Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And now...a review of some tyres.

This is a sponsored post. And it's about tyres. Read on! 

Once upon a time I was a penniless student. I had no licence to drive and no car to drive if I did.

My Dad told me he would buy me a car but he gave me two conditions that I would need to meet before he would be handing over the keys.

First, I needed to get myself a job, I would be responsible for the petrol, services, insurances and tyres.

I also had to prove to him that I could change a tyre. On my own. This was so that if I needed to change a wheel in the middle of nowhere I could do it.

I ticked both of these boxes and became the proud new owner of a 1980 Datsun 200B. It was baby blue on the outside and baby poo on the inside. It had air conditioning. I was thrilled.

I wish I had a photo of me and the Datsun, I know somewhere there is one of me sitting on the car, spiral perm giving me the 2 minute noodle look of the early 90s. But someone else must have it, I can't find it.

I kept that car until it wouldn’t drive from A to B any longer and in all that time I never changed a tyre on it again. Those tyres never went flat the whole time I had it. This is possibly because Dad also had a thing about having good tyres.

Remember how Dad had just bought a new car the week he died? He loved that car, but had said to Mum, “the tyres are ok, but we will get new ones still”.  But that was just one of the things on his to do list that week that didn’t get done.

I, however, got an email asking if I wanted to check out some new tyres. Good ones.

Why yes, actually, I believe I do!

Mum and I headed to the tyre shop with strict instructions from my brother that we were to bring the old tyres home with us (Is this normal? Don't know, but we did as we were told.)  

A coffee and a few pieces of cake later and the new tyres were on.

They are black, they are rubber, they are round and guess what – they look just like the other tyres to Mum and me.

But looks can be deceiving, they looked the same, they felt the same, but they didn’t sound the same.

They are ever so quiet. Not like most SUV tyres. 

Mum doesn’t like driving in the city so I get to pretend I am not in our old rust bucket and to drive her car when she visits. I also drive her car around when we are in the country (best to get hers all dirty and not mine).

The Goodyear Efficient Grip tyres are good. I know this because the men folk stood around discussing how the heck Clairey got asked to review tyres like these, they touched them and rubbed them and made faces with their mouths as they nodded silently, mmm, not bad tyres. Mmmm, you'll get a good few years out of those...yep, you wont be needing to worry about tyres now... Mmmm, this blogging thing seems alright...

Black, round, rubber.
Goodyear tells me that the efficient grip actually does more than provide peace and calm regarding noise levels. They also say it shortens braking distances, offering lower rolling resistance, this is good to know, but I am not going to put it to the test when on the school run.

But if  you find yourself needing new tyres for your SUV and you are looking for something that allows you a peaceful ride – just tell them you want the Goodyear Efficient Grip, see if they will make them look as pretty as this one.

The fact remains though, that even though I was taught well the skills required to change my own tyre I have still never actually done it. 

Can you, have you, changed a tyre all on your own?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Unblogged in the Grampians

Blogging is an odd thing to do.

Some people get it, and some have no idea what you are talking about and why you would do that writing on the web thing.

Besides this, there are lots of things to discuss with blogging. There are emails from PR people who want you to do stuff, send you things and invite you places. Some people want to give you money to ensure they are seen on your blog by your readers - what are the best ways to manage this, what about media kits...

There are tools like facebook pages for business and google plus accounts, there are widgets from wordpress and SEO skills to learn.

There is Pinterest and discussing if it is really important or just a whole lot of fun.

Then there is blog reading and getting to know so much about the blogger and their life and thinking 'wouldn't it be nice to meet them one day'.

On top of this is most bloggers sit at home, without a team of work mates to sneak off and have a coffee with. They tweet but conversations are stilted in 140 characters.

All this has lead me to put my hand up to organise a catch up for bloggers, or blog readers, you are all welcome to come along, this is not an invitation event, so don't wait for a personal invite to come your way, if you want to come along then we would love to see you.

The difference in this event is that it is totally not sponsored. There will be no swag bag, no special deals. There will also be no presentations to attend or places to be at a certain time.

Instead there will be a group of people keen to discuss social media with you, because many bloggers just love social media and hardly ever get to talk about it, and talk about it and talk about it. The weekend will be about networking with other people who share your passion for social media.

You will not be obligated to write, instagram, pin, facebook or google anything.

I will be including a list of things that you might like to consider doing to entertain yourself, but that will be up to you.

If you are keen to hear more, just jump over to Google + and join the community Unblogged in the Grampians. If you can't get into it, just add me to your circles and ask me to invite you in.

Here is the Link - Unblogged in the Grampians

If you just want to book your spot and get there here are the basic details for you.

Unblogged in the Grampians
Friday 1 March - Sunday 3 March (I won't be there til late Friday)
Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park - phone 5356 4281 (Website:
Come on your own, come with a friend or come with your family, just come with a great big smile!

Today's Disclaimer - there may be just me there. I can't promise you how many people will be there or who, but I have booked my cabin and I will be there and sitting in the camp kitchen on Saturday night with a bottle of wine and a fire hoping that someone will join me.
I am not receiving any incentives of any kind for organising this event, I am just doing it.

EDIT: Friday 24 January
I am having too many issues with the Google + community - mainly that when I set it up I locked it and now it can't be unlocked and 2) You can't use the community feature on your phone so I can't invite people in unless I am sitting at the computer. So....

Here is the link to the Facebook Group:

All the information will be the same at both Google +  Facebook so you don't need to be in both if you don't want to, pick which ever you prefer and I will just fangle my way through this.

Edited again:
Saturday 2 February

Thanks to the talent of Liz Griffith I have a little blog button/icon thingo for the weekend. It just makes it easier to look for. And because she is so cool, she made them in different sizes.

What does this mean for you:
1) I have added them to the Google + page to make it easier to notice.

2) I have added it to the top of my blog so that you can click on it to come here for any updated information

3) If you wanted to right click and copy it to your own blog to say you are coming along, then you can. I know it would have been handy for some html whiz bang stuff but image insertion is pretty easy - yes?

Any questions? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The bucket list for before you write your bucket list

It is a little trendy, a bit fashionable even to discuss the things you would love to do, plan to do or want to tick off a list before you cark it.

People have lists of things to do before they turn thirty, or forty, or fifty.  Trips to take, things to see, people to meet. The whole idea is pretty self absorbed. The list is all about your life and gaining as much pleasure from it as you can. Fair enough, after all, that is what life is about, finding every bit of pleasure that we can.

However, there is another list that would be really worth ticking off before your bucket list ticks start taking place.

I might call it the Pre-Bucket List List.

1) Superannuation - Check yours out. How many accounts do you have? When I checked last year I had about six on the go, one of them had a whole $5.85 in it, not a big deal but still annoying for someone else to have to deal with at another time. Still enough for them to send me mail twice a year. Check your insurance - both death and total and permanant disability (TDP) is it enough for your partner to cope without you?

2) Passwords - All of them! Do you know how many you have? All those points in your frequent flyers or fly buys or loyalty cards, can someone access them? How about your facebook, your itunes, your paypal and your ebay (just in case you just won something and then die with excitement). How about your online banking passwords, maybe you even have a safe - but can anyone get into it? Maybe it is just the lock to your ipad or the sim card lock on your phone.

3) Shares - just because they are not worth much, or even if they are worth heaps but have been sitting around forever, someone needs to know they are there, they need your CHESS number too. It's not fun to go searching for things.

4) It goes without saying that you should have your Will done and up to date - have you had children since you last wrote your Will  - UPDATE IT NOW. I am always surprised to hear that so many people just haven't got around to doing their Will.

5) Titles - It might be just your house, it might be much more. Are the Titles of any Property you own with your solicitor or have you told your family where they are?

There are so many things that your family need to worry about after your death and lots of them just can't be helped, there are cars to be transferred, direct debits to be stopped or found, phone contracts, drivers licence, maybe centrelink, there will be bills a plenty in your name that will need actioning in some way. There will be a funeral to organise and pay for and solicitors to work with.

So before you go and live your life to the fullest, how many ticks are on your Pre-Bucket List List and what other things do you suggest we all get sorted?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Out and About in Victoria: Mt Buffalo

I am a sucker for travel shows, brochures, postcards and images that show beautiful destinations. For me the ones that pull me in include sun, water and a slow pace. This can be tricky as Mr H prefers snow, the cold and action packed days.

But the other day we managed to squeeze everything in for all of us.

We started with a bush walk, which involved acting like a mountain goat and climbing up and down rocks to get into a pool at the bottom of a natural rock waterfall.

After the walk I was hot and sweaty and sat down on the hot rocks with my feet in the FREEZING icy water that used to be snow. This little frilled bum sat with me as she is also not keen on cold water. The water is so cold that it was wonderful to sit in the sun and be cooled off so quickly. Also there were not many other people around.

These two below are game for anything, they swam, jumped off boulders and had to lay like lizards on the rocks every few minutes to warm up, then they just jumped straight back in. The pure clear water was like a magnet that just pulled them in.

Can anyone else see a skull in the rock on the right in this photo or is it just me?

Just a few hours drive from Melbourne, a short walk and you have everything you need.

Today's Disclaimer: If you wear your thongs and have to carry a four year old over the rocks, please be careful, it's a more difficult walk down with only one thong - isn't it Mr H?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kids Party: Outsourced

Today Popps turned 7.

The party was planned a couple of months ago, it involved me going to the pool and paying a deposit.

I then got some invites off the shelf and hand wrote all of the details on all of them. I had to be pretty organised because if your child has a January party and you don't know any of the children in the class then you have no way of inviting the guests (learnt that the hard way).

This is also why we sent out the invites the same week everyone was sending out Christmas cards. Another tip  - write PARTY INVITATION on the envelope so the Mums know it isn't just more end of year crap artwork coming home in the bag.

We then had Christmas and three weeks holidays.

I outsourced some party cupcakes to add to the party food and did a dash to the supermarket for two dozen little bottles of juice.

Then we arrived at the venue.

Seems to be a toothless hillybilly look going on.

Fun was had, mess was made, food was served, cake was cut.

Instead of lolly bags I whipped up a little thank you note, tied on a lolly pop to a pool noodle and gave those out instead.

There was some extreme sports for seven year olds on offer.

The cake was served on a silver platter.

After a few extra hours of swimming with the kids who were free to stay longer we packed up the towels and went home.

The house was just as I had left it.

The birthday girl requested that Dad make pancakes for tea as he makes the best ones.


The outsourced pool party was a hit, she had a ball and I feel so relaxed.

Are you an outsourcer or an at home party planner?

Monday, January 14, 2013

31 Days Outside

There are a gazillion hashtags to play along with and follow and try to keep up with.

Usually they actually bore me a little and I never play along. I noticed Megan was doing 31 Days Outside and asked if I could join along, ok, so I didn't even really ask very nicely I just barged into her twitter stream and told her it was best I did.

31 Days Outside is just a little thing to try and snap a picture of you, your family, your kids, your life, outside every day for 31 days.

This is how I have been going so far.

If you are outside playing use #31DaysOutside to share what you are doing this month.

Or, just make the effort to ensure you are outside every day. You won't regret it, I promise.

Have you been outside in your neck of the woods?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back from the Gap.

Our cabin had some funky style

I sometimes worry that people who read my blog, or just a post here or there read something and that is all they know of me. When I write a post about feeling glum I just can't leave it there sitting at the top. It feels just too 'woe is me' and makes me think people don't know that I do, even on my worst days, look for the smiles.

There are good days rubbing shoulders with the cranky ones.

I didn't want to sit in Melbourne with fireworks going and remember the lovely night we had last year. I didn't want misery to be a guest at our picnic rug. So I told Mr H I needed to be in Halls Gap for New Years Eve.

He rang a caravan park and we got the last cabin available.

I love caravan parks, even though camping is not my thing. I love the community that they hold, the shared facilities, the good ones anyway - the pool, the park, the trampolines.

Where we stayed they had a band in the camp kitchen. The band were awful, the main singer kept singing Living Next Door to Alice, over and over but it didn't matter. The girls made instant best friends with a brother and sister from Germany. They ran around for hours, not speaking the same language proved little problem. We sat under the stars and watched the people bring in the New Year. People from all over the world, all wishing and hoping that the new year will bring them good luck.

Another family noticed how I had failed to realise that New Years Eve in a caravan park means it is illegal not to supply your children with glow sticks and sparklers, they walked over and gave both the girls some of their own. Happiest children you ever did see.

Our cabin came complete with a massive spa bath, which I checked was working extremely well and with flocks of kangaroos and emus at our door and one poor old Cocky that had seen better days but happily ate out of the kids hands.

Our days were spent on bush walks, paddling in lakes and chatting with friends and family.

We were so content for three days that I decided we needed to move there. When I mentioned this to my sister she asked if I felt ok, that perhaps I really wasn't quite alright still. I have never wanted to be in a rural setting.

Sometimes a place grabs you and pulls you in and makes you want to stay forever.

Have you got a place that drags you in, begging for you to return?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

There is trouble in my heart I said.

Weeks back I wasn't feeling all that well. I put it off for ages but needed to get to the doctor for a few things so while I was there I also mentioned that actually, I wasn't feeling all that great. Often, I had this ridiculous feeling that I was having a heart attack. Other times I felt so dizzy I thought I might faint.

There is trouble in my heart I said.

My doctor decided it was best to get some tests done, blood tests,  ECG and stuff but I really don't like blood tests, I faint, I get embarrassed, I can't drive myself home. Stupid stuff, but it is what it is.

Dad came to stay and he needed a blood test before his unicorn dust was to be administered, so we had a blood test date together. I drove there, we chatted in the waiting room, I went in first, survived and then he went in next (I guess he survived that one), he drove home, we talked about how my old car was still going ok, that it should get another year or two out of it. We talked about nothing, just talking.

The next day Dad headed off for his dose of Unicorn dust and from there he would be going home with Mum. I waved them off and the feelings came on.

I could barely breathe, I wanted to sit down, but my heart was pumping too fast. Something was wrong with me. I started to think I better call the doctor to see when the results would be in.  This trouble in my heart it was getting worse.

Half an hour later I was ok.

The doctor called and made an appointment for me to see him the following week.

I couldn't make it because by then Dad hadn't survived and I was off in the country wandering around thinking this situation is just really fucking shit.

But all week long and all the following week, there was trouble in my heart still.

When I got home I went to the doctor who confirmed that actually there was nothing wrong with my heart. My tests showed I was totally ok.

But there is trouble in your heart he said.

It is grief, it is anxiety and you are going to feel it. He suggested that it was best to grieve openly, to be weak. He said there was no benefit in 'being strong', that grieving is something best met head on and riding through, not pretending it isn't there.

So I have. The anxiety is nearly gone. It was run out of town by the amazing people I am lucky enough to have in my life. Many of them I barely know, they are late night tweets or early morning texts, or they are meals in my freezer and cards in the mail. They are people who send me messages on Christmas day that just say, I hope you're ok or that understand when I keep saying no to invitations I am not up to.

There is still trouble in my heart, but it is the black cloud variety not the dodgy artery kind and black clouds always always get replaced by rainbows, someday.