Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul

I have always, always been a member of my local library.

From the South Coast of England, to towns on both sides of the Pennines, to Sydney to Darwin to Adelaide, once of the first things I always do is join my local library.

I now hold no less than five library cards in my wallet - one for each member of the family - for our local library network. (So not only can I borrow from the library brach where I joined, but also each and every other library in the network, which is over ten libraries in total, spreading across the entrire eastern and north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.)

The are linked via their IT too, so I can borrow, order, return at any branch. And they text me when they have the book ready for me. Convenient, much?

The branch closest to home, which is on the main street between school and our house, has recently been extended, refurbished and modernised - it was quite funky in a 1970's way, and I liked it before, with its smoked brown glass and brown bricks. But now it is an utter haven of modern noughties space, design and architecture.

I gave the children an option this week, once day after school - a gelati or a trip to the "new" library. They chose the library with squeals of delight.

This may make them sound like sucky little teachers pet kids - which they are not.

But they know they are onto a treat.

The library has a huge childrens section, complete with story telling tree in the centre.

There is craft materials laid out all the time, to be used as and when inspiration may strike.

The floor is covered in cushions and bean bags and colourful rugs.

There is a bank of ten PC's, just for the kids - all with kids games handily bookmarked.

There is a toddler space which is secure, so that errant littles can be contained whilst parents have two minutes of peace to survey the stacks.

There is rack after rack of music and strory CD's, as well as more kids DVD's than even my family can watch.

There is a separate Toy Library, filled to brimming with all manner of games, puzzles and educational toys.

There are literacy kids as well as as comics and computer games.

And of course, shelves and shelves and shelves of books. As far as the eye can see, books to delight and inspire and captivate and enchant all ages.

There are story time sessions held for all ages literally around the clock - Giggle and Bounce for the babies, Craft & Rhyme for the pre-schoolers, and Jackanory for primary ages.

There are school holiday programs galore - and at this time of year, they are also geared toward Christmas with an imprending visit from Santa.

And that's just the childrens library.

For adults, along with an astounding wealth of fiction and non-fiction, there is also

Newspapers & Magazines
Local History Collection (in it's own gallery)

Public Access Computers
Reference Materials
Resource area with free Photocopier Service, Fax Facility & Scanning Facility

CD's, CD Roms, DVD's
Computer Training
Art classes
Births, Deaths & Marriage Registers
Meeting Rooms for Hire
Seven day Justice of the Peace service

And the price we pay, as a family, for all these amazing facilities that are right on our doorstep?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Gratis.

And if that is not value, I do not know what is.

How about you?

Do you have a local library?

Are you a member?

What type of facilities does it offer?

Do you utilise your library?

Do you love a library as much as I do?

This post was sponsored by KIA. To celebrate the great value of KIA's new cars – such as the Cerato Hatch, a website has been launched so you and your family can get some great value offers and deals.
Check out my favourite deal for this week: Buy a Chistmas mas hamper from Hampers Only valued at $95+ and receive a FREE bottle of Hanwood 10 Year Old Tawny Port at www.getmorevalue.com.au

Monday, 29 November 2010

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

On Saturday, I took part in the Weekend Rewind - a lovely linky that Allison of Life in the Pink Fibro runs.

I came across an old post of Gill and Nic's at Our Park Life, which outlined some fail proof blueberry muffins.

And blueberries are in season at the moment - and I managed to score a load for $2 a punnet.

Hence I was inspired to make these muffins yesterday.

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

3 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1½ cups blueberries
3 eggs
1½ cups apple juice

Preheat the oven to 180`c and spray a 12 cup muffin tin with spray oil
In a large bowl, sift the wholemeal flour. (Can I tell you I cannot be bothered with sifting? I just ran a balloon whisk through the flour instead.)
Add the blueberries and mix into the flour
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the apple juice and combine.
Add this liquid to the flour and blueberries and combine - DO NOT OVER MIX! (Nic says - "So if you look in your bowl and see a bit of flour and egg not combined do not touch it. This is perfect.")

(Can I point out there that I find this REALLY hard. I physically have to restrain myself to creaming that batter smooth? What is up with that?!)

Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 25 mins.

What did YOU get up to this weekend?

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Before and After.....

As most of you will know, this little old blog of mine supports Nuffnang.

And they are running their Nuffnang Blogging Challenge.

Which I would dearly LOVE to win.

The prize? I could win an iPad for Christmas! Oh, how I would love that.

I have been an Apple user since 1996. I am, as you can see from my blog design, an Apple fan.

And my favourite post from 2010? Another before and after. The True Before and After.

Tell me YOUR favourite post from 2010?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday Grateful

My daughter's school principle - she is just wonderful. I had a call yesterday to tell me how well Olivia has gone this year. How lovely. (Yes, I am proud.)

Our local library - more on that later next week.

iView - which enables me to get to bed early, but still be able to watch my favourites another time. (Rake, with Richard Roxburgh, anyone?)

Picnic and ExtraFilm. I have created and had printed & delivered, the photo for my fifty personalised Christmas cards, for less than $20.

Stone fruit - it's in season. And I love it.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Feel Good Friday

I have cricket teas to bake for.

Oh! And I am guest posting over here too!

I have my iPhone back - so I can get snapping again.

I have set the inflatable pool up in our yard for the kids.

I have Christmassy stuff to do - and I am quite looking forward to it.

Tell me the things that make you feel good today?

What have you planned for you weekend?

What are you reading, what are you eating, what are you writing, what are you cooking, where are you going, what are you snapping, what are you planning?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

It's Fat to Fit........

It's Fat to Fit time again........

Thank you, to all of you who join in!

I am really enjoying reading about everyones fat to fit journeys - keep them coming!

If you would like to join in my blog hop, I'd love for you to link up.

All you need to do is:

1.Follow my blog (if you haven't already done so).

2. Grab the Fit Button and pop it on your blog.

3. Link up.....
5. Share the love, read each others posts, get inspired, follow and comment!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas......

This may come as a shock to some (Melissa & Sarah), but dare I tell you I am getting quite excited by the idea of Christmas this year?

Today, whilst I shop (child free) I am casting my net further afield, in order to check out Santas.

So that I can find a nice one with the appropriate beard and nice face. So that tomorrow I can take the kids after school for a Santa photo.

I have also spent time with Olivia, trimming up her costume for her Christmas concert.

And sat at the table with Lexie, making Christmas decorations.

And helped Charlie do a Christmas themed show and tell.

I'll be honest, I am not sure what's come over me?!

Normally I am bit of a Grinch. Not so this year. I am feeling quite festive and sparkly, already.

Are you excited about Christmas yet?

Or dreading it?

Which bits do you love and which bits do you hate?

Tell me? Share?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

♫ Saturday Night at the Movies ♫

I have blogged about my love of the Drive In before. I love love love the drive in. BUT, it is, sadly, not a summer venue for me and the fab five.

My kids are little - at ages six, five and four, they are still in a nice groove for an early bedtime. And the drive in, with its adjusted hours for daylight saving, is just too late a night out.....the main feature doesn't start until 9.30, and whilst I love to treat the kids, and whilst I love that they too love a movie night, I cannot bear the idea of over tired tantrums....

But all is not lost, a solution has been found, in the enticingly easy and brilliantly cheap and easy ♫ Saturday Night at the Movies ♫

Whilst the lovely husband has a quick beer after cricket, I take the kids to our local movie shop.

I tell you, I push the boat out and let them pick five family weeklies for $5 and I pick an overnighter for $2.95.

To be honest, it's worth the $7.95 for the anticipation this little jaunt causes.

Then we go home and "get ready for movie night".

They gather up their pillows and blankies and beanbags.

They draw the curtains and pull the blinds down.

They get their drink bottles all organised.

The get ridiculously excited.

We all have a shower or a bath together and a hair wash. (Gotta look good for ♫ Saturday Night at the Movies ♫!)

Clean jammies on, Daddy is home by now, and he cracks open a beer, whilst I make up a  fruit platter.

And make the popcorn.

Is there anything more treaty in the world than the smell of hot buttered popcorn?!

(I just use the kernels in a hot pan with a teaspoon of oil and some popcorn salt. I think a huge bag of raw kernels is less than $2?)

I'll be honest, I make sure ALL chores are done and dusted. I want to kick back and relax properly too.

And all cuddled up together, with no distractions at all, we get comfy together for a family movie night.

This week we saw "Happy Feet," which was utterly adorable.
And two weeks ago we went retro and saw "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

Next week I have my eye on "Where the Wild Things Are"

I suspect the kids are not even that choosy on the movie title - they are in the company of,  and have the undivided attention of  Mummy and Daddy. They are allowed to "stay up late" and eat fruit and popcorn........such unflustered family time, for them, and me, is just delightful.

Family value treats? Saturday Night at the Movies - home style.

Tell me, what are YOUR best value for money family treats? Do you do home movie nights?

This post was sponsored by KIA. To celebrate the great value of new KIA Cerato Hatch, a website has been launched so you and your family can get some great value offers and deals. Check out my favourite deal for this week: Buy a Xmas hamper from Hampers Only valued at $95 + and receive a FREE bottle of Chandon Rose at www.getmorevalue.com.au

Monday, 22 November 2010


re·fresh | Noun   | riˈfreSH

1. To revive with or as if with rest, food, or drink; give new vigor or spirit to.

2. To give new freshness or brightness to; restore.

3. To make cool, clean, or moist; freshen up.

4. To renew by stimulation: refresh one's memory.

5. To fill up again; replenish

All of these, this last week. Me.
I am lucky.
A week off. A lot of sleep and a lot of rest and a lot of love and a lot of care.
I am feeling totally refreshed.
Thank you to my beautiful blogging friends who guest posted for me at such short notice. Such wonderful women with such wonderful words.
I am going to get back to work now. I have a lot of writing to do, a lot of cleaning up and simplifying to do on this blog, a lot of (exciting) deadlines to meet; a lot of miles to run, and, of course,  a few more kilos to lose.
Thank you, all,  for bearing with me.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Getting the Right Balance

The adorable Farmer's Wifey is guest blogging for me today. Her blog is lovely - a gorgeous mix of travel, life and family.

I love my computer but I love my children and husband more.

I wanted to start this post by stating the bleeding obvious above. I've been thinking about this issue for quite some time now, but I didn't really know how to articulate it all...

Last week on Dr Phil...and yes, I am warming to his shows..the topic of the day was technology (primarily texting, facebooking (facebooking's a verb??) and how it can easily take over your life to the point of obsession. Or addiction.

The show featured a mum of two, who texts and drives...with her two daughters in the car. She was so obsessed with facebook, and status updates that she literally worked on facebook while driving on the freeway.

She saw the error of her ways, after a scolding from Dr Phil.

I don't text. I can't text. Well, I can, but I suck at it. It takes me forever to tap tap tap out the message and then I usually lose it at the send part. My texts to friends are ridiculous....they may consist of "C U Tomnowor" which translates to "see you tomorrow". See? I suck.

Now I love my new laptop. I can relax at night, Googling "stuff" while watching my favourite TV shows. It's kinda like bliss. I have a deep affection for my laptop because it gives me an insight into the world...

I facebook, to catch up with friends, and I blog to meet new ones. If I want to read about a country, or a movie, or a slice of history, this technology allows me to do so.

I don't know what I did 10 years ago without it, to be honest. Perhaps I got a lot more done. And that brings me to the point of finding the right balance between technology and family life.

There have been some instances where I have been using my laptop and the kids have wanted me for something. I've done the "just a minute" or the "wait, I'm busy" stunt, which, frankly, is not on.

Is my computer more important than seeing the rainbow with my little girl, or listening to my son talk about his day at school, or watching my 9 yr old dance to her new song? There is nothing more important than these fleeting moments, that will be lost forever...

I stopped blogging for a week recently because I was behind in some things...just general housework, and paperwork that was being neglected. And I really missed being online...I have a need to find out what is going on in the world....

As a mother, I know I can do it all, it's just about getting the balance right. If my child wants me, I drop what I am doing, and I go to them. I don't blog in the morning before school. My laptop is put away during the day, if my kids are home. We play tennis instead, or I watch them in the pool.

Family time is so important, and I don't want our kids to turn into non speaking anti-social teenagers who text, and Google, and separate themselves from family life.

My time is at night, when the kids are asleep, and I can relax and know that I am not being neglectful...it's my time.

Technology is here to stay and I love it, but this amazing time with my children while they are still young and they still want me is so much more important.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Wallowing in her own filth......

Bern is guest posting for me today. Bern writes at So Now What? Her blog is hilarious and engaging. As is Bern herself. She rocks. Thanks mate........xx


Karma works in funny ways. Sometimes it presents itself my having a bird shit on your pristine white wedding dress on your big day. Other times, it’s just flips you the bird and presents itself as the reincarnation of yourself in your own child. This is my case.

As a child I was messy. As an adult, I am messy. Not so much in a leaving food to fester in my undies drawer kind of messy, but more like the clutterfucked, never have my shit together kind of messy. But as a child, hot damn, I was rank.

And it appears, that as my mother predicted all those years ago, I indeed do have a child who cannot keep her room clean and yes, it does upset me. Clearly Karma is rogering me senseless.

Spending time discovering sealed containers of empty lolly wrappers and shredded paper in sock drawers is not my idea of a fun Saturday. Of course I only got stuck into her room due to my fears. Fears that her friend arriving that afternoon would report home to her mother about the obvious feral state of her friends’ room. Fears that her mother would make assumptions about my inability to keep my house clean and fears that well, fungi might actually start spreading from her shoe cupboard into the corridor.

Of course, Maddie wasn’t home when I decided to start this. She was having a weekend bonanza of sleepovers and was due to be picked up in the afternoon. She wasn’t home to see how much of her beloved homemade lip gloss (i.e. Vaseline and dye) got donated to an unsuspecting charity. She will never realise that her mini My Little Ponies, that she had wedged behind her television have gone on to the great big green pasture in the sky. And clearly she continues to think it was the kitten and not her mother who knocked off and smashed her lava glitter lamp when attempting to roll the desk across the floor.

Am I the only mother with a child who does this? Who rips bits of paper to shreds and then leaves them all over her desk? Fails to drink and then return no less than 7 water bottles a week to the kitchen sink?
What about school socks? Have I the only daughter who decides 3 minutes before we are due to walk out the door in the morning that, even though she’s had over an hour and half to look for them, her socks are AWOL and she’s having an apocalyptic sized freak out because of it? Well, I’m pleased to report that I found 5 socks in my mass clean out. 2 in her shoe cupboard, 2 under her bed. 1 wedged between her books. Why?
Also residing in the dark abyss under her bed was luggage. Luggage that was meant to be cleaned out in August. After she went on school camp. Needless to say, she’s down 5 pairs of undies and one pair of shoes that were just too far gone.

I go on this rampage about once every 3 months or so. Usually there is a tonne of angst that goes along with these mini meltdowns. From her and from me. Along with this, on a daily basis I am requesting that she put her clean clothes away, pick her toys up off the ground and not leave her grotty undies at the entrance to her door. And yet, often I am too stuffed, too harried and possibly, just too lazy to follow her up on these requests. And she knows it.

So much like me 25 years ago, she waits for her mother to lose it, weathers the storm and walks out the other side with a clean room and good intentions. Both last about thirty minutes.

I want to teach her to be tidy now, so she can be a tidy adult. But do you think it is simply ingrained in her nature?

Please tell me she will grow out of it?

Friday, 19 November 2010

I should be so lucky...

Allison, from Life In a Pink Fibro, has graciously agreed to guest post for me today. Allison's blog, and indeed her writing, constantly inspire me. She is generous with her time and her advice. She is Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi all rolled into one. (In mentor abilities - she is much more gorgeous to look at than all three!)

When I tell people I’m a work at home mum, I generally get one response: “Lucky you!”. I am lucky. I’ve worked around my boys since Mr6 was three months old, when I wrote my first post-birth story – about the birth. Prior to starting preschool at three, neither of them went to childcare. I am available to drop them at 9am, and pick them up at 3pm, without having to explain to anyone why I’m leaving early or run the gauntlet of disapproving looks.
I’m lucky.

But every once in a while, I have to share one simple fact: it’s not easy. I have juggled essentially two jobs for seven years. My days have begun at 7am (or earlier), with the boys, and rarely end before midnight, with the work. Even when the boys were waking all night, the work needed to be done.

Not going to an office is both a blessing and a curse. It’s true that I do not need to juggle getting myself ready to face the professional world with getting the boys out the door to school. I throw on what’s handy, do the run, and then escape home to my coffee machine.

There were many days, however – particularly when they were younger – where I longed for the peace and quiet of an office. Of set business hours. Of not having to squeeze in interviews when I thought ‘the baby’ (whichever one it happened to be) would be asleep. There are times when that clear division between work and home is all I long for.

One thing that has surprised me about working around my kids is how incredibly accommodating the world can be. I have conducted interviews with a two-year-old on my lap, crunching on Wiggles biscuits, having to ask for things explained twice or more – and people always tell me they understand. There has been many an occasion that I’ve had to reschedule interviews at the last minute due to a ‘non-sleeping’ child, and it’s never been a problem. People genuinely do seem willing to entertain flexibility – which is a fantastic sign, given the new flexible hours legislation (the Right to Request) that was introduced in January 2010.

I have always tried to be with the boys when it was their time. To focus on them. I would work when they were asleep. That was always my mantra. As Mr3 gets older, however, this gets harder. He doesn’t sleep during the day anymore. There are times when the only thing that gets me through is a Toy Story DVD. I don’t feel good about it.

Now that I have two clear days at home to myself, things are easier. But there’s still never enough time. I still work until midnight most nights (with random breaks to converse on Twitter) and spend my life with that ‘I have homework’ feeling that you might remember from school or university.

If there’s been one major benefit of my constant juggle, it’s my ability to focus. When you have two hours in the middle of the day to write a story while a child sleeps, you get it done. No procrastinating. No mucking around.

I got the hang of that very early on. I’m lucky.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Which weighs more?

Sarah, from the gorgeous blog Ah, the Possibilities, is graciously guest posting for me today. I have been lucky enough to get to know Sarah a little through the whole blogging and weight loss and writing adventure I have been on over the past year. I feel very lucky to count her as a friend.

Lucy - thanks for hosting me.

The other night my mother looked me up and down thoughtfully and said to me: “You know, I’m surprised you haven’t lost more weight by now.”

In previous years this kind of remark would have made me cry or buy a packet of TimTams which I would hide in my room to eat. But instead I walked into my bedroom to my husband and said wryly that it was no bloody wonder I had spent years with such a screwed up relationship with food.

Now my mother is not a bad person. She’s a very good person. But she is obsessed with dieting and food. Obsessed. And she passed that on to me.

So here’s my story. It’s probably an all too familiar one. Slim child growing up. Hits adolescence and over zealous mother puts them on a diet. The result? Years and years of yo-yo dieting.

I’ve done Weight Watchers, Atkins, the Pritikin Diet. I’ve been great with all of them. I’ve lost weight, hit “goal” and then just as quickly put it all back on.

Yay me!
So what changed?

Well I figured out this year that maybe it wasn’t about my self control or determination. Clearly I have both in spades given my success with weight loss.

So instead I took a deep breath and made an appointment to see a psychologist who specializes in hypnotherapy.

It’s changed everything.

The hypnotherapy has stopped me craving food or needing snacks between meals. But doing the therapy sessions in addition to the hypnotherapy has been invaluable.

For the first time I’ve examined my relationship with food. What it was that triggered my cravings, my binges and my obsessive need for control. I learned how and why I punish myself when I fail and why I’m my own worst critic.
I’ve learned to let a lot of stuff go. I’ve learned to be honest about my feelings instead of repressing them and using food to self medicate.

And yes I’ve lost several kilos.

I’m still losing weight and even though I’m under a lot of stress at the moment with renovations, living with my parents, juggling work, offspring and a husband who often has to work away I don’t reach for the chocolate anymore.

Hypnotherapy and therapy hasn’t just helped me shed the kilos, it’s helped me shed the emotional baggage I’ve been carrying, which, trust me, weighs a hell of a lot more.

Fat to Fit

It's Fat to Fit time again........

Thank you, to all of you who join in!

I am so enjoying reading everyones posts about health & fitness......

If you would like to join in my blog hop, I'd love for you to link up.

All you need to do is:

1.Follow my blog (if you haven't already done so).

2.Get the "Fat to Fit" button/code from below by copying the code and posting via the Edit HTML tab into your diet/weight loss post: if anyone wants any help with how to do this, lemme know?

3. Add the URL to your diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post POST in the Linky below (not your homepage: the actual post)

4. Copy the blog hop code from below into your post too.....then you are also hosting the exact same blog hop link list...

5. Share the love, read each others posts, get inspired, follow and comment!

6. The blog hop list will open every Thursday and will be open all week.

7. A new and fresh link list will open every Thursday. (And then, if you want, you can link up again with another diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post.)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Writing, out loud....

I am lucky to have Megan, from Writing Out Loud, guest posting for me today.

Megan's blog is the tip of the iceberg in terms of Megan's love of writing, and her committment to it.

Thank you Megan.

I found the book in my parents’ house, in a box full of memories tucked away. I opened it up and saw the name written on the title page: Megan J. Blandford.

vintage books

Seeing that book, with the name carefully written by nine-year-old me was enough to reassure me, to encourage me to push on.

It was back in primary school that I first decided I would be a writer. I would read books, lose myself in another world, and then dream at night about writing stories of my very own.

As a child I would write my name in my books – the name I wanted to write under when I was one day an author myself – and pretend that I had written each of my favourite tales.

As a teenager, I would read about authors and want that life for myself. I’d hear them speak at school events and enter a kind of daze that I hoped was a visit to my future.

But, as an adult, I lost it. I lost my dream. I was carried off in a stream of practicality: a stable job, steady income, mortgage and climbing a career ladder. I had to be sensible, I had to grow up. And so I left my childhood dreams behind.

Alas, I never forgot them. They were always with me, ever present as I heard stories of people achieving their dreams. There was always a little voice in the back of my mind saying, ‘That’ll be me one day’. I would walk into a bookshop and imagine that one day I’d be right there in that spot and see someone buy a book I had written.

It was never a matter of ‘if’, just a case of ‘when’. One Day.

When I least expected it, One Day arrived. I had gone against all my sensible thoughts, trusted my gut instincts, and left my corporate career after the birth of my baby girl, two years ago now. I was staying at home with her and I was bored. Bored out of my brain. I had to do something.

Write. That word kept coming to me. I knew it was now or never, and I decided to give it a shot. It was time to tell people about the dream I had kept to myself – no one, not even my parents, knew about it – for so many years.

I began with my blog. Then I joined Twitter – more to chat with new friends rather than with any long-term ‘networking’ goals – and found myself making contacts. I started approaching a few of them, and was soon writing for two more websites. Then I sent an article to a print magazine, and had that accepted. It just kept spiralling.

I decided to push my luck, and started thinking about writing books. I was thinking of novels, but whenever I sat down to write my mind would go back to the books from my childhood – to this day, the only books I would list as my favourites. It was that realisation that drew me towards writing for kids.

There have been so many yeses since that first day I began writing. None from publishers – yet! – but a lot of positive feedback and little milestones that make me believe I’m on the right path. A yes from a new friend and now co-author of a yet-to-be-published manuscript included (I imagine it’s easier now than ever before to be brave and do things like ask someone to co-write a book with you. I didn’t have to call her or talk to her in person and face seeing the ‘no way’ written on her face. All I had to do was hit the send button on one email. And be stunned to see the word ‘yes’ come back to me.)

The rejections, though, can threaten to push all those feelings aside. A short email saying ‘great idea, but we won’t be taking that on’ or – worse – a copy of the standard letter sent to all rejected authors, can make me question it all. I wonder if I’m wasting my time, if there will ever be that one big yes I’ve always wanted.

The time constraints too, with a toddler and paying work and other commitments pulling me in all directions, can be enough to make me want to throw in the proverbial towel. It can be hard work doing it all.

Soon, though, something comes along – a lovely comment on my blog or an email or conversation with a friend telling me they enjoyed reading a piece I’ve written – that gets me on track once again.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

At the pool.......

One of the very best value days out that we enjoy, during the summer holidays, with the kids, is the pool.

We live in the foothills of Adelaide, which is still only a short drive from the beach.....but....our local outdoor swimming pool has me. It has my heart.

It's actually the same outdoor pool that my lovely grandparents took me to when I was a child. Nothing much has changed. (The kiosk still sells PaddlePops and Bush biscuits, just like they did in the 1970's.)

For the fab five (two adults and three children) to sepnd the day at our local pool, it costs us $18.

The kiosk is not over priced - all of the ice creams & snacks are standard milk bar prices.

And to be honest, we take a picnic anyway.....an array of healthy snacks that are grazed on all day, plucked from the esky.

Our local pool, like so many Aussie outdoor pools, has lots of grassy areas to lay out the rugs and towels - on a hot day, we stay all day, and make the poolside lawn our base camp.

Sunscreen  and hats on and the kids happily play, swim, eat, play, swim, snooze, and swim again, all day. They adore it.

Lovely husband and I take our paperback novels and the newspaper, and swap between taking a cooling dip with the kids, reading in the shade, or having a snooze. Bliss.

And the kids? They are hanging out for the summer holidays so that they can hang out and spend lazy fun days at the pool. They cannot wait. They see it as a huge treat.

I love our local pool. It is family value at its absolute best, for me. Close, cheap, easy to organise, it tires the kids out beautifully, and I get to relax.

Have you been to your local outdoor pool recently?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mood Music

Thea, from "Do I Really Wanna Blog" was one of the first bloggers I ever came across. I am so glad I did.

Her blog is an utter treat. She chats about all manner of things, and runs a wonderful range of posts on "Sunday Sessions".

Thank you Thea, for guest posting for me, and for being a lovely bloggy friend.....

I was just reading a story in the Reader's Digest (it's one of my favourite reads) about stranded travellers at an airport near New York. After six hours of waiting to board their plane frustration levels were hitting a high when a singer/songwriter amongst them began to play "Hey Jude" on his guitar. Apparently people started humming along and by the time he got to the "na na na na na na" bit, everyone was singing along and the tension was broken.

Go on, listen and try not to sing along. It's impossible, right?

Some tunes just change everything, don't they?
What power music has!

It reminded me of a time over 20 years ago.
I was living in the city going to teacher's college and I would drive home to the farm on most weekends.
It was more than an hour's drive and on this particular occasion my little old second hand Gemini broke down just over half way.
It stopped dead, I freaked, then this came on the radio...

I couldn't help but smile.
Fortunately I had stopped at a tiny town of about 10 houses, 1 school, 1 butcher shop, and 1 tiny corner store with a phone box outside (this was the time before mobile phones, yes I am that old!)
So I called Mum, listened to the radio while I waited for her to come, and all was good.

Then there are the songs that make you feel sad.
At a school dance when I was in Year 11, I had a massive crush on a Year 12 boy.
He was in love with the Japanese exchange student who was a close friend of mine (but I didn't know this at the time). He was dancing with her all night (that should have told me something) and I was getting more and more jealous. She noticed my pouty behaviour and told him to ask me to dance.
When this song came on, he came up to me, put his arms around me, and I immediately ran to the toilets sobbing.

Yeah, "Drama Queen!"
But I still can't hear this song without feeling sad.

Then there is 'our song'.
You know, the one you have at your wedding, or one that reminds you of when you met.
This was a song I loved and when I met my husband a few months after it was released, it felt like fate.

So, how about you?
Do you have a happy song, a sad song, your song??

Thanks for having me over here Lucy, it was fun!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Just call me Anthea Turner........

I took it into my head yesterday, like you do (occasionally, not very often, certainly not every spring....) to spring clean my kitchen.

So I cleaned, whilst the kids ran round in their jammies and did errrrrm.......stuff. (What were they doing? I have no idea, to be honest: I was a woman whose focus was evidently on the job, not on the kids.)

Between lovely husband and I, we:
  • Sorted and cleaned the column of drawers in the kitchen. Even the third one down.
  • Cleaned out the appliance cupboard - the one that holds all the icky greasy plug in gadgets like popcorn makers and jaffle makers. And my collection of preserving jars. They are breeding.
  • Cleaned out the under the sink cupboard. Seriously, how many packets of green scourers does one family really need? I also binned my collection of mouldy sink plugs. Shudder.
  • Cleaned out the fridge. Totally. Every single shelf & drawer came out and got scrubbed. Icky
  • Cleaned the windows, inside and out. Squashed fly corpse...be gone.
  • Pulled the fridge out and cleaned behind it and under it. A job that I normally never ever bother doing as I have been usually guaranteed to move house soon enough anyway. I suspect that old ruse is no longer valid, now we are "settled". (This will not, however, ever impact my steadfast refusal to clean the oven.)

Does it make me very pathetic to admit that getting all of these very overdue jobs done made me really happy?

That we spent the rest of the day in loved up bliss, me and the fab five, for the sake of a clean kitchen?

It probably IS tragic of me, and likely a sign of some unearthed physiological issue. But I do not care.

I have a clean kitchen, and that rocks.

Tell me, is it just me? Or does finally getting awful jobs done make you feel happy? (Reassure me?)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The lovely Maxabella, over at Maxabella Loves, hosts a Saturday Grateful linky.

I just commented over there that reading her posts, and all the other Saturday Grateful posts on other blogs, well, it makes me feel safe and cosy, every Saturday.

And so what I am grateful for this Saturday -
- that I have a clean kitchen and clean windows. Thank you, lovely husband. Your will get your rewards in our standard adult only currency.
- that I have gorgeous bloggy friends who are guest posting for me next week - Allison, Sarah, Megan, Thea, Michelle, & Bern, thank you, and sorry for the short notice!
- that next week I am going to have a break for a while. Spend some time by myself, on myself, happy to be alone.
How about you?

Friday, 12 November 2010


My children have made friends locally, with another brood.

We have had these little friends over to our house, for a couple of play dates, and I have had the dubious pleasure of dealing with six kids all day for a whole Sunday. Six under seven. To say they kept me amused but on on my toes is an understatement.

And now it is the turn of the return favour. Mummy to the other brood is hosting this weekend.

My three are going on a day long play date down the road.

Ahhh, the beauty of my "village".....

And so lovely husband and I get a day together, just the two of us.


We will walk together.

We will talk together.

We will picnic together.

We will plan together.

We will laugh together.

We will hold hands together.

I cannot wait.
I love my children to the ends of the earth.

But I need to be reminded and immersed in the reason that they are here.....and that is because the lovely husband and I really really like each other, and one anther's company. I suspect we sometimes lose sight of this reassuring fact.

Tell me, do you manage dates? Despite children? What do you do and where do you go?

And while you're at it, maybe hop over to some of these other blogs too?


Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Last Post

The Last Post

Robert Graves

The bugler sent a call of high romance—

"Lights out! Lights out!" to the deserted square.

On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer,

"God, if it's this for me next time in France ...

O spare the phantom bugle as I lie

Dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,

Dead in a row with the other broken ones

Lying so stiff and still under the sky,

Jolly young Fusiliers too good to die."
It's Fat to Fit time again........

Thank you, to all of you who join in!

I am so enjoying reading everyones posts about health & fitness......

If you would like to join in my blog hop, I'd love for you to link up.

All you need to do is:

1.Follow my blog (if you haven't already done so).

2.Get the "Fat to Fit" button/code from below by copying the code and posting via the Edit HTML tab into your diet/weight loss post: if anyone wants any help with how to do this, lemme know?

3. Add the URL to your diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post POST in the Linky below (not your homepage: the actual post)

4. Copy the blog hop code from below into your post too.....then you are also hosting the exact same blog hop link list...

5. Share the love, read each others posts, get inspired, follow and comment!

6. The blog hop list will open every Thursday and will be open all week.

7. A new and fresh link list will open every Thursday. (And then, if you want, you can link up again with another diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post.)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The best value.....

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be writing a series of posts, all centred around value for money, particularly for families.

With recent interest rate hikes, and the fact that I am not working at the moment, I am particularly keen on investigating value for money deals, and good value ways of making our family budget stretch a bit further, so that the kids still get the treats they revel in.

These posts will be connected with the new Get More Value website that Kia have launched. It is a top idea. Basically Kia (as a result of their upcoming launch of the all new Kia Cerato Hatch) have decided create an online hub of incredible value for money deals. Some of the freebies are incredible.

So, watch this space for my own ideas on what represents brilliant value for money for families. My ideas will be based around what my kids and the lovely husband  and I are planning for the summer, to make our money stretch further, so that we can still enjoy lots of treats.

This post is a Nuffnang post, sponsored by KIA. To celebrate the great value of KIA's new car – the Cerato Hatch, a website has been launched so you and your family can get some great value offers and deals. Check out my favourite deal for this week: Buy any Canon Compact Camera from Digi Direct and receive a 4GB Bonus Memory Card + Case FREE.

And it goes without saying, if YOU have any pearler ideas on how to entertain the family on a budget, or tricks to get amazing deals, let me know?

The Science of a Really Bad Day

Yesterday was a REALLY bad day.

Imagine your iPhone breaking.

Imagine an unpleasant standoff with a teacher at your children's school.

Imagine a screaming meltdown from your four year old in the middle of a shopping centre.

Imagine the dog vomiting on your kitchen floor.

Imagine a bird taking a crap on your white sheets as they hang on the line.

Imagine your computer getting hacked by some virus, and then not being able to fix it.

Imagine a swarm of bees under the eaves of your house.

Imagine your son crying because his face hurts from the fall he had last week.

Luckily, my lovely husband came home about thirty seconds before I had a nervous breakdown.

And sent me out of the house, to run.

It goes against the grain, for me, to simply leave the chaos of my world. Despite knowing he meant it, and despite knowing I could, I found it really really hard to just walk out of the door and leave him to it.

I dithered on the doorstep, thinking "I can't just up and go for a run. There is so much breaking down around me, I surely must stay & deal with it all? Try and fix stuff?"

I could hear my lovely husband quietly chatting to my my son.

"Mate, lets let Mummy go for a run? Stop your crying mate. Let her go. She loves her run. It's important to her. Smile and wave goodbye? Let her go, happy?"

(See? THAT is why is he LOVELY. How he can be so calm when I am such a stressy Mumma, I shall never know.)

So I swallowed all the stress and all of the immense frustrations from my day. I took a deep breath and walked out the door.

I ran.

I ran 10km.

I ran bits of it slowly.

I walked other bits.

I also ran parts of my run really fast.

I cried a bit too.

I stopped at one point and just howled.

And then ran again.

And felt my spirits lifting.

I felt the frustrations dissipate.

The stress were still there, but dissolved a little, somehow?

I sweated, a lot, in a warm Adelaide evening.

But I ran, regardless.

Earlier, I had literally felt in pain in my chest from the stress and frustration of a really shit day.

Running attenuated all that.

My iPhone is still broken, and my computer is still showing signs of being hijacked, despite lovely husbands amazing efforts.

But, because I ran,  I can cope better now.

The science of a really bad day? Run.


Monday, 8 November 2010


Oh Charlie.

My poor wee lamb pie.

My son Charlie, he is five.

He is the love of my life. He rocks my world.

He has a smooshed face.

He took a BIG tumble in the playground at school the other day, and ended up in hospital with concusion and a crushed nose and a split lip, and an egg on his head the size of a cricket ball.

He is, now, totally fine.

I am now, totally fine.

Thank you to everyone for yor tweets and messages and hugs of support last week. I needed it, and I feel very cossetted by the virtual hugs. Thank you.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Mooo Giveaway Winner

Hey everyone

Thank you to everyone who entered my recent Mooo giveaway.

I did a Random Number pick thingo, and the lucky winner of a $50 Mooo voucher is Jodie, from Mummy Mayhem.

Thanks to everyone that entered!

And thank you to Mooo for the opportunity to do such a generous giveaway.

Remember, Remember.....

I realise today, a whole day late, that this year, the first year in fifteen, that I have forgotten to recall Guy Fawkes Night.

The 5th of November.

Bonfire Night.

I grew up in the UK. A country that remembers the Gunpowder Plot, a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament with thirty six barrels of gunpowder, in order to kill the King of the time - James 1st.

Guy Fawkes was one of a gang of traitors, and he was the one who was caught, in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, with thirty six barrels of gunpowder.

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight through London, to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

All this went on in 1605. Over 400 years ago. Imagine.

I grew up in the UK, where November is winter. Cold night air, bonfires and layers of clothes to keep warm.

The smell of woodsmoke, the promise of celebration. This hiss of fireworks. The gasping cold against cheeks. The excitement of being up and out so late. The intake of cold air into lungs, at the surprise and wonder of the fires. The smell of browning sugar from the making of treacle toffee.

The stamping of cold feet and the vision of breath leaving warm bodies in puffs and clouds into the chilly air. Children running, faces turned to the sky.

The crackle of fire. The high pitched squeals. The camaraderie. The changing light of darkness: of a night lit by fires.

And I forgot.

I am finding it harder and harder to recall the traditions and senses that I associate with England
and my childhood and my youth.

I do not know if this scares me or reassures me.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Whitney Inspired - ♫ I have nothin'........

We're having a tricky couple of days here.

Charlie had big fall over at school. Injuries to the head and concussion in a little boy that has only just recovered from a broken femur does not a happy family make.

As always, when shit goes down like this, it makes you realise how much you love your children.

And how much you love and need your other half.

So this little track from The Bodyguard soundtrack keeps on popping into my head for a million reasons.

Despite her less than good girl image over the past decade, I am a child of the eighties, so I love me a little bit of Whitney.

And snippets of Kevin Costner never go astray either.

Charlie, I wish I could be your body guard all day ever day, but I can't.

And lovely husband, I have nothing, if I don't have you.

And everyone else.....it is blog floggin' day today....go to Lori's and link up and discover some cool blogs?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fat to Fit

It's Fat to Fit time again........

Last week was brillinat with over 40 blogs, all sharing!

Thank you, to all of you who join in!

I would love to get to over 50 links this week!

If you would like to join in my blog hop, I'd love for you to link up.

All you need to do is:

1.Follow my blog (if you haven't already done so).

2.Get the "Fat to Fit" button/code from below by copying the code and posting via the Edit HTML tab into your diet/weight loss post: if anyone wants any help with how to do this, lemme know?

3. Add the URL to your diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post POST in the Linky below (not your homepage: the actual post)

4. Copy the blog hop code from below into your post too.....then you are also hosting the exact same blog hop link list...

5. Share the love, read each others posts, get inspired, follow and comment!

6. The blog hop list will open every Thursday and will be open all week.

7. A new and fresh link list will open every Thursday. (And then, if you want, you can link up again with another diet/weight loss/healthy eating/exercise/fitness post.)