Breaking News…

So I had another post planned for today, but it has been usurped by a very important announcement:

I’m going to be an Aunt!

I’ve had my suspicions for a while, and have been pestering my mother to her great chagrin. Today my suspicions were proved correct! Needless to say, I’m a little bit excited. I’ve been incredible baby-obsessed lately, cooing and clucking over babies, kittens, puppies…pretty much anything small and cute. But I’ve always wanted to be an aunty, I think even more than I want to be a mother, so this is super big, happy news.

I can’t wait! I’ve only known for half an hour and I’m already looking at baby clothes and toys online. Of course, this is at the top of the list:

Onesie via Cafe Press.

But I definitely have more shopping to do. Can’t be a good auntie without spoiling the little suckers rotten, right?  

My Endless Love: SodaStream

I don’t particularly like sodas/soft drinks. They’re usually really sugary and overly-sweet, and leave you with a sugar-high that inevitably leads to a super low a half-hour later. While I hate flavoured soda, I absolutely love soda water and flavoured mineral waters. It’s the bubbles! I love bubbles—they add an extra zing to regular water which does nothing, except make me happy.

Late last year I realised I was getting through close to three bottles of soda water in a week, and my mum was drinking at least a bottle of lemonade as it got warmer. So, for Christmas, I begged my brother to buy me a SodaStream. I say ‘begged’ because I quite literally had to talk him into it—he thought it was “just another impractical toy”. Not after I got done! Sitting under my tree this year was a giant box containing my very own SodaStream and three low-sugar flavours: Summer Lemon, Ginger Beer, and Sugar Free Lemonade.

BEST GIFT EVER! Seriously. Since Christmas I think I’ve probably made at least thirty litres of soda of varying flavour. My parents are so in love with it I’ve already been informed it stays here when I move out. Yep, they’re claiming my Christmas Pressie. My brother, ever the pessimist, was surprised I was still using it when he came by on the weekend. But after I’d made him some fresh ginger beer he was singing a very different tune—he was caught investigating an early birthday present for himself today…his very own SodaStream.

Image via The Reel

So what’s so good about it? For those of you who have never used one, they are the absolute simplest gadget in the world—just fill the SodaStream bottle with chilled water, screw it firmly into place, and press the button until you hear it screech three times. Done! Unscrew, add your fav flavour, and enjoy. There’s no annoying power cord, because there’s no power needed.

The gas cylinder that ‘fizzes’ the water makes approximately one litre of soda for each litre of gas (so a 40L cylinder equates to 40L of soda), which means, you’re making 40L of soda for as little as forty cents a litre*, depending on your desired fizziness. That’s less than half the cost of the nasty generic brand soda waters you can buy. Add a flavour, and you’re still only spending a maximum of two dollars—and that’s for the gourmet flavours like Pink Grapefruit. Plus, you can mix your own flavours—this afternoon I whizzed some watermelon and added half a cup of juice to the straight soda water. YUM! And it didn’t cost me a cent.

Speaking of flavours, if you’re having a lazy day/week/month and just want quick-n-easy soda, the choices from SodaStream are pretty darn good. You can get all the regulars like cola and raspberry, but there’s also iced tea, mineral waters (like the Pink Grapefruit mentioned above), and sports drink options for the super-active. Best of all, the regular ranges are flavoured with real sugar (sucralose), not high fructose corn syrup. There’s even a collection of sugar free flavours—like my lemonade one—which taste just as good, if not better than, super-sugared regular soda drinks.

Okay, so you get it’s easy, healthier, and cheap, but it’s also eco-friendly. One of my pet hates with things like soda water is that you end up with a plastic bottle that gets thrown away. Sure, you can refill it with cold water if you want, but after a while you start to taste the plastic, and that can’t be good. Add to that the fact that, because of our location, we’re not provided with a recycling option by the local council, and you can understand the impact of my three-bottle-a-week soda water habit. Guess what? With the SodaStream I can make my soda water on the spot, and the BPA free bottle that comes with the machine can be reused for up to three years. Better for the environment, and no yucky plastic taste equals win/win for me.

Have I mentioned there are tonnes of cute machines and bottles? Well, there is. I was given the standard Jet machine because it’s the cheapest in our region, but I’m thinking my next one has to be the gorgeous Fizz—it’s so retro, I’m in love!—which has extra settings to monitor the remaining gas in the cylinder and let you adjust the fizz level of each new bottle.

SodaStream Fizz in red

You can also choose from a range of cute-patterned BPA free plastic bottles like this Night Spirit Combo Pack, or go all-out and get yourself some super-sexy glass carafes—they’re only useable in the more expensive machines, but there’s no reason you can’t buy them to store extra soda in, right?

So, enough ranting from me, I need a fizzy refreshment. Go out and get yourself a SodaStream, you won’t regret it. I promise.

*All costs are in Australian dollars, estimated based on current QLD prices for similar product. 

What to Get the Tiny Ones

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I’d like to say I’m done, but I’ve still got just a few more things to get, which means braving the Christmas Eve crowds. It also means risking overspending on extra bits and pieces for those I’ve already proclaimed ‘done’—especially the copious amount of little people all of a sudden in my life.

I always struggle buying for little people. Not because I have no idea what to get, but because I just can’t seem to stop myself buying all the things. Unfortunately, I’ve spent my Tiny People Quota for the season but, if I hadn’t, here are a few things that would have been under my tree:

What to Get the Tiny Ones

  1. “My cute Auntie is Single” Infant bodysuit from Café Press
  2. Restoration Hardware Baby and Child’s Shaggy Plush Animal Rocker
  3. Alphabet Kingdom Animals pillow cover case from feb10design
  4. Navy Blue and White tutu from My Baby Rocks
  5. Black and Cream Skull Crib Shoes from My Baby Rocks
  6. Eco Organic Balloon bib from Corinne Citrolo
  7. The Land of Nod’s Elephant Nightlight

Oh, and for the mummy-to-be I’d totally buy this:

“Don’t Touch it” Maternity T-Shirt from Cafe Press

What to Get Her

Gents, do you want to know what not to buy the girls this Christmas? Every girl is slightly different, of course, but there are some gifts that just have ‘NO!’ written all over them. So, seriously, unless one of the ladies in your life specifically asks, please, I beg of you, don’t buy her:

–          Soap—on or off rope, this screams tacky and uncaring;

–          Sexy lingerie or sex toys—opening a vibrator in front of the family? Eek;

–          Cleaning equipment—Just because she irons doesn’t mean she enjoys it. Buy a new one after Christmas;

–          Fishing gear—again, joining you once does not make her a lover of the rod-and-reel combo;

–          A gym membership or workout equipment—“Merry Christmas, lose a few pounds”? Nice.

I promise you, if you steer clear of these five gifts, you’re well on your way to nabbing the perfect pressie for you girlfriend, wife, sister, mum, and any other ladies in your life you love.

Just in case I’ve now ruined all your fantastic ideas, or if you’ve got a gal pal who is just darn hard to buy for, here’s a few ideas to get you heading in the right direction:

What to Get - Her image

  1. Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Brush SPF 30 from Colorescience
  2. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
  3. Frost Impressions Light Set from Mod Cloth
  4. Teapot Women’s Short from Rosie Music
  5. Toile De Jouy One-piece ruffled Swimsuit from Fables by Barrie
  6. Vestal Rosewood Slim Sandalwood Bangle Watch from Karma Loop
  7. Lasercut Takeaway Coffee Cup Studs from Sconnie and Jam
  8. Scottie Low heels from Irregular Choice
  9. Eberjey Collette Racer-back Bralette from Journelle
  10. “Ballsack” Tote Bag from Café Press

Dress Me up, Take Me Out. Vol. 12: What to get a Shoeaholic–Zomp

I’m a shoeaholic. Seriously, I once owned over eighty-five pairs of shoes—eighty of them purchased within an two year period. These days, my collection hovers around twenty pairs, just enough to be a pain in the butt when moving, not enough to ever have the right shoes for the right outfit.

Tonight I found my shoe heaven. It’s a store called Zomp in Brisbane City. Oh my! Italian leather, American retro, local ingénues—best­ mix of brands you could imagine. Of course, they’re not cheap—most of the full-priced line sits around the $AUD250 mark, but every shoes I tried on was made from the absolute best fabrics, and all were incredibly comfortable.

Now, having worked in retail for eons myself, I won’t recommend a place unless the stock is good and the staff are legendary. Good stock—check. Legendary staff? We walked in five minutes before closing time and they happily met our request to try on ten pairs of shoes each. They were friendly and chatty the whole time, and didn’t attempt to push a sale, but offered excellent service and honesty. So I’m totally recommending them.

If you’ve got a shoeaholic you need to buy for this Christmas, check this place out. And if you don’t, check it out anyway and buy yourself some pretties for Christmas. If anyone asks, tell them I told you to treat yourself.

Sorry boys, girls only.

Store: Zomp

Store Locations: Locations throughout Australia, and online.

International Shipping: Only Australia ($15) and New Zealand ($30) at this stage.

Best Bits: Great range of quality and luxury brands, with an excellent variety—you’re bound to find something to suit any girls taste. Friendly staff with great knowledge of product and genuine interest in both the customer and the shoes. While the full-priced lines aren’t cheap, their sale stock is usually drastically reduced—Italian leather sandals for $95? Yes please!

Dress Me Up - What to get a Shoeaholic image

(Left to Right, all in AU Dollars)

–       2 Baia Vista, “Helpful” Black/Yellow (Printed Pony Hair Leather Upper. Leather Lining. Synthetic Sole): $75.00—ON SALE!

–       2 Baia Vista “S-361” Tobacco (Leather Upper. Leather Lining. Leather Sole): $95.00—ONE SALE!

–       2 Baia Vista “17601” Green (Woven Leather Upper. Leather Lining. Leather Sole): $135.00

Manufacture Dessai “20053” Taupe (Suede & Leather Upper. Leather Lining. Synthetic Sole): $215.00

What to Get those Who Have Nothing

The answer to tonight’s ‘what to get’ is simply kindness.

I’m sure we’ve all faced the dilemma of what to get the friend who has everything, but how often do we think about what to get those with nothing? This ad for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal really get to me. As a child, probably the most important things about Christmas is Santa and presents—and that’s how it should be. Children deserve the chance to be children, to not have to worry about money, and bills, and things.

But what if you’re seven and living in the backseat of a car?

These are the kids (and adults) who really need Christmas. These are the people who we should be spending hours and days thinking about. They are the ones who truly need our giving and loving.

The last few years, even when I’ve had very little money, I’ve bought two extra gifts—one for a boy and one for a girl—and placed them under the Kmart Wishing Tree. Always something both useful and fun—usually a book, football, or board game—I wrap them as nicely as I would all my other gifts, and always add a piece of candy or some stickers as well.

This year, while you’re stressing about what to get family and friends, take a moment to think about those who are simply wondering where their Christmas meal will come from, or where they will be sleeping. If you have some spare cash, even if it’s only a few dollars, consider donating it to a charity like the Salvation Army, or St Vincent de Paul who help those less fortunate.

And for those you know who really do have everything, instead of getting something for them, get them something for someone else through an organisation like Oxfam.

Christmas isn’t really about what you give, but why you’re giving.