Jun 28, 2013

Winter Wanted June Back. Parents With Prams.


Well, it was nice sitting out in that 15 minutes of sun we got in Sydney yesterday.


I got so carried away with feeling the sun in my face and hands that I might even have gone without my jacket for a moment there as well.
Winter clearly wanted June back because it was back to the rain and grey skies we know so well today. Just in time for the weekend.
Being a wet Friday at the end of a long week of wet weather, Baby SSG and I joined the other mums and bubs of Sydney at our nearest shopping centre with undercover parents with prams parking. It was just coincidence that the mid year sales were on as well.



We went to our first Target mid year toy sale together where we found this musical remote control toy. It does have an 'off' switch as well as a choice of volumes.
You're never to young to have an ironic T shirt or two in your wardrobe and these were $10 each at CottonOn Kids.
It's not all been parenting with my pram around shopping centres at SSG HQ....
I did my first yoga home practice of 2013 this morning. I know it's the end of June and the end of the financial year and all that but better late than never. I was going on the memories of my classes in Balmain and delusion of my being a Lulu Lemon standard yogi by virtue of my yoga mat. There's nothing like reality to make you lose your balance during a forward bend sequence. Unsurprisingly, the flexible person I used to twist into a pretzel doesn't exist anymore. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I felt so relaxed and alive afterward. I'm hoping to make these short sessions a regular fixture of my week from now on.


I've also been churning out soups in my slow cooker like there's no tomorrow. I've been pre soaking Italian soup mix and adding the beans to my soups to give them thickness and a more robust flavour.



I've had another look at the weather forecast for this weekend and it's dismal with a capital D. Rain all weekend. Looks like we will all be indoors wearing our ugg boots and sipping cups of tea continuously.



Jun 27, 2013

A Six Month Review.




Baby SSG is half a year old now and I'm now officially one of those mothers that wishes time would just pause to catch its breath now and again. Each day is filled with change. The incremental steps towards another developmental milestone (thank you, Wonder Weeks for putting things into perspective and bestowing calm on my frazzled nerves) as well as those fascinating glimpses into Baby SSG's personality. Baby SSG is no longer just a fragile being I must do my utmost not to break but he's now also a Person. One who loves a joke, who's eyes get beady when he knows he's being talked about and, inexplicably, a boy who giggles with delight every time I walk his leggings across his chest in time to his favourite music.



But this post isn't meant to be an ode to him. It's a lot more about me. A mother who can finally look back on those first few months and laugh heartily at myself. That rather edgy woman who was simultaneously trying to set new records for remaining functional on half her usual sleep whilst she tried to will her newborn to sleep and cry like the textbooks (and a group of ladies I jealously called the frenemummies) told her he was meant to. She was an edgy woman who liked to think that though she was edgy, she was edgy in an evidence based, well read kind of way which took the .. edge?!.. off her behaviour. I also suspect she was very hard work to live with.



I also remember spending my rare quiet moments consoling myself that time would fly and as Baby SSG got older / put on weight / started solids / slept through the night / walked / talked / found his own routine things would be 'better'. By which I meant easier in that I'd at least have more sleep with which to deal with the challenges of my little one's life. Each week that passed was taking me one week closer to that ill defined nirvana of motherhood in which I'd totally know what to do at all times and what I did woud actually work just like the experts said it would. Quickly and without tears. Associated day dreams featured me having just 'snapped back' to my pre pregnancy weight sans jelly belly and into the selected highlights of my former life. Just with the addition of my child. Obvious projection of the current season Rachel Zoe Project onto my life going on there, I'd say.


Somewhere along the way my mindset changed. With this change came a release from the pressure I'd inadvertently placed upon myself. 'I need to get it done this way' became 'whatever gets all of you through the day smiling (and alive)'. It wasn't just the release of pressure but also the concept of there even being a 'we' when it came to being a mother. That being a family means that everyone has both a contribution and a perspective worthy of consideration.


As for that elusive end point of 'betterness' I waited for? I'm never going to be done waiting because every day is going to have its ups and downs and the ones that are more down than up will actually make you laugh with the recollection of them sometime later. Possibly much later and with a glass of wine in one hand. Better isn't what I should have been waiting for but rather patience and the wisdom that comes with my own experience raising my own child.


The truth now is this. I'm typing this post one handed because Baby SSG is asleep on my lap after I nursed him to sleep. He's not a self settler and I'm breaking every rule with what I'm doing. Together we're tried all the techniques recommended to us and they've worked with varying degrees of success. Depending on how tired he is and how many five minute blocks of distressed crying I can tolerate. We've simplified our strategy to one sentence. That we love each other to bits and that things will fall into place with time because we're both doing the best we can.

In the meantime, our lives outside of sleep training are waiting to be lived and enjoyed.

For which we will be needing copious amounts of milk for my cups of tea and bones and yoghurt for Baby SSG's sore gums and bones.


And a new grown up wardrobe in which to explore more of the world now that were both older, wiser and more adventurous. You've seen my new additions previously on the blog but here's a visual of the baby's new gear for winter. A little bit fancy and a whole lot of practical. He's been spoiled rotten by friends and family.


Here's to new adventures and going with the flow!


The End of the Beginning.



The numbers game reared its ugly head in spectacular fashion again yesterday. Twitter exploded with live tweets from Parliament and wry commentary about what the whole nation hoped would be the last time PM Gillard and Mr Rudd fought for leadership of the ALP as they head into the September election facing landslide losses across the country. Kevin Rudd won 57 - 45, our treasurer resigned and Julia Gillard will retire from politics at the next election as she promised in the steely and poised interview she gave yesterday to announce the leadership ballot.


It's three years and two days since Julia Gillard was sworn in as both our first female and 27th Prime Minister. Her term was never going to be an 'easy' one, if such a term exists. Here was not a majority Government so passing bills was always going to be a an excruciatingly slow process. Then came the never ending personal dramas of her cabinet. Australian federal politics has pretty much been a soap opera since 2010. Only without the salacious tabloid exposes that makes foreign political scandals such a good train wreck read on sites like The Daily Mail.


The press have had more field days than hot dinners in their coverage of Canberra. In the absence of much significant political action, theirs has been a role of fanning speculation about ongoing leadership tensions in the ALP which seemed to be the only thing actually happening in Parliament. The changing global economic climate saw the much feted resources tax no longer being the cash cow it was promised to be. There has been so much talk about issues relevant to all of us - education and health reform, banks and their management of interest rate cuts, marriage equality and how best to care for asylum seekers but sadly no real progress except In the provision of disability health insurance.


It's not the above the has frustrated me the most about Julia Gillard's term as Prime Minister. What I'm most upset about is the way she has been treated by some areas of the media. The more respected outlets have focused their coverage on her political strengths and weaknesses. Interviews they conduct may have been harsh at times but strictly on topics relevant to her role. However, you can always count on the radio shock jocks to disappoint and humiliate with their slurs and blatantly inappropriate line of questioning. Matters they wouldn't dare bring up with married, religious male politicians. Accusations that are hypocritical coming from the mouths of people whose own lives are far from virtuous.


Julia Gillard, I have great admiration and respect for how you have conducted yourself throughout your time as Prime Minister. I know you will be retiring from politics in September but I look forward to reading about your next career move and wish you the best for a happy and peaceful life away from the intense media scrutiny.


Jun 26, 2013

My Beautiful Laundrette.


When it's been raining as hard and as continuously as it has been in Sydney this week, you just have to find your rainbows where you can.


With nothing to look at but grey skies and footpaths slick with rain, the colours if this gum all dispenser made my day at the end of an emergency supermarket dash.
I've also officially made peace with the rain and we've agreed to stay out of each other's paths. I'm holding up my end of the bargain by ferrying loads of washing down to my local laundrette where their industrial strength tumble dryer made short work of my things and left them toasty warm to touch for hours afterwards.
It was actually organised chaos at the laundrette. Everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to be in a similar predicament to me and baskets of washing lined the entire floor of the shop. Washers and dryers were whirring non stop and the air was warm with a pleasant moisture from freshly laundered clothes with a hint of that manufactured 'fresh' fragrance of laundry powder. Next to bakeries, laundrettes are my wet weather happy place.
No real relevance to the post except that I was struck by the contrast in colours of the mandarin segments against the wet bitumen.


All this carry on about the rain in winter (whom would have thought?), I know I'm hard work in winter. It's just that I get cabin fever when it rains day after day. I feel as if my wings have been clipped. Having all the windows open as wide as they'll go isn't enough for me. At the merest suggestion of a break in the weather, I'm out the front door. Even if I only make if a few metres before getting rained on. It's better than no outdoor time at all. I've felt 'outside' on my face and that's all that matters.



With my dependence on getting fresh air, it's a bit ironic that I'm generally a Scrooge in the outdoor apparel department. I but the bullet this week and swapped my Big W cheapies with their frequently jamming zippers and their minimal protection against the real cold and got myself this Columbia jacket from Costco ($44.95). It's like walking around in a sleeping bag it's so comfortable and warm. Mr SSG swears by his which is what inspired me to tae the plunge myself. We're in danger of being one of those matchy matchy adventure clothing wearing couples. I suspect Baby SSG gets confused when both his parents wear their matching jackets.
In other exciting news from Costco, the Pantene fairy has heard my prayers and delivered with this 1.2 litre pump pack of Aqua Light shampoo.



Aqua Light is right up there with Schwarzkopf's new Ultimate Colour in good things for my hair that come from supermarket shelves and that also don't make me feel as bad about not having graced a hair salon in months. Ultimate Colour is a cinch to use and mousse has a consistency that's easier to work with than other brands I've tried. It's super quick to use as well. No pre mixing required. There's also enough in a pack to do a quick touch up at a later date so no wastage of product when compared with more traditional forms of hair colorant. I'm very happy with the richness and shine of the resultant colour. Which is black (surprise, surprise....) for me.



Well, with that earth shattering hair care revelation, I'd best let you get on with your Origin preparations or let you open a new browser window for the latest on Mr Rudds's latest leadership tilt. Oh, and don't forget Offspring.


Jun 24, 2013

Lots of Rain. Lots of Eggs

Is it just my dodgy recollection of events but did it rain for 354 hours straight over the weekend in Sydney?

Whatever the exact number may be, SSG Manor is definitely feeling the pain today. The laundry hamper is overflowing and there isn't a piece of furniture in the house that isn't hidden under a damp piece of clothing trying to get dry.
Except the coffee table of course. You always need to keep its top clear because where else would you rest your ugg boot clad feet?
Speaking of ugg boots, I've discovered egg white omelettes as a low carb, high protein lunch option.
As tasty as my home made omelettes are, I can't help but think of ugg boots with every bite. The stiffly beaten egg whites retain their puffy fluffiness when cooked and the colour combination of golden crust against a white centre further consolidate the image in my mind. Am I doing something wrong or is this how egg white omelettes are meant to look?
The omelettes came about because I had six egg whites to spare after making this yellow butter cake with chocolate frosting from the Joy of Baking website.
I've never baked with cake flour before but it was well worth the effort of making my own using plain flour and corn flour. It gave the butter cake a very fine texture which is unique from the other butter cake recipes I use.
The butter cream frosting was pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I used the ever reliable Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate which prevented the frosting from being too sweet. Do I need to tell you just how pleasant a job it was to lick the mixing bowl, then the beaters, the spatula and the bowl that I used to melt the chocolate?
Not much else to report on today. I'm thinking it's going to be a good night to get myself lost in a new novel. I've heard great things about Gone Girl. Have you read it? It's meant to have the hype of Fifty Shades behind it but minus the bondage and cheesy writing.
If I don't blog in the next couple of days, you'll know where to find me - glued to my Kindle.

Jun 22, 2013

North West News.

What were you doing on the day poor North West's birth certificate was made public?



I was at Bondi Beach absorbing its mid winter glory with my eyes, ears and pores. The waves pounded against bas of the lap pool as the wintry sunlight dappled the ocean and turned it all sorts of colours before my eyes. I felt the wind on my face, I felt it whipping my hair about and it brought an invigorating rush of blood to my face.



I couldn't have asked for a more perfect place to have my Friday morning coffee. Yes, that's a Kiehl's sticker gracing my cup. As a long time Kiehl's fan and small time blogger, it was quite surreal to find myself invited to the Kiehl's product launch at Bondi Icebergs yesterday. Lots of exciting things are happening for the brand's Australian operation in the coming months. I'll be blogging about them closer to the time so watch this space.


In the meantime, this is what I wore.


You can't go wrong with a cozy knit, skinny jeans and heeled boots at this time of the year.


You know how I don't get out much these days so excuse me while I post three photos of my outfit where one would probably have been sufficient.


That's an action shot of my right hand and most of my lap enjoying the winter sun.

What else have I been up to? I'm trying to think. Thank goodness for Instagram feeds!


I boldly clashed the hippy noir print of my Cotton On skinny jeans with that of my coffee cup on Tuesday.

Source: Offspring Facebook page


Perhaps white cheesecloth and a body waved perm are coming up in my fashion future sooner than I thought. What are your thoughts on Offspring this year? Is it getting too random and trying too hard in the pursuit of comedic gold? I'm planning to watch next week's episode with the volume turned off and provide my own plot. If it's any good how about I YouTube it and post a link here?




Over at the gym, I've found myself in the grip of a bad case of rowing machine boredom. Which has lead me to have a go with the skipping rope. I'm getting there, only tripping up after every 27 skips now (I double skip with both feet as opposed to doing one footed 'running' skips by the way) and I haven't face planted yet.

In the household goods arena, just when you thought it couldn't get any more exciting than glass bottomed Decor food storers, look at what Costco is practically giving away! Three tubes of Colgate Optic White for $16. That's pretty much buy two and get a third free.
All this talk of North West is making me crave an episode of a Kardashian reality series. I off to see what's on offer on Foxtel.
Enjoy the rest of your Saturday,

Jun 20, 2013

Just A Bit Carried Away By My Oblong Decors.

The times, they are a changing, for you, 1.65 L Decor Tell Fresh oblong microwave containers.

Way back, when time began, you were constructed entirely of clear plastic except for your distinctive red vent hole cover. Over time, you'd buckle with the heat of a hundred portions of dinner reheated for the next day's lunch at work. Sometimes you'd turn a slightly fluorescent orangey red from the times you carried lasagna to work, other times it'd be a mustard yellow from curry. But you'd always bounce back. Especially after I learned the trick of spraying you with olive oil spray before filling you with food.
After a few years, the run ins with richly coloured food got to you and you literally turned red with indignation. You worked out and you came back stronger (and redder) than ever before. Except that your lid never could quite let go of their stickers reminding me of what you contained.



But look at you now! You've gone all glassy and just a little bit blue what's more, your bottom half is oven safe these days. For under $10 at Coles too.



Leftover pasta bake is going to taste even better with this technological advancement. And possibly also because if this fancy new blend of melting cheese I've just stated using.




When I haven't been otherwise occupied pondering the history of Decor as seen in my kitchen cupboards, I've been enjoying the way winter has changed the streets around my home. The bare, arching branches of the trees that only recently boasted golden red leaves against the sky that manages to be at once both a vivid blue and cool grey. That cool crispness to the air as it hits your face.





It's the kind of weather that requires a toasty warm house to return to. I've bitten the bullet this winter and ditched our bulky old column heaters. In their place are micathermic panel heaters. They're lighter, less bulky and more importantly, more energy efficient than their predecessors.



How do you feel about updating trusted and true things around your house? Excited or a bit wistful about the way things were?


I'd better get to bed. It's my favourite day of the week tomorrow and more adventures await.


Take care,




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