Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First time back on the bike

There I am on my beloved horribly garish pink fixie. Showing a lot of bum crack. I mean woah. I'm not sure I see that much of my own arse on a regular basis. It's been a year since I've ridden but it all came back nicely, which is surprising, because I have this appalling sense of balance. My step-ish-father maintains this fact. He did try to teach me how to ride my motorcycle. I think it was just too heavy. Anyway, I do hope I don't show this much arse riding to work on Monday, or I suspect I will quickly become some sort of cycling urban legend. The fat mum on a pink fixed gear. Something a bit ruder than that I'm sure. I'd ride a more normal type of bike to spare myself the ridicule from the painfully cool culture that comes with them, but they're just so much more efficient and easy to use. I used to like that cool culture. But it consists of too many skinny boys. Now I want to go incognito.  Urgh. At least I'll start losing the baby weight again. Yay! I need to lose the 10 kg that I gained. Anyway, I just need to keep looking at this photo to psyche myself up. Thanks to Josh for capturing it from our bedroom window. You really know how to get my good side.

The end of the holiday

All I can think about is that on Monday I go back to work for the first time in nearly 8 months. Sure it's only a couple of days a week. 
But leaving this little guy. The hardest thing I can imagine. I don't know how you other mothers working full time manage to do it all. And even earlier than I'm doing it! And you do serious jobs with long term goals and lots of paperwork! It's impressive and admirable. Working mothers deserve some kind of award. Like a licence to endless phone calls home and some kind of lackey to fetch you tea and biscuit whenever you desire them. Make it government policy. 
I think I'm just some sort of chicken. Hopefully I won't be so distracted in the kitchen that I cause myself or someone else injury. I'm already 50% likely to do that generally so...
On the other hand I am looking forwards to feeling more generally useful and productive again. Making rather than just spending money would be great. It would mean I won't feel so guilty about all those online purchases I make. 
But then again I'm terrified of the bike ride from here to South Melbourne. I haven't ridden a good distance in a year. I did try out my fixed gear bike and I remember it all fine and aren't likely to fall off, but my thighs feel like they are filled with rubber cement and bending over elicits a very unbecoming geriatric sort of groan.
All this keeps going round and round in my head.
I'll probably post again on Monday and I won't be so morose and I'll say work was lovely, the ride was good fun and Wolf survived without me. I hope!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dad Candy

You're going to call me a nerd-burger, I know. I'm totally pathetic. But I can't resist an awesome daddy-offspring picture.
Plus, it's a sign for changing times. If we were falling into a pit of self-indulgent sort of 'me me me!' attitude to life, where career and pleasure had to come before having a family, then these pictures can only be evidence of change! We can do both!

I mean, Anthony Bourdain. Drinking, smoking, travelling and typical cheffy bad language. Now super dad to Ariane. He quit smoking! If you've ever read his books or watched his show No Reservations, then you know that's amazing.
Also, popular actor Cam Gigandet. Generally I don't like his stuff much. Always some sort of broody, snarly, muscular, occasionally blood-thirsty villain. I thought it was just as well that they gave him a role in Twilight that resulted in his head being ripped off (hence no repeat appearances). But look at this. Admittedly I found it on Celebrity Baby Scoop. Yes, yes, pathetic. But it's Sunday morning. I'm feeling sort of sappy and bored. And this is in lieu of chocolate, because there doesn't seem to be any in the apartment.

Slings are great. They make toting a baby around look effortless. Her name is Everleigh Rae! Yes he comes off as a massive twat but look at that. Excellent daddy-daughter picture. I just wanted to share that with you. Now I'm going to toddle off and hide my red face.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby mothers looking good

I love that there is such a thing as maternity lingerie. And all the brands have such lovely foodie names like Cake and Hot Milk though the latter makes me feel slightly uncomfortable in the chestal area. If you're a breastfeeding mother and you're over flashing your average Bonds maternity bra every time you feed your child, go to Bloom Maternity because you can currently get 25% off not only lingerie but all maternity and nursing clothing with the discount code 'COSMO'. I wish I'd done this before I'd had Wolf and taken this stuff to the hospital with me so I didn't feel like the most enormous un-fashionable lump in the World.
As you well know, buying this lingerie will not make you look like this skinny bird without a stretch mark in sight (I think she's pregnant here. Very early. Wonder what she looks like now?), but it should make you feel quite good. This is the set I got. My grandmother used to say that wearing yellow or green made me look jaundiced but I don't care. I like yellow. I bought a very sexy black bra for a friend who is about to have her second child.
Don't let your partner think you bought the lingerie for them! This is confidence boosting stuff for you, retail therapy that helps you remember what it was like to be sexy. For yourself. I'm going to stop using correct grammar in a second if I haven't already. A nice maternity bra for $45 is a pretty good deal. It ends January 31.

Ben and Jerry's is here!

I have good news, particularly for my mother's group friends living in the vicinity of the Edgewater shops. Ben and Jerry's is here! Sure, it got prime time news coverage and everything, but where was the evidence that it had really happened? What is it about these American foodstuffs that make us go so crazy? From Reeces pieces (my dad used to keep a bag in his glove compartment) to Krispy Kreme donuts (remember the huge lines when they first opened?) there is something about shiny American food that is appallingly appealing. I'm guilty. I've used Junior Mint boxes as bookmarks. We first tried Krispy Kreme in London at Selfridges. A very attractive and charismatic black guy called us over and gave us samples. We may have talked about him for the rest of the trip. We're weird like that.
Anyway, Gavriel's Deli in Edgewater, is now a retail stockist of Ben & Jerry's take home and mini tubs! I just picked up a pint of Chunky Monkey this afternoon. Nice surprise for Josh. He doesn't deserve it after putting that hole in the wall that required the electrician to come and re-wire our hot water system, but I'm kind and generous to a fault. Yes, I hear you laughing. You all know it's not true. Admittedly he has already been punished. I have creepily perfect aim when I'm angry, and I managed to pin a clothes peg to his nipple through his t-shirt without really trying. Emma - 1, Josh - 0. I'm supposed to be talking about ice-cream. To find your own local stockist of Ben & Jerry's, there is a website with a list of every store, and there seem to be a decent number so it shouldn't be hard for you to find a very convenient local.
Currently Gavriel's is out of stock of their larger tubs, but they have a huge supply of mini tubs and a good range of flavours. Next week they get their Ben & Jerry's fridge and plan to order the full flavour range available in Australia!
This is possibly the best news about living here that I've heard since we moved. Not even my neighbours leaving an empty pram at the bottom of the stairwell and letting their children run around shirtless wielding electric fan bases and rocks can ruin my happy glow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Post-Christmas Christmas

I do hate sitting here waiting for the electrician. They always give you a large space of time in which they might drop in and see what the big problem is. Hence sitting here, not in pyjamas, with a vaguely tidied apartment, waiting. So I'm looking through some recent photos. On Sunday Josh's mother's side of the family had their usual post-Christmas Christmas get together. It's a pretty good idea. Take away the stress and compacted necessary activity of Christmas eve and day, but keep the decorations, good food and good company. Even the music. Though someone axed that pretty quickly. Wolf was surprisingly well behaved and napped properly even though he was in an unfamiliar house and it was quite noisy. Leaving him his dad's smelly t-shirt in the cot definitely helped!
Perhaps the oddest thing of the day though something only mentioned between Josh and I, was the fact that the room Wolf slept in houses 2 or 3 snakes (I'm not sure really. I saw two but there were three tanks and one had a very impressive shed skin in it). Sure they're well locked up and properly fed and everything, but it's a funny thing, to think of putting your nearly 7 month child to sleep in a darkened room with snakes for company. Wolf of course didn't register any danger. I would have liked to show him the snakes but we forgot. He didn't much like the dogs though. Dogs and baby stared at each other not knowing what to do. Wolf touched one and then freaked out. I think we're just lucky he didn't try to pull it's hair or it's ears or try to bite it.

Josh bought me a beautiful trifle bowl from Queen Vic market on Friday so I thought I'd honour it with yet another trifle (but technically it's the first one of the year!). Christmas day's was a Peach Melba trifle, so this one comprised sponge fingers soaked in rum sugar syrup (this Christmas I think I'll make my own sponge), egg custard, strawberry fool and sliced mango. It went down well! I think Josh's grandmother had three bowls.

I also made some pudding truffles. I'd been eating a lot of commercial ones during Christmas but figured it's a pretty simple thing to do. Citron peel and sultanas soaked in brandy for a week with a hefty dusting of cinnamon. Puree and mix through a dark chocolate ganache. Roll in proper cocoa. They admittedly look like little turds. Many jokes abound about them coming out of Wolf's nappy (if that was so they would have been orange or green, not brown). The flavour is pretty good. Not to sweet and a bit more pudding-ey than chocolate. I definitely made too many because I took some to mother's group as well and I still have a boxful of them sitting in the fridge. Must learn not to automatically double recipes before I've attempted them. I think I need to ban myself from baking and confectionary because eating this stuff is not helping my baby weight go away. But work is less than a month away and that will include a lot of running around and riding my bike to and from, so perhaps I'm off the hook. That's what I'd like to think anyway.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Corky Goodies

A few days ago Josh, Wolf and I made a rare trip to the Flinders Lane shops, to have a sticky-beak at our old haunts, but mostly to drop in on Godfather Louis at Corky Saint Claire. It was very impressive to see Louis manning the shop on his own while his boss is on holiday! So professional and courteous; it's lovely seeing friends in their professional element, like a whole side of them you never knew. A bloody lot of people visited the store and in the end it seemed like someone always bought something. Josh and I walked Wolf around the store and saw so many things we wanted! The lovely woodland creature motifs are irresistible. They have some owl, bunny and squirrel shaped lamps that we're saving up to get for Wolf's bedroom. And possibly one for our own.

What we did get was this beautiful hummingbird mobile. It's light, delicate and very pretty. I'm always so impressed by people making mobiles like this and having each arm perfectly balanced. Wolf already has three mobiles in his room so we thought we'd put this in the lounge, in front of The Lark's 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster. The metal birds themselves are so beautifully articulated.

The craftsmanship at Corky is always marvellous. From the jewelry, to home wares, to apparel, it's just enchanting stuff! Another special surprise of the day, Louis had kept my birthday present waiting for me. His, annoyingly, arrived via air mail the day after our visit.

Lovely Louis read my post about the rain cloud necklace and got it for me for my birthday! What a doll. What a thoughtful friend. I can't wait to wear this out. It's really stunning; there's something about the shape that is so pleasing. It's very light too. Thank you Louis.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Royal Botanical Gardens - Ian Potter Foundation's Children's Garden

This is a map of the garden from the RGBM's website. I love maps like this. They're so much like maps at the start of children's picture books, with enchanting names and soft colours. The garden itself might be the best place in Melbourne. I had no idea this thing even existed until we visited the Observatory cafe at the gardens.
With a large group of Josh's family, we trouped into the gated garden, immediately seeing a bunch of soaked children playing in a fountain and trees so varied and dense that you forgot there was a road immediately behind and joggers on the Tan.
Wolf is completely obsessed with trees, so this was amazing for him. Passed from one member of the family to another, we went around the Lavender Labyrinth, past the Wetlands and into the Bamboo Forest. The towering bamboo is incredible; though you know it is a planned garden even grown ups can't help getting swept up in the sense of secret 'discovery' and 'exploration' that ducking through tunnels of trees creates. If we were enjoying ourselves I can't imagine how much fun kids have there.
There is just so much to see and do and it gets children incredibly interested in nature.
The best part (to me) had to be the Kitchen Garden. It is such a beautifully planned raised bed food garden; I want one just like it someday! They are growing a huge number of things. From memory: corn, artichokes, capsicum, cabbage, radish, chives, onion, garlic, purple asparagus, zucchini, parseley, Vietnamese hot mint (which I let Wolf smell, which he didn't like), lemon, persimmon, tamarillo, passionfruit, strawberry, grapes, currants and probably another 20 or 30 things that I've forgotten. Just loved it. Must have walked round and round a dozen times. Can't wait to see it in the Autumn when everything has ripened! You're not supposed to eat anything though; but I suppose it happens irregardless.
The Children's Garden really is the most enchanting place I've ever been to. Can't wait till Wolf is old enough to be running around exploring in there himself.

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