Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Movies and Shopping and Sewing, Oh My!

Today was my son's day off school for his birthday, which was yesterday. We went out to one of his favourite restaurants for breakfast, where we stuffed ourselves with bacon, eggs, danish, fruit, yoghurt, and other breakfasty treats. After that we went shopping to kill time before a movie. My son had some birthday money and he spent a little of it on megablock and lego, and I bought him a Playdough set that comes with little molds of some of the Transformers, which I thought was super cool. I also found a little monster plush toy that had to come home with me. He was simply too cute!
We then watched Despicable Me 2 at the cinema, which was great. My son's aunt was with us with her two year old daughter and even she was transfixed through the whole movie. I had actually already seen it last week when I went to the movies with my friend and his kids, but it was still extremely enjoyable, which says a lot for it I think as I'm really not a huge fan of going to the movies.

Awful photo booth pictures, awesome day :)

After finally getting home, I decided I really needed to get a start on making myself a skirt. I bought myself all the materials I needed including a sewing machine, but have been putting it off for a week or so. So with the aid of this tutorial and this Youtube video I set about drawing up a pattern and cutting and sewing fabric and all that jazz. While cutting out the fabric, I realised I'd made a mistake when measuring, as I totally forgot to allow for a seam at the waist, but by the time I realised there didn't seem to be much I could do about it so I just kept going with it in hopes it would all work out. The good news is I made a pretty nice skirt, and this is my first attempt at doing anything like this really. The skirt I fashioned from a table cloth already had the pattern, all I really had to do was the waist, so I'm pretty proud of myself for doing as good a job as I did. The bad news is that because I forgot to account for the seam when measuring, I ended up making the skirt a little too small for me. But its not the end of the world, because I am working on losing the weight I've gained since I moved, so hopefully as I start slimming down, the skirt will become wearable.

I am a little disappointed, because I really love the fabric and was looking forward to having something I could wear now, but I'm pleased I managed to get through it and ended up with a decent looking skirt without breaking a needle or injuring myself with my sewing machine!

My skirt!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Big Day!

I am exhausted!

Today I had a full day of uni, then my son's big family birthday dinner. I also haven't slept a lot the past couple of nights. My daughter has been sick and sleeping terribly, which therefore means my sleep is interrupted and restless. Thankfully she seems to be feeling better this evening than she has been, so hopefully she's kicked the worst of it.

My son's birthday dinner was great. We usually celebrate birthdays in two ways, the birthday boy or girl having the day off school to spend doing whatever he or she chooses, and the big family birthday dinner. As I had uni all day today, we agreed his day off will be tomorrow so I'm free to spend it with him at our leisure. And as much as right now I feel like I'd love to spend the whole day sleeping, I'm looking forward to our day together tomorrow.

I had the best of intentions of coming home and working on some assignments and starting to sew a skirt I've been meaning to make, but I'm just too tired. Maybe tomorrow I'll be more productive!

Just a short one today. I'm trying to commit to writing at least every other day. It helps me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

Night all!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Beach Birthday

Last night we went to a dinner for my best friend's dad's birthday. The restaurant was right on the waterfront and had really pretty views across the beach and out to all the little boats floating in the harbour. We arrived a little late for the picture perfect sunset, but I got some nice photos nonetheless.

It was all outdoors and fortunately the weather was quite nice. A little warmer than I'd like, but at least not HOT. It was a pretty enjoyable night, other than the fact I barely got to talk to my best friend. There were lots of people so we were split up into two tables and she was seated at the other one. Still, had a nice night taking in the view and the food.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Happy Days, Sad Days

Yesterday was supe busy and long, but really enjoyable. First I had an amazing day out with an old friend. We knew each other in high school here in Darwin, then lost touch for many years. When we reconnected via Facebook we were both living in Sydney, but soon after I came back to Darwin. Now he's up for about two months visiting family so I spent a few hours yesterday hanging out with him and his gorgeous kids. I love hanging out with him and I have a real soft spot for his three little ones. They're so adorable! His kids and mine haven't met yet so I'm hoping we can arrange a play date for next week. It will be a cute overload!

In addition to spending several hours with him and his kiddies, I also hung out with extended family, did some shopping, went over my sister-in-law's place for dinner and had uni squished in there somewhere. I left the house at 9am and didn't get home until about 10:30pm so I was pretty exhausted.

I actually feel really low today. I guess after all the fun an excitement yesterday, sitting at home is pretty boring! Fortunately a package arrived yesterday with some lipsticks I ordered from Priceline while they were having a sale. I decided, in an effort to improve my mood, to make myself up and try them on!

Brand: Savvy
Shade: Blushing Pink
This isn't quite the shade I was expecting, I was hoping for something a little brighter. But this is the risk you take when you order using only swatches as a guide. Its alright though, it is a nice colour. Its a very natural pink on me, quite similar to the natural colour of my lips, but a little more vibrant and pearlized. I'm not sure how often I'll wear this as I don't love pearl, but I'll see how it goes. Might come in handy when I least expect.

Brand: Savvy
Shade: Mocha
This one was actually pretty damn close to the online swatch. I had a really hard time choosing colours for the Savvy lipsticks. They had a three for the price of two deal and I changed my mind about shades so many times before submitting my order. I think it looks nice, not too brown, though I do prefer the brighter reds on me.

Brand: Savvy
Shade: Cherry
This was the one that stayed in my basket no matter how many times I changed my mind about colours. I really like it! Its a gorgeous classic red, exactly what I was hoping it would be. I'm pretty happy with these Savvy lipsticks. I haven't tried them before, but I've used their nail polishes and been pretty satisfied. For their price (which is $4.99 regular price) they're definitely worth it.

Brand: Rimmel
Shade: Show Stopper
I have a few Rimmel lipsticks now and I really like them. They go on super smooth and creamy, they last well and they smell delicious. They're also a really good price, especially when you get them for 50% off! I really love this shade. Its a nice glamorous red.

Brand: Rimmel
Shade: Starry Eyed
This is the shade that started me shopping online in the first place. I went to my local Priceline store while they were having a sale on Rimmel cosmetics. They had a tester of this shade and I loved it, but they didn't have any left for sale. So I went online, and didn't want to pay shipping on just one item, so I ended up buying five! I'm getting pretty happy with my lipstick collection now. I'm starting to wonder how I lived without it!

I do feel much better after doing my makeup and getting pretty. It really does help boost my mood. Now I'm off to continue playing my game. I'm playing Limbo right now. I resisted HUGE temptation yesterday and didn't buy a game I really wanted when it went on sale. I'll get it one day when I've played a few more of the games I already own. BUT I WANT IT NOW!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

To the Moon

I have this terrible habit of buying games when they're on sale and then never getting around to playing them. So with that in mind, I've decided to start working my way through my Steam collection.
I chose to start with To the Moon. I bought it awhile back and the story seemed really interesting, plus it seemed like it would be a fairly light title that wouldn't take too long to finish. Something easy to get me started.

Let me first say that I went into this game wanting to love it. Its top down with 16 bit (I think) style graphics, along the lines of Pokemon, Zelda and those sorts of classic RPGs, which I really love. The story follows two employees of a company hired to help a dying man realise his dream of going to the moon before he passes away. They do this by linking into his mind and following a trail of memories to his early childhood so they can plant the seed of desire for him to visit the moon and have his subsequent thoughts follow that path to get him there. I really did enjoy the story, but the game was not without problems.

The first thing I noticed was a very cumbersome control setup. You could move with either the arrow keys or with the mouse, but the mouse was preferable as there are objects to interact with and that is most easily done by clicking. However the game has THE worst pathfinding I've ever had to deal with.  I had to click in straight lines, avoiding obstacles and scenery to ensure my sprites didn't get stuck behind a log or a rock. You couldn't just click where you want to go and let them navigate there, nor could you hold your mouse button down and direct them that way. The constant click click clicking drove me bonkers. But I'll freely admit I don't have the greatest amount of patience when it comes to things like that. I think the best set up would have been standard WASD directions and then using the mouse simply to interact with your environment.

In one part you have to ride a horse. You can ride over the
patches of orange and white flowers without a problem,
but the red ones are like impenetrable walls of steel!

Even in the early stages of the game I felt like progress was really slow. There seems to be far too much clicking through dialogue and not enough actual playing. At the start of the game your characters crash their car near the location they're heading toward. They get out and walk to the house, then its more click click clicking to get through seemingly endless dialogue. Not only is there the somewhat necessary conversation that explains the background of the story, but there's a lot of pointless banter between the two playable characters. We get it, you don't get along!

Another issue I have with the game play is that it really seems to be something that not much thought was given to. "We have a great story, beautiful soundtrack and really pretty scenery, oh I suppose we should probably give the players something to do too!" The idea is that in each memory there are 5 memory links and a memento that you need to find and click on in order to travel back to a previous memory. The memento is like a portal to a memory further back in his life and the other 5 memory links are required to break the barrier surrounding the memento. Once you've found all the links, you need to solve a little puzzle to reveal the picture of the memento, flipping the tiles over in rows and columns until all of them face the right way. The inclusion of the puzzle just feels a bit contrived, like it was crammed in just to have something else to do. It doesn't really fit in with the plot or the rest of the game play.

"preparing the memento"

I've mentioned the soundtrack, I really did like it, especially 'River's Song/ To the Moon" which played several times throughout. The music is relaxing and pretty, it fits well with the environment which is also really beautiful. I really did want to love this game! The story really is great, it was happy, it was sad, it was lovely. But at the end of the day, I feel like that's what the game should have been, a story. It didn't feel like there was any genuine game play, it was just incessant clicking when prompted to get the story done. I'm definitely glad I finished the game, because for me it was all about the story and I'm glad I got to see it told, but on an actual game level, To the Moon just didn't work for me.

A few screen shots

And after the credits are done rolling...

Do I smell a sequel?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Feeling Good

Today was actually a really nice day. I woke up feeling less like a zombie than usual even though I didn't get a lot of sleep. Once I was ready and left the house the weather was sooooo nice. The temperature was in the early 20's and there was a nice breeze. Pretty close to my ideal which is around the 15-20 degree mark. It simply doesn't get cold up here, which is a bummer. I really love coats and scarves and gloves and everything wintery. I can't wait to move somewhere with real seasons again!

It was my second day of classes and the start of two more units. I got there early so I could have a leisurely coffee and read until class started. Unfortunately the coffee is rather awful, very watery and just not rich at all, but now I know for next time that my coffee will need to be acquired off-campus. I'm doing four units in total and I've now attended the first class for three of them. I'm finding it really enjoyable and the assignments sound like they'll be interesting and fun. We're going to have some visits to different libraries and the museum and stuff like that to learn bits about the trade. The classes have all been rather small so far which I think is great. Gives us all plenty of opportunity to talk and have our ideas heard and get feedback and stuff.

I went for a brief bike ride this afternoon, but my bike was making a weird grinding sound and my muscles were whinging from yesterday so I came home pretty quickly. The grinding turned out to be from the chain guard, it was bent inward slightly and was rubbing slightly on the chain, although the noise was only coming periodically so it wasn't bent enough to rub constantly. I feel a bit lame coming home so quickly, but whatever. A little exercise is better than none at all and it will help me gradually get more fit.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Back to School

So today was the first day of the new semester and I started my TAFE course. I'm studying Information and Cultural Services, which is all about libraries, museums and art galleries. The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is one of my favourite places in the world, and I have a general love of museums and libraries. It would be a bit of a dream to one day work in a museum, and I think I could also be extremely happy in a library, particularly a school library. I have a huge love of reading and I spent many hours in my schools' libraries growing up.

So my first class was today, and apparently its only myself and one other lady in the unit so we get lots of personal attention from the lecturer. I really enjoyed today, and I know my excitement will probably wain somewhat once I get into the actual assignments and whatnot, but I think overall this course is going to be interesting and fun. I have more classes tomorrow which I'm looking forward to!

I got a chance to wear my pretty peach cardigan today with an outfit that actually matched it. I wore my new birdy dress which I like ever so much. I love birds and have a few bird-print dresses now. I should start a collection. One day I will own all the birdy dresses IN THE WORLD! Okay maybe not, but I do love birds, so bird prints make me happy.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


It recently came to my attention that I have hardly any cardigans that aren't black. My navy blue one recently emerged from the washing machine with a HUGE tear in it (sadness), my favourite red one went missing awhile ago never to be seen again, and on top of that three quarters of my clothes are in storage and unable to be used for now. So with my desperate cardigan shortage in mind, I decided to have a look for new ones while I was shopping at Target. Fortunately for me, it seems that they were having a clearance on quite a wide range of cardigans, and I ended up going home with three for well less than half their original price. It was actually really hard to narrow it down, but I really couldn't justify splurging on any more than that. I reluctantly returned to the rack a nice, darker pink one that was SO soft. I ended up buying a new red one, a blue, and a peachy pink.

I wear cardigans everywhere, everyday, so it actually is important to me to have a decent selection. These new ones are really very pretty and I love them all for their own reasons. The colour of the peach one is gorgeous, I love the buttons on the sleeve of the red, and the light weight and pattern of the blue is perfect. I should really stay away from Target. If I'm not tempted by anything for me I'm drawn to the kids' section to buy clothes for my little ones. They have the most adorable girls dresses and skirts, and when they're on clearance they're damn near irresistible!

I know the peach doesn't really go with my black dress,
but I couldn't be bothered changing. Forgive me!

It really is quite a bright blue, contrary to what backlighting
would have you believe


I really do love karaoke. We went again tonight and had loads of fun. There was a far-too-drunk young guy bothering everyone and making a fool of himself, but other than that the night was awesome. We used to go to karaoke every Wednesday as well, but we quit when the weather got too hot for sitting around outdoors, and just never got into the habit of going back when the weather cooled down again. So we're thinking we might start going again while temperature permits.

Just a short one tonight because I'm terribly tired and looking forward to sleep! I was really happy to get to wear one of my new outfits today, AND my magical Sportsgirl lipgloss that I bought the other day. Its the sparkliest thing in the world! It looks awesome over my Dragon lipstick. It doesn't show up as well as I'd like in photos, but in real life its just gorgeous. It has loads of glitter and lovely orange, gold and pink iridescent sheen. I'll take the time to get better photos of it sometime soon.

Clockwise from left: Shameless selfie; New shoes (love); Best pic I could get of the lipgloss;
Failed attempt at photographing my whole outfit

Saturday, 20 July 2013

At Holiday's End

I love school holidays. I love having the kids home and having all day every day to spend together. There have been video games, shopping trips, play dates, late nights and lots of art and craft. But now its all coming to an end, and they're going back to school next week. As much as I don't want my long, lazy days with them to be over, I don't think I'll have too much time to miss them, as I'll be returning to study too. I enrolled in a Library Studies course which commences on the 22nd, and I'm really nervous!

Every other time I've tried to study, I've been working full time as well and ended up throwing in the towel because I couldn't balance work and study. This time I'm not going to be working, so I'm hoping I'll be able to manage. But I'm still very nervous and my past failures are kind of hanging about like a dark cloud over my head. I can be my own worst enemy sometimes and I find it hard to get over not meeting my own expectations. I am really looking forward to it though. Its only a short course, and to a certain extent I'm able to set my own pace. Basically I will just pick up new units as I complete old ones. I'm hoping to complete it in a year at most, but if I can manage to finish in 6 months that would be amazing. Having said all of this, I don't even know what my workload is going to be like yet so I'm not really certain how realistic either of those goals are, but they're a starting point I suppose.

One of the main reasons I bought my bike recently was so I could ride to uni once the semester starts. I still haven't been for a proper ride though! The few times I have gone out, I've had the kids with me and it makes the goings rather slow. I should really go out this weekend and ride by myself so I can get a feel for going fast again. Its been so long since I last rode properly! I just don't feel steady and comfortable on a bike anymore. I know I'll get used to it again, but for that to happen I need to get out there and start riding!

The other day I bought my kids each a craft set from Spotlight, and today my oldest daughter decided to do hers. She chose a felt set that came with everything needed to make a princess ragdoll. She needed quite a bit of assistance as she's never done any sewing before and parts were quite tricky. But she was very pleased with the end result. We drew a little mouth and put some blush on her cheeks to complete her pretty princess look. These dolls were so adorable, I would have bought the whole set if they'd had them for sale. Unfortunately they only had this one design left. I'm going to keep an eye out though to try and find more because they're really sweet and a great activity to keep my daughter occupied for the day.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Shopping Haul

Ahhhh, coffee <3
Today was fairly busy. I took this kids to the library this morning for the final day of their school holiday program. It was game show day, everyone got split up into roughly equal groups and took turns answering questions in different categories like charades, pictionary and multiple choice. The loved it and did really well. The whole program has been awesome, they looked forward to going every time and thoroughly enjoyed the activities. They were really bummed that today was the final day, but they got prizes for their participation so that helped soften the blow. I really  hope the library will have something similar next school holidays.

After the library we went to Spotlight to look for fabric and a cheap sewing machine. Unfortunately it wasn't the world's most successful trip, they'd sold out of all of their $98 sewing machines, and the fabric I wanted to buy only had 1.3m left on the roll. I did put in an order on their website though for the sewing machine, so I'm hoping there's still stock available to send out to me from wherever its stored.

I then met up with my best friend to do a spot more shopping and this was MUCH more successful! I managed to find a bunch of cheap little things that I loved. I bought two dresses, two pairs of tights, a little cardigan, a pair of shoes, 4 eye shadows, a lipgloss and a nail polish corrector pen, and all for less than $100. Quite a bit less in fact, without bothering to look at the receipts, I'm pretty sure the total came to around $80. I absolutely love the little bird dress and the cardigan. Can't wait to wear them with the new shoes!

You also may notice, buried in amongst my new treasures, the Doctor Who Encyclopedia! My best friend saw this for me the other day and knew I'd love it so she picked it up for me and gave it to me when I saw her today. Its freaking amazing. It has loads of entries with information about the people, places and plots of Doctor Who. I freaking love it and can't wait to read the whole thing.

I really do love me some Who

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Curse You Steam Sales!

So anyone into video games knows its that time of year. Steam goes all out with their huge Summer Sale, and gamers weep for their rapidly dwindling funds. I own something around 150 games on Steam, and I swear the Summer Sales over the past couple of years have been responsible for probably more than 75% of those games. I just can't resist! When I see a game that's got 75% or 90% off I just have to buy it. I don't even get around to playing half of them, but if there's a good game on sale for less than $5 I can't help myself. Its less than the cost of a cup of coffee for heaven's sake, and its there for me to play on a rainy day. Many people joke about having a similar problem, unable to resist they're amazing sales and having more games than they can ever play.

I've actually been really good so far and haven't bought any YET. But as I type there are four games in my cart waiting to be purchased. The store is so overloaded with traffic I'm having trouble checking out! But the total of my purchase is under $15 so I don't feel too guilty about my intended purchase. One of the games I've wanted for over a year, I've just never managed to catch it when it was on sale, so I'm not letting it slip by this time!

In other news, I went grocery shopping tonight and in the health and beauty aisle I saw the cutest little set of two headbands. Side by side in the pack, it looked as though the bow was on the pink headband, but when I removed them from the packaging it turned out the bow was actually on the pearl headband. I thought that made the pink one rather plain, so I carefully unstuck the glue holding the bow in place and swapped it over from the pearl to the pink. I prefer it this way, makes them look better on their own rather than just as a set.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Colours and Compliments

Its such a nice feeling when strangers pay you a compliment, and even more when they actually want to take time to talk to you about it. I've been receiving a lot of compliments on my purple hair, and many people wanting to pull me aside and ask me if I do it myself and how its done. I tried getting some pictures of my hair in the sunlight, but we only get a tiny little patch of sun in our yard, so I was very restricted in where I could take photos from. I literally had to stand in one spot and not move to take all of these.

I'm loving red lipstick so much lately. I'm not sure if I've said it previously, but I was never brave enough to wear it before. I've tried wearing it a few times over the years and always felt overdressed and ridiculous. I'm not sure if its that red lipsticks seem much more commonly worn now, or if its a change in my perception of myself (probably a bit of both), but I'm wearing it every day. I can fast see it becoming an addiction as I've ordered a few more lipsticks online on the weekend! I blame Priceline for having irresistible bargains! I got an email today saying they've been dispatched and I'm super excited to receive them.

I went to karaoke on Saturday with a friend. We used to go every week (sometimes even twice weekly) but we haven't been in ages. We got there and our usual DJ guy wasn't there, which made us both a little sad. I'm not sure if he doesn't do that venue at all anymore or if he was just off for the night or something. But once we got past that initial disappointment, everything went well. We took our daughters with us and we all sang, it was so much fun. I think we both probably forgot how much fun we have there, but we're going to try and make it there more regularly again.

I have a friend who is moving up here next week. I'm really looking forward to it, he has three young kids too and its nice to be able to hang out with other parents. He and I were friends in high school, then lost touch for years, and coincidentally we were both living in Sydney later when we reconnected. I moved up here soon after that, so we haven't seen each other in awhile. His kids are absolutely adorable so I'm happy I'll get to fawn over them again. And it will be nice to have another friend in town.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Serious Note on Mental Health

I just want to take a moment today to talk about mental health. A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to a news story about the death of Glee actor, Cory Monteith, and it got me thinking about how fragile we can all be, and how often that vulnerability is overlooked. While I don't know the circumstances surrounding this young man's death, it does bring to mind the tragedy of suicide, and how many deaths could potentially be avoided.

According to Lifeline's website, suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for men under 44 and women under 34 years of age, and that the rate of suicide equates to one every four hours. I find that equal measures of horrifying, astonishing, and tragic. The fact that so many people feel that suicide is their only way out is a terrible thing. I think there needs to be more acceptance in our society of the fragile nature of humans. We're being propelled forward into an increasingly fast-paced and high-pressure world and a faster rate every day, its very easy to see why not everyone can quite keep up. And when we're constantly having perfection rammed down our throats, its also easy to see why many people are too ashamed to ask for help when they feel themselves falling behind. There's this ideal we see all the time in the media of super men and women. They're attentive parents, keeping their kids constantly stimulated at home and with sporting an extracurricular activities, they're active members of the PTA and have oodles of friends and a busy social life, they cook gourmet-looking food for their families for dinner, keep an exceptionally tidy house, look fabulous, all while holding down jobs lucrative enough to fund this glamorous version of suburban life. In our heads, we all know this is fiction, but at the same time, we tend to hold ourselves to these exceptionally high standards, and feel disappointed when we don't live up to them.

In addition to all of the normal pressures everyone faces, there's also the added factor of mental illness. It has only been relatively recently that medical science has begun to understand various mental illnesses, and as a result there has been an increased focus on public awareness of them. There is still a great deal of work to do, though, to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness, and accept it as a medical condition like any other, that requires understanding, support, and treatment. According to website mindhealthconnect, approximately 20% of people will be affected by depression, with 6% of people experiencing a major depressive illness. Another website, states "It is thought that depression will become the second most important disease in terms of disability and premature death, second only to cardiovascular disease"And yet so often these people are overlooked and not given affordable access to adequate treatment.

I don't want to harp on about this issue until no one is left listening, but I do want to urge everyone to talk openly about their issues, and listen compassionately should anyone open up to you with theirs. Let us individually do everything within our power to remove the connotations of weakness and failure that surround falling short of perfection, and to destigmatize and legitimize mental health issues. Let's try and make sure that everyone knows its okay to ask for help.


Friday Fun

Last year I went a few times to a swing dancing group that met at a local club on Wednesday nights. I moved out of that area though and getting there is quite a hassle now so I haven't been in probably about a year. Last night they came to do a demonstration at the weekly markets near where I live, so I went along to watch and maybe join in. It was so much fun. I'm really not a good dancer, I get all tangled up in arms when it comes to doing spins and turns, but its fun and there were loads of other amateurs too so we all had a good laugh. I'd really like to start going again. I don't do much these days in terms of opportunities to meet new people so I feel like it would be a positive step for me. My kids also joined in at the end and had an awesome time, so I'd  love to take them along too. I think dancing is a dying art and I'd  love to help preserve it. Getting there is still a problem. I don't have my own car and the buses here are often full of people who smell like they're allergic to basic personal hygiene, but I'll try to work something out.
All of the regulars were remarking on how nice it was that I got all dressed up for the occasion. I thanked them and internally giggled to myself because I just showed up in the outfit I'd worn out shopping with my best friend. I wore the tablecloth skirt that I made with my spotty halter top that I haven't worn in ages due to lack of anything to wear it with.

Please excuse the blurriness of the full body pic.
Didn't realise it was blurry until I saw it on the big screen!

Speaking of red lipstick. While shopping today I went to Priceline to look at makeup, and they had 50% off all their Rimmel cosmetics. WOOT! I would have gone nuts but most of the things I liked were already sold out! I did buy a new red lipstick though. Its a really nice purpley red. The reds I have are all on the lighter side, so I wanted something darker for when the mood strikes. The shade is #120 - Cutting Edge. I had A look on Priceline's website and the swatch they have for it shows a bright fuschia, but its really quite a lot darker than their swatch would have you believe.

Rimmel Lasting Finish - #120 Cutting Edge

I've also dyed my hair again. I've done purple again, although I tried a different shade this time. It was meant to be much MUCH lighter than it actually turned out. I always go too dark! But I'm not too concerned as these sorts of dyes fade quickly, so in a week or so it will probably be something around the shade I wanted anyway. I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to photos today so they're not the best.

Purple hair! And my new Rimmel lipstick ;)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Shopping Part 2 - The Thrift Edition

So I mentioned yesterday that my friend and I hit a few op shops (thrift, charity, what have you). My purchases have now all been washed and dried, and photographed for your viewing pleasure! So without further ado:

Purchases 1 & 2: I am a cardigan addict and never leave the house without some sort of cardigan/bolero/shrug, no matter how hot the weather. Most of mine have long sleeves so I was pretty happy to find these short sleeved ones, which will be a little more comfortable to wear in the constant heat where I live. I've grouped these two together because they're actually the same brand and style, just in different colours. The brand is called Master & Margarita, which I've never heard of before, but they feel like good quality and both are in really good condition. The black one cost me $5 and the mustardy yellow one was $3.

Purchase 3: Another cute little bolero I found was this this black one. It has a lacy trim and ties up in the front, so its a little more delicate and feminine than the other two I bought. Again this one is very light and feels like it will be comfortable in the hot weather. The brand is Jacqui E and the cost was $3.

Purchase 4: This dress is definitely one of my favourite buys. Its a brown floaty layered dress by Jacqui E. It fits really nicely, except that the shoulder straps have been stretched out, but I can easily take them in. I love the light, flowy fabric and cinched waist. I don't know how much this would have cost new, but Jacqui E isn't cheap, so I was thrilled when I saw the price tag on this one was only one dollar! That's right, $1. Simply because the straps are all stretched out so it needs a little sewing. Awesome score, I think!

Purchase 5: I love this top. Its in perfect condition and is so pretty and feminine. I've been on this kick of wanting everything to be delicate and floaty. Maybe I just want fabric that flies in the wind when I go on bike rides lol. In any case, this is another light, flowy item that fits the bill. I love the lace and the little buttons. I love dainty little buttons, they're a weakness of mine. The brand is Target and I got the blouse for $5.

Purchase 6: A tablecloth. Stay with me. I've been looking at online tutorials on how to make circle skirts, and  found quite a few which make them from old sheets, tablecloths or whatever else you may have available to re-purpose. With this in mind I kept my eye out for such things while shopping, and saw this gorgeous tablecloth. Its already circular, so that saved me some time in cutting it to the right shape, and it had this gorgeous little detailing on the edge that I thought was perfect.
I'm not much of a seamstress, my sewing skills are pretty much limited to fixing the occasional fallen hem and such, so I was pretty nervous (but super enthusiastic!) to start this project. I stayed up much of last night finishing it and I think I did a decent job for my first attempt. There were a few problems, the first of which was that the waist hem (where I cut) was fraying more than I had hoped. I'm going to get some ribbon or something to trim the waistband so prevent further fraying. Secondly, I finished sewing in the waistband, tried the skirt on and it was too long! So I'm going to need to unpick all the stitching in the waistband and sew it down lower to shorten the skirt. This will actually work out well because then there will be more fabric to gather around the waist and I think that will look nicer. Its just so much work! I should probably mention I don't have a sewing machine so all my sewing is done by hand. CHORE!
Anyway, I'm still pretty proud of myself for doing it, and I'll be prouder still when I shorten it and actually have a wearable skirt!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sha-sha-sha-shopping! :)

Today I went shopping with a friend and our daughters. She's studying beauty therapy and gets industry discounts at the warehouse stores, and when I go with her I do too! So once every month or two I'll go with her to stock up on essentials like bleach and shampoo, and get some treats for myself too. In addition to the beauty supply place, we also went to a discount store and a few op shops (also known as charity or second hand stores, we call them op shops here). I forgot to take photos on my second-hand treasures before I put them in the washing machine, and now they're all wet (but clean!), so I'll share them tomorrow.

Firstly, I snagged this OPI nail polish. It was on clearance and only $6.50, so a freaking bargain compared to their normal retail of around $20. The shade is called Goldeneye. I  have quite a few glitter polishes, but I didn't have a gold so I'm pretty pleased that this one was on special!

The next three nail polishes were purchased at the discount store we visited. I haven't tried them yet so I don't know how good the quality is, but I use cheap nail polishes all the time with very few problems.
This one is a really nice browny nude, kind of like the colour of very milky tea. Actually I might even call it that! These ones only have numbers for the shades and not names. The brand is one I've never heard of, Tips and Toes, and the shade is 05.

Onto much brighter shades! The Tips and Toes brand also had a few neon shades. I'm not really a neon kind of person, but I thought I'd grab a couple anyway because they were so cheap, and I love adding to my nail polish collection. I like to have a lot of options and hate when I decide on an idea for nail art and then find I'm missing a colour. Fortunately as my collection grows, I'm finding that happens less often! This is a neon orange, the shade is number 81.

What? More nail polish? Yes. I have a problem, okay! Another Tips and Toes one. These were all only $2 each by the way. This is the only other neon I bought, although they also had blue, pink, purple, yellow and maybe others.

I thought the ends of my hair could benefit from some sort of treatment to help smooth them and make them feel a little stronger and healthier. I use De Lorenzo for my shampoo and conditioner and have been really happy with them, so I decided to give this product a try. Its called The Ends and it claims to "seal, strengthen and protect stressed out ends". I'm going to put it in before I set my hair each night, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Perhaps the least exciting to read about is the purchase of my regular toning shampoo. However, I'm sure you can understand my excitement when I tell you that usually in a salon or retail store, a 250ml bottle of this shampoo would cost around $30. I got this 500ml bottle for only $18. WHOO! I love this shampoo. I even use it as a leave-in toner when my hair is too yellow after bleaching. I just lather it onto dry hair, pop a shower cap on and leave it for however long suits me (usually at least an hour). I don't know how "good" this is for my hair, but it does a good job when I'm out of proper toner and works out a lot cheaper.

So I had an incredibly productive day. I'm very pleased with the beauty supplies I got and equally happy with my op shop purchases (can't wait to share!). I'm buzzing from the retail therapy and had a lovely day out with the girls. Hope to do it again soon!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Games are Glorious

I love playing games, so I feel its only fair to dedicate an entry to a very important pastime of mine. Its hard to know exactly where to slot myself on the gamer scale. I get crazy into games, but I play on and off, so I definitely don't fit in with the hardcore gamers. However I think I play too aggressively to be on the casual end of the spectrum, and in any case "casual gaming" summons to mind commuters playing Angry Birds on the morning train and housewives playing Draw Something in the loo.

I go through fits of addiction, sometimes they last weeks, sometimes months, but I never really stuck with a game constantly for a long period. Circa 2007 I was absolutely addicted to this MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game, yes, its a mouthful) called Crazy Tao. It was awesome, it had adorable scenery and characters, pets that fought with you, a really fun system of improving your pets and items. Then they introduced currency you could purchase for real money, the in-game economy went nuts, I persevered. Until my partner at the time convinced me to join some guild. Suddenly it was all drama and bullshit and dealing with other people. Being a fairly high-ranking player and guild member, I couldn't log on without being hassled by someone to do something. It really just ruined the experience for me. So I left. I still logged in occasionally for several years after just to see what was happening, but nothing made me want to play again. Then the game shut down completely. I was super sad about that, even though I no longer played. It was so enjoyable while it lasted for me.

Some screenshots of Crazy Tao. So cute!

Another game I got really into was World of Warcraft. I started off playing the trading card game, but decided to give the MMO a bash. I loved it and found it really fun and engaging. The problem with WoW is that once you get to a certain point, you really need to play cooperatively with other people in order to progress, and for me, playing games with a bunch of random strangers just isn't fun. I logged in today after not playing since probably 2010 or 2011. I reactivated my account to try and help my son defeat a boss to get some mount he wants. I found everything cumbersome and difficult to get back into after a long period away. It seems to have changed a lot and I honestly can't be bothered investing the time needed to learn everything again. So as much as I loved WoW, I think we're over.

So I love RPGs and I love being able to play with friends, but I really don't like the free for all that is the MMO. So moving away from all that kerfuffle, I was deeply in love with Morrowind back when it came out. I have a terrible attention span for gaming, but this one I couldn't stop until I finished. The gameplay was complex and very open. You could follow the main story, which itself was interesting and compelling, or you could focus on doing side quests. I spent a lot of time running around for the Mages Guild, once my lawful good compulsions had been satisfied I also joined the Thieves Guild and the Morag Tong and sneaked my way around Tamriel like a boss. It remains one of my favourite games, and one I look forward to replaying at some point. Although its in early stages, the Skywind project,  which is a venture to rebuild Morrowind using the Skyrim engine, has me incredibly excited.
So obviously loving Morrowind so much, I was eager to get into Oblivion when it was released. But it just didn't do it for me. I really hated travelling into the Daedric planes and dealing with all the crap in there. I didn't find it anywhere near as immersive and I didn't give a toss about the story. Oblivion is loved by many, but I just didn't get into it. I had lowered my expectations by the time Skyrim was released, but despite trying not to get my hopes up too high, I was still super excited and pre-ordered it so I'd have it on release day. Skyrim, while still not as good as Morrowind, was an improvement on Oblivion. Unfortunately before getting too far in the game I moved out of my ex boyfriend's place and left my saved game on his Xbox harddrive. I recently got around to getting it for PC and playing again, and I really do enjoy it. Again, I don't find the storyline quite as compelling as Morrowind's, but the plot is reasonably interesting and there's plenty of other things to keep one occupied.

"I know! Let's ditch the brown theme and make Skyrim black.
That'll screw with people wanting to make a collage, HA!"

There are a heap more, but I could go on all day if I were to describe each and every one. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (only Vice City for some reason, the others just don't do it for me), Titan Quest, King's Bounty, Diablo 3, Folklore, Eternal Sonata, Portal, Prince of Persia. I don't really have a "type", there just needs to be something about the game that grabs me and pulls me in.

On the more casual end of the scale, I've been terribly addicted to the Professor Layton games. They're so much fun. I do love a good brain teaser, and having a cute little mystery story to go along with it lets me unleash my inner Velma Dinkley, searching for clues and solving puzzles. Tiny Bang Story is another puzzler, quite short, but very sweet and fun. Rock of Ages is amazing. I'd never have thought that rolling a boulder down a hill could be so much fun, but holy crap it was! And seriously we can't really move past this section without mentioning my oldest love, Pokemon. Yes its an RPG, but its not terribly in depth or complex and I would very much consider it on the casual side of gaming. It is a wonderful game that keeps me coming back time and time again.

Top row: Professor Layton; Middle row: Pokemon; Bottom row: Tiny Bang Story

I freaking love playing games, my kids love playing games, its a pretty integral part of our family life. So now that we've covered that, if I burst into song about a new installment of the Elder Scrolls, now you'll understand why :)

I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Nail Art

Something I'm not terribly good at or experienced in, but I enjoy nonetheless is nail art. I started a few months ago just trying to do something a little different and fun. I was feeling a huge urge to paint some Warhammer miniatures, but I didn't bring any up to Darwin with me as I only had room for essentials. So I decided to give nail art a bash.

I don't have a terribly steady hand and I'm not much of a painter, so its all very amateurish stuff compared to most people who do it. But I still have fun doing it and I like having nails that are a bit more interesting and conversational than just painting them one colour.

I tend to spend very little on my nail polish. I think about $6 is probably my maximum for one bottle. I'm sure better results could be achieved with expensive brands, but I simply can't bring myself to spend $20 per colour.

So I thought today I might share a few examples of the styles I've done so hopefully someone other than myself can enjoy them. Please excuse the mess around the nails. I often take pictures before I bother doing a proper clean up of stray nail polish. Bad habit, I know.

This one was meant to resemble a night sky... but I failed lol. It was one of my earliest attempts so I suppose it isn't too bad. I used a silver base, then sponged a royal blue over it, then black on the tips. Finally I put a coat of silver glitter over the top. 

 This one was meant to look like little shirts with peter pan collars. I decided to alternate colours just to make things a little less uniform. I really liked the way they came out, even if they were a little messy.

These were another attempt at sponging and getting a gradient thing happening. I'm still not very good at that. These have a silver base, with purple sponged on top and then pink lightly sponged over that.

These ones turned out pretty messy! I went for a criss cross pattern but I had nothing to keep the lines straight. It was all freehand and I'm quite bad at that. Purple base with pink lines and silver dots.

I decided to try something a little more complex, but very forgiving for those of us not great at fine detail. I did galaxy nails and loooooved them! There are quite a few steps involved with this one, so I used a tutorial instead of just winging it. I used this Youtube video for guidance. The voice over is a little dramatic, but its a good tutorial anyway. Mine didn't come out quite as perfect, but I think they still looked pretty cool.

This design is really simple, but still fun and eye-catching. I did a base of blue then painted one side black, and alternated various geometric patterns down the centre as a divider between the two colours. By now you're probably noticing I'm a big fan of blues and purples, but I think this would look great in any contrasting colours.

I really liked this design and wore them to death. It was my first time experimenting with decals and stencils. I used grey as my base, then did a stripe of baby blue on most of my nails. On either side of the baby blue I painted a fine white line to outline it. Then I started adding my stencils and decals. I like my nails to match without being the same, so I tried to keep the designs unique.

This last one was my most recent attempt at something interesting and special. Its definitely my favourite so far. I felt so girly and feminine. I alternated bases between a soft purple and a mint green. On top of that I did white stripes on some of my nails, and dots on a few others. Again, I wanted variation in design, but still have them be tied in to one another. Once the stripes and dots had dried, I used a light salmony pink and a darker browny pink to create the roses. I used a dotting tool to splodge on a rough shape of a rose, then with a fine brush, I painted some rough lines to create the look of petals. I did each rose one at a time so the light pink was still wet when painting on the darker petals, this helped them blend in nicely.