Of course it was, when two generations of girls were getting together to eat, drink, and then…
Okay so the little girls wouldn’t quite appreciate the satisfaction in the latter task just yet…
But it was never too early to expose them, right? 😉
A long overdue catch up is what had me catching up with my cousin, and our girls. My girl, and her girl.
Girls girls girls. 💖💖
It was mine and baby girl’s first time at Fountain Gate shopping centre. We had trekked the 40 or so minutes over, and upon walking through the centre’s doors discovered a whole lot of really awesome shopping options. 😍
But we weren’t there purely for the shopping. It was the lunch time catch up. We found my cousin and her little girl, and with my slightly bigger little girl, headed on over to Switch Café.
It was a Friday in Spring, and it was still and sunny, though there weren’t many people lunching out that day. Inside it was quiet, perhaps a bit more upmarket and reserved, with diners scattered here and there close to the entrance doors, while we opted for a more, shall you say, child-friendly spot.
Outside. Where we could make as much noise as we liked 😉
The menu was a bit fancier than your standard lunch fare, and that reflected in the restaurant’s atmosphere. A wide range of pizzas, salads and burgers accompanied by more traditional sit-down meals like roast chicken, fish and steak elevated it to a nicer than average lunch time option.
And then there was the dedicated kids menu. Always a massive plus when trying to decide, as options to adults for their brood is like sprinkles upon an ice cream for the kids.
When it came down to ordering, I went for the Crispy skin chicken breast – with a warm salad of potato, kaiserfleisch, red onion, roquette, roasted garlic & lemon mayo, red wine jus
Baby girl had the kids meal chicken schnitzel – chips & salad OR peas, corn and crispy potatoes (hers was the peas and corn option)
While my cousin got the Hawaiian pizza without pineapple.
Baby girl also opted for apple juice with her meal, which made her tummy all the more happy, you can be assured.
So she was pretty happy, because it was good ol’ fashioned kiddie fare… chicken, chips, peas and corn. I loved the chicken schnitzel as opposed to nugget options, as the meat is far cleaner and better to eat. It was a healthy and satisfying lunch time meal. The extra veg on the plate, so cute and tiny? Awesome. Little fingers love little food.
I loved my meal. The chicken was so succulent, the jus it was surrounded by was so flavoursome and delicious, and tied together with the potato, onion and roquette (I call it rocket, but it still tastes just as amazing!) my mouth was dancing, so happy.
It was a really heartening but healthy meal. We followed it all with babycinos for the girls, coffees for us, and ice cream for them too (not pictured, it went too quick!) It was course after course of course.
Everything was great, and to be honest we were just excited watching our two princesses eat and drink alongside each other, that the food would have been great even if it was a bit below par, just for the fact of our attention being on the girls… but it definitely wasn’t that day. The food was delicious and watching the little princesses, it was a real “aww!” moment.
We walked off, hand in hand, ready to shop ‘til we dropped… or pooped. Whichever came first. 😉 🤷♂️
Food: 7.5/10. I loved the options on offer, from your everyday basic lunch fare to your classier sit-down options.
Coffee: 7/10. Pleasing and accommodating.
Ambience: Pretty quiet and chilled. We were surrounded by other restaurants/cafes, but in our little sheltered corner there wasn’t much going on… bar the craziness on our table. Suited us just fine 😉
People: Friends and couples catching up from what I could spy inside.
Staff: Friendly, and helped with our questions.
Price: I have no idea! My cousin shouted! However, the menu will have likely changed from our dining experience to the posting of this review, so best to check out their website at https://www.switchlifestyle.com.au/ And also keep in mind any current covid restrictions while you’re there.
Advice: I can’t think of any, other to say if it bothers you that it’s quieter during the day, visit them on weekends or at night, and if you prefer the quiet… well a Friday afternoon seems calm enough. 😉
In a nutshell: I think this is a great stopping point between shopping or movie watching, a resting place to catch-up with friends, or simply somewhere to indulge in a really lovely lunch. And the dedicated kids menu, means that I am more likely to Switch on over to their dining next time I’m in the area. 😁
From now, until forever more, we will have the phrases –
“A new normal.”
“Flattening the curve.”
It’s unprecedented. We’ve never been through anything like this before, or at least no one has for a century. As we try to adjust to a new way of living, breathing and being, I thought it might be a good idea to re-jig a list I wrote last year, and make it all ‘corona friendly.’
A lot of my earlier points I’ve re-posted here again because they still apply… but mostly I just wanted to put together a little how-to of ways to help you get by in this uncertain time, if not just for all of you… but for myself as well.
I might do gratitude in myother blog, but trust me, I need reminders too.
Because appreciation of life amidst difficulty is a continuous work in progress.
Please feel free to add things that make you smile, or help you simply get by, in the comments below. Some of us will be taking things harder, some a bit easier, but it’s important to remember we are all going through this in one way or another, and also to remember, the bigger picture.
If all you are doing is surviving, you’re doing great.Well done.
But if you need a little something else to keep your mind busy and have you looking forward, then read on…
Drink a caffeinated beverage.
Coffee, black tea, green tea… or just jump to the ‘other’ stuff.
It’s 4pm somewhere in the world, right?
(Alcohol abuse is not condoned here… because if you can’t party with it you’re doing something wrong!)
Put on some loud music.
Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance is strongly recommended (going by my own personal pick-me-up experiences with that song) but really, anything that will get the blood pumping, your fingers tapping, and your feet dancing along.
Music is sweet, and so necessary for the soul.
Look in the mirror and laugh at yourself.
Even if you force a laugh, you will end up doubling over with real laughter over how stupid you look when you’re fake laughing.
Or else, smile really hard. Try not to burst out laughing. No really, TRY.
Was that pimple always there?
I never noticed those lines.
I really need a brow pluck.
All valid thoughts that may arise, but trust me it’s a very awareness-producing exercise. Hell at the very least, you will suddenly know yourself more intimately than you did before.
Go through old photos.
This is bound to make you feel better instantly. What a mind-trip this can be, going back to years and years ago. Go to your memory bank of choice… physical photo album or digital device.
And if you find you don’t have a collection of properly stored photos, well that may just be a nice little project you can do… being productive, clearing and sorting memories from your life, while filling up the current space with pictures of yourself and loved ones.
Take 3 slow breaths.
Do it now. Can you feel that? Your heartbeat slowing?
And if you think having littlies makes it impossible to do yoga, think again. There’s a tribe called Cosmic Kids Yoga, and they have hundreds of themed yoga videos for kids, ranging from popular movies like Frozen and Spiderman, all the way to movement based off the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
More info at thislink here, or find them on YouTube.
Write it out.
Having spent my whole life writing it out, I can tell you the therapeutic benefits of getting things out on paper are enormous. You don’t have to be Shakespeare… sure many are sprucing their motivations of starting the next great novel, but all you need to do is BLAH it out.
Just set yourself a timer, and write for 5 minutes straight. No breaks. No stopping. Whatever comes into your head, get it out in front of you.
You will be amazed at some of the crap random shitty unusual scary enlightening thoughts that suddenly purge themselves from you.
If you want, burn it at the end. Or keep it as a little time capsule of your own experience of surviving this corona experience.
Yes you heard me. SURVIVING.
Go for a walk.
Or a bike ride. This is about the only one we can do now. This one is so free, and so easy. We may be limited in our social movements, but the fact that we can connect with nature so freely, so easily, just by putting on some sneakers and throwing on a jacket… just do it.
This will save us all.
Look out the window.
Dream. Just imagine… stuff. Ideas. Wishes. Hopes.
Make a post-corona list.
While you’re dreaming, make yourself one of these. Me and baby girl have started one of these lists verbally, and often we refer to it when we’re struggling in the day to day.
Write, or just plan all the things you want to do when this isolation is over.
Watch how excited you get!
Some on my list for example…
Have coffee in a café.
Walk on the beach.
Give my parents and sister a big hug.
Have a massive shopping day.
Invite everyone to our post-corona party. !!!!!!!!!!
I know we’re not there yet, but thinking about it gives me so much hope.
Sit in your yard.
Sit under a tree. Or on your balcony. Lounge about on the porch.
If you’re limited for space, just open the window when you’re dreaming on the point above.
Take a nap.
If time allows you (and let’s face it, certain family members too) there is no time like the present to get some extra shut eye.
Because when the world starts up again, you ain’t gonna wanna sleep much.
I shouldn’t really need to say this, but sadly so many of us forget the bare basics to keep our bodies functioning at optimal level, and this happens more often than not when we are stressed, or going through sudden change.
Get a funky water bottle (order online through your favourite shopping site) and at least you’ll be motivated to bring bottle to lips throughout the day with something looking so cool.
Read a book.
Oh yes. Hell yes. Do it. Read them ALL. No explanation needed here.
We don’t need any excuses to escape to a magical place away from our current realities.
Take a bath.
Hell to the yeah! Baths are sooo not just for kids. Once you hit adult-age, they become a necessity, to help replenish, restore and reenergise.
All you need to do is turn on the faucet, maybe light a candle, and if you’re feeling for it, pour yourself a glass of wine too…
And lock the damn door. You need YOU time.
Ideas to keep us sane.
Do some online shopping.
There is no time like the present to buy things online, in turn supporting some local and small businesses while you’re doing so. And the rush you get from clicking “add to cart…” ooh. Gets me all heady. 😉
This is so easy. Whether it’s an old tv show, a long-time favourite movie, or some comedian on youtube. There’s nothing like a feel-good watch to lift the mood.
I love watching comedians online… one of my faves, the hilariously ethnic and blatantly honest, Sooshi Mango.
HA HA HA!
Talk to someone.
With technology so prevalent in our society, this one is so easy for us all. Call, zoom, even drive by someone’s house and yell across the yard to them (on your way to ‘essential’ shopping of course)… and just hearing someone else’s voice, will be an instant mood lifter.
(Keeping 1.5 metres distance of course 😉 )
Pat a pet.
That’s my furry Mister F. 😉
This is easy if you have one, but if you don’t?
You can virtually add an animal into your house. Just type one into Google, (eg. lion) and when the animal shows up click on the ‘View in 3D’ button.
Then click ‘View in your space.’
Find the ‘ground/floor’ in your phone and arrange accordingly…
And voila! Animal appears in your room! (As close as you might get to patting a real lion too!)
Sure you won’t be patting anything, but you sure as hell will be entertained seeing a zoo of animals pop up through your phone, in your kitchen!
Engage your mind with puzzles and games.
I bet no one thought jigsaw puzzles were going to rock in our technologically advanced 2020, and yet hear we are, chasing down 1000 pieces online and spending big bucks on the last Disney ones we can source…
Whether it’s a puzzle, a sudoku riddle, a crossword, or anything else that gets your mind ticking, it’s going to keep you engaged and thinking, and that is something we should never stop doing, isolation or not.
Or colour in. If you have those mindfulness pictures, great, if you don’t, print any old diagram off the net.
Doing something you haven’t done for so long, is great for the mind and soul.
And if all that doesn’t tickle your fancy… how’s about going back to your childhood?
Boardgames. Jenga, jenga, jenga…!
You don’t even need to go to Bunnings for supplies.
Start in your yard. Observe. Pick. Weed. Look around and respond accordingly.
Listen to nature, she’ll point you in the right direction.
Get the creative juices pumping. Start a new project. The options are ENDLESS.
Write a novel.
There are online courses just waiting for you, and I should know. A great starting point is the Australian Writers Centre.
As I mentioned earlier you can organise your photos during this time of iso, and there is no more creative way to do that than by scrapbooking. You can order items online from Kaisercraft or Riot, both places I have used in my own scrapbooking, and where I have accounts with both. (P.S. it’s free!)
This is a great one. I’ve recently started following Jamie Oliver and Marion Grasby on facebook… Chinese egg drop soup anyone? 3 minute tomato pasta sauce? All these and more I will be making soon!
Leah Itsines is another local gal I follow, and her meals are easy, delicious and so easy to source ingredients for (as well as being great for meal prepping – winning!)
Type in their names on facebook, insta or YouTube to start getting food inspiration ASAP.
Start an exercise routine.
You don’t have to tell me you can’t hit the gym. ‘Cause you know what I’m gonna say.
Go online peeps.
Sam Wood and Rachael Finch are just two of the people I follow on insta, and there you can find video links as well as where to sign up to become members and receive further workout benefits.
It’s never been an easier time to be in isolation. We can do this, while still doing almost everything else that we want to from the comfort of our homes.
Uneven door? Need to fix a handle?
Having a house that you tended to yourself, will be the most satisfying thing once all of this is over.
And then you’ll be able to call your friends over for post–corona drinks, and to observe your fancy house handy work too. 😉
Purge purge purge.
If you think clearing things from your life is not a creative pursuit, think again.
The intense therapeutic benefits that come from removing old, useless, redundant items from your life, and bringing in room for new, or just giving you air to breathe, well –
It can bring a new lease on life.
Start small, always start small. A drawer, a stash of papers. Don’t think of the big picture here. When it comes to cleaning, clearing or tidying, it’s best to always zoom in on a small task that you can achieve, because looking at the entire wardrobe that needs clearing and sorting, well you’re gonna be putting that task off for months, if not years to come.
But start with the right corner of that top shelf? That is do-able. That you might be able to knock off in 15-30 minutes.
And then when you get that down, watch how motivated you are to clear the left hand side of the top shelf.
And so on and so forth.
Then, just reap the mental benefits of all that SPACE.
Learn a new/old instrument.
Alright, buying an instrument at this time might be a little tough, but if there’s one laying around your house (most people have one they’ve deserted at some point) a really inexpensive way to tinker with the thing is to look up YouTube videos. Yes, YouTube! (I may need to rename this post The YouTube guide to getting through iso…)
A world of possibilities!
Make a jumper or a scarf, a beanie even, for that first day in Winter (that’s most likely for us in Australia isn’t it?) where we’ll be allowed out of our homes to go do WHATEVER, WHEREVER we choose.
Pick a bright colour. Look up some knitting templates online. Here I found some for you.
Finally, remember to keep things in perspective.At our core we are made up of atoms. Energy, air, and yet in human form all we see is hard matter. Think of all those who have come before us. Think of the future generations who will follow. Imagine the Universe. Imagine God. Just imagine Mother Nature if that is what you please.
And then see yourself as this tiny little invisible dot on the world map that is living an existence in amongst all of the shared past, present and future histories of anyone who has ever passed a breath.
Sure, you matter.We all do. But how much do your problems hold weight? All the little trivialities of our life, what has become of our day-to-day… it is hard. But how much will it matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 20 years?
If it still holds you down, speak to a professional. (This you can do online too).
But if your problems suddenly seem pointless and irrelevant…
I had to go to a chemist today within a homemaker centre, and get an ‘essential item’ (note, ‘essential item’) that I could not find at my normal chemist while out doing our ‘necessary’ grocery shop yesterday.
I was baffled at the number of cars parked within this huge centre. Sure, there is an Aldi at one end and they are considered an essential shop… but what about the rest of the HUGE centre?
What about the people heading in and out of Harvey Norman, looking at TVs, kettles and entertainment units?
What about the people walking into Oz Design Furniture for a new lounge room rug or bookcase, enticed by the ‘30% off’ signs plastered all over store windows?
What about the men going to BCF, Boating Camping Fishing? What do you need, a new freaking fishing rod?
WHERE ARE ALL OF YOU GOING?
To buy a new TV for your second room?
To buy a fancy designer rug for the bullshit room no one is allowed to step into?
To get a new khaki-coloured kayak? To sail out on from this insane mess of isolation and coronavirus?
As one of my favourite comedians Sebastian Maniscalco would say…
“Where are you going???”
Oh. My. God.
I can somehow, ever so slightly understand stores like Target, or Bunnings being open. Only slightly. Cafes, more so. They are small businesses and can provide essential services (i.e food and life saving caffeine) for takeaway.
They are SOnecessary.
That is fine, that is vital. Stay the f&%^ away from other people, and no complaints from me.
Bunnings, Target… hmmm. Okay. You probably don’t need to buy some new plants, or get a new blind for the spare room, or start re-painting your house in muted charcoal…
But it’s saving you. Your sanity. It’s giving you purpose right?
Keeping you from going cuckoo.
Just as for some reason. buying stuff from Target (I assume affordable clothes, endless toys and $4 beach mugs) is keeping you sane in SOME WAY.
But a stereo system? A portable projector? A gypsy print for the hallway?
UNLESS YOUR DISHWASHER IS SPEWING WATER FROM THE SINK YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN HARVEY NORMAN!
Why are people so incapable of listening to the rules? To adhering to social standards during this crazy time where people all over the world have DIED, are DYING and will continue to DIE until people really listen.
Why are people not taking this seriously?
Why are people risking their, and others lives?
There are so many of us going without, and we do it without complaint, without argument, without any kind of fight.
We don’t see our elderly parents who have no visitors at all to keep them company…
We keep our young children inside who are struggling to cope without the usual social activity they are used to for their youthful bodies…
And we reside ourselves in the walls of our homes, day after day after night after night after dayINDEFINITELY, and we do it because we have to.
DON’T GO OUT UNLESS IT’S NECESSARY! That’s it!
People had to go to war and die. You can sit on your God-damn couch and Netflix.
You have the whole world at your fingertips! Hell you can bring museums, concerts, even the zoo into your home!
You know who these people are? These are the self-entitled bunch who think the rules somehow don’t apply to them. They are used to the convenient, immediacy and luxury of life in the 21st century, and therefore they are beneath listening to any rules.
To staying inside.
To believing there is a problem.
To accepting, that it might happen to them… or anyone they know.
Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance can kill in this situation.
It’s the day after Christmas, where a good majority of people spend the aftermath of the festive day either shopping it up and trying to get the best bargain, or drinking VBs and turning lobster-red at the cricket with their best-est mates.
So why do Australians call December 26, Boxing Day?
It occurred to me that I did not know, when I discovered just last week that the next Frozen movie was not arriving in our cinemas in late November like the rest of the world. No… we had to wait until Boxing Day.
As I said the words out loud to baby girl, I realised she would be baffled.
“What is boxing day?
Honey I have no clue. But I am going to try find out for you.
Oh, and that is another thing we Aussies tend to get the day after Christmas… the box-office blockbusters.
The term originated in the UK and therefore the story of it lays there, so it comes to reason that several countries part of the British Empire (i.e. Australia) would therefore celebrate the 26th of December.
One popular theory hails from the 1800s, and the Oxford English Dictionary explains it as: “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”.
It was a day in which the rich gave to the poor, whether it was to those less fortunate, or their own servants. Also servants were deemed to have the day off after Christmas, and went back home to their families with ‘boxed presents.’
While the exact origin is unknown, the European tradition of giving to those in need dates back to the Middle Ages. And it is one that certainly should not be forgotten. At a time of year when consumerism and spending is rife, we should definitely not forget this time-honoured tradition and try to give what lot, or little we can, to someone in need.
Whatever the reason be, perhaps the most exciting thing for us Aussies is that it’s a public holiday. Spend the day as you will, shopping it up, watching a movie, or going to the cricket. Or something else… how do you spend your Boxing Day?
I can almost guarantee we will be getting Frozen this year… shiver.
Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?
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?”
“That’s Mr Perfect.”
“Pfft” was her immediate raspberry response. I laughed out loud at the perfect comic timing.
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!
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…
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?
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.
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.
‘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.