its beauty. Sunday’s beach swim at Tea Tree Bay was one of my most memorable beach days ever. Bobbing about in the crystal clear water, chatting with good friends, turtles swimming by … life really is good.
FRANKiE4 Footwear JACKiE sneakers in apricot | top (not current)
I’m determined to keep on my reading roll (you can catch up on my 2019 reading list HERE). Holidays are great for relaxing into a good book but it’s in the crazy of work and term time that I can let things slip. Every time I clock myself mindlessly scrolling on my phone, I’m trying to stop and switch to reading. It’s SO much better for my mental health.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I was late to the party on this one but a push from a friend before Christmas saw me pick it up at the airport. I started it on the flight and promptly made the husband read it while we were away too. I didn’t expect to like it but I was hooked by the life that the “Marsh Girl” was forced (in the beginning) to lead and I was kept guessing until the end as to who was responsible for the murder which rocked the small coastal town.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: I’m always here for Gilbert’s way with words and her ability to spin a yarn. City of Girls delivers on both. I loved how the coming-of-age story of Vivian Morris was told by herself but in a reflective and retrospective way, sharing it in her old age to a woman called Angela. We don’t know the connection between the two women until near the end but by then we have a complete and complex picture of a woman who had lived her life in a way that was far from the norm of the time but a life that suited her to a tee.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: This debut novel from Reid was Reese Witherspoon’s January 2020 bookclub pick and what a pick it is. This will be one book that will sit with me for quite some time. It’s a clever and thought-provoking look at modern day families, race, class and social media through the story of a babysitter, her boss and the scene-stealer, a funny and intelligent toddler. The dynamics between the babysitter and her boss are a train-wreck waiting to happen and you won’t be able to stop reading to see how that plays out.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: In and era when we see, hear and read about modern-day feminists, being able to deep dive into a work of fiction focussed around a group of fierce women set in the 1930s in America’s south is an absolute delight. Central to the story is the Packhorse Library initiative of that time, whereby librarians rode on horseback into remote communities, distributing books to adults and children, people who would otherwise not be able to learn to read. In Moyes’ narrative, we meet five women librarians, each from different backgrounds, all gutsy and all risking societal disapproval for their choices. You won’t want to put this one done.
Second Life podcast (Reese Witherspoon interview): I love all things Reese and listening to this interview that talks through all the various add-ons that Reese has created within her career and life is a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to just sit and do the one thing we decided to do as a teenager or young adult.
Triple J Hottest 100 Top 10s 2000-2020: this playlist on Spotify will give you a fun trip down music memory lane. There’s some very good music in this mix that immediately transports you back to when it was released.
The Bold Type (season 4) on Stan: We’re two episodes into this new season and I still love it as much as the first season. It’s old media vs new media in New York City. And I still wish I’d had a boss like Jacqueline back in the day, when I’d been the age of the three friends working at Scarlett magazine.
Sex Education (season 2) on Netflix: this British comedy-drama does not mince words or images when it comes to highlighting just what teens are getting up to through the eyes of a socially awkward son of a sex therapist (played by Gillian Anderson). If you’re old enough to remember Grange Hill … Sex Education takes it to the next base. You’ve been warned.
Succession (seasons 1 and 2) on Foxtel: I started watching this on the flight home from Hawaii. It follows the lives of an uber-rich New York family as they work out who’s going to take over the family’s media and entertainment company if/when their ageing dad steps down. You’ll be gobsmacked at the lifestyle and you’ll struggle to find any redeeming features in any of the characters but you won’t be able to stop watching.
We’ve now got a fabulous new cinema up the road from us – Red Hill Cinemas was once home to a skating rink where I visited in my youth. Now you can sit in recliner chairs, sip on a wine and watch the latest movies.
I took the husband to see 1917 (his choice but I LOVED) and I took my youngest to see Little Women as part of his mother-son education. We both loved.
We had Christmas at home and cooked up a simple, tasty meal finishing with Can Cook’s Eton Mess. We added in vanilla ice cream to the mess too.
Catching up with friends the weekend before school goes back has been come a tradition and part of that tradition is serving up slow-cooked lamb. This year we followed chef Alastair Macleod’s honey brined shoulder of lamb recipe as published in this edition of Brisbane News (page 13). We actually soaked our lamb in the brine overnight. The brine method really does ensure that the meat is still moist after the cooking period.
The husband and I have taken to having local sneaky date nights when the youngest is on a 5pm shift at his part-time job. We’re truly spoilt for choice in our ‘hood … fabulous burgers at Remy’s and Italian at Il Posto, all within walking distance.
The exchange rate was not kind to me on the shopping front in Hawaii but I did buy a champagne sequinned number from Anthropolgie that I’ll trot out in the near future. Stay tuned.
January shopping was all about school uniforms and shoes but I did manage to score a sneaky bargain in the Spell sale.
We’re still getting used to gaining back so much space and energy after having my business progressively take over so much space. I’ve still got an office at home and we’ll still use parts of our home for photoshoots but we’ve gained back so much space. A year ago, I had one person coming to my home to work with me about 12 hours a week. This grew to a team of seven late last year – and sometimes we were all there on the one day, spread between two spaces, with our warehouse taking up a lot of room as well.
I loved working from home but I’m loving heading out to work in the office and creating a bit more separation between work and business.
Our home feels “lighter” and like a sanctuary. I like that.
My energy levels are not where they were at the end of 2019. My thyroid function levels are down after being so consistent for a couple of years. My body is also struggling to store iron. I have infusions on a semi-regular basis but my GP is having me looking a bit further (scans) to see if anything else is causing my periods to be as crazy heavy as they are. He’s also upped part of my medication for the first time in a long time.
If you’ve been following and reading my health updates here, you’ll know that I see my GP on a regular basis. We work in a partnership and he is genuinely interested in helping me feel the best I can feel. I learned the hard way when I was younger that not listening – REALLY listening – to my body is the fast-track way to long-term health concerns.
So, when I read former jewellery designer and entrepreneur Samantha Wills’ health story HERE, I shared it because it was a timely reminder to me and to you that we only get one body. We need to love it and listen to it when it’s screaming at us.
If you’ve been putting off making that GP or specialist appointment because you think that thing that’s niggling you is nothing or just inconvenient, please think again. Listen to those niggles, seek out professional, medical help and advice. And if the first person you talk to dismisses those niggles as “life” or “normal”, move on and find someone who will listen to you.
Me, at the moment, I’m getting up, exercising, eating well and working through new tests and adjusting to the new medication levels. Hopefully the fog will clear soon.
Always and forever will I continue to get some of my best makeup recommendations from makeup artists. Dale Dorning (aka @hairbeautyguru) is the magician behind most of my professional hair and makeup looks. He’s always got awesome recommendations for me – from both supermarket/pharmacy through to high end.
The latest are these three Maybelline New York Color Tattoo eye colours – Dusk Doll, Socialite and Groundbreaker. He skilfully blends all three on my eyes. For a quick everyday eye brightener, I’m loving Dusk Doll swiped across the lid. Love the staying power and for $12 (less if on sale) a pot, it’s extremely good value.
I’ve been an evening double cleanse girl for a long time now – dermalogica precleanse or precleanse balm have been my skincare weapons of choice. It’s become such a habit that it seems kind of wrong for me not to cleanse with an oil or a balm to wash away the day’s face before cleansing with an active cleanser to support the skin before I apply my evening products.
So, when uber-entrepreneur and all-round lovely and smart human Zoe Foster-Blake launched a pre-cleanse oil as part of her Go-To Skincare range, I was on board. I was also pumped to see my friend @what_brooke_wore included as one of the models in the campaign but that’s a beautiful aside to a story of a pre-cleanse oil that’s come into my bathroom and on to my skin, making both better.
Fancy Face Nourishing Oil Cleanser is a pre-cleanse oil that does what it should. It gently, effectively and with a tonne of hydrating ingredients removes all the makeup and sunscreen you slathered on that morning. You apply on to dry skin, gently rub into the skin to “melt” off makeup, wet the included muslin cloth with warm water, then wipe your skin before then cleansing with your regular cleanser.
The idea behind a double cleanse – and why it’s so good for your skin – is that one cleanse will generally not do the job if you are a makeup or physical sunscreen wearer. Without clean skin, the products that you put on afterwards will not have a chance of working effectively as they won’t be able to get through any residue makeup to penetrate and do their job.
My peri-menopausal dry skin LOVES Fancy Face. Bonus: the fragrance makes you feel like you’re at a day spa, not in your bathroom thinking about how soon that morning alarm will go off.
Phewww … as always, if you made it to the end, congrats. Let me know what you’ve been up to!