Friday Loves

b. and her cousin kai playing with her gift from him. so adorable
{and, yes, i am one of those annoying people who often refer to their child as their first initial, only in text though. i'm a gossip girl junky}

After spending what feels like half a year preparing for Christmas it always feels bittersweet when the day is over. Even though I usually find myself awake before 6.00 am on Christmas the day goes ridiculously fast and before I know it Bailey is tucked up in bed and Husband and I are left to contemplate the inevitable mess {which we usually ignore for a few days until we decide to become adults again}. My Friday Loves this week are, of course, all Christmas related, most present-wise.

texts from dog {husband got this. wish i had}
summer dressing gown {feel like austin powers in this thing}
this tea {gifted from sister. smells like that cider that i forget the name of. she also got me an adorable teapot and 2 matching cups that you hug and that make me feel posh and defo mean i need more breakfast in bed time}
this tea maker {from the husband}
food {so many leftovers}


From the Archives of J: On Chocolate

As I spooned the last lump of Nutella out of one of those little snack pack type things with the little plastic scoop {or shovel} I realised that even though I may be married and am supposed to love my husband no matter what and all that nonsense, there is something that I love more. I'm sorry Husband but I am taking a lover and his name is Chocolate.

Now this isn't like all those other times when I contemplated taking on a lover. This time I'm serious. I now realise that Chocolate and I have been "together" for quite some time now. Ever since this thing called "pregnancy" {and now having a child which is often stressful and all-consuming} entered my life, well, Chocolate and I have been inseparable. I can not get enough. Chocolate fills me with great pleasure and unlike that other form of pleasure {which is fabulous} I don't need to have shaved legs and actually work for it. Nope, Chocolate does all the work and I can be as hairy as I like.

With chocolate it doesn't matter what I wear or what my face looks like. I don't even need to brush my hair. I can be doing a face mask and munch some Chocolate at the same time. Chocolate doesn't ask me how my day was, he just knows and even if I've been on an hour long complaining streak and am ranting and raving like a lunatic he's always so nice.

Not only that Chocolate is adaptable. He knows that he can't just be one type to fulfill me and he's okay with that. He's ever changing and he never complains. He's a Twirl when he knows I feel like eating something light. When I'm really depressed he's melted. When I feel like a treat he's coated around a strawberry. When I feel like nuts and chocolate he provides me with an endless array of options and he never minds if I chose more than one. He knows he needs to be in a box when I'm really sad but in a silly mood about it all. He never minds that him + popcorn is my perfect movie accompaniment. He's never jealous.

And to be really sweet he masks himself in my favourite desserts, movies and books {Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anyone?}. How much more dedicated can you be?


From Me to You

Merry Christmas {if you don't celebrate *insert appropriate word here*}. Happy Holidays.


Friday Loves

The full-on Christmas countdown is now on in the Gaff household. Bailey can usually be found hovering around the Christmas tree, sneakily ripping wrapping paper off presents and giggling when caught. I have been trying not to eat all the chocolate we have collected for our baking day on Monday. Today is Husband's last day of work for the year and tonight we're forgoing pizza night for a family trip to a local Carol's By Candlelight celebration. So that's what I'm loving this Friday.

I'm excited for Monday to come around so we can bake, listen to Christmas Carols and when 6.00 PM rolls around we'll eat a yummy, casual, dinner, open our Christmas Eve presents and watch a short Christmas movie that Bailey has been gifted {this year it's a Spot tale} together before we put Bailey down for bed. Once she's asleep Husband and I usually watch a Christmas movie together and then go to bed where I'll, undoubtedly, wake up at 5 in the morning, too excited to sleep any longer.

Have a wonderful weekend x


My Favourite Christmas Polish

Revlon's Copper Penny. I love this polish. The picture does not do it justice. For me, it's the quintessential Christmas nail colour {for both toes and fingers}. I realise most people like to wear gorgeous red polishes around Christmas time but I always seem to gravitate to glittery gold polishes.

It goes on gorgeously. It's not streaky. One coat is enough but I prefer the look of 2. Finish off with a good top coat {I prefer Sally Hansen's Diamond Shine Base and Top Coat} and it should last for the majority of your Christmas celebrations.


Something To Live By

Find humour in the hurtful things people say about you and the ones you love. Admit the truth, if any behind it, and never believe for a second that those people like, love or respect you.


Christmas Ready

I am very much into dressing for Christmas. That means red or green. I also highly endorse bows and polka dots around Christmas time because they seem very present like. Also, silver. This year I have a few dresses in mind {some red and some green} that already hang in my closet. Having the outfit {or outfits}, however, has not stopped me from browsing online for other pretty pieces I'd love to wear {and would fit perfectly into my year-round wardrobe}.

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from L to R:


Being A SAHM

I've been a stay-at-home-mum for just over 18 months now and I must say {as lame as it may sound} I think I'm pretty good at it. Some days are, of course, harder than others but all in all everyday is pretty much better than the last. Here's what I do to have fun, enjoy my time and not go insane.

Create a morning routine
I feel like the morning will set the mood for the entire day so I like to stick to a proper routine. I know that I need to wake up around 7.30/8  {Husband gets up with Bailey around 7} and have 2 cups of tea, before I do anything else, to feel remotely human. It might seem selfish but you'll soon realise that it's important to start the day off feeling happy and like you're a person too. 

Wear whatever the heck you feel like

For me it's, usually, pj's. I adore wearing them and wish it was socially acceptable to wear them out in public. When I'm feeling a bit blah I always put a cute pair on. Bailey and I have been known to stay in pj's all day long and often have robe parties {don't ask, sometimes she insists we both wear our robes all day long}. Some days I'll favour proper clothes and even putting make up on. The most important thing? Wear whatever the heck you want. Clothing rules are stupid.

Special treats are a must
Lets get something straight, being a SAHM is not the hardest job in the world {and I think the more you tell yourself it is the more tedious it will become}, however, I do think you need to organise special treats for yourself and your kid/s throughout the week. Go for a walk {which, when you're feeling cooped up, is a treat}, go to the park, have a nice breakfast/lunch/snack, etc. If you've had a bad day have a treat for dinner. Go to the shops. Just do something and tell yourself that it's okay to do it. Because it is.

Occupy yourself when your charge is busy/do something for yourself when it's nap time
When Bailey is outside playing I always take a book or my phone out with me. She doesn't want anything to do with me and I don't want to be bored while she's having fun so I find ways to do my own thing while watching her. When she decides to acknowledge my existence I always put whatever I'm doing down and play with her. If she's napping I've learnt to do my own thing rather than thinking I need to do all the cleaning while she's down. 

{and speaking of cleaning, don't stress about it. Do what you can and leave what you can't. As your child gets older you can do more while they're awake so do it when they're distracted and, if they like to help like Bailey does, let them help. Also, resign yourself to the fact {and try and do it early on} that your house will never be as clean as it used to be}.

Be a kid 

I'm a kid at heart. I think that's why I have so much fun at home with Bailey. We colour. We play. We make "floor pancakes". We have 30 second dance parties. Have fun. Always.


Don't be afraid to admit that you need some help. When you do - ask for it. Take a break when you need it. Don't be scared to put the TV on for half an hour while you have a cup of tea. That doesn't make you a bad person.


Beauty Gift Guide Part 2 {Skin & Body Care}

Earlier in the week I posted my first beauty gift guide {which featured mostly make up and polish}. Today is part 2 and it's all about skin and body care {and all stuff I love/loved or have been lusting over}. Don't feel obligated but please feel free to find a way to put some {if not all} of it under my tree.

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Friday Loves

To be honest, I don't have much to add this week. For the first half of it I was busy with last minute preparations for Husband's 27th birthday {on the 12/12/12}, Wednesday we spent the entire day celebrating and Thursday and Friday I spent my time with Bailey and trying to get the house back in order after Husband's birthday {our house gets ridiculously messy after one day without regular chores}. So this Friday my loves will be short and sweet {like Bailey!}

I planned a treasure hunt for the morning of Husband's birthday for him to hunt for all his presents. I wrote clues/riddles and rules and I think he loved it as much as I loved putting it into action...
I wrote stuff like this: you've used me before and you'll use me again but I have been kidnapped my dear, stinky, friend. Unlike the others, I am not wrapped, I have merely been snatched and now I want to come back {this was for his coffee grinder that he received over a month early} and...
our stories are floating in Bailey's head but these are for you our honey loving friend. We heard you need wisdom and that much is true so, please, be assured we will give it to you {this for the book set The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet}

lots of owl love {here and here

pacman birthday cake made by me for Husband {inspiration from here}

yogurberry {self serve. yum}


Beauty Gift Guide Part 1

In all the gift guide posts I'd posted I realised I hadn't done one about beauty. It completely slipped my mind. Maybe because beauty is something I see as getting any time of year because it's an absolute necessity {yes, even that 7th mascara}. I thought I should rectify this gross injustice and begin some beauty gift guide posts just for you.

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*all gift ideas are from Myer and can be found online and in store

Not long until Christmas now. These sets are perfect for the last minute Christmas rush.


He's Turning 27, I Think He's Turning 27, I Really Think So

Oh hey, Husband. Happy birthday. Today you're 27 - so old, I know. It's always on your birthday that I sit and think and remember that when we met you were 18. When we started dating you were 19! That's so young and feels so long ago. I can't believe how much you've grown since then and how unbelievably lucky that at such a young age we were able to grow and change together. I'm so bloody lucky.

Now I know that you're stinky and that you act like you're the King of England {inside jokes} but I still love you anyway. In fact, those things make me love you more. You're a pretty great Husband and an even better Dad. You sometimes cook nice food and you give pretty great tummy hugs. You make Bailey laugh and smile and that's all I could ever want but you always give more. You're kind of ridiculous because you never like me to do nice things for you and only ever want to do nice things for me {and Bailey too, of course} and you think it's weird that I try and do all the cleaning so you don't have to do any after being at work all day. And you think I'm ridiculous for thinking you're ridiculous for thinking that way. So, I guess we're both kind of really ridiculous which I think means we're made for each other. So... there's that.

Anyway, I love you. I love our family.

I hope you have the best 27th birthday a 27 year old stinky head/King of England could ever ask for because you deserve it.

Love your wife who you might also know as Chicken or Chookie. Or Jaye. Because that's my name.


A Tattered Elephant For Bailey

Every time we leave the house Bailey likes to select a toy or two to come along for the ride. For her first year {and a few weeks after} she didn't seem like she would ever become attached to anything {which, to tell you the truth, upset me a little since I'd become so attached to the toys I'd picked out for her before she was born}. But then she finally did. She started off small and now it seems like she's obsessed with everything and anything.

Last week she took her new santa dog {Spot} and her elephant along for a drive. The elephant was mine. I have seen pictures of me in the hospital incubator with it. It's 25 years old {I think. It might be before my time} and it's actually aged surprisingly well. I remember wanting to keep it. Always. Even when I was little I wanted to hold onto it. And I'm actually surprised I did because I moved house a fair few times when I was young. It came with me from WA to NSW when I was 15. For some reason I thought, one day, it will mean something to someone else.

And now it does. For the years I had it I never named it. I couldn't think of a name that seemed special enough for what this tiny elephant represented to me. I toyed with the name "squeaky" {because it squeaks} but it never stuck. Now I can't wait for the day when Bailey thinks of a name for him or her and {maybe} keeps it in her possession long enough to pass it down to someone she loves. 

update {25/08/2013}: since Minnie passed the tattered elephant has taken her name {the elephant was Minnie's companion when it was just she, Husband and I} and now Bailey has a link to Minnie.


Christmas Baking Day Menu

Since our first year together as a married couple Husband and I have started the tradition of having a Christmas baking day. The past 2 years it has been on the 23rd of December but this year our annual baking day is being moved to the 24th {and will continue to be this date from now on}. On this day we prepare a number of delicious goodies to eat ourselves and to give as gifts to people. It's always fun. There's Christmas aprons, themed music and appropriate amounts of taste testing involved. Aside from Christmas this is my favourite day of the holidays and I can't wait until Bailey can become more actively involved in this tradition of ours {last year she played with flour. This year I predict us trying to squeeze in all the baking during her nap or trying to bribe her with chocolate so we can get stuff done}.

Every year I have my Christmas baking menu finalised before December begins and I wanted to share my plans with you.

Mint Chunk Choc Rocky Road. I have made this once before {mentioned here} and can't wait to make it again. To me, the minty taste and the pops of green make it very festive. It's also ridiculously easy to make.

Second up, are my Triple Choc Cookies. I gave these as gifts last year. They always go down well. I'm toying with the idea of making them into a red velvet choc cookie but I'm not decided. I tend to stress out if my baking goes wrong so in this case it might be best to stick with the classic.

Another chocolate dessert {can you tell I'm obsessed?}. These are chocolate snowballs. Everybody loves them and they're so easy. You need: milk arrowroot biscuits, condensed milk {do not use the light stuff}, cocoa and coconut. Crush the biscuits and put in a bowl. Add the condensed milk and cocoa {it will be sticky}. Sprinkle coconut on your bench. Roll mixture into balls and roll in coconut. Refrigerate overnight. 

*to give as gifts and to eat ourselves I usually use 3 packs of biscuits and 3 tins of condensed milk. I never measure the cocoa. I just sprinkle it in and taste until it's chocolate-y enough for me. 

I'm also planning to make a basic cookie with Christmas themed M&M's. Mine won't look exactly like the ones above because I want to cut them into Christmas themed shapes {trees, santa, snowmen, stars}.

*if these m&m cookies don't turn out or I change my mind I have this pecan shortbread recipe as a back up

And this isn't something we'll make on the 24th but I wanted to share what we'll be munching for breakfast on Christmas Day.


Owl Lovers Gift Guide

I adore owls and I have done since early 2009. Now owls are everywhere and everybody seems to love them and I think there's no better time to shove a million owls at someone you love {or maybe someone you hate if they're scared of owls} than Christmas. Hooray for owls! And I'd like it to be noted that Christmas 2012 will be the year of the owl for me {or so I hope}.

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Beauty Confessions

There are so many things we're not supposed to do when it comes to beauty but to be honest, I don't really believe in rules. Actually, I don't like rules. So I do what I want even if I know it's bad. So... beauty confession time!

1. I squeeze pimples. I like it. I keep on squeezing until I feel/hear that little "pop". I need to. It's a compulsion. I just can't understand why we're not supposed to squeeze them. I know the red, bloody, spot on your face isn't attractive but, gosh, the pimples with the white spots that look yellow? They make me want to vomit.
2. I don't always wash my face at night. Sometimes I forget. Most of the times I'm just too bloody lazy. I rarely wear a full face of make up so I tell myself not doing this step is okay. I always end up regretting not doing it because I always get a spot or two when I do but sometimes I like to tell myself that this time will be different. It never is.
3. Sometimes I only brush my teeth once a day. Sometimes I have urges and brush them thrice.
4. I have a shower twice a day. Once in the morning and once right before bed {though sometimes, when I'm too lazy I will skip the night time one}. Sometimes three. I love showers.
          { a little beauty confession from Bailey: jiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii}
5. Sometimes I only wash my hair once a week.
6. I believe having properly groomed eyebrows is one of the best thing you can do for your face but I often go months between waxes and tints. 
7. I remove the hair from my arms because I don't like body hair.
8. I don't wear eyeliner. I can apply it fine but it irritates my eyes and I just don't like the look on me.
9. Washing my make up brushes bores me so sometimes I just don't wash them for a month and avoid using them when they're unclean.
10. I don't tan. Never have {ok I went to a solarium once} and never will. I love being pale.

Have any to share?


Tea Lovers Gift Guide

Earlier this morning I posted my Coffee Lovers Gift Guide and now I want to share my gift ideas for tea lovers {a.k.a people like me}. I'm a big fan of tea and as the days/weeks/months progress I get more into it by sampling different flavours and lusting over tea products {which I usually pin here}. Since I'm just getting into tea I will be the first to admit that I'm no expert. Still, I feel perfectly qualified to share some gift ideas for that tea lover in your life.

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Coffee Lovers Gift Guide

Let me preface this gift guide by saying: I hate coffee. I have ever since a baby named Bailey {or "Baby Gaff" at the time} invaded my body and detested the smell of it. After years of loving coffee {even though I had been on a coffee-free kick for a few months before getting pregnant} I now can't stand the stuff and still recoil at the sight and smell of it. My Husband, however, is a huge coffee fan and I actually take great pleasure in buying coffee related gifts for him. Some of the gifts shown I have actually given him {and some I would love to give him}. I know that there are many coffee snobs out there who would probably rather die than receive the majority of this stuff and to those people I say you're dumb so please shut up. Without further ado - my coffee lovers gift guide.

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Random November Favourites

Yesterday I highlighted my November beauty favourites {find that post here} and today, to finish up my monthly favourites posts, I wanted to share a random assortment of stuff that I've loved this month from favourite fragrance and read to favourite YouTube channel and song {and everything else in between}. November was a great month and I'm so glad we're now in December where Christmas and Christmas holidays for Husband are not far away.

Favourite Read: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone {given in the last few days of November as an early Christmas present.} I've already read this book numerous times {as I have with all the others} but I'd misplaced my entire collection and Husband decided to gift me this so I can read them all over again. I love the writing in this book. J.K.Rowling is amazing.
*I also picked up the new Tara Moss book 'Assassin' this month. Read it in under 12 hours. Loved this also.

Favourite Blog: comes in a tie with Taza and Husband and Cupcakes and Cashmere.
*funniest blog post this month comes from Honest Toddler
*my friend also launched her food blog, Gourmet Gut, this month and I'm insanely proud of her - read it here

Favourite Song: Your Song by Elton John. I listened to this song so much while I was pregnant with Bailey and recently "rediscovered" my love for it. I am convinced this song was written for her. Especially this: "I hope you don't mind that I put down in words, how wonderful life is while you're in the world".

Favourite TV Show: this is difficult... but I think it'd have to be Homeland. Loving the second season so much.
*for lighthearted shows I'm loving: Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie and Nashville.

Favourite Movie: has to be all the Harry Potter films that Husband and I watched over the course of 3 days in early November.

Favourite YouTube Channel: I have to pick two this month - MyHousewifeLife {Jen} and EllesGlitterGossip {Elle}.

Favourite Fragrance: Dot by Marc Jacobs. This scent is amazing. I couldn't tell you the notes but it's light and fresh and makes me feel happy and giddy.

Favourite House-y Product: my new Sunbeam Variable Temperature Kettle {perfect for making tea}.

Favourite Beverage: this sounds kind of lame but I am in love with English Breakfast tea.

Favourite Eats: homemade chorizo nachos, buttermilk pancakes from Pancakes One The Rocks and cheese chips with ranch from Outback Steakhouse.

Favourite Pin: on apologising...

Favourite Find: Tree Of Life Kaftans

Favourite Moments: Friday traditions of brownies and park time with Bailey, date nights with Husband and Bailey, wearing polka dots that instantly lift my mood, decorating the house and tree for Christmas, sipping tea out of Christmas mugs, cuddles and Christmas movies on the couch with Bailey, naps.


November Beauty Favourites

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I wanted to start a new series of monthly favourites - first up my beauty favourites. Since this is the first month doing this I included my essential products, however, for the months following I won't be repeating my essentials. I feel that'd get old too quickly. Anyway, enough with my jibber jabber, here are my November Beauty Favourites.

1. Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream {reduces the look of dark under eye circles}. Makes my under eye area feel soft and plump. Decreases the appearance of dark under eye circles when used twice a day.
2. Palmer's Purifying Face Mask. Still my favourite mask. Loving it even more this month for spot treatment.
3. Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream. Perfect to slap on before going to the park with Bailey.
4. L'Oreal Lumi Magique Foundation. Perfect to put on when going out at night with my family. Still love the glow it gives me even though it's hotter out.
5. My current favourite eye combo - base: Stila's Bare all over, Stila's Kitten pressed lightly onto the lid and Urban Decay's Buck {from these palettes}  in the crease and outer v. Love this combo.
6. Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Mosituriser. It's not too thick and heavy. Not too light. Leaves my skin quenched for the entire day.
7. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Makes my skin feel clean and hydrated.
8. Baby Lips from Maybelline {any colour/scent but I most prefer the berry and orange scented ones}. So moisturising and they don't leave a weird taste on your lips.
9. Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer {one of my must haves}. The perfect highlighter for under my eyes and around my nose.
10. Revlon Lip Butter in Cotton Candy. Super moisturising and such a pretty colour pay off {Bailey loved it so much that she ate some of it - nice!}
11. Napoleon Eyebrow Pencil {another must have}. Not too heavy and doesn't flake.
12. Nivea Daily Essentials Regenerating Night Cream. I have been trying to find my perfect night cream for years and have always been left disappointed until I happened upon this. I read this short review on it, went and it picked it up and fell in love with it. After cleansing my face at night I massage this onto my skin and see an instant glow. Before using this I'd find that I'd wake in the morning and my skin would look unclean but now my skin looks refreshed and hydrated. This product {along with the Cetaphil ones listed above} are the reasons I've been able to go without make up for almost the entire month. Love it.