Monday, 24 November 2014

Yo Mama! An Interview with Claire Aristides

Imagine your day surrounded by diamonds, sapphires, gold, silver, (no myrrh), all manner of 
luxe beauty. Swoon. I can't imagine the ecstasy. Let's imagine really, really hard, because it sounds pretty fabulous.

Today's Yo Mama! interview is with Claire Aristides. She doesn't need to imagine all that 
sparkly fun because she is amidst it every day. A jewellery designer with a minimalist, luxury approach to jewellery. SO up my alley. 

She reinterprets classic designs for modern women, and I've spent waaaaay too much time
over on her website and Instagram feed drooling over just about everything. So between her time designing new collections, and being a busy mama, she was able to answer a few
about what it's like to be Claire Aristides. 

Let's do this!

PMM: Claire Aristides. Tell me about a normal day in your life. (Is there such a thing?)

CA: Yes, no. No normal day ever. Which has its pluses and minuses. I think most people's 
days are really mixed up as we all seem to be so busy! 

You create beautiful jewellery that's highly covetable. How did you get started? 

It's a cliche but my mum passed down the passion for jewellery to me. I have vivid memories of her trying on fabulous shiny jewels in the 70s when we lived in Singapore. I started down the corporate track for a bit but then took the leap of faith to start my own line. I first started in fashion jewellery then branched out into the real thing! Diamonds and precious gems!  And I've never looked back.

What did you dream of being when you were little? What were you going to be when you grew up?

I'm not sure. I just remember always enjoying making things, being creative expressing myself etc.  Isn't it so hard to know what you want to do? I feel so lucky that I found something I love. 

Where do you seek inspiration?

Travel definitely. For many reasons - the obvious being different sights, sounds, smells. The 
senses are completely stimulated. But also because you 'get away' from day to day and that's when your mind 'thinks - and creates. Going for a big long walk, run, or swim can bring out my creative juices as well. My main inspirations are always redefining classic fine jewellery in a modern context. I love stones too, so seeing a beautiful gem set simply yet stunningly always makes me happy. 

How do you juggle motherhood with your work? 

I have the best husband. I honestly could not do what I do without him.  He is an incredible help. I do get very stressed juggling it all, but it's my choice to do so much. So you've just got to be happy, be as relaxed as you can. I think what you don't realise with motherhood is how little 'alone' time you get - and I'm very much a person that recharges when I have some alone time. You also just have to prioritise whats important, you can't do it all.

What's one tip you'd love to share with another mother?

Everyone finds it tough on different levels at different stages over different things. So don't 
judge! Don't think someone else has it super easy - and you've got it tough all the time. 

Do you have certain pieces of jewellery that you wear every day?

Ha - this is going to be a blog post soon. Diamond Hoops. Some people say they live in jeans I live in Diamond Hoops.

What's your favourite part of your job?

Seeing other people happy. Again it's a cliche, but my job is making people happy - with 
something sparkly, precious, sentimental!

And do you have a worst bit?

Filling in forms. Admin. Paperwork bits and bobs... Can't stand it.

Juggling work-life is tricky. How do you take time out for yourself?

I have neglected myself. And this resulted in being sick this year. So I am trying really hard to look after myself more. I started with the basics - like eight hours of sleep, taking vitamins, not checking my phone every minute of the day! I'm hoping for a sisters getaway in January.

What's coming up next for Claire Aristides?

We just launched our search for the babyface of my Bambino Diamonds collection. So after 
Christmas madness it's shooting the winner with Tiny Tribe Magazine.

Shop the Claire Aristides collection here
Follow Claire on Instagram.
Or hop onto Facebook for more inspiration.

This is the 12th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

PlayStation:: Talking Gaming with Dr Jason Fox (AKA Gamers gonna game)

A couple of weeks ago the smalls and I were invited by PlayStation for a morning of games and a chat with Dr Jason Fox. Well the games sounded exciting, but who wants to spend a morning listening to a middle-age podgy doctor banging on about something?

Oh how wrong I was, dear reader. 

We spent three blissful hours hopping across a range of PlayStation games - including an epic SingStar battle between Tiny and I (where she tried to sabotage me by covering my mouth) - where I leapt ahead to claim the title of SingStar champion with over 2 million points. WAY TO GO MAMA! 

And the middle-age doctor bit? Oh man. SO wrong. SO WRONG! I really, really loved listening to the good doctor. He was smart. He was funny. He had sharp threads. And a really good beard. 

As with many parents I am constantly worried about how much screen time my kids are getting, so I leapt at the opportunity to ask Dr Fox some questions. 

What's an ideal amount of time for children to spend gaming? 

Ah, what’s the ideal amount of time for children to be engaged in immersive, mentally stimulating puzzles and creative challenges (aka games)? A heap! 

Of course, like all things, this needs to be balanced. On a school day, one needs to ensure that kids are getting the right mix of time for homework, outdoor activity and indoor play. I’d suggest that 60–90 minutes is good for a weeknight, and something best done before dinner.

The key is balance. Another important question to ask is: what’s the ideal amount of time for parents to invest playing games with their kids? Again, it’s a heap. This is probably one the biggest opportunities modern parents have today — playing with their kids. Much akin to building sandcastles together, or kicking the footy — playing games is a wonderful shared experience parents can tap into with their kids.

Steve Jobs was once interviewed and talked about how his children weren't allowed much screen time - because he knows how addictive it can be. What do you think about this?

I’d tend to agree with Steve — but it’s important to make the distinction between passive screen time (simply watching tv) and active screen time (playing games, engaged in challenges). While it’s important that we’re all allowed time to ‘switch off’, passive screen time doesn’t convey the same learning benefits as active screen time. 

Making progress is highly motivating. We love seeing how our effort contributes to something, and it’s partly why screen activities are ‘addictive’ — we can see that our effort is making a difference. Rather than simply limit screen and game time, we also need to explore how we can bring the benefits of game design into the real world.

I've noticed my son goes red, and becomes pretty intense (read: obsessed) sometimes when gaming. What's that all about?

He’s probably entering a state of flow — that perfect balance between challenge and skill, where he is achieving something very complex or difficult, beyond his comfort zone. Here things become ‘autotelic’ — he is at one with the task, in the same way that champion golfers or surgeons get when doing their thing. 

Coupled with this is the perception of ‘fiero’ — an Italian word meaning ‘pride’. According to Dr Jane McGonigal (multiple TED speaker, and author), this is an important outcome of games. After periods of intense flow in which we are triumphing over adversity or epic challenges, we can experience a fiero as a powerful neurochemical high.

In her book, Reality is Broken, McGonigal also writes that “games not only gratify intrinsic needs for happiness, but also ‘do it safely, cheaply, and reliably’”. 

Our family really loves spending a couple of hours on Sundays playing Little Big Planet together. Is this a good thing? 

Yes definitely! You’ve got a real shared experience in which you are creatively and collaboratively engaged in the resolution of meaningful, story-driven challenges. It’s hard to think of anything better. The fact that Little Big Planet 3 allows up to 4 players to play together means that the whole family can be involved in this shared experience. And, you can create new levels too, opening up opportunities for you and your kids to create challenges for each other too (imagine: special birthday challenges). This gets them into ‘user experience design’ — an important new skill and industry in the modern world.

And do you have any other similar games you could recommend for us to play as a family?

Well, the PS4 now supports 4 x player Minecraft, and there are games like Singstar which are immense fun for the entire family. For younger kids, there’s Disney infinity, which is another open game like Minecraft. 

Do you game with your kids?

* This post is not sponsored. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Best Beauty Buys:: Max Factor Colour X-Pert Waterproof Eyeliner

You and me. We both know I'm no beauty pro. But I love to dabble in new products, I'll always try something new. 

As part of the festival that was Frocktober, I became pretty good at applying the winged eye. This is no easy feat given I usually go all wonky. But practise makes perfect, and I became pretty good. From a Betty Draper wing tip, to a fuller Amy Winehouse flow, I got it down pat. 

Maybe you want to give it a try too?  Want to know my secret? 

This Max Factor Colour X-Pert Waterproof Eyeliner is the shiz. It's awesome. 

The tip creates a strong, defined line to create a dramatic line. If you're wanting to create a smooth, strong line - then this is the eyeliner. Plus it's waterproof so you won't have to worry about smudged lines, it stays in place all day - impeccable!

Disclosure:: This product was sent to me for review and editorial consideration. I considered it. Tried it. And loved it. I thought you might like it too! This is not a sponsored post. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Solange Marries Alan Ferguson

Drop everything. We need to discuss this. Solange (my style icon) married video director Alan Ferguson. BOOM!

Is this not the most perfect wedding album? 

OH MY!!! 

Arriving on vintage white bicycles, the bride looked HOT in a white pantsuit. And the bicycle basket? It was the wedding bouquet. Seriously. Details! 

Honestly. My heart is skipping a beat. This is tipping me OVER THE EDGE.

What? Yes. I am excited. DOES THE CAPS LOCK GIVE IT AWAY?

PS - how great is this family photo from Instagram?? Beyonce, Solange, Tina. That gene pool. Ermagherd. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Christmas Wishlist Blog Hop: For Her

I hate to freak you out. But I will anyway. There are only 42 days until Christmas. I hate to sound like an old timer. But I will anyway. Where did this year go?

Steph from Bondville asked me to create a wish list, and of course - I was in! Gift giving is one of my favourite things, I love coming up with the perfect gift for someone. It feels good to give. Plus each one of these are Australian designed or made. Winning! 

I've started list making. Lists are my best friends when it comes to this crazy time of the year. 

For her - whether she's your sister, your bestie, or your mum (or me, hey, I would be so happy to find any of these goodies under the tree!), these gifts are for someone who has an appreciation for colour, print, or sleeping. 

Clockwise from top left: 

Nancybird Linen Long Scarf - Blue Floral $75: I've got more than a bit of a crush on this print.

Wolley ''You're Tops" print $30: Tell your BFF she's tops. She probably thinks you are too. No you are. No you are. 

Lazybones Frankie PJ Set in Coral Bay $89: Sleep is pretty rad. And these pjs are even radder. 

Jasmine Dowling "Bonne Nuit" pillow slip from The Club of Odd Volumes $49: Please see above.

Laikonik Paint Dot design - set of 2 linen tea towels $49: I love beautiful tea towels. It turns a mundane task into a work of art. Almost. 

Obus Ziggle Spot Sock $12: I'm pretty addicted to these cool quirky socks. Get them while they're hot.

Want more? Oh man. I have SO MUCH MORE! 

Clockwise from top left: 

Elodie 'Colour' bangle no 210 $187: High on my wish list - COME ON SANTA BABY!

The Flower Drum Darling Dahlia tee $49: Best tee ever.

Jadewood X Natashya Manfield Opheya Flora earrings from Natashya Manfield (on sale) $75: The perfect statement earring.

Queen of Hearts Vase Stand by Lovestar from The Third Row $19.95: I love these teeny sized vases. Perfect for three single stems, or some wee little blooms. 

Martha Jean Shapes Ring $29: When I wear something fancy on my hands, I like to wave my hands around. This is totally what I would be doing if I had this ring.

Susan Simonini set of 4 ceramic bowls $140: We could eat red beans and rice in these every day and I still wouldn't complain.

But that's not all the Christmas inspiration to have. Some of my beautiful, awesome blogging compadres have compiled their Christmas gift guides too. 

Click over now and drool. And then kickstart your own Christmas gift lists. Go on! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Yo Mama! An Interview with Tracey Hocking of Lazybones

Phew! I had to have some time off post Frocktober because I was completely exhaustipated*. Really dog tired!  
Exhausted but elated. But I'm back.

And I can't imagine a better way to come back, than with a brand new Yo Mama! This week I'm chatting with Tracey Hocking, the head designer behind one of my long time loves - Lazybones

I first bought a beautiful cotton vintage-inspired nightie from Lazybones about 10 years ago, that I wore religiously. I'm not even really a nightie kind of girl, but there was something different about this one, and it was made from the softest cotton. I still have it folded neatly away for when Tiny is bigger. 

It was from this beloved nightie that my love for the Australian label grew. Whenever I've been around Byron, I've always ducked my head in to see what's new with Lazybones, so today's chat is pretty exciting for me!


PMM: You have a teenage son (tricky in itself!). How do you manage the whole parenting/working ratio?

TH: This is an ongoing source of angst for me.  However the teenage years are kind of great because now I am So Embarrassing apparently, I can feel a bit better if I am not always here.  But could not do it without my amazing wonderful husband who does so much for our son.

Do you have any tips for nailing it? Or even sort of nailing it?

Oh dear.  Not sure I can give any tips for nailing it but find that having something to look forward to makes all the difference for all of us.  Holidays to look forward to make those long school terms not seem as bad.

Oh and disconnecting the internet at bedtime…..

Part of the allure of Lazybones is the vintage vibe. Where do you seek inspiration? 

I sometimes wonder what I did before Pinterest…  And the whole internet in general.  An incredible wealth of ideas and images are available to us so readily.  I find the images, blogs and ideas  intoxicating and endlessly inspiring.  We use Pinterest a lot in our design team.  We build boards that expand on our initial concepts for each range. Each of us add to the board so that we get a real sense of where we want to go with a particular item.  

This is even extending to the creative people we work with in other countries now which is really exciting.  And specifically I love all eras from the 20s to the 60s and spend way too many hours looking at all manner of interesting things.

What is the best part of being the designer at Lazybones?

I am the head designer of a small team of wonderful, creative, generous, clever people.  That is the best bit.  Working with them.

And is there a downside?

No.  Oh, well only the fact that I cannot afford to make all the wonderful products we dream up….

Does your son have creative bones too?

Yes he does although he wanted me to say that he excels in creative excuses.

If you had to choose five words that described you - what would they be?

Focused, messy, creative, resilient, dreamer.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee definitely.

How do you take care of yourself?

I walk every morning with my dogs on a quest to spot our resident platypuses.  Lots of stretching and fast walking.

What's coming up next for Tracey?

OMG.  Setting up a shop in LA.  Who would have thought that would be a lot of work?  And be so complex?


You can take a look at Lazybones collection here
Follow Lazybones (and their LA adventures) on Instagram
Check out Lazybones on Facebook
Go behind the scenes with the blog.
Take a look at the Pinterest inspiration here
Tweet the Lazybones team here.  

This is the 11th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. 

* Exhaustipated was a word an ex-colleague of mine used to use - when she was super tired. I never had the heart to tell her it wasn't a real word.