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Japanese Dad Wrapping - Not for Christmas Gifts?

Who wraps the gifts at your house?

I have a feeling that our house is not that different from most in Australia and it's Mum (i.e. me) hiding in the office downstairs on Christmas eve with a pile of presents, sticky tape, scissors and a few rolls of tacky Christmas wrapping paper. I bought all the presents, I hid all the presents, and now I'm wrapping all the presents.

And it is totally unfair because my husband was once a professional gift wrapper. Really.

When the kids were old enough to start getting invited to birthday parties and needed help with wrapping presents they always came to me. And I asked, "Why me? Your Dad is a professional gift wrapper". And of course they looked at me as if I had lost my mind.

"Dad? A professional gift wrapper? Yeah right Mum. There's no such thing."

And yet, that is your father's secret past. When he was at university in Japan his summer job was wrapping Summer Gifts at a department store. He just went to work ev…
Recent posts

Active Kids Break Bones or "Meg's Leg"

I've written before about my daughter Meg and it's usually me showing off about some exciting thing she just did like riding in the Australian Unicycle National Championships, or stilt walking in a parade, or learning to skip while standing on top of a giant ball.

This week she broke herself. Playing baseball. Because that is the least death defying thing she does. Fractured ankle broken in several directions.

It seems that most active kids seem to break a bone at some point. At least that's what I've heard people say my whole life. I've never broken a bone. Probably because I am extremely uncoordinated. You'd think that would make me a prime candidate for breakages, but actually I think it may have saved me. I was always picked last for teams, and if there was an odd number, sometimes I got to sit out. Because having me as an extra on your team would actually be a hindrance. Growing up I played no sport. I couldn't run, I couldn't throw, I couldn'…

Fresh Mint Tea for Fresh Mornings

So, yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day. One of the disadvantages of working at home for yourself is that there is no corporate box, no office party, and not even a day off for most things. I was commiserating about this to one of my retail stockists, the lovely Julieanne at iTea, so we hatched a plan to make our own "Office Melbourne Cup Day".

This year is our second Melbourne Cup Day together, and Julianne booked us into a Melbourne Cup soiree at Steamers Bar & Grill, with a gorgeous view over Wollongong's City Beach. Well, she thought she'd booked us into the special Melbourne Cup Function, but turns out we were just booked into the regular restaurant. No Matter! We took advantage of being almost the only ones in the restaurant and picked the best table by the window with a view of both the ocean and the TV (for the horsies).

Fast forward through the wonderful lunch, very nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (hats off to our waitress Sarah for recommending it) and superb…

I Want Samurai Gourmet's Greasy Stew

How do food photographers make food look so darn delicious?

The other week I was attempting to photograph sweet little cupcakes, and while they didn't turn out too badly, I'm definitely still a beginner at the food photography gig.

I was thinking about this while watching Samurai Gourmet on Netflix with my son. He's 15 and definitely the one in the household getting the most out of our Netflix subscription. Usually holed up in his bedroom watching on his laptop while simultaneously "studying".

So last weekend when he suggested we watch a Japanese show together, I was pleasantly surprised and agreed to watch it with him. Of course we ended up binge watching half a dozen episodes and kept watching long after I'd finished folding all the washing.

Samurai Gourmet is a strange kind of Japanese drama-ish show about an older gentleman who is recently retired and in each episode seems to find some reason to go out and enjoy food. He has a kind of "imaginary frie…

How (not) to Prepare for a Flat Lay Photo Shoot

Flat Lays are all the rage on Instagram, especially in the "gift & homewares" business. The retailers I supply day to day are all great at what they do. Styling their shelves and store windows into the most appealing and lovely displays. So when they go for a flat lay you can pretty much guarantee it's going to look gorgeous.

I have a bad habit of just flicking through Instagram until I find a lovely photo of our products taken by someone else and just re-gramming it with a reference to their store.

Here's a few I've pilfered earlier.




But I really should be trying to produce some original content, so it's been on my "list of things to do when I have a minute" for some time. Trouble is - styling is not one of my strong points, so it gets left at the bottom of the list a lot more often than it should.

Last weekend my daughter had a "gig" helping out at a circus stall at a local school fete. It was her job to ride around on her unicycle …

The Feeling When You Get a Real Letter in the Post

Not a bill, not junk mail, not a notice that you just possibly maybe almost won a lottery. A real letter from a friend or family member that just says something nice, or has some happy news to share. When was the last time you got one of those?

I remember getting real letters when I was a teenager, which is admittedly an awfully long time ago. Besides thoughtful messages in birthday cards, my friends and I used to actually write letters to each other when we were away on holidays. I spent a good chunk of any trip buying postcards and sending them to my friends. I had boyfriends (it's true!) who wrote me soppy love notes and POSTED them to me. Or at least rode past on their BMX and dropped it in my letterbox. I mean, a letter from a friend is exciting enough, but a LOVE LETTER? That's a whole other level of breath holding anticipation as you tear (carefully) the envelope open.

When was the last time you received a hand written note in your letterbox?

My mother used to write a h…

Why do Pinterest Buyable Pins have to be in US Dollars?

So I've procrastinated enough and I have to get on with actually running my web business.

The UniNats are over, school is going back tomorrow and I am trying to get my head around Pinterest Buyable Pins.

The first hurdle was to get Paypal by Braintree set up. I've had PayPal available for my customers for years, I've got credit card facilities with a major Australian bank, and I've got Square online and mobile payment facilities set up. But Buyable Pins need Braintree, so let's set that up too!

Only these guys are serious about their security checks. It took about a month of sending document after document to prove I had a legit business to get Braintree approved. And then I got a bit lazy about the whole thing and left it another month to try and actually set it up.

Now I've spent a drizzly Sunday afternoon clicking back and forth between my website, Braintree's Control Panel, PayPal, Pinterest and whatever... and now I have to wait 48 hours for another ap…