Five… favourite albums

My taste in music is pretty eclectic, and I tend to prefer individual tracks by various artists, rather than whole albums. But there are a few albums that I love to listen to in their entirety, start to finish. Here are five of my favourites!

1. Eyes Open by Snow Patrol

all the little happy things - five favourite albums - Eyes Open by Snow Patrol
What I love about this album is it’s full of what I like to call ‘soundtrack music’. You can image each track playing over a scene in a TV drama or a movie. When I listen to this album, everything feels just that little bit more cinematic.
Stand-out track: Set The Fire To The Third Bar, featuring Martha Wainwright

2. Timekeeper by Lucy Schwartz

all the little happy things - five favourite albums - Timekeeper by Lucy Schwartz
My favourite thing about this album is how each song tells a story. Lucy Schwartz is a talented lyricist and musician, and each track in this album is thoughtful and full of vivid imagery. I also love how varied the music styles are – each song has its own atmosphere and setting.
Stand-out track: Boomerang (Fun fact: this song was featured at the end of season 4 of Arrested Development. Lucy’s dad did the music for the show!)

3. Everything In Transit by Jack’s Mannequin

all the little happy things - five favourite albums - Everything In Transit by Jack's Mannequin
This is another album that I love for its lyrics! The first time I ever listened to it, I felt really emotionally connected to the songs, and it’s a feeling that has stuck with me ever since.
Stand-out track: Dark Blue, one of my favourite songs of all time.

4. Bomb in a Birdcage by A Fine Frenzy

all the little happy things - five favourite albums - Bomb in a Birdcage by A Fine Frenzy
I read recently that Alison Sudol will no longer make music under the name ‘A Fine Frenzy, which is a pity, but at least I’ll always have this gorgeous album. With Alison’s sweet, pure vocals, well-blended instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics, this album has long been in my list of favourites.
Stand-out track: Happier – one of the most beautifully bittersweet songs I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to. (Fun fact: the music video features indie singer Landon Pigg!)

5. On Your Shore by Charlotte Martin

all the little happy things - five favourite albums - On Your Shore by Charlotte Martin
Charlotte Martin is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter and pianist, and I’ve loved this album since the first time I heard it in 2007. It’s the kind of music that will both soothe and uplift you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Absolutely gorgeous.
Stand-out track: Really difficult to choose, but I’ll go with Every Time It Rains.

That time I made a Princess Jasmine costume

Aladdin has been my favourite Disney movie since I was a little girl, and Jasmine has always been my favourite princess. She’s smart, independent, sassy, and has a tiger for a pet – what’s not to like?

So when my workgroup decided to go as ‘Disneyland’ for our firm’s Wanderlust-themed Christmas party at the end of last year, I naturally jumped at the chance to fulfill my childhood dream of being Princess Jasmine!

Unfortunately, all the ready-made costumes available were a lot more risque than what I was willing to wear to a work function, so I decided to make my own costume!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

I based my outfit on the recent redesign of Jasmine’s costume, since I figured it would look better with my colleagues’ ballgown-style Princess cotumes.

Here’s how I put it all together.

The basic outfit: top, pants, shoes and wig
The wig was a lucky find on eBay – it came pre-styled, which made things a lot easier! I did have to make the centre part in the bangs, which took a lot of brushing and a bit of hairspray, but it was otherwise ready to go.

I didn’t have the time or inclination to make Jasmine’s curled-toe shoes, so I just bought a cheap pair of gold glitter flats from K-Mart for $9.

My lovely friend Katy helped me make the top and pants – we spent a good day working on this together!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

We bought a lot of turquoise satin, some pretty foil-printed organza, turquoise thread, elastic, a zipper, some big blue rhinestones and a metre or so of wide, stiff gold pleather trim.

To make the top, I got a plain white strapless crop top from ASOS, dyed it turquoise, then bunched and sewed the organza to make the sleeves. I covered the stitching in the centre with one of the rhinestones, backed by the gold pleather to make it look like it was set in metal.

For the pants, Katy made a quick pattern for the harem pants, with a V-shaped waistband. We stitched the organza into the waistband for the overskirt, and added in a zip to the centre back to make it easy to put on. I added another of the rhinestones to the centre of the waistband to finish it all off.

It took a long time (and a lot of trial and error!) but by the end of the day, we had made a Jasmine costume!

Accessories: necklace, headband, ponytail holder covers
To make the headband, I started out with a cheap fabric headband from a discount store. I covered some of the gold pleather with leftover satin, and glued it down onto the headband. Then I glued on more gold pleather and the last big blue rhinestone – easy!

The ponytail covers were made with more satin-covered pleather and some stick-on velcro dots.

The necklace was a bit of a score – I found it on sale in Myer, and when I went to the register, it ended up costing only about $3! I love unexpected discounts!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

The cost of all the individual elements of this costume added up to over $100, which made it the most expensive (and time-consuming!) costume I’ve put together so far. But I think it was definitely worth it! I felt like an actual princess, and I got a lot of very flattering comments about my costume from my colleagues during the party. I’m definitely hoping that I will have an opportunity to wear it again sometime – I absolutely loved being Jasmine!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - guest book

all photos by Lily&Thom

As part of our wedding photography package, our friends and photographers Lily & Thom did a fun engagement portrait shoot with us. I had planned to put the photos in a book as a nice keepsake… and then I thought, why not make the photo book into our wedding guest book? So that’s what we did!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - guest book
I put the book together via Create by kikki.K, making sure to put in lots of blank spaces for our friends and family to write their messages. I loved the various templates and design options in kikki.K photobooks so much that I used them for our actual wedding photobook as well.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - guest book
We left the book at a table at both the ceremony and the reception with some pens. It was so much fun to sit down with Dannii after the wedding, flipping through the pages and reading the very sweet messages from our loved ones!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - guest book