DIY lace cuff

I lost my crafting mojo for a while but I think I got it back. This cuff took just over an hour for me to make and photograph (and I'm not even good at sewing). I know I always say this, but I'll say it again; it is so easy to make. If you can sew buttons on, then you can absolutely make this with ease.
You'll need:

Lace trim
Embellishments such as pearls, beads, sequins or rhinestones
Fastening or clasp (I used up-cycled one from an old necklace)
Thread and needle

Method:

1. Trim the lace to desired length to fit wrist.

2. Sew on pearls or other embellishments.

3. Sew on clasps on both ends, making sure they are aligned for easy fastening.

Maternity style tips

Do you remember the time when I was pregnant? I sure do - and quite fondly in fact. I miss rubbing my baby bump, I miss how big and hard it became, I miss the big kicks I felt, the glow my skin sported, how thick my hair was and of course, the amazing feeling of having the miracle of life growing right inside me.

What do I not miss about being pregnant?  My swollen feet and how I couldn't even reach them, having to pee all the time and also how dressing up became such a nightmare when I could no longer fit into my clothes. Oh gosh, I remember how unattractive I felt and how long it took for me to figure out my maternity style. But once I found my groove, I regained confidence with my changing body and even managed to look somewhat stylish!  The lovely people at Maternity Sale asked me to share some of my maternity style tips with you today. Read on if you're interested...
Embrace the bump. For a little while, I insisted on squeezing myself into my regular clothes even when they had (clearly) become too tight. Not only was it very uncomfortable, I soon realised it only made me look chunky, as opposed to pregnant. That's when I decided to embrace my pregnancy and got myself some maternity clothes.

Dual function maternity clothes. To get more wear out of maternity wear, opt for styles that are nursing friendly. These include button down tops, wraparound styles, loose v necks or maternity tanks with straps that can be unclipped for breastfeeding. I have a couple of soft cotton nursing singlets in charcoal gray as well as black and white stripes from Maternity Sale that I've gotten so much wear out of since I was expecting that I'm still wearing now.

Accessorise. Instead of spending a fortune on a heap of new maternity clothes, I went for basic items like plain black dresses and solid colour tops and use accessories to create different looks. It's amazing how many looks you can create with a simple change in scarf, coat, jewellery and other accessories.

Choose natural breathable fabrics. Pregnant women tend to feel hot and sweat more which can be pretty uncomfortable. Choosing maternity wear in natural fabrics which will help in absorbing moisture and regulating body temperature.

Get one special occasion outfit. You only need one - for those occasions that calls for a dressier look than usual. Mine was a knee length black dress with long lace sleeves that I ended up wearing it to a friend's engagement party, a couple of fine dining experiences and also my baby shower.
Do you have any maternity style tips to share too?

Gift guide for him

Father's Day is right around the corner and it's a pretty special one for first time dad, Stu. I don't know about you but whenever I'm researching gifts for him, I find it quite useful to ask my friends what they bought for their partners. So today, I thought it'd be neat if we could trade gift ideas.

Over the years I've bought him a number of gifts; some were duds (like that ill fitting batik shirt from Singapore I got him early on in our relationship) but thankfully others were pretty good! I asked him  to list his favorite gifts he's received from me, so I can share them with you. They are...
Gift guide for him
1. SodaStream® Source Red Metal Soda Maker. A fizz gizzler for the fizz guzzler. Great fun and so easy to use. He usually gives the sugary syrups a miss and have plain carbonated water - a much healthier alternative to commercial soft drinks.

2. Edwin Jagger Barley Chatsworth 3-Piece Shaving Set. I'll admit I bought this purely for its shiny good looks but it turned out to be something that he has been using everyday since. He tells me he enjoys his daily morning ritual of shaving the old fashioned way; running the brush under hot water before lathering up the cream and swirling it on, passing the razor over his face and the final rinse. Ah, the art of the classic wet shave.

3. Crabtree and Evelyn Moroccan Myrrh Shave Cream and After Shave Balm. A quality shaving set deserves quality products. The Moroccan myrrh range smells woody and masculine - Stu loves it and so do I!

4. Braun Buffel Klug Travel Organizer. He travels quite a bit  for work so I knew I couldn't go wrong with a travel wallet made of soft leather in a classic design that that will not go out of style. Its easy zip around and many compartments makes it easy to access  his passport, boarding pass, pen, different currencies, frequent flyer card, and spare passport photos. 

5. Highback Recliner Chair. OK, I haven't bought Stu a recliner just yet but this is something I know he will love. His parents have one and I've seen him in it more than a few times whenever we go over for a visit. I found a number of styles and designs over at Super A-Mart Australia which will actually work really well with our existing furniture.

6. Mont Blanc Meisterst├╝ck Fountain Pen. I bought this so he can enjoy the sheer pleasure of owning a high quality, beautifully crafted pen . Does this pen make him a better writer? Of course not. But there is something quite special about it...a sense of formality perhaps? That it isn't a just another disposable item but instead something that will last decades and most likely passed on to our little boy as an heirloom pen.

7. Braun Buffel Overnight bag. This is compact yet holds an amazing amount of items - perfect for short trips away as well as weekenders. I love that it is matchy matchy with his travel wallet, so he can travel in style.

OK, your turn now...what are some of your gift ideas?

Little indulgences (when I'm home alone)

Stu's preparing for yet another business trip to China...his nineth trip this year. I must say I've gone from dreading being home alone to actually looking forward to having some quality me time. I've figured out that when Stu is away, it is the perfect time to do a few things that I otherwise may not indulge in. Here are a few of my not-so-guilty pleasures when I'm home alone (and bub is fast asleep)...
Watch trashy TV. The Bachelor, Snog Marry Avoid, Pawn Stars. ANTM, just to name a few. You name it, I secretly love it and watch with abandon when Stu is not around.

Order home delivery. I can't be bothered to cook for myself so it's either three minute noodles or a little treat of takeout. There's something really nice about hopping onto Eat Now, picking out my favourite dishes I want (Thai, usually, but sometimes, it's Chinese, Indian or pizza) and pre-order it online. I usually am clever enough to time the order so it coincides with Alexander's bedtime, so once I've tucked him into bed, I simply open my front door and Tada! There's a warm meal ready for me.

Pamper night.  As soon as Alex hits the sack, I run myself  nice warm bath, fill it with aroma oils and gleefully get in! While I'm in there, I apply my facial mask and just close my eyes and relax. I follow that with hair treatment mask, and sometimes also a manicure and pedicure and always, lots of obsessive hair brushing.

Makeover time. I play with makeup and experiment with different looks when Alex goes to sleep (as you do!). And while I'm at it, I play an old childhood favourite game of dress up, and try different outfit combinations to see what works and pull funny faces in the mirror.

Online window shopping. I get quite a lot of enjoyment from browsing online stores and adding things to wishlists for myself and for others. I feel a bit guilty doing it when Stu is around (even if I'm not actually buying anything!), so I save it for when he is away. Besides it's great for when I'm actually researching a gift for him.

What do you do when you're home alone?

PS: You can catch me over that Vanisha's today!

Honey loaf

It's been raining buckets here in Sydney for days now, which calls for lots of time spent indoors and under blankets. I did find the opportunity to do a bit of baking which made me happy as I always find it so therapeutic - the heat from the oven, the smell of honey and butter melting on the stove and the final reward of biting into that delicately sweet loaf with a hot cup of tea. I can think of few things nicer, really.
Honey loaf

Ingredients

75g butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 10cm x 20cm loaf tin.

2. Melt butter and honey in saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Cool in fridge for 5 minutes.

3. Place flour, almond meal and sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

4.  Add milk, egg and cooled butter mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

5. Pour into greased loaf tin and bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

View printer-friendly version of this recipe here.