Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy 2013! (1/365)

I'm not a fan of New Year's Eve. Something always seems to go wrong, sometimes catastrophically. I've had one New Year's Eve that I truly enjoyed from start to finish, in 2008, and included some of my favourite people in the world, having a murder mystery dinner at home. But it was the exception that proved the rule.

Having had a pretty challenging year (some of my friends say I can be the queen of understatement), I'm keen for the fresh start a flip of a new calendar seems to bring.  I mean, we've even moved across the world, to start a new life, just the two of us. This hasn't been without its own challenges, not least being the seemingly un-Australian level of bureaucracy I've encountered (but that's another story all together).

To kick start our New Year, I decided to cook a fry-up for breakfast. Fresh eggs from the Grandparentals neighbour, with decent Aussie bacon, polished off with a hunk of delicious watermelon. What I hadn't considered was our lack of cooking utensils. Most of our stuff is still en-route from the UK.

Have you ever tried to get a fried egg out of not a non-stick pan without a spatula?

I managed to get Pickle's out - his breakfast was perfect. My egg cracked as I was getting it out of the pan, but managed to make it to the plate still runny. So while it wasn't perfect, it was pretty darn close. If this is a metaphor for our year ahead, I'll be happy with it.

So on that note... Happy New Year!

I've realised that if I'd had the right tools, my breakfast would have been perfect too... so what do you consider to be the right tools for a happy life?

Cheers, KangaRue

PS. My Project 365 went kaput last year for obvious reasons, so I'm going to keep it pretty basic this year and see how I go - wish me luck?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fun & funky bibs (review & competition)

I had become disappointed with the bibs of a leading baby brand, that had stained with just a few uses, so had been looking to get Pickle some new, more durable, but still comfortable bibs.  Luckily, I stumbled upon Bibisili on Twitter.

Not only were these bibs functional with crumb-catchers, but the designs are just gorgeous.  On ordering my Pickle's first two, I discovered the silicone is also soft to the touch and he loves to wear them.  He delights in the comments he gets when wearing them, and his friends have even asked to borrow them!

Coupled with the bibs being eco-friendly and lead, BPA and phthalates free, there are now 13 adorable designs.  And quite frankly, I just love them.  They've been put through some workouts... scrolling through my photos of Pickle, I realise just how many there are of him eating(!), yet there's not a mark to be seen on them.

Bibisili is celebrating its 1st birthday this week, and to celebrate, they are giving away bibs for three lucky Little Ones.  Enter via the Rafflecopter tool below, there are multiple ways to enter and increase your chances.  But if you can't wait you can get 20% off orders until 10th December, using the discount code BIRTHDAY.

Disclaimer:  While Pickle has been gifted with two of the bibs in the new designs, my enthusiasm and words are my own, as were my earlier purchases.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Head in the Sand

So the removalists have gone.  Accounts are being closed.  I'm almost packed. There is definitely an air of finality.

BoyWonder doesn't understand how I didn't realise things were bad before.

IMAG0683.jpgPerhaps my head was in the sand.  He neither came to my initial gynaecologist appointment, when I found out I was pregnant with Pickle, nor the 12-week scan, which was truly amazing, especially when Pickle did a somersault in-utero. 

Glaringly obvious signs in hindsight, though I know that some men just don't get "it". (Whatever "it" is, but I expect that's a whole other blog post.)

So right now, while we've metaphorically battered heads on occasion, but still generally get on well, it's just time to be a little sad.  I just need to remind myself that there are new beginnings and exciting adventures ahead for Pickle & I.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Divorce Solicitor & 4th Wedding Anniversary

If you'd asked me on my wedding day, what I thought I would be doing for my fourth wedding anniversary, it wouldn't have been "initiating a divorce".  And yet, that is how I spent the morning.

I didn't expect to feel physically ill as I prepared to leave home to head to the appointment.  Though once there, I was more worried about entertaining Pickle and providing the correct documentation.

I did spare a thought to the recent Divorce Counselling session, where our counsellor asked us how we'd be celebrating.  WTF?!  I know we want to stay friendly, but you don't celebrate a marriage when you're getting divorced.  At least BoyWonder thought the comment was as bonkers as I did.

And my SilverLining as my darling friends have reminded me, is a "new beginning".

Am I being harsh? Should I be cooking something special for dinner!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Taste Adventures

Pickle has been having great explorations with food.  He started at 6 months by gnawing on a stick of broccoli, and never looked back.  With baby-led weaning, food is offered and Pickle has a go eating it - there are no purees.  He eats what we do - I've eliminated cooking with salt and have modified how much chilli we use, but pretty much anything else goes.  I'll warn you though, it is a little on the messy side!  But when he eats as well as he does, I can put up with a little mess.  The different textures not only help babies chew, but are also supposed to encourage speech development.

The main challenge I found was what to feed him when we were out during the day.  None of the traditional pre-prepared baby foods appealed - if you've tasted any of them, most are pretty bland with an uninteresting texture and homogenised flavours.

Then, a while ago, we were invited to the launch of Plum baby food's taste adventures.  The interesting international flavours and texture definitely appealed to Pickle.  Being healthy, organic and containing nothing artificial, combined with the addition of high protein quinoa, appealed to me.  There is South African sweet cape beef curry, a Greek aubergine and lamb moussaka, a Spanish salmon paella and a Moroccan chickpea and chicken tagine.  And they really are tasty.

The Stage 3 range is aged at 10+ months, though I suggest using the age as a guide - as Pickle has been baby-led weaned, he was used to the chunkier textures of "adult" food.

We've since tried a number of the Plum finger foods - savoury snacks and sweet biscuits - as well as the muesli and fruit pouches, all of which Pickle loves. None of the foods contain any added sugar or salt and are free from all additives, artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives. Most are dairy free - allergy information is clearly labelled for gluten etc. also.  They come in well-sized pots, and can be eaten at room temperature or heated; so great for when you're out, or for a quick-meal at home, safe in the knowledge that you are feeding your baby healthy food.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Disclosure - we received samples of the four Taste Adventures pots; all other products were purchased.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Free Range Kids Challenge

Pickle and I were enjoying the sunshine in the local square earlier today; it's become a regular spot for a picnic lunch.  Inevitably at some point, Pickle makes a beeline for the water feature where lots of kids splash about in the very shallow water. 

Normally I'd keep Pickle in his nappy, but I'd paid-forward a nappy to a lady in the library earlier in the day, and having just changed Pickle's nappy, the one he was wearing was the only clean one on us.  He'd already done a massive poo earlier, so I knew this wouldn't be a problem (though it surprised me when he got out of the water to do a wee).

Pickle and I in the top section of the
water "fountain" a couple of weeks ago.
He was happily playing and splashing about for around half an hour.  Then a woman approached asking who his mother was.  She said that a "pedo" was watching him from across the other side of the fountain (it's in two parts and is quite long).  I immediately bundled Pickle up, moved into the terraced square to dress him and jump on a bus home.

I scanned the area, but couldn't see anyone obvious.  I don't see every man on his own as a threat, so it would have helped if the suspect looked like a movie villan, but no luck. 

I was definitely shaken, but as I headed home, I started to reflect.  Was I rash?  Of course I wanted to protect Pickle, that will always be my priority.  But should I have asked who the suspect was and reported him to someone?  Should I have queried the word of a stranger, who may have had her own agenda?  Growing up in Australia, I wouldn't think twice about Pickle being naked on the beach or around water in general, but perhaps I should be more conservative in the UK? 

Bringing up a Free Range Kid is to keep them safe by knowing their individual limits (which will obviously be more relevant as he gets older).  And I'm aware that there are less incidences of abuse these days, despite what sensationalistic media reports would have us think - and most abuse is by those known to the family.  However, I think I did the right thing in the moment.  I'll still go to the square and let Pickle splash about, but will make sure to take a spare nappy or swim nappy with me.  I probably give it a couple of days too.  I'll still let him walk around, smiling and waving at everyone (like I could stop that if I tried!).  Pickle is an independent soul, to quash his spirit would be a travesty.  But I can't say that today doesn't have me a little freaked.

Would love to know if you have any advice or experience to offer?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Mummy Olympics

The Olympics have commenced!  (Am I even allowed to say that, not being a major sponsor?)  And while I abhor the corporate machine grinding away, for me the Olympics is about the athletes who have worked their arses off preparing to do their best.  But there's another type of athlete, the Mummies out there, who are raising the next generation - a few Olympians among them - who I want to recognise today.  My darling friend Caroline, who has been an inspiration and a guiding light to me many times, has written about her very own Mummy Olympics...


About me:

I'm normal, BC (before child) I was a normal woman who spent time with other adults and held adult conversations and did adult things, I went to the hairdresser, wore white or black clothes and always had my nails and make up done. AC (after child) it ALL seemed to turn to shit. I've been known to go from normal, to lost, to neurotic, to broken in less than 30 seconds; that coupled up with no hair/make-up/nails done etc. can only spell out one thing: NEW MOTHER! After 18 months of being a new mother I have finally grasped that the life I had as an in control, social adult, with time on my hands, is long gone and has been replaced with express hair stay-on make-up and patterned clothes, but it’s all good as the birth of our daughter, Lulah had put a whole new spin on things and it’s all good in my books.

The Mummy Olympics:
Apparently the Olympics comes every four years, as any mother without a nanny will know, every day is a challenge of strength, agility, speed and stamina. It all starts at the crack of dawn in mid-slumber: on your marks, get set, cue gunshot (aka 1st howl of the morning), GO! And we’re off… and then greeted with the most wonderful smile, which almost makes waking up so early worth it.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner shot-put: you so know that you’re going to have something fired at you at great speed, whether it be milk or porridge, whatever the substance you know you’re gonna get covered. Through trial and error, or because someone’s told you, we know NOT to get dress until after baba has finished eating.

Wrestling: or should I say the nappy wrestle, we long for the natural development of our children as we all love to see them do new things; once learned, this can make the simplest tasks turn ugly and Lulah is no exception for this. After a wriggly slam dunk on to the changing mat she’ll wrap her legs round my hands as I go for the tags, only releasing so that she can get a foot in the soilage, once feet are soiled it’s a race against the clock to get these bad boys clean and out of the offending area while legs are giving Michael Flatly a run for his money, once the nappy is off, so is she with a full body flip on to the front, meaning I have to release my grip or dislocate her hip. When I’ve managed to put her on her back again the turning stats again; Mummy raises both gripped feet higher to inhibit flip but Lulah is still going for it, one leg release and Mummy goes in with wipe, Lulah is then released and both parties allowed to return to their corners, Lulah is returned to the mat with Mummy holding the feet in one hand and finger looped in nappy with the other. SLAM the nappy is up and Mum finishes with the tags, Mummy is left to clean soilage from surrounding area. Note to self don’t wipe poo on one’s face.

Despite what she tells you, she still looks
glamorous - AND she's teaching Lulah about
all important accessorising!
Pin the nappy on the moving target: should Lulah not want to return to the mat we have a new sport of putting the nappy on the moving target, with knees like the soles of my feet (from being on them too long), I quick shuffle round the room trying to pin Lulah with one had while unsticking and re-sticking the tabs on each side, quite some task as mine and Lulah’s head clearance is considerably different even when I'm on my knees; catching up with said child I then have to rearrange her, but cheeks so both are covered, mission accomplished! Now recover and repeat with clothes.

Toy Volleyball: how is it that Lulah still hasn’t learned to throw a ball yet but she can launch a toy some distance so long as you’re the target? I have had every toy with corners that Lulah owns thrown at me at one point or another, her favourite have to be wooden blocks, light, sharp and easy to aim, I'm a typical girl I never could catch…. Until now. And how comes they never feel the need to throw something soft?

Poker: I was never able to lie, I still can’t, but the poker face is your best tool against a gorgeous little horror who thinks funny to draw all over themselves with your make up, or empty your mother-in-law’s pot plant on to her cream carpet, or open the curtains in a changing room. This was never truer than a few weeks ago when I experienced my first mouth injury, leaving Lulah covered in blood, wave of panic and distress hidden, cleaned up and calm child as if nothing’s wrong – unleash tears in to G&T later, whether it’s for good or bad you can’t let it show, god knows all you want to do is burst out laughing/crying in an uncontrollable mess or take a photo, but as a law abiding parent you can’t, poker face it every time! And make sure you have a very good memory.

The 5, 10, 50, 100+ Sprint: OK so we all want our babies to stand up, crawl or walk, it’s the most amazing thing in the world when you see these things for the first time, but be warned this is where the real fun begins . Like moths to a flame, children can travel at speed towards anything they like the look of. These little monsters spend how many months not moving then they are like lightening! This is never truer than in the mornings as I fold the pram up and put it away in the nursery’s shed. Our routine goes: Lulah climes out of the pram, I take my handbag off the back, remove any nursery supplies and she normally stands there and waits for me to close and store the pram; clearly cars and roads are THE most exciting thing in the world so she’s off, handbag open on the ground, stack of nappies, pram half done, WHAT DO YOU DO??? No one in their right mind wouldn’t go after their child but then there you hand bag calling ‘steal me, steal me, I'm valuable’; is this a quandary we will ever know the answer to? Gold medal to the lady who told me about handbag insurance on my home insurance.

The buggy child press: Something I only started to experience when Lulah started to be more confident with her walking, she now has an aversion to sitting in the buggy, and it’s like I'm asking her to sit on a spike. It’s funny how many knowing looks you get at the nursery at the end of the day, children all practicing their planking skills as they go stiff as a board as you try and sit them in the pram for a quick skip home, and don’t you just feel like the worst person in the world when they kick up one almighty stink. My answer, she wants to lie flat out? I flatten the buggy out, lay the planking Lulah in and strap in quick and sit ‘em up! Works every time.

The one handed chore: Having me do one handed chores is a favourite of Lulah’s, she loves nothing more than to demand a cuddle or pick up the very moment I need to do something, I think it’s a sixth sense she was born with. Since becoming a mother I have mastered many chores, like buttering toast with a child attached: sit child on worktop, put bread, toast etc. behind child and spread like mad, this is not time for measuring out weightwatcher points or making sure you get to the edges, baby doesn’t care! This same tactic can be applied to many other things: opening cans, bottles, jars, but for god sake don’t let them see what you’re doing, you’re on your own then, go-go-gadget hand will be deployed and will remove all items from said worktop at lightening pace. The one handed chore can be adapted for carrying things, you may not have noticed but you actually have 4 thumbs and countless fingers to complete this, no checking now these extra digits are very shy and only come out when needed how else would you carry a small wriggly one, fav toy, changing bag, muslin, keys and a skinny latte eh? Us mothers also gain amazingly superhero strong legs from all the squatting and bending while performing one handed tasks, unfortunately this comes at the expense of completely shot knees, can’t help you with this one. Gold medal to the person who invented the baby sling.

Endurance: as every parent will know endurance is the key to everything in this sport, you have to keep your wits about you 24/7 so the Lulah’s of this world don’t run riot and grow up to be ASBO horrors! I wish there was a magic spell which you could use at such times when your resolve has dissolved, or if there is no one has let me in to the secret. What I will say, is keep yours and your partner’s intentions the same in front of little horrors, that battle can be held later out of earshot. They learn fast, so we have to learn faster and don’t forgot that it will end soon and everyone is in the very same boat as you at one time or another, and for when all else fails, there’s always wine!


Do you have any other events to suggest?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Quite frankly, I'm hoping my SilverLining is somewhere very close over the rainbow... but for now I'm having some crappy days.  Wednesday was a good day, and hopefully tomorrow will be a good day too.  I've been quiet on the blogging front, so hopefully this post will explain why, on top of the usual being a Mummy, study and life in general excuses.

A couple of days after Pickle and I returned from Oz, BoyWonder* said he wanted a divorce.  (Nothing like burying the lead, hey).  I've been trying to work things out, but he's adamant that he's felt like this for some time and can't move beyond how he feels.  We tried two sessions of couples counselling, and while my goal is to work through our problems, build on our friendship and reconcile, his goal is for an amicable divorce, so there's not a lot for the counsellor to work with.

I'm pissed at him.  I think he's a numpty and will regret it down the track.  And that's being kind.  I'm angry, but most of all I'm sad.  I've been dealing with a good dose of denial as well - it's actually been months since this happened, and I guess I was hoping he'd change his mind, see the error of his ways or whatever.  I'm doing a good job of working my way through Kubler-Ross' stages of grief.

I had depression about four years ago.  It was my second time.  Most people who get depression will get it more than once.  BoyWonder* blames my depression for the downturn in our relationship and his subsequent depression.  It's an illness, you have to have a predisposition to it, a bit like diabetes say.  Believe me, I've argued 'til I'm blue in the face that I can't be blamed.  And I'll be the first to put my hand up to say I didn't pull my weight around the house when I was depressed.  But when he's running through a list of any and all of my failings from the past seven years of our relationship, it's no wonder it's not worked.

His inability to communicate is a major factor - he has one friend who he's been completely honest with, but talking to me a couple of years ago might have helped.  He admits he hasn't been successful either in opening up or when he has, not doing it successfully.  My lack of realisation just goes to show there's a reason people don't counsel those they know.

When we first started going out, within the first three months in fact, I pointed out our age difference (he's 9 years younger than me) and how I really wanted kids and eventually wanted to move back to Australia.  We agreed on the fundamentals.  Since then, BoyWonder* has changed his mind, or was previously only telling me what I wanted to hear.  I was naive enough to believe it.

And while I am trying to have a balanced, non-snarky post here (not least because my lovely in-laws might read this), he's starting to sound a bit like Mother-bloody-Teresa.  He's made some really horrible comments recently... mind you, I've stropped back with "you'll be rid of me soon enough" as well, so not my finest moment.  Thankfully they've been the exception to the rule, and I believe I've (generally) dealt with them in a calm and adult way.  But FFS, he's leaving me.  A little snark is surely allowed?

He wants to stay friends, and I think that will be possible, if we can get through the crappy stuff quickly.  We're trying to do the divorce bit as amicably as possible.  It would be good to stay friends in the long term, as he's still Pickle's Daddy, and we both want what is best for Pickle.

For now, that will mean Pickle, the cats and I move back to Australia in the near future; to be closer to our families, and at least in the same country as the friends I consider close enough to be family.  It will unfortunately mean leaving a few of my really close friends here who I love dearly, and who have been a great support.  I'm crying while I'm typing this now.  In the library.  Nice.

It will of course mean leaving BoyWonder* in the UK too.  We will set up regular Skype times for Pickle, but it won't be the same.  Down the track there will be visits.  We'll sort it out.  It won't be easy, but hopefully there will be a SilverLining.  Cross your fingers for me, OK?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

* well that pseudonym is going to have to change isn't it!  Alternate suggestions welcome, but Pickle's Daddy (PD) might have to suffice for now.

PS.  If you are family or friends reading this post, and this is how you found out, I hope you can forgive the mode of communication - quite frankly, it's exhausting to talk about.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

157/366 - Jubilympic Cocktail

I've loads of both Project 365 and blog posts to catch up on, but will have to do those out of order... the reason for my blogging break will likely become obvious in due course (the usual excuses of course apply - being a Mummy and studying a degree are certainly not the least of the reasons!).

It's funny, in Australia I'd consider myself a "republican" (but certainly not in the US sense!) - I don't understand the necessity of having the Queen as our head of state; especially as she can remove an elected leadership, which has happened in my lifetime.

However, I like the Royal family in the UK, they're a great tourist attraction and I've been really looking forward to the Jubilee.  I even hung some Union Jack bunting outside our house, and Pickle has been having a great time waving his flag (which should also come in handy for the Olympic torch arriving in the local square).  Pickle is English after all, even if he is now also officially an Aussie.

So for my lovely friend, Caroline's, Jubilee BBQ, I decided we needed an appropriately patriotic beverage.  There is nothing more English than tea, so gathering inspiration from a cocktail I'd tried some time ago, I infused some vodka with Earl Grey tea (full recipe below); using good quality ingredients really does make all the difference, so I'd recommend using the best of these you can afford.  The traditional accompaniment of lemon, topped with lemonade completed the cocktail.  They were definitely a hit, and I'll be doing the infusion again, and trying some alternate mixes.  This was served in short glasses yesterday, but today I used my  vintage tea cups, though martini (marTEAni) glasses could also work.
Vodka infusion
500ml vodka
6 teaspoons or teabags of Earl Grey tea (if you use tagged teabags remove the tags before submersion)

Infuse the vodka with the tea for half an hour.  Shake, then leave for another half an hour.  Strain or remove the teabags.  The vodka can then be kept in the fridge or freezer.

Jubilympic Cocktail
2 medium unwaxed lemons, squeezed

Per glass:
Pour in 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and coat the glass.
Add 50ml vodka 
A few ice cubes 
Top with lemonade
Garnish with a peel of lemon


Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

84/366 - Does this make them kissing cousins?

Pickle and I went to Bondi Beach today to visit Aunty Sharni & Uncle Steven.  We also got to meet their adopted fur-baby Maggie Beard.  She is gorgeous, and had Pickle in fits of laughter chasing a bouncing tennis ball.  I'd honestly never heard him laugh so much and it was adorable.  Maggie was as good as gold with him too.

84/366 - 24 March 2012

So since Steven is my brother-from-another-mother, and Maggie is his baby... this makes them cousins of sorts, right?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

83/366 - Sad Farewells

Today we said goodbye to Bubbah and Grandpa in Hervey Bay.  I really think Pickle is going to miss them (and I will too) and I know they will him (and maybe me a little!).

83/366 - 23 March 2012

Big hugs and kisses.

Oh, and while I wanted to say an incredulous "Really?!!" to the Virgin Australia flight attendant who asked me "how are you today" when I was clearly in floods of tears, my blubbering got in the way.  But she came up to see how I was later in the flight and shamelessly allowed Pickle to flirt with her, so all is forgiven.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

82/366 - Wet & Wild

Today was a hot and muggy day with 93% humidity in Hervey Bay, so we had to cool down.  I'd been meaning to check out the Wetside Water Education Park.  It's a great place for kids to let off steam and there is a separate area for under-5's... Pickle was a little unsure to start, then took great delight watching the fountain sprays move around, change heights and help him cool off - he had a great time.  I can't believe it's free too!

82/366 - 22 March 2012

I wonder if there's anywhere like this in London (or nearby) for those days that it's hot enough?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Update:  This is my favourite photo for the week - though Kissing Cousins was a close second.  In this shot Pickle just looks like he's having so much fun - he was really fascinated by the water moving around him.  Take a look at all my other Project365 posts.  Each Sunday you can link up to the weekly favourites at TheBoyandMe's blog by clicking on this button below:  

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

81/366 - Morning Cuddles

The photo I took before this one had Grandpa kissing Pickle on the head, which is also a lovely shot, but I love that in this photo Pickle is hugging his Grandpa's arm in response to that kiss.

81/366 - 21 March 2012

I think Pickle is going to be missed by his Grandpa and Bubbah - what do you think?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

PS.  We had a lovely lunch out today, and I dressed Pickle in a shirt and long pants for the occasion - but do you think I remembered to take a photo of him before he covered himself in food?!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

80/366 - Lilliana's on the Bay

I took my parents out for brunch today.  We'd heard that Liliana's on the Bay served the best coffee in the area, so took a departure from our usual Enzo's on the Beach (even if the coffee at Enzo's has certainly improved since my last visit).

The latest trend in Aussie cafes has them roasting their own beans, which means fresh, tasty and unique cups of coffee.  I'm pleased to say that Liliana's has taken up this fashion.  We arrived at the welcoming and airy cafe to the delicious smell of roasting beans.  And our beautifully presented coffees arrived shortly after our order, from friendly and helpful staff.  Not only were they a larger size than expected, it is honestly the best cup of coffee I have had in a long time.  In fact, initially I forgot to add sugar, it was that smooth and creamy.

80/366 - 20 March 2012

The breakfasts were also beautifully presented and enormous.  Eggs "Benedict" came with ham or smoked salmon (Royale) and were both served with spinach and a perfect hollandaise.  Unfortunately the poached eggs were slightly over cooked, so were no longer runny and my ham turned out to be bacon - while delicious bacon, it wasn't what I was expecting.  I'll forgive this seeing as it was served on perfect sourdough toast.  The big brekkie came with eggs poached, scrambled or fried, plus all the usual trimmings: bacon, sausage, beans, tomato, mushrooms and hash-browns!

So while you can't top Enzo's for the spectacular view, for taste and value for money, I'll definitely be returning (I even got a second cup to go).

Cheers, KangaRue :)

79/366 - Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!

Today Pickle officially became an Australian!  In true Aussie style he LOVES the title chant and has been in fits of giggles this afternoon as Grandpa and I have called it out.

79/366 - 19 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

78/366 - Mummies Day!

Today is Mother's Day in the UK.  I am in Australia.  It is my first Mother's Day.  So I do feel I've missed out a little bit being away from BoyWonder, and with Pickle a little too small to make a fuss!  So I was delighted when this was delivered...

78/366 - 18 Mar 2012

Some of my favourite flowers - scented lilies, orange roses, irises and lisianthus!  Along with a card that read:

Dear Mummy,
Look what I organised while you were sleeping...
Lots of Love, 
(PS the cats say "hi, we miss you too")  

*melt*  So Happy Mother's Day to me and all the Mummies out there, and big hugs to those of you who are no longer able to give your Mummy or babies hugs anymore.

PS.  Since Mother's Day in Australia isn't until May, and I'll be back in London by then, don't you think I should get spoiled then too?  (Take Note: BoyWonder!)

Cheers, KangaRue :)

77/366 - Friendship

A couple of years ago, I heard that an old school friend was coming to the UK to see her family.  She had some time to catch up in London, so for the first time in 22 years I got to see Gail and find out about her life since she left Queenwood (and Australia) in Year 10.

Fast forward a couple of years, to my trip home to introduce Pickle to his family in Australia.  Gail now lives in Brisbane, a mere (the Brits will balk) 4-hours drive from Hervey Bay... and she was not only able, but also willing, to come and visit.  So she packed hubby, Adrian and kids, Jessica and Alex into their car and made the journey north this weekend.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't so pleasant (it rained the majority of the time), but we had lovely cups of tea and coffee and a great dinner to get to know each other's family (sans BoyWonder) and my Mum got to feed them lunch which made her happy.

There was a lull in the rain, so Pickle got some more swing time in and Jess & Alex got to play on the beach.  Don't they play beautifully together?

77/366 - 17 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

76/366 - This is NOT Pornography

There seems to be a round of controversy in the media at the moment, from  Facebook photo rules, to dubious-quality daytime talk shows and individual Twitter posts, that equate breastfeeding a baby with pornography.

As a Mummy who breastfeeds, I take offense at these ignorant comments.  The first and foremost purpose of breasts is to feed a child - they are called mammary glands for a reason.  So I have posted this photo of Pickle feeding to show what a beautiful thing it is to me when my darling boy looks into my eyes as I'm feeding him.  It is an incredible feeling of trust and nurturing.

76/366 - 16 Mar 2012

Now I've had numerous friends who have either been unable to breastfeed their babies for whatever reason, and I'm not criticising bottle-feeding babies in any way.  Mummies have to do what is best for them and their babies.  Full stop.

What I object to is people telling me that I shouldn't leave the house, or that I should express and then bottle feed (yes, someone actually said this to me on Twitter).  Obviously they've never expressed, as it's not the most pleasant sensation, takes far longer than breastfeeding, and it's not like I've got oodles of time to spare.  Besides, it's a natural part of life!  If you stare at someone breastfeeding long enough, you're bound to see some nipple; my advice if it offends you is: don't look or get over it.

While I love this picture of Pickle, and I do try to be discreet when breastfeeding, I still feel this photo may be a little subtle, so no doubt there will be some future posts.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Friday, 16 March 2012

75/366 - Yellow Fever (or My Eyes, My Eyes!)

I was at a bit of a loss what to call this post at first.  There I was, driving along the beachfront Esplanade, when out of nowhere this monstrosity didn't so much as catch my eye, as burned it's image into my retinas!  Please note, I haven't boosted the colour in this photo in any way.

75/366 - 15 Mar 2012

I had to pull over to read the sign of protest, which somehow is lawful under local planning permissions (I'm betting Hervey Bay council is regretting this colour option!).  The sign read:

FOR SALE $5,000,000 
This privately owned property is lawful. A memorial to inept Queensland politicians and our council who refuse to protect (as other States do) adjoining properties from illegal damage caused by development construction, especially below ground car parks, thus leaving adjoining property owners exposed to expensive litigation in an often futile attempt at justice.

So I'm guessing the owners weren't happy with their neighbours and got back at them the only way they could.  I pity their other neighbours.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

74/366 - Coming to get you!

Pickle started crawling a few days ago.  He's been wriggling forward and rolling towards what he wants for a while, but now he's properly on all fours.  Here you can see him lunging for some hot cross bun... and believe me he's getting into everything he's not supposed to - there's no stopping him now!

74/366 - 14 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

73/366 - Hitting the Books

Trying to fit in study time being a new mum is, shall we say, somewhat challenging.  With Pickle being a baby that fights going to sleep, it can be hard to schedule study sessions and I sometimes end up studying late at night.  Tonight he didn't got to sleep until 9:30pm, so I was studying until just past midnight, and feel like I'm a little behind this week (guess what I'll be doing once this post is up!).

73/366 - 13 Mar 2012
This term I'm studying Mental Health Issues, so it's quite heavy going, but very interesting.  I always find it really interesting when I can relate aspects of what I'm learning to people I know in real life - the academics then become so much more meaningful, though sometimes painful and challenging.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Bibetta Roll 'n' Go Changing Mat

No doubt regular blog followers will have spotted the fab changing mat I've been using while on holiday with Pickle in Australia.  Photos are dotted around the Project 365 posts, but I've included a couple here (not least so you can gush over my cute little beach bum!).

The Bibetta Roll 'n' Go Changing Mat is made from neoprene (wetsuit material), in a funky blue design and it rolls up with a little velcro tab to keep it together, so it's perfect to keep in the swim bag, then wrap up his wet swim nappy and sun protection top before bunging it all in the washing machine when we get home.  There is also a pink version for the little girl beach bums out there and both are available from VUP Baby for a mere £9.40.

It's been invaluable for use on the beach for Pickle to sit on so he doesn't get covered in sand, on picnic tables to change him in and out of his swim gear, and I can't wait to get him back home and use it when we take him for swimming lessons at the pool, as it will keep him so much warmer and drier than a towel that we've just dried him off with.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Disclosure:  While I received the changing mat for the purposes of conducting a review, the views above are purely my own; I think you can see from the photos that Pickle is in full agreement.

72/366 - Beach Bum II

Here's a true beach shot of Pickle, after our daily walk and before our swim.  This photo was taken mid morning, and this is how busy the beach in Hervey Bay usually gets... if you peer really closely in the background you can see someone walking!  It's an 8km stretch of beach, and we hang out at the popular spot, though I've rarely seen more than a couple of dozen people dotted along it at any one time.

72/366 - 12 Mar 2012

Pickle just looks so carefree and happy (I think he knows he's about to go for his swim).

This is definitely going to be my favourite photo for the week, so I already know I'm going to link this up, so the button is already below!  Take a look at all my other Project365 posts.  Each Sunday you can link up to the weekly favourites at TheBoyandMe's blog by clicking on this button below:  

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Cheers, KangaRue :)

71/366 - Mucky Pup

Pickle is learning that I wipe his hands and face after every meal.  While he only had - his first - hot cross bun for afternoon tea (sultanas removed of course), it did go everywhere, so when he got fed up with me cleaning him up, he decided to do it himself.

71/366 - 11 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

70/366 - Completely Batty

Another day, another beach walk - it's a hard life!  We went a bit further today, and I heard them before I saw them (and apparently it was a good thing we were upwind).  The threes were full of bats, and by full, I mean the below picture is about 10% of the line of trees covered in the bats.

70/366 - 10 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

69/366 - Flaming Galah

I do miss the Australian wildlife as well as the trees, gum trees, bottle brush and banksia in particular.  (Though we now have a bottle brush at home, the bumble bees love it, and it's surprisingly hardy under London snow in winter).

On our daily beach walk, Pickle, Mum and I happened upon a tree filled with 17 pink and grey galahs - I'd forgotten about them...

69/366 - 9 Mar 2012

While I've seen a couple of kookaburras, and heard more of them, I haven't taken a photos yet (not to self for a future Project 365 post!).  I've also seen Cockies (yellow crested Cockatoos) but I've not seen any Rainbow Lorikeets yet.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

68/366 - Guess What!

Pickle isn't a great sleeper, but wakes up a happy little chappy every morning.  Bright and early.  So at around 6:30am, I got up and changed his nappy.  I though I'd pop in back into the cot so he could play with some toys and I could sneak another ten minutes shut eye.

I snuggled back down under the sheet and could hear him giggling away to himself.  I turned over to catch what I thought would be a glimpse of him playing with a favourite toy of the day... when lo and behold, THIS is what I found...

68/366 - 8 Mar 2012

He had pulled himself up to standing!  He's only 6 months old and has only just started crawling.  Sure, I've heard the story of how BoyWonder started walking at 7 months old, but I still wasn't prepared for the sight of him grinning over the cot bars at me.  I just had enough sense to lunge and grab the camera to get a few shots.  Needless to say, I didn't dare get any more sleep.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

67/366 - Swinging II

Another walk by the beach today, and after his morning nap, Pickle hit the swings.  There were two things that struck me since Pickle's last swinging photo a little over a month ago.  The first was that he has way less clothes on, a vest and shorts as opposed to vest, long sleeved top, jumper, jeans, jacket, socks and shoes.  The second is that he appears a little chubbier!  He has put on 435g (15oz) in the first three weeks that we've been away - baby-led weaning is definitely agreeing with him.

67/366 - 7 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

66/366 - I want to ride my bicycle

I've been missing cycling, so have been looking forward to Pickle being big enough to join me in a baby seat on the back of my bike.  While we're on holiday, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce him, but wasn't sure if we'd be able to hire a bike.  But lo and behold, since our last trip, my parents had met The Bike Man (further details below).  So strapped in, helmet on, off we went.

66/366 - 6 Mar 2012

Doesn't he look adorable!  I can't say that he loved the helmet, but safety is not an option.  It seemed to push forward on the back of the chair, so I'm trying to work out a solution to this when I get back to look at options of seats and helmets.

Luke, The Bike Man, is a mobile service with a van and trailer to drop bikes off to homes, motels and caravan parks - basically wherever you stay in Hervey Bay.  Baby seats, chariots, trailer bikes and scooters are all available for younger children and helmets, locks and baskets are included, along with free delivery and pick-up 7 days a week.  To organise your own bike, just call The Bike Man on +61-(0)400-666-488.

Do you have any recommendations for baby bike seats and helmets please?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Disclaimer:  While I got "mates rates" for the bike hire, The Bike Man doesn't even know I write a blog, let alone the post, so all views are my own.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

65/366 - Tootsies

Believe it or not, I can't believe how big Pickle's feet have gotten!  Here we are standing at the beach as the waves lapped over our feet.

65/366 - 5 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

64/366 - Ribbit

There I was washing up, listening to the gecko's click - and believe me, they are loud - when THUMP.  Just above head height on the window right in front of me was this...

64/366 - 4 Mar 2012

A bright green tree frog, obviously after a gecko for his supper.  They are plentiful in Hervey Bay, thankfully more so than the ugly cane toads.  Though a few years back, my Mum didn't think so, she awoke in the early hours with a heavy feeling on her chest... only to find a frog laying across her.  A frog had swum up the en-suite toilet and across the bedroom.  Cue lots of running around & arm waving no doubt!  Needless to say, all toilet seats are now kept closed when not in use.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

63/366 - This Little Piggy

While studying in a chair next to the cot during Pickle's afternoon nap, I looked up and spotted this little tootsie poking out between the cot slats.  It looked so cute, and I could just nibble those toes!

63/366 - 3 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

62/366 - Bubbah with her Bubbelah II

Another photo of my Mum cuddling Pickle.  After I take him for his swim, Mum has a cuddle so I can have a proper swim.  They looked so serene against the colours of the beach, Aussie sky and the gum tree (I miss gum trees).

62/366 - 2 Mar 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Monday, 12 March 2012

61/366 - Bubbah with her Bubbelah

When I told my parents I was pregnant, I asked my Mum what she'd like to be called.  At first she said Nanna, which surprised me... "Don't you want to be Bubbah?" I asked.  She gushed (just a wee bit) "Oh that would be lovely!".  Bubbah (or Bubbe) is the Yiddish word for Grandmother, and her little Bubbelah (or pancake) is enjoying his cuddles.

61/366 - 1 Mar 2012

What are grandparents known as in your family?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

60/366 - Intensity

I've been asked before if Pickle was lethargic (if you can handle a rant, feel free to read more), and that's the one word that can't be used to describe him.  Even during his afternoon nap he has an intense look of concentration!

60/366 - 29 Feb 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

59/366 - Beach Bum

After our daily walk, I've been taking Pickle for a swim.  Here he is mid-change into his swimming gear - I think he's looking forward to it, don't you?

59/366 - 28 Feb 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

58/366 - Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix Kids

So after Pickle's debacle with cow's milk, we're now trying rice milk.  My lovely friend, chef Chaz, has been trying to get me to try it for years, but I hate soya milk, and thought it would be the same sort of thing so avoided it.  But after Pickle's reaction, trying something different wasn't an option, so this morning he had Weet-Bix with rice milk and he loved it (and the surprising SilverLining is I like the rice milk too!).

Baby-led weaning is, shall we say, a little messy - but he was using the spoon and his hands and wolfed it down.  Sure, a fair amount ended up over his face, up his arms, in his ears etc etc, but it makes a good photo!!

58/366 - 27 Feb 2012

Aussie kids are Weet-Bix kids after all!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

57/366 - Allergic Reaction?

Pickle is a breast-fed baby, so we've not had a lot of contact with formula, and when we did it wasn't particularly successful (rant warning!).  A week or so ago he had Weetbix mixed with formula.  We're doing baby-led weaning, which means he feeds himself the majority of the time, and some foods do tend to go every where.  Wherever it came into contact with his skin turned red within a couple of minutes after contact.  It didn't seem to disturb him particularly, and he hasn't seemed to have any gastro-intestinal issues, but I couldn't get him into the bath quick enough.  I wasn't sure if it was the wheat or the milk and was reluctant to try either again.

57/366 - 26 Feb 2012
So today we tried the teeny pots of fromage frais that seem to be loved by babies, and while he seemed to enjoy it well enough, again within a couple of minutes his skin turned very red.  Unfortunately it also got into his eyes (he rubbed his hands into them), so I rushed him into the bath.  The below photo is after his bath, and the red in the photo doesn't show up as bright as it did in real life.  It soon settled down, but until we get home to the UK and can try to get him some allergy testing we're avoiding milk.  I'd love to hear if anyone has had a similar experience?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

56/366 - Sleepy Time? I don't think so!

We had a nice routine going for Pickle's sleep time back home, and while we've continued with the routine on holiday, some days have been a bit hit and miss.  Today was one of those days.  We've bathed, had a story, been sung to "sleep", but it didn't work.  Daddy's secret touch is obviously missing.

56/366 - 25 Feb 2012

Sleep isn't one of Pickle's strong points - he fights it every step of the way.  I have it on good word from my Mother=in-Law that BoyWonder was far worse, so at least I know where he gets it from!  The Baby Whisperer refers to Ethan's style as Spirited, meaning that he's a tricky one that doesn't respond to many of the other techniques that work for the other styles... so any hints and tips are appreciated!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

55/366 - Hello Big Fella

Grandpa bought Pickle a teddy bear.  A rather large teddy bear.  Bubbah was worried that he would be afraid of the bear, seeing as it's so large... I don't think we have to be worried do you?!

55/366 - 24 Feb 2012

Mind you, I have a bone to pick with them - I was 16 before I got my first real teddy bear!  And I've no idea how (if?) we'll be able to get it back on the next three plane journeys!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

54/366 - Farewell Phoebe

Before the unstoppable and slightly loony Lulu & Hermes, was the adorable Phoebe.  I was lucky enough to be her Mummy before coming to London - my parents agreed to look after her for the "12 months" I was going to be away for... so she has been their cat for far longer than she was mine.  I only saw her a little over a year ago, when she was looking quite fat, and though you can't tell from this photo as she's all curled up, she had become really, really thin.

54/366 - 23 Feb 2012

She'd stopped eating, was only drinking a little water, but it was when she didn't come in for her morning cuddle that my parents realised she would need to be euthanised.  I think she was waiting around to meet Pickle, so it was lovely to have a final cuddle and pat with her.  She was a truly lovely cat, and she had a good run at 16 and a half years (about 115 by human standards), but today was nonetheless, a sad day.  She is now resting under a gardenia plant in the back garden.  Rest in peace, Phoebe  :'(

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Doing a Demi

I've been meaning to write for a while about the incredible experience I had doing both Bump and Baby photography sessions with Harriet of Buckingham Photography.  A few of the photos are already posted around the blog, but I've done a collage of them here.  Harriet and I both had an absolute blast and a lot of giggles.  She's produced some really fabulous (and flattering) shots.  Even BoyWonder, who hates having his photo taken, admitted that our family shoot "wasn't that bad" - and believe me, that is high praise indeed.

I was enthusiastic about doing a Demi-style shoot - you know the one Annie Lebowitz did of her naked for the cover of Time Magazine.  I've always loved that photo, and I honestly felt beautiful while I was pregnant - I was doing what my body was made for.  Harriet had never done a nude shoot before, so it was a first for both of us, but was in no way awkward.  I was initially hesitant about whether I should share it or not, but figure it's on the Buckingham Photography website, so is already out there in the interwebs... so here goes:

You can win your own sitting and one 10x8 photo with Harriet in her Orpington studio (or give it as a Mother's Day present!), just use the form below to enter.

53/366 - Whiskers

Pickle finds his Grandpa's beard endlessly fascinating...

53/366 - 22 Feb 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)

52/366 - Cool Dude

First day in Hervey Bay, so we had to head straight to the beach.  Sitting outside Enzo's on the Beach is the best spot in town.  Pickle is rocking his sunnies mid change from clothes into his swimming gear before we head for his first real swim in the sea!

52/366 - 21 Feb 2012

Cheers, KangaRue :)