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DIY Beeswax Wraps Review and Take 2 for Homemade Christmas Gifts

Leading up to Christmas we were thinking up some good homemade gift ideas for all of our relatives that already have everything and earn way more money than we do, so they can just buy whatever they want at much higher quality than we can afford.

Homemade gifts are great for these people. These are gifts with thought and love and a complete lack of brand name that cannot be searched for on any kind of price matching website.

Since our first attempt at beeswax wraps went so well, and my sister actually said she wanted me to BUY her some beeswax wraps but she didn't know "what brand was good", it was a no-brainer to get the left over beeswax and scraps of fabric out of the cupboard and whip up some more beeswax wraps for Christmas! I'd been meaning to make myself some smaller ones anyway, so this was the push we needed to get started.

Before I get onto our new beeswax wraps, let me review our first beeswax wrap with the hindsight of 6 months of wrap usage. Yes! It works! …
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Nitto Onna and other Japanese words you need

One of those "lists" of things showed up in my FaceBook feed the other day. A list of Japanese words you wish there were words for in English.

After living in Japan for a few years and then returning to Australia, I realised there were words I used multiple times a day in Japan, that I wanted to say now, but there just wasn't an equivalent word in English.

But after a while I got back into Australian life and the need to say those words wasn't so urgent. Or I'd worked out a way to say what I wanted succinctly enough, even if it took a few extra words. I guess those words are more necessary in Japanese culture and every day life, but not so necessary when living in Australia.

Anyway, back to that list. There were a few words listed that reminded me of this and I thought, "Oh yeah! That's a word I used to use all the time, but I don't seem to need it as much now", and then there were a few that I'd never heard before, but seemed like they were ma…

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 every d…

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…