I confess. I find it hard to get completely nude.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you walk into the ground floors of major department stores, don’t you think?

Dazzling lights. Floor to ceiling images of photoshopped glamazons with ethereal skin staring with judgement at your dull epidermis. Their faces represent the health I crave.

I want that frigging glow dammit.

So you find yourself pulled into the beauty vortex, the assistant with her hands inappropriately all over your face.  Your phobia of abused personal space is pushed to its limits. She’s talking AT you as if you are some sort of recluse given your lack of knowledge on the importance of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

And you leave, feeling slightly inadequate and definitely overwhelmed, but somewhat hopeful armed with a stash of samples containing that scientific-blah-blah-skin amazaballs-technology that the assistant seemed so convinced would leave you with the skin of Cate Blanchette. (Can I get that promise in writing please?)

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Improving Australian children’s health – 1 step at a time!

If you’ve been a follower of sorella & me for a while, you will already know we value the work of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute works towards “finding preventions and treatments for hundreds of common and rare childhood illnesses, so that kids everywhere can have a healthy future”.

Such critical work requires community support and donations. So we want to make sure you know all about their latest fundraiser: Step-a-thon!

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Stepathon Continue reading

I will use my Lady-Card. And you should too ~ The Great Australian Gender Card Debacle

I’m confused. Since when has our (now unfortunately former) Prime Minister Julia Gillard played a type of game where a deck of cards are involved?

Did our PM unfairly present some sort of ‘Pass Go and collect $200’ card when in 2012 she was faced with cartoons of her naked and wearing a dildo that were emailed to all federal parliamentarians? Did she unfairly play her lady-card in this now infamous speech or was she simply saying, “That’s not acceptable”, and at the same time sending a very crucial and over-due message to the women of Australia who needed to hear it.

It seems that as soon as any high profile woman raises questions about comments, judgments or decisions made blatantly to vilify or humiliate either themselves or women more broadly, there is a group of angry people ready to go on the attack with:

“Awwww no-fair! (Stomps ground). You are playing that woman-card-thingy again!” (Crosses arms, drops to the floor, and lies there sobbing while impersonating a sack of potatoes… much like my 3 year old nephew last week when I wouldn’t buy him an ice-cream).

Gender card! Gender card! I spot a Gender Card!

I reckon any kid on a Year 5 debating team could argue a point better than these guys.  And I guess there lies the problem – the old GC Defense is the only defense they have.

That’s what it makes it so pathetic.

If standing up for myself somehow means I am playing some sort of card – then please, pass me a lifetime supply of those cards. I am more than happy to use one any time I am made to feel like I am less of a person because I have a vagina. 

(ooooh, she said vagina!) Continue reading

Think. Eat. Save.

It’s World Environment Day!

world environment day

A stunning butterfly I found hanging out by my vegie patch

Celebrated every year on June 5th, World Environment Day is a campaign run under the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) aiming to raise awareness and bring about positive environmental action.

This year, the campaign’s theme is Think. Eat. Save - which encourages us to be more aware of our food choices, and the carbon footprint we are creating through such choices and waste.

The UNEP provides a couple of great ideas to easily get started:

“Purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.”   

We all know that we love organics at sorella & me! (Organic sleepwear anyone? Yes please!)

Our environment is clearly something we are all responsible for.  And every little bit helps.  On World Environment Day last year, we posted 10 really easy things you can start doing today to help the environment – check them out here.

So now to add to that list with this years theme, we are going to be more mindful about the food choices we make and what we waste more broadly – Think before you eat and help save our environment!”.

I already try to buy organic food when possible, but I am going to try and understand more about seasonal fruits and vegetables too.  There is no point in buying a product that has been flown in from the other side of the world – even if it is organic. It’s easy to pop that item in your basket without thinking about it – but from now, let’s stop, think, and make an alternative selection if need be.

And my other goal is to finally start the compost I have been talking about doing for the past 2 years. Living in rental properties has stopped me from setting one up but it’s so important and can make such a difference. So these are my new goals.

For more ideas on greening your lifestyle, check out this great A-Z list from the UNEP.

And don’t forget to check out our friends at Sustainable Table, who have a heap of resources (and a couple of great cookbooks!) on how our food choices can impact our environment.

Do you have any green-tips you’d like to share with the sorella-hood? Perhaps you only shop locally?  Maybe you only buy seasonal fruit and vege? Whatever it is, we’d love to add it to our list!

 ~ anna

My top 5 (okay, 6) brands to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight!

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! This a great opportunity for us to understand how making more informed choices on the products we buy can have a huge impact on the lives of those less fortunate.

The FairTrade logo

The Fairtrade logo

Fairtrade is described by the Fairtrade Association of Australia & NZ (an arm of Fairtrade International) as:

Better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

Fairtrade International have developed a strict global certification process to allow consumers greater confidence when buying everyday products that come from areas in the world where working conditions, rights, and pay can be unethical.

I have worked in India with Oxfam, and Vietnam with CARE Vietnam and I have seen first-hand how the cycle of poverty can grip communities when they are treated unfairly.  Why should we have the benefit of paying just $10 for a piece of clothing if it means a family can’t afford to eat? That doesn’t seem very fair does it?  To understand more about the principle of Fairtrade, check out this previous post.

For today, I’m going to share 5 super duper brands that are working hard to ensure their products are sustainable and ethical. This might mean that they are made using Fairtrade materials, made with sustainable textiles that have been sourced ethically and locally, or they have been able to go that one step further and have had the actual product produced certified under Fairtrade International if it has been made in a developing country (This will be evident by a little Fairtrade logo on the product packaging – and deserves a high 5 for sure!).

  1. Eternal Creation – certified by Fairtrade International. They have some super cute pieces for little ones!
    Eternal Creation Daisy Chain Pleated Dress

    Eternal Creation’s Daisy Chain Pleated Dress

    2. Green & Blacks Chocolate – certified by Fairtrade International (and is also organic!). It’s now deliciously available pretty much everywhere – so no excuses to reach for that other nasty stuff now!

Green & Black's organic & fairtrade chocolate

3. Nerada Tea Organics Range – certified by Fairtrade International. My 2 favourites are the Green and Chamomile.  You can find this brand in most major and some independent supermarkets.

Nerada Organics Chamomile Tea

Nerada Organics Chamomile Tea

4. Pure Pod – Made in Australia using sustainable materials.  Considered a pioneer in ethical fashion in Australia.

Pure Pod

Pure Pod

5. Sinerji – a sustainable & ethical collection using natural dyes and organic cotton.

Sinerji

Sinerji

And I had better sneak one more in – we can’t forget the love of my life, sorella & me.  Our collection is made using certified Fairtrade cotton (and is also certified organic).  We use an Australian sewer but have been providing skills transfer and capacity building to a small family-run Fiji manufacturer for the past 18 months. We are so excited they are now ready to join the sorella & me team! By providing them an ongoing opportunity for work will ensure sustainable income and at the same time improve skills and employability – both of which are major concerns for most Fijians with its current poor economic conditions and regular natural disasters that destroy many businesses.

sorella & me sleepshirt

sorella & me sleepshirt

Happy Fairtrade fortnight!

Do you have a favourite ethical label? Please share it with the sorella-hood below!

~ anna x

“I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit”

Earlier this week we saw the US president inaugurated and get started on tackling another term.

And what we heard him say, among many things (war, security, blah blah blah), was the need to focus on a couple of key issues that (it would be fair to say) a large majority of people – US citizen or other – to this day have ignored.

Gay equality. Climate change. Equal pay for women.

Obama speaks during the swearing-in ceremoniesImage by Reuters

Obama speaks during the swearing-in ceremonies
Image by Reuters

The point that seemed to immediately cause ringing in my ears was was when Obama stated:

“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

But my immediate reaction was not of joy. I did not experience relief that The US President is asking the world to be fair, to give me a break, as a woman, with an equal right to any male for equal pay, opportunity and conditions.

My reaction was mostly disappointment.  Disappointment that it had to be said at all.

"I can't believe I'm still protestng this shit" image via twitter @alsboy

“I cannot believe I still  have to protest this shit” …… Me either. (image via twitter @alsboy)

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No one likes a dud Christmas present.

4 years ago my friend woke up on Christmas morning to a glistening diamond and a proposal for marriage.  By wake up to – I literally mean poked and prodded at the crack of dawn to a handy-cam in her face and before she had time to wipe the sleep from her eyes, her besotted boyfriend was on one knee asking for her hand. (Asking if she wanted time to wake up first prior to asking her to be his wife probably would have been helpful, but he was excited, and bless him he just couldn’t wait).

She said yes, of course. What a happy Christmas…. But this poor guy is going to find it hard to top that gift for sure!

There are just 12 sleeps left until you and your loved ones wake up to a gift that will either provide swoon worthy attention at Christmas lunch from your jealous siblings, or cause you to hold back tears until the point (quite likely after too much festive cheer) you finally burst with disappointment about the Dustbuster he bought you. He thought it would make things easier for you. You think it stinks.

With that in mind, don’t be a bad-gift-giver this year. Don’t risk getting it wrong, because no one likes a dud Christmas present. That old saying It’s the thought that counts” is bullshit.

We have you covered with a number of gift guides from people who are in the know when it comes to gifts. No tricks here – we can happily endorse these people and their lists (because they have proven to consistently have their crap together throughout 2012, and have quite frankly, got me out of binds on various topics before).

Pour yourself and cheeky G&T and leisurely scroll these lists knowing you have a good chance of winning the best gift-giver competition this year.

For your mum, sister, bestie, and nana

First up, do a good deed by supporting Australian designers whilst also spoiling your love one.

Lady Melbourne’s annual gift guide is out and fabulous! Featuring local labels, Lady Melbourne is a pro when it comes to finding unique pieces. And yes, of course she has included sorella & me in her guide, and has featured our organic lounge wrap. But because you are a regular sorella and since it’s our official best seller, you already knew it was a great gift idea didn’t you?

sorella & me organic sleepwear bag (image by Lady Melbourne)

sorella & me organic sleepwear bag with our cosy lounge wrap inside!  (image by Lady Melbourne)

Get more bang for your buck and check out her fab list from last year while you’re there which again, is chock-full or lovely ideas. Continue reading

I quite fancy the idea of being Nigella Lawson’s sister!

Nigella Lawsons new Book Nigellissima

Nigella Lawson’s new Book Nigellissima

It was my birthday yesterday, and my fiancé had no chance of winning the gift giving competition when my friend handed me a copy of Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook signed by the Queen of Cookery herself.

I LOVE being Nigella's 'sorella' (sister)

I quite fancy the idea of being Nigella’s ‘sorella’ (sister).

The message was as sweet as I expect her Nutella chocolate cheesecake will be (page 175).

There has been alot of discussion about the inevitable demise of physical books from our lives. Page-turning is a dying pastime and instead, more and more of us are finding ourselves giving up and joining the masses in tablet reading.  Even my future mother-in-law has recently acquired an iPad – and this paper-page turning aficionado has confessed that she loves it. It will only be a matter of time before we see a Kindle in her hands. Continue reading

It’s a very pink day today. And it’s fabulous!

Today is ‘Pink Day’ at my “other job” when not working on sorella & me…as secondary school teacher!

Seeing 14-year-old boys with balloons for breasts and wearing pink bras, I’ll admit, makes me feel a little uneasy (!)… But their dress-ups and spirit is heart-warming and for a great cause – we are fundraising for Breast Cancer research as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And today, I remember my beautiful Aunty who lost her young life to Breast Cancer.

sweet pink ribbon biscuits!

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The sorella-hood’s top 10 essential items to pack in your hospital bag – for MUMS!

It’s fair to say an expectant Mary Poppins would be well prepared for her pending hospital visit, but what about the rest of us that aren’t lucky enough to have bottomless luggage?

There are many ‘What to pack for your hospital bag’ lists out there, so the difference with the sorella & me list? Well, it is compiled by our sorella-hood readers – AND their suggestions focus on Mum’s needs only! (A big thank you to all those who contributed!)

So here we go – the Top 10 essential items to pack in your hospital bag – for MUMS!

1. Comfy Sleepwear (that doubles as day-wear!) 

You have to be comfortable, but you don’t want to be in clothes that will have you diving under the covers when visitors turn up! And you’ll need lots of changes, especially items you can discretely breastfeed in that won’t make getting your breast out difficult (!!) or make you feel self-conscious about your belly. It’s no surprise our sorella mums very kindly recommend sorella & me organic sleep and loungewear. Tried and tested, they think the collection is a perfect combination of style, function and comfort.

sorella & me organic nursing nightie – http://www.sorellaandme.com.au

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