Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Creative desires...

I have an itch that must be scratched. I feel it starting in my finger tips and moving up my arms. My brain impulses are firing. My heart is beating double time. I need to create. I need to make something beautiful and I need to do it now! My mind is bombarded with visions of beauty on a daily basis. I see pictures in magazines, on websites, on other people's blogs and in life itself. They make me envious and they make me want to create something - anything!

I get like this a lot. I think it's the product of boredom. Not boredom in the usual sense though. I have too much to do, to be bored. It's more a feeling that something is missing. The hum-drum of day to day life can sometimes find me feeling like I need an outlet - an interest -something to sink my teeth into. Housework and looking after a young family demands so much physical and emotional energy. Naturally, this energy is used and re-charged regularly by my beautiful husband and children. It is my creative energy that needs attention, and only I can take care of this.

This persistant itch got to me last week too, so I downloaded an easy pattern from one of my favourite creators (see the picture of Sammy the Squid - courtesy of The day after that I got my sewing machine out. A few days later I found all my gorgeous pieces of vintage fabric - the product of a recent obsession. Maybe tomorrow I will put them all together and fulfill this urge.

Now I just need to work out how to fit in the time. The time for me...

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'm full of a cold and I feel as though I have been awake for days. As much as I'd love to, I'm just not up to blogging tonight. My mind is too weary.

However, I could not go to bed without sharing a couple of pictures from today. It was my Nan's 85th birthday. Look at what she got!!

Can you believe it? I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. I guess no one can accuse my family of being prudish! Eccentric, mad and unconventional would be better words!

Nan was listening to some of her favourite songs from the war years, and was reminiscing about her days at the Bacchus Marsh army training centre, when he walked in dressed as a soldier. The timing couldn't have been better. Although, I don't think Nan really knew what was going on until he started getting his kit off. She was a great sport though, and even managed to cop a feel on a few occasions. Naughty Nan!

Thankfully the show was family friendly - half the audience were kids! I spent most of the show watching my kid's faces - absolutely priceless. I didn't expect that my daughter would be watching her first male stripper at the age of 2! My son is the bigger concern though. Within minutes of Mr Stripper leaving, my eldest son already had at least two of his moves down pat!

I hope a good nights sleep wipes his memory of the afternoon. I don't fancy having to explain the choreography to his teacher tomorrow!

Happy birthday, Nan! We love you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I thought I was the only person to have 'favourite words'. I've mentioned it to people in the past and they look at me like I've got two heads. But you know, some words just feel good. They roll off your tongue and feel nice in your mouth. They sound pretty. I've now discovered I'm not the only one with this little fascination. There's a whole website about it!

Some of my favourites words are -

Bespoke - It's a chiefly British word meaning something that is handmade, as opposed to mass produced. I always imagine some pompous aristocrat walking into a tailor's shop on Saville Row, ready to order his bespoke suit and bowler hat.

Esquire - This is of course the title of the aforementioned pompous aristocrat! I worked on Saville Row in London for a gentleman who always signed his letters, 'Steven B Garside, Esquire' It made me laugh everytime I had to type it.

Serendipity - Oh, how I wish I had serendipity! It is the talent for making fortunate discoveries while searching for other things. The word, as well as the notion, makes me feel so happy!

Whimsical - Fanciful, playful, fairy-like, pink, white, pale green shabby things, pretty little flowers, imaginary friends...

Halcyon - Conjures images of hyper-colour swirls, long hair and the Age of Aquarius. I think that imagery comes from the term 'halcyon days' which refers to a time of great happiness, usually in the past. I think I was a hippy in my previous life.

Nazareth - I think it is the 'z' sound that appeals to me. It would also make a gorgeous girls name as it sounds so exotic. It is of course, the largest city in Israel (another word that I think would make a good name), and is the childhood home of Jesus.

Discombobulated - Is one of those words that sounds like it's meaning - confused and befuddled.

Antebellum - This word refers to something that came before the great American Civil War. I like the way it feels when I say it, and it always invokes visions of grand southern plantation homes, and tumblers of mint julip.

I'm sure there are plenty more, but these are all that I can think of right now. I'll be sure to let you know of any others as they pop into my head. What are your favourite words?

Washday Blues

I was taking some washing off the line earlier, and the words, 'the washday blues,' popped into my head. I have no idea why, but perhaps I was subconsciously feeling a bit blue? I guess washing can do that to you!

Anyway, I kept repeating the words and thought for certain that it must be the name of a song. So I googled, and I was right. It's a Dolly Parton song!

Last Saturday night I looked like a princess dressed in calico
Now blue Monday washday I look like a lady hobo
Just rubbin' and a scrubbin' and a raisin' 'em outI gotta hang 'em out early
I hope the sun comes out
Wash 'em out ring 'em out hang 'em on the line
Get a little tired just think about the good times,washday blues
Now I ain't never been very lucky
I ain't never won a prize
But I'd like to get a job on TV for some of that soap they advertise
Rubbin' and scrubbin...
Well that good lookin' good lovin' no good man of mine
Could buy me a washin' machine
But he spends all his money on payday to make me look like a queen
Now rubbin' and scrubbin'...

You can listen to it here -

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Slow Food

a w:slow cooker Oval Crock PotImage via Wikipedia

I love my slow cooker.

I reckon whoever invented them should have been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize, because it certainly keeps the peace in my household. On the nights I use it (which increase during this chilly time of year), things just run along so much more smoothly than the nights I don't. No more trying to get ingredients organised, peeled, chopped and cooked at 4pm while three kids scream in hunger. My darling slow cooker allows me to get that organisation done in the morning when things are relatively peaceful! Not to mention how damn easy it is to use! I literally chop things up, throw them in and turn it on. I'm not one for browning things first, like some of the recipes demand - what's the point of a slow cooker if you still have to dirty up frypans!?!?

Tonights dinner is Corned Beef. Oh, so easy! Take one piece of corned beef, remove packaging, and pop it into the slow cooker. Add water, enough to take it about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the meat, add a carrot (don't bother peeling), add a halved onion (again, who cares about the skin), one garlic clove (skin and all), a couple of bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Cook it on high for about 5 hours, or on slow for 8 hours or more. It's virtually impossible to burn, or overcook something in a slow cooker. Yep, I'm in love!

On the topic of slow, has anyone heard of the Slow Food Movement? Check it out here - It's a movement that was begun twenty years ago in order to combat the world's reliance on fast food. It's a cause close to my heart, but one that I struggle to uphold in my hectic life. I cook most nights but like a lot of people, I do succumb to the temptation of takeaway and convenience meals at times. We can't all be perfect. But I do love the Slow Food Movement's ideas of returning to basics, and really appreciating what we eat, where it comes from and how it has been prepared. Teaching my kids to cook will be a good place to start, I think.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Welcome to my newly evolved blog! I have changed the name and the look, along with the focus of the blog. I hope to be able to express myself better, and I hope you enjoy reading it. I am an 'everyday mum' in every sense, and the things I think about and muse about, are everyday things relating to my everyday job - motherhood.

Today I think I finally began to put into practise something that has eluded me for most of my mothering years - equanimity. Equanimity is the quality of being calm and even-tempered, and I managed to do this for most of the morning, despite an almost non-stop tantrum from my daughter. The boys never threw tantrums and I used to secretly pat myself on the back when other people's children would exhibit this horrible childhood attribute, and wonder what I had done to deserve two such well behaved little boys. Well, let me tell you, I am paying back whatever retributions I owe, with this little princess!

Tantrums are not something she normally has (usually it's just headstrong defiance and annoying independence), but today's tantrum was a doozy! We had visitors, and from the moment they arrived, until the moment they left, she was horrific! In her poor little eyes, nothing was going right - her toys were being taken from her by 3 boys (who really had no interest in them), she couldn't sit in her favourite spot in front of the telly, every item of food she was offered just wasn't what she felt like, and she kept losing her dummy! All the while she cried and screamed, and was covered constantly in that yucky mix of tears, dribble and snot.

You know what though, not once did I lose my temper with her. Sure, I got flustered and had no idea how to stop her behaviour, but instead of lashing out and yelling like I normally would (we'll get into my temper in another post!!), I kept my calm and I maintained my composure as best I could. Equanimity. It didn't stop the tantrum, but it sure as hell, made it easier to deal with!

For those of you who are familiar with Buddhism, you'll know that equanimity is referred to regularly, as evenness of mind or temper. It is, in short, what Buddhism ultimately strives to achieve. In Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, equanimity is given it's own chapter and is explained in layman's terms for us spiritually challenged mums. In a few words though, Ms Napthali believes that to create loving relationships with our family, we need to embrace loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Well, one out of four ain't bad - guess I'm at least on the right course!

I really must pull that book out again. It's days like this one where a change in my mood comes purely from a small change in my behaviour, and I realise I am the one in the driver's seat, and not my kids.
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The little things...

The pieces of Lego that dig in deep when I walk on them,
The empty food packets found buried beneath the cushions,
The sticky grains of rice under the table,
The empty toilet roll holders,
The liquid soap dripping down the cupboard doors,
The odd socks that never find their partners,
The little faces drawn so carefully on the hallway walls,
The dvd's without their covers,
The stains I can't remove,
The empty drink bottles scattered throughout the car,
The dribble marks on their pillowcases,
The half eaten piece of cheese squished into the carpet,
The ever growing washing pile,
The crusts not eaten in their lunchboxes,
The screaming when toys aren't shared,
The icky residue on their favourite book pages,
The wet towel on the bathroom floor,
The winter nose drips,
The ever opening purse,
The endless questions...

The fine lines appearing around my eyes,
The grey hair in my husband's beard,
The silver streaks on my tummy and thighs,
The saggy skin that will never tighten,
The tears that have fallen,
The worry lines on my forehead....

The sweet smell of their necks,
The sound of their breathing at night,
The first smile in the morning,
The last smile at night,
The innocence of their thoughts,
The first discovery of something new,
The tenderness of their skin,
The light in their eyes.

A world vision

They say that charity begins at home, and in the light of the recent bush fires in Victoria, this is certainly true - we Aussies are a very charitable bunch! But should a momentous tragedy such as this, be what spurs us on to give and to help others? Sadly, for many people, this is what it takes.

I've been a supporter of World Vision for more than 20 years, and I want to share with you one of the most memorable experiences in my life to date. This isn't intended to be an advertisement for World Vision, but purely an example of how giving can change a person's life.

When my husband and I moved to London 14 years ago, we decided to go via Asia, and in particular, Thailand. My family had been sponsoring a little boy there for many years and we wanted to visit him. I made all the necessary arrangements through World Vision in Australia, and on our second day in Bangkok we made the journey. A World Vision representative picked us up from our hotel, and we travelled for 2 hours out of the city, through rice paddies and tiny villages, into the heart of Thailand.

We arrived first at Roongrat's school. I don't think many of these children had seen a 'white person' in the flesh before and I was quite the celebrity during our visit! The school was clean, had running water, a flushing toilet and each child had a desk, a chair, and pen and paper. They were also given a meal to get them through their day. When you sponsor a child through World Vision, your money doesn't go directly to the child, as most of you may or may not be aware. The money (minus any administration costs), goes to a project, and in our case, the project was Roongrat's school. Each child in the area was encouraged to attend and they were given all the necessary things needed to receive a basic education.

We were taken first to the staff room and made to sit and wait while they found Roongrat. I was very nervous and very, very excited. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence and friendly smiles between us and the teachers, Roongrat finally poked his little head around the door and walked in. I think he felt exactly as I did. Without saying anything, he walked up to me and placed a paper hat on my head. He had folded it out of a piece of newspaper and had written his name in Thai, on one side, and my name in English, on the other. It took all my emotional strength not to lose it and blubber into his shoulder! I felt so overwhelmed and so happy to finally meet the little boy whose progress updates, drawings and little letters, we had been receiving for years before this.

That day also happened to be Roongrat's birthday, so after we had our photo taken with every class and every teacher, and after every child had come and touched my fair hand, we left on mopeds to visit Roongrat's family. On through more rice paddies we travelled until we came to what can only be described as a 'lean-to'. This was the family home. His mother, father and little sister greeted us with fresh lime juice. Roongrat's father was a proud man who couldn't wait to show us around and introduce us to his favourite chickens, and to show us his small crop of corn. His mother was very shy and I think probably felt just as overwhelmed as I did. We made small talk for a little while, thanks to the translation skills of our guide. I gave Roongrat a tennis ball and two small bats for his birthday, and we gave him some bags of sweets to share with his sister and his class mates. Possibly the first time he had experienced either of those things. We said our sad goodbyes and headed back to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, tired, weary and very, very happy.

The contrast between Roongrat's home and his school was almost incomprehensible. The school was made up of modern brick buildings and all the necessary conveniences, albeit in a simplified state. His home was just the opposite. It made me proud to think that because of my sponsorship, Roongrat and his friends were able to receive the kind of education we take for granted here. Roongrat wanted to grow to be a doctor. He would be 26 now, and while I have no contact with him or his family anymore, I can only hope that he has achieved what he wanted.

We now sponsor a little boy called Abel who lives in Chad in Africa. My children understand that he lives differently to us, and that in itself is an education for them. We live in such a greedy world these days, and too many people will only help if there is something in it for themselves. Charity and giving is something that we need to consciously remember, and should be a value that we instill in our children from a young age. Giving doesn't need to be monetary. We can give our time, we can share our skills, we can donate unwanted goods and clothing, and we can give our hearts. A charitable thought will go a long way, and once we all start doing this, we can create a positive world vision which will find us all on equal footing.

To daydream...

Dreamlike - adjective : of, relating to, or in the nature of an illusion; lacking reality, like a dream

Musing - noun : contemplation; meditation; A product of contemplation; a thought.

We all daydream. I do it a lot. Sometimes they are fanciful, sometimes they are frightening. Sometimes I get so tied up in them, I forget they are just ideas and not reality. My daydreaming is an extension of my wonderful childhood and the times I spent playing make believe.

I grew up long before video games, long before computers and my fun was self made. I cooked mud pies in the back yard, played Mummy with my dolls, directed and acted in plays that we performed for the neighbours, danced to music all day long, dressed up in Mum’s clothes (and made my brother do it too), and I became the characters in the stories I regularly devoured.

When I grew older, my best friends and I would play ‘What if..’. It was a game we made up during one of our many sleepovers, and it kept us awake well into the early hours. We took turns to ask each other what we would do in all sorts of hypothetical situations…. ‘what would you do if the guy you liked asked you out’, ‘what would you do if you could meet *insert favourite movie star/rock star*, ‘what if you had all the money in the world’ etc, etc. Our imaginations were endless and the questions grew in intensity the older we got!

These days my imaginings are very different. I daydream about not having a mortgage, I wonder what my children will do when they grow up, I wonder what I will do for a job when that time comes, I daydream about getting into size 12 clothes again, and I comtemplate the moral decline of today’s youth and hope that my kids can escape it. The list goes on, and flitters from saving the world ideas to what I would cook if I had Jamie Oliver’s talent! These musings are powerful and they keep me sane.

What do you daydream about?