Monday, April 29, 2013

The Life of an Underwear Model.

This is a sponsored post.

Mr H continues to be surprised at where this blogging caper will take not only me, but him too. One day he is mowing the lawn, the next I am asking if he wants to change our plans for the weekend. Initially he wasn't sure, things were planned and people were organised but it seems the people over at Berlei HQ have decided that photoshopped models are not always the best people to tell Ms Average how a product works. In fact, Ms Average might be able to road test a product for the market instead. 

A road test is of course best completed on a road trip, or in the words from the Berlei HQ PR Team: "Your Ultimate Night Out".

Berlei asked me to take my very own Ultimate Night Out, but the catch was I had to do it in the new Berlei Dig Free range of undergarments. 

Considering we already had plans for the weekend, we did initially say no, but then Mr H and I agreed, as I am trying to be more spontaneous, trying to say YES to good things and making an effort to ensure  I grab all the good bits out of life, we got on the phone, re-arranged everyone and called in the in-laws to baby sit.

We are not very fussy people and with only 24 hours to finalise bookings we left the arrangements up to the Berlei PR crew with the only instructions being that we needed a hotel and tickets to the comedy festival. They also organised and booked in a dinner reservation for us. We actually didn't really make any decisions other than the date we wanted to go! A surprise night.

The hotel was fine, no complaints but nothing spectacular, the dinner was fabulous. We dined in Flinders Lane at Terra Rosa, what a great spot, so happy we now know it is there. We lashed out on meals that we wouldn't usually splurge on, prawns, pork belly, swordfish and steak, but I had a job to do, I needed to check how comfy the Dig Free stockings really were. Some things can only be tested on a fully bloated tummy. Would they stay true to their advertising word and make me feel fabulous and comfortable? 

I washed my enormous meal down with a drink called "Them Apples", possibly the best drink ever, a cocktail of vodka and cloudy apple juice, with cinnamon and apples in it.  It was more than worthy of instagramming, but the night was too good to bother with the virtual world. 

We rolled out the door and across the street to Arj Barker, playing at the Comedy Festival, me still very comfy in my underwear and very thankful they were not some kind of spanx corset stockings, there really was no space left, but with no real waistband, there was no rolly bit that was hanging out here there and everywhere.

Arj Barker served us an hour of laughs. Mr H even saying he was laughing so much at one stage that his face contorted into his "ugly face" - that one where your mouth drops open, your eyes squish up and your breathing goes funny so no sound is coming out of your mouth. Good times even if it isn't a great look.

I tried to get a decent photo, I tried to be the type of model that shows how a garment looks, but it was night time, the lights of the city mucked up the lighting and really we were just enjoying the night too much to stop and click. This means I don't have any glam shots of me swanning around in my underwear for you. Sorry. (Not really, you should probably thank me)

But the test is simply this: Would I buy the Dig Free Stockings? 

I would. They are priced at $19.95 which is the same price as another brand I often buy. They are also MUCH cheaper than the leggings I have bought in recent years and so so much more comfortable. As a Melbourne person, I wear black boots pretty much six months of the year and these stockings were great. I am not a huge fashionista, I dress for comfort and anything that fits in a mummy tummy with a smile rather than a seam works for me.

It seems clear that for me, people I love, good laughter, food, and Them Apples make up my ultimate date night. 

But the fun needs to be shared around!

Maybe it is because they are all in comfy underwear and not getting their knickers in a knot, but the Berlei HQ team are also giving everyone else a chance to win too.

They want you to answer this question: 

Share how you make yourself feel like a ‘desirable woman’ to win: "The Ultimate Date Night" – dinner for two, one night’s stay in a hotel, limo transfers, and Berlei Dig Free product"

The competition will be run across a few blogs. Click around the bloggy traps and you can enter at each site (there will be one winner only)

Competition Fine Print: 
1) Leave a comment on this post to be in the draw to win
2) Comments open Monday 29 April and close midnight Monday 20 May 2013
3) Only Australian residents are eligible to enter
4) Judges decision is final. 
5) You can enter as many times as you like
7) Winner will be the one person who entertains the judges the most.

Go ahead, get comfy, leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Mother's Day - I don't want a rubber toy.

As a blogger who has been tap tap tapping away at the keyboard for a million years now (that is true, as far as bloggers go I am pretty much dinosaur status) I get some fabulous emails with opportunities and suggestions and things for me to blog about.

Mother's Day has been fabulous this year. Fabulous in the "are you serious? I have no interest in THAT" I have been invited to a range of functions to celebrate being a mother and received a stack of media releases about products I could write about. I could tell you about baby wearing, baby advice, cooking utensils, flowers, chocolates...

Problem is none of the products/services/companies have actually worked out what Mums really want.

And that's ok.

They are flogging their wares as much as the next person. I am a marketer, I know about flogging wares.

Tonight I received an email telling me the top ten things that a MUM TO BE would want (and that is certainly not me, no, no no).

But here is the suggestion for number 7.

Do you see that. A Mum to be would really like a plastic giraffe named Sophie for Mother's Day.


No. She really wouldn't.

She might like quite a bit of stuff. But not Sophie. She might like dinner out somewhere, she might like to have a pedicure for her swollen feet, she might like to have some new massive big comfy undies that fit her belly into them. A mum to be might like to sit and watch DVDs all day. She might like to sleep in before her baby arrives. Ms Mum To Be may like a good novel, a stack of trashy magazines, or some new shoes. She might love a new handbag. Perhaps some jewels. She might like yet another Elk Necklace for her collection (Hint hint Mr H if you are reading).

I don't really know what she would want. All I know is she doesn't want Sophie - even though Sophie is chewed on by all the uber cool babies (not mine) - can't someone give that to the baby when it arrives?

Or, am I wrong, if you were a Mum to be, would you want to receive Sophie as a gift to celebrate Mother's Day - do/did you even get to celebrate Mother's Day before the baby arrives?

10 silly things to do with your kids today.

ten fun things to do with kids to have a great day

It is so easy to get caught up on the road of being a 'good' parent. The path to being a responsible adult is filled with do's and don'ts and things that you should avoid for the benefit of your children.

Most of those things are not much fun.

Today I have a list of 10 things for you to do.

Things you probably don't do often enough, but sometimes life is for saying yes. With or without kids, there is something on this list you can do today.


1 - Get out an ink pad or some paints and get the handprints and footprints of everyone in the family. Use a scrap book, a photo album, some scrap paper. Make them into cards for people or throw them in the bin. Don't get all fussy about how messy it gets or worry about what you are doing it for.

2 - Drive home from school pick up a different way and stop at a park. Tell the kids they can play until THEY are ready to go. Be prepared, this might be quite some time, but if you don't take snacks and drinks they will be ready to go sooner. Have a go on the swings yourself or try even harder, see if you can get across the monkey bars.

3 - Place a marshmallow or some chocolate chips on everyone's dinner plate and refrain from saying "Eat Your Veggies First."

4 -  Watch a movie together. On a school night.

5 -  Eat dinner on a blanket on the lounge room floor.

6 -  Read at least two extra stories at bedtime - their choice.

7 -  Dance as a family in the kitchen when you are preparing dinner. Music loud, dance moves bad, smiles big. (This can also be better than going to the gym, dancing burns lots of calories)

8 - Jump in the car and head to a drive thru and get everyone a soft serve ice cream.

9 - Make a tent under the kitchen table,  sit in there too and talk to your kids - do not take your smart phone in there with you.

10 -  If it's raining where you are, go splash in those puddles, kick water at the kids, they will be so shocked. It won't hurt any of you to get a little wet. It might make you laugh a lot.

What other silly things have you been throwing into the mix lately.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What I do with the kids artwork.

Kids drawings are so fun. When your child first starts drawing you try and keep so many bits of paper and 'art work'. Then soon enough you take a few secret trips to the big wheely bin outside. Every Mum soon learns that artwork that goes in the bin inside might be pulled back out again by an eager artist who REALLY LOVES THIS ONE.

I use big pieces of kinder paintings for wrapping paper, some special pieces get made into birthday cards and some make it to a folder with plastic pockets - one folder per year. 

Others I just take a photo of and if you do a photobook with your family photos it is fun to add in a few artwork photos too. 

I think T-Rex in leopard print undies will be in the next photobook I make up.

What other things do you do with your artwork?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's been six months

Six whole months since I had lunch with my Dad.

The picture of him standing at the doorway to the car park as I waved is so clear. I can smell the wool of his jumper.

He was looking so thin. I never mentioned it to him. He knew the weight was falling off him, over 25 kilos in a couple of months is not something you can ignore, but there wasn't much we could all do about it.

The place where we sat and had lunch that day, the cafe within the building that I work, I found it hard to walk past those seats some days. Sometimes other people were sitting in them. Other people just like us, one a patient, the others the family and friends of that person. I wanted to go up and whisper to them to run away.

I wanted to whisper, "get out of here, you don't have much time". But that is my story. Their story, it's on another track, a different time, a different history. They still have the one ingredient everyone needs in life. They have hope.

My Dad died with Hope.

On the inside he would have known that his body was winning. He had discussed with Mum that he was not to be resuscitated if the option was given. But he was planning on fighting, to prove the doctors wrong.  He asked the doctor to get him well enough to take one trip, just one three week trip that he really wanted to do. The doctor simply said "I will do everything I can". Together they had a plan, the main ingredient in that plan was Hope.  It just wasn't to be.

My Dad now has a plaque where he is buried but I am yet to see it. I went to town but I didn't have any time to myself. Some things I need to do by myself. To take the time I need and not have anyone talk to me. Talking can be so loud sometimes.

One day I got sent some Chia Seeds in the mail*. Mum and I really laughed at them sitting there on my bench. Years ago we gave Dad a hard time about spending a fortune on a massive bag of chia seeds. He had laughed back at us telling us how they are a super food, a food that wards off disease. Stupid chia seeds. I threw them in the bin, because disease is evil, it picks people at random and attacks without mercy, no amount of chia seeds can keep it at bay or maybe disease loves chia seeds, maybe the amyloids grew so fast because he had too much chia in his body.

The last six months have seen me experience anxiety like I never knew existed, I’ve begun grinding my teeth and managed to lose weight while cancelling my gym membership. I have learnt about probate and passwords and insomnia.

During the late nights when the world is asleep I have listened very carefully to see if my Dad was talking to me. I have spent hours on real estate websites seeking out a dwelling or location that has some kind of magic power to make everything feel ok. I’ve sought a place that I could move to where things will feel better. A place to run away to, a house surrounded by big trees that have fairies living in them who make everything wonderful.

That place doesn’t seem to exist, and if it does, the truth is, that my pain will follow me there.

In the daytime I have been splashed with kindness from people in so many ways. I have been given random gifts of lovely and felt support from the least expected places.

And life, it continues to move at the most rapid of paces. Those seats we ate our last lunch at; they are gone now. Replaced with builders and hard hat signs for renovations and extensions. The veggie crops Dad planted have been harvested, eaten and cleared away. The grandkids have all celebrated another birthday, we have made it through Easter and Christmas and Mums 60th.

One night months ago I got a tweet from someone with two simple words.

Hold Tight.

Most days, that is all you can do. Just Hold Tight. Ride out the storm. Fill that black hole in your heart with busy and when you can’t just hold on. Hold on to your kids, hold on to your husband, or your family and when they are not there, reach out for your friends and hold on to them. Life sweeps you along the rest of the way…even when you never eat the chia seeds.

* I get random items in the mail from time to time from companies wanting me to discuss their products on social media.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One time, at Target, I saw a Lion in the towel aisle

This post is sponsored by Target.

One of the things every Domestic Goddess Failure needs to accept, is that no matter how much you complain, or how badly you do your tasks, THE TOWELS WILL STILL NEED WASHING.


As a family of four people and two bathrooms I seem to wash 98 towels a week. Way too many. Recently I was having a little Mummy Tantrum and fuming away about no one picking up towels, do we all really need a fresh towel every day, whose towel is this sitting in a festering pile in the laundry.

It was clear no one was listening to me and I needed a new strategy.

Considering they are not allowed to use the washing machine nor can they reach the washing line, I couldn't really make up a cleaning roster.

Lion in the towel aisle at Target
Always ready to perform.
 Last year's The Lion King costume is still worn regularly.

But I could devise my own plan, which of course isn't really my plan at all, I stole it from a friend who was telling me the story years ago at a dinner with lots of wine. We got talking about some of the things her Mum did as a single Mum to 5 kids after her father decided five kids was actually more than he cared to be around.

Each of the five kids had a colour. Particularly for towels. If red towel was on the floor, in a bedroom or anywhere it shouldn't be hanging than that particular child would be called upon.

So off we went to get some Target Towels.

There was a fight over who would get the hot pink towel so the new rule was made - no one gets hot pink.

Target Towels range of colours

Immy picked dark purple, Popps picked mustard yellow. Mr H got given a navy and I am sticking with the white ones at home.

Target Homewares towels
Stacks of colours for everyone.
Two weeks in to my new rule and it is working really well.

The girls have one towel each and every night it stands out very clearly who has not hung their towel back in the bathroom. If they want to wash in the other bathroom they must go and get their towel first - or run dripping and cold through the house to go and get it (OK, so I usually end up having to do this bit...not the running around naked part, that wouldn't be very good).

There is one downfall - you can't wash your white towels with your purple or mustard or navy ones!

Do you have a way of keeping the towel washing under control?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Asking for ideas: What do you take people staying in hospital for weeks on end?

Remember Max? Beautiful Max.

Max is having a tough time this year, he is back in hospital again and this means his Mum is there too.

We don't know Max's family very well, we chat at creche pick ups and wave in the street, we are friendly when we see each other, but Max's Mum is flat out looking after him, his big sister and the new baby, she has no spare time for lunch and play dates, especially when Max is not well, and of course Max isn't at creche when he is unwell so we don't run into them.

For now, Max's Mum is sleeping on a fold out bed and eating from the takeaway shops at the Royal Children's Hospital, staying with Max all the time. I can't imagine how tough this is on the rest of the family. Family meals and school drop offs, relying on a strict roster to keep everyone's needs met, tough  days.

They don't know me well enough to ask for my help, but that doesn't mean I can't offer something.

Taking in chocolates is probably the last thing she wants.

But I would like to drop off a package. Something that might pass the time, even if just for a moment.

Where do you begin?

Food, magazines, toys, get well cards? I am looking for ideas, tips from other parents that have walked the halls of hospitals for weeks at a time and eaten through the entire menu until a chicco roll looks like a good option. What would you have loved someone, anyone, to deliver?

Would my awful cooking be better than hospital food?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Official: I am Average

According to those highly intelligent and very exciting people to sit next to at a dinner party - the statisticians - I am officially average.

Woman - check
Mother - check
Of Two children - check
Lives in Melbourne or Sydney suburbs - check
Has a mortgage on a house - check
Aged 37 - check.
Sales Assistant - not quite, but I work in Marketing so it is close.

And this is what Ms Average looks like - (that's me in the navy) Nami who is beside me is also a mother of two and happens to have her own blog, and runs a photography business, and a home based sales business...that lady is busy, so maybe she is far from average cos she is amazing...)

Interesting that the people over at found this lovely woman to be average.

She is rather pretty, yes?

So I guess it is beside the point that she isn't actually 37, that she is NOT a mum, and she has a mortgage on a Unit, not a house...but hey, she looks good.

Average has always been considered such a mediocre place to be. I am not sure if I am all that happy to be average. But it is what it is.

Anyone else out there as average as me? Do you think could have looked harder for Ms Average?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sometimes you know you are not the favouite child

My parents never had favourites.

They treated us all pretty much the same and still do. But I think if Mum was writing her Will today my name might be at the bottom.

Mr H, the girls and I went for a visit on the weekend, we did a range of things and fired up the commercial coffee machine from when Mum had the tea rooms open at her place. The last time we did that we forgot to turn it off when we left. Opps.

This time I made sure it was turned off properly and even turned it off at the switch. Power Saver Crusader that I am.

But apparently that was also the switch to the spare fridge which was piled high with meat and groceries.

Apparently the smell of the meat going off in the fridge had quite the stench. It could have been enough to make a weak stomach hurl chunks.

I admitted it was me when the conversation of "Who Would TURN OFF THE FRIDGE" began.

And it might just be for the day, but I am pretty sure for now, I am certainly not the favourite child.

Have you ever accidentally written yourself out of the Will for the day?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sometimes I am an early adopter. Just not with Fashion.

There are some things that I am considered an early adopter of. Social media things, gadgets, apps, different foods, all sorts of things really, I like to try new stuff and in some ways this makes me a marketers dream, my loyalty to a brand is very fickle.

There is one thing in particular that I am not an early adopter of.


I am pretty sure you can consider me a conservative dresser. I love me a bit of navy and white. In winter I adore a roll neck woollen jumper. I am very partial to a puffy vest, despite many a fashionista telling me they are awful.

I was slow to jump on the skinny leg jean band wagon and I loudly and strongly shared my views on coloured jeans, declaring them only fit for people whose legs were under 16.  There were some who agreed with me and together we publicly scoffed at this new trend that would be a mere flash in the pain. A waste of money when next year the coloured jean would be a laugh at what was so 2012.

But here I am. Still not sure what to wear with them. Still not sure they will get too much wear.

But the coloured jean has adorned my butt.

I asked Popps to take a picture of me in the new threads while I sat watching today's money bar technique, this seemed to be the best shot she could get.

Any other conservative dressers out there? Lovers of turtle necks, puffy vests, navy and white or a crisp black suit?

Am I the last person in Australia to wear some coloured jeans?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Slow down little girls, slow down.

Popps had the school disco in the last week of term, it is the highlight of her year at the moment and considering she really does have a very active social life this is saying something, her party invites weigh down the fridge while the rest of the family watches TV on Saturday nights  (and most other nights too if I think about it). 


The disco outfit last year was chosen by me. It was put on and worn without much discussion, we were pretty much on the same fashion line. 

This year she requested a pair of ripped denim shorts, suggesting that if I couldn't find any we could just cut her jeans up, the more threads the better.

Um. No.

There are some things I am just too conservative to allow and 7 year olds in ripped jeans hits my limits.

Eventually we compromised on an outfit and then the weather turned cold and we had 30 minutes to discuss a new option, to get dressed and arrive at the disco after I picked her up from Out of School Care.  

While I fumbled around for the coins she needed (glowstick purchases are a highlight of such an event) she painted on her lip smackers, around 47 times. She also painted her nails and then requested her most favourite of hairstyles - the side pony. 

As we raced from the car to the gym I asked her to stop for me to get a photo to send to Mr H, in return I got eye rolling and a refusal to stop. 

An hour and a half later she exited the disco with a glowstick necklace around her neck, a headband lost never to be seen again, in one hand she held the hand of another little girl and in both their other hands they held their denim skirts, because apparently Gangnam Style is impossible to dance to with restrictive skirts your mother makes you wear. 

Slow down little girls. 

Slow down.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dot points and lists

The long weekend is officially over.

I know this because my laundry told me so, but there was quite a bit that happened during the past week.

When time is short, lists and dot points are ALWAYS good. This is actually a trick I use for work too. Have you any idea how hard it is to get professional people like doctors and lawyers and finance types to stop work and write some information for you about what they do. IMPOSSIBLE! If you work in Marketing, here is my hot tip - Tell them you want them to write in dot points. Busy people can do dot points really quickly. Doctors can do dot points between patients, lawyers do dot points on a sticky note.

And marketing people do dot points on blogs.

In no particular order, over the last week I have:

- Been stung by one bee
- Used one enormous power tool and may have blown half the garden through my Mum's kitchen window
- Eaten 4 kgs of chocolate
- NOT drunk a single glass of Baileys even though I intended too.
- Attended one 8 year old party
- Had two physio treatments and joined the "Dodgy Backs Inc" Pilates class
- Lost two drink bottles
- Found one drink bottle at the physio
- Driven through two national parks
- Woken up to the sound of Kookaburras and Kangaroo poo in the garden.
- Cried once
- Published NINE blog posts in one day
- Eaten two green cupcakes for morning tea
- Read a Donna Hay magazine - not for the articles because there are none, just for the pictures.

How about you? Got a dot points list from the weekend?