Friday 27 April 2012

Friday Fun - War Horse

It's the last night of our holiday, sob! It's been so nice. Now time for the long drive home.

The Johnson's Baby winner was Posie Patchwork. Congrats!


Recently I was sent a copy of Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse'.

Now I must say from the outset that I'm no fan of animal movies. I like animals out in the wild, not on my screen.

The first thing that struck me about the movie was that it doesn't look like a modern film. The colours and the angles of some of the shots reminded me of epics from the '30s like 'Gone With The Wind'. Sweeping scenes, pink clouds, shadowed silhouettes. You get the feeling straight away that this is going to be an epic.

It's the story of a horse called Joey, who through a series of events travels from the English countryside to war-torn France. The special horse has a series of owners and a unique relationship with each. It's slow-moving but looks fantastic. I was not won over by the horse, but as I said I find it hard to warm to animal 'characters' and relationships on film.

'War Horse' is a film for those who love epics from yesteryear and believe in the special bond we have with our animal friends.

I have three DVD copies of War Horse to giveaway. Just comment below and tell me what your favourite animal character in a movie is and why.
Entries close 11.59pm Thursday May 3, 2012. Open to Aussie residents only.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Anzac Day

It was a glorious warm sunny morning on Anzac Day in Byron.

We took the kids to the main street to watch the march. They spent the next two hours asking questions about the soldiers, the soldiers who died and war.

The girls cheered and waved flags at the handful of soldiers who marched down Jonson St, their medals and their brows gleaming in the sun.

They thought about how when their grandma was their age, her daddy was away. Being a soldier. 'She must have missed him.'

We then swam at the beach, grateful we could do so.

As the sun set, we sat at the pub drinking beer and lemonade to the cries of 'come in spinner!'.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Lunch break

We are having a great holiday. Warm weather, sunshine, plenty of time at the beach. It's not a holiday unless we eat and drink well, we've done plenty of that too. Fish and chips, sushi, amazing wood-fired pizza, tapas, BBQs. Then there's cocktails and pink lemonades at a funky wine bar and beers on our balcony.

Yesterday morning was overcast and I was actually a little happy about that as we were skipping the beach to go to farmers' market a few towns over.

The sights and smells are incredible. The produce in the northern rivers of NSW is just so good. We loaded up with the sweetest tomatoes, honey, eggs, mushrooms, basil, dill. We then headed to Bangalow for coffee and a stroll at the shops.

We, of course, had to pop into the old fashioned butcher to pick up some Bangalow pork. As we walked through the door we were swept up in the scent of ham smoking. The gorgeous smell stayed with me all day.

We took our goodies home and Skip turned them into lunch.

Here's a taste:

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Sea the day

I think I've probably said this eleventy-billion times on this blog, but the ocean is magic to me.

There is something so restorative about the sea. Standing on the shore with the sand between my toes, the roar of the waves in my ears and the salty spray on my face, there's nothing like it. For me, this is the best part of the holiday. Just being on the beach. It's good for my soul.

The water temperature is 25 degrees, so warm. Diving under the waves and coming up through ozone-y foam washes away all the stress and tiredness of the past few months.

The kids are so happy at the beach. They laugh and run and skuttle over the sand. Splash at the waves as they rush in. Squeal as they paddle on the surf.

This is where I feel my best. This is where I feel most at home. This is where I feel alive.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Run to paradise

Friday night at around 630pm Lil-Lil started vomiting. Chucking with such force that she spray painted the kitchen and the bathroom. D was screaming his little teething head off. All I could think was: "we're not going to make our holiday" as we were leaving in less than 12 hours.

But make it we did. The kids all were awake by 445am (you want my life, I know) so we thought we may as well get going.

The kidlets did brilliantly on the long car trip and by 3pm we were pulling into "Bine Bay" as they are calling it.

We jumped into our swimmers and hit the beach. The light of the setting sun, the blue of the sky and the green of the headland - seriously paradise. The water temperature was perfect. I can't remember a more perfect afternoon. "now this was worth the drive," I muttered to Skip.

Fish and chips overlooking the beach for dinner. All three kids collapsing into bed.

The start of a glorious week, I hope.

Friday 20 April 2012

Friday Fun - Bedtime

It's Friday yet again. I'm so happy because tomorrow we are hitting the road for a week away in one of my most favourite places. I'm hoping the weather will clear and it will be blue skies, god knows we need some.

Here are the winners of the Dorothy's Wonderful World DVDs:

Permanently 23


I have non-sleeping kids, it sucks. A lot. I really haven't had a lot of sleep in the past 5.5 years.
Recently when Johnson's Baby contacted me and asked if I'd like to try their Bedtime Bath products I was at a sleep low and said: "YES!"

I've always loved the scent of Johnson's Baby products, it's always been baby in a bottle to me, one whiff and your in baby snuggly goodness. I have been known to use their Baby Shampoo myself. The Bedtime Bath and Lotion didn't disappoint, they smelt gorgeous. They have NATURALCALM essences, which I'm guessing is just a lavender blend, it filled the bathroom with a lovely haze anyway. The lotion was nice too, though a tad greasy.

Did it help my kids sleep better? Well, no, but I think it would take a tranquilizer gun to get these kids to have a full night's sleep. It did leave them smelling sweet and drowsy at bedtime.

I have a Johnson's Baby to giveaway to one luck reader. It includes:
Baby Sorbelene Cream
Baby Wipes
Baby Top-to-Toe Bath No More Tears
Baby Conditioning Shampoo
Baby Bedtime Bath
Baby Bedtime Lotion
Baby Oil

To win, comment below and tell me your bedtime secrets (for you or your kids). 
Entries close 11.59pm Thursday 26 April 2012. Open to Aussie residents only. An email address must be provided (if not on your login).

Thursday 19 April 2012

What's in a name?

Growing up, my family was big on nicknames. I had more nicknames than anyone I've ever known. My brothers were constantly giving me new ones. Rin, Spin, Gringa, Gunga, Rinny of Arabia, Spindolowski, Hinge, Minnie (which morphed into Mickey) and the list goes on.

Even as an adult it's rare for me to be called Corinne. There are people (esp friends of brothers) who don't even know this is my name. More often than not I'm called Rin and then eleventy billion variations on this. I have to say I prefer being called Rin than Connie (which I get a lot from people who obviously can't read) or Corun.

I never call my kids by their full names it's always Lil-lil and Goosey (sometimes Lu). Skip laughs at me when I use his name and always replies with a tongue-in-cheek 'proper': "Yes, Corinne?"

D is usually just called 'the boy', though the girls are calling him Mr Dooby and it's starting to stick. In fact, the girls are naturals with nicknames, they come up with new ones all the time.

Someone asked me at the Top Bloggers event if they could find out my kids names, which made me chuckle as they're not really a secret. I use their nicknames here because that what I use in real life (and in my head), the way I write my blog is snippets from my brain rather than documenting my life, so to use their full names would feel weird. Kind of like how Skip laughs at me when I call him by his name.  Besides if they were supposed to pseudonyms then they wouldn't be very good ones!

In fact, I was 'discovered' at a park by someone who read my blog once because I was calling out 'Lil-lil! Goose' and they recognised the names.

It's funny, because sometimes when I'm on Facebook I see someone and think: "Hmmmm who's that?" because I don't recognise them without their nickname.

Do you have nicknames? Do you like them or do you prefer to be called by your full name?

Wednesday 18 April 2012

How are you? Well, actually...

During the night when I was up with the boy I was flicking through Twitter. I happened upon this blog post on Maria Shriver's blog and wowsers, it summed up exactly what blogging has given me, what I have tried hard to explain to people and haven't quite got there.

Go and read it, go on. Even if you just scan it it.

Basically, the post says, that we as humans all share the same experiences and failings, yet we hide it from each other. We isolate ourselves because we think everyone else is succeeding so we put on a front of success ourselves.

Through blogging I have read honest, raw stories from everyday people and thought: "Yes! I feel like that too." It's allowed me to be honest on my blog, admit that I'm not perfect. Admit that being a mother can be hard, boring and exhausting at times. That I struggle with things – weight, self-esteem, shyness. That life is not like it is in a catalogue. Discovering blogs was like an antidote to the Facebook world of: "Look at me and my perfect life" that often gets projected. What you don't see on those Facebook photos that people post (you know the ones of a perfect family holidaying in an exotic location)  are those dark secrets: 'I really stuffed up at work'; 'I cry every time I hear my child cry'; 'My credit card is maxed out and I don't know how I'm going to pay it'; 'I can't believe I just yelled at my baby'; 'I'm lonely'; 'I'm scared'. You don't often see those as Facebook statuses.

Opening up has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. It's given me a sense of freedom in my life that I never imagined. By admitting vulneralbilty I've become stronger and happier.

A lot has been mentioned online about the recent Sunday Life articles about mummy blogging. It was inferred in the article that bloggers reveal too much of themselves and blog at the expense of their families and friends. In my experience this hasn't been true, quite the reverse. My relationships are stronger because I think those close to me have seen another side of me. Friends have said to me: "Yes! I so get that." or "I understand what you're going through better now."

Not everything single thing is revealed on blogs, I keep things for myself and my family. I am open and honest, though, and now I realise that I don't have to feel ashamed or embarrassed about simply being human. I'm human, I stuff up, make mistakes am not always who I'd like to be. My life is not perfect but it's good. I also now know that when I am going through a bad time, I'm not alone and that there are people who will support and help. I don't have to pretend.

Trying to be what you think others are is exhausting and unfulfilling.

So next time someone asks: "How are you?" why don't you speak up. Go on, I dare you.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Good karma?

Last week, I was trying to make a quick getaway from my house. My mum was watching the kids while I went to run some errands. Just as I got to my front gate a little old Italian lady popped up, seemingly from nowhere.

"Can I have a plastic bag?" she asked.

I sighed. It meant going back inside the house where I could hear the girls fighting. "Sure," I said.

I dashed back inside, yelling at the kids to stop killing each other, and grabbed a plastic bag.

"Thank you, dear. Now I need to go in your house to get through to the other street. The lane is closed" she told me. (Next to my house is a pathway that goes to the main street, but it's currently closed.)

"Ahhhh, no you'll have to scale three fences if you want to go that way," I told her.

She then started screaming at me that she had to be at the doctor in five minutes and there was  no way she was going to make it. Frightened that I was going to have a little old Italian corpse on my doorstep I told her I would drive her there.

Without even a hint of a smile she said: "OK" and turned around and walked off.

"My car is right here," I yelled at her as she hobbled off.

She threw her hand up at me, not even turning around.

I watched her as she grabbed a pile of vines and plant cuttings she'd obviously nicked out of some person's (or people's) garden. "This is why I needed the bag," she called out.

She hobbled back weighed down by half of the inner west's greenery. I opened the door for her and gave my hand to help her in our car, which is a little high up. She shoved the hand away and yelled: "Push!"

I took this as my cue to shove her into the car. One, two, heeeeeeeaaave. Finally seated, pushing shrubs out of my vision and we were off.

"Which doctor are you going to?" I asked.

"The one near the bottle shop," she replied.

"Oh, on the main street?" I said.

"NO! Near the bottle shop," she screeched at me.


I pulled up outside a doctor's office a good two blocks from the bottle shop. I jumped out to get her door and help her out. "Don't touch me!"

She jumped out, hobbled off without a word.

A young girl in a car behind me pull around me and abused me for letting the old lady out.

A good deed is supposed to be thanks in itself, I guess. Does that get me some good karma?

Sunday 15 April 2012

The old grey mare...

Yesterday, we fronted up to the track for the last time for the autumn carnival. An impromptu holiday has meant we'll miss the last two meets. To be honest, I'm a little race weary. This filly (or perhaps I'm actually more of a mare) needs a to go out for a spell.

It's been fun though, yesterday we went sans kids, so it was relaxed. We went with friends who made the perfect group for a top day. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of over-sharing and a lot of fun. We watched horses, watched people, ate and drank. I picked two winners. I was designated driver so I feel right as reign today. Another win.

We came home to happy kids who'd had a fun day themselves, which made it even nicer.

A damn fine way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Baby love

Little D has reached that really cute baby age. He looks like that stereotypical baby you see on the ads - chubby cheeks, full of smiles and goo-ing and ga-ing a storm. Put him in a wondersuit and he's winning hearts all over the place.

Young babies are cute but still a little floppy and awkward, toddlers start throwing tantrums - he's at that golden age.

When we go to the shops he smiles non-stop and old ladies stop with their hearts melting. His grandmothers have decided that he's 'just the best!'

I just want to tell him to: 'lap it up boy, it won't last forever.' It won't be long before those same old ladies start tut-tutting his tantrums in the aisle at Coles.

When do you think the golden age of childhood is?

Friday 13 April 2012

Friday Fun - Wonderful World

Well that was certainly a short week! It flew by in no time.

Here are the winners of the Bob the Builder DVDs:
Heavenly Ingredients
Mama of 2 boys

Please send me your details and I'll get your prizes out to you. I'd like to thank Roadshow Entertainment for providing prizes for the past four weeks. I have some truly awesome prizes lined up for the next few weeks, so make sure you stayed tuned.
We are now officially way through the school holidays and not too insane, though if I have to yell: "Stop fighting!" one more time, I don't know what I'll do. The kids are currently dancing and going crazy to The Wiggles. While they're now a little old for the skivvied ones, they still love the music and they both are adamant that Dorothy the Dinosaur is pretty cool. Oh my poor neighbours...

So today, I'm giving away 5 copies of Dorothy the Dinosaur's Wonderful World, that's over three hours of Dorothy goodness.

To win, comment below and tell me what makes your world wonderful. Entries close 11.59pm, Thursday April 19, 2012. To be eligible you need to include your email address and you need to be an Aussie resident. 

Thursday 12 April 2012

Gone bush

Being school holidays and all, I decided to take the kids to my dad's house for a little getaway. He lives in a small community in the middle of a national park.

Set on the river, this place never fails to blind me with her beauty and at my dad's house you can get a magnificent view from anywhere.

It's been too cold for swimming, so we walked and sat on the wharf and chatted. We took a long walk to the kiosk for lemonades. It's been lovely.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Kidspot Ford Territory Top 50: Feel the Difference

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm part of the Kidspot Ford Territory Top 50 Bloggers. As part of the competition I have to write the following post....

I never wanted to be a writer. An actress, a film director, a forensic scientist and even, as a four-year-old, a check-out chick - yes. Writer, no.

I'm not a talker. The link between my brain and my mouth is broken. I find it hard to get what's in my brain to my tongue, but my thoughts flow from my fingers with ease. Still, I'm not a writer. I didn't want to create epic tales or write history-changing articles.

At school, I was never particularly studious, but I could knock over an essay pretty quickly and easily. At uni I wrote a 3000 word history essay two hours before it was due.I hadn't been to a lecture all year (they were always late in the afternoon) and somehow managed to pass.

I wrote letters to friends all the time, even if I'd just spoken to them on the phone. Even if I was going to see them the next day. I don't remember what I wrote, just ramblings mainly. Even now I'll write out an email or note if I want to get my point across. Friends overseas, who always received my letters, said I should do journalism, so, with nothing else to do, I did.

Even when I was a paid employee of a magazine, which I was for 10 years, I never thought of myself as a writer even when I was writing. I never wanted to pen the cover stories or be the feature writer.

I never had romantic dreams of being an author or seeing my byline in a top publication. All I had were these words running through my head. Tumbling around and down and over. An internal dialogue that never shut up.

When I travelled I sent emails home and a friend told me I should write a book. "Of my mundane travels? I don't think so."

One day, I saw someone on Facebook with a blog. I checked it out and thought hmmmm. Then another day shortly after, I got the courage and started a blog.

The words in my head tumbled out. All those words in my head had finally found a home. It turns out that I may not be a writer but I'm certainly a blogger.

What sets me apart from other bloggers? Well, probably nothing, except here on this blog are MY words.
Words that I didn't know were precious to me until I saw the cursor move furiously across the screen. Words that have enriched my life beyond belief. Words that have given me strength, joy and a new depth. Words that I'll keep writing even when no-one is reading. Words that are simply mine.

If you enjoy these words, I'd be honoured and grateful if you hit the Kidspot button below and voted for me.

Monday 9 April 2012

Friday Fun (on a Monday)

Apologies for being late, but well Easter and all its jollies got in the way of writing, so here is the holiday edition of Friday Fun.

I LOVED all the celebrity encounters you told me about last week and it was so hard to pick winners, they were all ace. But here are the five winners:

Mama of 2 Boys
Nat - Muddy Farmwife

Please send me your details and I'll get your prize out to you.


In my world, we're in the process of organising some fairly major work on our home. It's exciting, scary, daunting and everything else in between. I feel like I'm somewhere between Grand Designs and Bob the Builder. In fact, I often have the Bob the Builder theme song floating round my head as I look at plans for my new sanctuary, so it seems apt to give away 5 copies of the latest DVD - Bob the Builder The Dream Room.

To win, comment below and tell me what would be a must if you were creating your own dream room. (You might give me some top ideas.) 
Entries close 11.59pm, Thursday 12 April 2012. Open to Aussie residents only.

Friday 6 April 2012

What do you call an Easter Grinch?

Easter has always been one of my favourite times of the year. Who can fault an extra long weekend and a day filled with chocolate? But it seems it's no longer a day, more a week filled with chocolate.

This year Easter has felt like it's on steroids, namely because we have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old in the house. There's Easter Hat Parades, Easter crafts, Easter songs. They have been lapping it and it's a joy to watch and be part of.

The one thing that has taken me aback, though, is the school Easter gifts. On the girls last day of term, both of the girls received a ton of eggs from their classmates. Wrapped-up packages of eggs, some with hand-crafted cards, some with bunny ears. My first thought was: "OMG, we do this? I didn't do this at school. Who are these mums that have time to package up eggs and hand craft cards and buy bunny ears? I can barely get the kids breakfast and brush my hair and I'm not even sure I've got all the vomit off my face this morning [I had gastro this week]." A long first thought, I know.

It's a lovely gesture but really who has time? And it's expensive.

My second thought was: "OMG, my kids are going to eat ALL of this chocolate."

And it's this thought that's lingered and played on my mind. The amount of chocolate the girls received before it was even Good Friday was obscene. I remember when I was at school we might have gotten one egg from the school after the hat parade, I don't remember receiving gifts from other kids. Then the only other chocolate I got was from the Easter Bunny.

I don't want to be an Easter Grinch, but it's kind of killed the joy for me. I want my girls to be wide-eyed in wonder at the sweet treats the Bunny brings on Easter Sunday, but now it's like: "Yeah throw it on the pile."

I'd also like the girls to enjoy some choccy but not to have SO much that it makes them ill. I also don't want to be the bad guy and take away a gift that's been given to them.

The girls are lucky enough to have grandparents, god parents and neighbours who want to spoil them too and I'm so happy for them to be indulged this way.

It's coming home from school laden with eggs, their faces and hands sticky with chocolate that bothers me. Can't Easter cheer be spread with a card or a drawing? I thought it was just me that felt this way, but I read a friend's Facebook status yesterday that echoed my thoughts.

What do you think? Is egg giving at school too much? Should it just be kept to the Bunny and nearest & dearest? Or am I being too uptight, should I just let them have a chocolate gorge and be done with?

Wednesday 4 April 2012


Gastro and a looming Easter hat parade has meant no post today.

Instead check out our hat for the parade tomorrow:

Tuesday 3 April 2012

He's got my thighs

Yesterday, as I waited for Lil-lil to come out of school, the principal yelled across the playground at me: "Look at the size of those thighs! So chunky!"

I blushed, then realised he was talking about D. He could have been talking about me though, it wouldn't have been out of the question. It seems I have replaced sleep with food. Can't sleep, must eat. I'm trying to get energy and enjoyment from somewhere at the moment, which is bad. I long to be fit and slim, I know I can be, I've done it before, but it's going to take time, motivation and me putting down the hot cross buns (and the chocolate and the cake) and moving my chunky thighs now and again.

Every time I think of it, it wears me out and I pick up something to eat. I just.can't. stop.eating. at the moment.

I also want to improve my health. After having pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure is a risk, I don't want to take tablets for the rest of my life. Type 2 diabetes is also in my family. I want to be healthy and here for my kids. I want to run and play with them. I want energy. I want to be alive.

Starting a healthy eating plan the Tuesday before Easter is just ludicrous. So I'll start next Tuesday, but I'll need to plan. I think I need support too.

I also need a plan to get moving. A challenge that's going to keep me interested.

What are your gold star tips for eating and moving? I'd love to hear.

Monday 2 April 2012

The way it should be

Seven years ago today, I walked down the aisle in a gorgeous old hotel. I married the love of my life. It was the start of a journey I had imagined many times, but well reality is always a little different, isn't it? 
We have had amazing times, we've had ordinary times. We've had good times and not-so-good times. We've had times I'll cherish until the moment I stop breathing and times I'd rather forget. Just as anyone who's been married for more than two minutes has. 

This weekend past, we had a truly great weekend. Nothing special happened, maybe that's why it was so good. Just a family of five enjoying each other's company. Laughing, eating and soaking in sunshine. The way it should be. 

Thanks Skip, for everything you do each and every day. Thank you for this weekend. I love you, 100%.

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