Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Body Love!

A vintage American fruit crate label.
Could not resist the irony. Pic taken from pinterest.

Today was the first day of my Body Love Challenge.

Inspired by the public pledge taken by Katrina from 'The Organised Housewife' and Jac from 'Common Chaos Chronicle', and joined by many others, I took the first step on my journey back to a healthier lifestyle. And when I say First Step, it was actually a few thousand steps today. I did a 5.5 km walk around the lake which, for a couch-adorner like me, was an amazing achievement.

I've never ever been the sporty or outdoorsy type (excluding sunbaking and frolicking at the beach). I remember in school I would always feign some illness or another to get out of Phys Ed. The only time I genuinely had an excuse not to run around the school block 5 times with class, was when I had stayed over at my grandparents house one night. My granny had given me some fresh clothes to wear to school the next day, including knickers whose elastic had stretched beyond belief. It was dangerous to walk, let alone run without the risk of them falling down around my ankles.

But I digress......

I'm not a big believer in numbers. I don't have scales at home. I don't care about calories or kilos, dress sizes or cms off. I do believe in energy and vitality. I'm a Mamma to 3 girls and I have to set a positive example to them. I don't diet, but I'll be sensible with what I eat. Deprivation doesn't work for me, it just makes me want something more!
I believe food is one of the greatest pleasures and joys in life, but everything in moderation.
I think that has been my downfall. Portion control. My excuse? I'm Greek! And the guilt I feel for all the poor starving children in the world is no reason why I should be finishing my girlies leftovers at dinnertime.

Now that's MY kind of diet!

I've never been a Skinny-Minnie, nor do I want to be. I love, love, LOVE my curves and embrace them wholeheartedly. Curvalicious. Voluptuous. Buxom Bombshell. I'm friends with my thighs, my butt and especially my bosom. My "problem area" would be my Mummy Tummy. I'm grateful that my belly bore the gift of 3 kiddies, but the aftermath is the source of all my wardrobe woes. Front on I have the faintest semblence of an Hour Glass figure. Turn sideways and the Hour Glass resembles more a Sun Dial or Alarm Clock (with the alarm bells ringing big time!!).

Marilyn Monroe: the quintessential Bombshell with
curves in all the right places.

I know what's healthy for me, but just because I have broccoli and zucchini in the fridge, it ain't gonna do a lot of good unless I actually EAT IT!!! And I know I need to drink more water. The water I pour into my 3 cups of coffee I drink every day don't count.

The key with me is to MOVE!!
As Oprah once declared, "If you move, you lose!"

I tried the gym once but couldn't maintain the enthusiasm. Being in a small room with artificial lighting, torturous equipment and sweaty women with pained expressions on their faces was just no fun for me.
Which is why I've chosen to exercise by doing Lake and Beach walks. I'm so grateful that my home is 10 mins walk to the beach and also 10 mins walk to the Lake, and I'm going to make the most of my majestic surroundings.

No torturous exercise equipment for me, thanks!

I walked today and I felt brilliant! I left the earphones at home and enjoyed the sounds of the birds tweeting in the trees, the sun on my face, the oxygen in my lungs, the peace in my mind, the serenity in my soul and happiness in my heart (all while smilingly dodging the big bombs of swan poo along my path).

My goals?

To do my Lake/Beach walks at least 4 times a week.
To live a great, big, long, happy, healthy life with my loved ones.
To not feel the need to hide behind my children in photos.
And on my birthday (next month) to wear the most fab, sexy dress I can find... without the need for Spanx or Nancy Ganz shapewear underneath.

Are you happy with the skin you're in?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carry Me Away, Cary Grant!

Cary Grant & Sophia Loren in 'Houseboat'

Sometimes I think I was born 50 years too late.

How I would have loved to have swanned about in the 1940's and 1950's.
I love the Fashion! The Music! The Films.
I have a penchant for the Golden Years of Hollywood and the fabulous Vintage Hollywood Glamour.
But most of all it was the era of Cary Grant.

Deborah Kerr & Cary Grant in 'An Affair to Remember'

Oh, Cary Grant!
Even as I type his name name my heart skips a beat, my eyes twinkle, my cheeks flush and my legs quiver and tremble. To me, Cary sums up the perfect Hollywood man. He was charming, and dashing, debonair, witty and so goddam handsome my eyeballs can't take it at times.

Cary's Happy Dance

Run, Cary, Run! (a scene from Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest')

I was laying on the sofa one afternoon drooling over innocently watching 'North by Northwest' (Classic Hollywood thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant) when my sister walked in.
"You do know who he looks like, don't you" she quipped.
"Who?" I replied bewidered.
Sometimes I feel my sister's greatest thrill in life is to tease every ounce of dignity out of me.

Cary was on screen wearing a crisp white shirt, black suit pants and a sophisticated belt. His hair was slick and parted at the side. The camera zoomed in on that dimple in his chin ( you know, the one that you just want to run your finger through..... excuse me while I drift away and enjoy this image a little longer...)

Even Audrey Hepburn couldn't resist that chin. From the film 'Charade'.

Ok, back now.

"Go on, you know!"
 I stared at the chin again, the slenderness, the high tailored pants, the chin, the parted hair, the chin again (I could & would spend hours mulling over that chin if I didn't have laundry, cooking, husband & kiddies to tend too).
"Oh......!" It dawned on me.
"No..." I replied again, shaking my head.
"Yes!" said my sister
"No! No... No...?"
Quite possibly she was on to something.
"Maybe? Just a little.....?" I replied.

My Darling Hubby is the Cary Grant-esque figure my sister was teasing me about. My Husband is Mediterranean and prides himself on good grooming. For work he wears a shirt and tailored pants, with a lovely slim Cary Grant-esque belt.  He also has gorgeous salt'n'peppery hair that he slicks into a Cary-esque part. AND HE HAS THAT CHIN DIMPLE!!!!!

Could it be?
Was I subconciously attracted to my Darling One because of his Cary-esque attributes?
I guess if you squint your eyes, drink a bit (ie. a lot) of vodka and use a hell of a lot of your imagination you might see a resemblence.

My Darling Cary
My Darling Hubby

My Darling Hubby

What do you think?

Either way I'm a very happy Whoa Mamma. 

I'm married to my Dream Man.

Friday, June 17, 2011

In the Golden Light

Picking up my littlest, Katrushski, from Kindergarten this afternoon, my mind was in a whirl. What to make for dinner? Did we need anything from the shops while I was out? Did I put the towels in the dryer?  It was drizzling constantly and I was opening and closing my umbrella like a madwoman.
My younger sister who is staying with us called and asked me to pop into the pharmacy and purchase some essentials for her.  The pharmacy I went to didn't have what she wanted so I headed down to the next one. Tired, hungry and fearful that a storm was coming, I navigated Katrushki through a weave of bulldozers and potholes, as the street we were trying to cross to get home was undergoing roadworks. The air smelled like rain and hot asphalt, and was filled with the shrill sounds of drilling and workmen yelling out to each other.

We crossed the road and walked down our beautifully tree-lined street heading for home. All of a sudden  the menacing storm clouds parted, and the most beautiful pinky gold rays of light shone through, blinding us with their warmth and brilliance.

Suddenly, I Was In The Moment. All the mental, meaningless static in my mind cleared, as did the fuss and bother of the roadworks. All that mattered right now, at this very point in time was being with my little Katrushki, holding her warm little hand, listening to her stories of playing with green glitter play-dough, of the yummy rice with green things that she had for lunch, of the stormy picture she painted at kinder today.

I watched her bathed in that heavenly golden light and pulled out my phone. A tiny little innocent in a shiny pink raincoat and a purple backpack  that was almost as big as her. I wanted to take a picture of her right there and then, and to never forget that feeling, that everything that I had ever done in my life, led me to that point where I was today. With my little girl. A proud Mum. The Perfect Moment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ding! Dong! Delightful!

One of the pitfalls I've found to being a trapped at home Stay-at-Home Haus Frau is that I no longer have the (bodily & financial) freedom to indulge in one of my favourite hobbies, The Therapy de Retail. I use to love wandering aimlessly about the town, enjoying the fun of picking up a bargain and swinging my packages joyously, like Carrie Bradshaw from 'Sex and the City'.

 Oftentimes, in between paycheques, I was quite happy to window shop, like a whistful Holly Golightly peering into the window of Tiffany's while munching on a croissant and sipping my latte. I could get a thrill without having to spend a cent, just soaking up the beauty and splendour of tantalising objects and adding them to my neverending mental Wish-List I carried about in my head.

After becoming mamma to 3 little lasses, my shopping expeditions became few and far between, and were often undertaken under pressure and with little enjoyment. My purchases were dedicated to my daughters, buying 3 of everything, buying in bulk, buying on sale, buying in haste. As I had become unaccustomed to venturing out amongst the masses, I found the shopping experience overwhelming, exhausting and (shock! horror!) unsatisfying.
I gave up shopping for myself. My body had changed so much after 3 children that I found clothes shopping and fashion depressing.

But then I discovered something new and exciting, something that brought a glimmer of hope back into my retail experience. My New Thrill:


Oh, my God! How my life did change with the act of a click!
The world (literally) was at my fingertips. I was no longer bound by the constraints of time, or how far I could walk/drive/tram it to a store. I could shop the world without a babysitter:... and I have!
I think my first clandestine internety-purchases all began with  a mummy-tummy silhouette-enhancing girdle, and some very flattering 'Special Night' lingerie (not worn at the same time, obviously. The girdle would be what is otherwise known as a 'Passion Killer'). But I digress... The thrill of opening that naughty but oh-so-nice package was addictive. I needed more! And so my lingerie drawer flourished (so much easier and more satisfying than buying clothes) and so did the 'Special Nights'.

I still shop from and adore little shops and boutiques. I love walking in and discovering little treasures and inhaling wonderful scents and feeling different textures. I love talking to store owners and discovering little stories behind their wares. In this cyber day and age these independant stores need all the support they can get. But realistically, I'm not in a position to just get up and leave the house any time I want (unless I want my children to suffer serious injury or set our house on fire) and taking (my) 3 children shopping altogether would send me (and the shop staff) insane (I want! I want! Iwant!). No thank you. So when my favourite stores offer an online option it fills my heart with glee.

For convenience and for being spoilt for choice, I am just in love with online shopping. My most recent purchases are eclectic, from all over the world, and are things that I adore and treasure.
I recently purchased a gorgeous little coat from the 'Carmakoma' label in Denmark. I enjoyed pondering the journey of my little Danish parcel, wrapped in it's exquisite Danish paper, being lorryied by a little Danish postal van, passed carefully onto a little aeroplane heading down to the Antipodes: the Wonderful Land of Oz (Australia), and left lovingly at my front door.

Ding! Dong!

Other recent joyous purchases have included some lovely Mexican crafted Arte de Mi Familia accessories. I just love my resin bangle with flaming heart and my milagro (miracle) necklace featuring red turquoise. I love the fact that each piece is lovingly handmade by a wonderfully talented family and that it has travelled to the other side of the world to be loved and treasured by me.

I love discovering the wealth of handmade wonders found on sites like Etsy, MadeIt and even Facebook. I like seeking the unusual, the ecclectic, the one-off, whether it's locally made, or created over on the Other Side of the World.

I don't want to say I'm a shopaholic (which I probably am), but I'm afraid that my delivery man might suspect that I'm up to some kind of illegal mischief with the amount of packages coming through. Or else he thinks I'm in love with him. It's almost embarrassing when I open the door and he's standing there holding yet another package. I laughingly joke  'See you again tomorrow' forgetting that yes, I had indeed ordered something else, and yes, he most likely will have to come back tomorrow. Woops!

But I suspect I am not the only member of The Club de Click! Click! Ding! Dong!
Are you one of Us?
Do you have any delectable sites you'd care to share?
My husband's wallet won't thank you for it, but I will.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Olivia: The Unwelcome Guest

I have a guest. 
Her name is Olivia. 
She arrived unannounced, but somewhat expected, this morning. 

To be honest, although I do my best to accomodate her and meet her every need, I don't particularly like having her around. Nor does my husband, actually. She pops in to visit every month and stays for about 5 days. When the time comes for her visit, I make a special trip to the grocery store and stock up on her essentials. Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Lots and Lots and Lots of chocolate.

Chocolate and sanitary supplies. Yes. You guessed it. My 'guest' Olivia is otherwise known as 'That Time Of the Month'. Do you have a special name for your 'Visitor'? Olivia is a codename my sister and I came up with when speaking about our 'cycle' (especially if my very squeamish husband is in the room). We named her after a supermarket brand of sanitary pads, not Olivia Newton John the singer (in case you were wondering).

Sorry Livvy!
My sister and I are close, so close that our cycles are in synch. So if Olivia is paying my sister a visit, I know I'm not far behind and that I must prepare for battle.
When Olivia (or Livvy for short) comes around, 
this is how I feel (especially on Night 1):

Throw in a bit of this:

And a dash of this:

and you get the picture.

When Olivia comes to call, I need this by the bucketful:

and I could happily live on this:

And all I really feel like doing is this:

and this:

 and this:

My Monthly Olivia Mantra is this:
Hubby knows it is his duty to Heed the Call.

After 5 days have passed, Olivia starts to pack her bags and leaves.

Joy enters our lives once more and I'm feeling the Pep in my Step, the Groove in My Move, the Shimmy in my Shake, I Got the Giggles, while I'm Wagging my Wiggle.

And Hubby feels the Joy too.
Because I go from this:

Back to this:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oui! Oui! Boulangerie!

I awoke this morning obsessively fixated with the word 'boulangerie'.
For those not in the know, 'boulangerie' is the French term for a bakery dedicated to the most delicate, mouth watering, sweet & sensuous pastries that incite trickly tears of happiness, everytime one touches your tongue. Think croissants, Danishes, tarts and scrolls. Salivating yet?

I  craved to be in a little corner of Paris, taking my 3 well-dressed daughters and dashingly handsome Mediterranean husband for a saunter down a little cobbled path, locating the warmest, sweetest Boulangerie we could find, ordering cafe au lait and savouring some melt-in-your-mouth buttery croissants with jam. (Ah, the joys of daydreaming! You can go anywhere, be anyone, at anytime!).

 Boulangerie sounds so much more glamorous then bakery or bread shop, doesn't it? Boulangerie! Boulangerie! Boulangerie! Probably couldn't get away with calling my next child 'Boulangerie'  (though  some celebrities have come up with stranger names for their offspring), but maybe, a cat?

I once walked those romantic streets of gay Parí as a young lass. Freshly graduating from University (I have a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Film & Television Studies, with a Minor in Archaeology: go figure!) I treated myself to a dream trip to Europe. I had slaved away worked earnestly for months selling Ladies Shoes, saving every penny I had for the airfare to Destination: Destiny.

I travelled Europe solo, a girl with a backpack and journal filled with dreams and aspirations, guided by my heart , with a dash of Instinct and Inspiration. My journey had begun in Barcelona when, after two sumptuous weeks following the trails of Dali, Picasso and Gaudi, I felt Paris calling. My last Barcelona purchase was a cute pair of Mary-Jane style Camper shoes, before boarding the overnight Express train to Paris. I shared a cabin with the wife of a Spanish Diplomat who grabbed my Parisian guidebook and circled all the sights I must see, and the ones to avoid.

My trip was spontaneous and I hadn't made arrangements for accomodation. Checking my guidebook I saw that there was a Youth Hostel nearby. Upon arriving at reception (the Hostel was a renovated 17th Century Mansion) at 8 am, I was lucky that there was a bed available, but it would not be ready until after 2pm. Leaving my luggage in storage I set off. The morning was glorious! It was so... Parisian! I walked, and I walked, and I walked with quite probably the biggest smile that had ever graced my face. I felt like Audrey Hepburn in the film 'Funny Face', when she arrived in Paris for the first time and sang 'Bonjour, PARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!' (Lucky for the locals I did not induldge in the song-and-dance routine, though lord knows it took a hell of an effort to restrain myself).

Walking the promenade along the River Seine, I was approached by an elderly lady.
"Bonjour!", she greeted me.
"Bonjour!", I replied. This, and 'merci' were probably the only words I knew in French.
"Excuse me," she continued, "do you speak English?"
"Yes, I do," I replied.
The little old lady shoved a map under my nose.
"Do you know where I can find this Hotel?" she pointed to the map.
"Oh no, I'm sorry, this is my first day here" I apologised.
"My apologies", said the British Tourist, "you look Parisian".
Yippeeeeeeeeee!!! What a compliment!

My little Camper-clad feet trod the Parisian streets for 6 hours non-stop on that first day. I am not an athletic person by any means, but that was the most beautiful marathon I'd ever walked in my life. I didn't know where I was going, but I didn't care. I was in PARIS!!! Oui! Oui! And my greatest joy that day came when I turned a spontaneous corner and was greeted by this:

The Eiffel Tower (image from www.pinterest.com)
The Eiffel Tower! What a sight, what a joy!

I dream of going back to Paris one day. I would love to share the romance of it with my darling hubby, and I know that my girls (when they are older) will be inspired by it too.

As Audrey Hepburn once said, "Paris is always a good idea".

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