Baby girl says the darndest things

I am making this a permanent series of my blog, because well… she is only 4. Imagine the material that will continue to come out of her mouth for years to come.

Like today. We were at Bayside Shopping Centre, and I had just located the Robinson’s bookstore outside of one of their entrance doors.

She has a few Little Miss books from the Roger Hargreaves popular series, so when I came across a rotating bookshelf showcasing all of the Mr Men/Little Miss series, I said “oh look baby girl! Look how many!”

She stopped at one. “What’s this one?”

Mr-perfect

“That’s Mr Perfect.”

“Pfft” was her immediate raspberry response. I laughed out loud at the perfect comic timing.

“Yes honey, my thoughts exactly!”

 

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Umpteen reasons why you should LOVE Winter

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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

7. Jump!

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.

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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.

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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.

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9. SLEEP

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.

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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.

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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.

11. Work it out 

Ok, so I know some of you might wanna swipe me over this one, as I am known for finding gratitude in the most wide-ranging of places… but I tell you, work really IS better when it’s cold. I mean, just look at the below:

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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…

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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.

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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

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a cauliflower soup

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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 on and 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:

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The above mentioned, my fave gal pals. “Abso-fucking-lutely” amazing.

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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….

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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?

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Or maybe a spicy chai latte can rub you totally up the right way

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No? Vino? There’s nothing like a good glass of red to get the fires burning

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Wanna get more creative? I give you, a combination of the last two options, Gluhwein…

https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/german-mulled-wine-gluhwein-30925

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!

(I say as I finish off a warm mug of tea…)

 

 

Snippets of Conversation #2

I don’t want to make this series all ‘Gossip Girl’ like, and yet with my only two so far, it feels like it is unintentionally headed that way…

Makes for some interesting questions though.

Yesterday while heading into a small shopping centre after work, on a late Saturday afternoon, I was approaching 3 guys – definitely guys, not men. No more than 19, they would have fit right in at a skate park. For all I know, that’s where they were headed.

Pants falling down, hoodies over-sized, colours of grey and black all around. Caps turned back-to-front, and all 3, tall. Real street, yet with a touch of teenage still in them.

As I drew closer, the group parted, and the guy who was on his own, made a loud sneeze to the side as I walked through the circle. Another one was holding a beer slab under his arm, and then I heard a voice:

“… so that night she says to me, ‘what’s that lipstick on your top,’ and I say ‘that’s from my Nana,’ and then she stops…”

It was only once I’d passed them that the words filtered through my head via satellite, leaving me wondering, and hanging.

Why was there lipstick on his collar?

Was it really his Nana’s?

He sounded so convincing, with no hint of sarcasm or foolery…

but THERE WAS lipstick on his collar.

Hmmm. A good story-starter. You’re welcome 🙂

 

Things that shit me… #12

Things that shit me…

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 away.

Keep talking.

Keep drinking.

Keep eating.

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?

???

 

 

Sightings of People as Passionate about (Addicted to) Coffee as I am (SOPAPACAIA) #7

SOPAPACAIA Sighting #7

Highpoint Shopping Centre

Hubbie and I

Another self-sighting, I know, I know. But SOPAPACAIA was the first word that sprang to mind when we first had coffees and pastries at Cacao yesterday, only to walk down to Jasper’s a mere minute away and order some more.

What?

Hubbie’s latte at Cacao had too much texturised foamy milk, and not enough coffee! And after having an apricot Danish, I just felt my unsatisfied deep desire for a doughnut intensified…

First world problems, I know.

So at Jasper’s Hubbie got his proper latte in a clear glass (Cacao had put theirs in a cute mug – tsk tsk tsk), while I got this strawberry bomb-doughnut type thingy…

I sipped from his latte, he pecked from my doughnut, and baby girl got mouthfuls of more sweet stuff.

And we walked away in a high sugary-induced state.

 

 

The true meaning of Christmas

‘Be Nice to People. This is a stressful time of year for many.’

Is what my daily calendar said to me on the weekend. I was fortunate to have the only problems of trying to find some last-minute presents amidst the madness of shopping centres, with the addition of cramming in time amongst work and baby girl and writing to make gingerbread cookies, and a gingerbread cheesecake for Christmas day.

I am so, so thankful to have these festive challenges. I will not call them problems.

You know what a problem is? Terminal illness. Disease. Young children fighting for their lives. Being unable to move, or speak, or do anything for yourself, because an illness has taken hold of your body and has you captive against your will.

I was thinking about the concept of giving earlier this month. It’s a time of year when there is such an emphasis on gifts, and an abundance of stuff, that the true meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. Along with family, and love, and appreciation, I believe one fairly prevalent theme behind this time of year is in giving to the unfortunate.

I was at a shopping centre and was stopped by a young guy trying to organise monthly donations to the Starlight Foundation – a fabulous organisation that grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses. Terminal and children. Those words should not belong together in a sentence.

I wanted to help, but I couldn’t dedicate my money in such a consistent manner as to be donating a certain amount every month. I wanted to do a once-off donation, but his stall that day was to gather as many consistent donations as he could. He let me off gently by saying “You can make a once-off donation online – just promise me you’ll do it alright?”

I often get letters by the Stroke Foundation too, ever since a family member suffered from one and I decided to donate. That reminder, along with the above incident, and Christmas lights strung outside houses and carols warbling about “good tidings to the world” ringing out through stores, I approached Hubbie with an idea.

On a particularly low day, days later, I went online and donated to three organisations. Two were for conditions that close family members of ours had been affected by – Stroke and Brain Cancer. The third one was The Starlight Foundation. I don’t go back on my promises.

They were the best presents I’ve given this year, and it’s not even Christmas day yet. I had been feeling low, but I knew it was no where near what people dependent on these organisations were feeling.

Together, Hubbie and I decided, that we’ll have a new Christmas tradition. Along with the Buble songs playing throughout our home in December, my kikki.K advent candle burning down to the number 25, and the smell of gingerbread occupying the house leading to the Merry day, we’ve vowed to make a donation to organisations important to us each Christmas.

Because, when you think about it – if you can buy $50-100 presents for members of your family, I’m sure there’s $30 or $40 bucks somewhere there to spare for an organisation that you think matters. If we all made a little contribution, no matter how small, imagine the tremendous impact it would make for the people with REAL problems at Christmas-time.

Just imagine. Now is the best time to make a difference.

Playing with candle fire

Women and shopping, can be trouble. Maxed-out credit cards, anyone?

Women and online shopping – hell, that’s playing with fire. “Click, click, click, add to trolley, add to trolley, add to trolley – that’s how much? Where’s my other credit card?”

Women and online shopping and Christmas-time – WOAH.

Let me just say this: when I went online to buy a simple advent candle from kikki.K, all I intended to buy was the damn candle that had sold out in stores.

But then, free shipping over $50 happened. (Who wants to spend an extra $10 for shipping when their entire purchase amounts to $10?)

So anyway, days later, this box arrived at my doorstep:

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In my defence, the majority of the box was pumped-up bubble wrap, with the additions of my new 2016 dairy, a family planning pack with organisers and to-do lists and stuff, and of course, the highly-sought after advent candle (my precious).

Christmas, is the most wonderful time of the year.

5 nights to go…

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I’m sorry I told off your child…

… but, actually, I’m not.

Baby girl is usually in the trolley as I whiz around our local shopping centre doing the weekly grocery shop.  I stopped at Baker’s Delight, and my precious girl stood obediently beside me as I waited in the long line, occasionally pointing to the endless sweet and savoury treats showcased behind the glass before us.

Another young girl, at least 2 years older than my one, was nearby with You. She looked really sweet and innocent, holding no malice at all, only cheekiness and curiosity as is so prevalent and totally necessary at that young age. She spotted my girl and, as all older kids are, became besotted with the image of a younger child to ‘play’ with.

At first she came and stood really close, almost eye to eye with my baby girl. This is really confronting, and I can understand why baby girl gets freaked out by a total stranger doing this, albeit it being a young girl such as she. But I understood Your girl’s intention, her amusement, her willingness to play, and I said “it’s ok honey, she just wants to play.”

You continued chatting away to the woman selling bread behind the counter.

I was next and soon ordering my own bread, plus a bit of a snack to keep us going on our seemingly never-ending mammoth shopping trip that day. As I started ordering, I became aware of baby girl crying out in protest, gripping my legs and standing behind me, while the other girl jumped out at her, playing a kind of peek-a-boo, at the same time doing a kind of scary/wobbly face at her to see her reaction. I looked down at them, trying to settle baby girl, looking up to listen to the young girl as she responded to my question about bread, while also peeking a glimpse to see if You would say anything and stop your girl, who was only having fun, from making My Girl, upset.

You and the bread lady laughed and I heard you comment that your girl was playing, while my baby girl was getting upset. It was a flippant and light-hearted comment, and just like that your conversation moved on.

My baby girl was getting distressed by your girl’s playing. You obviously don’t know to what extent, but only I could feel her grabbing at my legs and trying to avoid your girl as she jumped out and around at her, again and again. As I waited for my bread, growing increasingly frustrated, I knew what I had to do, in the presence of YOUR lack of doing.

Your girl pulled a really scary face at my baby girl again as well as a bit of a “roar”-ing sound, and I’m sorry, but you think of how it feels for a big kid to do that to a little kid. You picture a 6 year-old doing that to your child – is that considered bullying? At the very least, it’s not fair.

“Excuse me, can you please stop doing that to my daughter, she’s getting upset.”

My tone came out short, brisk and firm. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let frustration rule me; perhaps I should have taken a deep breath and thought ‘this is someone’s daughter’ before I let the young girl know how I felt; perhaps I should have started with ‘Sweetie,’ and used more “please’s’ and really sugared up the request with ‘I know you’re playing honey but my girl is a bit upset, do you mind not doing that?’

But all I could think of was how You, had laughed off my girl getting upset from Yours. You didn’t stop your child. So naturally, it fell within my jurisdiction.

Your girl heard my tone, and immediately withdrew and went close to you. I know you heard. You went silent, paid and then walked off with your daughter. The girl serving me heard. I reckon a few people around us heard. And I know you were upset. You were upset that someone you hadn’t known had told off your daughter.

But don’t be upset with me. Be embarrassed, as I hope you were, that you didn’t do anything about your girl sooner.

And yes, it was slightly awkward as we crossed paths 20 minutes later, both of us with our girls buying fruit and vegetables. It was totally in your right to confront me, even though you didn’t.

But you know what? I know I told off your girl, and that was perhaps inappropriate. But as you should know, I am the Mummy Lion… and no one messes with my cub.

 

Uma Thurman as ‘The Bride’ in Kill Bill: Vol. 1

“It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I’m sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin’. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.”

 

Salmon and Rump

Ribs and Rumps
Northland Shopping Centre, 50 Murray Road Preston

That Thursday night we were looking for a feed, because neither one of us wanted to cook, plain and simple. We ventured out to Preston, in particular Northland shopping centre, because we had discovered that

a) There were a whole lot of seemingly new restaurants situated on the walkway leading into the centre, and we thought we should give one of them a try, and
b) The thought of shopping after you’ve eaten and just wandering about on a weeknight, just feels like you’re living on the edge. You can tell we’re parents.

So off we went, and soon after arriving outside the centre Hubbie got intrigued with the door menu for Ribs and Rumps. We went into the large room asking for a table, but the very sweet waitress informed us as we had not booked, and they were currently very busy with their other patrons, that we would have to wait to be called back in 15 minutes. She was exceptionally kind and sweet, it was hard not to smile and walk off happily, with a wait and all. Besides, it meant we did the window shopping before, not after.

Spot on 15 minutes later, and I received a phone call from them telling us they now had a spot. We went in to a table with a high chair, and baby girl promptly received a little colouring book with crayons. Aha! TGI-style. Tick, regardless of the establishment. Yes they ended up on the floor more often than in her hand scribbling, but the entertainment factor is all that matters.

Ribs and Rumps is essentially a large, warehouse-type room, with coloured rope ends hanging from one side of the room, and great big ufo-style lights suspended from above.

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It had some character, it was loud, and it could certainly house a few people alright. It was the school holidays, which is perhaps why it was so busy… but then again it was a Thursday night, and with the centre open later, and the nearby cinemas upstairs, it’s probably a place that’s always rocking just a bit at the very least. There was an open view into the cooking station on one side, and every so often a sky-high burst of flames would rise up only to be diminished by whatever was cooking there. It looked a sight.

The loud sights and sounds suited us just fine. We love the loud atmospheres, keeps us at ease when baby girl inadvertently vocalises her displeasure with something – usually from being seated for too long. She was good that night, thankfully.

We shortly after ordered drinks – wine and beer – however they took a little long getting to our table. Again, they were probably busy that’s why.

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Soon after that when no one came to take our orders, we flagged down the first waiter we saw and he came over. This was a place where you had to be a bit proactive, and fight for your right to get your order taken against the hundred others doing the same.

A while later our meals came:

Baby girl got the chicken schnitzel with vegetables – that means carrots

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I got the King Salmon – cooked to your ‘liking’ and served with steamed golden rice and an oven-dried tomato coulis

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While Hubbie got the Grain-fed MSA rump – from the Riverina region in NSW, with a marble score of 2+ – served with chips and an additional Greek side salad.

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Ho ho ho, I feel like Santa. Boy do I have a review and a half here.

First things first. Bay girl’s meal. The menu prices this meal of chicken schnitzel at $15. In fact all kids meals are $15, bar the pricier pork ribs at $17. At first glance you go ‘what the?’ but then you discover that kids receive bottomless soft drink and two scoops of ice cream. Ok that sounds good.

Next: the sides. All kids meals come with either chips, a baby garden salad or vegetables. So you can only pick one of the three: chips, a baby salad – which I admit is a considerable serve for a child – or vegetables, and this one is misleading because I ordered thinking ‘great, healthy veg’ when the waiter then asked me “carrots or beans?”

I think you guys should do both.

We, in this circumstance, chose the honey carrots. Which is why her plate looked fairly plain, on top of the fact that it was served on a large plate, which the waitress admitted to when she came with our food, saying they had run out of small plates. Fine. Whatever.

I get the $15 pricetag, I guess I just wish someone had made me more aware of the bonus options (like the ice cream) when I ordered, so that baby girl had had the option to have some, since we paid for it and all, instead of just going home straight after.

Onto my meal. I will begin by saying I don’t think I will ever order salmon again in a restaurant, but I add that I don’t think it’s the fault of the salmon, or the chefs, or the restaurants. I love salmon, in fact I have had it three times already in the last 24 hours in the writing of this review. But I like it when I cook it.

I had an interesting discussion with the waiter upon ordering. When I told him how I wanted the salmon cooked, I was actually finding it hard to describe what I was after, and that’s me, I know, but I did say I didn’t want any raw parts. I wanted it cooked. It didn’t have to be well-done, but I wanted it cooked through, no jelly please.

“What if I put down chef’s choice, that’s what we put down when the customer doesn’t mind.”

??? I had just told him I minded, how could me saying “cooked through” mean ‘I don’t mind!’

And by the way, we all know how chefs like to cook things, I’ve seen them plate up salmon on My Kitchen Rules – if it ain’t raw in the middle, they consider it a waste. I just can’t eat my salmon like that though, food blogger and all.

“As long as it’s cooked through, no raw bits,” I reiterated.

And what did I get?

A lovely cooked salmon on the outside… jelly in the middle.

I picked at it as much as I could, without actually eating any of the rawer meat in the middle. I ate my rice, the side salad I also got, dabbed the salmon into a bit of the sauce too… and as much as I enjoyed the cooked bits, I still had a really upset tummy 30 minutes later. I just can’t do it. I can’t do salmon not cooked through, because even on previous occasions in other restaurants, I’ve had slightly undercooked salmon, avoided the ‘jelly,’ and still been ill. I can’t do it.

A note to your waiters. Listen to the customer, and don’t push ‘chef’s special’ like some know-it-all. Because the paying customer might just go home sick.

(I’m not saying their salmon made me sick. I’m saying every undercooked salmon makes me temporarily ill).

Hubbie’s steak. Now this is a mystery. He enjoyed his meal he did, and he ordered the baby Greek salad on the side, which for $3 is a very decent serve and price in amongst the other menu offerings. He enjoyed it, and it was cooked to his liking (medium) and even I enjoyed the taste of it too…. But he doesn’t believe it was char-grilled.

“What? You can see the fire rising up over there!” I said to him.

“Nup. They’re tricking us. I know char-grill.”

And this is why all chefs should run out of their own kitchens screaming when a butcher enters the premises.

I’ve perused the website, and immediately in the steaks section I see ‘char-grilled’ in many places. So don’t listen to Hubbie. Maybe the way they char-grill, is different to the char-grill he’s experienced at other restaurants. I don’t know. I did suggest that maybe the steaks are already cooked, and then put on the grill as they’re ordered, but that is an utterly ridiculous thought, and would be way too confusing in the kitchen. So let’s go with the thought that they char-grill, and Hubbie is way fussy. It was enjoyable nonetheless, and he ate all 380 grams of it, saying it was juicy and tender.

After we finished and my stomach started churning, we quickly up and left.

Food: 6.5/10. This takes into consideration the jelly-middle salmon, and the appearances lacking in most of the meals. I liked the board my meal came out on, however there was a big space left in the middle while the components were placed around the sides. I kind of get why they probably did this, but it still looked bare.

Coffee: N/A. I’m always a tad iffy at the thought of trying a coffee at a steak place, or fish and chop joint, or a chicken shop… the thought of all those meat scents infiltrating the coffee beans just doesn’t seem right. However if I were to lunch here again, I may just be curious enough to go down that path.

Ambience: Bustling and loud. Great place to be with your child amidst other shouting voices.

People: All kinds were there on that night. Kids, families, couples, groups of older men eager to cut into some manly meat, even a sweet Japanese family spanning 3 generations, quietly picking at and sitting around a tray of ribs in the middle of the table.

Staff: The girl who initially seated us was sweet as pie, really eager to please. It made me think ‘gee, they’ve had some bad reviews.’ Just looking at how fast they moved and how quick they responded when you flagged them over, gave me further proof of that. It wasn’t just doing their job, it was proving something to someone. Our waiter was ok, he said all the right things, but I just wished he hadn’t influenced the chef’s choice for the salmon on me. I’ll need to toughen up for next time. The girl who brought our bill over was exceptionally sweet to baby girl, so really it was a mixed bag.

Price: $94 for the lot. 3 meals, a baby salad, and 2 drinks. I think considering our experience, it’s a tad steep considering the area. Hubbie loves sauce, yet considered the additional $3 (for sauce) ridiculous. The overall price would have been somewhat acceptable if the food quality had matched the set prices.

Advice: Be firm with your choices, and be aware of what you get if ordering a kids meal (and make sure you get it).
Also, their page on Zomato says ‘Reservation Recommended.’ Along with our experience, I can attest to that.

In a nutshell: Look, I would go back. I wouldn’t drive out of my way there to eat, but I wouldn’t mind going back if let’s say I was at the centre and was hungry. The menu options are fairly wide, it’s a good noisy environment for kids, and also, I think this place is still finding their feet. I’m also diplomatic enough to realise this was just one experience, and there was nothing solely horrific to keep me from going back. So I probably will, I’ll just order a steak next time.

Ribs and Rumps Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happiness Is… # 12

Coffee.

(I’m seriously baffled, mind-boggled, and stupefied that it’s taken me 11 previous attempts in this series before acknowledging this life-saving, world-changing, cure of all evils, magically attributed powers brown liquid)

I’m walking over with some colleagues to get the usual morning coffee. Conversation turns to “what would you buy with the $60 million on offer in next week’s Tatts draw?”

We’re talking the usuals:

money to family and friends

charity

holidays

houses and investment

shopping (my addition)

But then we throw in some exciting extras:

Getting a ‘good accountant’ so that we don’t have to pay tax on our fortune (my addition again)

Setting up a shelter in the CBD to help the homeless and get them back on their feet

Buying a football club

Walking into random bars at night and shouting “drinks are on me!”

And this is all happening BEFORE we’ve had a taste of our caffeinated beverages. That’s just how damn good coffee is. It gives you a burst of energy, in its anticipatory excitement of having it, before you’ve even had it.

Thank you person who discovered coffee beans. 🙂

Now I will proceed to list the many things I would do with my $60 million winnings:

Give a considerable amount to my immediate family and friends, so that they could live debt free and enjoy some luxury. Excluding the people considered in my recent posts Round and Round and Things that shit me… well there are consequences for being a dickhead isn’t there? Oh what the hell, I’ll throw a couple thou their way so they can buy some expensive shoes.

Buy some lion cubs, and set them up in a huge jungle-like enclosure so that they wouldn’t feel confined like the lions in zoo-type scenarios usually feel roaming along the fencing line, and I’d visit them on a regular basis so that they would know me and protect me against the arseholes of this world.

Set up my family overseas who are doing it really tough. Make it so that they don’t have the hardships and struggles that many living in difficult economic times over there are having.

Go shopping. I have this intense feeling of wonder, of how it would feel to go into your favourite clothes shop, and buy every single item that’s desirable to you, even if it’s just a “hmmm, maybe” item, and not ask about any of the prices. Just pay at the end. And comment to the salesperson on payment “that’s cheaper than what I thought it would be.”

Set up a shelter for unwanted animals. They can receive treatment for any ills, and just laze about for the rest of their days, living in happiness and comfort, with an abundance of food and love and attention and walks, yet the shelter would also serve as a rescue house where the public can come in and save an animal for free. Unlike other shelters, these animals would not be put down due to excessive overpopulation. These animals will live as long as they are possibly able to, because they would be in a huge mofo of a shelter.

Buy a holiday house on the beach, in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria; Opatija, Croatia; Positano, Italy.

Set up a shelter in Melbourne CBD for homeless people. The shelter would provide food and shelter, while also providing training for basic tasks like cooking, to more advanced career skills to help them get back into the employment field and get them back on their feet, and any other necessary life rehabilitation. It would provide this assistance until they were employed and able to support themselves, living from their own means and off the streets. Follow-up visits would ensure these people are checked up on and kept on track with their life goals.

Give money to cancer research. Employ the best scientists and tell them to kick cancers butt out of this galaxy and beyond.

Buy a really, really, really nice house.

Employ a full-time cleaner for life.

Get my Nissan 370z (I don’t need no porche).

Buy A LOT of cats.

Organise investments with my full-time for life ‘good accountant.’

Okay buy a porche.

Set up the underprivileged villages in African countries with clean drinking water, organise education and training, and help these children and their families make something of their life, far from the poverty they currently experience.

Walk down the streets, randomly handing out $100 notes with the catch phrase “Hi! I’ve been looking for you! Here’s my overdue payment” and then walk off.

Get a professional coffee machine (barista style) installed in my really nice house.

Go into bars and yell “drinks are on me!” and make friends for life. (Note: do this in my three holiday house locations).

Hire a bodyguard for life.

And with all my free time not working, I would drink coffee, do yoga, indulge in red wine, holiday, and just write write write!

Ahh. What a life.

(And all that from the anticipation of coffee!)

*Try it, it’s a fun game, and leave your comments below!*