I have been researching face and skin care stuff you need to survive chemo, and it occurs to me that a lot of this stuff is useful whether you have cancer or not.

  • Use non-irritating ingredients. Don’t put anything active on the skin.
  • Avoid:
  • Anything irritating or aggressive things like acids; like amino acids
  • Parabens, and ingredients that have a component that has a phyto-estrogen, especially if you have estrogen-positive breast cancer.
  • Fragrances
  • Harsh dyes
  • Essential oils – be very cautious.
  • Lanolins
  • Triclosan
  • Nano particles
  • Products containing alcohol (fatty alcohols like cetyl and stearyl alcohol are fine).
Continue reading “Potions”


While I have been convalescing from my operations there is always a day or two where my brain is awake but my body is tired; including my eyes. This is where podcasts, audiobooks and music are so important.

My favourite podcast is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, every Sunday. It is so funny. It is the only show where I will laugh aloud even when alone. I can’t stop myself.

I listen to the Headspace app (not such a fan of the podcast) for my daily 20 minutes meditation.

My favourite audiobooks are by Pema Chodron, as I can listen to them over and over.

I have been listening to Sigur Ros

 and Adele.

In this way I can pass the day in bed without barely opening my eyes.

Window Shopping

Nothing like a bit of fantasy shopping on a rainy Sunday. Today, I’ve been looking at small cross body bags.

My criteria for cross body bags:

  • They can’t be too big. Since I’ve been carrying a clutch for the last few years, I’ve really embraced minimalist living, and can’t face going back to the 1kg+ back breaking monsters.
  • It can’t be too wide, or else it does that flappy thing as you walk.
  • The strap can’t be too long. Top of buttocks is best.
  • A decent clasp, or else you lose all your belongings.
  • Nice leather. I’m too old for a plastic bag with no linings.
  • Must fit phone. Or else forget about it.

How about a Longchamp Quadri cross-body bag to start?

The Furla Metropolis is another tempting option:



The Mulberry Mini Lily has a lovely chain strap:

The Liv Crossbody from Coach is another option:

In the more realistically priced, but still well made category, is the mini Chloe bag from Arlington Milne:


Easier Said Than Done

I found a bunch of parenting quotes which I want to capture here.

Sometimes I find quotes like these inspiring and supportive. Other times they are nagging and stressful.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about how punishment doesn’t really work with older kids. It just feels cruel and futile. The teenage years worry me.   I have no plan. No learned skills. I did read one parenting book but I forget now what it said. I’m just going to wing it. Or Google it.

I know a few parents who want to fix their children. Some kids just seem to find life harder than others. I think the parent’s role in this case is to tell their child that they are OK just the way they are. The rest of the world is knocking them down. They don’t need that at home too.

My personal theory is that the smart, misfits often end up having the most amazing lives. Instead of living boring lives with 1.8 children and a cubicle desk job, I suspect the misfit kids are the ones who bust out and do something different.


This is the hard part. When my daughter loses it. I am a panicker. A worrier. Anxious as hell. When my daughter loses it, so do I. Well, inside I do. Outside too sometimes.

I’ve been trying to just listen, let her know she’s been heard and not suggest solutions. It’s what I want, when I am down. I want to be heard. I can usually solve it myself. Often there is nothing to do anyway. It blows over and everyone moves on.

I think I’ve been blessed with a good kid. She was born an angel. So sometimes I think I might get through the teenage years unscathed. Other times, I think of all her genes – her eccentric uncles, her bold aunt, her party-hard dad. Really, when I think about it, apart from quiet, shy, book-worm me and my mum, my whole family is a nightmare. God help me!

Bags It

Is it new handbag time? Uh. Kind of. I’m sure to need one someday soon. A bit of research can’t hurt?

I love this version of the Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC with the black hard wear instead of the usual silver details: 
I used to have a Mini MAC in the silver leather. I loved it. The chain was surprisingly heavy, which was cool. It felt like a weapon. Unfortunately the silver leather thing was a bad idea as it wore out/ rubbed off pretty fast. Faster than the rest of the bag wore out.

This Mini Crosby style is tempting too (at 15x23cm it is the same size as the Mini MAC, just my image is smaller):

I love the stripes and the tassel on this bag from Lauren Merkin but I’m worried it it too big (it is 21×29 cm):

Maybe something a bit sleek from Vince (although I fear it is unlined)?

This is the one that I really, really want. It is from Loeffler Randall.

It is absolutely perfect for me. I prefect clutches. It’s a good size. Lined. Silver goes with everything.

The only thing is that it is a bit pricey. I prefer to change my bag every 6 months or so, but at $300+, that isn’t something you can do. Also it is silver leather. I can’t make the same mistake twice. So tempted though!

Better Than Before

I’m not going to lie. It was a struggle to read this book. I do love Gretchen Rubin but sometimes I don’t want to think about all my flaws. I want to be imperfect and lazy, and not all uptight and no fun.

On the other hand I do like scientific research in relation to real life. I wish we were born with an instruction manual. Books like these are the next best thing. They make life easier.

How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives.

Continue reading “Better Than Before”

And… I’m back

Thanks to the wonderful Australian health care system, and the powers of Endone, I am back home and feeling good. (The hospital really has to do something about the constant dinging of the call button. The silence at home is heaven after the nonstop noise).

I’ve got a few days before my results come back. So in the meantime I’m planning on doing lots of nothing and lots of mental distractions, like online shopping. Well, online window shopping, if I’m good.
I love these Fluevog boots.

I don’t even bother looking at heels anymore. There’s also a real risk with heeled boots and pants that you get that 80’s look. A bit fast food worker.

Whereas you can imagine these boots looking great will some skinnies. The zips are cool but not too mutton as lamb.

Must not shop while on pain killers. Rule number one.

A Pause

There is going to be a slight pause in blogging. I was diagnosed with early breast cancer last week.

I caught it very, very early so this is just a slight road bump, not a life changer.

If one person reads this, goes to the doctor early and gets saved, then this has all been worthwhile.

My thoughts are with people who didn’t catch it so early, and the people who treat them.

Back shortly.

How to Love

I have been having difficulties with someone for a very long time. One of those love-hate, jelly fish relationships where you are constantly weighing up: Is this worth it? Why am I doing this?

I read this quote today:


Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person.

Understanding is love’s other name.

If you don’t understand, you can’t love.

Thich Nhat Hanh ― How to Love (2014)

Continue reading “How to Love”

A God in Ruins

I have just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s latest novel, A God in Ruins. (No spoilers). I absolutely love all her books and buy them as soon as they come out.

I think AGIR may be better than her previous novel, Life After Life, for which this is a “companion” piece. 

This is one of those books that leave you sad and stunned that it is over. 

It is partly set during the Second World War, showing what is was like to be a pilot in the British Air Force. Such an incredible, terrible time. The stories from wartime Britain are gripping enough in themselves.

However, this novel has many different layers to it: there is the war story, the family story, plus the link to the previous book, Life After Life. It explores themes of love, death, the rights and wrongs of war, sacrifice and the prison of ordinary lives.

I think you probably should read LAL first, before reading this book. AGIR does stand on its own, and it could be read first, but since it references the same people and sequence of events as LAL, I reckon it is best to read them in order. Having said that, immediately after finishing AGIR I went back and started to reread LAL again. Kind of like the books themselves.

‘Time isn’t circular,’ she said to Dr Kellet. ‘It’s like a … palimpsest.’
‘Oh dear,’ he said. ‘That sounds vexing.’
‘And memories are sometimes in the future.’

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson