Monday, 28 February 2011

The eye of the tiger....

And here we go again.

The start of anther week.

Monday - my favourite day.

I feel energised from this weekend.

House cleanish? Check.

Children and husband all happy? Check.

Garden sensational? Check.

Friends all OK? Check.

Diet? Ermmmmmm....bistro meals at the cricket club are not a plate of health.

Exercise? CHECK

And here I am again - group personal training this morning at 6am sharp.

And I know it's cheesy, but when this song comes on my trainer's stereo, I cannot help but work a little bit harder. Run a little bit faster. Lift a little bit heavier.

(This montage is a good one - if you ever need a little inspiration on the fitness stakes, Sly does it for me everytime...)

What makes YOU work harder?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fake it till you make it...

post signature

In her day...

My Mother, in her day, was amazing.

Lucy and Lissy, January 1976

She is sick.

I am trying, very hard, to ensure that I recall all of the good memories that I can of her, from my childhood.

To write it all down.

In her day, my Mum was everything I aspire to be.

She ran a home with love, and cooked for a family of seven.

She was, in her day, an exceptional and classically trained cook.

She was so ahead of her time. She was audacious and clever and inventive. All on a very tight budget.

A restraining economy which I know frustrated her, but became a driver behind her culinary imagination.

When I look back, and recall her, in her day, I am so very proud. All of her friends, and mine, were in awe of her food. It was sensational. She had an enviable reputation of being able to cook amazing dishes with such abundance and flavour. People clamoured to stay for weekends, just to be fed by my Mum.

My father would ring her with just an hours notice, to tell her he was bringing influencial clients home for dinner. She would slide into corporate entertaining mode on a picnic budget, and she did it with calmness, grace and an even temper that now, now I have a family of my own, simply astounds me.

From the glamour of the 1970's dinner party to the hum drum of packed lunches, she was forever inventive and resourceful. She had a love of food and an innate sense of how to create gourmet and sustenance alike, from scratch.

I have no doubt that she called upon her Australian roots. This recipe, I found, is so similar to what I now know to be a "hedgehog slice". It was produced near weekly in our kitchen. Quickly, as she did a million other jobs, to ensure no waste, to ensure a little delicious for us.

This recipe was the fodder of all afternoon teas at my home my youth.

It calls for all the broken bits of plain (boring) biscuits that get left and uneaten in the bottom of a biscuit tin. Re-styled to become something quite treaty and indulgent.


Lissy's Broken Biscuit Cake Recipe

I made this with my children, yesterday. I rang my Mum and told her. In her evening, she is vague.

But in her day, she will be glad, I hope.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Geeky, plaits and the glorious 1970's...

Similar to Allison of the Pink Fibro, I have wrangled with Sype this week. I love it. I am grateful for it. I am also grateful for all the peripheral stuff my geeky husband scores from work so that I could lay my hands on a web cam microphone thingo when I needed it...

Friends - and I am lucky to have a few very close ones. You know who you are. In real life and online.
Every day, I am grateful to be blessed with sane women who share so much with me. Women who have the a similar integrity gauge as me. Friends that help me. I am very grateful to each of them, for the way they light up my world. I am inordinately fond.

And I am eternally grateful for my collection of recipe books. I have a lot of them, and sometimes when I need some peace and to persuse, these do the job. 1970's food with nostalgia invoking photography. Vegetarian stuffed capsicums anyone? Big flat back mushrooms topped with diced veggies and loads of grated cheese?


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Fat to Fit....

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

Thank you, to all of you who join in!

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.Add the "Fat to Fit" button/code from below to your post or blog

3. Link your post up in the Linky below.

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

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

And then go about your Fat to Fit business!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

It hurts in a good way...

The Russians have been highly renown for centuries for their athletic prowess, and I'm guessing its not all down to the strength of their vodka.
I have woken up today aching in places I can't reach. In a good way. In that oh my goddess I must have worked my body well because I ache like a bastard kind of way. It hurts in a good way,

And it's all the fault of the Russians.

I've been using Russian Kettlebells, with Russian Squats.

Consider the way that Russians roll when it comes to solving a problem. Back during the “space race,” while the American government spent squillions of dollars to develop a pen that could write in an environment without gravity, the Russians solved the very same problem by just using a pencil that cost mere pennies. In the same way, kettlebell fitness exercises strike me as an amazingly simple "why didn't I think of that" kind of strength and interval method.

A kettlebell is just a weight with a handle on it – nothing less, nothing more. No need to spend a huge amount of money, or mess around with a lot of fancy pants equipment - just pick up one of these balls of iron with its handle and away we go...
Usually, the simplest way to accomplish a goal is the best way.

My goal is lovely lady arms and toned legs. As well as a strengthening my core and increasing my cardio fitness. As well as losing weight and toning the inside of my legs. As well as burning fat. Ummmm. High expectations, much?!

So on Monday I did four minute intervals of:
  • Russian squats 
  • Run
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Run
  • Kettlebell snatches
  • Run
  • Kettlebell presses 
  • Run

 And I shall do it all again today......and no doubt be hurting in a really good way again tomorrow......

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Frock shopping...updated!

The generic term given to any adventures I have down Adelaide's Rundle Mall to buy clothes, be it jeans or shoes or an entire outfit: it's called "frock shopping".

I am blessed to have a good friend who is, by trade, an image consultant stylist type person. She knows my colours, and my line, and my cut.....or something.....which is a relief, as I am clueless.

She knows I am paranoid about my size. She soothes me and makes me feel gorgeous. She accentuates the positive.

When I shop for clothes with her I save myself hours and dollars - she has the eye.

The eye for what suits me, for what works, for what will become a seasons "must have" and for what will become one of my wardrobe classics.

So instead of buying fifty three more cheap black tops, I come away, in half the time, with one entire outfit that costs not much, that I will wear again, and again, and again. An outfit that I truly love to wear. One of those rig outs that you are excited about wearing, as you know it makes you look your very best? Yeah, she has the eye to help me pick those....

She moves me, gently, away from my "uniform"...the uniform whose focus is all in the accessories, as accessories always fit, regardless of dress size....

I shall post again this evening perhaps, to show you the frock I come home with later today........

Tell me - do you have a uniform?

Do you know what suits you?

Do you anticipate or dread "frock shopping"?

Edited to add - a collection of what I actually bought today........I suspect I am going for a Joan Holloway look.......

What do you think?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Deep Bone Contentment

My daughter Olivia, my eldest, is seven today.

She has had a four day event of a birthday.

(Her sixth birthday was a disaster - everything, sadly, had to be cancelled as a result of brother Charlie breaking his femur and being rushed to hospital. Poor little chick - she was utterly overlooked last year.)

Hence, this year, we have indulged her. Totally.

She is an amazingly good kid, so I kind of figure she SHOULD be spoiled for her birthday.

On Friday we met with friends for an extravagant gathering at a play cafe - the Wacky Warehouse, no less. A huge indoor play centre is not a run of the mill occurrence for my children, so this was treaty in the extreme.

On Saturday, the lovely husband took her off to the big shops to choose a timepeice - her very first watch. Later, we met family (including a lot of little cousins) for dinner at lovely husbands cricket club. Bistro food and too many fizzy drinks, birthday cake and candles,  and chasey round the oval were order of the evening.

And on Sunday, the main event, a party for all of her little friends, at a local dance studio, where they learned a funky little routine and put on a show for the parents, in between chips and lollies and pass the parcel.

And today is her actual birthday. I have baked biscuits for her to take to school, for all of her classmates to enjoy. The great unveil of the new bike will take place after school. (Lovely husband has assembled it in secret: the garage has been off limits...)

This evening we will enjoy Olivia's "best dinner" which is "bisgetti bolobnaise", the five of us, all together.

She is beside herself at the treatiness of it all: of so many delights over such an extended birthday.

And me? I am thrilled to be able to totally spoil and indulge her, for once.

She is utterly enchanted and excited and enthused by each new gift and by each new event. It is magical to watch my unspoilt girl being spoiled.

She is, as I have said before, an amazingly self assured and self possessed little girl. She is growing up so very quickly. She is
unselfconscious in her modest awareness of her increasing beauty. Her love of life is matched by her popularity, and by her inclusive nature and her kindness. She is a girl with charisma.

When she was born, seven years ago, I was blown away by an amazing sense of deep bone contentment, at finally having a baby in my arms, a baby that was Olivia. She was, and still is, an absolute gift to me.

And now, I am blown away again that such a beautiful creature is my daughter. I am, quite simply, inordinately proud of her.

Happy Birthday my sweet Olivia. I love you. So much.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

For gluts sake....

My lovely husband has green fingers.

We have damsons, we have capsicums, we have basil, we have lettuce.


My trug is full to brimming.

I have not bought salad from the shops for months.

It is bliss.

He is really green fingered. He has the knowledge; and by now the experience also. But mostly a talent and an instinct. For planning, for compost, for care and dedication. And the innate sense of what a plant needs. It is beyond me, but I recognise it.

I sent him a text last week, whilst he was interstate. To send him a snap, via my iPhone, of just a tiny portion of the tomato harvest. He was thrilled enough to reply to a text - a rarity, let me tell you. In one day, I picked over 4kg of perfect ripe tomatoes, bursting with warm flavour. And every day since, just more and more.

And so this weekend we have dealt, he and I, with a small glut. A lovely welcome satisfyingly rich glut.

We will made caprese for every meal, even lunch, every day.

We have slow cooked tomatoes, on low overnight, to extract every last bit of sweet intensity they give.

Our home smells like an Italian pizza restaurant - all tomato and garlic and basil. Divine.

We have stewed them in the slow cooker with basil and black pepper, for sauce.
We have given bags away to neighbours, family and friends. The generosity of produce. I love it.

I love him. I love his garden. I love his gluts.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Granny Grateful

I am tired.

I feel overwhelmed, getting used to the new normal of working as well as writing as well as being a Mummy and wifely type.

I have drunk more coffee this week than I have done in years.

I am grateful to my English Grandmother, Phyllis, for instilling in me a love of good coffee. (She was a rarity in war torn Britain - a woman that insisted on real coffee, not tea. I remember her avoidance of the innovative freeze dried in the 1970's, her preference for her complicated gurgling Cona, a Heath Robinson influenced contraption of burners, geezers and tubes interlinking to glass jugs.)

She kept her coffee tins and recycled them to keep home made fudge in. (I adore coffee tainted fudge for this reason.)

She taught me to make fine coffee.

She taught me to make fudge.

She taught me to cut bread so thinly for sandwhiches it melts in the mouth.

She taught me how to sew buttons and complete tapestry.

She taught me to clean windows with newspaper and methelated spirits.

She taught me to preserve fruits for jams and chutneys.

She taught me giggles and cuddles from a massive bust.

I am grateful to Granny, and this week,  I am grateful for coffee.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Itchy feet....

Is it just me, or is perving on real estate , via print and via web, just the very best kind of window shopping?
My lovely husband and I have bought and sold property a great many times over the past fifteen years. It's been our second job.

But the regular moves have stopped now, and I realise we have lived in our current home for four years. Exactly four years today, in fact.

And, realistically, I know we will not move again for a couple of decades.


Oh my.

That makes me nervous. My feet immediately begin to itch.

And my fingers twitch over the keyboard to repeat my hobby searches our "the ideal house." (The perfect number of bedrooms, spread over a perfect floor plan, on the perfectly sized and situated block, in the perfect location, at the manageable price....)

Long gone are the days of luxuriously pouring over the real estate lift outs with several lattes every Saturday morning.

Our house IS the ideal house for us. It is a beautiful home that fits us, that suits us, very well.

Our neighbourhood is perfect. That I wouldn't change.

Put there is the pull, always, of another new project. Another deal, another bargain, another garden to plan, another kitchen to remodel.

I walk and jog the streets around my current home, and get a thrill when I see new "For Sale" boards erected. And I stash the address in my mind to check out later...

Do you have itchy feet? (Or is it just me....?)

Do you constantly pour over the property pages or the real estate websites?

Tell me about your ideal dream house?


Thursday, 17 February 2011

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 and fitness......

And whilst I've got you, would you mind popping over here to the
Kleenex Mums Blog Post of the Year competition, and vote for me?

Thank you!

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.Add the "Fat to Fit" button/code from below to your post or blog

3. Link your post up in the Linky below.

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

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

And then go about your Fat to Fit business!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Clean sheets and cut fruit....

There are so many mornings when I am appallingly cranky.

I bark orders at my children, I try and project manage my husband, I get irritated with the dog, and I have a bad habit of swearing into the fridge.

All in an attempt to get the five of us out of the house, to our respective endeavors, on time, dressed, and fed, with hair brushed, and a semblance of order.

Sometimes the cranky explodes in the car and my poor children get it. I rant and rave, and they are locked in, unable to escape, listening to a very turgid monologue from me. I know it's boring. I can see them raise their eyes at one another, as if to say "here she goes again." I know it's boring. I bore myself, to be honest.

And then the guilt plays out all day.

All. Day.

I feel bad. Guilty, sorry, regretful and mean. All day, until I can pick them up from school and kindy and cuddle them and laugh with them and tell them I am sorry for being a grumpy Mummy. Again.

On days like these, when they are away from me, and I am by myself, at work and at play, I realise that I make it up to them, always, when I pick them up, full of regret.

But also that I have assuaged my guilt a little through the day by the doing of stuff, for them.

Clean sheets and cut fruit.

If I have a mass of beautiful cut fruit waiting for them, chilled for the afternoon tea, I feel better. Less sorry. More loving.

If I have stripped all their beds and made the land of slumber all clean and fresh for them, lavender spray and all, I feel like I have made amends, even before they are back home.

Clean sheets and cut fruit. These little things that remind me of how much I love them all.

I hope these actions remind them too.

Tell me? Please admit to me that you are cranky at times too?

What do you do to make amends? To make them feel better? To say sorry?

Please share?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


I am running tonight.

Me and the treadmill.

Loud, loud music in my ears, listening for the interval, listening for the beep.

I find I am revelling in the mindlessness of the treadmill and the monotony of electronic beat.

The treadmill has its flashy electronic numbers.

(I have never taken much notice before. I have generally been too busy trying to not fall off and not have a heart attack.)

I am always starving about an hour after a run.

After I have run, or indeed done any exercise, I have that lovely smug feeling of having done it. Of being moral and healthy. I thrive upon it.

I also bargain with those feelings; unashamedly.

Ohhhh, I ran tonight. So it's probably OK to eat BBQ shapes?

A whole hour of mindless jogging on the treadmill burns off 429 calories.
Mindlessly eating half a box of BBQ Shapes in 10 minutes costs 522 calories.

See the deficit? The numbers just do not equate. The figures just do not stack up well enough.

Note to self - do not do mindless. Do not waste those calories burned...

Monday, 14 February 2011

Today I have juggled and balanced and motored and liaised and performed.

I am torn between feeling like I am drowning in the stress of all the new stuff I have on my plate, and feeling relieved that I made it to the end of the day without totally losing my stack...

Today, I have - 
  1. Arisen at 5am to coffee, blog and jog. Never managed the blog bit. Hence I am here now.
  2. Sweated through a group personal training session down on the oval
  3. Organised breakfast for three small children, and made their beds, and got them dressed.
  4. Helped Olivia set out and practice her show and tell news time talk
  5. Ferried Olivia and Charlie and dropped them off at school.
  6. Dropped off a glut of tomatoes at a friends
  7. Posted some letters
  8. Taken Lexie and myself to do my Mum's grocery shopping (including pharmacy and wine shop.......)
  9. Undertaken he housework at my Mum's house - despite resistance.
  10. Filled the car up with fuel
  11. Did some craft with Lexie (a Valentine card for her little mate.)
  12. Dropped Lexie off on a play date
  13. Completed a study module
  14. Manipulated a whole stack of Excel spreadsheets and data for work
  15. Three loads of washing
  16. Three baskets of folding & putting away
  17. School run to pick Olivia and Charlie up
  18. Been a shoulder to cry on for a friend
  19. Picked up Lexie
  20. Cooked dinner for the kids
  21. Supervised homework for Olivia and Charlie
  22. Dealt with the dishwasher (twice)
  23. Cleaned the coffee machine
  24. Bathed three kids
  25. Read stories to three kids
  26. Fed the dog
  27. Bored my poor husband about how hard done by I feel....
This is possibly the most mundane post I have ever written.


I am so tired.

Oh! But I do have some lovely news.....I have a guest post over here...with the lovely Ed Pilolla

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Picnic - at hanging rock...

The five of us indulged in a picnic today. A huge steep hilly bush walk, followed by a restful picnic. It was bliss. The air and the sun and the sky and the smells. All wonderful.

It made me recollect and ponder.

The screenplay of Picnic at Hanging Rock, adapted from Joan Lindsay's novel, tells the story of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at a geological formation known as Hanging Rock, on Valentine's Day in 1900.

111 years ago.

Imagine. And the specualtion behind the story is still going, even today.

The reason for the girls disappearance is never discovered, but the implication of both book and film is that the mystery has a profound and lasting effect on everybody in their community.

It's human nature to repeat strange stories about identities and places we know.

(There is a laneway where I used to live that is known as Rippers lane. No crime was ever committed there at all, but it has a spooky vibe, and so I guess that's an example of how urban legends get imagined and amplified? The dots get connected, the gaps get filled in, regardless of truth?)

These stories are part of our human makeup, and we relish in the telling of such whispers to others, gaining a sense of satisfaction from relaying a tale, and sensing the awed reaction from others.

Picnic at Hanging Rock has now gained urban legend status, despite never being based upon truth. What could be more enticing when visiting an ancient structure, taking a picnic in the Australian bush, or even just on Valentine's day itself- weaving a yarn around the wild story of how the girls disappeared and were never found.

The story is only fiction, by all reckonings. Hanging Rock still suffers a reputation never the less. As far back as records can trace, there have been no verfied mysterious disappearances or horrifying happenings up on the rock. Ever.

Imagine. And the specualtion behind the story is still going, even today.

Which urban legends still fascinate you? Which mysteries or crimes do you still speculate upon? Share with me?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Greased Lightning...♫

In 1978, I was nine years old.

My Dad took me, along with a crowd of little friends, off to the "picture theatre" in Worthing, to see the movie: Grease.

I loved every moment of it. Every song, every dance move, every swagger, every look.

That same year I was also given the soundtrack,  a double twelve inch vinyl LP. It was my most treasured posession. I knew every detail, every word, off by heart.

I have always been a fan of Olivia Newton John, and coincidently, I have since gone on to have a daughter named Olivia.

My Olivia, aged nearly seven, came across a DVD copy of Grease at our local video shop. She loves a dance off and so we borrowed it for the week.

I have now overheard the movie, and of course its sound track, at least another 20 least.

I have watched all three of my children do a mock up, but very accurate, rendition of Greased Lightnight from the top of the couch. T birds? Eat your heart out.

I have even caught lovely husband doing a Danny Zuko impression in the garden, singing along to the end bit of Summer Nights.

And, if I am honest,  I find I love the track sung by Rizzo (Stockard Channing) There are Worse Things I Could Do. It gets stuck in my head, and I like it.

I find it hilarious and amazing and endearing that a movie that I loved over thrirty years ago now resonates with my own children.

And that the whole family is now secretly a little bit addicted to the cheesiness that is Grease? Well, that is just fun.

Tell me your fave muscial movie? Your best sound track?
Is there a film that you loved as a kid, that your children now love too?

Friday, 11 February 2011

Grateful Giveaway

The observant may have noticed that I have a new button ad over there to the right.

I was very fortunate to have come across Think Slim a few years back, when I first started this weight loss journey of mine.

And I am even more fortunate to be able to announce that Think Slim are sponsoring me, and my blog, at the Aussie Bloggers Conference that's being held on March 19th.

I am excited about attending the conference, and I am also very excited to be able to announce my latest giveaway. I am also grateful to the team at Think Slim for their ongoing support.

And I am grateful to each and every follower of this blog, who keep me so motivated. Thank you.

Because the author and creator of Think Slim is so committed to helping others get their brain in the right place to lose weight easily, he has given me a brand new copy of the Think Slim Audio Success Series, valued at $397, to giveaway to one of my blog followers.

The prize contains all of the audio and video sessions of the Think Slim program, all pre-loaded onto an MP4 player.
 Additionally you get the Fast Action manual to accompany the MP4 player.

This is an amazing tool. It is the key to making any weight loss program work.

If you would like to be in with a chance to win this amazing package, all you need to do is this:
  • Make sure you are following my blog
  • Leave me a comment telling me why you want to win this package and why you think it might help you
  • Go and sign up for the Think Slim newsletter here

(Tweeting  about this giveaway would be great too!)

Closing date for this giveaway is on Friday 25th February.
Open to all Australian and International readers
Winner will be chosen by Mark Stephens, the author and creator of Think Slim.

What are you waiting for?