Listing Lists

My mother loved lists, we never left the house without a list of what we needed or what we had to do. I love them too – am great at making them but terrible about taking them with me and absolutely brilliant at losing them! I should be writing a shopping list or a party list but instead I’ll write one that you can enjoy too….

Things I am loving right now

My Sunbeam Cafe Press has taken up residence on the kitchen bench (as opposed to the cupboard) as the kids are addicted to Salami Squashed Sandwhiches for lunch!

Strawberries. They taste SO GOOD right now and Tilly can eat an entire punnet without even trying.

Rocket Fuel cyclings caps, am pre-ordering two of the World Championship caps for the boys

and one of these gorgeous new headbands for Tilly

The Vuelta; loved the night riding

Mark Cavendish, because my little boy can’t be wrong

Photography, learning and shooting

Tilly’s new green spotty dress

Things I am coveting right now

An iPad, well not just for me….. I’d share with the kids …… sometimes…..

a new camera (mine is as old as Miles!)

Mark Cavendish …. not really, but there’s nothing wrong with some cycling style to get us through a Monday….

mmmmm dolce and gabbana…..

Things I dislike right now

Children using the F bomb (not mine I might add)
Adelaide – come home soon The Daddy!
Winter, I am truly ready for spring with peony roses and togs and mangoes

If you really love lists, check out these list pads from Frank and Dean for the compulsive List Lister….. and while you’re there they do gorgeous birthday calenders, they really should have been on my wish list too…..

What’s toping your lists at the moment?


An animated discussion

The Daddy and I met at university studying contemporary music, and as such we had quite a wide and varied musical knowledge. One of our favourite games to pass the time was to try to pick the song on the radio before anyone else (before each other really). Often we could get it after a couple of notes and if we were slow after a couple of bars. We even played this game in the birth centre while I was in labour with Miles to distract between contractions. We’re much older and slower these days and of course if we’re really stuck now we can hold the iPhone up to the radio and have the name and artist immediately.

Lately we don’t listen to as much music as we’d like and in this age of parenthood what has replaced guess the song and artist is now guess the actor/voice talent in the latest animated children’s film.

(I think I just figured out where Miles gets his competitiveness from…..)

Strangely there is a certain satisfaction in being able to identify them…. oooh ooooh – that’s Alec Baldwin in Cats and Dogs! Michael Keaton in Toy Story 3! or That Guy Who Was In That Thing One Time in a Pixar short prior to the feature animation! and thanks to IMDB it’s easy enough to solve disputes and award accolades. Of course the more obscure the actor the more kudos awarded. We really need to start an official points system methinks…..

Oddly enough, after having to watch each movie dozens if not hundreds of times it’s strange how attached to the actors it’s possible to get. Yes, Paul Newman was iconic and incredible as Butch Cassidy and forever memorable in Cool Hand Luke but when he sadly passed away I also mourned Doc Hudson from Cars and wondered what they would do about Cars 2 – no one else could play Doc surely!

Of course also brilliant were Scorsese and De Niro in Shark’s Tale, Hoffman in Kung Fu Panda and Samuel L Jackson in The Incredibles…. to mention but a few….

The Daddy also comes from a family where quoting films is popular – back in the day we would sit around a dinner table firing off memorable lines from Python, Spinal Tap or The Blues Brothers, now at family gatherings the siblings (now mostly parents) source humour from such hits as Barbie in A Mermaid Tale and Shrek. Not only that but it appears our spawn have also developed the skill and can re-inact each film with surprising accuracy – which does provide endless after dinner entertainment and will serve them well in futures games of charades. (The first time my 2yr old said ‘Oceana, do you adore me? I SAID – DO YOU ADORE ME!’ made me laugh almost as much as ‘Merliah Summer just got OWNED!)

The interesting thing is the way it’s come full circle – the kids now love soundtracks and are quite happy to skip films in preference of a little Ben Folds from the Over the Hedge Soundtrack or even some 80’s nostalgia (read Van Halen) from the latest Herbie flick. Just so you can enjoy too I have included the below gem also from Herbie, I know you’ll thank me!

Anyhow must go, on TV tonight is Monsters Inc starring those comic geniuses Billy Crystal and John Goodman with a spectacular villainous appearance by Steve Buscemi (and if you ever need to win a game, pull out Frank Oz as Fungus – will get you huge points and geek cred!).

Seeing spots in the back of my head

Did your mother ever tell you that she had eyes in the back of her head? I heard it so many times I almost started to believe it, but it was only yesterday that I began to really understand its meaning. We have a 2 story house and my sewing room is downstairs. While down there I can hear everything. Kids walking around – which one it is, which part of the house they’re in, I can tell if they’re playing ball or doing craft, I know when they pull out toys and when they’re fighting and who is in the wrong – and I can tell all this from one story below. To be honest I quite like having my own personal superpower!

The kids are amazed – they can’t understand how I do it, and yet I know that this special effect can only last for so long….. so while they are still enthralled I whipped up my latest project…..

With my passion for reusing or recycling things I often head to the local op-shop, I occasionally find gorgeous vintage fabrics but sometimes it’s just bits and pieces that others are done with. I pick up what I can – it’s not always cheaper than buying new but at least the fabric is going somewhere it will be put together. The other day I found a green polka dot design that isn’t really something that I would usually buy and I didn’t know what to do with when I bought it. Then Susan from Rocket Fuel sent me a link to an awesome blog on which I found this free pattern for a summer sun dress. I fell in love with the Elvis print that was used but without that it inspired me to go completely bright summer sun dress – I pulled out the green polka dot and make something beachy. I love the result 🙂 I also got a couple of cute shots of miss Tilly in the dress in the park and of her dancing…..

and before I post these pics I warn you – yes, she has a black eye, from standing up in the bath (in spite of being told 50,000 times not to!)…… 😦

Portable Play

Over at the amazing LMNOP they featured these gorgeous Think-ets – a take anywhere family game that looks fantastic! So of course I decided to put together some for ourselves. I took an old watch tin and lined it (quieter in my handbag) then I just scoured the house for tiny objects of interest to the kids. I have started changing these around to keep the little ones surprised and interested.

Currently it contains: a pirate, dog, cat, snowman, heart, shell, dinosaur, little Japanese girl, cotton reel and car.

This little baby now lives in my handbag and we regularly pull it out to while away the time – say… like when The Daddy was having his toe xrayed at the hospital, it came in useful that day! Games they love are take an object away to guess which one is missing, or changing the order and having to move them back again. Or we select just a few and make up a story about them. I’m sure there are a million more ideas if you purchase the actual Think-ets, (some are suggested in the linked article above) which may happen down the track but for the moment the homemade version is working just fine.

How do you entertain while on offsite with the kidlets?

Birthday plans and presents

I know that you all think I’ve been kidnapped by the greens given my lack of posting around the election. But be rest assured I am fine. Dejected but fine. And yet, we can’t dwell on politics can we – it is what it is and we must wait and see.

Since then I have attempted to write a blog post only to discover that I can’t embed video which made the whole thing redundant and me frustrated so I had to go to time out and count to ten before I was allowed back near the computer. What I was trying to do was show you the birthday invite that I did for our party that we’re having. Miles and The Daddy are born on the same day and Tilly 11 days later so we try to have a triple party every year. Mr 4 is becoming Mr 5, Miss 2 is becoming Miss 3 and Mr thirty-something will still be Mr thirty-something plus 1. I used to do personalised and printed invites for the annual event, but now I’m too lazy to print and post them I choose the more environmental option and go digital. Here is this years creation if you’re interested – sorry that I can’t embed it!

Note: I have removed the key details as I know how much Corey Worthington wants to crash my awesome party, I’m even following his lead and using Facebook to manage it 😉 can anyone say #SMEG?

I am currently brainstorming two menus (adults and kids) and I have the grand plan of making the loot bags. I want a reusable bag which includes some home made play dough, these head bands for the girls and am trying to think of other homemade goodies that I can add. Maybe shortbread cookies? Any ideas greatly appreciated and I will post results as I create….

Today was my niece Rose’s 4th birthday and as her pressy she received from us a home made dress, crocheted flower broach with vintage button, and a personalised pink drawstring bag full of homemade play dough (pink, red, yellow, green, purple and blue as decided by the little people). Also several pictures from the kids of a japanese fish, Rose (all grown up big), a cow and a horse. It was our first completely homemade gift (except for the time I gave her mum a home made leopard print yoga mat bag). Part of me is still so commercialised that I felt cheap not schlepping through the shops and handing over fistfulls of dollars for plastic ‘right-nows’.What is with that?! I value homemade things but I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I guess kids don’t always see them as being as flashy as the latest and greatest shrink wrapped wonder. I didn’t take any photos so I can’t show you the final results, but I think she really liked it, or at least she clutched the play dough to her chest until she took it home to open so it didn’t ‘get squished’.

I found some red material with little white polka dots which I plan on using to make another dress as a gift for her birthday party on the weekend. Will try to remember to photograph that one before I wrap it! Until later….. x

The Liberals New Marketing Campaign

For Australians you would be hard pressed to not know there was an election campaign in progress and voting was this Saturday.

I for one am completely sick of discussing it, watching it, hearing about it, reading about it, the endless tweeting about it and (ironically) blogging about it. To say that I didn’t care would be wrong. I care very deeply, I think the issues are very important and I have a very strong option on our political climate and what I want my (and my kids’) future in this country to be. I know who I would like to represent me, who most shares my political and life ideology and (luckily) I know who I’m voting for. So rather than discussing that – BORING! I would still like to do my version of a political blog post before it’s too late. And here it is…. The most amazing, hysterically funny shit I’ve seen in the entire campaign.

I received this direct marketing communication in my letterbox today. While it doesn’t mention a political party I think it’s clear who the author would like us to vote for. And while I’m not sure it’s a sanctioned communication of the Liberal Party, I commend the marketer on believing enough about his personal loony opinions to put them on paper for us all to share. Enjoy!

(click on the image to enlarge)

Now other than his clearly random and inappropriate use of CAPS LOCK, random paragraphing and threatening tone, Godwin’s Law does come to mind 🙂

I think the one thing that we can all take out of this is that The Greens (AKA The Nazi’s) are coming to get me personally. So in Pauline Hanson style I will say – if I do not blog tomorrow or the next day, or I do not return from the polls on Saturday it means The Green’s have taken control of Germany, have come to my house to destroy me and my way of life and eliminate my carbon footprint. I am probably dead, or being taxed and controlled, or running an ecologically sustainable concentration camp for Liberal voters, please give them whatever they want and return me to my large house that sybolises my successful lifestyle…………… end trans.

** Most of the above invokes sarcasm or irony. I in no way mean to offend the greens, the lovely jewish people I know or labour voters. I don’t really mind if I offend Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott or Adolf Hitler.

dough for play days…..

I was going to say that yesterday I did nothing creative again, and yet when I sat down and thought about it – I think in a way I did. Well, we all did.

Recently I went to The Toy Sale and at the last minute struggling out with two adults, three children and two toppling trolleys I suddenly remembered – THE PLAYDOH! I started to run back before remembering the Cream of Tartar that I had bought once, a long time ago, when I thought it might be fun to actually make play dough, and was now residing in the back top corner of the pantry. Stuff it, I thought – there’s no way I’m heading back into that melee and promised to dig out the ingredients when I got home. Of course I didn’t. But then recently I found this beautiful looking play dough recipe on LMNOP and was inspired to make it. Just to make sure that I really, truly did it this time I told the children that I was going to, that’s a surefire way to guarantee action as they nag me until the playdoh (or whatever else it is) eventuates.

So, results?
First batch was a failure, partly due to the kids helping and talking throughout the entire process, but it’s not their fault I can’t always concentrate through the endless questions. I usually love them helping and go out of my way to ensure that we have a child friendly cooking environment with lots of measuring and pouring that they can do themselves, however with anything new, if it stuffs up my stress levels rise and I need to concentrate. So, like a good mother, I evicted the kids from the kitchen with the words ‘do you want play dough or don’t you?’ and set about the second batch. Of course this time I couldn’t be bothered with much salt and did not have quite enough cream of tartar left but I chucked in what i had and hoped for the best. This time I made sure it was really coming together before I took it off the stove – in fact it was pretty much a ball of dough inside the pot before I turned it out. Much better.

Other than that when I started to kneed it I discovered that it was beautiful! Not just the colours but the silky soft feel of it – it was so smooth and soft, nothing at all like bought Playdoh, in fact I loved kneeding it so much that I kept adding colour and started finding myself in a really relaxed zone that was only interrupted to bribe the children to clean up the loungroom if they wanted this gorgeous, soft, silky, lovely, handmade, homemade, play dough (I really didn’t want to give it up…can you tell?)

Unfortunately the bribery worked and they picked all the toys up (sigh!) so I had to share 😉 I am definitely going to make this again – and hope you do too. Improvements? Next time I will add a couple of drops of essential oils, maybe some lavender on a day when I’d like the little beings to be calm, and the kids will be able to get more involved next time now that i know what I’m doing…… best thing is, next time I’ll make sure that I pull up my own chair to the table and create with them.

Curl up and Dye

Sometimes things take a while to get over before you can talk about them. A bad break up is one. Getting fired is another. This time, for me, it was A Bad Hairdressing Experience. This happened a few months ago but I have been too traumatised to talk about it, luckily the Not Drowning Mother has given me the courage to purge and move forward, so in solidarity of her skunk stripe I offer this…..

Most people I know have had a bad experience at the Hairdresser at some stage or other. I have too, although none particularly devastating, no one has yet burnt it off with peroxide of shaved a massive undercut unevenly etc. But a couple of ordinary cuts led me to that age old advice of ‘find a photo and take it with you’. Everyone knows about my complete obsession with Mad Men, and I was going to a cocktail party and as inspiration had this….

Now, I know I’m not Christina Hendricks BUT my hair is red, and I know it can do this style as I’ve had it before. So I didn’t think it was too much of a stretch…. little did I know.

I had been starving myself for 2 weeks to fit into a vintage Oscar de la Renta back cocktail dress, (stupid size 8 that i thought was a 10, thank god women were curvier back then!). The day of the party I took my photo to the (much trendier than I am) recommended hairdresser and sat down with anticipation, my hairdresser greeted me, glanced at my photo and told me – ‘I don’t DO pictures, they often use photoshop and don’t give an acurate representation of the cut or colour’…… oooooo kay……. yes I should have spoken up, I have told dozens of mothers to reconsider a birth care provider whose ideals conflict with their own even if it’s intimidating. But no, I sat in that seat and said…. NOTHING! *blush*. I hurriedly secreted the offending photo under the convenient cape and went bright red, feeling like I had offended his creative ideals. I asked for the red just to be brightened, left natural looking and semipermanent so that it would wash out, he pulled out swatches and told me the colour would be ‘across between this and this, but I don’t have a finished sample to show you’. Again should have been scared but after the massive picture showing mistake I wandered, blindly trusting, off to the basins….

When it was done – even while still wet, I was speechless. Was that supposed to be a side swept fringe? it was too long, it was DARK – not even red I wouldn’t have said. THEN he started to scrunch dry it with a diffuser. Now if you have curly hair you may (like me) feel that scrunch drying your hair leaves you looking like Irene Cara during the height of Flashdance’s popularity. I was so upset I blurted out ‘just leave it’ before he could do any more damage, paid and bolted from the hairdressers as I could feel hot tears welling….

When I got home and rationalised, I called and made an appointment to have it fixed back at the salon, but I still had to brave the party. I threw the hair up in a clip, straightened the fringe, although it wouldn’t sit right, and tried to forget about it. At the party three people that I hadn’t seen for years mentioned that I used to have red hair – hmmmm….. (In hindsight I can admit that it doesn’t look so bad to me now – and yes, I recognise this massive over-reaction was probably caused by lack of food!).

Being darker had the added bonus of making me look a lot older, useful tip if you’re 16 and trying to get into the local pub. Every time I went past a mirror I did a double take! Luckily each of my friends told me how lovely the colour was. See why they’re my friends? – Sometimes supportive lying is essential! I went back and they tried to lighten it but it didn’t make much difference. As I left I was told by the owner of the salon that the stylist hadn’t done anything wrong, my hair just obviously takes dark colours well and they’d make a note on my card. Now I have blamed my hair for a lot of things over the years but this was the first time a hairdresser had! I washed over and over with anti-dandruff shampoo but it’s only just now starting to resemble the natural colour again. Of course by now I need another cut and colour but suffice to say will be trying a new hairdresser when I get up the nerve, although I can’t see myself taking in a photo to a hairdresser ever again!

Any advice on how to brave the hair salon experience, or a recommendation for a Brissy Salon highly valued!!

**Note: I was in love with my hairdresser in Sydney: Daniel Mostyn in Newtown – GO THERE!
**Other note: The above salon was in Bulimba, Brisbane

Loving the Bling!

Today was entirely about washing and shopping but everyone else made up for my lack of creativity. I pulled out a bead kit for the kids, and they both really enjoyed making necklaces for The Daddy and I. What I loved is the way they chose to make their necklaces individual, Tilly was minimalist and very much about the design, this is partly because she has a short attention span but she loves fashion and I’m surprised at the order in her creations they were quite thought out. Miles’ jewelry on the other hand was all about volume – he got as much bang for his buck out of each string making sure they were the biggest and best he could make.
In each of the photos below Tilly’s is on the left and Miles’ are on the right.

Now what I’m wondering is if the creations are Boy/Girl traditional or if it’s just a manifestation of their personalities? Any ideas?

On another note The Daddy shortened a chain on the Bianchi and Miles was the recipient of a new bracelet which he adores. Replacing a whole chain next week so who knows what could come from that, AND The Daddy is clearly getting into the re-purposing spirit – love it!!

Note to self….

Holiday now over, enjoy remembering….
sun, palm trees, hermit crabs, frogs, blue starfish, kayaks, warm water, coconuts, shells, sand, ice cream, broken toes, brown bodies, white bottys, sewing, creating, reading, cycling, viewing, enjoying, laughing, wrestling, tickling, too much food!, fun parks, ferris wheels, dagwood dogs, monster trucks, fireworks, mess, chaos, drawing, dirty clothes, dressing up, singing, friends, sleep-overs, timelessness, relaxation, fun!

Now to look forward to this week:
Order, cleaning, shopping, cooking, ironing, lists, negotiation, mediation, disarmament, managing, feeding, hurrying, squeezing in hugs and kisses on the fly…. teaching and inspiring (hopefully) ….sewing and blogging (please!)

But I will try to breathe. And I will try to remember what it feels like right now. To be this lucky.

And when I’ve found a school for Miles, ferried to dance classes, swimming classes, juggled family wrangling, event managing the giant kids birthday party and found time for family and friends (even if it’s just a phone call) I will know that things are once again some kind of normal….. x