Swimming parents who steal your spot in the change rooms.
Please, LET ME EXPLAIN.
And if you are this swim Mum or swim Dad, I HATE YOU. You deserve a bunch of soaking-chlorinated swimmers thrown in your face.
This happens more times than I dare to count. If I start to count, God help me.
When baby girl goes to her swimming lesson, it is at a peak after-school time.
When I take her to the change rooms straight after for a quick dry and change, it is still peak after-school time.
Do you know what happens almost all the time?
We walk in. Baby girl has to go to the loo, immediately.
So I put her change bag and shoes down. At a free spot. One that is a-v-a-i-l-a-b-l-e. One side of the change rooms is all benches and places to hang your towels and bags, and I pick one that doesn’t have anyone else’s stuff around it before quickly heading into the toilet with her.
I head in with her, because while in there I pull off her sticky swimmers and wrap her in a towel.
We are out in 2 minutes. Sometimes less.
And as we walk back over to the benches, I take a deep breath, knowing…
someone has taken my spot.
They are literally changing their dripping child into fresh clothes. They are practically in my spot, almost standing on baby girl’s shoes, practically nudging her change bag, and anyone else walking in would be totally forgiven in thinking that baby girl’s stuff, is theirs.
But the stealer of space is not forgiven. They have invaded my space and they and their child and stuff is all in my face! If I did go to my spot to change baby girl, we would be hugging (or I would be strangling them) THAT’S HOW CLOSE WE WOULD BE.
You haven’t heard the clincher, wait for it…
I look around, and there is available bench space around that doesn’t include my bag.
LIKE WHAT THE ACTUAL F%$K????
They have room to change their child elsewhere, and these morons continually pick a spot where my stuff already is!
And you know what I do? Like today… I head over to my stuff, snatch it away and walk off… to a free spot.
I am at swimming every week having these knocked-around-like-Beyoncé moments:
The woman no matter who she is, will NEVER say anything. I should park my car so close to hers so she can’t get into her driver’s side, and just stare at her when she has to climb in through the passenger and accidentally lodges herself on the parking brake.
Not pissed much.
This riles me up soooo bad. And I know I am all glass half-full gratitude gal over here… but do not be surprised if one day you hear a news report and it goes something like…
“Chaos today on the Peninsula as a woman is pelted with swimming noodles after taking the spot of another in the change rooms… full details after the break.”
The crazy Christmas lead-up in early December saw me say “no, I want MORE mayhem!” as I headed over to my second bloggers meet-up at The Enchanted Adventure Garden.
Only ‘crazy’ was not what I felt as we wound up higher and higher up Arthurs Seat road, watching the Eagle chairlifts hover over us temporarily as they made their casual descent/ascent…
and ‘crazy’ was not what I felt as we first passed Bowens Point
And then Franklins Lookout
and then finally, Chapmans Point
It was serene, with a small dose of beautifully scary as I viewed the perilous drop from the cliff face. No, my memories of last travelling on that stunning Arthur’s Seat Rd hill, were from about 7 or so years ago before baby girl came along, when Hubbie and I, having not even considered the words ‘Sea change’ then, were heading to our beautifully intimate Arthurs Seat hill accommodation for the night, and as I observed that it was pitch black and almost scary how there were no lights around, he turned to me devilishly and gave me his best ‘Michael-Jackson-as-possessed-zombie-in-Thriller’ face look, to which I screamed and started to cry.
So no. These views were NOT scary compared to that strong memory.
And crazy was suddenly so far from mind, so removed from my being, that the Christmas rush was only a faint memory as we parked and observed the car park and surrounds…
And I realised, we are not in Kansas anymore baby girl. But that’s what happens when you come to the Mornington Peninsula now, is it?
Us bloggers were greeted to a lovely morning tea and a brief introduction to all that the Adventure Ground is, and does.
Immaculate gardens, picnic area galore, mazes, Adrenalin-junkie fun, kids paradise, relaxing walks, and even a sweet-tooth’s dream! Why, is there anything Enchanted didn’t cover?
I was soon to find out. Off I went with baby girl with my map of the grounds, my critical eye out and ready for my review…
Statues – tick. √
Finely trimmed hedges – tick. √
Brightly coloured flowers – tick. √
Ok, so this was all well and good for the adult eye, but I needed to keep my daughter happy, and looking at trees was something she had not grown to appreciate as yet.
We followed a path and soon found ourselves in the Turf Maze, a fantastic and relaxing premise based on a practice by Monks in the Middle Ages, used as a meditative tool as they would walk around and around in repetitive circles in silence, aided only by their feet and their thoughts. I got baby girl started on one end as I started taking photos of… the trees.
I LOVED that tree. Just l♥ved. I developed some serious tree envy as I took several dozen photos of it, and baby girl skipped through a few maze lines, and then was suddenly at the exit of the maze.
Right-o. I don’t ‘quite’ see her meditating in that space, but at least it kept her somewhat busy.
I had promised her a playground (with absolutely no idea whether they had one or not – massive parenting risk), and so that is what we were looking for when we came across this sign.
It seemed the only fun active activity we could do together, in lieu of getting my 4 year old to tree surf by my side, which I was not going to do solo (again, parenting-risk doing it ALONE). Zip-lining was out too.
W observed the tree surfers in the trees up ahead of us, blending in quite nicely I might add, and immediately decided I would come back there with my adventurous, scare the living daylights out of me Thriller-seeking Hubbie.
Finding the tube slides was fairly easy, as it is actually hard to ignore five 100-metre long slides that steep down from the hill decline.
There are tube slides for littlies, from 4 and up, so baby girl could have very well gone on it by herself, since the smaller weight actually makes them travel down slower… but no. I decided to take her with me on the adult ride…
and then plummet down super fast while I thought “oh shit we’re going to flip.”
We didn’t. In fact we went up twice, and on our second trip down the tube turned backwards, so that I really was freaking then “we’re going to flip! We’re going to flip!”
WE DIDN’T. It was the best fun, but the fact of having to haul a huge tube up a steep hill, carrying a fairly heavy handbag, in heat, and while wearing inappropriately heeled shoes, well, it kind of influenced me to cap the tube slides at TWO.
Baby girl was left thoroughly captivated. And yet still, as we headed off down some other paths to explore, she had not forgotten about that damn playground I had promised.
She looked here and there
She did the usual whine and moan and unsatisfied toddler routine. Damn me. Why had I gone and said something I had no clue about?
(Baby girl going all 14 year-old hormonal on me)
I stopped to view some interesting sculpture art along my tree-lined walk.
Art and sculptures from Aboriginal, Australian and European artists collided and worked magically together in this most wondrous of gardens.
And then we got to another maze, the Blue Gum Gallery, and I followed a fast baby girl around it, as she laughed at how incompetently slow I was.
This cheered her up somewhat, and since by this stage we were close to the café from where we had started our walk, it was soon time to go, and clearly I had come across no such playground from the depths of my imagination. I shut down another protest from her with an insane idea, but it worked.
“Do you want lollies?”
And just like that, a 4 year-old’s face lit up.
We went inside, paid $5 for a cup, and filled it to the brim with all kinds of devilishly sickly sweet goodies. She ate them slowly in the car, stopping every so often to mumble “mmm, yummy…”
Parenting done right. 😉
The Enchanted Adventure Garden
55 Purves Road Arthur’s Seat
General Park Entry for Adults: $30;Child/Seniors $20
Mazes,Giant Garden Brainteasers, captivating Gardens to picnic at and view in all of their pristine natural glory;
Tube slides –of which there are 6 to choose from: 3 Big Twisters, 2 Straight Giants, and 1 Kids Only slide. Kids need to be 4 to ride on the Kids slide on their own, any smaller and they must ride with an adult.
Canopy Walk –a suspended path that brings you in amongst the trees, that runs through the park, ideal for small children, older people and people with prams.
a 3D indoor spooky maze –pop on your 3D glasses and watch things pop out at you! Ideal for teens and older kids.
Plus MANY more fun things to discover as you meander around.
Both kids and adults alike can experience the Tree Surfingon offer. The little nippers course is for kids aged 4-12, though kids aged 4 and 5 need an adult to accompany them on the course.
The tree surfing has various degrees of difficulty for both amateur and professional, mild and reckless adult thrill-seekers alike! Includes bridges, zip lines, obstacles and tree platforms, prices for both Nippers and Grand Tree Surfing courses start from$50 for Adults, and $40 for Children/Seniors, with a 2 hour limit per activity.
But if you need your adrenalin rush and lack the time, need not fear! The Tree Zip Linemay be just what you need, and those competitively charged, you can even Zip alongside a friend and see who gets to their destination first! Prices are $40 for Adults,$30 for Children/Seniors.
Active wear highly recommendedfor these ACTIVE activities, and closed-toes shoes a MUST!
I must reiterate again, despite baby girl’s temperamental attitude towards a lack of playground, there ARE kid-friendly activities and things to do, and they abound. However on that day there were several tree-top renovations happening up above, getting all geared up for the crazy holiday season, and so a couple of areas of the Gardens appeared incomplete. The above is an indicator of what is up on offer, but isn’t a complete list, as there is also a Children’s Maze, something we didn’t see on that day but I think would be perfect for a curious baby girl.
Need I say again, closed-toed shoes?
Make your life easy and don’t wear heels.
More advice? Carry light. When I hauled that tube up the hill twice, in my heeled shoes carrying my heavy handbag, I developed lower back pain two nights later and immediately knew where it had come from.
For God’s sake don’t be like me, wear appropriate footwear, pack light, and carry the tube as unforcefully as you can. Or bring Hubbie along and he can do it.
And if all else fails, remember…
(Mwa ha ha!)
At first glance perhaps pricey on entry, but when you see all the beauty and fun, relaxation and learning that these Gardens have to offer, you will see that it is well worth the price.
Our visit there was rushed, so I cannot wait to go back and explore some more.
And for something different, an alternative and highly entertaining present would be the Tree Surfing and Zip Lines as a fabulous and inventive gift idea.
“What?” I stared at my phone in disbelief. I didn’t know what to think. It was a while ago and a beautiful coincidence later, when I had happened across the words ‘Mornington Peninsula Bloggers’ in a Peninsula-based facebook page.
There was a group in my area, for bloggers? I didn’t even realise local blogger groups existed, and then I was soon finding out that they were often hosted by organisations in order for some kind of ‘review’ to be later posted by them…
Surely they were buying a positive review. I balked at the idea of being ‘bought.’
“Yeah right,” I thought. I was going to write a nice review about someone just because they paid for some of my stuff? Don’t forget I waged war on one institution which I will never visit again, and though I don’t go out of my way to bag them, if anyone ever asks me where to go Lygon Street way, I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut.
I like to think I am fair, but also, I am picky.
I couldn’t fathom this ‘pay-for-positivity’ idea circling in my head, and so went to Hubbie.
“They’re going to shout you food?” He looked at me incredulously. I really wanted him to go all moral and high-ground like me, and yet his expression told me otherwise.
“Go!” he urged. “You don’t have to write a positive review.”
“But I feel I’ll have to!” That was the clincher. All those food posts I’d read on other sites. They prologue their review with
“Restaurant X&Y hosted us that evening, but all opinions are my own.”
You know what that translates to?
“All opinions have been diluted through my well-fed tummy… What is an ‘opinion?’… More food please… Nom nom nom.”
I didn’t wanna be one of those food-coma bloggers.
But then my alter ego, SmikG, stepped in.
“I will be hosted, and I WILL have an opinion!”
I needn’t have worried about having my opinions watered down through my digestive system, or of having to lie about my experiences though…
So on an uncharacteristically beautiful and still sunny July day, I found myself driving 17 or so minutes down Mornington-Tyabb road. The scenery was striking. I was used to roads like this since I frequent Bungower so often, however I felt that the further I drove away from the Mornington beach-side, the more the imagery turned pristine and pointed. There were still the huge blocks of land, long winding paths leading to expansive houses and farm-style cottages, however they were both perfectly rustic and exceptionally manicured at the same time. White picket fences, immaculately placed rock trails, even the trees on either sides of the road stretched far and wide, meeting in the middle and opening their branches just enough to allow you a glimpse into the road ahead, providing a magnificently glorious backdrop to the gorgeous day that was.
It was very Castle-esque. I had “how’s the serenity” playing on loop in my mind with my musings, as we drove on ahead.
On first impressions, I felt I almost could’ve kept driving past The Hungry Peacock, our host for that afternoon. Even with my google maps alerting me that it was indeed, a 50 metre left turn away, I still had to slow down suddenly, and heads up for those with lowered cars – watch your bumper bars as you enter the dirt car park.
(Church hall on left, The Busy Peacock on right)
The setting was quiet and peaceful. I slowly headed into where I thought I needed to be, as fresh as baby girl who was in more knowledge than I was about what lay ahead. Soon though we found our group, in a barn-like shed otherwise known as ‘The Busy Peacock,’ which sits nearby the café ‘The Hungry Peacock’ on the premises. You see, not only were us bloggers getting shouted, but so were our kids.
Those clever minxes.
So the whole idea behind the The Busy Peacock, is that kids get a 45 minute session, in where they engage in sensory play.
There are two sessions a day – one early morning and one late morning – and they run from Tuesday to Sunday. The children come in, put on smocks, and then just go where their curious hands and minds lead them…
There are water-based activities, sandpits, kid-sized building box areas, hammering and craft tables, gooey water ball tubs, and so much more. The great thing is, these activities change every two weeks, so you can be sure you’ll get some new play areas for your little explorer, even if you do frequent the place often.
Baby girl of course LOVED the water areas, and after having a good sticky-nose into almost every other section, spent a significant amount of time spraying a white board and applying human features to it to make a face, followed by the rest of the time counting gooey balls in a tub.
I mean, simple things. And little details too, as I loved how there was a bucket of fresh water with some old rags for the kids to wash their hands with and dry when things got a little bit messy. As you know it undoubtedly would. I know kids dig that stuff, but baby girl is a little OCD like me (proud as punch Mama) and so when a smidgen of sand touched her fingertips, she was holding them high in the air and high-tailing it to the bucket of water that was now blue.
That’s right, blue, because there was paint too!
My honest-to-goodness thoughts? I honestly can’t fault the space. I mean, for $10, you keep your kid entertained for 45 minutes, they get their fill of all kinds of fun and exciting play areas and sensory experiences, and then after that you get to eat and drink next door, and they have MORE areas to play in?
What? There’s more?
So after three quarters of an hour following the kiddies around, making a mess and getting their hands into all kinds of gunk, we tidied them up and followed the owner, Rebecca, into the renovated church nearby which is also a space for functions. Rebecca is part-owner with her behind-the-scenes chef Hubbie, and they have been running the place for a while now, ever since their previous partnership running the joint with another couple, went bust. As it happens. They’ve since renovated the interior café too (which we’ll get to) and put their own personal mark on the premises which I can see will be a terrific kid-friendly mainstay.
And these were my thoughts before I’d even hadany food.
The church is a gloriously beautiful building, one that would easily cater for a large number of people in any kind of function, and this was perfectly demonstrated that day as our kiddies began to run amuck and show us just how grand the space was.
Give them an empty room, and they run for their lives, giddy with joy. God Bless. Oh how appropriate that was…
That was our brief stopover, before heading into the last area of our afternoon, the actual Hungry Peacock café.
Being my first time there, I actually can’t comment on the renovation itself, other than to marvel at how many kids play areas there were! It is actually a quite genius, and fairly simple idea.
What do parents want more than anything?
What keeps kids busy (and away from hassling their folks?)
Why, novelty play things of course.
(Butcher pic thrown in for Hubbie)
A track running along the wall for mini car enthusiasts (i.e. ALL kids), a shop corner complete with play food, and colouring pencils and paper for the creative kiddies completed the tables and chairs inhabiting the café. The café consists of two large rooms, the first one containing the counter/coffee area and kitchen entrance, while the other had more places to sit, a couch and a fireplace.
It really was the perfect place to spend an hour or two catching up with an old friend, or just chilling on your own-some… all while your little one ran amuck looking, and most importantly, FINDING interesting and amusing things to do.
But what if it’s a gorgeous day out, and you want to take in some sunshine, you ask expectantly (waiting for me to stammer and halt?!) ?
There are even more play areas outside for the kids, comprising of cubby houses and a long tube-like contraption to send balls down, all with a decked area for the parents to sit down and wine, dine, AND whine away, conveniently nearby.
The venue itself caters to all types of parents and their kids – those who want to get messy in the Busy Peacock; those who want to chill indoors while their children wind down and explore other avenues; and those who want to sit outside and take in the sunshine, while the kids become backyard explorers of a different brigade.
I have to say though, quite strongly, that I think it is only a place for parents and their kids. It is a parent’s haven –
(let’s interrupt this broadcast for the Angels singing)
(and back again)
– knowing your child can lose their shit and not be ridiculed by other non-parents. Even if you have already passed the child-rearing stage, you will probably not be able to take the yells and screams so much. It is a serene place, so the backdrop and nature may just win you over… but really, this is a Mum and Dad go-to for some much needed R&R while the little ones take over everything else.
I can’t comment on the food, because I only tasted the slightest morsels from the shared platters we received… and being a European woman, those platters would have been demolished between just Hubbie and I.
So, a Food Review,next time. Hubbie will be pleased to hear beer is on the Menu…
In a nutshell:
16 Mornington-Tyabb Road, Tyabb.
The Busy Peacock runs from Tuesday to Sunday, at 9:30am and 11:15am sessions.
Book ahead. 0416623827
$10 per child, for a 45 minute sensory play session.
There is an old church beside it that can be booked for functions.
Finally, The Hungry Peacock is the café that has even more play areas for the kids to keep them entertained, while offering food and drink for adults and children alike. Also open Tuesday to Sunday,8/9am to 4pm.
So in its entirety, the concept is fantastic. You go out, let your kid have fun, go to the neighbouring house for some food and drink while they get even more exhausted, and then come home to a clean house, and hopefully a nap-ready child too.
And as for my first hosted blogging experience? The Peacocks feathers are brighter in person, and that there is my metaphor for my first-time blogging out in the open, and not trying to hide the fact that I’m inconspicuously taking xxx number of photos.
I was fortunately pleased to find that I didn’t need to lie, nor blow smoke up anyone’s behind for a false positive experience. It was a fun day for baby girl and I, and we will ALL be back to explore even more.
It hit me one Saturday morning during a work shift, as I left the warm confines of my place of employment to walk down the road and grab a coffee. Feeling that fresh air, that Winter chill on my face, reminded me of the time I felt it last year, and suddenly I was down memory lane, remembering the things about Winter you choose so hard to forget when it is done and dusted for the year.
So, then, I tried harder to remember. What fascinates me about this time of year, is that once it is upon us, it’s actually not that bad. It’s the anticipation of it – that is the shits, and one of the major factors of making the entire season that much more unbearable.
Hey, calm down… I’m not like, a ‘Winter ambassador’ or something! I am the first to put up my hand and forge ahead with the get-rid-of-Winter fan club. I wouldn’t say I HATE it, since that is a strong word, that I HATE to use (see what I did there?) but I do in fact, detest the coldest of seasons to a degree that once the longest day has come and gone in January, I am in slow grief over the gradual dissemination of Summer.
But like I said above: it ain’t too bad. I’ve been most surprised by my own attitude towards it, in finding that there are actually plenty of great things to enjoy, and celebrate, about the coldest time of the year! You don’t say!Let me hear it! Well ok then, here is my list of things to get your blood boiling…
(And don’t fret, this isn’t one of those bullshit ‘buy a really good coat and scarves’ nonsense post. We all know that we need more than layers to make up for the fact of Winter, duh).
1. But First, Coffee.
And so one of my fave coffee quotes signals the beginning of this Winter Warm-up list. When else to drink, and enjoy coffee most, than in Winter? Not only does the caffeine hit give you a burst of much needed non-hibernating energy, but it is WARM, and therefore, heats you up from the inside-out. This is a super simple and accessible way to keep you happy, buzzing and hot, ALL DAY LONG. Make it at home, or buy it out and about… really, this one is a no-brainer.
2. To café, OR, to café…
And, how to get to your hot coffee? Why, you enter a café of course. Just picture it: you are in the freezing winds, walking briskly to your café of choice so as to remove yourself from the unnerving elements, when you finally, step inside, and –
Ahhh. That moment.
You know that moment, when the feeling of cold is replaced by the scent of coffee beans, and you are away from the outdoors, but can still see everything including all the fools still stuck out in the real world? And you’re ‘in here?’ and about to get a coffee? Yeah that’s great. Café-ing it, not just for coffee, but for anything in Winter – be it brekkie, lunch or any other fare – is a beautiful way to while away the day. Choose a good one, a cosy spot, and watch the world go by… just see if you don’t feel better about Winter when you put yourself in this supreme predicament…
3. Walk This Way…
On a contradictory note, on those cold and still Wintery days, sometimes it can be somewhat, what is the word, rejuvenating! to take a nice long walk.
Yes, the air can be biting. Yes, the cold will still seep through your clothes. But there’s something about a fresh, freezing-cold walk that awakens the senses, both physical and mental, as it is often when I am walking in the cold that my creative mind is switched on. I don’t know why, but a brisk walk in Winter allows me to daydream and plan for any future blog posts (how this one came about) much more efficiently than in Summer. Maybe it’s the fact that other than getting into a heated area immediately, there is no other thought trying to take up head space like it does in Summer, where I would be planning future events and social gatherings, and the things I’ll be doing for the next 3 weekends. In Winter, it’s just Winter, and my creative thoughts are allowed to fly beside the recurring thought of ‘get inside.’
I don’t like to be in the cold, and yet a walk like this brings about a whimsical dreamlike effect to my walk, where I find myself observing, being in the moment, and smiling often. I’m not wishing myself out of this hellhole, I’m just smiling. I’m not trying to prove a point… Next.
4. Stay IN
Although I absolutely love Summer, there is one thing that gets tiring by the end of the season: the constant go-go-go. Summer makes you feel like you have to be super-efficient and on top of the world, heading to every social event, enjoying every ounce of sunshine, waking at the crack of dawn, and starting a new body-building course when you’re not preparing your new gluten-free, dairy-free, animal-free, everything of any joy or texture or enjoyment-free diet. It is FULL on.
But Winter allows you to just chill. Hibernate like a bear, and in doing so, drink all the hot chocolate/tea/coffee before doing so. If there is any season where you should feel the least guilt about doing nothing, and where you should completely and utterly embrace the act of doing absolutely nothing, it is Winter. It’s okay, you will be at it again in a couple of months time…
5. Pimp up your home
But, if you absolutely HAVE to, you could always forgo sitting around and chilling on the couch, with doing something around the house. Just as our sanity and ‘me time’ gets neglected in Summer, so too does the house, and house ‘stuff.’ You know those odd jobs. The broken door handle. The 3rd light bulb that has been burnt out in the lounge room for 4 months. The pile of boxes that hasn’t been broken down into pieces. That heap of junk in your garage that you know a charity would love, but alas, Summer time.
In Winter, it is ALL possible. Case in point. We had bought new door handles from Bunnings to replace our old ones, as we wanted to spruce up the 80s-style house we had recently moved into. They remained untouched for months and months, ALL THROUGH SUMMER, and it was only when the cold hit, that Hubbie finally started replacing them.
Winter is the best time to look outward-in. Look around you and see what needs a little TLC, and then proceed accordingly. Home improvements, up-dos, renos – whatever it is, you will feel soooo much better for it, and not at all like a lazy bear once you are done.
6. Go OCD, mofos
And for those of you like me, that love to sort and clean and organise… well, what are you waiting for? Use these cold months to file away. File to your freaking hearts content. Label and shelve and box. Store those photos in chronological order, organise your home family videos, and clean up your menu folder so that you don’t have crappy old recipes in there that you won’t even sniff at again. There is no better feeling then tackling a long, put-off job, and I swear, as Winter ends and Spring begins, the sense of accomplishment you feel in knowing everything is sorted and ready for another season/year… GOLD. GO you OCD peeps, GO!
Ok, so this is kinda parent-specific. But, you don’t need to be a recently-acquired trampoline owner for a cheeky monkey princess like I have, to jump. You probably do need a child of some kind, so if you don’t have any of your own, borrow one – like you probably have a niece, or nephew, or know someone who would LOVE for you to kindly offer their brood a day out? (You will be on their Christmas card list FOREVER, I promise you).
But my point is, be childlike. Jumping is not only fun, good for you, and is healthy (hey, exercise), but it warms you up too! And if you think jumping is only for kids – 20 seconds on the thing and you will remember what a jumping extraordinaire you used to be 20 or so years ago… and then it will be the kid trying to get you off the trampoline, not you, them.
(Hubbie going wild with baby girl)
8. A good book
So, a no-brainer. Totally. But when else is it more acceptable and necessary to snuggle up with a book and lose yourself within its pages? Never, ever, EVER. Even on holiday, you should be doing things and seeing things, but at home, in Winter? Perfect reading weather.
Whether it’s at home, on your lunch break, or on the train, waiting for your doctors appointment (that brisk walk/jumping probably gave you a little cough, ahem*) or at the park while the kiddies play, there is really no better time to invest in a good book.
So a totally acceptable place to read is in bed, but if you’d rather not even do that, you can just sleep. I know this is such a ‘Duh, Fred’ point, but still, it HAS TO be said. Fred.
Sleep ’til your big hearts content. Of course this is totally dependant on whether you have a paying job or go to regular schooling (most of the Western population), but in your down time, this is a perfectly acceptable hobby. Yep. Even if you have kids that don’t let you breathe, just pull them in, throw a blanket over your heads, and once the hilarities have died down, watch them fall into a slumber. You will be there too soon, don’t worry.
Sleep on the bed, sleep on the couch… wherever you wish. Just make sure it’s comfy and inviting, there are plenty of blankets, and a real nice place to rest your head. Ahhhh.
10. Shop ’til you Drop
Let’s change tack and ramp it up a little, to my favourite past-time! Like seriously, how annoying is it in Summer, when you need some new clothes/shoes/pillows/coffee beans, and you head into the confines of a multi-level shopping centre, but it’s a stunning, and I mean STUNNING day out? You don’t want to miss out on that, and stay indoors most of the day? This is so especially true for us Melburnians, as sunshine, even in Summer of all seasons, can be soooo fleeting.
But in Winter? Hell, bring the shopping on! You won’t miss out on ANYTHING because its so cold and miserable out! YAY. Shop to your hearts content, in fact, shop for all seasons, and stay ahead of the pack.
How miserable is the above photo? Okay well it is oddly pretty in the dim light, but you know what I mean… I am not really missing out. It’s taken from my work window… do I wanna go outside? Hell no!
Work is actually not too bad, and you can almost be grateful to be in the confines of work, when it is so shit-faced outside. You will never be sad being at work during Winter, unless of course you had to get up at 5am like me, and are staring out the kitchen window at 7am thinking of Hubbie and baby girl asleep and warm in bed… damn.
TRY to be grateful for work while you can, in Winter, at the very least.
12. Let’s go to the beach
Your welcome. Ok so maybe not Summer-thumping-beach-vibes weather at the mo, but you know where I’m headed.
This may be a bit left-of-centre for some, but for me being fortunate enough to live BY the beach, not so. But either way, a trip to the beach is for most in our fair country, accessible and do-able.
Why should you do it, you cry? Cold, winds, uninviting waters…
What do you think? I’m not telling you to jump in. No, hell no. I’m just saying that the ocean views bring about a sense of calmness, of peace, of reflection, and retrospection, and the waters don’t even have to be still and unrippled. No. They are in fact most beautiful and spectacular when they are savage, wild and unleashed, ripping against the shore or pier or rocks, and showing you the brutal nature of Mother Earth herself.
Rug up and try it. See how your mind feels afterwards.
13. Do something NEW
While you’re out and about at the beach, how’s about you keep trying new things, and enrol in a course of some kind. (Like not literally walk down the road, just think about it). Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Like maybe, learn a new language? Try your hand at some knitting? Learn how to cook like a chef? Drive a manual car? For some creative pursuits, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home – just log in and you’re connected.
Doing something you’ve been wanting to do for a while is not just fulfilling, as you are catering to yours truly, yourself, but you are putting yourself out there in a vulnerable position. Only when you are vulnerable, can you really learn anything. Since everything is on the down-low in Winter, there is no time like the present to focus in on yourself, and give something new a go. Time to study, reflect on where you want to go in life, and centre yourself both spiritually and mentally, is the perfect cold-time creative pursuit. Just try. You won’t lose a thing.
14. Cook up a storm!
While doing something new, you may want to try your hand at some new recipes.. or old, whatever tickles your fancy. But what I love about this coldest of seasons, is the deliciously warm dishes to match. Or should I say, warm you right up. Whether it be a vegetable curry
a cauliflower soup
or some yummy baked goods
there is nothing quite so inviting on a cold Winter’s night, than to indulge in warming, delicious and comforting, Winter-specific foods. Slow-cooked meals, lasagnes, roasts… the list goes on and onand on. And the upside? When you are buying Winter-y things like cauliflower for your soup, you are buying in season, so it is cheaper! Winning 🙂 Go foodie mad.
15. Catch up with some old ‘friends’
Now, I don’t mean ACTUAL friends, and boy would it be appropriate here if I actually loved the show of the same name. Instead I’m talking of your movies and your DVD box sets. Plop yourself in a comfy place, and get ‘re-acquainted.’ I feel forever-guilty whenever I sit on the couch – I always feel like I should be doing something more worthy, more important, and being a Mum makes the feelings more so. This is an activity I rarely indulge in.
But this Winter, I am really going to take it on board… and what better way to feel better about the blowing winds outside, than to be laughing/crying/hysterically shaking, over the antics of some old faves.
You don’t even have to have the DVDs. Shows like Sex and the City are on repeat on TV, there are streaming devices, and have you heard of Netflix? People even ‘download’… I’m not condoning it, I’m just saying, ok?
It’s never been easier to catch up with, or watch a brand new series to get stuck into. Need tips? Some of my old faves:
Angel. An amazing series that is 5 seasons long, and is totally worth investing your life into. Get ready to have your soul literally ripped apart, thanks Joss Whedon (no really, thank you!)
Dawson’s Creek is actually on free-to-air Go! at the moment. My face when I realised this? Bliss 🙂 I know it’s a teenage show, but it’s one of my ol’ faithfuls, and besides, the actors were probably my age when they filmed it, so….
my current must-watch on TV, Shark Tank. This is splendid in every way. Seeing the investors rip through and tear to shreds some of the up-and-coming entrepreneurs and inventors, is just brilliant. You must watch this show.
So grab a warm drink, snuggle up on the couch (child or partner is optional) and chill-ax….
16. Bust a move.
Exercise. I know I know, it’s not bikini time, and it’s probably the only time of the year when there is no pressure to be beach-ready… but it doesn’t mean you can’t devote time to yourself to be healthy.
Still not sold? You don’t even have to leave the house. There are a world of gyms, gym classes, personal trainers, and get-fit programmes out there, and there as just as many exercise DVDs! Find what tickles your fancy, and do it in the privacy of your own home.
Do as I do, and pop on some trakkies, put on that old Zumba DVD, and get dancing! Exercise gets you going and warms you up at a time when it is so easy to be sluggish and sloth-like. And you know what I was so surprised to find? Even one session a week (baby steps) has given me increased flexibility and energy to run after a certain 3 year-old rascal. True story.
17. A ‘warming’ drink
I couldn’t bulk ‘warm drinks’ with ‘coffee,’ as coffee is just too damn important to me to be watered down like that… but I conclude with the option, that if you don’t like coffee, maybe tea is more your fancy?
Or maybe a spicy chai latte can rub you totally up the right way
No? Vino? There’s nothing like a good glass of red to get the fires burning
Wanna get more creative? I give you, a combination of the last two options, Gluhwein…
Which is German Mulled Wine. It’s a whole lot of fabulous spices and wine/alcohol, warmed up, and you will create some GREAT memories in the making and drinking of it, let me assure you.
If you can’t be happy with a glass of wine/mug of tea/brew of gluhwein, while the winds are raging outside your window, well then YOU CAN’T BE SAVED!
So, how did I go? Have I given you renewed (or maybe just NEW) inspiration to totally LOVE Winter? We may be about half-way through the coldest of seasons, but living in Melbourne, we ALL KNOW it’s going to totally screw us up right up ’til November,if we’re lucky.
So guys. Pick a point and get to it. If you think I’ve left anything out, drop me a line!
People who stare at you when your child is going off their head.
Mole-customer from Chocolat café in Mornington, I’M TALKING TO YOU.
So, unless you are a parent yourself, you might not know, that it is often REALLY, REALLY hard wrangling kids. You may have the best of intentions, and want them to use their manners, and want them to keep quiet, and want them to smile, and want them to learn how to adult, really… at the tender and naïve age of 3.
That’s not unreasonable, right?!
However, often the 3 year-olds themselves often think it is. And the people who stare you down when your child doesn’t behave like they’re 33, THEY sure think it is unreasonable when they don’t behave.
A couple of months ago I was in the supermarket with baby girl. She was being awesome. Listening to me, helping me, understanding when it was time to move on, and just generally being a star.
Another Mum approached with her kids. And one of her tots, absolutely CRACKED it. She lost the plot. The poor Mum tried to go about her business and quieten the child, who appeared as if she was possessed by some demon.
I wanted to cry. I felt for the Mum so badly. I nearly offered to go over and help her out, pick her groceries, even hold her demon child for her, but then remembered the golden rule – IGNORE her.
Other people about me turned at the incessant screams, and I nearly went over to slap them. I wanted to yell at them: “Stop it! Don’t look! Leave her be!” I knew what it was like to be in that horrible situation, where a child is misbehaving and just won’t be settled no matter what you do. I know the pain of embarrassment. I know the anxiety. I know how upsetting it is to get those stares.
I know, because I have been there.
Yesterday case in point.
So, baby girl, is the best thing on this planet. She is so clever, cute and charming, already at her young age. I swear, if she were to go up to you and start babbling as she does, if you were not to smile, I would immediately assume you to be an alien, or some foreign creature that has no compassion. A shark would show compassion to her, that is the adorable depth of her influence.
Simultaneously, sometimes she can shit me really well. Really well up the wall. Often it has to do with her not getting what she wants, which is a problem, because very often kids, and adults alike, can’t get what they want. This is part of the general growing up process.
She was in a funny type of mood as we were enjoying some lunchtime pastries and coffee at Chocolat yesterday at midday. The food is delicious, coffee superb, yet the café itself is tiny, cramped, and every little cry from a rascal toddler, becomes so much more unbearable in such a confined space.
Unbearable to just me. Imagine what the other diner’s think.
So when your child yells, and despite your best efforts, you cannot for the love of God calm them down, do you know what it is acceptable to do?
Pretend they don’t exist and go on with your life.
Look out the window.
Laugh with your friends.
Stare off into space.
DO NOT, EVER, EVER, EVER, STARE.
Do you know what this mole-customer and her partner did?
They pointedly turned to us at baby girl’s first outburst. Not a quick glance over the shoulder ‘what is happening over there?’ look, but a ‘I-am-a-bitch-from-hell-and -I-will-stare-you-down-for-thinking-you-can-café-with-a-toddler’ type look.
(For those parents playing at home, baby girl was upset because we were not letting her dip her finger into the nutella centre of our takeaway doughnuts. Yep.)
So we breathed, and quickly let her dip her finger into the freaking centre. Ok, we were now to leave. She was getting antsy, we had to get out, PRONTO.
Hubbie was out the door with my bag and the tray of doughnuts, and I got up to follow after him, holding baby girl’s hand.
But wait! Yell! She indicated that she wanted to open the door herself, and then we could exit the café. Breathing rapidly, I said “ok, open the door,” praying to God that we would get out before any other interference occurred.
To my dismay, another customer started through the door, entering into the shop, stopping baby girl in her tracks.
Another yell! Ahhh!
I scolded her. I don’t condone any rude behaviour or outburst, especially when it appears she is losing her shit at a stranger. NOT ON.
So I tried to grab her and pull her out the door, but she just did her floppy, ‘I-will-hang-around-and-throw-myself-on-the-floor’ bit.
And then she started to crack it, AGAIN. From the corner of my eye, I saw the mole-customer turn in her seat, and just sit there, watching us.
Like we were a fucking play.
In quiet enraged fury, I grabbed baby girl and hauled her up on my waist, and stormed out the door.
Yes, baby girl got a really good talking to in the half hour that followed. There were many tears and sighs and hugs and kisses and sorry’s to make up for the shitty incident.
Baby girl is 3. She is still learning. But you know who should fucking know better?
That mole-customer at the café. You, lady, should know your manners. Do not stare when a child is misbehaving. Firstly, it is NONE of your business.
Secondly, who taught you YOUR manners? There is some failure of the learned transference of human compassion there, since you STARE at a difficult and highly troubling incident for both parent and child, rather than choosing to ignore it and accepting, that children are children.
You, MOLE, are a bitch-cow. Anyone who does this, and stares while a child is having a meltdown, and the poor parent is doing everything to diffuse the situation as quietly and quickly as they can, FUCK YOU. With a royal middle finger too.
If anyone is still reading this, and not afraid to continue this conversation, honestly,what do you think? Do you think people should mind their own business, and not sticky-beak when a child is having a meltdown in a public place, or should parents just not go anywhere with their kids until they’re at least 21?