Tuesday, March 6, 2012

hey emmaline, you'll be looking forever

I love gossip. I can’t help myself – I like to know everything about everyone which is why I’d make the finest stalker this side of Sydney.
I also like drama. I like dramas on TV (hello Foxtel IQ, my enabler). I didn’t like drama as a subject at high school because I’m THE worst actress (OH MY GOSH. I LOVE THIS PRESENT SO MUCH. THANK YOU. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THIS EXACT SET OF TEA TOWELS, HOW DID YOU KNOW?!.. convincing no?), but I thrive on a little bit of drama in day to day life. It keeps things interesting no?
Me and Owen aren’t exactly the most exciting people around – in fact everyone uses the word “laid-back” to describe him. My word is usually “neurotic” (What’s with that?!).
But you can imagine that somewhere between a laid-back guy and an overly neurotic girl lives at least a little bit of drama. And you would be correct.
I can slam a door louder than the rest of the apartment block cares to know. And boy does that laid-back guy of mine know a thing or two about the silent treatment.
We niggle each other like no bodies business. At dinner parties we are sometimes outright mean to each other – but never in a mean way. Does that make sense? No not really.
Well either way, we’ve always been this way. I remember annoying the hell out of him our entire high school friendship by calling him a cynical crank. Deep down I just wanted to flirt with him. And nothing says “I like you” than insulting someone’s personality to their face right? Safe to say he didn’t get the gist until a few years later when I fell on his cute noggin in a pool, rendering him unconscious (another story for another day).

Don’t get me wrong – we do like each other! We actually do love each other, I swear it! But we also like to bug each other… and after eight years together I think I’m qualified to say it works… at the very least for us.
Which is why I didn’t bat an eyelid when I received the below email today.
And truth be told… I WAS being a narcissist.
I do this thing where I spend all day listening to songs with my name in the title. Is this unique to me? Or does everyone do this? Please tell me the later or I’ll feel like a jerk.
Emma isn’t a super common name, but common enough to pop up in quite a few song titles… especially if I decide my name is actually Emmaline/Emaline/Emily/Roxanne.
I’m not daft enough to pretend they’re singing about me, but it’s nice to hear your name in song… even if it’s Big Leg Emma by Frank Zappa (this one hits too close to home… with thighs like these who needs enemies?)
In fact, it’s by being a giant narcissist that I came up with the name Hey Emmaline – taken directly from the chorus of Bodyjar song. In short, my brand of cutesy “sweetheart” teapots are in fact named after an Australian punk-rock band from the late 90s. A great match!

And all of that is a very convoluted way of talking about Hey Emmaline and the fact that I’ve added a few new items to the shop.
I’ve just decorated a couple of coffee/tea mugs with some cute red designs. Generally speaking my non-custom stuff doesn’t sell as well… but thought I’d try again. No harm done!
First up is this set of four mugs with kisses and polka dots – my favourite things in the whole wide world
 And then next is this little lonely mug, covered in hearts which I’m a bit smitten with.
Hope you like ‘em!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Food, glorious food! (aka why the words body fat percentage shouldn't exist)


How’s about this weather? FINALLY we can stop making kitchen small talk about the rain. Actually I was grateful for the rain, I’m pretty bad at small talk. Standing waiting for the lift you can guarantee my inner monologue is sounding like this… “OH GOD. IT’S SOMEONE FROM WORK. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM! WHAT SHOULD I DO? SHOULD I ASK ABOUT THEIR DAY? MAYBE I CAN JUST AVOID EYE CONTACT AND PRETEND I DIDN’T NOTICE THEM?!”. And then I invariably take the stairs.

But it’s so nice to see some sun! I walked to work twice this week which I think is pretty impressive! It’s a bit over an hour each way, but after my soul crushing fitness assessment on Monday I might make it a little more regular along with my newly regular gym visits. As someone who has lived in ignorance of their body fat percentage for 26 years, may I suggest you never find out yours? It's for the greater good, I was not good company for the proceeding hour... or day.

Which is whyyyy I’ve banished all forms of chocolate from my life until April 1st. I was going to give it up until Easter for lent, but I’m not religious and the thought of NO chocolate hot cross buns before Easter made me weep (I blame Kelly for posting a picture of them on FB... I had almost forgotten them!). I actually woke up in a cold sweat after I’d made my pact, and have since amended it and given myself one week pre-Easter for bun-scoffing. However for the next month or so, no dice. Which means no more of the below…

My favouriteeeee slice – blondies! Blondes do have more fun, especially in chocolate form. And don’t you start me on that “white chocolate isn’t real chocolate" tirade. I don’t want a bar of it, I do want a bar of white chocolate however.

And no more of my absoluteeeee favourite sweet ever. White chocolate and raspberry bullets. These things are worse than crack, I’m not even kidding. Which is why I forced them upon my nearest and dearest at work for V-Day!. I’m so nice like that! 
PS How cute are the bags I picked up in Daiso for 115 yen? Love them! (As a side note, have any people been to both Daiso in Japan and Chatswood? If so, how does the Chatswood version stack up?)
And no more Kit Kats. Le sigh. This baby was a Hokkaido special – rockmelon! Rockmelons/cantaloupes are like gold in Tokyo. I saw one going for the equivalent of $40 AUD. Ridic, no?! I don’t even really like rockmelon and this tasted amazing. Definitely better than wasabi Kit Kats which I will avoid from now until forever.

But I can still eat other yummies. Like... these amazing housemade bagels with ricotta and homemade jam from Cafe Ella in Redfern. YUM and so freaking cheap.

Wish me luck! I have a sneaking suspscion many a bagel will be consumed to fill the gaping void that chocolate has left in my Feb-March life. And fail to help me in my mission to decrease/forget my body fat % x

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Take a picture, it'll last longer

I’m a really crappy photographer, but in this modern world I can totally get away with it!
I’ll instagram anything, I kid you not. My sandwich? Sure – add Earlybird filter and voila.

Picture of a boring road. Polarize it. Ooh so arty.
See I’m a regular Annie Lebovitz. JOKING, I’M SO JOKING.
But seriously it is kind of nice that you can take the mundane and ordinary and make it seem a little special.
And if you’re like me, there is a whole lot of mundane and ordinary in your phone.

I love these cute, vintagey, hipster photos but what the heck do you do with them? Especially when you live in the “arse-end” of the world (excuse my French) and no one will ship things to you?
Google, my friend, is your friend.

I found quite a few companies offering to print your instagrams and iphone photos, but as mentioned above – a lot of them wouldn’t ship to Australia. And the rest were kind of vague with size and price, which is always comforting on the internet...
But eventually I narrowed my sights on two different products. ImageBlocks and Printsagram.

Imageblocks is based in Melbourne (hooray local!) and they turn your iphone photos into wooden blocks.
At $35 a piece they would make a fantastic birthday pressie and man are they fun!
Since it’s been a year without our sweet old pup Jem, I decided to get a cute block made up of my favourite photo of her to give to my parents.
Next up is Printstagram. I’ve seen a few people in the blogging world order stickers from here, but as much as I love those adhesive-backed-beauties, I have little to no use for them. Stickers tend to end up on the bottom of my shoe or on my elbows *damn apple stickers) and aren’t treated with the love and respect they deserve.
So instead I turned all my weird and wonderful iPhone photos from Japan into a little book! And shy of a month later they have just turned up on my desk.
You get two mini books, each with 50 photos and all for $12. Nice huh! Admittedly it ends up being a little more like $24 when you factor in the shipping, but to have a cute reminder of my holiday with little to no effort on my behalf? Worth it! I was a little lazy and ordered two of the same book – one for me and one for Oh.

I love it!! It’s great that I can flick through a little book and remember all the silly bits of our holiday. Namely the thousands of Choco Cro we ate, or the many times Owen's eyes rolled in my general direction.

You can also order little prints from them too. One set of 48, again for $12. I think I’ll order these next time – they would look really cute strung up like a little garland I think!
I definitely recommend them – although keep in mind the shipping takes a while. And I naively thought they’d be coming from the US of A, when in fact they were shipped from Taiwan. No biggie, just the old adage about a assuming making a something out of something.

But in short, get printing! There are pictures of sandwiches, shoes or beloved pets pulling silly faces just sitting on your phone with their fancy filters, itching to be shared with the world!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

from head to toe

From a young age I was obsessed with the musical Annie. Y’see my brother, at the tender age of eleven, had the much coveted role of Daddy Warbucks in the Lugarno Public School production. I was a little star struck by the glamour that is a primary school musical and longed to have the part of Annie. I was all of eight years old and not even part of the school choir, nor a particularly good singer and I didn’t even audition! And let’s not even get into how confusing it would have been to have my brother play my adopted father. Suffice to say my Broadway dreams ended that year.

But I did pester my parents into buying me a copy of the movie on VHS, which in the year 1994 was a tougher task than you might appreciate. My thanks to them was a nightly bathtime performance, ranging from Maybe to Tomorrow and back again. And even now if I’m feeling nostalgic Owen might be privy to a heart-warming rendition of I Don’t Need Anything But You… but I try and keep that to a minimum.
One of the best songs – and sentiments – from the movie version of Annie was You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile. Check it out (ps cutest orphans ever, who taught them to shimmy?! I’m looking at you Carol Burnett.

And while I like to believe I subscribe to message of the song, I think I often have a case of chronic bitch face. And to be honest, I’d like to think I’m fully dressed when smiling, frowning, pouting or giving a serious case of stink eye. I don’t particularly want to worry about being “naked” by these standards, when I’m hysterically crying during A Walk To Remember.

But I digress, the whole point of this post was that I wanted to post an outfit I would love to buy had I not just spent all my money in a foreign country and signed up for a mortgage. And the reason I thought of this song in Annie was I knew they used the line “Head to Toe”… except in hindsight line is actually “it’s what you wear from ear to ear, and not from head to toe”. SO sure, this might be going against the whole premise of the song – but let’s pretend somewhere between head to toe there is a smiling face shall we?
Dress: This cute as a boot dress is from Vanilla & Lace. I actually have this dress in a different fabric and can I tell you how supremely impressed I was? The fit is gorgeous and the quality was incredibe – and to think it’s all handmade for that $60 price tag? Amazing! Buy it buy it buy it. I’m thinking this mustard version may have to find its way to me.
Brooch: I think a this brooch set from Made By White  is unbelievably sweet! These ladies can do no wrong in my book.
Shoes: I’m not a short lady and in fact I’m probably taller than 95% of my friends. But I still enjoy a high heel as much as the rest of you. In fact, maybe more because I have cankles and heels help them look a little less… cankley (yup that’s an adjective. Just ask Richard Morecroft.. okay don’t, I might look silly). And these funkis look like they would do the job nicely!
Headband: This headband from Sunshine & Carousels is dreamy. And pretty reasonably priced too I might add.
Oh and make sure you add that smile somewhere in there... that way the start of thi blog post kind-of-vaguely-but-not-really, links to the end. Tadaaaaa!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seems you've created your own illusion

It’s safe to say I’ve had an acute case of the post-holiday blues these last three weeks. I almost cried on three separate occassions at work in my first week back, for no other reason than the simple fact that I was no longer in Japan. So want to know how I got around this? Total denial. I’m still in Japan and don’t even try to convince me otherwise.

This has been achieved in a couple of ways…
1.     Visiting every Japanese convenience store in the CBD and never leaving empty handed. Often I just stand and stare and try to pretend I know what food groups I'm looking at. Also it has resulted in so.much.calpis.drinking.
2.     Listening to songs on repeat that remind me of my holiday. This song was playing in every single corner of Shibuya all day every day and I’m not even remotely prone to exaggeration on this one. Also I don’t care that I can’t understand the lyrics or the Vietnamese subtitles in this particular video. I love it all the same, or perhaps more because of it.

3.     Eating onigiri for lunch and mochi for dessert even though I didn’t eat either of those foods while actually in Japan.
4.     Getting the lovely man-friend to make me okonomiyaki and me then adding unhealthy amounts of mayo
5.     Eating bowlfuls of frozen edamame. Actually I didn't read the instructions where it tells you to let them thaw for an hour... so I microwaved them and lived to tell the tale. Delicious and only $2.85 which sure beats the $6 you pay for a bowl half the size in most restaurants. But I think their claim to "slightly salted" actually means "no salt has touched these beans so you should add a shaker-full" cos that's what I did.
6.     Buying all the things I should have bought on holidays, but didn’t, on eBay after the fact. The fact that this cover actually hinders some functions of my iPhone is of little significance to me because this thing is freaking CUTE. Plus you can even download an app with her face on it. YUP.
7.     Kit Kats. I don't even eat them... more often than not I just pull them out and stare at them lovingly.

8.     Listening to the happy sounds and alerts of the JR Yamanote train line found here courtesy of one of my new favourite blogs melon soda. Only Japan could make you miss catching public transport. I can't tell you how weirdly soothing this is.

So based on the evidence of the above eight steps, I am still in Tokyo and its unseasonably warm for winter! And suddenly all my friends have also relocated here too, which was a pleasant surprise. What is it they say... fake it til you make it? Oh man am I faking it.

But in other less delusional news - hey, emmaline! is back open for business in 2012. So if you have an engagement party of a wedding coming up, or just know someone who really likes their tea then check it out here! The shop is looking a little bare at the moment because I've had quite a few orders, but it'll be updated all the time. And check out the new postcards I designed and ordered last week. I love 'em... even if I did get the link to my shop wrong on them. HA... I only wish I was kidding.

PS I will post more holiday goodness once I’ve come crashing down to earth and finally accept I’m no longer in Japan… so that could be days or it could be weeks. Only time will tell!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I think I'm turning Japanese - Part 1

Hello hello!!
I'm writing from my teeny tiny hotel room in Shibuya, Tokyo and boy it is COLD. But being the (overly) prepared person that I am I've got it covered with fleece-lined leggings. Might I suggest you get yourself a pair of these bad boys the second winter hits? These things work miracles - pretty sure I could walk on water in them (and still be warm I bet!).
And to make the whole experience a little more authentic, we've just had an earthquake. Obviously nothing to severe if I'm still sitting at a desk blogging... but still bizarre none the less. It took me a good minute to 1) realise we didn't have a vibrating bed and 2) wake Owen up to ask if this was in fact an earthquake he was sleeping through.

Earthquake aside we are having so much fun! I'll admit I had a minor freakout when we first landed because I forgot how damn hard it can be to communicate here. We speak zero Japanese bar the very simple thank yous and yes and there really aren't a lot of English signs (not that there should be, we are in Japan after all)... so safe to say we've looked pretty stupid on a number of occasions including being told to move by Shinto priests because we were in the way of their religion procession. But that is half the fun of travelling right? Or so I'm going to keep telling myself.

We've walked all over the place and have eaten more crepes and even more okonomiyaki than I'm willing to admit. My current theory is they cancel each other out. Please don't correct me, I simply don't want to know.

 The three steps to okonomiyaki:
Step 1 - stare longingly at hot plate
Step 2: push food around with chopsticks in an attempt to look useful
Step 3: eat said food before it is finished to annoy your dining companion. Enjoy!

Kidding! He actually cooked mine for me so I shouldn't be such an ungrateful git. He's proving to be my near-perfect travelling companion... dealing with my extreme nervousness and he's tagging along for some shopping and even encouraging me to buy things. Winner!

We've hit up lots of different suburbs and while a lot of stuff is closed over this time of year, we haven't really been bothered by it. There is always something to see and do - it is Tokyo after all. And I'm not willing to disclose just how much yen we've spent on videos games except to say... it's a lot.

 Exhibit A: Emma's idea of fun...driving along Rainbow Road. Exhibit B: Owen's idea of fun... punching a panda.
Last night being NYE we had a nice dinner (drinking Japanese cocktails... and Spanish wine... ticks for authenticity!) and loitered around the Shibuya crossing with just a few (thousand) other drunks. When the clock struck 12 everyone waited patiently (if patient means loud and involves throwing glow sticks) for the lights to change so everyone could surge onto the crossing and wish each other a happy new year. It was kind of similar to being in a sweaty moshpit at BDO but with less nakedness due to the single digit temperature (not to say there was none..) and a lot more good will. And today the city is pretty quiet so we did a little bit of shopping and someone else is busy sleeping.

You can bet I'm busy tracking down every Kit Kat flavour and trying every novelty food/drink I can get my hands on. But that my friends is a post for another day!

Anywayyyy enough yabbering on. I'm going to get me some deliciously cheap noodles for lunch (heart vending machine noodle houses, so much less fuss). And here is my unashamed photo dump of Shibuya/Yoyogi Park/Harajuku - half iPhone, half new camera (thanks mama and papa - birthday present! 26 years young!). Happy New Year! And sayonara!

Monday, December 19, 2011


In one week I'll be in Shibuya! I can't even begin tell you how excited I am... oh wait, yes I can. I'M REALLY EXCITED!!

I've been a busy bee, between getting a new (read: BETTER) job and finally leaving the nest that is my family home of 26 years, blogging has taken a back seat. Maybe even the back seat on a bus I'm not even on? Oh how philosophical of me. But seriously folks, this has been a full on six months and I think I need a nap.

New home is fun! It's tiny, but it's cute and most importantly its ours. We're getting on like a house on fire... sometimes the kind of fire that makes you want to leap from the window with your prized family heirlooms... but more often than not it's a happy, loving fire that makes me want to beam in a really smug way that probably makes other people want to punch me. I absolutely love having his company almost all of the time. I'd like to say all the time but that's a lie because living together now suddenly involves a lot of UFC watching.

That said, I still have pangs of missing home and I always miss my mum and dad. I don't think the cord is cut just yet.... maybe I just attached an extension cord to said umbilical cord. Yes I'm going to be 26 in a week, what's it to you?

I won the Christmas tree war. I campaigned for 12 solid months that I would have a Christmas tree in our tiny flat and tears were shed (I wish I was joking), I was ultimately victorious! So what did I do? Buy the tackiest Christmas tree I could find of course, thank you Target. It's red! I love her in all her gaudy glory. She stands 1.2 metres tall.. and I bought 24 metres of lights to string around her. I like to think she's wrapped up in love... and 24 metres of LEDs.
I caught up with one of my oldest and dearest friends who I hadn't seen for an age. We (well at least I) had so much fun - we spent a good 20 minutes debating the name of the quirky science teacher with the really long fingernails (Mr Williams FYI... might save you 20 minutes one day), gossiped in a (mostly) harmless way about who was doing what and/or who. And we somehow got onto the subject of nuclear physics, which was explained with help from a humble salt shaker.

Safe to say that conversation had my undivided attention.

We had LION CUBS come into work. Sorry but I think that the words LION CUBS deserve some serious capitalisation. They were beyond cute and I'm pretty sure everyone in the office made at least one attempt to steal them that day. The other month we had zombies in the office (not quite worth of capitalisation but close). Safe to say, things are always interesting at the new job.

And this last weekend we had a cardboard party. Seriously, this theme is amazing. It costs NOTHING except your time and maybe the muscle between your thumb and forefinger from cutting a lot of thick cardboard... um ouch. Nothing like last minute inspiration (aka google search) to get you moving. We repurposed our old TV box into everyone's favourite arcade game characters. I'm not one to gloat (okay maybe I am... but that's just because I know I'm good. SERIOUSLY KIDDING, I'm not, I suck.) but these costumes looked pretty good considering we started making them 20 minutes after the party was due to actually start. Hooray procrastination! I was the ghost because I have the nervous eye thing down pat and Owen likes to eat a lot ie. the perfect Pacman.
I kind of want to keep them on our walls in all their spilt wine and nacho-cheese-cornchip-smeared glory. A testament to a fun night out with great friends and silly costumes. We ended up with about 3 friendly police cars driving past and giggling at our costumes.
Anyway. That is a long, rambling and possibly annoying account of a few things I've been doing in the last couple of months :) Love love!