Saturday, March 31, 2012

Freaky talk at a conference

All conferences have a bit of networking and if you are lucky and get to sit on a table of interesting people some decent conversations can get rolling.

At the blogging conference I went to on Friday there was discussion that one of the swag bags could possibly have a dead mouse in it.

This freaks me out.


I had to let the host know that if a mouse was in my bag, vomit could follow, panic screeching then end in fainting.

Lucy confirmed she felt exactly the same.

Give us a slug, mouldy lunch boxes, a stampeding elephant, but not a filthy scampering whisker twitching mouse.

This lead to other people admitting the irrational fears they had, amongst the list were: Falling off a pier, or more precisely your children falling off a pier; Falling off a balcony, especially a high rise building balcony and Leeches.

To me these are things you can control, it's not like a leech jumps from behind the fridge and crawls over your feet spreading its filth, and if you don't like piers you can pretty much see it before you walk on it. If I have control, I don't have the fear.

But that is the trouble with irrational things. It seems you can't control them.

What's yours? What silly thing just freaks you out?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do you believe what the coffee tells you?

On the weekend we wandered down to a  yearly event put on by the local Italian and Greek migrants who built our suburb sixty years ago. It is a little fiesta of music and food in the local park and a celebration of all the things these former migrants brought to the area long ago.

What I don’t think was happening back then was coffee bean readings.

I really don’t believe in much of this ‘tell your future’ stuff but I am addicted to it all the same.

I had to drink my coffee first, leaving a small amount, then the lady swirled the dregs, tipped them and read what she saw for me.

What did she see…she saw turbulence in a couple of years. She saw a short holiday for us very soon, she asked me to make a wish and put my thumb print in the remains of the beans, I did and the result was a dog like image, this means loyalty, and as long as I am loyal to the wish, the wish will be loyal to me, just like a good puppy dog.

She discussed my Cancerian ways, told me to stop stressing so much, to ease up on the amount I worry about things and to start enjoying the day to day stuff more.

She didn’t tell me that I was going to strike it rich, or end up in the poor house. She didn’t tell me anything about what fate may bring me either. Really there was a lot she didn’t tell me because life is a bit of a game that you just have to keep playing. A game where you do whatever you can to win the best hand and hope for the rest to full in to place. But also, life is full of things that if you really really want to work for, then wishes will come true.

But sometimes, a lady reading your coffee beans can remind you to get busy living too, and to stop sweating the small stuff.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The conference is coming

This week is a biggie in parenting blog land, the conference is coming and lots of parents are heading to do the conference jig.

For some of us this conference will be more about the people in the audience than the people on the stage. My main reason for going is to meet people. Lots of them! Of course I expect to learn a bit too, but it’s the people I want to connect with.

To start with there are bloggers I met last year who I might get to speak with again this year. There are people who have done amazing things, had great success and been to interesting places. There are new bloggers that I haven’t met, both new to blogging or just new to me.

There will be brands and sponsors who are keen to use blogging and social media within their marketing strategies and I am really keen to see them and the new, innovative and responsive ways they are getting their products to market. Exhibition halls at a conference can be dull (really dull at times) but when a brand makes the effort to get it right it can be a beautiful and creative thing.

If you are new to conferences and you are going alone it can feel a bit daunting. There is only one trick I have for making this situation feel less scary.

Make a list.

Make a list of people that you want to track down. Whenever you need to look busy you actually will be, because you are looking for someone else on your list.

If you struggle to get a conversation going, then use this list – ask the person you are with if they know such and such, if they do can they introduce you, if they don’t share the reason you want to meet them.

When you do see someone you want to meet and get that nervous feeling about approaching them, you can again just say, ‘Hi, I am Claire, I was hoping to meet you, you are on my list of people to meet.” It is a compliment to them, so if they are not happy to chat with you, then cross them off and move on.

I have my own list in the making, it is kind of long, I have lots of people I want to talk to, but a few of them include:

AmyThe Misadventurous Maker - bound to be food blogger of the year one day.

Kirrily  – Sunny Side Up – Not just because she is queen of the swag bags this year, but because she is really really funny, and once told me a story about an email she sent that was not meant to be sent, which I shall remember always.

Naomi PT- Under the Yardarm -  Another Melbourne lady whose blog I read and we may need to plan some stuff for a road trip later in May.

GemmaMy Big Nutshell - We are fellow ladies living a suburban life but trying to force through the bluestone steel tin fences that surround us.

Kim – Working Women Australia - Kim was kind enough to tweet me secret locations when we went away at Christmas time to Bright. She is also doing amazing things with her blog and social media. A lady with lots going on, busy doing stuff,  I like this.
Sarah  - A Beach Cottage - I just hope that if I stand next to Sarah for a little bit, maybe some of her natural design skills will dust over me and I will be able to transform our bathrooms into something amazing.

I will be collecting business cards if you have one, but if you don't have one, try and make your own. Jody from Lemon Rhodes made great cards for an event last year and once I had all the information I needed I threw tall my cards out, except Jody's, handmade cards are the new black I tell you. Use a beer coaster if you have to, but have something to pass to people to share your blog, your business, your contact details, or even just your name.

Will I see you there? 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This was going to be a recipe post.

Last week I cooked up a new recipe.

It was super easy, super healthy (part of the 12 week body transformation I am doing) and Mr H declared it one of the best ever meals I had ever cooked.

These are the recipes worth sharing.

So I got all the ingredients ready for my Roasted Pumpkin Red Curry Extravaganza. I was going to share the step by step guide to cooking this dish.

It doesn't take long to cook so in no time at all I was nearly done.

Then one last squirt of lime juice and the whole dish of wonderfulness curdled before my very eyes.

I have no idea why, I used lime juice last time.

Was it the heat of the pan, that I used real lime last time, that it simmered too long?

What did I do to turn the dish into something fit only for the bin?

Any tips would be marvellous, because I would like to cook it again, but this time I would like to serve it on a plate rather than to the bin.

I also use the Carnation Milk Coconut flavour thing as that is the low calorie substitute for regular Coconut Milk.

Help me out, let me know what I can do to avoid the curdle!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bits and Bobs

Some posts are just not really a story, not one topic, just bits of this and bits of that. They are not usually fun to write so I am guessing they are not that fun to read either. So why write it? Just to get the stuff out of my head, off my to do list and clear my brain. Yes, sorry dear reader, it is all about me, me and me. Except for the bits about you.

Today at work on the facebook page, I put up a tip from one of the midwives on waxing before you head off to an elective c/section. The comments made me giggle a little, so I guess I need to admit I am still a bit immature.

Yesterday I went writing elsewhere again and posted about a day out we had at Bundoora Park last weekend, I would love it if you all went and made a comment over there as I am not sure if anyone else has found it hidden in the BubHub archives yet.

I have also been reading a new book thanks to the great list provided by people on my post last week. I am reading Recipes of a Perfect Marriage suggested by Kate Sins, so Kate, you are the winner of the book. But I also plan on reading Room suggested by MichVee (I have it on order at the library)  - if it was up to me you would both be getting a copy of Putting Alice Back Together, but sadly my powers do not stretch that far.

The weekend is here. The central heating is on and I have given Mr H a project. He is to find out if we can pull out the old gas heater and reconvert the space back to the original fireplace. Right now I would love to be sitting in front of a real fire, on a bean bag, drinking wine and reading my book. (There would be no mess of ash and smoke to clean up in this day dream).

How is your list looking for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photo life

I always love when I link up my phone and download all the photos. I scan through them, delete the odd dud one, but clearly not enough as there are thousands downloaded.

Our photos today just journal our lives so much. It has been said that today's child can barely move without someone taking a snap of them.

Probably true. And what a great thing it is.

The week according to my phone camera (which is the only camera I have).

If you are going to a farm, you should wear overalls. They should be the cutest overalls you ever did see.

For the cupcake lovers, this was at one of the many parties we went to last week.

When you are in Prep getting Student of the Week is a really big deal. It means you are now the lunch order monitor and apparently you can play on the monkey bars while you go.

Full version of this cake. I do love a good cake, and even though it was not within my calorie plan for the day I had a piece of the big cake and a cupcake. I would never want this type of glory to go to waste.

An image Popps took of me in the dress that I love so much I hardly take it off, along with my old faithful Elk necklace.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thoughts from my head when doing the grapevine

Tonight I have completed a class called 'Fat Burner'.

Beside me was a Jane Fonda wannabe. Kicking up her legs with much finesse, burning her way through the pretend fat somewhere on her body.

As I lumbered through like a dying seal I wondered what this lady thinks about during these classes, because my mind covers a million things.

My mind wanders past grape vine and easy walk to:

I hope the kids are asleep when I get home.
I bet She Who Never Sleeps will be awake.
It's getting so dark.
I hate winter.
What should I blog about next?
Wonder if anyone read my blog today?
Shit, is my pelvic floor going to hold?
Crap, back to double grapevine, I'm still on L shape.
That lady has a nice top on.
What time is it, how much more of this do I have to do?
I look terrible in the mirrors here, glad I don't look like that all the time.
If I try hard in this class, should I give myself a food reward?
Is anyone else as red and puffed as me?
Jumping scissors move...are you serious lady, pelvic floor for god sake.
I can't breathe.
This hurts.
I hate this class.
I hate this Jane Fonda woman.
Was childbirth this painful?
Wow, Oasis song, used to love this song...opps easy walk, missed it again
Wonder what's happening on twitter?
Would it be rude to check my emails during the sit ups bit?
Am I addicted to social media?
What is Jane Fonda doing now, Jesus the women is going to split in half.
It's over.
Thank god it's over.

Friday, March 16, 2012

No more shiny new babies for me.

This week I went walking with a friend.

We walked the river on the most perfect day for river walking. She had her fancy new shiny pram with a matching shiny new baby boy in it. I love prams, the right pram can change a Mums day, but that is another story.

When we made it to a park on the other side of the river we sat for my girls, who seemed so gigantic next to the shiny new baby, to have a play and for shiny new baby to have a feed.

My girls were like seagulls, waiting for that feed to finish and then fighting over who got to sit next to shiny new baby.

We had to have a system of one gets to touch his toes, the other his hands, taking turns of sitting closest.

My girls would love a new baby. Immy told her creche carers that Mummy was having a baby, and it is a boy. They believed her and asked me how the pregnancy was going.

That should have fuelled my desire to get to the gym, but I seriously think that part of the brain people talk about, about how they feel so good after the gym, I am missing that section.

Back to the shiny new baby. He is everything a shiny new baby is. Gorgeous, snuggly, sweet, smells of newborn and oh so clean. Clean car seat, clean pram, clean fingers.

And I can very clearly say, I am not in the market for a shiny new baby.

While I really love the idea of big families, I am also well aware of my limits.

I am packing up the bubba stuff and making space for new things, initially I did feel a tiny pang of emotion thinking that the baby days were gone, but then I realised I will never have to scrub the grooves in the highchair again and I knew everything was going to be alright.

Two is the number for us.

How about you? Did you know when you were 'done'? Was it decided for you? Do you think you will ever be 'done'?  Do you think you can have too many prams?  Should I stop asking questions all the time?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putting Alice Back Together. Review and Giveaway

I read another book.

Actually, at first I had done something I rarely do, I went to the bookshop and rather than buying more kids books (ok, so maybe a couple) I actually bought myself a book.

Then I received one to review.

It was interesting to receive a review copy because the cover is not on it. Not the nice pretty, much thought about, how to maximise sales cover anyway. I totally admit I pretty much always judge a book by its cover.

I thought I would read a few pages to see what it was like, but ended up ditching the book I had purchased for myself and reading Putting Alice Back Together instead.

I couldn't put it down.

I would describe this book as chick lit, but chick lit of substance (not the substance abuse kind even though Alice sure does a lot of drinking and her Valium habit is interesting).

Alice is the girl who has her shit together. Or not.

The book goes through a number of themes but one aspect I think it discusses well is that of an anxiety or panic attack, how they can come on for what seems like no reason at the most oddest of times. If you have had a panic attack I am sure you will relate, and if you haven't it will really explain the weirdness it feels to be the person having one.

Now that I see the cover for the book I am not sure it is a good match. This is not what Alice should look like to me.

Putting Alice back together is well written by Carol Marinelli.

If there was anything to drudge up as a negative it would be the relationship with the psychologist which just seemed a bit too predictable for me, it's written pretty accurately but I could see where this was going from the start. This in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the book.

I did like that as a character, Alice, is just 'normal', she has a job, but just an average one. She is not a model, but not unattractive, she is not dealing with cheating boyfriends or some of the usual issues in chick lit books.

I never keep my books, I don't really understand the need to read the same book over and over, so I have already passed my review copy on to my sister...BUT I do have a copy of the real version to giveaway.

To enter, just leave a comment here telling me a book you think I should look out for to read next. It doesn't have to be new...even better if it is from the library. But if you suggest something with vampires, hobbits or mention the name Wilbur Smith, I promise you that you will not win.

Fine Print is thus:

Enter as many times as you like by simply making a new comment.
Only Australian postal addresses will be sent to.
Include a way to contact you.
Giveaway closes Thursday 22 march at 8pm.

Winner will be announced on Facebook, with an update to this post and via their own email address if you leave one. If I don't hear from you within 5 days it will be given to someone else.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some kids just play differently.

As most households in Australia we have a house with multiple buckets filled with plastic crap.

This crap is pricey and has been purchased to provide hours of fun for everyone. Well mainly hours of fun for Popps, or even an hour of fun would be good. All I really wanted was for her to play with her toys like I see other kids do.

She never seemed to do it. She doesn't wander off into imaginary play and get lost there for hours. Her dolls have collected dust, polly pocket and Little Pet Shop stuff got unwrapped, put in a drawer and that was it.

Her Kinder teacher was often astounded at how Popps could look around the room and proclaim that there was just nothing to do, if she couldn't go outside on the monkey bars.

Last Christmas when Granny asked what Popps would like for Christmas, I jokingly said "a box of crap", but Granny went off and fulfilled the request and at Christmas she delivered "The box of crap". filled with glue sticks, hole punches, string, sticky tape, feathers, face paint, throw in some bottle top lids and you are set. A girls dream box.

She doesn't play to what I perceived as 'normal'. Immy does. She plays for hours at shops, mums and dads, babies, etc.

But Popps, this is her week so far.

You know the adjustable waist in kids' pants - Immy pulled one of hers out, I put it aside to fix it up that night, but couldn't find it anywhere, I found it today, Barbie tied herself to the toy shopping trolley to bungee jump.

Couldn't find the scissors that are not to leave the kitchen drawer. When I did, I had trouble opening them. This was not for anything, just that she likes to stick things together, anything.

I constantly need to buy new wooden spoons.

Barbie has broken legs, so she needs to rest and can not be touched ever again.

School hairbands disappear quickly, we can never find them in the morning, no matter how many systems I try and put in place. I am now searching the bookshelves for them.

This is a treasure box. She is collecting them from the footpath when we walk home from school.

A few weeks ago the ballet teacher said she was still too small to do ballet on pointe. Popps went home and decided to make her own. She filled an old pair with stones found some material and got to work, apparently they are very comfortable.

Her drawers are full of sticks and feathers, stones and treasures and the odd special toy that is too special to play with...ever.

What crap do your kids collect or play with?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Do your neighbours know you blog? How did they find out?

This week we had to get out of town. Breast Cancer took another fine lady way before her time and we hit the road to be where we needed to be. While funerals are not a happy time, we did spend some lovely time with our family and got some amazing weather to just sit around and soak up.

While we were gone a business decided to send me some food to try out and sent me an email while we were on the road to let me know.

I requested they try another day but apparently the courier was already on its way. 

So while I am super proud of the Aussie invention of the esky, I didn't think this food would last too well for a few days out in the heat.

I started texting a neighbour, to ask if she could grab the delivery and to also please feel free to eat it. 

She said she could grab the package, but surely if I ordered this I needed it. Right?

I texted it was for this blogging thing I do, that she should just eat it, she would be doing me a favour by picking it up. 

(I hate the waste of food these days and thinking of this just going in the bin annoyed me).

Now, think back to when you had never read a blog and didn't know what they were. Now imagine someone texting you to go grab some food from a door step, because it has been sent there for a blog.

Blogger food? 

So this is just one way one of my neighbours is hearing about this blogging business stuff.  Our other neighbours think I have a job that allows me to review cars sometimes. I am not sure where they think I work.

Which of course got me wondering. Do your neighbours know you blog? Did you tell them, do you even tell anyone? 

And if you are not a blogger, if your neighbours text you to go pick up food parcels from their doorstep...I reckon you might have a blogger right next door.

Note: This image of Immy has nothing to do with this post. It was just her dancing again today, because  when you are three every little hill is a stage, and every tree an audience. And she is cute as crazy in that kaftan with crazy pigtails flying everywhere.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

White Space gone mad?

On the weekend Mr H and I took off for our first weekend together sans kids in over six years.

Amazing that it took that long, but that is just the way things worked out.

The place we went to was a little on the fancy pants side and we decided to eat at the restaurant there too. Mr H was starving when we arrived, as was I, but that is a constant for me now as I am on this rather limited diet.

He ordered the lamb, I ordered the superfood salad. I suggested that we order a side salad but the waitress confirmed that the lamb was one of the biggest dishes on the menu and came with veggies and a serve of mash - or pommes to be precise.

Mr H was served a very very large plate.

While in much of my design work in marketing I request white space and in brochures and adverts white space is often your friend. This is not so when serving a hungry man.

From deep inside of me I willed with all my might for Mr H's bogan heritage not to rise up. But my mystic powers are long gone.

He called the waitress over in her crisp starched uniform and informed her he had indeed requested the main, not the entree. Yes sir, she replied, you have been served the main.

He gave the death stare of the hungry man who is served three mouthfuls of food when they are paying a hefty price for the privilege to eat somewhere.

When we finished our mains, three seconds after they hit the table, I suggested we order dessert. I had to coax Mr H to even look at the menu, so keen was he to just jump in the car and head to the next pub for a decent meal. One where white space on the plate would be filled with side salad or chips.

We did have a lovely time away, finished a conversation and a bottle of wine. But we wont be returning to view the beauty of white china.

Do you love fine dining and huge white plates or prefer to leave a restaurant without still feeling hungry?