Friday 29 November 2013

You want a piece of me?!

It's nice to be needed, but these days it's getting a bit out of control. Before I've even opened my eyes it's go-time, and often it's still going long after I've put myself to bed. Seems like everyone and everything wants a piece of me, and sometimes there's just not enough to go around.

This is what I'm talking about...

The cat wants his biscuits. It's 5am, go away. And again at 6am. Ok, I give in. Lunch? No, you don't eat lunch. Dinner at 4pm? Ok, I give in. Second dinner at 8pm? Dreaming. Let me in, let me out - all, day, long. Let me sit on your lap. Meow.

It's 6am, Mr 1 wants his milk and out of his cot - stat.  He wants that toy. He wants the cat. His wants his drink. He wants my hand cream. He wants out of the bath. He wants to flick the light switch. He wants. He wants. He wants...a cuddle.

Mr 3 DEMANDS his Sultana Bran and everything else under the sun. Now. And I'm the only one that can give it or get it (unless my husband is accidentally in the firing line). 

Charities want my support. My family wants a chat. The insurance and telco companies want my business - I'm already with them!

Clients want some work done immediately or to lock in a bunch of meetings. Friends want to know about dinner plans. A beauty salon wants me to fill out a survey. Someone wants me to like their Facebook page (who would do that?).
The microwave wants me to get the milk and food out faster. The washing machine and dishwasher won't shut up about the great clean job they've just done. The car wants me to buckle up the non-existent passenger in the front seat, who is in fact my ginormous heavy handbag. The fridge wants me to shut the darn door.  

The door knockers want me to buy something or donate. I don't care what you're peddling, even if it's for a good cause, because I'm 5 minutes away from a meltdown.

My husband is looking for action.

The alternative to being needed, wanted, relied upon, cuddled and kissed is something I don't want to experience. But some days it would be nice to have a bit of a break. Just a little one.

Ever feel like you're being pulled in a million directions?

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Why I'm hiding my pink bits

"Excuse me, do these effectively hide my thunder?"

Yep that's right, today I'm talking about my vagina. And my boobs. And my bum. Basically they're my pink bits and I've decided to get a tad selective about who gets to see them.

It dawned on me recently that in addition to my kids (who have no bathroom boundaries), and my husband (who of course has front row tickets anytime he wants), there are a bunch of strangers who regularly get to see my privates. There's my GP, the chick who does my laser hair removal, massage therapists (bum only) and the spray tan lady to name a few - and that's nothing compared to when you're pregnant, giving birth or breastfeeding (that's a flesh free-for-all).

So when it's time to get changed after my son's swimming lessons, I'm the idiot hiding under a towel awkwardly dressing and trying not to flash anyone. Because I just don't fancy letting it all hang out yet again in front of some more strangers.

Hairy backs aren't the only thing down at the pool - tits and fannies are in abundance in the changerooms. Usually it's the European and South American mums standing next to me in the buff showing off their muff (which I try not to look at as they chat away with not a care in the world). I know these are mums with their children, and no one is deliberately eyeing up other women (I hope!), but count me out please. 

It's not like I'm a Never Nude - and I'm certainly no prude. I went to an all girls school and grew up in a house of frequent nudity (I'm one of three girls), so have never been shy with getting changed around other females. But now I'm getting older I've decided to limit the amount of front row viewings.

I'll be the first to admit my bits don't look as good as they used to, but I think it might have more to do with the fact that I'm a mother now and mums aren't supposed to get their bits out...right? What with medical and beauty appointments, it's more than one woman can handle. So yeah, keeping the towel on thanks!

Are you a Never Nude or do you let it all hang out?

Photo credit: Arrested Development Wiki

Friday 22 November 2013

Nursery rhymes or nightmares?

We told you not to sit on the wall man!

Like many other present day parents, it wasn't until I had children that I realised how f#cked up nursery rhymes are. Sure, you get the odd Mary with her woolly pal, but for every cute lamb song there's five other horror stories you're stupidly singing away to your child's innocent face on a daily basis.

Don't believe me? Try these on for size:

Three vision impaired mice get their tails hacked off
An egg man falls off a wall and smashes to pieces
Two kids pretty much break their necks trying to get a drink of water
A bridge falls apart

...the list goes on.

The worst one for me though is the old man sleeping while it rains who hits his head and never wakes up again - so he's dead basically. Oh, and the baby in the cradle who falls out of the tree. Lovely. Now go to sleep little one..

It's a natural instinct as a parent to trot out the songs and rhymes you were exposed to as a child. They're deeply embedded in your subconscious and it feels normal to repeat them to your own children - that is, until you realise how scary the words are.

Some disturb me so much I've started to add extra lines after the song's finished. In our house the old man can't get up in the morning but he's fine by lunchtime. Everybody's happy. I know there's a time and place for children to understand death, but a cheery throwaway ditty is not the way to go about it. And do we really want our kids terrified to go to sleep when it rains?

Of course all of these old nursery rhymes have historic meanings which are usually nowhere near as frightening as they sound in this modern age - except perhaps Ring-a-ring o'Rosies which was about the Bubonic Plague (fact: original lyrics for 'a-tishoo a-tishoo' were 'ashes ashes' which symbolised the cremation of all the dead bodies, nice). Ironically this song is one that has actually improved over time and now sounds pretty innocent.

However Humpty Dumpty, for example, was apparently a cannon during the English Civil War in the 1600s, which couldn't be put back together when it fell because it was simply too heavy. So not an egg man after all (if you're looking for one try The Beatles).

The problem is though, it doesn't really matter what the origins are of some of these nursery rhymes, most of them just sound downright horrible, and with subject matter you would never consciously dream of singing to your child.

So what's a mum to do? Well, I could just try and not sing the bad tunes anymore, but it's so hard not to! The words fly out of your mouth before you even realise what's going on. So I guess the answer is I've got to keep adding my own lines. I also sing lots of my own made-up stuff too which is great for getting the kids involved (thankfully I've cut down on my Queen act), but sometimes it just doesn't captivate the audience as much as an egg man does.

And I'm not even going to go there with fairytales. 

Which nursery rhymes give you nightmares?

photo credit: elMuscho via photopin cc

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's bullsh#t!

Liza wished the photographer would hurry up so she could blink.
 BUSTED! Finally, some news I was most pleased to read about last week - mascara brands are now getting their arses kicked for false advertising. That's 1,000 lashes for you Maybelline and Cover Girl! Their ads which use eyelash inserts and photo trickery to sell the promise of lashes the size of giant huntsman spiders just aren't cutting it anymore with the ad watchdogs. About bloody time.

Sure we all know most advertising stretches the truth and often outright lies (thanks to the likes of photoshop), but I've personally been baffled by mascara ads for years now. Not only do they lie by showing you a picture of some hot chick with eyelashes that clearly aren't produced by using their product, but at the bottom of the ad in small print they actually tell you this as well saying things like "lash dramatisation" or "lash enhancements used" - so yes, they openly admit in plain sight they're blowing smoke up your behind.

I've been amazed they've gotten away with it for so long. It's downright ridiculous and completely unnecessary. How dumb do they think women and drag queens are?!

I'm not going to lie, I love mascara. It's my number one make-up tool in a very, very empty bag of slap tricks. I hate buying, putting on and taking off make-up so most days go natural - except for the old mascara. So yes I buy it fairly often, and usually the big brands, but definitely not because of their wacky ads promising insane miracle eyelashes. I know they be lyin' crazies, but I like what the product does for my peepers. So there's really no need for them to go nuts on the fake ads.

Why lie like a child and go overboard on the performance promise? Women know what mascara does and if they want to look like Liza Minnelli, then it's time to get out the falsies (something I've never been bothered to do myself, but hey some people dig them).

We all know that women in push-up bra ads for small busted ladies actually have large racks in real life (or photoshop has done it for them), but mascara ads have taken crazy to coco loco levels. Would you advertise a house with three extra bedrooms and a pool when it doesn't actually have them, or a new car with bonus features including the ability to fly? Nope - not even if you put a truth disclaimer down the bottom.

So time to cut the crazy mascara brands - off with those lashes!

Do any other fake ads annoy the hell out of you? Share in the comments

photo credit: johnmuk via photopin cc 

Friday 15 November 2013

How do you like these taters?!

Yeah that's some roastie toastie spuds right there - and I grew them in my garden, yew!

I've always loved gardening, but living in a small apartment for more than a decade has meant the opportunity to get my green thumb out has been pretty limited over the years. So when my family and I moved into our first house 18 months ago I was super keen to get stuck into the backyard, with the major goal being to create an awesome edible garden (or at least grow even a few fruit and veg of my own).

Sadly the garden was neglected for about a year - I gave birth to our second son the day after we moved - but we got some landscapers in several months ago who gave it a nice facelift; planted a few citrus and avocado trees; and set up the area for my veggie patch.

I researched what to grow and how; went and bought seeds and seedlings; and planted away with high hopes, dreaming of all the delicious organic food I was going to manifest. My eldest son and I watched with excitement as the first shoots began to sprout and seedlings flourished. I tried to keep the weeds at bay and stop our cat from doing his business in the soil with sticks. I was pumped.

And then the possums came. Or rabbits. Or both - who really knows. One day I had an awesome crop of lettuce and a good looking lime tree, the next both are chewed to stubs and sticks. Damn furry bastards. I used some natural Poss-off spray for a bit but it didn't deter them. And then the weeds starting getting crazy, and I didn't know if things were getting too much or too little water, and the wind was knocking everything about like a demolition zone. I was also too busy to look after my beautiful garden (and the kids kept trying to dig everything up).

Sigh. It seemed as though the only thing growing was my deflation. I was devastated and wished I had more time to spend working in my garden. Was my green thumb broken?

So I gave up, more or less. And that's when some magic started happening.

The spuds were ready to be dug up - hellllo tasty taters. Delicious and they also brought one of my son's favourite books to life for him - The Potato People. Exciting times.

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

And then the rocket and chives went wild - sexy salads all round. That was about it for a while though until I chucked in a few zucchini plants my mum gave me and they went nuts almost overnight. Enter stage left: homegrown green bad boys - delicious. When we got back from our holiday last week some had actually turned into mutant giant zucchinis - I almost headed off to the county fair to win me some prize. 

One of the many mutant zucchinis and a smaller one sliced up and lightly fried in butter, yum

The colossal zucchinis don't seem to have much flavour though so I blitzed them with a few potatoes and homegrown silverbeet to make a delicious soup. Yep that's right - some of my silverbeet which had struggled big time due to munchy mammals finally broke through into adulthood and is now thriving like no one's business. Awesome.
A few leaves from the die hard silverbeet forest and a bowl of tasty zucchini, silverbeet & potato soup
So there you have it - my edible garden babies. I'm so proud.

Sure the avocado and lime trees have no leaves and are about to cark it; the parsley and rosemary are still chewed to stalks; and the snowpeas and garlic died - but I managed to successfully grow a bunch of other stuff (some of the lettuces also made it!), and there's still hope for the lemon, mandarin and passionfruit.

Growing your own fruit and veggies is so awesome - they're free of chemicals, they taste amazing, it's fun and really satisfying, and the kids can get involved and learn. Sure I haven't yet achieved the incredible edible garden I fantasised about, but not a bad effort considering the bunch of pests and little time and attention I gave it. 

It's amazing what you can grow without trying - imagine if I really got my Burke on?

Do you grow your own stuff? Feel free to share any lazy gardener tips with me

Tuesday 12 November 2013

There's no place like home

The family and I just returned from our 'Bali take 2' trip which was so much better than our first attempt. This time we rewired our attitudes and expectations, and brought my sister along for the ride. The result? A lovely holiday. I'm not going to say it was perfect though, because who can really have a perfect holiday with two toddlers? Plus I did get sick for one day (thanks to my youngest having the runs when he got in the pool every, single, time), and the plane rides were pure hell. But aside from this it was mostly relaxing, fun and very enjoyable.

As is the case with almost every trip or holiday I've ever had though (and I've travelled a lot), the best part was actually coming home. We were only away 10 days yet I returned feeling refreshed, inspired, motivated and excited.

I often complain about the mundane day-to-day goings-on in my household (especially things like wiping highchairs, grocery shopping and washing), but there's something about leaving it all (even for a brief time) to make you really appreciate your home and life when you get back.

For starters, I'll never take clean tap water you can brush your teeth with for granted ever again. Not having to cart around hand sanitiser everywhere and the general reduction in germs is also a massive plus - before I used to get stressed over my kids picking stuff up off the street or touching things like bins, but they can lick the floors and walls of all the cafes in Sydney for all I care now. 

The boys were even more excited than my husband and I to walk through our front door. They ran around like lunatics grabbing our cat, playing with their toys as if they'd never seen them before and laughing for no reason other than the wonderful familiarity of it all.

I'm sure they don't miss their daily Bali sweat moustaches which were so substantial they could have warranted Movember sponsorship, and my eldest definitely doesn't miss the mosquitoes which ravaged his face so badly and caused an allergic reaction of hives (plus an increase in blood pressure for my husband and I who were worried about the risk of dengue fever and malaria).

So-called boring meals like baked beans and toast, and even broccoli, have a renewed attraction for the children, because after all, there's only so many french fries and nuggets you can have before getting fed up.

And whilst we're not millionaires, seeing how little some families in Bali have to live on and what small luxuries they have, has made me feel extremely rich and blessed.

So all in all, a great holiday and a spectacular return home. 

What's your favourite part about going away?

photo credit: KatherineKenny via photopin cc

Friday 8 November 2013

Bin night - get it right!

Next week, 11-17 November, is National Recycling Week, which means it’s a good time for everyone to pull up those green socks and help the planet just a teeny bit more. And what better place to start than with something we’re all already doing? I’m talking about good old ‘bin night’ (or should I say, ‘bin morning’, if you’re like me and run out into the street at the crack of dawn in your nightie minutes before the truck pulls up, clutching dirty nappies and flinging bottles into your neighbour’s recycling bin because yours is too full).

The blue and yellow kerbside recycling bins are a simple enough system to ensure a bunch of our household waste gets recycled, but surprisingly a lot of people are actually doing it wrong – either by accident or from intentional laziness – so a portion of what goes in those bins might not actually be getting recycled at all. I’ve always thought I was a pretty good recycler but recently discovered even I’ve been making a few mistakes along the way.

So to make sure you don’t do the same, I spoke with Janet Sparrow, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark, to get right to the bottom of our bins. Here are a few things she had to say:

Stop putting in plastic bags!
According to Janet, this is the biggest mistake people make. Worryingly, recent research undertaken for National Recycling Week found that one in four Australians (28%) incorrectly believe plastic bags can be placed in kerbside recycling bins, when they’re actually the number one contaminant for recycling centres (they jam the machines). If you want to recycle plastic bags and packaging (such as biscuit trays, frozen food bags and clean glad wrap), head to your nearest participating Coles instead – they accept all kinds of soft plastics which they then turn into school playground equipment.

Keep other non-recyclable items out
Other items commonly found in recycling bins that shouldn’t be there (and subsequently make it harder to sort and recover desired materials, limit the uses for recovered items, and cause problems with the machinery), include: old or broken drinking glasses and ceramics, batteries, nappies and polystyrene foam. A broken ceramic mug or just five grams of ovenproof glass can stop a whole tonne of otherwise recyclable glass being used to make new bottles. Ceramics, mirrors, window, white and broken glass, nappies and polystyrene should all go in the garbage; and batteries can be taken to ALDI or Battery World for recycling.

Check what your council does and doesn’t accept
Whilst some recycling bin rules are across the board, materials accepted can often vary from council to council, depending on what contract is in place with the designated waste company. So for the exact lowdown for your area, either contact your council directly or head to Recycling Near You and check under ‘kerbside recycling collection’ for your suburb or council area.

Recycling is essential to the future of our planet – the energy and resources saved when producing goods from recycled materials alone is massive, on top of the fact you stop contributing to ever-growing landfill and carbon emissions. So here are a few other useful tips on how to use your recycling bins properly: 


  • Take all the lids off your bottles (to ensure there’s no liquid left or trapped air)
  • Give all your containers and bottles a quick rinse so they’re not full of food or drink remains (they don’t have to be spotless, but it makes it much nicer and easier for the sorters and detracts vermin)
  • Take care not to deliberately smash bottles when placing them in your recycling bin
  • Crush cans and flatten paper boxes where you can
  • Let other residents know not to put wrong items in the recycling bins via signage (if you’re in an apartment building)


  • Put recyclable items such as bottles or paper inside plastic bags – they will be completely discarded because of the contaminant outer plastic bag (same goes for items like beer bottles inside paper cartons – don’t mix the recyclable materials!)
  • Put loose bottle tops in your recycling (unless your council accepts them) – anything smaller than a business card is usually too small to be sorted and gets thrown into garbage. To recycle tops, place them inside a container of the same material instead (e.g. metal beer cap inside an empty can of baked beans, or aluminium wine bottle lid inside a coke can), and squeeze it shut so the same materials get blended together in the recycling process.
  • Bother taking out staples from paper or cardboard, or ripping out plastic windows from envelopes – they’re fine to leave as is (same goes for tape stuck to boxes, and paper labels on bottles and cans)
There are so many more ways to become a better recycler – using and buying less; re-purposing or reusing items; donating goods; setting up composts or worm farms for fruit and veggie scraps; buying recycled goods yourself; and utilising fabulous places such as Reverse Garbage who accept all kinds of junk for creative reuse – to name just a few. However, if your kerbside recycling bins are the only bit of recycling you can manage to do, at least make sure you’re doing it properly!

Are you doing bin night right? Feel free to share any of your recycling tips!

photo credit: mugley via photopin cc

Friday 1 November 2013

Sometimes you've just gotta sit in a bucket

That's my son. Sitting in a bucket, just watching the world happen in front of his 3 year-old eyes.

I've written before about seeing things from the perspective of my children and how we should all tune in to living in the present a bit more, but recently I saw something amazing which also made me realise sometimes it's just about looking up and opening our eyes.

Last week a guy in a motorised wheelchair cruised past me on the street holding a mattress in one arm. Yep that's right - a flippin' mattress. And it wasn't a child mattress either, easily a king single. I couldn't even see his face it was so big. Seriously awesome.

I'm so glad I saw this. If I'd had my head buried in my phone checking Facebook instead of looking around at just the right moment, I would have easily missed it. For him, he was probably just getting his bed from A to B, but to me it was truly remarkable. And it made me think of two things - 1) there are so many brilliant things that happen around us ALL the time, and 2) most of these are passing me by and I don't even know it.

I read this article the other day about grasping simple joys which further cemented these thoughts of mine. Of course I know we can't witness everything that goes on, but tonnes of amazing stuff is right in front of our faces at every moment - if we just open our eyes and ears. 

I know the drill though - life is busy and you're so focused on your own problems (which usually aren't important at all), that you never take the time to look around and just observe. But we really need to. Imagine what we're missing out on!

Social media is fantastic for spreading the word about interesting stories, worthy causes and more; but which would you prefer: having your head stuck in a computer or mobile device reading about awesome stuff, or using your own eyes to experience life in all it's beautiful glory first-hand?

Sometimes I think we all just need to sit in a bucket.

Had any great bucket moments of your own lately?