Thursday, November 25, 2010


Hi all - yes it has been forever since I wrote you but all hell seems to be breaking loose. Hubs got made redundant, we're contemplating an interstate move and life in general have conspired to make me rather stressed so something had to give. For a prettier and more succinct explanation, please check out my friend Adi's latest blogpost here.

Not to worry, I will regroup and return with more to say I'm sure.

til then x

Sunday, October 31, 2010

the fate of the fete

We had the annual fundraising fete for our co-op childcare centres last week. And contrary to popular belief, I found that fetes can be fun!

I joined the co-op fundraising committee this year as a way to volunteer for something that would also benefit my kids as well as our community. Look I don't really know why, it's not like I have heaps of time and energy to spare, but you know the feeling you get when you realise that all you're doing is take take taking? So I had that feeling and on a whim joined the committee (it may also have had something to do with the polite letter the committee sent to the parents calling us all slackarses cause no one would volunteer - in the nicest possible way of course).

I have to say it has been really enjoyable. I get the warm mushy feeling that I am giving something back, I have plenty of skills to contribute and the result of the fete (our major fundraising activity for the year) was that it was a resounding success so I even get to feel good that I was a part of it all. I contributed my graphic design skills by designing the poster and had a hand in one of the stalls this year which made quite a bit of dough. Hubs even had a stall drawing caricatures which the kids loved so even he came away with warm fuzzies.

The long-winded point I am trying to get to though is that our fete was not only a success, it was actually fun. Most fetes seem to have the usual stalls and once you have done a round you're out of there. Ours had a bar (a major part of the success methinks), live music and we hold it in a park so the kids have the choice of free play equipment or the animal nursery/jumping castle/train ride option as well.

It was good to see friends of ours turn up at the start and stay til after it ended, great to see you there guys! Surely a sign of non-lameness that makes me feel I've been part of something good! And I guess fetes are for kids but I think I'd have enjoyed ours without the kiddies too - I may even have been able to sit and drink the one glass of vino I had in one sitting rather than in 4 separate sessions between running after the overstimulated 3 year old.

Fetes don't have to be lame people! They can be fun, they might even be cool... It is possible to raise money and have a good time doing it...who'd have thought?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Parent Room Roll Call #3 - Highpoint

Yeah I know, we've all heard the Knifepoint jokes, but I have to say this shopping mecca can be a bit of a haven for new mums. After having Lucas, Highpoint was my first expedition into a public place with a baby. Mums will know what I'm saying here - this is a major deal. I know it's not what everyone is thinking, but the whole time all you are wondering is what people think of how you are handling the whole baby thing, and whether you are royally stuffing it up or not.

So it was here I came to become part of society again (it was the most crowded, warm and closest place I could think of). First port of call was the below Parents Room for a feed.

Parent's Room - Highpoint
Now it looks pretty plush, and is well equipped. There are 2 booths for breastfeeding, 3 change tables (including one in a breastfeeding booth), a microwave and a large sofa with enough room in the space to manoeuver several prams around in. The family loo is big enough for a pram as well and has both the kid and adult sized toilet.

Feeding booths
Alas on the day I used it, both booths were being used so I had to try and feed on the sofa. Now Lucas and I did not have a great time breastfeeding so I was pretty nervous about being on show but was doing OK. Then another mum came in and sat next to me to feed as well, her bub was 3 months old and an old hand at the whole feeding gig so I tried to look as though I knew what I was doing.

Sofa beside the parent highway
We then had a parade of parents using the facilities and unfortunately the placement of the sofa means everyone does a drive by in the pram (and an ogle) before finding what they need, fine if you're cool with the whole baby thing, complete nightmare if you are struggling, so I guess this would be the only drawback to this space, otherwise quite a good room.

I understand this room (near Border's on the lower floor) is the newest one at the centre, and after a quick peek in the other parent rooms (there are many) I reckon it is probably the best one. The others are a bit poky and only one other I saw had booths. Most had family loos and the one we used had a kid's loo as well (near Big W). I did not get to all the rooms so if you have any other tips, feel free to share!

All up, Highpoint is a decent sized one-stop-shop for an outing with bubs, a good variety of places to go (although it's pretty big as a centre so running 3 year old is easily lost). Definitely try and go on a weekday as it can get pretty crowded on a weekend and prams are hard to get through the people traffic. Food court is a big circle again, but has too many exits to keep a roaming toddler's mum on her toes. Good variety of food on offer though so if you can keep the kid still with food - give it a go!

Monday, October 11, 2010

leave the kids at home

I am up in Sydney for the week after having flown up on my own with the two boys on the weekend. While I was pretty concerned with flying on my own with 2 kids, the flight itself was fine and the boys were well behaved, although I was hoping that a flight during nap time would mean a nap, not squirming on my lap, but at least he was quiet.

So it was a coincidence that this week Fairfax Newpapers ran an opinion piece on screaming kids on planes. In the article, the author, Erice Challis, explains that things would be much easier for everyone if airport facilities included more family friendly areas (play spaces, parents rooms etc) so kids could get their energy out without the need to run around in waiting areas and send other passengers batty, while giving the added benefit of tiring them out before boarding the plane.

Aaahh, the joys (Image
I agree with the idea, and that it would benefit all passengers, not just the families using the facilities. What did concern me were the comments after the article. They were 50/50 for and against the idea, but the negative ones! When did Australia become so intolerant of children? I understand people having a gripe about kids who are running amok while a parent sits oblivious with the earphones in, but surely to paint all kids as precious little brats who are sure to make 'my' plane trip uncomfortable is a little discriminatory.

It was not just this article either that drew the wrath of pissed off passengers everywhere, this article about a woman suing Qantas over a screaming kid (ridiculous) and also this article about a survey of travellers who suggest a family only area on planes, both had the same vicious comments basically expressing their hostility toward children and lazy parents who chose to have them. One comment laughingly explained that it was the parents who decided to inconvenience their lives by having kids so the rest of us should not have to put up with them as well! 'Hey babe, let's inconvenience ourselves by starting a family'? Seriously?

I spoke with my mate Cookie about this and she mentioned she did feel the same about other people's kids before she had them, and I would have to admit that before I had kids I to could get pretty grumpy about the screaming baby in my vicinity on a plane, but this is the question I am asking, when did Australia as a society decide that kids were an inconvenience, they should be seen and not heard and we'd all be happier if they were left at home?

Travel to some destinations (Italy, Japan from what I hear...) and the bambinos are a delight to all and sundry, I reckon you might be treated better and with more respect if you DO have kids with you, so when did all this kiddy hatred creep in on our 'tolerant' and 'fair go' society? Shouldn't that fair go be extended to kids as well?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

aaah... the Show

We did it. We took the boys to the (Royal Agricultural) Show last week, and someone please tell me why is it never as good as you remember??? Must be the gloss wearing off the shite you get in the showbags, and the fact I am not a teenager going on endless roundybouty make-me-sicky rides just to meet a few (bogan) boys... aaahhh the memories!

Lucas meets a duckling
The round up of the day is that I probably wouldn't take younger kiddies to the Show, it is a little much for them I reckon. The lure for us were the animals and the fact that the kiddies could get up close and personal with baby lambs/piglets/calves etc but they were not overly interested, much more into the people watching and general mayhem going on around them. One year old was content to hang in the pram and observe, 3 year old did not know if he was coming or going most of the day.

Calf No 68
Baby animals are amusing for so long before they are boring. The kiddie rides were still a little too daunting for him (although we probably could have convinced him the kid's (very slow) roller coaster would have been OK), so we ended up going on a clackety crap train ride (with extortionate fares). Twice. (Well, they had painted them up to look like Gordon and Henry the Express Engines, hence the insistence that these were THE only trains we were to go on. Not entirely sure they had approval from Thomas and Friends but there you go).

Look, it's "Gordon" and "Henry"
It was amusing at one point when Lucas had control over where we were headed to, he literally ran one way, then the other, then back again while yelling incoherent statements to anyone in earshot (lots of people). It was at this point I surmised we might be waiting a few years before venturing to the show again, the poor kid did not know what to do. Still he loved the ferris wheel, was stoked with his showbag (I have to say I was less than impressed with the loot) and we all got out relatively unscathed and with (some) money left in the bank.

Robbie takes in the view
From a design perspective, this was the first year I ventured through the Arts & Crafts pavillion to have a looksee. Saw some great stuff! Awesome cake decorators, quilters, amateur artists and fashion designers exhibiting their works. I'll have to allocate more time on our next visit as I was enamoured with it all, but hubs was entirely non-plussed. Next time I go in there on my own.

Highlight of the day for me? Spotting a drink holder on the back of a pram with baby's milk bottle and some snacks nestled beside a can of Southern Comfort - Class with a capital C.

But, as I walked away looking around at the general chaos, a can of Southern Comfort could just give a day at the Show that special edge, that certain something.

Next time, I go prepared.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

i heart ikea

It is no secret to people that know me that I absolutely looove Ikea. Being in the interior industry, you either have a love or hate relationship with this place, and mine is definitely LOVE! This may sound a little unhinged, but I could spend hours there, wandering about getting lost, finding cool new textiles and fantasising about all the amazing things I could make if only I had a sewing machine (and could actually sew), thinking up new and amazing ways to use their clever storage in my non-existent hallway, checking out their kitchen ranges (have you seen them? - they are really something) and just generally wishing I owned my own house so I could fill it up with Ikea goodness.

A disclaimer here. I used to shop here alot for my work, so I know the place back-to-front, plus all the shortcuts through the showroom and marketplace, and I ONLY ever go on a weekday. It is not much fun on the weekend at all.

Smaland image from Ikea
That being said, I did brave Ikea during the school holidays and low and behold, now that Lucas is 3 he is able to go to Smaland.... I now love Ikea even more if that is even possible! Smaland is a play area and care facility at the entrance to Ikea (in Victoria anyway), it has the obligatory ball pit but also has a chillout space, drawing table and indoor swinging tree things that looked like fun. Lucas was in heaven and did not want to leave. They take your kids for an hour and let you shop in peace - bliss! Although an hour in Ikea is never enough, it gave me long enough to get the bits I needed that day, and the good thing is there is a pick up point inside the store so you don't need to go outside to pick them up - handy!

Their design ethos is sound and super practical, they have the needs of a family and it's practicalities in place while everything is stylishly designed and oh-so Swedish. Their new parents range also covers everything you could need or want, without going OTT like some baby specialists do with the equipment you may 'need' for your new baby. And to top it all off, it's priced at wallet friendly rates which not only means you can fill your house with it all, you won't stress too much about having a garage sale when your kid decides they hate red and insist on their room having GREEN drawers ONLY!

So anyway, enough of my gushing about our Swedish designer friends, you know how much I love them, I am just happy they have made shopping there even better for me! Oh, that and the fact I can't go past their (very kid friendly) restaurant without getting my hands on a plate of their swedish meatballs. yum.
Swedish Meatballs from Ikea

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playcentre plays...

A and I took the boys to Kidzzone the other week so I thought I'd add to the community service parent rooms reviews and do one for playcentres too (some of them can be a bit dodgy, and yes I am willing to let my children into dodgy looking ballpits but only cause I love you).

Aaah the bacteria den that is the ballpit
The Kidzzone at Coburg has the usual setup, with a toddler friendly cordoned off area for kids under 4 (not sure if the fence is to keep the little kids in or the big ones out), larger climbing maze for bigger kids, a jumping castle and a couple of trampolines, with a few pay as you go rides and skilltesters thrown in for good measure. There are also private party booths you can hire as well as a large seating area with tables and chairs for parents - could also be good for mum's groups or family gatherings too.

Slide and ballpit in toddler play area at Kidzzone
The toddler space is roomy and has a mini climbing castle maze, ballpit and slide and soft, cushiony obstacle type shapes for littlies to climb about on. The only downside is the adult height gate, which I spent half the time opening and closing for a 3 year old, but small things. The big plus side is there is a sofa for mums who are over coaxing their kid out of the ballpit and are happy to sit and watch (or gaze into the middle distance as you zone out).

Climbing maze in toddler play area at Kidzzone
Lucas was super impressed with the larger climbing frame and jumping castle. Actually he and M were all over the shop, basically because they had the run of the place on a weekday so they were chuffed. You could lose kids in the climbing maze, it is so large (thank eff he didn't get stuck up there so no search and rescue operation was required, unlike our trip to Bunnings, but that's another story entirely).

Climbing Maze at Kidzzone
Awesome actual jumping Castle at Kidzzone
And I was impressed that the jumping castle is actually a castle and not some lame take on an underwater themed land or some such thing. The whole place has a medieval castley dragony theme to it, with the booths painted up with either a Knight, Dragon, Princess or Fairy theme, kinda tacky but kids love it (hubs would recoil at the artwork, but he is an illustrator so there you go).

Themed party booths at Kidzzone
The food is pretty good, sadly the kids menu is a little all party pies and hot chips, most kids love that stuff, but I may just have the fussiest of fussy eaters who does not even go for a hot chip, good in some ways, really annoying in others. Coffees are good and that's all you really need, self cater for your kiddies and all is OK - as long as they run themselves ragged and pass out when you get home - it's all good!

Going for it on the tramps!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

try not to

Hubs sent me this site yesterday, and I like it. It got me thinking, and I like things that get me thinking.

Basically, Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle, a couple of designers from Sydney, have put together a publication with some Don'ts in current design called "This year I will try not to", which are trends that are being repeated by a lot of designers out there, illustrating the point that designers should innovate and come up with something new.

Page from 'This year I will try not to' by Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle
I have to say I do agree with the amount of appropriation out there, and do we really need to see your funky loft apartment interior with the stylish vintage furnishings? I am sometimes tempted to post an image of my space - Gosh! an interior designer whose living 'space' is complete with 70s brown velour sofa and a corner overflowing with toys - tres chic. Tempted, but no.

But you know what? The thing is there are plenty (pl-en-ty) of people who DO want to see your funky apartment (albeit after it has been styled thanks), they WANT to know what you carry around in your uber-trendy brown leather satchel, and they WILL buy the tote bag with the logo on it. They want to see your apartment because it is probably cooler, neater and cleaner than theirs, and you carry cool gizmos in your bag, not receipts and bits of old gum wrapped in the paper it came in... or do you???

Page from 'This year I will try not to' by Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle
It's all part of the fantasy is it not? The same realm that mags and ads occupy - 'you too can look like me!' (which reminds me, this chick is hilarious). It's a bit of a fine line I think, mags like Frankie are great because there is no pretense, it's not about celebrity but accessibility, they have real stories with real people and yet they still have a fashion spread with designer clothes...

It's a wierd paradox, to be a designer. To give something to society that has not been done before, but to keep the avenues open. I hate the exclusivity that design can bring about, cause with that come stupid elitist games and other forms of bullshit. The problem being that to be paid properly, there needs to be a certain elitist quality about it, for if it is mass-produced, you won't get enough cash to keep designing, not alot of people can afford the starving artist gig with a family to feed.

Design is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made". This, I guess, is the point of "This year I will try not to", the fact that design involves conceiving the plan as well, not appropriating someone else's. 

But is anything new?? What is old is new again etc... that's a whole other blogpost/rant...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To market, to market...

Been awhile since my last posting - apologies but I got a private design job - yay! - with a tight deadline - boo! - all done and dusted so back to the meaty stuff...

Can you tell I like markets yet? My mate A clued me on on another goodie, the North Melbourne Market a couple of weeks ago and had to share some cool finds with you (thanks A!). The wonderful Thread Den peeps put it on and there is plenty of crafty goodness and vintage treasures to be discovered at the Lithuanian Club on Errol Street (quirky venue too). There are a couple more dates this year - check it out!

love rosie clarke

Sweet tea cosy - Love Rosie Clarke
I fell in love with Rosie's cute creations and have ordered some custom-coloured crochet bangles to be picked up at the October event (I will be there Rosie!). How sweet is the pineapple? Such a shame my blurry pic does it no justice. Rosie's website is in the works but in the meantime she will be at the next North Melbourne Market day!

Cool Pineapple! Crap photography!


These porcelain creations are just stunning, could not walk away without my own pretty porcelain bangle with the stunning red design you can just make out on the pendant in the pic- love! (I seem to be getting rather girly in my older years...)

Lavallier Pendant
All these items are handmade in Melbourne and can be purchased on their website, they are also developing some lovely homewares and candle holders which I'll be checking out at the next market fosho...

ena designs

I was bummed I did not have enough cash on me (was nearing the end of my sojourn) to get one of these sweater tops for the boys, how cool are they? It's OK though cause the fab thing is that ena designs are available at The Olive Grove, a shop that just happens to be at the end of my street ;)

ens designs funky clothes for kiddies
Not only they are the designs uber-cool, they are very feel-good products - sweat shop free, low impact, envro friendly and locally produced - what more could you ask for? You can grab ena design's wares at The Olive Grove or at the next market - yay!

Too cool for school
two layers of cells

These are some groovy lamps (yes lamps again, I know but I can't help it ;)

Lamps by two layers of cells

two layers of cells are a Melbourne company doing some fun stuff with lamps, I love the falling man design below...

The best thing about these lamps is you can get a 'Draw your Own' kit, great for kid's who are into decorating their rooms their way (and let's face it, I don't know a kid who wouldn't want to) great pressie for the budding artist and they are available online - score!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the old ways

Last night I made wontons for the first time after thinking about doing so for awhile, man they were good - and incredibly easy to make! (much easier than I thought they would be anyway).

mmm wontons but alas, not mine (so didn't think I'd be blogging about them!) Image: What Did You Eat?
So as I sat wrapping and folding (they are easy to make but like any good food, took time to prepare), I started thinking how this must be a lovely rite-of-passage or bonding experience for Asian mums and kids (well let's face it, most probably Asian mums and daughters) sitting together and learning the 'old ways' of preparing traditional dishes, and I did kind of wish I had a surrogate Asian mum or auntie to sit and learn this from (instead of Auntie YouTube).

This is such an important part of our childhood and adolescence, but of course we never realise this until we are adults as well. I remember sitting around the kitchen table with my mum, rolling dolmas (mine were always the fat ones), skewering meat for kebabs until our fingers were red from the capsicum paste or folding spinach and feta boeregs (you could just tell which (wonky) ones were mine), usually chatting about inane stuff but now I realise what special times these were. My mother probably had to beg me or threaten starvation if I didn't help, and at the time I probably saw it as a major chore but I do reminisce about these occasions fondly. I have retained most of the knowledge with regards to the dishes themselves but I have decided to get cooking lessons whenever I am with my mum (she lives interstate). Especially in Australia with such a multi-cultural population, if we don't get these recipes down now we might lose them, definitely if your mum puts her own 'secret' ingredients in.

I so far have got my favourites down - although they still never taste as good as mum makes - why is this so? I am following her instructions to the letter... But maybe this is the problem, she never uses measurements and weights - always does things by eye, so this may be something that comes with practice...hopefully. Still got many recipes to go but getting there.

One of my aunts was born in Calcutta and we always got to eat her amazing curries at the bring-a-plate family get-togethers we had so many of when we were younger. Some time ago, I decided I was not only going to learn the old ways from my own mum, but from others as well so I had wonderful thoughts of spending an afternoon with my Auntie J in her kitchen, grinding spices and learning to make traditional curry from an expert. I approached her about my idea and she said to use a jar as it was just as good and she had been doing so for years! I was devastated! All those spices! All those aromas!

Alas, it was not to be, but it has not put me off my mission. There are many foods that are certain aunt specialties (I am thinking of your mamool Auntie Z!) and I can envisiage many afternoons in kitchens soon. Plus I have a Punjabi mate who makes a mean curry so I might just have that sorted too.

Tabouli (Image: Down to Earth Recipes)
PS. Just realised there have been no recipes or tips in here after all my waffling on about the old ways. Here is one of the best tips I've been given, it's for making tabouli: rather than soak the bulghur in water, chop the tomatoes up first and mix in with bulghur, let sit and the grain soaks up all the tomatoey juicy goodness, and makes for soft tasty bulghur in your home-made tabouli! This tip was from my Auntie A - thank you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yo Gabba My Gabba

My name is Sandra and I like to DANCE!

This was the status update of one of my mates on FB recently (you made me laugh A!) and it got me giggling, but also got me thinking... is Yo Gabba Gabba not the coolest kid's show to come about since the Muppets??

DJ Lance Rock (Image LA Mag)
First, there is the ever groovy DJ Lance Rock. His dance antics in his luminous orange trakkies are a joy to watch alone, not to mention the orange furry hat and nerdy glasses - he is one cool cat.

Then there are his mates-in-a-boombox... Muno the lumpy cyclops ('he's tall and friendly'), Foofa the pink one with a flower on her head ('she's pink and happy'), Brobee the stripey green one with strangely long arms ('the little green one'), Toodee who looks a bit like a blue cat ('she likes to have fun') and Plex the retro yellow robot ('the magic robot'). They each have their own little realms in Gabbaland. The show is a mixture of animated and musical segments, with a central educational theme running through the whole thing (eg. Birthday, Space or Differences).

The Gabba Gang (Image CID Entertainment)
The show is different because it was devised by musician & writer parents as opposed to network executives. It was created by Christian Jacobs (from the band The Aquabats) and Scott Schultz after they themselves became parents in 1999 and were disappointed with the children's television programming at the time (so don't blame them, still disappointing for the most part, with a few bright spots here and there!).

The awesomeness comes through with the retro video game styling, the fact that kids are constantly told to get up and dance, how great music is, the bright colours and simple message for kids each time. Plus there's the Super Music Friends Show! Each episode usually features an indie band singing a fab song, like The Ting Tings singing 'Happy Birthday' or Hot Hot Heat with 'Time to go Outdoors', this is the segment I watch for!

Jack Black on Yo Gabba Gabba (Image via
Yo Gabba Gabba also have loads of friends come on and do a Dancey Dance, like Elijah Wood and Jack Black, or show us their Cool Trick, like Rhys Darby doing his robot moves. This and the music makes the show popular with kid's parents as well the kid's themselves, and apparently popular with teens due to the high calibre of musical acts they feature.

Plus they have cool merch, check out Lucas' funky Muno socks from my friend L...! Too cute.

Very cool Muno socks - thanks L!
And remember, "Listening and Dancing to Music is AWESOOOOMME!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sisters' Market day

Why have I not gone to one of these earlier??? Sisters' Market runs every 2 months from Brunswick Town Hall (also sometimes in St Kilda) and I finally got to one of them thanks to a tip-off from A - thanks A! Had seen them advertised periodically but never found out what they were - so glad I made it last Saturday!

The market consists of local designers and manufacturers selling their crafty goodness. Everything from retro lamps, funky jewellery to cool kids threads and yum aromatherapy candles. I only had an hour to get around this one (not to mention a strained wallet) which was a bummer - next time I come for a good long while and money to spend!

Some of my faves:

Retro Print Revival

Retro Print Revival's stall at Sisters' Market
Tamara Watts finds all those funky ceramic retro lamps everyone is coveting and pairs them up with these great original prints on her custom-made lampshades. How fab is this butterfly/bronze one? Wish I had a spot for it in my tiny house...

love love love!

zee&me's cute stall at Sisters' Market
Such cute prints on these tees for kids! And awesome designs for boys. So often I find all the best kid's clothes out there are for girls, boys get stuck with the 'Monster' ones so I was chuffed to see the gorgeous threads for boys by Rosemaree Russo and Melissa Serratore, local girls who have been doin what they do for a year now. And the feelgood factor is there too with all product sourced ethically and no cheap labour used. Bonus!

How cool is this Whale design for boys, too cute
Maxymoo Designs

Just loved these little canvases from Maxymoo, so perfect for little people's rooms, I could not buy any as I would have had to have them all and made an awesome collage on the wall of the boys' room. Actually, now I'm thinking...

Fab canvases from Maxymoo

Tracey Hanson has been hand-painting these little canvases for 5 years, and she also has two small boys (although they prob aren't so small now). As she explains on her site, because little people's worlds are already so busy, she wanted to design kid's art that goes back to the fundamentals, strong colour with bold graphics - and it works!

The Maxymoo stall, Sisters' Market
Wood hangings by Maxymoo

cherry stew

This one is mine!
I loved Madeleine Somers work, I so nearly bought this purple pic but just had no cashola (sorry Madeleine!) plus these are all very limited edition, she mentioned this was the last of the gorgeous purple linen she used - hope I can grab it at your next market! (hmm maybe I'll email you...)

cherry stew at Sisters' Market

Madeleine is a Melbourne girl who makes this fab clothing, quilts, cushions and accessories all with sweet prints and lsuh fabrics, I have a thing about bare trees so just love these designs - will definitely be back!

So sweet! Dress by cherry stew
So many more great stalls here, too many to mention and the fact that I had limited time meant a bit of rushing on my part - poo! But never fear, I shall return! (And just in time for xmas pressies people...)

PS the Bretzels were tasty too!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Toast and Miss Marmalade

Went to Miss Marmalade for brunch on Saturday - first time we have done brunch anywhere since the boys came along. And this was only made possible by the back room with play area at this fab little caf in Brunswick.
Funky lighting at Miss Marmalade
I know, I know, there are heaps of cafes with little play areas around, but often they are in the corner of a main part of the cafe, and the kiddies aren't really away from other diners here. There are plenty of mums who think their lively little sprogs should be tolerated by all and sundry, but people (including myself) go to cafes to have a leisurely meal, not be entertained by other people's kids no matter how unruly they are.

Comfy-but-cool interior of the front dining area
This is the nice thing about Miss Marmalade - the play area is in a whole other room, so kid-free peeps can still hang out the front in peace.

The boys in the play area in the rear room at Miss Marmalade - yay for space!
Quirky art in the back room
Coffee was great, breakfast was yum (I had the corn fritters and hubs had the big breakie of course - both very tasty meals) and the boys were pleased with their sourdough vegemite toast. Have been back a few times since and the coffee has been consistently good, kids area relatively free and staff friendly and super accommodating. Plus the park nearby is rather convenient for a run-about just to ensure little people are well and truly ready for a nap on their return home.

So it wasn't a long and leisurely brunch, but it was still out of the house on a Saturday morning and someone else cooking breakfast for us - spoilt!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the pros and cons of parenthood

Just read an article in the Sunday paper entitled 'Motherhood a piece of cake? You're kidding' by Jo Case, which was a response to a previous article in last week's Sunday paper, 'Is motherhood really that hard?' by Jacinta Tynan.

(A quick disclaimer, this post isn't technically about design, but it is about parenting and writing, which is a kind of design no?)

Robbie, my second, at 2 days old.
I have to say I agree more so with Jo Case about her experiences of motherhood than I do with Jacinta Tynan. For me it's the constant questioning, yes this is the most amazing experience for me, and for us as parents, to have a small person look at you in the way only a 3 year old could - you are like their own personal sun. How can I see this experience of motherhood or parenting as 'difficult' or 'hard' when I should be filled with joy or find it 'exhilarating and rewarding' as Tynan says.

You know what, I do find it exhilarating and rewarding, especially today writing this as I am after a birthday party for said 3 year old. And as much work and cooking as was involved, nothing could match the joy and rapture that was evident on his face when a roomful of people were singing him Happy Birthday. These are the moments that make it worth it ten-fold.

This is the point though, they are moments. When washing crap out of underpants or trying to make dinner with a 1 year old clinging to your leg and whinging for the food you are trying to make - please tell me which of those moments I should be relishing.

Or the difficulty trying to find a part-time job in my industry. To the point where I have decided to start my own business to ensure I work the hours I want and get to spend at least half the working week with my boys. OK so this is a decision I have made, but I feel I have no choice if I want to stay in the career I started, and put your hands up who reckons starting your own biz with 2 kids under 4 is a good idea? I don't see this leading to blissful rewards and endless exhilaration anytime soon. Eventually, maybe, but you have to have goals yeah?

The above articles both showcase very different experiences, and this is what needs to be remembered, we will all have our very own, unique experience of this parenting gig. Some people will take to it like a duck to water and never look back. Others will find each day as difficult as the last and wonder how they would get through it were it not for the loving embrace of their child.

It would be interesting to see another article by Jacinta Tynan in 6 months time. Or after she has another child if she is so inclined. I also remember how blissful a nine month old is, by himself. An excerpt: "I know our baby boy is only nine months old and isn't even crawling yet, let alone tearing through the house crashing pots on to the floor. I know I only have one child who is healthy and I, thankfully, escaped the cruel curse of postnatal depression, but still I can't see what all the fuss is about." Jacinta Tynan 'Is motherhood really that hard', Sunday Age, 2nd August 2010.

Nine month old. One child. 'Easy' baby. No post-natal depression. Already back at work after paid maternity leave*. Sounds pretty good to me, esp the no PND part. Too many people I know (myself included) have gone through enough feelings of despair after having children without having to be told that "hey it's really not all that bad is it?", way to make us feel better.

I found Jo Case's article more relate-able. And I will be checking out her reading list, namely "The Mask of Motherhood" by Susan Maushart and "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan, and from her descriptions, I should have read these some time ago. From Case's article: "Maushart explained motherhood can be painful and crazy-making, but that doesn't mean you don't love your child. This permission to mourn my loss of self was also my gateway to slowly regaining it." It's nice to know it's not just me.

Wow was this ever a ranty post. Feeling much better now! Got anything you want to get off your chest? Feel free...

* From Jo Case article

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wallpaper wonders for little tikes - Inke Heiland

How very awesome are these funky wallpaper animals? Many many thanks to my friend E for sending me this link - I love the elephant!

Wallpaper Elephant by Inke Heiland

They are by Dutch artist Inke Heiland and are available from her online shop. These have been around for some time now but I think they definitely deserve a post here - great way to decorate a kids room, and not a Wiggles poster to be seen! You could do a whole menagerie...
Wallpaper Giraffe by Inke Heiland
Wallpaper Monkey by Inke Heiland
Wallpaper Baby Elephant by Inke Heiland
The idea blossomed from a wildlife design Inke created for her own son's bedroom. In 2004 she exhibited a collection of animal wallpaper silhouettes, and after an enthusiatic response, Inke went on to create the Wallpaper Tree, which comes in different colourways, depending on the season - love it!
Wallpaper Tree in May 066 by Inke Heiland
Wallpaper Tree in October 007 by Inke Heiland  
PS. These are original vintage wallpapers! No two cut-outs are the same and the patterns are available in limited quantities.