Some social commentary on isolation in COVID

Gee we’re living in interesting times.

And that’s not to trivialise any of the sicknesses or deaths associated with COVID here, or around the world.

Absolutely no.

But just look around you. Look around us. Look in your neighbourhood.

We’re all running around like a bunch of chooks with our heads cut off, not quite sure how to deal with another 6 weeks of isolation.

Buying up at the shops… going out quickly to grab those last minute things we just can’t live without!

Calm down people.

Why are we going nuts like we did at the start? Don’t you remember what happened the first time around?

We will still have eggs.

We will still have dishwashing tablets.

We will still have freaking toilet paper.

I for one, don’t mind this round two one bit.

So what? We’ve been in one form of isolation or another since late March. That’s approximately 15 weeks if you’ve been social distancing correctly, and 106 days going off my gratitude blog since this all began.

If this had been done properly the first time around, and restrictions hadn’t loosened as early as they did (I always felt they relaxed too soon) this may not be occurring.

Only Victoria. It had to happen in Victoria. The garden state. The state, ‘on the move.’

Too right coronavirus is on the move.

This time feels different. I honestly feel like if we’re able to get through these 6 weeks with EVERYONE isolating, we will kick this virus well and truly.

Read a book.

Watch a movie at home. You can rent, Netflix, subscribe to an online service.

Go for a walk. Remember that’s still allowed.

Connect via zoom and video calls.

Listen to some old records.

Dance in the kitchen.

Flick through photo albums.

Rediscover the fuel that makes you tick, that which makes your heart soar, and what makes your soul happy.

Sure, some things are gonna suck. Work will be hard, school will be hard (if it’s done from home again, especially hard) and being isolated from those you love can be especially disheartening.

But remember this. What sucks more is this thing going on for months and months because we as a state can’t get it right.

What sucks more is the people who have died from this.

Whatever problem, issue or inconvenience this isolation causes you, it is not as bad as dying alone in a hospital room.

No support. No holding hands. Because that’s what this virus does to you.

Keep that in perspective.

Do it right now, please. Do the right thing, so we can go out in the glorious Spring sunshine come September, and breathe in that fresh air, knowing it is finally, over.

Let’s go from corona, and ‘BC,’ before corona…

To ‘AD.’ After disaster. After disease. After death.

Let’s do it.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The definitive Christmas song list for every man, woman and child!

So either you love Christmas carols, or you HATE them.

People get so passionate when it comes to the festive tunes. You’re either hitting the high notes with Mariah and wailing “All I want for Christmas, is YOOOOUUUUUU!” or throwing a stocking at the stereo when the song comes on the radio for the 3rd time that day… and there are still weeks before Santa arrives.

The first step is honesty here: you are not going to love every single song in the world, so why do you expect the same from Christmas carols? I love Christmas songs and yet there are many I hit skip on my compilation Christmas albums.

The trick is, knowing which songs to go for. There are daggy and possibly I’ll even say it, bad Christmas songs, just as there are amazing and happy and moving and bouncing Christmas songs.

And this is where I present my list to you – the definitive, MASSIVE and all-encompassing Christmas song playlist that will keep everyone from your 6 year-old child to your 80 year-old granny happy and joyful joyful come December 25th.

Here it goes…

First off the bat, let’s get the festive playlist started with –

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” – Andy Williams.

Oh God, I hear this in shopping centres and I just want to hug someone, really I do. It’s a classic and uplifting tune, and gets you right in that Christmas frame of mind.

The best line?:

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids jingle belling

And everyone telling you be of good cheer…”

Ha! Nothing like someone telling you to be happy that gets you pissed right off! If that doesn’t cheer you yet, let’s move on to some…

Buble.

Oh, yes. ♥ No good Christmas song list would dare to omit a Buble Christmas tune!

He is a Christmas legend! He does Christmas specials!

I have a couple to note from him but let’s start with

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

It’s a magical song with hints of whimsical Hollywood, and who can forget lines like –

“And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”

Oh, YES.

Next is Buble’s version of “Santa Baby.”

I preface this by saying that I’ve never really liked the Santa Baby song… anyone’s version. I’ve always found it weird that someone will be singing to Santa in what sounds like such a suggestive and sexual way…

Guys, he is like your grandad. That is just gross. 😖

But Buble, a bloke, does his own manly take on it. It has a touch of swing and cheek, and with plenty of hilarious lines like –

“Santa pally, I want a yacht and really that’s not, a lot

I’ve been a sweetie all year…”

It’s definitely worth a listen.

The last one I’ll mention FOR NOW (yes more Buble is coming so if you’re a fan you’re in for a real treat) is his own Christmas song, Cold December Night.”

It’s got the traditional bells jangling but still has a real contemporary feel to it, while still retaining that Christmas ‘I want you home’ vibe that so many songs encapsulate.

“Stockings are hung with care

The children sleep with one eye open

Now there’s more than toys at stake

‘Cause I’m older now, but not done hoping.”

We’re going to move on now, to another Christmas legend.

Yep. You know it.

How the hell am I meant to write a Christmas song list without mentioning the most commercially successfully penned Christmas song of the last few generations?

It’s, M-A-R-I-A-H. 🤩

Don’t leave! Stay with me please you’ll be glad you did.

I’m going to start with a song you wouldn’t have guessed I would…

“Oh Holy Night.”

This song is something else. Her rendition is classic Mariah, and if you don’t get goosebumps while listening to her high note in the first half, well there is something wrong with you.

From her album, go to 1:39.

Another version. Go to 2:00.

And if you’re still not sure listen to this live piece at 1:41… and then the end of the song.

“Oh night… DIVVVVIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNEEEEEEE.”

Excuse me while I wipe away my tears. 😭

Okay I’ve gathered myself now.

There you go. LIVE my friends. And so much later after it’s first release and listen to that voice!

So clean, so fresh. Wham bam thank you maam. She proves there why she is worth $320 million as of this writing.

Now, I move to the predictable piece.

Bear with me.

“All I Want for Christmas is You.”

You gotta admit, it is a catchy tune. And an awfully clever one. Did you know it took all of 15 minutes for Mariah and her co-songwriter to pen for her 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas? And it continues to amass huge royalties for her all over the world.

It is the 12th biggest selling single ever, of all time as of 2019 (read that, EVER) and because of the layering of multiple music influences within the song, is considered in part by many music critics as the reason for its international success.

Sure it’s overplayed… but personally I love it.

“I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you.”

I mean the film clip is cute but also a bit cringe-worthy what with Santa (her ex Tommy Mottola) picking her up in the snow… ugh I just can’t. That whole “Santa Baby” thing rears its head and makes me uncomfy all over again.

Because of the upbeat tempo, sounds of bells ringing and Mariah hugging the dog and throwing snow in the air, it’s easy to miss the serious meaning of the song. But if you break it down and look at it on paper, you will see it actually is very simple, yet has a lot of depth.

Or… you can just hear it in a different version.

Insert Buble, again 🙂

Michael Buble does an amazing version of this song. It is soooo different – no high piercing notes, no fast beats. In his version all the words sound different yet are exactly the same, and subsequently come forth with more meaning. I for one LOVE the start of his:

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don’t care about those presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

You know that all I want for Christmas is you.”

How serious, how solemn… how sweet. There is more of a sombre tone to this one, and though I love Mariah’s classic and catchy version, I have a really soft spot for this one too.

I bet you might just be thinking of Mariah a bit differently now.

Okay, you can breathe easy, the Mariah mentions are over…

It wouldn’t be a Christmas list without a ‘Christmas special’ mention, and this one is a festive musical combination that will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF…

Brace yourself – Buble and Mariah together.

Singing “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU.”

😯😯😯

OKAY I LIED! Last one I promise.

IT’S TRUE.

Okay now we are truly done.

I’m going to try make the parentals and grandparents happy with this next lot.

We need to go back a long way so that they can rediscover the yester-years and be all teary-eyed in memory, right? Who else can do it better than Bing Crosby (coincidentally the 1st – FIRST! – biggest selling single of all time).

“White Christmas.”

It has that classic old-world feel like all good black and white movies do, and the throwback to the good ol’ days is captured in the line –

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know.”

A couple more golden oldies:

Frank’s “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

And Elvis’ voice was made for “Blue Christmas.” This live version with Martina McBride is fabulous, and just watch the over-excitable girls in the audience about to wet themselves.

BA HA HA. Great film clip.

A couple of slow crooning ones sure, so now we’ll inject some much-needed contemporary pop to the playlist.

We all know her as the blonde-cropped, eye-covering contemporary power-belting Aussie superstar voice that has taken over Hollywood with her distinctive voice and song-writing prowess.

I can only be talking about Sia.

I didn’t know what to expect when her Christmas album came out years ago, but being fans Hubbie and I quickly snapped it up.

Everyday is Christmas features all original songs co-written by the Adelaide native. It’s huge to consider since most Christmas albums are predominantly retakes of old classics… Mariah Carey has 3 original tracks… Buble has 1…

Sia has 10 novel tracks.

They are true to Sia style and contemporary, some almost to the point that they may not traditionally sound like Christmas songs at all. She does the upbeat songs as well as the slow and melancholic ones, and two songs that show this spectrum perfectly are the slow and oddly romantic-sounding “Snowman”

And the sing-a-long favourite “Ho Ho Ho.”

Even baby girl loves this one, so a big tick in the contemporary and also child-friendly department.

I also must mention the very sweet song “Puppies are Forever”

“Puppies are forever, not just for Christmas

‘Cause they’re so cute and fluffy with shiny coats

But will you love ’em when they’re old and slow?”

Awww. What a sweet yet really serious message. Sia is a dog fan so no real surprise in that song. She has done brilliantly in creating a very different Christmas album, with her her intention for the album reportingly being that she felt there weren’t many Christmas songs around that she liked to listen to… so she made them up, of course.

Definitely a worthy Christmas album to have in your jolly itinerary.

While we’re on the subject of those making up their own songs, let’s go back in time to my teen years and re-introduce Hanson.

What? Don’t they sing Mmm Bop? Yes well that and a bazillion other tunes being prolific song writers still to this day. They have two Christmas albums (WOAH!) but it’s their first release from back in the day that many 30-somethings (emphasis, ‘somethings’) will remember to this day.

Their musical influences come from the 50s and 60s and incorporate that classic soulful and rock and roll feel, so it is no surprise that their album Snowed In shows this in spades. (Ha, my first pun!)

They have three original songs here, and two I need to make mention of – the slow “Christmas Time”

“Everybody needs a little loving, around Christmas time

Somehow you got to know you’re going to be alright…”

And the rock and roll and boppy “Everybody knows the Claus”

But they also do great renditions, and “Merry Christmas Baby” is just one of those throwbacks that pays homage to the original in a new way, really well.

While we’re in my teen genre, we need to make mention of some groups and artists that have done really daggy and soppy brilliant Christmas songs.

We’ll start with one of my teen fave’s, and sing along to Nsync’s “I Don’t Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You”

“This is the time of year, when we learn to give

And the greatest gift, is learning to forgive…”

Sage words, especially from a guy with frosted tips.👱‍♂️

You can’t kill me, I’m a fan whose seen him at every Aussie concert! But this is such a 90s crooner… oh man.

Next up on the sickening boyband Christmas list is Backstreet Boys:

With “Christmas time.” Did you hear that lengthy “ooohhhh” at the start of the song from Brian?

Yep. Classic Christmas material.

(Am I meant to be laughing at these songs or convincing you that they’re awesome?) 

🤣

Last on the so-bad-it’s-actually-good-or-is-it series of past teen songs is Britney’s “My Only Wish (This Year)”

Oh God did you hear the opening “oh yeah yeah?” Must be a 90s thing!

“‘Cause I have been so good, so good this year

Can’t be alone, under the mistletoe

He’s all I want and a big red bow.”

Wait, what? What has the bow? 💝

Hmmm.

Moving on now… to GREATNESS.

The saddest yet perhaps one of the best Christmas songs of all time, the one that you just love to belt it out to, well…

“Last Christmas.” Another novel song idea, God this is so good. George is literally singing about being stood up, but he does it in the best 80s way, the way Wham! knew how to do so well… and the song continues to transcend genres and decades to this day and be awesome.

“Once bitten and twice shy

I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye

Tell me baby, do you recognise me?

Well it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me

(whispers) Merry Christmas…”

What an amazing song. Extra special points go out to this one because our beloved George passed away on Christmas day. Therefore he is forever immortalised in Christmas, for so many reasons.

Since we’re on the sad theme let’s also go serious for a moment with another powerful 80s festive tune – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Here’s a fun fact for you… Do you know Bono from U2 did not want to sing the infamous line –

“Well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you!” –

referring to the poor and starving people dying in Ethiopia. But the brainchild behind the multi-artist collaboration to raise money for the famine, Bob Geldof, told Bono that he had to sing it, as it would mean so much more coming from him.

The rest is history, and the group of fifteen or so artists and groups came together and continue to make history, with proceeds of the song apparently still continuing to help people and charities in need all over the world.

Ain’t that a good idea. Buy the single and help someone starving. Merry Christmas to both of you.

And our final sombre look at Christmas comes from another kind of UK legend… John Lennon.

“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” also often referred to as So this is Christmas, interestingly maintains a real festive feel what with the bells ringing and choir kicking in at the chorus, and of course then there is the whole “Have a very Merry Christmas” message throughout. But John injects his own brand of world self-awareness with –

“And so this is Christmas

For weak and for strong

For rich and the poor ones

The world is so wrong…”

The final lines tell us the real point behind his message “War is over, if you want it.” John was trying to save the world, with one Christmas song at a time. If you like to ponder the meaning of life and Christmas festivities then this is the song for you.

A bit of 70s you fancy perhaps? Listen to the music in the Jackson 5 version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

All those beating drums! Well you’d expect nothing less in a song about… drums. Young Michael’s voice is so high and youthful, and this rendition is still a classic what with the increasing urgency of tone as the song moves towards the end.

And, we are nearing the end! Almost there. I told you this was a comprehensive list.

I’ve covered the old-school teens (those now, ahem, ’30-somethings’) but now I’m going to move to some artists that today’s youth will appreciate.

Chuck a couple of these on your spotify and watch their ears perk up.

Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe.”

“With you, shawty with you…” Oh God I have to laugh. Not shorty, but shawty.

But the best line?

“The wise men followed the star

The way I followed my heart…”

Let’s move on now to some Arianna, and having heard this a few times it’s actually okay…

“Santa Tell Me” captures the Christmas teen vibe perfectly, what with oversized sweaters and a sleepover with girlfriends in her bed and the Christmas bells ringing in the background to the pop beat… perfect.

A recent addition to the contemporary genre is Taylor Swift’s “Christmas Tree Farm.” It starts off with a massive touch of classic Hollywood and blends into a festive Christmas melody to flashbacks of Taylor as a baby growing up at Christmas time… on a Christmas Tree Farm. So nostalgia is therefore definitely present. (Ha, second daggy pun!)

I’m going to keep going downwards in age and give you something to make the little tikes happy, yes? Why Christmas is mostly about them, what with Santa and presents and reindeer and being on the good list… so remember to include them when planning your music list.

I’m going to give you two classic Aussie bands that have given us two catchy and can’t-stop-singing-them songs.

(ALERT! CATCHY TUNE ALERT! CATCHY TUNE ALERT!)

The awfully catchy (I mean really catchy) “Santa Claus is coming” by popular kid’s group High-5.

Listen to this once with your child, and well… you’ll hear it a billion more times. Both on your stereo and then IN YOUR HEAD FOREVER. You’ve been warned.

(But you also want to keep them happy, so… )

“Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming

Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING! SANTA CLAUS IS COMING!”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The next one is from the most iconic Australian kids group of all time, who have even gained huge international acclaim and fans.

It’s The Wiggles! (baby girl’s fave!) with “Go Santa Go!”

There is a skit at the beginning of this clip if you need context, you know, to work out who these Wiggly people are… but go to 2:33 if you just want the song. The Wiggles actually have a load of Christmas songs, novel ones too, but this is a terrific one as it’s repetitive, easy for the kids to sing and dance along to as well with those Danny Zuko Greased Lightning type moves…

I’m going to throw a spanner in the works for the next one and add a Christmas parody…

Aren’t all Christmas songs parodies I hear you ask? Calm down I’m joking. If you’ve read this far clearly you are a closet Christmas lover.

I heard this at baby girl’s school Christmas concert, and well, staying in theme with Aussie kids groups, this is an Aussie kids song all about our type of Christmas:

How funny! “Aussie Jingle Bells” is so hilariously outback, that you can’t not smile at lines like –

“Jingle Bells Jingle Bells

Christmas time is beaut

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a rusty Holden Ute.”

OH! Ha ha. The vision that accompanies the song in the film clip, though overdone is actually also spot on for an Aussie Christmas, which I love.

We’re going to stay with the Aussie theme as we head into the final stretch. Why wouldn’t I mention some amazing performers that we have, who make Christmas that much more amazing with their own special versions of classic Christmas songs…

Like two incredible and iconic performers, singing together, Olivia Newton John and John Farnham.

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside.”

Why it took so long for these two to pair up I don’t know, but this song with all the to-ing and fro-ing beautifully represents their voices and the playfulness of this festive tune.

“I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)

To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)…”

I think it’s a charming and cheeky song that honestly, people got all riled up over nothing a while ago.

It’s Christmas people!

Every year I watch the TV carols on Christmas Eve, and the one star who has come into his own performing there time after time is the former Australian Idol winner and great Anthony Callea.

A reality TV winner? On this list?

WAIT. You have not heard him. Included here is the international “Ave Maria,” but if you’re from my generation (so old now) you may remember him tearing down the roof with this rendition of “The Prayer” on Aus Idol, which led to him subsequently winning that season.

He’s gone on to sing that song at carols over the years and he is just AH-MAY-ZING. Search for that song if you like song and then listen to this Christmas melody below. You’ll see why he’s become a staples at the carols and a star in his own right.

Incredible.

Staying on the carols bandwagon, and maybe I am being awfully self-indulgent by naming performers that I feel a soft spot for, but Marina Prior has been a serious carols regular for as long as I can remember, from my childhood. The opera singer has a voice of an angel, and well, you get why she gets to sing “Silent Night” here:

This is one of my favourite traditional Christmas songs. Yes, it’s slow, but as I’ve displayed in this list, just as there is an artist for each age group, so is there a time of day when you should play certain songs. And this one winds up the festive day perfectly.

And also, this list. Because I present to you the final song, and we come full circle by coming back to…

Buble.

The song I’m ending on is the target of a lot of jokes and misspellings out there, such as –

FOR LEASE NAVIDAD

FLEECE NAVIDAD, and

THE LEASE NOBBY DOT? 🤔

(Seriously!)

It’s obviously “Feliz Navidad” which roughly translated means Merry Christmas in Spanish for any people who still don’t know it.

Buble does the most beautiful duet with Thalia in this Christmas special below, and when he sings in Spanish it comes across effortlessly… his Spanish wife would be proud. 🙂

And with that, I end this MASSIVE (I told you) Christmas song list. I haven’t even started to scratch the surface of all the great Christmas songs out there, but this is a great starter and will keep you and your family and friends jolly and merry on Christmas Day.

And to that I say –

“I want to wish you a Merry Christmas,

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas,

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom, of my heart.”

🎵🎅🤶🎄🎁❤🎶

Green Cafe

Lilo Café
1/725 Esplanade Mornington

(Visited January ’18)

It was the Australia Day weekend that had us venturing for a sea view from a café on the Esplanade. During some of Hubbie’s early morning Sunday drives where baby girl and I kept on sleeping (she doesn’t fall far from my tree) he came across Lilo several times, and seeing the amount of people bursting from the joint, decided immediately that we must go there.

And so it was a Sunday. A steadily approaching 35 degree day Sunday. I had to work later in the day so this was our little venture out as a family, trying to pack in quality time before I headed off. As we were seated in the bustling café, at one end of a communal table where there was an older couple on the other end of it, something started to become apparent.

Green vase.

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Green plants (ok duh, but stay with me).

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Green cup.

Green cutlery holder.

Green clock.

Green on the walls.

And then when I looked behind me at the counter/café section there was green everywhere!

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Green, was the theme.

There was a nice quirkiness to it all, not cliché or overdone or just tacky. It was kind of like your Grandma’s house, but not like your average Grandma – rather this was the cool hippie Grandma who never remarried, swings with other like-minded independent pensioners on twice yearly cruises, and out-drinks the 20 somethings at the Christmas gatherings… and goes to bed after they have fallen asleep on the couch. And she loves green because it reminds her of that time with your Grandad at the park… never mind.

That kind of Grandma.

I perused the menu and while Hubbie got his first latte of the day, I opted for a fresh

Watermelon mint and apple cold pressed juice

IMAG8439

(See, green straw).

It was tasty, and I could have easily had another. Hubbie meanwhile had an extra strong latte, as suggested by our waitress when he asked how strong the coffees were (apparently not that strong if he had to order strength up times two).

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(Green saucer!)

The café was fairly busy and noisy too. You could see outside to the trees across the road, which blocked much of the view of the water, but sitting at certain vantage points right near the window would definitely give you peaks of blue and sparkling.

It was hard at times to flag people over for service, being the public holiday weekend that it was, since everyone was out to play and eat, apparently, and also being Mornington having a 50% increase in general foot traffic through the eateries there… but once that was all done and we had a little wait, our breakfasts finally arrived (we were famished by that stage):

I had the Lilo brekkie – two poached eggs on toasted sourdough, potato croquettes, Istra bacon, peperonata

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Hubbie had the B.L.T. Istra bacon, cos lettuce, tomato, relish, Noisette bun, fried egg

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And baby girl had Pancakes with fresh strawberries, ice cream and maple syrup, and side of strawberry jam

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I really enjoyed my meal. The eggs were poached perfectly, the potato croquettes were so yum and creamy, and that combination with the peppers that tasted like the home-style ones our parents make (Hubbie agreed) was just a fanciful flavour combo. The bacon wasn’t as clean as I liked, but that’s why I have Hubbie you see, to take the fat while I keep the clean bits. It was a simple and classic dish, not too weird to put people off of the standard fare, but still interesting enough to be memorable. It was a safe kind of different.

As you can see above, there was green lettuce in Hubbie’s burger… ok I am just kidding. Obviously, it cannot be purple (actually it can, aha!) Hubbie loved his burger, and said he would get chips with it next time. Yes, next time. He had added the egg which was optional, and really I don’t know how anyone can’t when you are having brekkie. He had a side of sauce because SAUCE FANATIC, forgetting that there was already relish in the burger… oops. Never mind, two sauces makes my butcher-sauce-loving Hubbie a very happy man.

Baby girl’s pancakes looked fresh and inviting. But at the same time she was firmly not into berries then, and so all she had to indulge in were the two very small pancakes with lashings of jam that we had asked for, and the ice cream. Size was on the meagre side, as I had to give her half of my toast just to satiate her appetite.

While heading over to the toilets one of several times that visit (experimental 4 year-old, that’s why) the theme that had been so prevalent throughout the dining area only expanded…

Because along with the eclectic wall of teaspoons that decorated the area directly opposite the male and female individual toilets…

The large and spacious inside toilet also continued with the green theme! Can I say, Grandma’s old school toilet is very, very cool. A large model of a lady hung on the inside toilet door, and the green continued in fixtures and fittings, towels and posters. It was a very attractive toilet, if I DO SAY SO myself. It really was, and maybe this was part of the reason baby girl had to go like, 3 times during our visit.

We ordered coffees after our meals were done with, and not surprisingly these probably took just as long as our food to arrive, they were that busy.

Cap, latte, babycino and choc-chip cookie.

Honestly, I was surprised the cookie did not come out on a green plate. Even the choc-chips. Come on, why?! :):):)

The coffee was mild and to my liking… and now I am questioning whether they have green coffee. That would just tip me over the edge. Ok I will stop now.

It was a busy and full experience there at Lilo, and since my time with family was limited, once our bellies were full of all things good, we headed towards the counter…

Food: 8/10. It was inventive yet also traditional in that it gave you the good stuff you would come to expect of a café… and based on our second and third experiences there, we have come to learn that they are very good at balancing the right flavours within a dish. Party in your mouth. Yummo Bravo.

Coffee: 7.5/10. Mild.

Ambience: Very busy and bustly, seems a noisy place and even when there haven’t been many around things just seem to echo. Considering the tranquillity of the across-the-road views, this café seems to block out everything else.

Staff: They were very busy that day, however other times we have found them, how should I put it, hard to come by? They tend to appear on the ‘understaffed’ side, therefore ‘stressed’ side, albeit still trying their best.

People: A very mixed bag, really it is everyone in here, with a good portion of the older generation seeming to inhabit. Why of course, it is Grandma’s friends.

Price: $78.65. That included a 10% surcharge for the Australia day public holiday. Although still acceptable, based on a future review of another café we dined at where we were slogged a 15% surcharge, I have to say…

WHAT THE?

I understand that staff need to be paid extra on the public holidays, and I certainly DO NOT oppose that. But I have two questions/statements, one from me, and one from Hubbie…

There is unreservedly a greater influx of people coming in on these days, meaning more customers = extra $$$, which I argue discounts the need to charge a surcharge to cover your staffs wages.

Second, Hubbie asked: If cafes create this imposed surcharge to cover their staffs additional wages, why then don’t the shopping centres charge us extra on public holidays to cover the definite increased wages they need to pay their staff? Safeway, Coles? Do they charge us extra?

(One can argue they already do, but I mean do they charge us additionally because of this day?)

NO!

It does not make sense. Cafes, STOP doing this, it is wrong and very annoying.

Advice: Now that I’m done with my outburst… sit as close to the windows if you want a sea view. Have one of their fresh juices. Go to the loo, and just be in the moment (seriously). Also if you love carbs, the potato croquettes in the Lilo brekkie are GOOD.

In a nutshell: It’s a café with a wonderfully retro character, which follows cleverly throughout. The food is simple yet done VERY well, and when eating you can tell the chef knows what he is doing. With a beautiful locale, it is easy to see how so many flock to this eatery, both for the food, interesting and homely atmosphere, and also for the chance to peak out at the waters nearby…

I guess it is kind of appropriate that a stretch of bushes and trees watch the café from across the road. Green.

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Lilo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I never wanted to use the hyphen (-) for a murdered woman again

I attended La Trobe University in Bundoora.

From the years of 2002 to 2005. A couple of my high school friends went there too, however we were all varied in our fields of study.

One such friend and I, though interests apart, chose a general subject to study that saw us come together once a week.

Anthropology. 2 hours a week in the late evening, we would often drive in and then drive back home, taking turns at the driver’s seat, and then once the 2 hours were up, made our long walk over to ‘one’ of the car parks.

There were A LOT of car parks. Back in those years, there were about 8. You had to walk some distance through the buildings and grounds and amidst tall trees and bushes of varying greenery to get there…

But there was nothing to be scared of. I remember even when daylight savings ended, and our walk to the car park was amidst black night, our biggest concern was whether spiders had already set up their webs, and so we walked hands outstretched hoping to God we wouldn’t feel something unsightly crawling on our skins.

The only time I was attacked there, was in broad daylight. It was while walking to a tutorial when something whizzed past my head so quickly and so close, that it stirred the hair on my head. Damn bird.

They were the lethal ones.

Not people. Never ever did I feel unsafe from people.

Days after the fatal assault on Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe, who was involved with the university on an exchange programme and never made it back to her apartment on Tuesday night, and Melbourne and the rest of the country is still left reeling.

Not necessarily because this has never been done before. More, because it continues to.

The feeling of déjà vu is chilling. Only 7 months earlier, a vigil was planned for Eurydice Dixon, who was raped and murdered in Carlton North. Thousands turned up to the silent protest to stand for a woman who was taken unfairly, and also, again so close to home. But that wasn’t the beginning either.

2012 saw the nation horrified at the sudden disappearance of Brunswick woman Jill Meagher. Even before the #metoo movement sparked a chord, 10,000 people marched Sydney Road in protest that once again, a woman could not walk home 5 minutes without being assaulted, raped and killed.

And not even that is the beginning.

Because the problem isn’t with all men. No, far from it. It is the underlying culture that men grow up in, the “boys will be boys,” under-handed sexism, and superior gender that prevails and dominates our everyday life, that is the REAL problem.

It is also the underlying culture that women have to put up with. The cat calls, leers and unwanted attention. The keeping keys on you at all times. Looking over your shoulder. Going out in pairs.

Calling someone as you walk alone.

This is the very act that Aiia did as she walked home for the last time earlier this week. So fearful was she over the 5 minute walk from her regular number 86 tram stop to her apartment, that she would call her sister. To imagine the fear that she held, subdued from her physical space, existing only in her mind, to turn into a full-blown living horror as her sister heard the phone fall, some voices, and then nothing… I can’t even imagine.

I don’t want to. But I remember walking those grounds. I remember the Uni, and how dark everything was at night. I shudder.

As females we message our friends, partners, and family when we get home. Aiia didn’t get to message anyone that night. Her body was found strewn and badly battered, to the point where police are still keeping a tight lid on the horrific details of that night.

“But she shouldn’t have been alone at night,’ my Dad said yesterday as we were talking about it.

And therein lies the problem.

Not with my Dad. The problem isn’t with all of the men in my life, or your life, or even most of the men around us. Because most of the men don’t go around sexually assaulting and then killing people.

But some men DO go around imposing unwanted advances on girls that are alone.

And some men DO go around letting off jeers and whistles and making filthy remarks when a woman walks by.

And sometimes, its these actions that escalate to stuff of full-blown nightmares.

Sadly, females are contributing to this. I say this with hesitation, because as soon as I told my Dad it was not right that Aiia (and every other woman) wasn’t allowed to walk home safely at night, I added

“But, I would never walk alone, and I would never let baby girl do it either.”

We as women, are adding to the dialogue, by saying it is not safe.

The culture remains, and that is the problem.

We aren’t teaching our boys to not rape.

But we are teaching our girls to not walk at night.

Jill Meagher

Eurydice Dixon

Aiia Maasarwe

PLUS so many more before them. Plus those that are not murdered, but are left with permanent life-time bruises and scars that will horrify their minds for as long as they are alive.

How many more names have to be added to this list before a conscious effort is made to change the way men and women are taught, raised, expected to perform, and excused? How many more hyphens have to appear until repeated sexual offenders, are not put back on the streets to walk amongst everyday people, and given umpteen chances to strike again? (as was the case in the man who murdered Jill Meagher).

You will notice I have not named perpetrators. They are not people. They are inhumane monsters who deserve no name, no voice, no life. Theirs should be taken away, just like those they consciously and with evil effort decided to take.

All that is left now is the memories of those girls, all the could-have beens, should-have beens, and the questions over whether any of this, is leading to change, a conscious effort, anything good, at all.

 

R.I.P Aiia Maasarwe. Unknown-2019.

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Photo by Zoran Kokanovic at Unsplash

 

Your passion and your loved ones may not hold hands

Hey writers.

Not ‘aspiring’ writers, or ‘published’ writers, ‘wannabe’ writers or ‘successful’ writers…

Just, writers.

I have something I need to share. It’s important.

No doubt it is something we all, as ‘writers’ of the world, have had to face.

Many will be facing it right now.

And if you haven’t already, you’ll be sure to come across it in your writing life.

At some stage, you would have told some of your loved ones, be it your friends or family, that you wish to write.

You want to write. You do, write.

Even if they have already known it for most of your life, even if it is an assumed thing, writing being your background passion and all… no doubt there will have been a moment where you have said out loud “I am doing this.”

I AM GOING TO TRY MAKE A LIFE OUT OF IT.

You are nervous. You are excited. Hell, maybe even like me, you hold off telling most people out of intense fear of their reaction, and only share your personal news with a total of 10 people over a 5 year period.

And when you share that news with your nearest and dearest…

Excited in the prospect of them being sooo happy in you having discovered your life’s purpose, and have chosen to share something so intimate with them…

Relieved to have released a deep-seeded fear…

What do they do?

NOTHING. You tell them, and –

(crickets chirping).

Yup.

There is something you need to realise on this writing journey. And more widely, something everyone needs to realise as they go through life and discover what it is that drives them crazy-happy with a passionate fury.

It is a thing I myself have had to wrap my head around and come to terms with.

The people you love, may not necessarily love your hobby.

They may actually, not think very much of it.

They won’t hate it. But, it might be something of ‘meh.’

Just, MEH.

This can come across as seriously disappointing, especially for someone like me, who has held off on expressing this hobby and passion of mine, to loved and near and dear ones, for years and years and years simply out of fear.

And then, when the moment came… often I realised, it was a bigger thing for me, than it was for them.

And that is ok.

There may be a whole bevy of reasons why your loved ones and your passion aren’t immediate besties… or for that fact, EVER AFTER besties.

Your loved ones may be really busy.

Your loved ones may not know much about your passion.

Your loved ones may find it suddenly difficult to comprehend your sudden discovery at said-passion, and this in turn may highlight some difficult and unanswerable questions for them… those being, what are their passions? What are they doing in their life?

How are they turning their flame on in the routine of life?

Humans are a fascinating and extremely complex breed, and so you can be assured that all of the possible answers will not even begin to fill the paragraphs of this post.

You will notice I have not mentioned a fairly common reason for lack of excitement at the realisation of your passions… and that is jealousy. I have omitted it because real loved ones will not be jealous. They may exude mixed feelings, because of the sudden need to reflect on their own lives. But they will not be envious. They will not see red simply at your long and topsy-turvy journey to getting to your own pre-determined successful, “I’ve made it” destination.

Jealous people are shit people. They are not your loves ones. Keep them at arms length.

They can go f%*k themselves. You need a strong and supportive circle, so get rid of that crap immediately.

Safe to say, you will realise very quickly and easily, who YOUR circle is.

And as is my case, I’ve realised that my circle don’t necessarily have to start a book club for me.

And why should they? I am the only star in my life… as they are the solo star in theirs.

We all have different shit going on. We need to look humbly around us and realise that.

It’s not personal.

It’s just, LIFE.

Your loved ones and your hobby don’t need to get along. They don’t need to go on long walks together. They don’t need to watch a movie. They don’t need to see each other, scream out in delight and exclaim “it’s been so long since I saw you!” before enveloping one another in a giant hug.

As long as they nod some kind of acknowledgement to each other when they pass… that’s cool.

That’s to be accepted.

Our passion isn’t necessarily anyone else’s. And whether you have held off for 5, 10 or 20 years to tell anyone, it won’t be anymore impressive than if you decided yesterday during brekkie you wanted to be a writer after finding 7 grammatical errors in the local paper.

You need to let go of the idea that your loved ones will be as excited for you, as you are excited for you.

In many cases, this won’t be the fact.

And that’s normal.

We can still love our hobbies…. and we can still love our friends…

But we’ll just make sure we see them on alternating weekends 😉

(Note the below is idealistic, yet highly unrealistic!)

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Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

 

 

Women vs. Men #4

Rewind around 4 years ago. Hubbie gets an electric shaver pack for his birthday including a very metro-man moisturiser, body wash, and other bathroom pushing-the-boundaries-of-masculinity-for-him, ‘products.’

Me: “You should use this moisturiser, it’s really good. And it’ll help the flaky skin on the side of your face.”

Hubbie: “I’m gonna use that moisturiser?!”

Me: (sigh).

Fast forward to last year. I buy him a moisturiser this time, as part of his Christmas present.

Christmas morning. Unwrapping presents. I have killed it in the presents department that Christmas. Every present he opens – boom! I’ve nailed it.

He opens the moisturiser.

Hubbie: “Why did you buy me a moisturiser? I already have one! You’re just wasting money!”

Me: (unsure if the last good moisturiser went missing) “Well just use it!”

Hubbie: (sighs).

– Moisturiser stays untouched –

Months later, a wedding.

In the car.

Me: “Look at you!” I scrape my fingernails against the dry skin on the side of his face, drier because he jumped out of the shower half an hour ago. The flakes fall to his suit jacket, and I dust them off his shoulders hastily.

“Why don’t you use the moisturiser?! I don’t know why you don’t use it, it will help your skin!”

Hubbie: (ignores me).

Me: “You spend so much time looking at yourself in the mirror, making yourself look good, and then THAT-” I point threateningly at the side of his face ” – that let’s you down.”

Silence.

I give up. No more word on the moisturiser. I can’t change the spots on this leopard.

(Or can I?)

Fast forward again to a few nights ago. Baby girl is having a bath. Hubbie sits as usual, up on the bench near the sink, while I crouch beside the bath near her.

Randomly. Out of nowhere. Hubbie picks up the moisturiser I bought him that has just been sitting there on the bathroom bench for yonks, gathering dust (literally, I dust around and on top of it all the time).

“I might put some of this on.”

Focused on baby girl, but still hearing him, I’m slightly shocked. “Yes! Use it!” I urge him. She splashes, and I’m only half-aware as he lays it on.

The following night.

Hubbie: “Hey, you know that moisturiser? It actually worked!”

(FACEPALM).

Me: (a strong combination of frustration due to intense I-told-you-so, and relief, and yet still the need to heavily promote the moisturiser).

“Of course it worked! Why don’t you like, actually listen to me a bit more, because I am right! I use moisturiser ALL THE TIME! You know I put body lotion on after every shower, because I don’t want dry skin. Who wants dry skin? You don’t want dry skin…”

But I’ve lost him again. I lost him at

‘I am right.’

Of course I did.

Women vs. Men #4

The Age of the Epiphany

If you’re anywhere under the age of 30, remember this: Your parents are right about EVERYTHING.

I’ve always listened to my parents advice, don’t get me wrong. I guess I was just kinda like working things out for myself, and thinking, like the over-confident Leo I can sometimes be, that I can do it differently, and better, my own way.

Ha.

My parents and my MIL are all super-paranoid when it comes to their babysitting duties with baby girl. They’ll cover the coffee table with the throw we have draped over our lounge, trying to cushion the pointy corners so that if she were to fall the material would soften the blow. When she runs around the dining table at full speed, they cringe. They used to barricade the bottom of the stairs with the pram, so that she couldn’t climb up them.

I didn’t so much mind all their little additions, but I told them to stress less and to not spend so much time worrying. Yes, sometimes she fell. It was never anything major, it toughened her up and taught her a bit about what she should and shouldn’t do. For some reason though, having them put the throw on the table… well it just shit me. I don’t know why. The throw was for the couch, and they were covering the coffee table with it. I felt like saying ‘she never falls near the table with us, stop over-reacting!’ To add to it, Mum further aggravated me with her comment “That’s ok, we put it on when you’re not here.” And then she laughed. Grrr.

Last week, baby girl fell while running around with her Dad, and hit her head on the tiles. It was the smallest of hits – Hubbie didn’t even think her head touched the ground. But the blood splatters on the floor and the drops down her jumper told us otherwise.

I can’t begin to express the chaos that followed that incident. There were tears and freak-outs, mostly from me. She had hit her head, but it was a minor graze, and she settled very quickly after. Thank God. But it was a major wake-up call for us. Our parents’ constant stresses and worrying was for a good reason. They had raised us. They had been through all of this before.

I haven’t said boo about the throw on the coffee table since.

On the weekend, Hubbie and I had a decent blue. We were arguing, and were both very stubbornly holding our individual positions. We were shouting angrily at each other, and not because of something we had done or said to the other- it was about a family member. I went to bed that night seething, yet so sad. And I contemplated how every single time we’ve had a big argument (minus the every day nagging stuff you just get used to) it was about a family member. I fell asleep on that.

To my surprise, we made up immediately the next morning. I didn’t think there was any going past it. But Hubbie was adamant that we weren’t to yell at each other like that again, and made the same observation that I had: all our big fights weren’t about us.

We are good, so good together. And we realised, through this struggle, that we shouldn’t let outside interference get in the way of our relationship. In fact that weekend I had read a quote about struggles being the instigators to find another way forward. Which we had. I also heard my Mum’s words circling around in my head:

“Never let anyone get in the way of your family. People will always try to make trouble between you, but don’t let them.”

Even though there was no one intentionally making our lives difficult, it was so true that we shouldn’t be letting an outsider get in the way of US.

You might be lucky, and under the age of 30 and know all of this. You may be older, and still learning. That’s ok. Life is a process. It’s fortunate if you can learn from the experiences and words of others, but often the best way to learn is when you live the lessons yourself. Just try to make the tough lessons a vicarious experience, if you can.

Affogatos rock at the Swish Beach House

Beach House Barwon Heads
48 Hitchcock Avenue Barwon Heads

At first, I didn’t want to go into this restaurant. I was dressed up, perhaps a bit too much for the beach locals, and felt that I would stand up insurmountably against everyone else there. People looked casual sipping their drinks and watching people walk by at the front of the premises Parisian style, and I was actually, inwardly groaning as we walked up into the restaurant.

There was not much up our food-alley on offer on our second night there at Barwon Heads. We had parked ourselves once again along Hitchcock Avenue: we had already dined at Barwon Orange, and wanted to try something different; Annie’s was closed that night, and the one I had tried to book before discovering they weren’t open on Monday’s was Café Maritana. That we would discover the following night. At the Rocks had too many recent bad reviews on Urbanspoon for me to want to risk throwing our holiday dollars away there, and everything else in close proximity was either closed, or too cas. We weren’t going to have fish and chips. We wanted to sit in nice surroundings, and eat and relax for a couple of hours.

Hubbie convinced me in. I ignored the looks and walked behind him, trying to hide behind baby girl. I love dressing up, but I hate staring. I can’t stand it. So what if I’m dressed up? You don’t have to ogle.

I was immediately relieved and impressed when I saw the interior. This, was much fancier. In fact, by looking at the exterior, I never would have guessed the interior would have looked like this. The tables and chairs were a dressier version of the outside, with a large bar in the middle of the room and ample space to be seated. Even so, we were greeted by a serious lady who asked if we had booked. Was this a thing in Barwon Heads? As someone said on Urbanspoon, this isn’t Melbourne. This place certainly had the space to fit us, and nearby empty tables didn’t seem to have a reserved sign. In fact, as we had learned the previous night at Barwon Orange, even in that smaller space they had been able to sit us. Fortunately, she seated us, and so become one unexpectedly great night.

Inside it was swish, but the beachy vibe was still there with huge leaf-like fans across the ceiling. Even the people dining in there were more stylish, wanting to make a meal out of the night, as it were.

We ordered drinks and baby girl’s meal first, and I informed our lovely young waitress if they could bring out her meal ASAP – they didn’t have to deliver it with ours. It came surprisingly quick, right after our drinks came, and conveniently right on time as she was starting to fuss.

Mini steak, shoestring chips, garden salad with tomato sauce

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It was $12, so cheap yet so large! We fed her and kept her happy, using her leftovers as our entrée. Hubbie was pleasantly surprised with how succulent her steak was, and said “If our meals are anything like this…!”

I’d ordered an Almost Heaven cocktail, and the name pretty much summed it up for how the night was to become. It wasn’t overwhelmingly beautiful-looking, served just in a tall glass, but it was fresh and summery, and suited the night to a T.

Almost Heaven – Passionfruit infused vodka, Chambord, passionfruit Tiro

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We had ordered something different, different from our usual anyway. I usually go for a pasta, seafood or chicken dish, while Hubbie happily gets his steaks with veggies/chips/salad. Instead, I ordered the

Char grilled Eye fillet, with French fries and a garden salad

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While Hubbie ordered the Confit pork belly, with a rice noodle & crips vegetable salad in ‘Chowhouse’ chilli dressing

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The eye fillet was a very big and thick piece, and for my request of medium-to-well cooked with no blood, looking at it as it arrived on our table I wasn’t feeling confident it had been fulfilled. Even cutting into it and seeing the red ooze out, I went “oh no.” But then I realised that the red was just the juices, not in fact the blood, and the inside was very acceptably cooked: in fact, my butcher Hubbie very assertively said that given the size and request, it was cooked to perfection. Farrrrr. He said perfect? And after I tasted it, I couldn’t agree more. Well you’d hope so for $41.

It had a great flavour, and although the porcini and red wine butter was very distinctive in taste, I actually loved it, and was remembering the taste days after the meal. I had crisp fries and salad on the side, and happily ate it all. The salad was like the salad we’d tasted on baby girl’s plate, crisp and so-fresh tasting. It’s so hard to get a fresh salad nowadays. And the tomatoes, actually TASTED like a tomato, straight from the garden.

Hubbie’s meal of pork belly was baked confit-style, and so he wasn’t used to eating it a different colour than the usual grilled-style colour he gets. However it was soft and flavoursome, and he thoroughly enjoyed the Asian style salad on the side which had sweet and spicy characteristics. The combination was good, different yet still enjoyable.

Considering we had both ordered different meals to our usual choices, at a first-time restaurant for us, and been happy with the results, I thought of as a very good outcome. It’s hard to win at that, but we did. All the food was soon gone, even baby girl’s with our assistance.

I was feeling really content after my meal, but not overly-full like I’d felt the previous night. We decided to do it, and boy were we happy when we both ordered and got this:

Affogato – Genovese espresso, vanilla ice cream, liqueur of choice, hazelnut biscotti

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While baby girl got scoops of vanilla ice cream. At only $3 a serve, why the hell not?

I had requested bailey’s on the side while Hubbie had asked for cointreau. The presentation of the ice cream with coffee on the side, a shot of liqueur to the other side, and a biscuit in the ice cream, was PERFECT. It looked divine, and it TASTED divine. I loved the biscuit. LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Tell me where you buy it and I’m buying it in bulk. Beautiful accompaniment to the coffee, a great crunchy and nutty texture. YUM.

The only fault with this dish, that kept it from being a 10/10, was the quantity of coffee. The quality was excellent, but there was just that little bit too little coffee in the cup. But if that’s the only fault, you know they’re doing well.

Everything went superbly that night. Along with our amazing food, our waitresses, in particular our main one was very, very nice and friendly, including to baby girl, and it was on that night we were starting to realise just how much of a difference that makes to her. When she shrieks, she does it out of joy, or for attention, and with the waitresses actually responding and smiling at her, as the other very friendly nearby diners were, she was absolutely rapt. She was a happier baby, which made our time there much, much happier. Some people may not care much for ratings on ambience and the nature of the staff and the people who frequent the restaurants we go to, but trust me, with children in tow, these things are vital. Because if your child is happy with you, your experience will be all the more enjoyable. Especially with children, friendliness matters.

The waitresses here seemed nicer than those at Barwon Orange (and s!&t all over the ones at Annie’s – sorry to be so frank), and maybe that was solely because they had actually smiled and spoken to her. I don’t need waiters to pick up my girl and twirl her around. I just want them to acknowledge her with a smile, when she smiles and waves at them. I want her growing up knowing that there are good people in this world. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

The friendliness of those around us, along with the more spacious nature of the restaurant, meant that even when baby girl shrieked with glee at all the attention she was getting, it was drowned out, meaning no chefs were looking over from their kitchens this night. LOL. Family-friendly, tick.

Food: 8.5/10. Simple food, done well. I like how the colour of our fries was golden, meaning fresh oil. That affogato… OMG. Almost 10/10 on its own.

Coffee: 8.5/10. Would like to try their cappuccinos one day, if their short blacks are anything to go by.

Ambience: Fantastic for families. Big and loud, but still that bit special and fancy.

Staff: Apart from the door-lady, our waitresses were very friendly and very nice. Our main waitress was constantly on-the-go, yet despite this still managed to give attention to baby girl. At one stage she was so busy she forgot to bring us our dessert menu, but we totally didn’t mind as we were having the best time. She didn’t forget the other crucial thing though, which was the smiling of course. 🙂

People: Fancier inside, but really lovely. Two large groups of people were seated near us throughout the night, and both times they were all so nice, and unexpectedly giving baby girl loads of attention. I mean LOADS. This was baby girl’s night, she was loving it. This kept her distracted, occupied and busy, which made things easier for us, and a distinguishable key in the success of the night.

Price: Well, we ordered 3 meals, 3 desserts, and 3 drinks. Some large, some small. For a total of under the mid $100s, which was expected. On key, I think, price-wise.

Advice: Book in advance. I think this is a Barwon Heads thing. Or a holiday-period thing. Or a Summer thing. Either way, just book, anywhere in Barwon Heads. And that’s it. Nothing else. Loved it.

In a nutshell: Simple food, served well and fresh and wholesome, in a great bustling environment that’s still fancy enough for those wanting something finer – just dine inside if you want fancy. We were really happy with our night, our meals, and how happily everyone there responded to our baby girl. A lot of great memories were made on that particular night in Barwon Heads, at Beach House Barwon Heads, which means we’ll look back on it fondly. We will definitely go back on our next visit in town, and I will end on this note: Thank God I didn’t let the exterior form my final opinion on dining there.

There’s a good moral for ya. 😉

Beach House Barwon Heads on Urbanspoon

Things that shit me… #5

Someone please tell me: what is the deal with the wide inconsistency of coffee cup sizes?

I currently have a takeaway cappuccino on my desk at work. It resembles the size of what I call a medium, yet when I ordered it I had to ask for ‘large.’

Yesterday I ordered from another café, and their version of a medium is actually slightly bigger than the large I’m looking at right now. The size matches what I would call a medium, but how is today’s large coffee smaller?

This shits me. Cafes that only serve regular coffee sizes, shit me. Especially when they border on the ‘small-pathetic-size.’ (Small sizes should not exist in coffee world). Cafes that serve itsy-bitsy coffees, and market them as ‘large,’ shit me.

All you cafes, you shit me. Call a medium, a medium. A large, a large. And call a small, a pansy. That’s it. Simple.

A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet… in this case the coffee still smells good but there’s not enough of it, damn it.

Things that shit me… #3

Citylink. Frustration is another level for this one.

For non-Melbournians and our close interstate neighbours in the (un)fortunate position to not be well-acquainted with this man-made device, just know that I am speaking of a ‘toll road’ and that most people living in populated areas will have some measure of understanding of this much-needed but could-really-do-without ‘accessory’ to our roads.

Hrmph.

Since I have started back at work, I’ve decided that it’s long enough not seeing baby girl ALL day, to then drive home through the city in peak hour. Yeah, in the mornings I do the drive-through-city thing, but when I wanna go home and see baby girl ASAP, I use Citylink.

The first time I used it: not too bad.

The second time I used it: absolute shit house.

Let me explain. It’s simple really. Citylink is meant to provide you an alternate and faster route home without having to deal with lights, congestion, and just general peak-hour nonsense that sends the gentlest of humans mad. I’ve had a look at their charter on their website, and they even state that their promise to their customers is to provide free flowing traffic: they call it ‘travel certainty.’ So even if you remove the ‘get-home-faster’ idea that most people have about Citylink, the fact that they want the traffic to move constantly, is kind of in the same field, yes?

(Deep breath).

So what is the freaking point of paying tolls on their road when your trip home takes about the same time as what it would if you were actually travelling through the city in peak hour? Huh? WHAT IS THE POINT?

I was secretly fuming over this notion last Friday. I was driving home via the ‘blue,’ and right after I entered near Footscray Road, the stupid freeway was full. I drove slowly, slowly, slowly, thinking ‘what the hell has happened? Is it an accident?’ When I passed the 1st ‘incident’ (many, many, many, many, many, many, many – get it? minutes after driving SLOOWWLLYY) all I saw pulled over to the left of the road in the EMERGENCY lane (note, out of the traffic) was a car pulled over, apparently broken down, with roadside assistance helping them out… and that was it.

That was it. There was a break-down not affecting the outbound traffic in any way, yet that stupid group known as rubberneckers just had to slow down, and take a geez.

Like seriously, in the words of Big Brother “how does that affect your time in the house?” Dickheads.

And all these rubberneckers, all these dickheads, were preventing me from getting home to see my daughter. Keeping me from hugging her and being with her just that little bit longer, making damn sure our night-time bonding was limited and making the whole night that much more rushed, because slowing down to look at a woman who’s car had broken down was going to enlighten their sad, sad, pathetic lives.

Those morbid people with their perverted little eyes. They drive me freaking insane.

On I continued, past the broken down car, hurtling insults at the cars in front of me: “just drive!”

Closer to home, the traffic slowed down again. I’d heard something on the radio about there being an accident at a certain point, on an access ramp, but I thought it had cleared by when I drove by it, as there had been no sign of a bingle anywhere. Still, the traffic was really slow. ‘What the hell is going on?’ I thought. Again.

And then. As I finally came to drive past a ramp that entered onto the freeway I was on, I saw a car pulled over with an assistance vehicle behind it. On the ramp. Before entering the freeway. Out of our route. Yet the rubberneckers were at it again, and ogling the scene to the side of them.

I wanted to scream.

Now, you might argue that this is no fault of Citylink’s. You might say, “it’s not their fault that people have accidents and don’t know how to drive efficiently.” True, on both points. But when you are promised a service, a certain outcome, especially in exchange for your money, well I think you bloody hell should get that service promised, don’t you?

I’m only talking about a few dollars on the trip home, but why should I part with dollars that haven’t even brought me home any quicker? To make things worse, the kms I spend using Citylink are far greater than when I drive through the city the LONG way home, if that makes any sense at all. So I’m also contributing to the further wear-and-tear of my car, parting with money, AND not getting home quicker. Dollars are nothing, but you know what, over time they add up to a lot. And more than anything, it’s the moral of paying for something, and not getting what you paid for.

This isn’t just a ‘shits me’ post though. No. I’ve come up with a plan. 😉

I think, that Citylink should install scanners and cameras at all of their entry and exit points on all their tollways. Not unlike what they do now to charge us for using their roads. And as these cars enter their roads, they should be scanned. And when they exit at any of their exit points, they should be scanned. Not unlike what Citylink do now.

If the time taken to travel from point to point, exceeds the average time for that time of day, (with normal traffic congestion due to peak-hour also taken into account), then the Citylink user should be refunded what they normally would have paid. The trip should be FREE.

To be fair to Citylink, if the trip from whatever to whatever point is double or more the average, that’s when the refund should come into place. And the cameras serve the purpose of establishing that yes, there has been a genuine incident keeping drivers from getting from point to point in more time than normal, rather than that customer just trying to score a free trip.

This would also benefit Citylink too. By establishing this ‘get there quick or don’t pay’ initiative, they would attract more customers to their network, and just generally promoting a fair service where one actually gets what one pays for would skyrocket them into the popularity and money-making stakes, even more so.

And do you know where they would get that money for all those refunds from?

The accident-causing idiot drivers and the rubberneckers.

And the cameras would be catching them.

Of course, if you weren’t at fault in a tizzle, you wouldn’t pay at all. Only the stupid drivers would be forking out any cash. It would work by encouraging drivers to educate themselves further on the roads by learning the proper rules, staying focused, keeping their eyes on the road and to the task at hand (um, driving?) and this would benefit EVERYONE. The costs of paying such a high amount, to refund all those customers their tolls because of their incompetent driving, would be enough to deter anyone from slacking off on the roads.

I have thought of it all.

I still have to further determine how rubberneckers would be identified. I think maybe their kms would be an alert: for example if the cameras detected an average of 80 kms an hour for that time of day and traffic was moving at about that rate, and then one car slowed down to 50 kms an hour for no other reason (weather excluded) than to peer at a crash or scene on the side of the road that wasn’t directly affecting his drive home, well then going by the rule of slowing down more than 10 kms an hour, would make him the culprit and person payable for all those fees, if it was enough to slow down everyone’s drive home and make their trip DOUBLE the duration. Capiche?

The only drawback to all of this would be that these new Citylink rules could certainly intimidate many drivers into not using Citylink at all, in fear their driving would not be up to scratch and they would incur many fines. But this too sounds brilliant, thinking of the possibilities of an uber-army of Citylink drivers who are so skilled at driving, easing into the freeways and exiting with the greatest of efficiency and street smarts. Drivers who have their eyes on the road and to the task at hand – getting home, not getting the goss on the side of the road. This could create a magnificent reputation for Citylink and their customers – only the best drivers – and for a company, that ain’t too bad either.

So, in summary of this fine and brilliant idea:
– If it takes a Citylink customer at least double the time than is the measured average for that time of day to get from point A to point B, they are refunded the cost of that trip
– Exclusions to this would be bad weather likely to cause danger; over-congestion due to holiday peak periods
– If in the event of an accident, or another event disrupts the drive home causing a longer than normal drive time, the perpetrator of the unnecessary event (the idiot) is payable for all damages, for all cars that have had to endure at least DOUBLE the drive time home.
– Likewise for rubberneckers: the ones who initiate the rubbernecking, and those who have adequate space in front of them to drive but still choose to slow down at least 10 kms to have an ogle, will be subject to pay the refunds of any drivers whose trips are doubled due to their need to ‘know.’ Are you going to want to know how much you’re going to pay? Well?
– Scanners and cameras at all entry and exit points, as well as other select locations, will be implemented to check point to point durations and also determine for accuracy’s sake, whether there is an ‘incident’ or not.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much. I am a Citylink customer, and all I want to do, is get home efficiently, and without incident. I want to be home as soon as possible, to see my girl, to see my husband, and because I don’t have time for traffic. I’ll pay to get home quicker, but I expect results at the same time.

Otherwise I’ll just take the scenic city route home.

“In being a responsible company we promise to listen and improve.”

Listen and improve.