Friday, 31 December 2010

So long 2010

Wowsers, so that was 2010. Not the best of times, not the worst of times. Certainly could be a whole lot better though. 2010 was the year of trying to find my equilibrium. More than a few times I felt like I was off course, rattled and not quite stable. I'm happy to stay that I'm starting 2011 feeling a lot more confident and stable about where I'm heading. 2011 is going to be a major year I feel, but more of that tomorrow. 

Today, I'm going to reminisce about the year that has gone. I'm in too much of a happy holiday mood to get too deep, so here's the light and fluffy of 2010....

Best trip
This is a tie. Funnily enough both trips were to the same place, staying in the same room. 1) was a trip away with my family. My brother and his family returned from Vietnam so we took a week away to hang out and have fun. And fun we did have. It was great! 2) was a weekend back at the same south coast locale with Skip and the girls for a long weekend. It was so relaxing and we found a place that really felt like home.

Best restaurant 
2009 was the year of fine dining, 2010 was the year of comfort eating. My favourite would have to be Milk & Honey in Mullumbimby while on holidays. The BEST pizza ever. We had two fantastic meals here after super fun days. The girls enjoyed it. We enjoyed it. Simply magnificent memories.

In saying that we also ate at Quay and it was pretty delicious, but not as fun.

TV show
No doubt. Mad Men. It's been my 2010 obsession. I love it!

Night out

A recent day at the races that turned into drinks that turned into dinner that turned into cocktails. It was actually quite civilised and a whole lot of fun. Also, my New Year's Eve Eve Eve.


BabyMac, not only is she a friend but she's had the most incredible year and incredible blog. It's been fantastic to share it all with her.

Something that made me grow this year.
I think this year I realised that no matter what life throws at me I'll survive. I found a survival instinct deep inside I never knew existed, so I'm now less fearful.

The best place.
Berry. We've had a few weekends away in and around Berry and I adore it. Gorgeous countryside and great food. What else do you need?


Pork. I have eaten so much pork this year.

The best change I made to my home
Landscaping my backyard. I love it. It's a little oasis for all of us.

Word or phrase
'That's just how I roll.' I nervously said this at a funeral and within minutes everyone around me was saying it. Was one of those surreal moments in life.

Car ride.
Driving from Brunswick Heads to Sydney. 11 hours. My girls truly impressed me with how well they handled it.


Trivial Pursuit. I love it. Skip loathes it. But he bought it for me and will even play with me on occasion.

My epiphany of the year.

See 'something that made me grow' above.


My kids, they have done so many ridiculously funny things this year. Also my 19-year-old brother-in-law doing a nudie run while we were on holidays as part of a dare.

Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks so much for reading and being part of my little blog. Your comments truly make my day and I appreciate and love each and every one of them. This blog has been one of the highlights of my year and it's all of you who read it who help make it that way. So, thank you.

Be safe and have a fantastic night where ever you are. x

Image: Idea go /

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The most perfect night

Manhattans with candlelight.
Happy New Year! Every year, Skip and I celebrate New Year's Eve early. It saves the hassle of finding a babysitter, it's less crowded and it's a lot more special (to us).

Last night was our New Year's Eve. With the kids tucked up at their Nan's house, we hit Rockpool Bar & Grill for a few cocktails and some oysters. We sipped on Manhattans Mad Men-style and felt like complete grown-ups.

We then headed to a fab French restaurant close to home and feasted on pork belly, duck done four ways and chocolate marquise. What a way to bring in the new year! Awash with animals fats and a French Burgundy.

It was truly the most perfect night out for me. As we feasted and laughed, Skip and I chatted about the year that was and our dreams for the year that will be.

Tonight we're continuing the festivities with a BBQ at home with a couple of close friends. I think the sprinkler will come out for the kids as it's warm out there.

Tomorrow night (the real NYE) we always spend at home. The four of us together. We'll eat burgers washed down with a fantastic bottle of red (the kids will have lemonade) we'll stroll down the street and see the 9pm fireworks. Then we'll be tucked up in bed well before midnight. The perfect way to spend NYE in my book.

How do you like to bring in the new year?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Splashing out

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of running through the sprinkler on a hot day. When you live in the inner suburbs of a city, running around a backyard sprinkler can be a distant dream. Thankfully we have this fab park nearby which has taken this simple idea and made it a community event.

There's plenty of squealing, it's a great way to cool off (when it's actually hot) plus there's always lots of other kids to play with.

Long live summer!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The other side

Well, wasn't that all just grand?! Christmas for another year.

Christmas Eve was spent at my brother's place in a whirlwind of presents, delicious food and champagne.

Christmas Day the girls were weary from a late night and an early morning and slept through Christmas lunch. We did catch a few waves at the beach on the girls' new boogie boards though. By the time the day was out, we were too exhausted to make my way to my dad's for Christmas night.

Boxing day was spent at Skip's mum's place, eating leftovers and playing Trivial Pursuit.

Yesterday we finally made it my dad's in the national park. We were hoping to go sailing and spend heaps of time in the pool, but endless drizzle meant we bunkered down inside, ate food, watch the Aussies do miserably in the cricket and just relax.

After a morning at the beach flying kites we came back to listen to dad's partner (who's a musician) play the piano and sing while the girls rolled under the grand piano having a ball. We then reluctantly came home.

It's truly been the most perfect, relaxing few days that I can remember. Food, food and more food. We are feeling like different people and really feel like we're having a holiday. Best of all, it's not over yet.

All that's left to fill the week and make it perfect is another BBQ, a trip to the flicks, our pre-NYE dinner, our annual NYE burger and perhaps a catch-up with friends. Oh, and of course, a few more trips to the beach...

Friday, 24 December 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas...

I wish not a creature was stirring, but it's chaos here! The kids are well and truly ready for the man in red to make his appearance.

I've shopped, I've baked, I've wrapped, I've sung, the stockings are hung. So sling a glass of Champagne in my hand, cause I'm ready!

We will be spending the next 24 or so hours, eating, drinking, upwrapping pressies, laughing and chatting. So, it will be a very merry Christmas in this household.

A big Happy Christmas to all of you. I hope you have the most joyous day tomorrow, whatever you may do.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Setting a trap for the spirit of Christmas

Last week I was so full of Christmas cheer it was bursting out my ears. I was Deck the Halls personified. All you had to do was string some lights on me and I'd actually be Christmas. This week, not so much.

I'm not going to bore with my whinging, cause nobody wants to hear that. Instead, I'm just going to write a list of all the things I would like for the festive season and new year. You know, put it out to the universe and all that jazz.

* Good health for all my family and friends. We've been in contact with far too many doctors and hospitals in recent days, so I'd just love everyone just to feel their very best.
* I'd also like 2011 to be the year my family and friends find happiness and contentment in what they're doing.
* I want a joyful and relaxing time with my family this holiday period. Free from stress, pettiness and anything else unnecessary.
* Sleep, lots of sleep, for all my loved ones.
* Moments of pure exhilaration and joy in 2011. (Seeing as I was already asking I thought I'd throw that one in.)

In fact, I'll trade my whole Christmas list just for one of the above points.

OK, I'm off to eat fruit mince pies, read A Christmas Carol, listen to White Christmas, make some shortbread and anything else necessary to capture this Christmas spirit and bottle it up.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Gift wrapped in red tape

Before I even had kids, I knew that I wanted to teach them that Christmas is not just about receiving but giving as well. To help them discover the joy in bringing happiness to others. I really wanted compassion and kindness to become second nature.

Christmas is such a magical time when you're a child – the lights, the decorations, the sparkle, the music, the presents, the anticipation. It's wonderful to indulge in all that but it can be equally wonderful to share the magic, especially with those who may not be as fortunate as you are.

Last Christmas, I took the girls to a local high-care aged care home, where most of the residents had dementia. We took some little gifts and chatted to a few people over a cup of tea. It was a really lovely experience. The residents loved seeing the girls skip, dance, sing and be little kids – smiling and laughing at their liveliness. The girls love chatting to new people. I'm lucky that the girls are very outgoing and gregarious, if they were shy I probably wouldn't push them to do something like that.

I was really looking forward to doing something similar this year, thinking the girls would be even more aware of the joy they were bringing. Over the past month, I've contacted many aged care homes and have received only a couple of responses, saying that while they would love to have us visit they required us to go through so much red tape that it just wouldn't be possible.

It just seems sad that the world has become a place so filled with bureaucracy that it makes it impossible to reach out to one another. Even for such a simple act as sharing a cup of tea. I haven't given up and will keep contacting facilities. We may even just drop off some small gifts if we can't do anything else. While that would be nice, the gifts of time, touch and talk just seem so much more precious to me.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Point & Shoot: Farewell Harold Park

Harold Park Paceway, Glebe, Friday December 17, 2010.

On Friday night, the gates closed on Harold Park Paceway for the last time. The trotting tack in the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe had been racing for 120 years. Now, the club will move out to Campbelltown. It's a sad loss for the inner west, one of those institutions that made the area what it is. I'm sure if that place could talk it could tell so many stories about the characters that frequented there over the years. Now, it will be developed for 1200 medium-density dwellings. I'm sure I'll be telling my kids one day: "That used to be a horse track, years ago." And they'll look at me like: "Yeah, sure it was mum."

It was a really fun night for everyone there. After the last race most of the punters took to the track, looked up at the lights, felt the gritty track, took souvenirs of plants, running rails and even flag posts. While there was a feeling of revelry, I also saw many older men and women with moist eyes who looked like they were losing a home. Times change, trotting is not at all trendy, but it's always sad to lose something that holds so much history.

Join FatMumSlim's Point & Shoot.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Season's sayings

Every now and then, I'll write up some of the funny, cute and just plain odd things that come out of the mouths of my children. Today, I thought I'd get in the spirit and share with you some of their Christmas crackers.

  • On hearing that we'd be watching the NYE's fireworks, Lil-lil said: "But I already saw those with Daddy last time. We're going to see them again?"
  • I overheard Lil-lil talking on her toy phone saying: "Santa, my sister has been very, very naughty. Please don't bring her any presents."
  • While handing out Christmas gifts to a friend who was going away, Goose said with gusto: "Happy birthday!" 
  • Lil-lil asked what we'd have at Christmas dinner and when she heard they'd be Christmas crackers, she said: "With what kind of dip?"
  • Lil-lil kindly told me: "Mum, I'm going to get you something really special for Christmas. I'm going to get you your favourite princess, Snow White, doll." Gee, I can't wait!
  • Lil-lil: "Mum, I really want to watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer!" Me: "No, not now. Maybe a bit later." Lil-lil: "But Mum, he has a very shiny nose." (Of course, that makes all the difference!?)
  • Yesterday, while driving, Lil-lil sighed and said: "I can't wait for Christmas, so I can play in the snow." I think she's going to be a bit disappointed. No amount of explaining could convince her it wouldn't snow at Christmas.

Now, this one isn't mine, but a friend's child. It's so cute I have to include it. The little friend told Lil-lil very earnestly: "Santa lives in my chimney!"

I think the next week is going to be a very exciting one for two little people in our house. I hope they don't burst!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

It's the thought that counts

I have many Christmas memories. There's a few of lying in bed, straining to hear Santa's bells and footsteps on my roof. There are memories of Christmas morning, tearing off wrapping paper to uncover the gift I'd be hoping for. Sitting around a huge table wearing a silly hat and eating mounds of ham and turkey. Late afternoon swims. Lots and lots of laughter.

I have a few other memories that will stay with me a lifetime and they are thanks to my lovely eldest brother, who's almost 10 years my senior. Growing up, he took the art of gift giving to a whole new level. Seriously.

There was the famous year he gave me this:

When it was revealed, everyone in the room said: "Oh, a milk crate..."

He said: "No, it's not a milk crate, it's a toy box."
Shame that he found it bobbing around on the harbour's edge. There's also the fact it had printed on it's side something about being the property of Dairy Farmers, fines for anyone who kept it, blah, blah, blah.

There was the year he gave me this:

Not a bad gift I hear  you say. A lovely hair dryer, practical and thoughtful. It would be if it wasn't for the fact that he found the hair dryer in a nearby park and it exploded the first time I plugged it in. An electrifying Christmas that was!

I'm not the only one to be a lucky receiver. One year, my mum received a lovely candle similar to this:

Except mum's candle was purple and it wrapped around a log. It also had fetching googly eyes. At least he actually exchanged money for this gift.

As he got older the gifts started to improve, though he still had his own unique style. While living in Melbourne as a high-flying ad exec, he come home to Sydney on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning he'd boast about how he did his gift shopping in under 3 minutes while doling out books Santa-style from a bag labelled Airport Book Shop.

His job in media also meant a whole new world of gifts – CDs and videos stamped with the words "Not for Sale. For Promotional Purposes only". There were also the promotional T-shirts from the television station he worked at.

One year, another brother decided to give him a taste of his gift-giving. He bought him a pair of size 00 stubbies shorts and wrapped them up nicely. Well, he was completely outraged! Christmas was ruined! He couldn't see the funny side at all, until he realised there was a $20 note rolled up in the tiny pocket.

Unfortunately, my brother now lives in another country and we don't see him at Christmas. I have to say I receive some lovely, thoughtful presents these days, but nothing quite as memorable...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Making a meal of it

My little helper in the kitchen, Bill.
A friend recently asked me in the park if I planned our meals and I started a rant, which was basically this:

I love meal planning. I don't spend a lot of time or thought doing it, usually just a few quick calculations in my head when shopping. It gives me structure, makes life so easy and best of all it makes me so darn happy. Who knew?

I only started doing it fairly recently. I love knowing what we're going to have for dinner any given night, having all the ingredients ready to go, no last minute dash to the shops, no racking my brains to think 'what will we eat tonight?'. Relieving that tiny bit of stress has transformed my stay-at-home mum life. Skip loves it too, he knows not to have a chicken sanga if we're having chicken for dinner.

We eat as a family most nights – it's a great way to share time together (as we don't get a lot of family time), a good way for the kids to develop their palates and we enjoy it (mostly). So being prepared is essential. I'm not a sensational cook, but I know my way around a kitchen and I find it really satisfying to make healthy, yummy meals for the fam. I'm still surprised that I'm writing those words as I've never thought I would, Skip used to be the chef in our house. I must confess that Bill Granger helps me out with most of my meals; his light, tasty meals always turn out as they should. It's real Sydney food. Hearing him speak annoys me intensely but he can sure write a recipe.

I love reading PPMJ's weekly meal plan, in fact she's the one who inspired me to do my own. PPMJ's meal plan always has my mouth watering and my plan is never as gourmet as hers!

Here's my plan for this shopping week:
Tuesday: Prawn linguine
Wednesday: Sesame beef on a bed of stir-fried broccoli and celery
Thursday: Braised chicken and zucchini with cous cous
Friday: Vegetarian rice noodles
Saturday: We're out.
Sunday: Snags (from AC Butchery of course) and salad.

Do you meal plan?

PS: You can also find me over at The Mother Media today.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

It's a beautiful day.... or is it?

Five am, Monday December 13, 2010. I sit in a dimly lit hospital room, holding my littlest girl's hand as a multitude of wires and probes are removed from her tiny head and body.

Sixteen hours later. Nine pm, Monday December 13, 2010. I sit in a stadium filled with more lights than New York City. I hold Skip's hand as U2 appear on a space probe amongst a multitude a wires and cables.

Monday December 13, 2010. The longest, most surreal day I can remember.

The day started as I said, with Goose waking after spending the night in hospital having some tests done. Me on a fold-out chair next to her. Sleep non-existent. Both of us weary, yawning and over it. Free from the wires, Goose and I drove home as the sun was rising over the gum trees, magnificent golden yellows and oranges. "My sun!" Goose yelled.

The rest of the day was a blur. Desperately trying to keep my eyes open and function like a normal Monday morning. Fragile from no sleep. Fragile from the emotion of seeing my little one distressed, despite knowing that she was totally fine.

All day, a slightly sick feeling in my stomach. Just wanting to crawl in my bed and pull the covers up over my head.

I have wanted to see U2 for about 16 years. I had tickets to the 2006 show, but I also had a two-week-old baby. My date with Bono would have to wait. Then the day arrived, Monday December 13, 2010. It was finally here. I didn't feel like going. So many times during the day I thought "I can't go". I looked at the clock, thinking it must be about 4pm, it was 10am. This day was never going to end.

Finally, I was firmly planted in my seat (a really good seat). Watching the curious sight of older ladies bopping along to Jay-Z, throwing their fob-chained-wrists into the air. Then Bono and the gang took the stage. They were good, sensational really. Bono strutted in leather pants like only a rock star can. The others looked a little old and a little sad, but they rocked. It was an amazing show.

My heart just wasn't there. I'm at U2, I kept telling myself. This is amazing. It's a fantastic show. And it was. My spirit was far away. Faraway, so close.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Uneasy like Friday morning

I have been haunted all week by this feeling of uneasiness. You know, that sick feeling in your stomach when something is about to/or is going wrong. There's no particular reason for it. Everything seems to be going along honky dory.

It's made me edgy, cranky and not particularly pleasant. I really wish it would just rack off.

To add to my anxiety, I have a completely action-packed weekend, filled to the brim, not a minute spare. Not bad stuff, in fact most of it's good stuff, just a lot of it, which means a lot of juggling. A lot of racing here and racing there. Picking up here and dropping off there. Me stressing, kids stressing. There's going to be more logistics required than for the Oprah entourage. I'm just going to have to relax, let the rip take me out and know that I'll be back on the shore eventually.

Lil-lil and I need to be at her ballet class early tomorrow morning to prepare. Before then I'll have had to dress and make myself up for the big day, pack numerous bags for the girls and myself.

Straight after the ballet rehearsals and then the big concert, Skip and I will dash to the track where we're hosting a table of friends for a birthday celebration. A day at the races, then dinner out.

Sunday, up early again, to pick up the girls from Skip's mum and then off to a brunch picnic to celebrate my mum's birthday. Then in the afternoon, off to the other side of town for another birthday BBQ. Then dash back to mum's to drop off Lil-lil for the night, while Goosey and I head off to have her incredible snoring checked.  Phew.

It doesn't end there.... Cause Monday brings U2 and another week of stuff. None of this is Christmas related (still haven't been to a Chrissy do yet) but it's busy, busy, busy. Skip is even busier with Chrissy lunches, parties, soirees, etc. I'm making my head spin just thinking about it.

Deep breath and away we go....

Thursday, 9 December 2010


This Saturday the event to end all events is happening. Lil-lil's ballet concert. Taking to the stage in her first ever ballet performance. All this preparation takes me back to my first concert, the infamous one where the teacher told me I was going to be a rosebud and then the next week I became a goldfish. A devastating letdown, I mean a goldfish, really. Who ever in their right mind would have though a little girl would want to be a goldfish. As you can see the pain is still a little raw.

Anyhoo, fast forward a few years and here's little Lil ready for her first concert after weeks of practice. Lucky for her, she's going to be a Christmas angel. She's better fluttering her little arms around the house getting into the role. Meanwhile, I've been going through the three A4 pages of instructions and requirements for the big day. Did I mention they were three and four-year-olds? Lists of things needed – two [?] pairs of tights, hair pins, bobby pins [what's the difference??], slumber nets. Then there's the list of instructions for the day – arrive here at this time, sit here, do this, show your child where you're sitting, at this time kiss your child and say goodbye. We have to be there a few hours before to prepare and rehearse. Again, did I mention they were three and four-year-olds? They even have someone teach us how to do the exact buns required. Some how I think we're all going to be over it by the time the concert actually starts.

Despite all my cynicism and moaning, I know that I'll be bursting with pride as my little Christmas angel takes the stage, fluttering her wings and pointing her toes. Snapping every photo op available. I'll be taken back to that night I took the stage at the Mosman Town Hall as a goldfish and dreamt that it would be the first of many turns on the ballet stage. I will look at Lil-lil and know exactly how proud and excited she feels. I'll be excited to know that this is just the first of many times that I'll get to see her perform and be blown away by how much she's grown and how exquisite she is.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

On this day

On this day:

In 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City.

In 1948, John Waters, my neighbour and Aussie actor who is famous for playing John Lennon and starring in a frozen pea commerical, was born.

In 1943, lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison, was born.

In 1941, news that Pearl Harbour had been bombed filtered back into Australia.

And, most importantly, in 1941, my mum was born.

Happy birthday, mum. I hope you have the most fantastic day, you deserve it more than anyone.  You do so much for all us, that any words I write could not do you justice. 

Happy birthday. xxxx

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Happiness is...

Making me happy this sunny (can you believe there are endless blue skies in Sydney today?) Tuesday is:

These pretty gardenias my mum brought me (with the hydrangeas from my garden).

These '50s cat-eye sunglasses I've been looking for for ages.
I also found the most perfect retro swimmers ever.

My super soft, green grass. The benefit of all this rain.

The Christmas tree and stockings we put up this morning (the tree has already been knocked over twice)

What's making you happy this Tuesday?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas crazies

On Saturday, as I tackled the shopping centre to get all the Christmas gifts in one hit, I took a look around at the chaos and was hit by a big question – why? Why do we do all this? It really is quite odd.

Imagine what the Christmas festivities would look like if you're an alien who's just dropped out of the sky. People running around the shops trying to buy up anything and everything, like the world is going to end on December 25 and you're really going to need that Super Soaker, cricket set and copy of John Howard's Lazarus Rising to survive the apocalypse.

People stockpiling pretzels, chips, bottles of soft drink, puddings, shortbread, turkey, ham. Filling trolleys full of Christmas crackers, rolls of wrapping paper, plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel.

Decorating their homes with snowmen, reindeers and fake snow, as the sun blazes down.

We queue for hours to force our kids to sit on the lap of a strange old bearded man, dressed like he's about to go out in the snow when it's pushing 30C outside, and take a picture. Any other time of the year, we'd be ushering our kids away from such a character.

Catching up with everyone we've ever known before December 25, again like the apocalypse is coming and it's our last chance to see our nearest and dearest.

Spending Christmas day unwrapping presents we don't always like, sweltering in the kitchen baking turkeys and hams, catching up with long-lost cousins, aunts and uncles we never otherwise see. Stuffing ourselves full of food and grog, until we pass out of the lounge physically unable to move.

Of course, there is the whole birth of Christ reason behind this madness, but for how many people does religion actually play any part of Christmas? Very few, I'd say. I think even a local church is a little confused, this is an invitation we received for the Dora the Explorer Christmas Eve service for Kids.

I knew Dora was an explorer, I just didn't realise she went to Bethlehem for the birth of Christ. She really did do it!

Now, don't think of me as a Grinch, cause I'm not. I love Christmas and I love all of the madness and craziness of it. I even love Christmas shopping. I love catching up with strange relatives. Some of my most favourite childhood memories are of sitting around a table wearing silly paper hats, reading terrible jokes and watching the adults have a few too many sherries. And laughter, lots of laughter.

I also realise there are many people out there who wish they could have a strange family to sit around a table with, buy an ugly six-pack of hankies for and even argue with. I know that being able to throw myself head-first into Christmas craziness is a privilege.

But really, it's all a bit odd isn't it?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Running for Afghani women

A bloggy friend of mine Sharni Montgomery from Sharnanigans is currently raising money for a very good cause. Please watch her video below and help if you can.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Yule shop till yule drop

Bring on the repetitive Christmas muzak, bring on the car park, bring on the crazed shoppers. I'm ready for you all today. That's right folks, I'm heading Christmas shopping today.

The kids are off to their grandmother's and we're planning on doing ALL the Christmas shopping today. Yep, you read that right. It's going to be a one-stop, shopathon. With my bad back and all. 

Chances are we'll end up with nothing. It's highly likely that I'll end up at Go-Lo on Christmas Eve. Or everyone will receive craft from the kids. But, damn it, I'm going to give it my best shot today.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 3 December 2010

The smiling assassin

Goosey has life on a string.
Life is fairly interesting at the moment, you never know quite what is going to happen next. The reason I'm being kept on my toes is a little person called Goosey. Who's 2.5 years. I'm certain all those who've had 2.5 year-olds are nodding their heads at this moment saying "Ah, yes."

Living with a 2.5 year-old is like living with a ticking time bomb. You know it's going to go off, you're just not really sure when or the kind of devastation it's going to cause. Normally I walk around the house, all senses alert ready to jump at any sign of danger. This week, I've had a crook back so I'm not as agile as I could be. This has resulted in a lot of devastation. I admit, mainly my fault. Those moments of silence when I know she's doing something she shouldn't, but the thought of pain shooting up my back as I go to see just make me enjoy those seconds of silence – even if it means a lot more pain later.

Here's just snapshot of some of the events of the past couple of days:

* A box of washing powder was tipped into the toilet.

* A box of breadcrumbs was poured all over the kitchen floor, Goose stripped off and rolled around in them naked. Odd, very odd. I normally never buy breadcrumbs, as they're so easy to make, but I couldn't face it the other day so perhaps this is my penance for buying a box of Krummies.

* She ''helped" a baby crawl by dragging her around the yard and then put a bucket on the baby's head.

* She pulled a photo frame off the wall and tore up the photo inside.

* She bolted out of the library, up a ramp and nearly onto the main road.

* She bolted out of a restaurant, up the street to perform a song on her 'stage'.

* She constantly drags a chair over to the kitchen sink so she can do the washing up.

* She rubbed half a tube of my hand cream all over her face.
* Drank soy sauce out of the bottle, out of the fridge.

* She drew with pink crayon all over the glass doors.

* She destroyed a Christmas display in a shop as I helped her sister try on shoes. All the while flashing her killer smile, fluttering her long lashes and the shop assistants cooing: "Isn't she just adorable!" 

These are just some of the highlights from the past day and a half. Then, of course, she'll throw her little arms around you and say: "I love you, Mummy. I like your pretty dress. You're garbage."

The funny thing is, she loves rules. She gets upset if other people break the rules, if things are out of place. She loves telling Lil-lil: "You can't do that", "Don't spill it" "Don't say that to Mummy", "Don't put that there". She's chaos and order rolled into one little curly-haired package. I truly think she'll make a fabulous dictator one day.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

This and that

Summer Mad Men-style. Just because I can.

Today I'm posting a mish-mash of things I've been meaning to post about.

To start:

The end of the year is fast approaching, so I thought it was time to be brave and check out my 10 in 2010 to see if I achieved anything.

1) Eat healthy and drink less (or not at all). Well I don't know about the healthy eating part, but I haven't drunk much this year.
2) I want exercise to be a regular part of my day (yawn... I know, I know all very boring stuff but necessary). Total fail. Total, total fail. That's all I'll say.
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 didn't get here 100%, but there was a definite improvement. I think I have looked after myself better, but there's definitely room for improvement in 2011.
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. Nup, another fail. I really wish I did this, but it's really expensive. Maybe next year?
5) Have a beach holiday with my family. Success! We actually went on two beach holidays this year!
6) Start a long-term saving/investment plan. Another fail.
7) Finish my backyard (it's been a project in progress for two years!) and make it a lovely place to be. Success! We now have a completed backyard to enjoy.... Now if this rain would just stop...
8) Plan an overseas holiday for 2011 - either New York or France (or both!). No, no plan.
9) Cook a sensational three-course French meal for Skip (doesn't really go with number 1, I know). Haven't done it yet, but there's still time isn't there? Maybe NYE?
10) Find a wonderful dream to chase and start chasing it. In some strange way, I think this blog has been the wonderful dream. At least that's what I'm claiming.

Well, according to my list, 2010 hasn't been all that I hoped it would be, but hey, I have a month to do all the things left on the list! Anyone want to help me?


Two days ago, I was feeling tired and cranky. I was having a fairly crap afternoon. While I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room, I tweeted "Feeling tired, crank and a tad emotional. #pleasepassthechocolate"
I then received a tweet from Coles saying they couldn't get me some then, but would the next day do?

I just thought they were joking along with me, but low and behold, last night there was a knock at the door and a Coles man stood there holding a bottle of French champagne and a package with a variety of chocolate. 

Some times, all you have to do is ask and you will receive!

Thanks Coles, you certainly brightened my dull day. 


So in the theme of asking and receiving, here's my Christmas list:

* Books - Mad Men Unbuttoned; Keith Richards' Life; Jonathan Franzen's Freedom; Actually any new book I'd love.

* Mad Men series 3/4 on DVD

* Movie/theatre tix

* '60s-style sundress

* Music/singing lessons (see above)

*Antique ring (art deco-style or a pearl ring)

* A beach house.

Not too much to ask for? Surely.

What do you want Santa to put in your stocking?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Booked out

This morning, as the rain teamed down and the girls were off at playgroup with their Grandma, I was on a mission. Being December 1, I wanted to get the girls an advent calendar – one that didn't have chocolate in it or was covered in Disney Princesses or My Little Ponies, as nice as they are (and if you're my daughters you think they're pretty bloody great) I don't recall Cinderella having that much to do with Christmas. I was hoping to find one of those daggy cardboard ones that you open up and there's a picture of some bells or holly, like I used to have when I was a kid. I didn't want to spend a fortune and buy one that was handcrafted and I don't want to handcraft one myself,  as me and craft just don't get along.

Soaked from carrying kids in and out the car on the drop-off, my hair dripping and feeling despondent as I'd failed to turn up anything slightly resembling what I wanted at a couple of shops, I stepped into a bookshop. Almost instantly, I was awash with the smell of new books, the peace and quiet and that indescribable feel a bookshop has. I was instantly intoxicated by it all. Floating a couple of inches off the ground, I flicked through all the new releases out in time for Christmas, I compiled a list of summer reading and I completely lost myself. Advent calendar? What advent calendar?

I adore bookshops. When I grow up I want to own one. I want to sit behind the counter, drinking cups of tea, dishing out advice on the latest best sellers. I want to stack the shelves and feel the shiny covers and the weight of the books as I slide them into their right place. I want to arrange book marks and knick-knacks on the counter. I want to inhale the smell of brand-new books all day long.

When I stepped out the shop about 45 minutes later, empty-handed, I felt calm, serene and fulfilled. Who needs valium?

Image by Johanna Ljungblom 
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