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Flashdance - loving a day off... (photo credit to D.Wills)

Flashdance – loving a day off… (photo credit to D.Wills)

Can you remember what you did on your favourite school holidays?

My favourite holidays were the days spent with my sisters and brother running amok in the bush near our house, fishing for crayfish (yabbies), riding our bikes… off bridges,  building campfires, telling scary stories and scaring each other, and generally doing a lot of fun/naughty stuff together. Without my Mum and Dad, and without going away. On a really big day, we’d take lunch with us, and not come home until the sun was setting. Just.

This morning Flashdance, my groove-tastic 6 year old announced he really wanted to ‘just stay at home and have fun’.

That’s it, no request to go to the zoo, shops, out for lunch, just home, his sisters and his brother.

So we did. Apart from walking Charlie the Wonderdog, we have been hanging out at home, and I am pretty sure the kids have had a fab time.  Flashdance has already declared it the ‘best day ever’ (time is a fluid concept when you are 6 you know).

An unexpected benefit? Big A and I have also had a fab day. No rushing around, no fighting between the kids, no long drive to get somewhere as quick as possible… just us, relaxing at home.

Do you love a stay-cation?

Enjoy xx

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Sometimes we have to do scary stuff!  It's nice to have friends to help...

Sometimes we have to do scary stuff! It’s nice to have friends to help…

The past few weeks have been crazy busy, and a big part of the craziness has been two of my tribe starting at a new school.  Both Flashdance and Captain Jack have coped amazingly well, and we’ve watch with pride as they have made new friends, and settled into their new classes.

What I hadn’t anticipated was how nervous I would be. I had possibly chosen to forget how nervous I get when meeting new people.

I became the new kid, and each time I had a school event, drop off, birthday party, I would get butterflies in my stomach. 

What if I didn’t know anyone?

What if we had nothing in common?

What if I didn’t ‘click’ with anyone?

All of this came to a head when Big A and I were invited to the parents association ball.  Promising to be an amazing night, this black tie event had me quietly petrified. All the ‘what ifs’ came bubbling to the surface, and then some.  By the time the night rolled around, I was having second thoughts about even going.  Then I decided to knuckle down, and, well, basically get over myself.  After all, so far, everyone had been incredibly friendly, and a lovely new-found friend had invited us to join her table.  We couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.

So, the tall lad and I frocked up (well I frocked up, he chose the B&W route), and off we went. In short, we had a ball.  Brilliant fun, fab food, and spine tingling entertainment (the pipe band – beyond words amazing).  The best part?

The newly minted friends we made. 

At the end of the night, we both jumped into the cab declaring it to be one of the best nights out in a long while.

 I was quietly proud of myself for frocking up and getting on with it.  Next stop, the Mothers Auxiliary fashion parade…

Enjoy xx

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Leading a busy life?

Leading a busy life?

This morning on the way to work, my inner dialogue went something like this…

God, I am so tired. I really need a coffee (this is one of my first thoughts most days, along with I should really go to the gym, or bugger its bin day, I hope Big A has it covered).

I really hope I got the uniforms right today.  Did Flashdance have sport or Captain Jack? Did the Mini Fashionista have violin today? Has she been practising enough (probably not)!  Will need to remember to ask tonight. 

I should be helping Little L with her writing – she’s keen and interested, but we always seem to run out of time.  When did the rest of the tribe learn to write their name?  God my memory is shocking some days! Why did I give her such a long name, I should’ve called the little poppet Anna, or something equally short in nature.  

It’s career planning time for my team and for myself. I really should take the time to do some more thinking about both. What do I want to do next year or in five years time? Does anyone really know what they want to do in five years time?

Life of Pi was such a divine movie. I really should try to get a copy of the book for Captain Jack, who is a sensitive soul and would probably love the tale.  Is he mature enough to understand the themes? Do I understand the themes enough to explain them to him if he gets stuck?

What on earth am I going to do next year when all four kids are at school? Should I hire a nanny? Do they have nannies in Australia? God, what will people think if I get a nanny?

When on earth did this happen? What happened to my old (or should that be youthful) inner dialogue, the one that was always seeking out something new, adventurous, and happy to fly by the seat of your pants. 

Like the time I decided that Sydney would be a fab place to live (that harbour, the shopping, the beaches, so much to do), despite not knowing anyone, or having a job there, or even really knowing anything about the place (apart from the harbour, that there were beaches and some rumours about the shopping). So after about, oh, 30 seconds thought, I applied for a job, gave up my house, packed my car and off I went. And (luckily) I loved it!

Is this what growing up is?  Or have I matured?

Do you still wing it or are you growing up too?

Enjoy xx

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What the hell is the fiscal cliff? Why you should give a toss about polictics...

What the hell is the fiscal cliff? Why you should give a toss about politics…

Ahhh, ignorance is bliss!

Or so it seems for many when watching the daily, if not hourly, happenings in the heady world of politics.

‘Big deal!’ you think, as a bunch of stuffy pollies argue the toss about what to do with your superannuation.

‘So what?’ you ask, when a slightly different, though kind of the same looking group talk about the Gonski review and how it’s vital to change the way the government funds education. Maybe you don’t even have kids, so why should it bother you anyway?

When was the last time you watched Q&A?

Do you care what the hot topic is in Question Time?  Have you watched question time?

Though it frustrates the bejesus out of me, I make an effort, on a regular basis to watch/read/ observe and get involved in this stuff.


Because this is where society and policy happens. And we are the recipients of this policy.

That’s right, in a few years time when we are all whingeing about how our super was eroded, and why didn’t anyone do anything about it, it will come back to these discussion about policies.

So this is my challenge for you for the week ahead…

Get in the know about the politics and policies that could affect you.  Find out who your local political rep is, find what they stand for, what are their policies. Read the political columns in the paper tomorrow, and try to watch Q&A tonight on ABC. 

The beauty of living in a democratic country is that you can be part of making the decisions that govern our society. That’s pretty important, and whilst it may seem a little dull at times (Question Time has a lot in common with high school in my humble opinion), you should persevere.

In the end, it can be a whole lot more satisfying reading  about the latest drama for the Kardashians.

Enjoy xx

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Life is actually pretty grand! (the view looks good from here)

Life is actually pretty grand! (the view looks good from here)

Lately my contributions here have been a little on the scant side. Okay,  you could probably hear crickets chirping.

You may ask why?  Or you may not care, because you have your own stuff going down.

Nevertheless, I’ll fill you in…

My world has been batshit crazy.

My world normally skates along the razor-thin edge between batshit crazy and insanely busy, but this past month, we have been living in chaos. Chaos with a twist of bad luck, and a pinch of crap.

Reflecting back, it seems to be the result of a whole bunch of stuff going down, stuff I’m going to label First World Problems.

Drumroll please…

  • My tribe went back to school, which means there are now several separate timetables, and days where everyone has PE/ swimming/ dance/ library/ homework due/ home readers to read/ excursions/  violin lessons… at the same time, with different bits of kits to go with the activity.
  • Which leads me to the kit/uniforms. Love them. Hate the fact that the tribe wears four different uniforms on different days, with different shoes, and other different pieces of kit. Oh, and the fact they lose the kit on a semi-regular basis, and just when I buy a replacement, what do you know? The original surfaces!
  • I have been feeling guilty that I am not making a bigger effort to be more creative in the kitchen. In my defence, previous creative efforts are rewarded with a ‘what the heck is that’ or ‘yuk! I can’t like that’. Also when you arrive home at 6pm with four hungry kids, it’s hard to muster the creativity to boil water, let alone create a culinary sensation.
  • I am not getting to the gym enough.  I am a member of a gorgeous gym, and I love going, but between working, Mum duties, writing and sleeping, I am struggling to find the time. At all. Which makes me more grumpy.

Here’s the thing though that stops me in my tracks from morphing into a whiny whinger (well, apart from this little rant).

These are all First World Problems.  My family lives a comfortable home,  are getting three meals a day (or five for the boys), the tribe go to great schools with loads of resources and have a family network to support them.  I have a great education – which means I have a good job and medical health cover and can provide for my family. I get to write and be creative, which I love.

My family has access to medical aid, clean water, and get to go on camping trips and holidays.

There are millions, billions of people in our world who don’t. Kids who will never get an education, drink clean water or live in a comfortable home.

So really, in the grand scheme of things, we have it pretty good.

I have it pretty good.  And that is what stops me in my tracks and allows me to laugh at what truly are, First World Problems.
Do you have a First World Problem getting you down?

Enjoy xx

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Staying between the flags, the tribe checks out the surf

Are you having a fab life yet? This is (not) what we do daily…

Having a fabulous life?  Living your life to the max?

A lovely girlfriend commented to me yesterday that she felt she had been too honest, even brutal when she described her family holiday. Put simply, the family holiday had been a camping trip, where it was way too hot, the kids were a bit of a nightmare at times, and they had quite a lot of time hanging out at the beach doing nothing.  All in all, not bad.

She was feeling pretty good about this, until she spotted a friends update on Facebook, regaling the Facebook community of friends about how she’d taking her family looking at beautiful caves, fishing, for a fabulous alfresco lunch (which was prepared fresh with organic produce), and how her children were a delightful giggly bunch of well-behaved goodness.  In one day. In the same sweltering weather. 

She wondered how on earth anyone could possibly fit all of that in, and end up with a happy tribe at the end of the day?

Or was this perhaps an edited version of the day? A Facebook friendly account of what had taken place?

I’ve been guilty of ‘styling’ the odd photo or two.  Slightly rearranging a ‘spontaneous’ moment… Have you?

Burnt from an earlier experience of posting on Facebook years ago, that I was ‘shattered’ after a long day at work, whilst pregnant, and chasing after two toddlers, I am now a little more cautious. That day, when Facebook prompted me with ‘how do you feel’, I was brutally honest. I felt shattered, meaning tired, grumpy and, well, a wee bit exhausted. So, I said how I really felt.  Without delving back into it, let’s just say I copped a bit of flak.  About being too honest, that people may worry when they read my status, and it may be misinterpreted.

All good points.

However, I wonder, who are we kidding when we present a glowing, every day is a pleasure account of our lives? The lovely Mia Freedman wrote a fab column on the weekend about prefect parenting, and how not every moment is sheer pleasure.  I read her column whilst picking up two takeaway coffees savouring the ‘quiet time’ away from the tribe.

I vote for more honesty. While I am still firm advocate for seeing the upside in the everyday, I think a side-serve of honesty would help us all.

Enjoy xx

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P is for Picnic #amonthof

Happy Sunday!

I love Sundays, apart from the fact its the weekend (hooray for weekends), it’s also traditionally the day in sunny Perth that you grab a picnic and hit the beach, park, river and enjoy being outdoors.

I’ve always admired this about our adopted home, that people love nothing better on the weekend than to hit the beach or river.

A result of the State refusing to embrace Sunday trading for many years?


So this morning, when I was wondering what to do today, I spotted the little scene above in Little L’s room, and thought, brilliant idea, picnic by the river it is!

What are you up today?

Enjoy xx

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O is for Oliver! trying out a 15 minute meal tonight @ This Grand Life

I’ve always had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, from his first forays as a tv chef, to his crusade for healthy eating and to bringing cooking top notch food to the masses.

Then there’s his gorgeous wife, and gaggle of cute kids with kooky names.


So I am really excited by the lovely Mr Olivers latest offering.

It’s the 15 minute cookbook and cooking show.

Simple, and ready in only 15 minutes! Perfect!

Inspired by a talented foodie friend, who regularly regales me with tales of the delicious treats she has whipped up in the kitchen, I have decided I need to take to the kitchen to whip up a culinary creation of my own.

You know, rather than the stand fare. Not that there is anything wrong with potato bake, casseroles, and steak and salad (yes, yes, I know, very fancy).

I have been warned by my talented friend, who after two recipes from the book, scoffed ’15 minutes my a$#@ Jamie Oliver, more like 45!’

So tonight we are trying this recipe… I hope you aren’t leading me up the garden path lovely Jamie…

Wish me luck!

Enjoy xx

PS this is NOT a sponsored post, in fact if it does indeed take 45 minutes to cook this recipe, I reserve the right to re-gift my 15 minute book…

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N is for New Years Eve @ This Grand Life

I watched this movie on a plane, by myself, and just quietly LOVED it.

Why? Well because it’s all about one of my favourite nights, and it tells the different stories for different people for that one special night.

When I was younger, NYE was all about getting frocked up, heading out, and probably (make that definitely) seeing the new year in with one too many drinks…

Which brings me to now, four kids, lovely husband, but still a desire to drink champagne and reminisce about the year that was.

Sure there is very little frocking up nowadays (unless jeans and a ‘fancy’ shirt count), and there is no new fab venue, but there is home, and my little tribe and the lovely Big A to share the night with.

Do you love New Years Eve?

Enjoy xx

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K is for Kings Park @ This Grand Life

From the moment I committed to the #amonthof series (you can read more about it here), I knew that for the letter ‘K’, I would be doing Kings Park. It is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite places in Perth, and seems to be one of the central hubs around which my life arranges itself.

This is the first time I have raved about it, there’s here, and here and even here.

I love the natural indulgence of having several hectares of bush and parkland right near the CBD. I love that there is a natural playground, complete with billabong and a creek to build little dams. I love the parks many playgrounds are wild, imaginative and encourages our little tribe to be adventurous. It beats the pants off a patch of grass, or using the space as a subdivision!

Thank you Perth council/ government types for protecting and nurturing this not-so-small piece of native wonderland for all of us to explore.

Enjoy xx

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