Inside Sheela’s handbag

Some would call it nosey. Some would call it curious. Whatever it is, I always love knowing what people having inside their handbags. Not to the point of looking through them though – just to be clear! But whenever someone asks me to pass them their bag or when someone’s looking through their bag, I’m always slightly intrigued by what’s in there.

Sheela’s bag in particular is one that has always fascinated me. It’s like a Mary Poppins treasure trove – you just never know what she’ll pull out of it next. It’s fabulous to have a friend like her around because whatever you need at any given time, she almost always has it. And I’m not just talkin’ bandaids or safety pins. This woman carries around packs of cards, True Blood dvds and sachets’ of coffee.

I asked Miss Sheels to take a photo of her baggage with the insides on the outside.  If you compare this with the contents of my own handbag, I think it’s clear the boring one is in this friendship! I also think it’s pretty unfair that I end up with shoulder pain so often when I lug around substantially less stuff.

So  first up, my bag. It only ever really has seven things in it.

–          My work security pass
–          My phone
–          My wallet
–          A pen
–          My keys
–          My sunglasses
–          My make up bag

Sometimes I have a book in there too, depending on where I’m going. Inside my favourite little make up bag I have a further eight items:

–          Mac eyeshadow (which I apply with fingers so I don’t have to carry around a brush)
–          Coral Colours eyeliner
–          Coral Colours lip liner
–          Clinque lip gloss
–          Chewing gum
–          Mirror
–          Mabelline mascara
–          Freebie lip gloss from Wendys (that I stole from your bedroom Leigh, sorry!)

So this brings the total number of things I have with me at any given time to 15 items. Sheela on the other hand. Well, I count 56 on the particular day she took the photo with the potential for an additional 11 items. Knowing that Sheels lugs around 67 items on a daily basis makes me want to buy her a trolley!


 Contents of Sheela’s bag as described by the pack rat herself:

  • 1 button, picked up while vacuuming, put into pocket and then it ended up in my bag
  • 1 pkt of extra chewing gum…but I haven’t used it lately due to a dream I had where my teeth fell out whilst chewing gum!
  • 1 fan, for those humid Sydney days
  • 1 ring…wanted to wear it but left the house in a hurry so threw it in my bag to put on later…never got round to it
  • 1 necklace…see above
  • iphone
  • ipod
  • Charger – if I know I will be away from home all day and there is the possibility of getting my hands on an electrical socket, I will always take my charger with me!
  • 1 booklet of stamps
  • Listography, which I write in daily
  • The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society – nearly finished it!
  • Imelda May CD, a cool Irish singer I am listening to at the mo. Haven’t put her on my ipod yet so she goes with me for car rides
  • Headband with diamantes
  • 8 bobbypins, in case I want to do something different with my hair (or break into someones apartment – not really!)
  • 1 bejeweled pocket mirror
  • 1 revlon blush
  • 1 maybeline mascara
  • 1 radox hand sanitiser – with cucumber and aloe
  • 1 revlon lipstick (i liked this in the shops, then I didn’t like it when I applied it in the car. I thought it looked too brown but now I like it again, so it must be the lighting)
  • 1 clinique lip gloss – to make my matte lippie shiny
  • 1 vaseline intensive rescue soothing hand cream (that usually finds its way onto my face!)
  • 1 Australis brush on foundation
  • 1 felt bunny – cos I like looking at it so I take it with me sometimes
  • 2 pens – blue felt tip and one new pen with Aurora world cruise 2011 written on it. My cousin gave it to me from the ship he works on
  • Tissues (a surprisingly small packet!) I usually have a large wad in my bag, and I cannot take fewer than 10. I pull the tissues out of the box, counting as I go, and once I get to ten I hesitate, decide if I need more and may grab more, but always an even number (I AM normal, I swear!)
  • Post it notes – you never know when u will need them
  • My purse – a whole other world of things inside that
  • 1 Robert Timms Italian Esspresso style coffee bag – I don’t know how that got in there
  • Zippered bag with flowers, butterflies, stars on it. Meant to put my make-up in here after I had used it, but didn’t get round to it
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 postpacks to send the following to my sister and my dad:
    – photos of my nephews from my last trip to Melbourne
    – True Blood season 1 (Kiran has just hooked into the vampire craze!
    – photos (copies for my dad)
    – 2 nail polishes (a chrome pink one and a metallic “peacock” coloured one). These are for my dad to try to match to a paint for my kitchen aid
    – bubble wrap to make sure the nail polishes don’t break (the above items to post aren’t usually in my bag but they have been there for the past three days while I try to finally get to a postbox!)

 What wasnt in her bag that usually is: 

  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • bottle of water
  • tampons
  • panadol
  • hairbrush
  • comb (I don’t know why I carry this or the brush for that matter as once my hair is dry I don’t mess with it – that’s asking for trouble!)
  • disposable nailfiles
  • moist towelettes
  • magazine (jamie, delicious, masterchef, who)
  • keys (left them hidden so Ruth can get inside to feed the animals)
  • mail (I often collect the mail on my way out of the house and shove it in my bag to look at later
  • video store vouchers
  • a deck of cards (sometimes I get in the mood to shuffle!)


So tell me friends, how many items do you have in your handbag on a day to day basis? And do you think Sheela is insane?

Concoctions a’la husband

Ian used to be a really good cook. And then he became a husband. Once married, it seems he completely forgot how.

With this in mind, when I go away, I try to make sure there is enough food for him to eat. But sometimes I get busy. Sometimes I forget to prepare things. Sometimes I figure I don’t need to worry since we live about 200 metres from a grocery shop and are within a 1km radius of at least 10 restaurants. That do takeaway.

However it seems that when I’m away, if  Ian gets hungry, he finds it far easier to invent interesting concoctions of food rather than simply order takeaway.

One weekend I came home earlier than I was meant to. Ian had popped out for a bit. As I opened the door of the flat, I was overwhelmed by a smell, that to this day, is one of the worst I have ever experienced in my life. At first I thought it was a bunch of dill on the counter that had gone bad. Now admittedly, I was the one to have left the dill in a jar on the sink.  However after a swift removal of said dill, I realised that the smell was still there.

And then I discovered it.

There on the counter was what seemed to be a bowl of multicoloured rice bubbles. After a fair bit of prodding, I was still unable to determine what was in the bowl. So I called E.

Seeing the house phone number on his mobile, sent poor husband into a spin. “Why are you home earrrlllyyy?,” he panicked. Well that was a relief. At least he wasn’t oblivious to the fact the house smelt rank, even if he did choose to live in the rankness.

I can’t remember exactly what my words were but if you take out the profanity, the world ‘bowl’ is probably what was left of the sentence. He knew what I was calling about anyway. And he explained with something close to pride that he’d made himself a ‘treat’. The recipe, dear friends, should you ever want to make it yourself, includes:

–          5 tablespoons of melted butter

–          1 cup of rice bubbles

–          2 tablespoons of hundreds and thousands.

Mix together, taste, spit out the first mouthful and leave the rest to go rancid until your partner comes home three effing days later.

Now this happened quite some time ago so I have always assumed it was a one off. However a few nights ago, Ian decided to further extend his foray into messing with breakfast cereals.

Feeling peckish, he perused the cupboard, selected his ingredients and this time, mixed together weetbix, tahini and date syrup. Why haven’t the great chefs of the world thought of this?

Once again, only one mouthful of this combo was consumed. This time though he disposed of his rubbish thoughtfully.

So friends, I ask a favour of you all. If anything untoward ever happens to me, will you please check in on Ian from time to time? Perhaps cook him a meal now and again or leave him with food parcels. Anything to avoid some kind of sugar induced coma from breakfast cereal combined with goodness knows what.

I thank you kindly in advance.

Dear Ella

Dear Ella

It was so lovely to meet you. You’re certainly a pretty girl – just like your Mummy.

I was really sad to leave. After you and Mummy dropped me at the airport, I went inside and cried for a ridiculously long time. The plane ride home was so turbulent that I was convinced you and Mummy were going to be the last two people I would ever see. And that would have been ok. Because we had so much fun together on the weekend.

But I made it. And now I can’t wait to visit again. In the meantime, make sure you are good for Mummy and Daddy.

Eat well and don’t sleep on the job.
Enjoy wearing those rainbow bright tights we bought for you. They are colourful and fabulous, no matter what Daddy says.
Try not to make your nappies too stinky. That last one was horrific. I think your Mummy is very brave to deal with things like that.
If you feel tired of wearing pink just let me know. I can take you shopping with Tomas & Jones and we’ll deck you out in black in no time.

I miss you loads and loads. Thanks for all the cuddles .

Love Aunty Neen



A munchkin update is well overdue. Four of my precious peoples have had babies in the past few months and they are all  highly adorable and squishy.

First  up, may I introduce Sophie Cameron.

Sophie is my cousin Roslyn’s baby and was born in late January. She is SERIOUSLY pretty! She has beautiful, BIG, blue eyes and loooong eyelashes – which you’ll have to take my word for as I don’t have any pics of her with her eyes open.

I love how her lips are the same M shape as her Mummys. She’s teensy, tiny and suits being called Sophie. I’m glad Roz and Chris stole my name for her :)

Doesn’t Roz look cute in this picture too?


Millicent G was born in early Feb and this photo of her and her big sister Mabel makes me smile. I like how if you look closely you can see one of Juanita’s feet and one of Tim’s feet.  It’s like we’re observing a beautiful moment where their little family was enjoying some precious time hanging out on the floor together.

As an aside, I have to say that Ian and I think Mabel is a rock star. At the ripe old age of 13 months she eats pasta with sundried tomatoes as well as curry. Ian’s also convinced that she is an old soul who’s been on this earth before. And Mabel and Milly sounds like an awesome brand name! 

Munchkin  number three is Miss Ella, who was born in late February. I am dying to meet her! Only three more days until I do!

I remember the weekend before Donna found out she was pregnant. We went on a scenic train ride in Dayelsford and were oohing and ahhing at some cute little girls sitting near us. Little did we know that Miss Ella was there with us too!

And of course, Ella is already wearing vintage. I’d expect nothing less. This was one of Donna’s dressed when she was a baby!


And Munchkin number four is Talis, my friend Monique’s baby. I haven’t met him yet either. But can I just say that you know it’s time to fire the stylist when you look that good after labour! Insane!


Munchkins, munchkins, everywhere!

Fringe love

I need to talk about Fringe.

I need to talk about it because even though it’s been out for two and a half years, I am a recent convert.

And can I just say – I am now FREAKING obsessed with this show.

Two of our favourite couples had been recommending it for awhile. But to be honest, the idea of fringe science has never interested me. It was only when Mel eventually used the magic words ‘Joshua Jackson’ that I was sold.

A few weeks ago, Ian and I watched a couple of episodes. We kind of liked it but were sceptical that it would become a favourite. But then last weekend we devoted some time to getting through more episodes and now we are addicted.  We are literally using every spare minute to watch it. And when we aren’t watching it, we are googling every possible thing about it.

It’s consuming my thoughts like no show ever has. It’s unlike any book I’ve read or any movie I’ve watched. I’ve been dreaming about it. I’ve not wanted to catch up with friends or go to work because I want to be home ploughing my way through season two.

Who ever would have thought I’d love sci fi? Not me.

So, for anyone who doesn’t watch it, the basic premise is that there’s a ‘Fringe Division’ within the FBI. The three main characters are Olivia Dunham, Doctor Walter Bishop – a mad scientist with an IQ of 196 and his son Peter Bishop (with whom I am madly in love).

The team are based in Boston and they use fringe science to investigate a series of unexplainable occurrences which are related to a parallel universe. Their work, in the first season at least, keeps intersecting with advanced biotechnology that’s been developed by a company called Massive Dynamic. Their team is also watched by a bald, pale faced man who is referred to as an ‘observer’. We haven’t figured out what he’s up to yet.

All of the cases the team work on form ‘the pattern’, most of which seem to have been orchestrated by a bioterrorist organisation called ZFT.

And even though I know the show is fictional, I’m now a big believer in fringe science and I can’t stop thinking about what could be happening out there that we don’t know about. Transhumans with psychic abilities? Teleportation? Well, why not?

Here’s what else I think:

  • Fox better be planning to make a fourth season or I’ll have to personally fund it myself
  • If Olivia can run around catching bad guys with her hair looking so perfect, then I need to try harder with mine!
  • You know you’ve watched too much Fringe when:

A) Your sister gives you a beautiful bunch of sunflowers but before they start to open you feel totally freaked out that they’re going to turn into strange mutants

B) You start eyeing your succulent plants suspiciously. They suddenly seem kinda creepy.

C) You see a feather move on the foot path and worry that it’s some weird bug that will swallow you whole and send you to another universe.

As for Joshua Jackson. Oh maaann. That boy is hot. I’ve always loved him! And as Jay said the another night, his character is kind of like Pacey, all grown up. Except that apparently in real life, he hates being referred to as Pacey.

Seriously. He has every trait I love in a boy. He’s tall, not too skinny, quick witted, sweet, scruffy, and he uses just the right level of sarcasm. Plus he can wear coats like it’s nobody’s business.

Because I’m nothing if not shallow, I will openly admit that if he doesn’t get his shirt off in this next season, I will be sorely disappointed!

So to end this post, here, for your viewing pleasure are some Joshua Jackson shots. Ok, who am I kidding, they’re for my viewing pleasure.

If he became my second husband, I wouldn’t even have to change my last name!

A soup noodle floozy

A few months ago, I heard someone describe themselves as a soup noodle floozy. It made me smile because it so perfectly describes me too.

“I like asian soups a LOT. Wonton noodles, laksa, har mee, pan mee, pho, udon, assam laksa… to heck with monogamy, I love them all! And then there’s ramen…”.

If I had to pick a favourite….well I simply couldn’t. But I guess my top three are beef pho, wonton noodle soup and laksa.

One of the only good things about working in Parramatta is Pasteur Vietnamese. It’s in Westfield, close to the station and I often go there for lunch. Their pho is seriously amazing. In fact it’s so good that I’ve actually never tried anything else on the menu. I just keep going back for pho.

Lunch time beef pho at Pasteur Vietnamese, Parramatta

The paper thin slices of raw beef are added to the hot, spicy soup right before it’s served  to you. Then you can add as many bean shoots, mint and chillis as you like. The rice noodles always give me such a stomach ache but oh good gravy, they taste so divine. It’s such a comforting, richly seasoned broth and is perfect on a cold winter’s day.

As for Wonton Noodle Soup, well the best I’ve found (outside of China Town) is at Lees Malaysian. There’s a couple of these stores in the city and back in the good old days when that’s where I worked, my colleagues and I perfected the art of eating it from take away bowls out our desk. Now we get it from the food court in Westfield and it’s not quite as good.

Vegetable wonton noodle soup at my desk

This soup has a little of everything – crunchy greens, slippery noodles and plump won tons. A ‘combination won ton soup’ is also good – BBQ’d pork, prawns, beef, vegetables and won tons. It covers all food groups!

And now laksa. Ah laksa. Such spicy goodness. It’s basically like a bowl of liquid curry. Yum-EE!  Shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies and a coconutty broth with lemongrass. I’d say it would need to be considered as my last meal if I was on death row.

I used to like going to the Malaysian Laksa House in QVB. But my new favourite is Temasek in Parramatta which is apparently one of the best Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants in Sydney. I’m also pretty good making Laksa myself.

Home made laksa

I think perhaps I need to go on a soup noodle safari through Asia. Are you with me?


Sometimes, always, never

I sometimes

…eavesdrop on other people’s conversations

…leave the dishes unwashed for days on end

…get a really sore neck

…wander aimlessly around the city

 I always

…remember people’s birthdays

…write in a prayer journal before I go to bed

…reply to emails, texts and letters

…say thank you

…rip open parcels the instant I receive them (usually before I’ve walked out of the post office)

…feel sick after I’ve eaten fish and chips

…read Mel’s blog first

I never

…drink milk

…pike on stuff

…go on holidays without a book

…want to go to parties

…like meeting new people

..make the bed

…have weekends with nothing on

..text my husband, I just phone him my friends, I just text them