Thursday, 24 October 2013

I'm a cyclist. And a mother.

I've just got back from the Hervey Bay police station, after having a very near miss with another car this morning. There have been a number of incidences since I started cycling in Hervey Bay (after years of cycling on the much narrower, more congested and busier London roads). While the other incidences have been due to the lack of care and ignorance of the drivers, this one was reckless and possibly even malicious. Worse yet, I had 2-year old Pickle on the cargo-bike with me.

I follow the road rules. Unfortunately it appears that many local drivers aren't aware that cyclists are legitimate road users. That we are allowed to take the centre of the lane on a multi-lane road*. I had been keeping to the left even on multi-lane roads, but found the ridiculously close passing put me in more danger than if I kept to the middle of my lane, though I now receive aggressive horn blasts and abuse hurtled at me through open car windows.

Don't get me wrong, the majority of drivers are friendly, safe and welcoming. In fact, on the way home a car slowed down and waved encouragement - this was not the first time. In addition to favourable goodwill from drivers, I've also had enthusiasm from motor-bike riders and pedestrians; young, old and middle aged people.

So why, when it takes an entire 15-minutes to drive from one end of Hervey Bay to another, do some drivers have such an aggressive sense of entitlement on the road?

The Amy Gillett Foundation has a vision to eliminate bicycle related fatalities and is spreading the word about 'a metre matters'. There is currently an e-petition that will be put in front of the Queensland Legislative Assembly in four days time, advocating for a minimum safe passing distance - I would love it if (as a Queensland resident or citizen) you would please sign it. Aussies can also easily write to their MPs (templates and contact details).

Others have written more eloquently about a cyclist always coming off worse
in a collision with a motor vehicle - there's not only the unprotected impact, but the risk of being thrown into - under - the path of another car. Though I can't seem to find any links to the articles at the moment, unfortunately. (See update below).

I'm a single mother, caring for a two year old. Part of simplifying my life, not least reducing the exorbitant
costs of car ownership (purchase price, tax, insurance, petrol, maintenance etc) has been to go car-free. I'm also physically and mentally healthier, am introducing Pickle to a healthier way of life in an era of increasing obesity, and just generally enjoying our day-to-day life more fully.

How do we get a message out to drivers that cyclists are not only legitimate road users, but (in my case) also someone's mother, daughter, sister, friend???

Cheers, KangaRue :)

* this is not meant as legal advice; road rules can differ from state to state within Australia.

UPDATE: An incredibly well put article: In the US and the Netherlands, two children on bikes are struck by cars—and the responses couldn’t be more different. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Best Babychino in the Bay (so far)

As promised, here are my further investigations on Babychinos in the Bay...

Enzo's is on the left, Grandparentals on the right

Enzo's on the Beach is arguably the best location in the Bay. Central, on a lovely stretch of beach where the Grandparentals go for their daily morning walk and catch-up with friends. For the energetic, you can hire Kite Surfing equipment or a Stand-Up Paddleboard (I have set my challenge to do this before next winter, and will blog my expected embarrassment). If Enzo ever decides to sell, then my brother Wayne may be enticed over from the UK to take it over in his "retirement". Which would be a good thing, as not only would I get to see more of him, but I'd get him to sort out the coffee. Unfortunately it is my least favourite in the Bay. I'm not sure if it's burnt or perhaps the blend is just not to my taste, but it's been consistent over a number of occasions. I also felt my chicken, asparagus and brie open-melt was a little over-priced considering tinned asparagus was used and the cheese was a slither, and while the gluten-free bread my friend had was home-baked and delicious, the steak it was surrounding was on the gristly side. I'd be willing to try the Caesar Salad on my next visit, as I've only found a couple of places that do them in the Bay so far. Babychinos come in at a reasonable $1.50 with a marshmallow. The saving grace is their delicious fruit frappes - $5.80, but they are huge and enough for Pickle and me to share; a blend of mango and strawberry is our favourite.

On the rare occasion I get to the beach early enough to meet the Grandparentals, I tend to wander across the road to Bean Beat for their coffee, and return to sit at one of the beachside tables to enjoy it. Their babychinos are $1.00 and include a small biscuit, though it is .50c extra for soya milk... which I find annoying for the small amount of milk involved, but as it falls within the average price range, I bear it occasionally.

Love the Aquavue coffee cups too
Aquavue challenges Enzo's for location, and has very good coffee and their babychinos are also $1.50 including a marshmallow. Service can be a little patchy, sometimes enthusiastic and other times uninterested... but their sticky date muffins are divine.

Zarraffas is one of the better coffees in the Bay, up there with Liliana's and Toast in my books, though their shopping centre locale isn't quite as enticing. Their babychinos are $1.35 with a marshmallow hidden inside, which is a fun surprise for Pickle.

And last for today's post, but certainly not least, is Simply Wok - so far the best babychino in the Bay. At $1.00 not only does it fall into the lower price range,
Pickle enjoying his Simply Wok babychino
but is a regular coffee cup size, comes with a couple of marshmallows AND a biscuit AND a colouring book with crayons and stickers! Outstanding value. Food is mid-range in pricing, but fresh and delicious flavours and generous serving sizes. While the name would lend you to think it is an Asian restaurant, I'm reliably told they make the best burgers in the Bay, along with delicious BLTs, Steak and Club Sandwiches; the salad menu also looked delicious - I went for the salt and pepper calamari with chips, garlic aioli and salad... there is also an all-you-can-eat Asian buffet for $15.90 of an evening, which is fresh and tasty (for children under 15,they charge their age). My coffee was also good, so this will definitely be my go-to venue with Pickle.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

So do I approach Creations Cafe over their whopping $2.50 charge for a babychino with no extras?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Pickle's Ponderings

I believe that Pickle ponders. He may only be two years old, but he has an amazing recall and I do think that he reflects. I try and spend some time at the end of each day remembering the good things he experienced and his achievements throughout the day. I'm not saying he's amazingly gifted, though perhaps he is (hey, I'm a proud Mummy after all)... and maybe I've been encouraging Systems Thinking without even realising it.

After watching the below video - which is part of my current study materials - perhaps I'm not so barmy after all.  The concepts in this video blew me away, and is well worth the ten minutes of viewing - I honestly do not know anyone who couldn't learn something from it...

Simple concepts, and something I would love to see more involved automatically throughout education, needless to say the wider community (I won't start ranting about Australian politics and the media, promise!).

So what do you think, is it possible for a two year old to ponder? Are there any other ways you can suggest I can include Systems (Reflective) thinking with Pickle?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Thursday, 3 October 2013


One of my guilty pleasures in life is good coffee. As a new mummy, it was great being able to go to coffee shops with Pickle in his pram (ideally napping) while I relaxed over a cafe latte or an iced coffee. Things got a little trickier when he started to crawl, and then to walk... just as well he's cute and a notorious flirt. But now he's old enough, he loves having a babychino, ideally accompanied by a marshmallow - one of his favourite treats.

Back in London, most coffee shops provide babychinos free with an adult purchase; encouraging a family-friendly environment is a great incentive for parents to frequent a venue. I was surprised this wasn't the case in Australia.

One initiative in the Bay I think is great is Creations Cafe, a hospitality
Creations Cafe does a great
banana bread, served hot
with cinnamon butter
training facility. It has good coffee and reasonably priced food options - there's a great $5 coffee and cake offer before 11am. However, I was shocked at the $2.50 charged for a babychino, especially as it doesn't come with any marshmallows. I did query the cost with management and was brushed off with "that's what the local charge is". So I decided to investigate further. Having discovered the disparity in pricing, I again approached management at Creations Cafe and let them know of a few other prices in the Bay. However, they have maintained their pricing and didn't seem open to reviewing their current pricing. For a tiny cup of foam, I think this is a real liberty and I won't be going back if I've got Pickle in tow.

So far, I've only discovered one venue in Hervey Bay, Coffee Club, that offers a free babychino with purchase. Their coffee is good and they have a good selection of cakes, though the main food items are a little on the pricey side. As Pickle has a dairy-protein allergy, he has a soya milk babychino and sometimes Coffee Club charges .80c extra for this, they do come with a marshmallow though.

Not the sour cream and apple,
but delicious nonetheless
One of the most charming coffee shop locations in the bay is the Homemade Cafe, with an eclectic mix of tables and chairs set outside overlooking the water.  While their coffee isn't great, so I'm far more likely to choose tea or another option, their cakes, most notably the sour cream and apple cake are homemade (hence the name) and absolutely delicious. And at $1.00 for a babychino including a marshmallow, with no added charge for soya, it's definitely one of my first options when out and about with Pickle.

One of my favourite coffee shops is Toast. While not on the beach front, they do have really good coffee, along with a good selection of snacks and fresh sushi. They charge $1.50 for a babychino including marshmallows.

A toasted turkish bread sandwich at Toast - note my
fab cargobike in the background!
Lilliana's is definitely my favourite coffee shop, they roast their own beans on site and will grind the beans to your particular type of coffee maker for use at home. Delicious. On the higher end of the range with babychinos costing $1.50 including marshmallows and an additional .50c extra for soya milk, I am more likely to go on my own than with Pickle. Their food is lovely though, and definitely one of the better Eggs Benedict I've had in the Bay (I think reviews of the local Eggs Benedict offerings are an opportunity I can't say no to in the future!).

Creations Cafe definitely comes in at the most expensive babychino so far at $2.50 (and outrageously with no marshmallows included)... I'll continue my investigations and will check out the culinary accompaniments (cake!) and will report back in due course.

So what do you think is a reasonable charge for a babychino? Should soya milk be extra when there's so little milk involved?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Car-free at last!

It has been a while since I've blogged. Many apologies to my discerning readers... while I doubt many (any?) of you have been waiting with bated breath for my next installment, I do have lots to tell you.

The beautiful bride, Pickle's
Aunty Catherine & his new Uncle
In the interim not only have I been studying, but Pickle and I travelled across the country to see my Outlaws, for a family wedding and so BoyWonder could visit with Pickle too. Pickle was obviously a hit, they were very welcoming, it was good for that side of the family to get to know Pickle more, and was relatively angst free. Sure, there were some *ahem* challenging moments, but considering the situation (divorce, annual visitation etc.), it could have been a lot worse.

I've given up trying to find paid work in the Mental Health industry - the jobs I have applied for have each had 135+ applicants. As a Student Placement is required to do the next few subjects and in order to complete my counselling degree, I decided it would be pertinent to offer myself up as a volunteer. Now, being a hard-working, enthusiastic, engaged advocate for all areas of mental health, with a Distinction average for my subjects, you think I'd be snapped up, right?

There was lots of opportunity
to try out Pickle's "muddy puddle
boots" (I blame Peppa Pig)
Apparently not in Hervey Bay. I've called upward of SIXTY organisations, with no luck so far. Some have seemed promising, then the return phone calls dry up. Frustrating only begins to describe it. I'm pondering whether there is any point even trying to finish my degree.

On a brighter note, I now have my cargo bike. Pickle and I are car-free! Avid readers and my Twitter followers (those I mentioned earlier, hanging on with bated breath, no doubt) will recall my moaning about the disastrous saga that started almost a year ago with the first cargo bike company I dealt with. The Dutch company based in Melbourne was a complete customer service fail. Firstly an incorrect stock count meant none of my first four colour preferences were available, then shipping delays (admittedly out of the distributor's control)...

So the bike that I had hoped to receive in early December, then promised pre-Christmas 2012, eventually arrived on 12th January 2013. Except it wasn't the e-bike I had ordered and paid for. And that's when the somewhat patchy customer service to this point, took an absolute nose-dive; I was talked-over, condescended to and insulted. So it was arranged that this bike would be sent back and I would get the new bike in two to three weeks.  I was promised - in three separate written messages - that the bike would arrive fully assembled, and I would only need to put four bolts in to attach the box to the bike.

And then the bike arrived on 4th February 2013. Not only was it not assembled, it was missing not only the lights, but the entire braking system... a somewhat key element to safe riding, don't you think?

Our first ride on our
Christiania cargobike!
Needless to say, the bike was returned and I went back to the drawing board... and via Twitter, I was recommended the lovely Peter at PSbikes.

You can fit a surprising amount
in the cargobike!
While there was a delay in getting the bike, it was more than made up for by the charming customer service I received with door-to-door delivery, fully assembled and customised! The Christiania bike is made in Denmark, and I believe the Scandinavian engineering is slightly superior. Both Pickle and I love the bike and it's been getting lots of attention on our outings.

Pickle "drumming" with BigTed
On an even brighter note, things are going really well with BigTed, but
more on that later...

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Comparisons (Dating as a Single Parent IV)

Thoughtfulness is a big deal to me. Great wads of money aren't necessary. Taking the time to listen to what someone needs and then helping them find that, means so much more.

I've mentioned before that Pickle is allergic to dairy protein. It's not been anywhere near as difficult as I'd initially imagined. But it does mean I have to read labels constantly as you'd be amazed at some things that dairy can turn up in - I've found it in everything from sausages to hummus.

On an earlier coffee date, BigTed took me to one of the local coffee shops I'd yet to try (brownie points) then led me to a nearby shop called Nana's Kitchen. Just to check if they had dairy-free Easter Eggs for Pickle.

So when Sparky invited Pickle and I out for a picnic, then the day of taking us, asked me to sort Pickle's lunch as there was a specific bread he wanted to buy for lunch and he "didn't want to check if it had milk in it", didn't bode well. I had, in fact, already made Pickle's lunch along with snacks for the day, as this is what a Mummy of a kid with allergies does. But...

So onto the inaugural evening date with BigTed that I'm sure you've all been chaffing-at-the-bit to find out about (of course you're all living vicariously through my dodgy love-life)...

My lovely friend Deb, arrived early to play with Pickle so he knew she was there, and we went through the bedtime routine which fortuitously was a breeze. I madly dashed around doing hair and make-up having previously checked with a *ahem* number of stylish friends on which dress option to go with (thanks Mikey, Katy, Liam and Brett). Accessorised with fabulous jewellery, bag and amazing, ridiculously high and glamorous shoes (of course). I honestly haven't been this nervous about getting ready for a date in yonks.

And then BigTed arrived. With a spray of orchids. Oh. Em. Gee.

I didn't know where we were going for dinner. So I was pleasantly surprised when we pulled up in front of Aegean Waters, Hervey Bay's French restaurant. I love Paris. It's my favourite city in the world, a fact that BigTed had obviously latched onto somewhere during dates one to six.

We ordered escargot to start and mandarin duckling for mains (delicious) and split a chocolate mousse for dessert. I'm a foodie, I eat on dates. No apologies.

The snails and duck were both new discoveries for BigTed, but he happily leapt in (a hugely appealing attribute) and loved them both (ridiculously satisfying for me, especially as it wasn't me cooking).

We went for a drive along the foreshore, stopped at a scenic spot and... Talked. Hah, had you there for a minute didn't I?! Yes, we'd been talking over dinner. But it was more relaxed and since we're not teenagers, it would be a bit contrived to be snogging in a car, surely?

BigTed asked if he could show me his house (don't get ahead of yourself, where did it get you last time?!) where he did eventually kiss me. It was great. I may have wondered - out loud (Freudian slip?) - what had taken him so long... And then he took me home again. Well, maybe not immediately, but that didn't happen, he was an utter gentleman and there was no presumption, which was really nice and terribly appealing.

I may have dissected the date with Deb when I got home. Not least because she was a little surprised I was on my own. There will be an 8th date! I may even stop counting them.

So how do you break-up with someone (Sparky) that you haven't even held hands with?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

A Good Sport

I made a bet that if the NSW Blue lost the State of Origin, that I'd let BigTed's 11-year old, RJ, do my make-up on his day of designation.  For those not from Oz, the State of Origin is an annual rugby grudge series, pitting Queensland and New South Wales against each other.  I'm originally from NSW, but have moved to Queensland having returned from the UK, and continue to cheer for the Blues.  Unfortunately, NSW has now lost eight series in a row.  So this is my forfeit, dutifully published for your humour...

Trust me, when I say, it looks worse in person!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Being Bolshoi in the Bay

I'm excited that tonight's performance of the Bolshoi Ballet in Brisbane will be shown as a live simulcast at Hervey Bay's Seafront Oval. And best of all, it's free!

Image used courtesy of Qpac - the Queensland Performing
Arts Centre, where the ballet is being performed.

I've seen a number of opera and ballet live simulcasts in London before, with picnic and blanket in prime position outside my old office in Canary Wharf. Getting the opportunity to see Russia's elite perform Le Corsaire along with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is a great opportunity. The Bolshoi haven't been to Australia in almost 20 years and Le Corsaire has never been performed in Australia before. Having access to events like these is definitely a SilverLining on my relocation!

I'll be bringing my Mum (aka Bubba, one of the Grandparentals) to see the Bolshoi's largest and most expensive ballets, from the comfort of a blanket and chairs, while we sip on some wine and nibble on a picnic. Why not bring your own and come join us?!

Date:  Today, 4th June 2013
Time:  Live coverage from 7:00pm, performance starts at 7:30pm
Venue: Seafront Oval, corner of Main Street and The Esplanade, Pialba
Cost:  FREE!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dessert... just add Salt

Hervey Bay is a very relaxed, beach-side tourist location. I love the lifestyle, but it's not particularly conducive to showing off my fabulous shoe collection. So when I was invited to the opening night of Salt Cafe's dinner service, I jumped at the opportunity. I've enjoyed coffee and lunches at Salt before, so was looking forward to trying their new dinner menu coupled with a fantastic view - it wasn't just about the shoes.

Arriving at the restaurant, I was greeted by my friends wrapped in cozy blankets that were kindly provided by the restaurant. It is winter here in Hervey Bay, and the 17 degrees at night feels cold (though I know my northern hemisphere readers will baulk at this idea). Ideally the restaurant also needs heaters, as while the blankets definitely helped, it was still a little on the cold side. I believe they were looking into this, and hope it has been implemented - no doubt they will be able to be utilised on the colder days as well, as the majority of seating is outside to catch the sea views (and the breezes are also welcome on warmer days).

I decided to forgo an entree to save room for dessert, but my friends choices looked absolutely delicious. With one friend a celiac, Salt has a number of gluten-free options. I got to taste the gluten-free version of the oven-baked Ciabatta loaf with garlic confit in balsamic olive oil and chilli and it was delicious at $7.00* and enough to share. Another friend enjoyed the roasted pumpkin, spinach and goats cheese mille-feuille served with a baby tomato, basil and garlic confit. I got a taste and it was absolutely delicious and a much more reasonable $14.00. It was somewhat enormous for a starter, albeit light, the goats cheese was absolutely divine - I was excited to find something this delicious and enquired where it came from, so was disappointed to discover it had been imported from Belgium, as I'm yet to discover anything quite so flavourful locally (though I'll keep trying just in case). The star of the day had to be the famous Hervey Bay Scallops on cauliflower puree with crisp prosciutto and caper vinaigrette, stunning at $16.00.

Mains were slightly less successful though. Choices were split down the table, between the duck and the steak. The duck servings were small, especially considering the $27.00 price tag. It was cooked through, and both of us who chose the duck would have preferred it pink - we did suggest they ask diners how they would like it served, as they would with steak. While the menu stated it was a seared orange, honey and chilli duck breast, there was no discernable warmth from the chilli, and the more subtle orange and honey flavours were over-powered by the mild Thai citrus dressing over the mint, coriander and bean shoot salad (and in the current weather, hot vegetables would have been preferred).

The other diners chose the eye fillet wrapped in prosciutto with a wild mushroom and brandy cream sauce on seeded mustard smashed potato with blanched broccolini. The serving size was enormous by comparision with the duck, though it was $34.00. And though both diners ordered their steaks medium-rare, they both came out blue. Personally I would have had to send it back, but they were both happy to dine on.

My highlight was definitely dessert. I chose the tasting plate, and while I shared some spoonfuls with my companions, it was certainly an indulgence at $29.00 (though it was utterly delicious and I wouldn't hesitate to get it again). The Chai Panna Cotta with a petite citrus salad and pistachio shard was eye opening. I don't normally like panna cotta - it's a texture thing - but this was delicious, and the citrus salad, flavoured with ginger powder and mint was a delightful balance to the creaminess. I normally find white chocolate a little sickly sweet, but in the mousse served at salt, it was divine, and I loved the mini toffee apples that came with it. My favourite was definitely the triple chocolate semifreddo with crushed praline which had a great balance of cocoa and an added dose of nostalgia with the coconut wafer served with it. I'm sure you'll agree it was beautifully presented.

There was quite a delay before we were served all our courses - 45 minutes from ordering before our entrees arrived and about 20 minutes between entree and main, though it was a relaxed gap before dessert was served. I expect most of our issues were due to the first night of a new menu being served, and I would certainly be willing to try the dinner menu at Salt again. With a couple of glasses of wine, a coffee and tip, my bill came to $80.00, so my main concern would be the prices, as I think at this level, there are other venues in the area that offer stiff competition on the flavour and style stakes.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

All views are my own.

* post has been amended to reflect the correct pricing of the ciabatta entree at $7. The originally price quoted $17 was taken from the Salt online menu which has also been amended. Having checked the bill, we were charged the correct amount.

Bay Beats is on!

The inaugural Fraser Coast Music Fest has started! There's a great line-up, hope to see you there...

While it's too late to effuse about Frank Benn, I'll definitely be in front of Stage 1 for Forbidden Road, Arcade Vandals, The Bobkatz and Dogwood Crossing. Come find me and Pickle!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Friday, 31 May 2013

Tiny Chaperone (Dating as a Single Parent III)

Dating as a single and "older" Mummy is definitely different from my dating experiences when I was in my 20s. Gone are the cocktails. The requisite sky-high heels. Late nights, when I only worried about getting the last train home, and - depending on the day - the necessity to drag myself out of bed for work the next morning.

These days, it's scheduling coffee or lunch (hopefully) while Pickle is napping. I used to think people shouldn't introduce their kids to prospective partners until at least a few months into a relationship. As a single parent, this just isn't an option - for me anyway. Pickle goes to nursery twice a week, which is great for his development and also gives me time to study for my counselling degree, hunt for a student placement/work role and do a spot of procrastinating blogging. I have to stay focussed on my work days, it would be too easy to fritter them away.

Both Sparky and BigTed are single Dads, so they are both pretty understanding. BigTed and I have had dates at the local playgrounds and gone for cycles. Sparky took us for a picnic and swim at a nearby tourist spot.

But here's the dilemma. I've now been on five or six dates with each of these guys, and haven't so much as held hands with either of them. I can't snog* someone with my toddler watching, that just seems so wrong.

It now seems like such a big deal as well.

BigTed has suggested taking me out for dinner for our next date. This would obviously require a babysitter. So do I divulge my private life to my parents? I know I'm an adult, but talking to my parents about dating makes me feel like an awkward teenager again. And that wasn't a great experience the first time around, so I'm loathe to experience it again. My lovely friend Deb has offered to Pickle-sit should I need it, but I hate asking for favours from people. While they adore each other, I want to make sure it's a worthwhile endeavour... is BigTed worth it? Or should I take the opportunity to have an evening date with Sparky instead? The resounding response on both the blog and Twitter was definitely in BigTed's favour last time, so perhaps the universe has already decided?!

So how do other people do this? Is the lack of snogging* surmountable?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

* for the non-English readers, that means kiss (pash for the Aussies, but I hate that word with a passion - no pun intended)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Auraview - Last Band Standing Winners

I'm just home from a sensational night at the Last Band Standing (battle of the bands) at Hervey Bay RSL. The finalists were all superb, and I'm thrilled that one of my favourite bands of the night, Auraview, won!

The event was a great showcase of live music talent available in the area. Original songs, energetic and tight execution. Just brilliant.

Arcade Vandals put up tough competition. There will be another chance to see them at the Fraser Coast Music Fest. I'm hoping that Auraview will also be performing there (no confirmation yet, so fingers-crossed please). Unfortunately I missed most of Locus, as the venue was at capacity and I had to wait until enough people left before it was my turn to enter, but I heard good things from others in attendance.

I'm absolutely buzzing after a great night out.  Big thanks to my Mummy for babysitting Pickle, so I could have a cracking night out.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Eye-candy alert!

Sporting prowess, absolutely. But let's be honest, there are going to be some seriously hot guys (and girls, I'm all for inclusion) at Seafront Oval this weekend.

Three-time Olympian, Joshua Slack, will be amongst those competing, as detailed in this Fraser Coast Chronicle article.

Another free event.... Pickle will have a blast watching the balls bounce (minds out of gutter people!)

I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours over the weekend... A Mothers Day present to myself perhaps? ;)

Date:  Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May, 2013
Time: from 9am round-robins Saturday and 8am finals on Sunday*
Venue: Seafront Oval, corner of Main Street and Charlton Esplanade, Pialba
Cost: FREE!

Hope to see you there!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

*launch information, timing to be confirmed

Saturday, 4 May 2013

What if being straight was frowned upon instead?

I've mentioned before that I'm an advocate of the LGBT community, especially around youth support. As someone who empathises with the LGBT (GLBTQI) community, I thought I "got it". That is, until I saw the Love is all you need? video (below) earlier this week. It affected me so deeply, I was a sobbing mess by the end of it. And I'm not even hormonal at the moment. 

I almost didn't watch it, the premise is a little cheesy and it is quite long. But I'm really glad I stuck with it, as it is beautifully rendered. A simple concept, the genuineness displayed through both the writing and acting, allows this to avoid the cheddar territory.

So I'll take this opportunity to give you an early heads-up that WEAR IT PURPLE DAY 2013 is FRIDAY, AUGUST 30thThe last Friday in August is set aside to support rainbow young people, as everyone has a right to be proud of who they are.  Register your interest, be kept up-to-date or get involved by clicking here. Rest assured, I'll be making future posts closer to the date to remind you.

Inline image 1

I'd love to know what you thought of the video? Will you wear purple on 30th August? Any ideas about hosting a Wear It Purple day?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

This is not a sponsored post, just something I believe in passionately.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Bay Beats

There's a music festival coming to Hervey Bay! I thought my days of attending easily accessible day or weekend long music festivals was left long behind me in London. So the inaugural Fraser Coast Music Fest on Sunday 2nd June, 2013 is a definite SilverLining in Pickle's and my new simplified life. Even better, it's FREE!

The day will be filled with music by local bands and artists across three stages. I've been somewhat - pleasantly - surprised at the level of home-grown talent. I've been lucky enough to see a number of performances in the five months since I moved to Hervey Bay, particularly enjoying Frank Benn, Dogwood Crossing and Sam Hutchinson, who will all be performing at the festival.

I'll definitely be taking Pickle along, as he loves listening to music, and it promises to be a family friendly event. There will also be stalls, rides, a kids activities tent, a car show, food, a bar, and a laser-light show finale, so it sounds like there's something for everyone. Tell your friends - if this year's event is a success, there are plans to expand it to a two-day festival next year... See you there!

Location:  Seafront Oval, cnr Charlton Esplanade and Main Street, Pialba (Hervey Bay)
Date:  Sunday, 2nd June, 2013
Time:  9:00am to 9:15pm

Are there any other local bands or artists I should be keeping an eye out for?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

This is not a sponsored post.

UPDATE:  Arcade Vandals are through to the Grand Final of Last Band Standing (battle of the bands) and are confirmed for the festival.  I've been told they're a good band to watch, as is Auraview (also through to the Grand Final).
Anyone know if Auraview will be at the festival?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dating as a Single Parent (II)

I want to subtitle this blog: Good Grief, he's a Muso.

But that would be getting ahead of myself.

I get few moments of non-toddler sanity peace and quiet most days. One day a week, I take Pickle to a swimming class. He inevitably has a bite of lunch after his lesson, we splash in the outside pool and slides and then more lunch... before Pickle slips into a deep and lengthy sleep (I consider anything over 45 minutes a lengthy nap these days). I then sneak in lunch with a friend, or a peaceful coffee on my own, while Pickle sleeps in his pram.

I chose a new venue for lunch recently; there are many cafes along the Esplanade, and I'm slowly working my way through them. It was buzzing, and I managed to grab the last table as the previous occupants left. Perusing the menu, I was approached to see if I'd mind sharing the table. And that's when I met... let's call him BigTed. Not only does the Aussie Play School connotation appeal due to my new locale, but this guy is tall - a foot taller than my meager 5'2, solid and age appropriate (in a town filled with backpackers and OAPs, this final point is not to be sniffed at).

We started chatting. He made me laugh. And then I found out he's a muso. Good grief. I've never been one to desire the proverbial "I'm with the band" t-shirt. Especially now that I'm a single Mummy. OK, so this guy isn't only a muso, he's an engineer too. And a Dad. But I can't quite get past the muso bit.

He offered to take a competition card to the cash register for me. And then gallantly paid for my lunch. I was disappointed that he didn't ask for my number, so was glad when he texted me later that day to see if he could take me out again. He'd lifted my mobile number from the competition card... Ingenious or stalker-like? Perhaps I should name him ScaryBear instead?

Should I run a mile from this muso? Or embrace the creative?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Family Fun Day

I am living in an absolutely beautiful part of the world right now. Kilometres of pristine beach for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, stand-up paddle-boarding (I really need to try this one), kite-surfing*, windsurfing, kayaking** and sailing. There are two great bike paths, a more direct one that runs through the centre of town (that I use most often) and a meandering but more scenic one with stunning views out over the Pacific Ocean.

And while there are loads of activities and events, there seems to be little effective communication. There are three local papers, but they often seem to report what already happened this week - and I often think "Pickle and I would have liked to have done that". With that in mind, I have plugged into various Facebook pages, websites and e-newsletters with the hope of keeping on top of events that both Pickle and I would enjoy, and will share them here in the endeavor to get the word out, and maybe even make some more friends in the community.

The next free event that I've come across is the Family Fun Day put on by the Hervey Bay Community Centre. It sounds like a blast with loads of games and activities planned: jumping castle, face painting, music, dance, market stalls and a sausage sizzle.  Hope to see some of you there!

Location: Hervey Bay Community Centre, 22 Charles Street, Pialba
Date: Saturday, 11th May 2013
Time: 10am to 3pm

I'll keep you posted with upcoming events. There will likely be a focus on kid-friendly and foodie events (where my obvious interests lie), and while not all of them will be free, they will be budget-conscious.

Are there any types of events in particular that you'd like to know more about in advance?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

*does it count that I held on to the back of my friend doing this, and only let go when we really started to fly?
**planned for the near future - if it's not too embarrassing, I may blog about it. Actually, if it's really embarrassing, I'll probably blog about it sooner!

This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Dating as a Single Parent (I)

I've been dating.

I've mentioned the tragic date with the semi-toothless guy and being propositioned by Dr. Coy... But thankfully there are some slightly more eligible and attractive male specimens in Hervey Bay. Some of them are even below OAP age!

In my past dating life, I used nicknames for my dates with my friends. The main purpose it served was as an easier way for my friends to distinguish them - BoyWonder was named not only for his age, but also because he had a bit of Clark Kent going for him. I intend to keep the tradition going, with the added benefit of providing a privacy protecting pseudonym for my suitors.

Two contenders stand out so far. Both are single Dads with shared care for their kids.  The first we'll call Sparky. He's a lovely guy, thoughtful and relaxed.

I found it a little weird that he didn't know what a blog was though. I get that someone might have never read a blog (though I am struggling with getting my head around this alone). But to not even know what a blog is? I'm pretty sure I ballsed up the explanation too. His sense of privacy means he baulked at the idea of blogging at all... So not sure I'll divulge his inclusion here. He's also not particularly open conversationally - though we've had great discussions about travel and a bit about food.

He's also doesn't eat red meat. Not a deal breaker in it's own right, but don't lecture me about my food choices. Someone pass me a steak knife please...

So Sparky should give you an idea of his line of work. I don't really care what someone does for a living, as long as they enjoy it and find it challenging or inspiring. Obviously not every day can be blissful, but otherwise slogging through a third of each day would be tiresome at best. But Sparky dropped into conversation that he's the boss, along with the properties he has invested in. I'm not sure if it's a nerves thing, where he feels the need to "big" himself up, but I've found it a little off putting - red-flags are flapping as previous relationships featured guys with underlying insecurity that manifested as bragging and arrogance, which eventually got directed towards me. So no thanks as a general rule. But we'll see. At worst, I'd like to keep him as a friend.

Details of my other suitor will have to wait for another day.

Being the boss and owning properties should logically be a draw-card, yet I'm finding it a turn-off... Am I nuts? 

Am I being naive thinking I can stay friends with someone I've dated briefly?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Man in the Moon (aka Happy New Year!)

Today is my New Year. The start of a great year after a year liberally dosed with a fair amount of crap*.

A year ago yesterday (or the early hours of this morning given the time difference in the UK), BoyWonder said that he wanted a divorce. I've moved on in a number of ways: location, attitude, outlook... and there has been a lot of self reflection, which is obviously an ongoing thing. I've also had time to reflect on past relationships and experiences.

A lifetime ago, I was engaged to a(nother) boy who couldn't see the man in the moon. Not a deal-breaker, you might think? But being able to see the "face" in the moon came to represent a level of imagination, dreaming and playfulness. I said to myself that I'd never go out with someone who couldn't see the man in the moon again. But then I married him. Perhaps it was doomed from the start? OK, that's not really giving either of us enough credit, but I can be a bit blithe in my own blog I hope?! A fortune teller in Hong Kong about 8 years ago may agree though, but that's for a future blogpost.

So while it might not be a first date question (because, quite frankly, they might think I'm even more nuts than I am a little nuts), I think I will be asking it pretty early on in any relationship. Will I base views of longevity on the answer? Probably not as a knee-jerk reaction, but it will certainly influence my thinking long term. So while I may not walk away immediately, I'd probably start extricating myself pretty quickly. 

So do you have any left-of-centre deal-breakers? (I can't be the only one?!!)

Cheers, KangaRue :)

*the year has had a lot of positives too - Pickle constantly amazes me, I've watched friends get engaged and married, had some awesome times with both friends and family and met some fantastic new friends too.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Simplifying Life (64/365)

I've been amazed at how little I've needed or missed of our "stuff" while it's been shipped from the UK. My Mum has leant us some kitchen essentials and linen, and while I do miss my memory foam mattress and 4-season duvet, and constantly reach for kitchen items we don't currently have (making pizza without a cheese grater was interesting)... Having far less choice of clothing has been liberating. I miss having some more of Pickle's favourite books to read (it's a good thing I like The Gruffalo) but he's got more than enough options for toys - I've been dreading where to put everything when it arrives!  I could do with a couple of extra tops and shoes, but everything seems such excess in hindsight.

And then, via Twitter, I discovered Free Our Kids - this Mum has set herself the challenge of not spending anything for a year on stuff for her son (food and medicine essentials aside of course). I've often dressed Pickle in hand-me-downs and bought second hand for him to wear and play with, it's certainly made me think hard about other excesses. We have been living frugally, and will continue to do so - moving from the UK to Oz has been expensive. Though the cost of buying our mattresses alone in Australia has almost matched the cost.
64/365 - Drowning in a sea of boxes

Having unpacked about two-thirds so far, there is only just over a box marked "garage sale". Mind you, I haven't started on our (mainly my) clothes yet *gulp*.

I have been investing in swimming classes for Pickle, but other playgroups here are expensive compared to so many free or inexpensive playgroups, soft-plays etc.  in London - not to mention the FREE museums and galleries that are already sorely missed. The Hervey Bay Cultural Centre doesn't quite match up *stifles snigger* - though the DO get some good exhibitions, on occasion.

We are going car-free as soon as my Cargo Bike arrives (blogpost on that drama soon, promise). I'll still have access to my car when it's needed - trips desperately seeking culture and old friends in Brisbane and Sydney for example - but as well as the Grandparentals needing to use it, I really don't want the responsibility or the expense.

So while not spending anything on Pickle for a year would be a bit too much of an additional challenge at the moment, it's flagged my attention to some excesses in our lives that can be moderated. 

Most importantly, I don't want Pickle growing up believing he needs material possessions to be happy.

There will be a garage sale in my near future!

Loving having a simplified life, so would be thrilled with any additional tips you could offer?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Introspection (Tough Times)

I'm very good at keeping myself busy. Busy enough that I don't have time for self-reflection. Not blogging much in February - not even my Project 365 photos - is another way to avoid this, as I find blogging carthartic.

However yesterday, my work day, I sat down to answer a number of emails and also do some blog work that had me writing openly and honestly. And last night I had a proper cry.

The past year has been tough.

This time in 2012, I was midway through a two month trip from the UK to Australia. Sounds idyllic, right? But travelling on my own with a baby was nerve racking. The idea of it was far worse than the reality, though I didn't get much sleep in the 36-hours of door-to-door travel.

We visited Sydney, Hervey Bay, Sydney again, then Perth. All in all, there were seven flights. Pickle is a well-travelled munchkin. The last week in Perth with the Outlaws, was some of the most relaxing. Though I was still paranoid about my Mother-in-law judging me, not least when a newly mobile Pickle bumped his head on the coffee table. True to form (from my experience, not the stereotype), my MiL was ΓΌber supportive and basically told me there would be lots more bumps and bruises and to let him get on with it.

So two days after arriving back in London, my then husband BoyWonder, announced that he no longer wanted to be married. This in it's own right was stressful as I'm sure you'd understand. But I still hoped we'd work things out. It wasn't to be, and our relationship counselling turned into divorce counselling on the second visit. Those fortnightly appointments were stressful too.

Meanwhile, remember I'm still raising an active and demanding baby.

So divorce proceedings with the ensuing paperwork, resigning from my job and explaining why, planning a relocation across the world... All while living in the same house as my ex; all stressful events right?

Don't get me wrong, BoyWonder and I have had the most amicable divorce of anyone I know - with the possible exception of my brother and his wife, who still run a business together. They were certainly our inspiration, but I doubt anyone wants to compete for that award.

I'm thankful every time I hear another divorce drama story. And there have been quite a few of those.

Leaving my adorable friends was certainly stressful. I miss them regularly. I've luckily made a few good friends already in Hervey Bay, but they can't replace the ones, in my heart, that I left behind.

Arriving to a "fresh start" (and remembering the 36-hours of travel with a now-toddler) wasn't quite what I'd anticipated.

I've struggled how to address the difficulties I've encountered, as it's not necessarily my story to tell. So I will cut to the chase and just say that, after an immense amount of additional and extremely unexpected stress, Pickle and I ended up living in emergency accommodation a week before Christmas. I'm lucky it was a house and not share accommodation - I'm really not sure how I would have coped with that (SilverLining anyone?!).

Trying to find rental accommodation was far more difficult than I'd imagined. It was just the wrong time of year and very few places were listed. It came down to the wire, as the emergency accommodation was only for ten weeks - I moved out the day before expiration.

I'd ordered a cargo bike as a car replacement. There were months worth of dramas there, which deserves it's own post and will arrive in due course. I'm starting from scratch on that front.

My shipping from the UK has been in the country since 5th January, but still hasn't been delivered. After chasing yet again, I found out yesterday that it's now "probably" due Monday. Which means I've had to reschedule appointments and don't have any childcare for Pickle.

Oh and I've got a frozen shoulder - an increasing interference and a painful one at that. Chiropractic treatment and one cortisone injection later (I've had to reschedule the second injection due to the imminent shipping delivery), I'm still in pain and I sometimes feel like I'm haemorrhaging money.

So that, in a nutshell, has been the past eleven months.

Yet, I'm still - relatively - positive. I'm enjoying a simplified life. I'm actioning my career change. Pickle has started day-care one day a week (hence my work day). I'm ready for him to be in day-care, which I certainly wasn't six months ago.

Sure, it's hard work being a single Mummy. I often don't get a break until an hour or so after he's gone to bed. But after washing up, folding laundry, putting his toys away, etc., I can have quality me-time. Or - most likely - quality vegging time.

And quite frankly, Pickle is frigging amazing.

So enough self indulgent rambling from me. Time to finger paint...

Cheers, KangaRue

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sydney Mardi Gras and LGBT Youth Support

I thought it would be timely, with the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade occurring tomorrow - and not due to my complete slackness of blog posting in February (yeah, right) - to comment on my friends vlogs and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) support.

My friend Brett is doing the slightly crazy admiral task of a daily vlog (video blog for the uninitiated). In a recent post he talked about gay youth support. Brett also referenced his brother Kevin's post which stated the irrelevance of whether sexuality is a choice. I wholeheartedly agree with both their posts. Kevin in particular makes some really well thought out and articulate posts about same-sex marriage.

I grew up in the unusual position of knowing a number of gay and lesbian family friends. I've only come to discover in adulthood, that this actually was unusual . I presumed most people knew someone not straight*.
As part of my counselling studies I undertook a research project focussed on the LGBT community. I was horrified to discover that it was an anomaly to personally know anyone LGBT before coming out; it was pretty much non-existent. This impacts who LGBT youth come-out to, and potentially unsafe introductions into LGBT life.

The presumption of heterosexuality and the need to come-out is a whole other discussion in itself. I wrote a paper on the negative impact homophobic-bullying (the second most common form of bullying after weight, in UK schools) can make on young people questioning their sexuality. The use of the word gay as a negative, is never OK.

I'm passionate about working with youth, particularly LGBT youth. But I'm wondering if I'm going to encounter resistance being hetero myself? Is there a place for a straight* but supportive person to work in a niche where I'll likely be the minority? I hope so, especially as I'm now living in a semi-rural community; I believe these kids need to know there are supportive people in the normal* world.

I love the Mardi Gras. I'm gutted that I'm not going to be there again this year, especially as I'm now in the right bloody country! But if young people only get to witness the extreme images, and not the day-to-day of openly loving families of all descriptions, then I will despair. For this very reason, I'm hugely excited that the Australian Armed Forces are finally able to walk in uniform. I have also explicitly told Pickle's nursery that I'm happy for them to discuss families of all descriptions.

I would love to know your thoughts? Will you tell your children's school that you're explicitly happy for them to discuss families of all kinds?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

* I could honestly rant for ages on the use of words like "normal" and "straight" in this context, but I'll spare you. For now.

Sleep Easy, Breathe Easy (Olbas review)

Before heading to sunnier climes, I was invited to attend an Olbas Round-table event, hosted by sleep expert and child paediatrician, Kathleen McGrath. Now Pickle hasn't always been the best sleeper.  Kathleen (who has also worked with The Sleep Council) gave advice that was logical and common-sense, but sometimes it's good to hear from someone "qualified" that I was doing the right thing. Since a couple of weeks before Christmas, Pickle began to Sleep Through The Night. Yes, this deserves capital letters, as I'd previously been surviving on less than six hours of broken sleep each and every night!

Any disruption to Pickle's sleep not only means we could both be cranky in the morning, but also that his recovery process will be longer. While he has a pretty good constitution, he has been prone to the odd cold, and is only just learning to blow his nose. Snot Suckers are fantastic - I'm sure there's a more official/marketing preferred name, but that's what I'm going with - we have a basic one, which looks like a miniature turkey baster. Totally gross, but strangely satisfying at the same time - a few other trusted Mummies agree, so it's not just me, OK! I've known of and used Olbas Oil with Pickle, placing a few drops on the corners of his cotbed sheets, as well as in his humidifier.

Made with a combination of essential pure plant oils, such as eucalyptus, mint, clove, juniper-berry and cajuput, Olbas products are formulated to help noses large and small breathe easy and aid in a good night sleep. What I didn't realise was the variety of products in the Olbas range. As well as the usual Oil, there is a lower strength version for children, an Inhaler, Pastilles and Lozenges, a liquid for the Bath (from 3-years old... so I might be pinching some of this for my own use) and Tissues (though I've been warned to make sure these aren't the only tissues in my bag if I'm caught short at a public toilet sans toilet paper - eyes wincing at the thought).

Here are Kathleen’s Sleep Easy, Breathe Easy tips...

And while we are in Oz, Pickle has had a night or two with a stuffy nose after catching a chill post-swimming or just from getting caught in the rain (it is the wet-season after all) - so I am very glad I decided to pack the Olbas Oil in our luggage.

I'd love to know any other suggestions you have to help kids with blocked noses? Or just assisting them to sleep better generally?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Disclosure: Sponsored post, though all views are my own.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dating for Dummies

I've mentioned before that I like the process of dating.  But jeez it can be a frustrating process at times.  I really wish I'd written down all the disaster stories pre-BoyWonder, so I'll be making sure to share the sagas going forward for your amusement.

I had an interesting conversation with my Dad recently.  He pondered why an attractive girl who was on a television show, would have to resort to internet dating.  I asked Dad how he met people in his day; "at dances", was his response.

Nightclubbing is not the same thing. People mingled and conversation was possible.  There is really no equivalent to getting your dance card filled these days.  But perhaps internet dating is the closest thing - eyeing up the intended party to see if you like the look of them, having the opportunity to chat to find out likes and interests, then deciding if you want to meet again in a more personal setting to see if you want to progress things further.

And as I pointed out to Dad, it is just one avenue to meet people.  Dances weren't his only way of meeting girls, after all.

I don't think he realised that I had indeed internet dated.  I actually met one of my past boyfriends this way - I won't "out" him, as I don't know who he's actually told... I'm aware not everyone is as forthright as me.  We are still friends - in fact, he makes a much better friend than he ever did a boyfriend (which will help some of you figure out who I'm referring to!).  And I expect he reads my blog, and I'll get a Twitter DM or email shortly *waves*.

Anyhow, I digress.  So I've internet dated.  I've even speed-dated.  The later I think is a somewhat ridiculous way to try and meet someone, though I did suss out some great tips on London restaurants, while also being able to immediately discount people who suggested Maccy-D's.  I think the chance of meeting a soul mate is fairly limited these ways, as a general rule.  But ultimately, I believe it sets the right frame of mind to be open to meeting people.

In fact, I've met two of my loveliest friends through the internet.  One, Cathy, followed my blog, and we got to talking on Twitter.  We met up on one of her frequent trips to London, and voile, our friendship was born.  We've seen each other many times since, she was at my baby-shower, spoils Pickle rotten, and she even flew to London for my farewell lunch.  The other, Deb, I discovered on Twitter once I'd moved to Hervey Bay, and was desperately searching for someone social media savvy in the vicinity; and we just clicked. Hmm, I share a love of good champagne and wine with both these girls... I sense a theme!

So while they're not dates, they are successful relationships spawned through the internet.  I don't claim to be an internet dating guru, but I can let you know how to impress me (or not, as the case may be):

  • smile in your photos. In one photo at the very least. Looking like a grump, even if you're trying to show your serious side, makes me think you've got absolutely no sense of humour
  • have teeth. I've actually shown up to a date, and met a guy who's four top front teeth were missing.  I have a thing about teeth - pretty sure this is due to my years of suffering braces - and just can not date someone with horrid (or non existent) teeth.  I obviously should have listened to my own advice in the first point.  
  • don't have a rant at how insincere/obnoxious/full-of-themselves all the women on internet dating sites are.  This is completely off-putting and I'm not going to reply to someone like this.  I don't even know you and I don't want to, if this is how much luggage you're carrying around.
  • actually read my profile.  Asking basic questions about things clearly stated is a big turn-off.  You never know, you might find some conversation starters in there!
  • show an interest.  I state that I blog.  I use the same name for all social media.  It's not hard to find me here, or on Twitter.  So far, one, just one, person has actually shown enough savvy to track me down.  Not in a stalkerish way (I don't think!).
  • don't call me "baby cheeks" or some other cutsey nickname.  You don't know me, and frankly, it's just a little creepy.  And I might barf.
  • drop any sexual inuendos.  Or worse, the blatant comments.  It's neither clever nor funny.  Again, you don't know me.  Where's the romance? 
  • Turn up on time, or call/message to say you'll be late.  Before you're actually late.  Basic manners, surely?  In London, the tube could be blamed for perhaps 15 minutes, but any longer - and in Hervey Bay, were it takes 10 minutes to get anywhere - there is no excuse!  And as someone with self-respect, I will leave.

So there's my Dating KangaRue for Dummies guide (Part 1 perhaps?).

Have I missed anything?  I'd love to hear any bizarre approaches you've received!  How DO people meet other singletons these days?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tickles (27/365)

Wow, it's been wet!  The rain was horizontal, the road outside was river-like (see video below) with a lake a couple of doors down.  A towel stuffed under the back door only slowed the flooding into the utility room.  So with flood, wind and tornado warnings, Pickle and I were stuck inside today.

After drawing, an animated movie, snacks, lunch and a nap, I became a climbing frame (this is not an unusual situation with my cheeky monkey).  But then the tickle monster came out, and Pickle's giggle was infectious.

27 January 2013

So glad I managed to snap a photo of him in full laugh!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Australia Day (26/365)

While the weather wasn't what I ordered for my first Australia Day in a dozen years, we still managed to barbeque with friends.  It was a nice chilled day, and Pickle obviously enjoyed himself - here he is all tuckered out after the 5 minute drive home!

26 January 2013

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Frogwatch (25/365)

After my previous Toadgate rant, I awoke to find this cute little fellow* on the front porch light.  Isn't he adorable, he looks so happy!  He's obviously a tree-frog and in his element, up high.  Unfiltered, this is his actual colour - gorgeous.

25 January 2013

He stayed all day, and only left again after dark.  Pickle said good night to him after his bath, but by the time we'd had a story, a little song and our night-night routine, the froggy had taken off.

Any idea what I can do to encourage him* back?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

*yes, I'm aware it could just as easily be a girl frog, but I'm taking literary license!  Besides, I'm not going to check, it might incite more girlie squealing.

Update: Definitely my favourite photo of the week, so I'm linking it up...  TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Toadgate (18, 23 & 24/365)

I can be pretty pathetic when it comes to creepy crawlies - I'll admit there have been bouts of girlie squealing on more than one occasion.  My Twitter peeps will know when a tree frog jumped in the house, I wasn't best pleased.  They're cute, but outside please!  I despise cockroaches, but if I've a rolled up newspaper handy, I can take care of those, along with some frustrations.

18 January 2013

But in Queensland, Cane Toads are the pest beyond exception.  These nasty critters not only eat native frogs, but kill household pets and wild birds as they're poisonous.  They're also damn ugly.  Most nights, and always if there's a drop of rain, I'm greeted by an army of them surrounding the house.

23 January 2013

It took me a while to learn how to distinguish them, besides not being a bright lime green like the tree frogs, they have a ridge that runs from each eye socket to the end of their nose.  The little guy in 18/365 was a baby between the sliding doors to the back garden... inside the house.  Not happy!  He got fried in the heat between the glass panes though (more's the pity).

24 January 2013

And they're getting bigger!

The traditional way of dispatching them is with a golf club, though that's frowned upon by the PC brigade.  Another option is spraying them with disinfectant - apparently they froth, swell up and dance a right old jig on their way out.  I'd love to know a hands-off, humane approach (I will not be picking one up in a plastic bag - I'd have to TOUCH it - and then put it in the freezer WITH MY FOOD... are people nuts?!).

Would love to know any of your suggestions, thoughts etc!

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

PS.  While I'll apologise for the lack of photographic clarity in these shots, they've been snapped with my phone, at night, and I'm not getting any closer! *girlie squeal*

Little Lie Down (22/365)

Pickle is not a fan of having sunscreen applied to him every morning.  But it's not an option in the harsh Australian sun.  I think he exhausted himself on this particular day, and crawled up on my bed for a LLD.

22 January 2013

Do you think he looks happy enough now that his ordeal is over?

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

Blue Peeper (21/365)

A friend told me about the Colour Splash app, where you can turn a photo into black and white and then add back the original colour into the photo.  This was just me mucking about with it.  It wasn't a close shot, so the resolution isn't great - will have to see if I can sort something with my camera, and I love how blue Pickle's eyes are.

21 January 2013

Cheers, Kanga_Rue