Friday 26 February 2010


I have a lot to say and I really want to say it. Stomach bugs, busy schedules have been keeping me quiet in the blogosphere. Then just as I think I have a lovely weekend to write, but laptop has given up the ghost. I have no idea what happened to it, but I know what will happen when I take it into the shop.
"Leave it here, we'll look at it in a few days."

Don't they realise I can't live without it?

So apologies for the silence, apparently it's golden but I'm not so sure about that.

Thursday 25 February 2010

My world reflected through the eyes of a three-year-old

Earlier this week, the girls and I took a walk to pick up our car after it was serviced. Lil-lil no longer has a midday kip, but can often fall asleep in the pram/car. To keep her awake I gave her my iPhone and she snapped these photos of our journey.

I was quite impressed and it gave me another perspective of our little walk. It was a strange kind of wonderful to see how the world is reflected through the eyes of my little girl.

This is my entry for the Blog this challenge 33

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Soup for the soul

Feeling a little weary today I had a scrummy, fragrant dumpling soup for lunch. I don't know what it is about a good Vietnamese soup that fills my tummy while feeding my soul - it physically and emotionally makes me feel better.

What is you 'soul' food? Is there something that can sate you hunger and make your heart sing?


Saturday 20 February 2010

My weekend plans in pictures

I have quite a social, indulgent weekend ahead of me, I hope you have a fun one too.

See you on the other side.

Friday 19 February 2010

Acca Dacca shook me all night long

I awoke this morning with my ears ringing. Rock induced deafness - the best kind of hearing loss. The cause? The retirement-aged school boy of rock, Angus Young's screeching guitar solo.  Yes, the Skip and I trundled off last night to see the Aussie gods of rock AC/DC. [Sharni, this is where you should close your ears]

I don't know what I expected of the night, but I came away feeling like I had had a true rock experience. Cheesy? Why, yes! Over the top? Of course! Cliched and politically incorrect? No doubt! Did I enjoy it? Every minute!

From the moment the glowing red horns set 50 foot above the stage came alight and the cartoon image of a bedeviled Angus Young stoking a steam engine brought the lads rocketing on to the stage, I knew this was going to be something. Now I'm not usually your stadium rock kinda girl, but AC/DC would have even a the most uptight priss rocking out. It was the kind of gig that had grandpas and their grandsons head banging together, Chardonay sipping ladies next to Jack Daniels guzzling lads.

There was the obligatory pyrotechnics, inflatables and a 17 minute guitar solo with a confetti storm. All in all it was a great big barrel of fun. As the 54-year-old Angus was lifted on his on hydraulic stage at the crescendo of the solo, 70,000 people screaming his name, I couldn't help but wonder if the boy from Burwood was thinking 'Geez, how the hell did I get here?'
It's a long way from wagging classes at Ashfield Boys High.

Rock on!

Thursday 18 February 2010

It's only rock'n'roll but I like it...

Shock, horror. Liam Gallagher attended the BRIT Awards this week and did something outrageous and said something stupid. Gee, what a surprise - but you've got to love him, he makes rock'n'roll, well, rock'n'roll. I think that's the only reason Oasis keep getting invited back to the BRITs is to spice up the night just a little. With Robbie Williams sober and sanitised, The Spice Girls now Spice Women and Amy Wino saying 'yes, yes, yes' to rehab, the award show needs some livening up.

For the past 16 years, the Gallagher brothers have made the rock scene interesting. I remember my 19th birthday clearly, some German friends of a friend gave me a disc called Definitely, Maybe and told me it was the best thing I'll ever hear, and they weren't far wrong. It started my love affair with Britpop - Blur, Pulp, The Stone Roses and, of course, Oasis started to push the alternative grunge rock off my CD player. Most Saturday nights were spent dancing at the Britpop night at Retro in Sydney's CBD. Music felt fresh and alive again.

Part of the fun was that the Gallaghers were always going to say or do something outrageous. Whether it was their war with Blur (who I have to admit I favoured a little more than their northern counterparts), a threatened boxing clash with Robbie Williams or just generally being loutish, loud and obnoxious. They take their sibling bickering to the world stage - who else but a brother could say I'm quitting the band but I'm going to continue making music with everyone else in the band except my brother. Plus, who else would we love to hate?

Sure they're tools, but I like my rock stars to be rock stars. Drunken stumbling, throwing TVs out of hotel windows and generally living life to excess. Nothing can bore me faster than a 'rock star' telling an interviewer about their passion for vegetarianism or how they're going to save the world. I don't want you to save the world, I want my inner hedonist to live vicariously through you.

My dad tells a story about how one morning after partying all night during Trinidad's carnival in the late '70s, he offered a sip of vodka to a man sitting in the gutter. The bedraggled man looked at my and dad and uttered: "You saved my life, man." It was Mick Jagger. Now, I don't know how true that story is, but it's a great one for dinner parties because you believe it might just be true.

Tonight I'm hoping to be thunderstruck as I see AC/DC perform live, I've heard it's an amazing concert. Though I'm sure Bon Scott will be rolling in his grave as his former bandmates are more likely to be sipping chamomile tea backstage than guzzling bourbon. I guess, though, it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Grateful for half a glass?

Ok, I'm feeling a little deep today. A little bit mystic. A bit 'what is it all about?'. So, please indulge me for a moment.

This morning I was feeling a little down. A little tired. A little under-appreciated. Not the filled-to-the-brim glass of positivity that I'm trying to be.

Anyway, wallowing in my 'woe is me' moment, I was listening to Conversations with Richard Fidler on the ABC, one of my most favourite radio programs [it's on ABC local radio for those in Oz who want to check it out. Also available on free podcast for those outside Oz]. Each weekday Richard talks to an interesting and intriguing person about their life, today he spoke to someone from Group 61, a not-for-profit group that helps mentally ill people. Richard made the comment: "Life is unfair, but being grateful for what you do have can help stop the negative thoughts about what's going wrong. Being grateful is such a powerful tool."

Something went off in my brain. It's so true. Even though I knew this, it's really good to be reminded of it. Life is unfair. For everyone. There is no level playing field. At some stage in life everyone will suffer hardships, big or small, but by being grateful you can change your whole focus.

Sometimes it feels good to throw yourself into woe. I some times want to have a good wallow about all the bad things that may be happening. The truth is though after this wallowing I don't feel any better, the situation hasn't changed and in all honesty other people generally aren't interested, as harsh as that sounds. Negativity feeds off negativity and things will get worse. Focus on what you do have - and let's face it, for most of us the good things in our life generally greatly outweigh the bad - and the positivity will feed and grow, squashing the bad. Be positive and people will flock to you as well. Being positive is contagious and attractive.

So on the rest of the drive I thought about all the things I'm grateful for. The really simple things that we often take for granted. My healthy gorgeous girls. My full belly. Being able to live without fear. Having a comfortable home. My health. Having people around me who love me.

Then I got a little more specific - a weekend ahead to spend precious time with my husband; a fun night out on Thursday night; a beach holiday coming up; being able to go and have a delicious meal in a good restaurant.

Now, what was I worrying about again?

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Winter wonderland

Now, I'm not much of a winter lover. I don't really like being cold. I can handle around 15 degrees celcius [60 F for my US friends] for about a month and then that's it. Ideally my favourite weather would be about 28 [82 F] during the day and then 13 [55F] at night for snuggling under a doona.  Thankfully I live in a country where I don't have to worry about being cold too often.

Then there are these people who go to the snow for their holidays. Snow + holidays = crazy. Why be cold and wet while you're on holidays?? Beach and sun are for holidays. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice skating and any other snow sport are equally insane. This is probably because the few times I have tried these sports I have failed miserably. The last time I tried snow boarding my instructor informed me that I was the worst person on the mountain, unfortunately he was right. After that I hung up my [rented] skis for good.

It is strange to me then, that every time the Winter Olympics comes on I'm hypnotised. I don't know what they are doing, how they do it or even why they do it, but I find it fascinating. It's like a foreign language - lugeing,  bobsled, aerials, moguls - exotic, strange and yet romantic.

Monday 15 February 2010

Things are brewing

I've talked a lot over the past couple of months about finding a dream to chase, unearthing a challenge, finding something that gets my blood pumping. Thanks to this blog and the incredible support of people I have met here I think I'm the edge of a new adventure.

Being in the mummy fog can often blind you. It can make you forget about yourself.

It's time to dive in head first and take a chance. It may not be the right choice or the right moment, but what the hey I'm going to give it a go.

Hopefully, one day soon I can stop being so cryptic and either tell you a great tale about my success or failure. Let's just say, last week I had one of those moments when all the cogs in your brain click together perfectly, a 'eureka' moment,  a lightbulb moment, a message from the gods, whatever it was I got excited about doing something other than mothering for the first time in a long time. Don't you just love it?

Bye bye Pauline!

Gee Pauline Hanson has decided to leave our shores. Apparently the lucky country just isn't that lucky any more. This morning I beg to differ.

Oh well, we'll always have 'Please explain'.

So long, farewell, auf widersehen, good night.

Sunday 14 February 2010

The eye of the Tiger

Happy New Year! Chúc mừng năm mới

Welcome to the year of the Tiger! We were hoping to go to some of the Chinese New Year celebrations in town over the weekend, but my illness and the torrential rain in Sydney have put a (literal) dampener on our plans.

Which is a shame, as I had images of the girls chomping into tasty morsels while being wide-eyed in delight at the dragon dances and glowing lanterns. Oh well, next year. We'll probably celebrate with a Chinese takeaway feast in front of the telly tonight, which is not quite the same though still tasty!

I'm sure my gorgeous family in Vietnam are having a wonderful time celebrating Tet. One day we'll get over there and join them for a celebration. What a blast that will be!

Have you done anything to celebrate Chinese New Year?

Thursday 11 February 2010

Mummy malaise

I'm awake but haven't yet opened my eyes. I know it's going to hurt to do so. My throat is scratchy. I can feel that awful sicky feeling in my stomach. My head is thumping.
I think I'll just roll over and call up work and tell them I can't make it into day. I reach over when... "Mum! Muuuuuuuuuummmmmm!'
Damn, that's right. Kids. No possible way I can bury myself in bed and watch trashy TV while sipping Ribena in between naps.
I lift my concrete-laden legs out of bed, my head heavy with the knowledge that it will be at least 14 hours before I can lay my body down again.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

This Wednesday's child's not full of woe...

This week I'm happy because...

of iTunes. It makes me feel like I'm living in The Jetsons. I just think of a song, any song, and it can be on my computer in a matter of seconds. No more trips to the CD shop. I know I'm late on catching on to this, but it amazes me every time I do it.

Listening to my girls play hide and seek - the hit of the week. It usually goes like this: "I'll hide here and you go close your eyes and count."

Repeats of Law & Order and Love My Way.

What's keeping your Wednesday woe-free?

Tuesday 9 February 2010


Being a stay-at-home mum to two can be a challenge. Filling up your days all while educating and entertaining your kids is not always easy as it sounds. Neither of my two are in any kind of child care, so I often feel that I have to make sure we tick all the boxes - socialisation, music, art & craft, reading, playing. Just so they aren't missing out on what the other kids are doing - yep more mum guilt there!

Most days we go to the park, often twice a day and not unusually three times a day. I have to say going to the park is not my favourite thing. Sometimes it's fun, we concoct some kind of adventure and roll around laughing. Other days it's deadly boring (for me) pushing the swing and catching kids off the slide, it can be so monotonous that I think my brain may melt out my ears. At other times we catch up with friends so that the three of us get to interact with other people. I truly never imagined I would spend so much time in the park.

The older the kids get, the harder it is to entertain them. As day sleeps disappear, there's a lot more time to fill and a demand for more complicated games. Jangling my keys or playing peek-a-boo just doesn't cut it, no matter how hard I try. As much as I do love it, it's sometimes more exhausting than having small babes. My eldest gets bored and gets into mischief while I try and complete my chores and errands. Here is a picture from yesterday's effort:

Yes, that's toothpaste. Yes, that's her little sister. She says she was trying to turn her into a monster. Gee, thanks. All my own fault though, they were being particularly quiet and I used those quiet two minutes to finish washing up. I knew something bad was brewing, but a few minutes to complete something in peace is a rare thing. At this moment, Goosey is sleeping and Lil-Lil is covering me in stickers and paddlepop sticks from her craft box - anything to write in relative peace.

To keep the three of us sane, we've organised our days with Kindermusik, swimming lessons, playdates, playgroup/kindy sessions. To add to the mix they'll also be visiting a local nursing home every now and then. I'm also trying to organise excusions - today we went to the Maritime Museum, fabulous and free! We've also been to the Botanical Gardens recently. But, my God, trying to find fun things to do for free in Sydney is bloody hard. The zoo, aquarium, Luna Park and the like are more costly than child care! How do families go out and spend a day at these places, eat, pay for parking/transport and still have anything left in their wallets? It's highway robbery!

Does anyone out there have some fun [and free] suggestions? Something that doesn't involve toothpaste or parks... we've got those covered.

Monday 8 February 2010

Monday housekeeping

Mondays tend to be my day to recalibrate everything. Sort out the house, get the brain fired up and ease into the week. We do swimming lessons on Monday which is a nice activity for  early in the week. Lil-lil gets to splash and I don't have to do too much!

This morning I'm moving a little slower than normal. We had a friend's engagement party on the weekend and it was an absolute blast - except for the part where I drank too much and felt completely rotten on Sunday. It was a great night of catching up with friends, dancing and drinking cider.... and sambucca. I haven't drunk cider since 1997 when I was in the UK, I stopped as it used to make me quite drunk and then very ill the next day. I haven't drunk sambucca since 1996 when I was in Canada as it used to make me quite drunk and then very ill the next day. So you can see I was really thinking when I decided to team them up together!

These days I'm a couple of glasses of wine girl or the odd gin & tonic. I can't handle much more than that. It doesn't seem to go well with my age or my role as mum to two littlies. Oh well, that will learn me!

It's now one month since I wrote my 10 things to do in 2010, so I thought it might be nice to see how I'm trucking along. Plus a nice slooooow, easy thing to do on a Monday:

1) Eat healthy and drink less (or not at all). This was going well until the weekend, feeling yuck yesterday meant I just had to have a Dominos Hawaiian...
2) I want exercise to be a regular part of my day (yawn... I know, I know all very boring stuff but necessary). Still been very slack with this. I need to get on to it. Any tips??
3) I want to pamper myself more - take more time out for just me; buy myself clothes; do my nails; spoil myself with a pretty bauble now and again; get my hair done regularly. I think I've done OK with this. I have been taking more time for myself (which I still feel guilty for!) and I have bought some new clothes.
4) Take some singing/music classes. I have been wanting to do this for so long, but now I want to find a way to make it happen. Haven't got there yet, but the wheels are in motion. I also want to do a writing course too.
5) Have a beach holiday with my family. Booked and paid for! Can't wait, only a few weeks to go!
6) Start a long-term saving/investment plan. Have been doing some research so it's underway.
7) Finish my backyard (it's been a project in progress for two years!) and make it a lovely place to be. This is getting underway too.
8) Plan an overseas holiday for 2011 - either New York or France (or both!). Nothing has happened with this just yey.
9) Cook a sensational three-course French meal for Skip (doesn't really go with number 1, I know). Nothing happened here either...
10) Find a wonderful dream to chase and start chasing it. I think I may be on the right path here too. Don't want to reveal too much too soon.

How are you going with your resolutions?


Storm clouds

Sunny days
Where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong.
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shining
I can't avoid the lightning.
Why does is always rain on me -Travis

Friday 5 February 2010

City limits

Some times on days like today, when I can't turn around without tripping over something and wished our family of four had more than two bedrooms, I like to try and remind myself why I like where we live. This isn't to trash where other people live, it's just to make me feel a bit better about the fact that I don't have a play room, a study or even a 'spare' room - something I dream about - or that I don't have a big yard or a place to park our car.

We live in a small semi-detached house about 5km from the centre of Sydney's CBD. So without banging on about what we don't have, here's a taste of what we do have.

* Fabulous coffee just steps away from my front door

* Fabulous food just steps away from my front door

* It feels like I can get anywhere in Sydney in just 15 minutes

* I can get to the airport in just 15 minutes, in fact it often feels like the planes may actually land in our garden

* If I have a craving for wild boar terrine with a French Pinot Noir, I can have it on my table in about 20 minutes - take that Dominos!

* I love that this morning while doing the grocery shopping my girls blew kisses to the Muslim checkout chick wearing a hijab, the group of Italian men gossiping in the shopping centre, our lesbian nextdoor neighbours, the Chinese boy wheeling past in a stroller. Our area is so diverse that no-one's different, we're all unique. There's someone of every nationality, ethnicity, age group, sexual orientation and we've even got a couple of Wiggles in our community.

* I love that it's an intelligent, creative and open-minded area - lots of artists, musicians, actors, academics.

* I love that even though I'm in the inner-part of a big city I can walk down my main street and know the shop keepers and lots of local residents. After living in areas of Sydney where you never waved hello to anyone, I constantly do it here.

* When the kids and I get completely stir crazy we can walk out of front door and be amongst the action in a minute. It definitely helped ease the isolation of new motherhood.

As I've said in earlier posts, I could live pretty much anyway and make a go of it, but sometimes it's nice to remember why you are where you are.

Have a great weekend folks.

Image: © Vanessa Fitzgerald

Wednesday 3 February 2010

This Wednesday's child's not full of woe...

I'm feeling quite perky this Wednesday. Maybe it's cause I only had to get up once in the night to tend to a kid. Maybe it's cause the two munchkins had a couple of hours at kindy this morning and I got to do nothing except read a book. Bliss! Even though I felt incredibly guilty about not doing all the things I shoulda, coulda done.

So to spread the cheer, here are some of the things that are making me chipper today:

These delicious pork and chive dumplings from Shanghai Night, Ashfield, Sydney. 
Add chilli + soy = Heaven on a plate!
Photo courtesy of

Her sweet voice and sledgehammer lyrics make me smile.

Reading this while the kids were having fun at kindy. Takes me back to working in an office and makes me think about 'what could have been' if I was ambitious, worked hard and, well, liked magazines.

Going to Canberra to see the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition very soon. 

The start of the autumn carnival!

Happy Wednesday to you all.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

A real beauty of a tag

The absolutely beautiful Megs of Box of Tricks tagged me with this beautiful award

Now, today is a special day for Megs, it's the day her baby is born. I have been thinking of you today, Megs, and hope it has been full of absolute joy for you. I have been saving this award for today in honour of her.

As part of the award I have to write 7 interesting things about myself. Hmm that may be hard! I can't promise they will be interesting, but I'll try.

1) A number of Skip's relatives and my relatives share birthdays.

2) Lil-lil and I are both obsessed with Asian food. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, you name it. I actually think Lil-lil may have been Asian in a past life!

3) I'm close to jumping off and actually studying some of things I said I would do. Yes, singing lessons and writing courses are coming my way. If I could just save the money to pay for them.

4) I used to be obsessed with James Dean. He's still a favourite of mine.

5) I used to dream of being the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar.

6) I would love to live in Hong Kong one day (and fulfill my Asian food urges, mainly BBQ pork!)

7) Hong Kong Phooey used to be my favourite cartoon character. He was a number one super guy, faster than the human eye.

Ok, I admit, I was running a bit thin there.

Now to tag 7 other beautiful bloggers:

PS - the gorgeous Brenda from MummyTime also tagged me for two awards, I will pass them on soon. I promise.

The age of style

Becoming an adult, becoming a mum, getting older are such strange things. In my head, I'm about 18 years old and am wearing Doc Martens, floral skirt and a suede jacket all while listening to Nirvana, Pavement, Sebadoh, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Blur. Somewhere along the way I became a 33-year-old mother of two, wife of one.

Often it feels like the inner-me doesn't match the outer-me. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with being a mum and wife, I'm just talking about the superficial aspects of my life. Now that I'm a housewife, should I be donning pearls and twin sets?

For the past few years I think I've been wearing clothes and looking like I feel I 'should', rather than what's really me. Even before kids, I don't think I was particularly true to my inner style (not that it's that stylish!). Now I am lost, and when I go shopping I feel a bit confused and find myself asking:
"Is that appropriate? Am I going to look like mutton dressed as lamb?". Over the past 15 years, I've misplaced myself and am only just beginning to find my look again.

I guess I want the outside to reflect what's going on on in the inside. I've never really been into how I look, but it's nice to be comfortable in your skin. It's not about being attractive or being fashionable or being different. More about being me.

Monday 1 February 2010

Word world

I have something that annoys me more than anything else. I know, I know I'm trying to be positive, but I need to get this off my chest.

I hate it when people say stupid things. When they're obvious, or just make no sense at all. Technical jargon, manager-ese, cliches. Use any of these and I'll probably tune you out. There was a whole article in the paper yesterday about cliches and this kind of thing so I wont re-hash that.

An example though of what makes me shudder usually comes out of the mouths of sports journalists. You know the "I think the team who scores the most points tonight will probably win the game" type of stuff. Well derrrrr! At the beginning of the Australian Open, I heard a journalist say that a certain player was really hoping not to get beaten in the early rounds. Well, jeez and here I was thinking that most tennis players actually wanted to lose their matches.

There are also a few things I would like to see banned from the English language. Basically if any sentences have the words I've mentioned below as their beginning you know what follows isn't going to be good:

No offense, but...
Don't take it personally, but...
With all due respect...
I'm not rascist/sexist but...

I kind of find it funny that saying 'No offense' is like a get-out-of-jail-free card. You can be as offensive as you like, as long as you say 'no offense' beforehand.

"No offense, but you are a complete moron and I hate being on the same planet as you. No offense though."

It sometimes feels like people just open their mouths and let the words dribble out without really thinking about their saying. They don't realise how powerful words can be and just want to fill dead air.

Words are the most powerful weapons and tools of life we have. Sometimes, though, the sound of silence can be all we need.
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