A NEW BLOG!

Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.

Drop by anytime. :)

Jodie
xox

Monday, March 19, 2012

A New Blog

Well, hi.

I know that many of you will be shocked to suddenly find a post of mine pop up in your reader or your email Inbox.

Surprise!

Firstly, thanks again for all your support last November when I wrote my last post here. Time has flown since then, right? (Belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that.)

Anyway, I'm just here to tell you I've just started a new site. It's not going to be another Mummy Mayhem. I couldn't do MM again. It'll be a little different, and on a smaller scale.

But I am back on the merry-go-round. Sort of.

Maybe I'll see you there?



Thursday, November 10, 2011

(Indefinite) Pause (Updated with a Thank You!)

image
I was watching the movie Julie & Julia the other night. 

It's the first time I've seen the film since I saw it in the cinema close to two years ago. The movie - about Julie Powell, an American government employee who starts a blog about cooking her way through Julia Child's book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking - was rather timely for me back then, as I'd just started Mummy Mayhem. I went with friends, and it was great for them to see how the world of blogging can give a person focus, confidence, support, opportunities, personal drive and allow that person to indulge in a love of writing. At the time, I couldn't stop writing posts in my head, and I was becoming more and more heavily tuned in to the world of blogging.

In the two years since I've started this blog, I've had some wonderful opportunities. For example, I would never have thought (nor expected) back then to be sent so many wonderful products, and have my opinion valued. Or to some day be paid to write. And I most certainly could never have dreamt of the day I would see my name attached as the writer of a magazine article. Nor did I bank on making some wonderful (and eventual real life) connections, and finding a community I felt I belonged to.

For the most part, the blogging world is a very supportive, positive and engaging community. However, in truth, it also has a not so pleasant side. Competitiveness, insecurity, jealousy, snobbery, exclusiveness and plain old nastiness rears it ugly head in this online world at times. Thankfully, this is the exception rather than the rule. But as much as it saddens me to admit it, I think this is because you can't get a bunch of women (mostly, in my blogging world anyway) together without a bit of this stuff to deal with on occasion - in any situation. There are days the blogosphere feels not unlike high school. It's just that the 'students' carry laptops rather than books, and the bullying appears in the form of a very under the radar type blog post or tweet or status update on Facebook. Rather than passing notes, bloggers email, or direct message each other on Twitter, or they bitch chat on Skype.

Same dog, different leg, as my father would say. ;)

However, even though I've become increasingly...disappointed, I guess, about this side of the blogging world - and, to be honest, it has probably (over time) partly contributed to my decision to a certain degree - it's not the only reason (not by far) that I have decided to shelve Mummy Mayhem indefinitely.

In fact, there are numerous reasons. All of which have floated around constantly in my head over the past month or so as I have contemplated this decision. I waited to do something until now, because I wanted to be sure.

So now I'm sure.

Julie & Julia made me realise how less enthusiastic I am about blogging these days. To be honest, I just haven't felt the need to blog like I used to in the past. I know those of you who have followed my blog for a while, and have seen me pop up on yours, have already noticed how less present I am in the online world these days. For at least the last few months or so, I've not spent much time on Twitter, and I'm not getting around to reading blog posts nearly as much as I used to. I guess life...that is, the one that exists in the real world...has been keeping me busy (as well as entertained), and more and more I'm drawn to it, rather than the world I've spent the last two years immersing myself in from the comfort of my laptop computer. It feels likes, in the beginning, I needed my blog, but now my blog needs me. I don't mean you need me. My blog does. It feels a little more like work than pleasure these days, and it was never supposed to feel like that.

And so, I'm hanging up my keyboard, so to speak, on my blog for a while...maybe forever...I'm not sure at all at this stage. Perhaps the need to write regularly here will suddenly take hold of me again, but for now, I'm happy to hopefully do a little freelance writing here and there, write in my journal (yes! I've picked one back up that I started a while ago) and to hang out with the four-year-old before he starts school, as well as the rest of my gorgeous family during other times. Perhaps - now hold on to your hats, people - I'll finally find the bottom of that ironing pile I'm always talking about? (I know. How crazy is that concept?)

My apologies to those companies who have contacted me in recent weeks about products and events etc and are still waiting for an answer. Life has been full. And I've been away on holidays. I guess I also knew in my mind this was coming, and didn't want to take anything on.

And to those who have read this blog, who are reading now, and who read right from the beginning (Nomie, Amy, MeganThea and my gorgeous friends, Jen and Mardi and Sister C especially)...thank you for your support. Thanks also to Brenda who has done so much for the Australian blogging community, including me.

I won't be gone completely. I think I'll hang around a little on my blog's Facebook page, and on Twitter occasionally to let you know what I'm up to and to say hi. At this stage, I'm planning to update my recipe blog on occasion (quite frankly, it's a handy thing to have access to when we're on holidays and I can't recall a recipe)! And I'll continue to read my fave blogs too so I can keep up with their news. (That is, when I can.)

Thanks for the good times, ya'll. All the best to all the bloggers out there! :)

UPDATE: (17 Nov) I just wanted to say a very sincere thank you to all that have commented here, contacted me via email, Facebook and Twitter to wish me well. It means a lot to me. A. Lot. Thank you so much. xxx




Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New York - Day 8 (The Final Instalment)

It has taken me almost a week to write this, because I've been busy, tired and, now, ill (the dreaded cold one often gets after flying with a bunch of strangers).

We woke early on our final day in New York, and enjoyed our last sunrise from our hotel room (pictured).

After breakfast, we packed our bags. Let me tell you, it was quite the challenge packing all the shoes we'd purchased! Hubby almost forgot two pairs that I discovered in one closet. (A sure sign he already had too many!)

After checking out of the hotel, we headed down Fifth Avenue in search of a place to have coffee, but we couldn't really find anything. Eventually, we found ourselves at Bloomingdales - a very famous department store that I'm sure you've heard of - with the main aim to see if we could find Hubby some business suits. With our New York City Pass in hand (a booklet you purchase which allows entry to some museums, Ellis Island etc - we bought ours online before we left, but you can also pick them up in New York), we used our 15% off voucher for the store - allowing us the discount for the whole day. We were pleased to find the suits of Hubby's choice were already 25% off, and the 15% was on top of that! In the end, Hubby got two suits for less that the price of one here in Sydney. (Woot!)

After that, we headed to Magnolia Bakery, conveniently located near the Men's department at Bloomingdales.

Lovin' all the Halloween decorations.

I'd heard a lot about this bakery, so was excited to find it and indulge in a cupcake.

Red Velvet for me, Chocolate of some sort for Hubby.

They were yummy, but to be honest, I wouldn't say they were any better than some of the cupcakes I've had in Australia. Still, I loved the way the store was decked out. I was very tempted to buy one of their cupcake books, but resisted knowing that I already had some art books that I'd purchased from The Frick Collection that would be weighing my suitcase down!

Right after ordering our cupcakes, I looked up at the pies on display and found PUMPKIN PIE!!! I'm kicking myself now, because at the time I thought it would be silly to also order a piece along with our cupcakes, but I should have just done it. Even if we'd only had a bite each, it was only $4 a slice. After the shopping we'd done, it was hardly going to break the bank!

Next time. Next. Time.

By the time we'd finished up, and bought Hubby some new sunglasses (yes - Hubby did well from our trip), it was time for Hubby to head back to the hotel to collect his bags (he was on a different flight to me). I walked down Lexington with him until I found a shop that sold bags, as I knew I'd need a bit of extra space if I bought anything else. Whilst there, I picked up New York t-shirts for the boys. The shopkeeper was nice enough to keep my purchases with him so I wouldn't have to lug it around the shops with me. I farewelled Hubby (*sniff*) and made my way back to Bloomingdales. On the way, I checked out a H&M store where I found a couple of nice (inexpensive) tops. At Bloomingdales I bought MAC eye shadows (for only $15 each!) and some nightwear and knickers (as you do). I tried to get myself some jeans, but for some reason, I just couldn't find the right ones for me in New York, so I gave up.

I headed back towards the Rockefeller Centre to take a look at the ice skaters. It seems much bigger in the movies!



Then I went in to the Lego store right next door and picked up some Lego products for each of the boys. (Much cheaper in New York. Was tempted to buy more for Christmas, but I just didn't have the space. Sorry boys....Mummy's clothes kinda came first!)

By then, I was hungry and a little over shopping. I returned to the hotel to drop off my purchases in my new bag (which I had picked up on the way to the Rockefeller Center), and wandered off in search of some food. I found a cafe around the corner from the hotel where I had a beef sandwich that had SO much beef in it, I had to remove half of it! (It was delicious, though.)

Then I re-packed my bags and headed to the airport. I tell you - I worry a lot about flying, but I figured if I could survive a taxi ride to the airport, I'd be okay. (Talk about a wild ride!) Fortunately (or perhaps, unfortunately - I can't quite decide), my Qantas flight wasn't affected by the industrial action, so I left on the right day and on time. (Hubby had booked me in a few more nights at the hotel just in case my flight was still cancelled, and I was quite excited about the prospect of a few extra days in New York! Ah, well. I was also ready to see my boys again, so it worked out okay in the end.)

When I finally returned home on Wednesday morning, the big boys were at school, and the four-year-old was at his sports class. When he got home, he walked straight in to my arms and just held me for a very long time. He didn't leave my side all day. (Gorgeous.)

I picked up the big boys from school that afternoon. They weren't quite as excited to see me (*sigh*), but were soon VERY interested in what I had for them on their return home. (Not surprisingly, the t-shirts and FDNY keyrings I bought them were hastily pushed aside in order to get to the Lego.)

The trip was amazing. Hubby and I are already talking about doing another one next year (and I simply must get back to New York - I never did get that bike ride in Central Park, and I have a long list of things I still want to do)!




Monday, October 31, 2011

New York - Day 7

Well, I'm sad to write, Hubby and I have come to the end of our last full day here in New York. *sob*

Last night, we headed to Spice Market in the Meatpacking District to meet a friend (and ex-colleague) of Hubby's.

I wish I'd taken a photo inside - it was really fabulous. (The photo on the right is the restaurant without the mood lighting. It looks lovely at night.)

The menu looked so comprehensive - and all so yummy - so we decided to leave it up to the waiter to choose three starters and three mains (or 'entrees' as they're called here - haven't quite worked that one out yet) on our behalf.

He was spot on.

The food was really amazing. We had small dumplings to begin with, followed by spiced chicken samosas with yoghurt, then beef skewers with a Thai basil dipping sauce. For main we had char grilled chicken with a kumquat lemongrass dressing, followed by a noodle dish of some sort (that was delicious, but I can't remember what it was!) and red curried duck. Nom.

Everything was downed with ginger margaritas. They were really yummy. :)

This morning, Hubby and I both woke early, so we decided to hit the road and take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is something I really wanted to do, and I'm so glad I did. Not only was the bridge - and the view - amazing (even with ice all over it...a little slippery in parts, but that didn't seem to stop the joggers!), but once in Brooklyn, we were quite surprised how gorgeous it was there.

We spent about three hours walking the streets of Brooklyn...


Ice, ice, baby.

View from a bridge.

Slippery...

From the ground up.

Near The River Cafe just underneath the bridge. Gorgeous!





How cool is this apartment block?

A gorgeous tree-lined street. 

We were going to stop for coffee here, however
they only accepted people (or aliens) for brunch.

We found a cafe where we could sit at the 'bar'.
We had apple pie. (Nom. Even though I really hoped for
pumpkin pie - I'd like to try that!)
With whipped cream from a can. (Er, not so nice.)

Just an example of some of the homes. 



My friend Sonia - an interior designer - would go nuts
along this street in Brooklyn. It had heaps of
home wares kind of stores with really funky stuff.

Afterwards, we took the subway to Soho for some lunch and some shopping. I discovered the joy and bargains of Banana Republic that I've heard so much about over the years - with 40% off the whole store today! Woot!

Soho was incredibly cool looking. I wish I'd taken more photos. (Too busy looking in the shop windows.)



We worked up a thirst trying on clothes, so we stopped off at a cafe for a Root Beer - a soft drink I wanted to try because I've heard it mentioned in so many American television shows etc in the past.

Dencorub...I mean, Root Beer.

When I opened it, Hubby said knowingly, "It tastes like Dencorub." (He's had it before.) Which is silly, because you don't drink Dencorub, right?

And guess what? It did! I can't explain it, but when you drink it, it's like there's Dencorub there. Bizarre! (I won't be having it again, I'm afraid.)

Tonight, our last in New York, we decided to dine in. We were too tired to get dressed up yet again and head out to another fancy schmancy dinner, so we cancelled our reservations. They do a great room service here at our hotel, and our package includes drinks and canapes, so we headed out for some of those earlier. Woo hoo! (Oh, and I'm not 100% certain, but when we were having our canapes, one of the Managers was showing a woman around who looked very much like Dawn French. I didn't have my glasses on, so I can't confirm this, but certainly people were looking knowingly at her.)

Tomorrow we plan to head out for a bit before we have to leave New York, so I'll update later in the week. I'm kind of hoping I can finally ride that bike through Central Park, but I doubt it's going to happen. As Hubby says, "You need a reason to come back." Too true.

Even though I've absolutely loved it here - it's such an amazing place - and it's been fantastic spending so much uninterrupted time with Hubby again after almost ten years, I'm really missing my boys and can't wait to see them on our return.

BIG KISS & HUGS, BOYS! xxxxxxx

And I'm looking forward to a coffee with you, Jen, and another catch up with you soon, Mardi. xxx

Thanks for reading, ya'll. See you back in Sydney!!!




Sunday, October 30, 2011

New York - Days 5 & 6

Yesterday, the sun returned to New York City, but boy, was it c-c-c-cold. Brrrr.


DAY FIVE - Friday

When I saw it was going to be 5 degrees yesterday, I couldn't believe what a change that was. And yes - it was really cold first thing.

We started the day with a bit of a disappointment. Our intention was to head to Ellis Island and view the Statue of Liberty up a little closer (we'd already decided we didn't need to go up the SOL or stand right underneath it - the view from the ferry would suffice).

We took the subway, which was fabulous because we finally found Grand Central Station. And WOW! Amazing to be standing in it...

The staircase is not on fire.
The sun was shining brightly thru the windows!





However, after we arrived at Battery Park (where the ferry departs from) we soon had to bail on that plan.

The first ferry leaves at 9.30, and we got there just after 9.15am. You should have seen the line! We just kept walking and walking and walking when trying to find the end of it, following the crowds around one side of Battery Park. It was ridiculous. (And this was with pre-purchased tickets, too.)

We waited in line for around 45 minutes, and then decided not to bother. At the rate we were moving, we calculated our wait before finally boarding a ferry (they leave every half hour) would be close to three hours, and we just didn't want to waste that amount of time in New York standing in a line.

I felt really disappointed at first. I was very keen to visit Ellis Island especially. That's where half of America's population can trace their roots back to, as it was the first port of call for all new immigrants when docking in New York by ship. Sigh. Ah, well. Another time, perhaps.

Even though I wore three layers, jeans and gloves, I was freezing after standing in line for those 45 minutes. Because we were so close to it, we decided to walk towards Wall Street, and then visit The World Trade Centre site.

Being at Wall Street was kind of exciting. I half expected Michael Douglas to walk down there (didn't happen).



There were a lot of barricades in place to keep the protesters out that have been frequenting there as of late. These guys were keeping an eye on things:



We found an upmarket food court and headed inside to the warmth and ordered a hot cup of coffee. It was interesting watching all the different people walk past, and before too long, this guy and a buddy showed up with their placards ready to protest later:



We left the food court with the intention of heading towards The World Trade Centre site, but instead found a shopping centre we've heard a lot about because of it's big value: Century 21. (Not the real estate company, Aussies.) We thought we'd head on in and check out the shoe section first, and oh my...the shoes on sale there!!!

Carrie from SITC's fave shoes less than
half the original price.

That's right. Badgley Mischka heels down to $90 from $200!


Hubby and I may have bought a few pairs. May I present Exhibit A:



But with Nike sneakers being only $30....who wouldn't, huh?! Amazing prices.

With a few too many bags to carry (as you can imagine), we had to head back to the hotel, deciding that we'd return later in the day and see the World Trade Centre site then, and do a little more shopping at Century 21. (No more shoes, though!)

On the subway on the way back, three guys jumped on to the train and one whipped out his guitar and they sang 'No Woman Don't Cry'. It was so good. If I could have gotten to my purse quickly enough, I would have given them some money, but I was cramped on the train, clutching two shoe bags!

I had a lovely chat with a woman on the subway, actually, and Hubby and I discussed later how friendly everyone has been. He said that when he first started visiting New York years ago for work, people were mostly cranky-pants (he didn't use those exact words, admittedly). They've been nothing but pleasant, I have to say, and I haven't felt threatened once. But I guess we've also been sticking to fairly nice areas on our travels too.

After some lunch at the hotel (we sat at Dustin's table ;) ), we had a quick rest before heading out again.

Once again, we hopped on the Subway and made our way Downtown to the World Trade Centre Site.

Unfortunately, if you want to see the site, you have to pre-book a pass online. We hadn't done this, and they weren't giving out any further passes that day, so instead we decided to just look at the construction and take in where the buildings would have stood. (Hubby, on past business trips to NYC, had been inside the World Trade Centre.) Then we headed across the road to a sort of museum set up for the WTC. It was very, very moving there.




This replica of the Statue of Liberty stood near a FDNY
station where many left tributes to those who died.

A model of what the site will look like when completed.

Afterwards, it was nice to walk and then indulge in something trivial...shopping.

My intention was to buy mostly clothes, and maybe some cosmetics. I use Clinique powder, and it was much cheaper at C21, AND they gave me a $10 coupon to spend in-store!

I really wanted a black overcoat, and I got one at half the usual price. There were heaps to choose from. I didn't buy any other clothes though, but I did pick up a new handbag. Or two. (I'm a sucker for the things, okay?)

By the time we got home, it was almost ready to head out to dinner.

We went to Nobu Next Door. Nobu is the restaurant part owned by Robert De Niro, situated in Tribeca. Nobu Next Door is an extension of that, if you like. It's...next door. ;)

Although the food was very good, I'm obviously getting old because I found it very dark and noisy there. It was like sitting in the middle of a nightclub. Lots of doof-doof-doof music. So, if you're looking for a nice place for a chat, this is not the place for you.

See what I mean by dark?!

Still, my Champagne 95 cocktail was DIVINE, and the food was really good. Pricey, but good. (For Salmon Sushimi you pay $5 per piece.) AND, I got to see a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge on the way in the cab. I fear we're running out of time (and good weather) to walk over it! :(

Seeing our booking was 9.45pm (yep - living like rock stars over here), it was a late night for us old folk. ;)

*     *     *     *     *

DAY SIX - Saturday

All the full-on activity and late night dinners obviously caught up with us. We woke up around 10am this morning!

We quickly raced down to breakfast. Boy, was it busy. It was raining again outside today, so we decided to head to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).

When we got back to the hotel room though, we still felt tired, so decided to take our time getting ready. Suddenly, I looked out the window and realised...it was SNOWING! Snowing, I tell you!



Wow. What are the chances?

Eventually, around lunch time, we headed to MoMA.

Fortunately for us, we had pre-purchased tickets, because the cue for tickets was huge. The cue for the coat room was also massive, so we avoided it by removing our jumpers, tying them around our waists and putting our jackets on.

Probably just as many were drawn to MoMA's large windows to
see the snow outside, as they were the artwork.

I headed straight to Level 5 where the more classic paintings and sculptures are (think: Monet. Again!).

Hubby reckons he's had enough of Water Lillies.
I'll never get enough of them. :)

Salma Hayak...I mean, Frida Kahlo. 

Not surprisingly, Van Gogh's Starry Night was a crowd pleaser.

Eventually I headed down to Level 4 where the art was a little too, er, modern for my tastes.

A room filled with striped fabric hung on the walls.
See the lady describing it in front?
"Isn't it amazing how the stripes are so...stripey?" 

Just what every white wall needs. Three paintings of...white. Er, okay...

However, I was excited to see a little Andy Warhol, including this print of Elvis. You're welcome, C. (My sister, C, has always been a big Elvis fan.) It's called Double Elvis. Natch.



Eventually, we got really hungry, so I reserved a table at a cafe on Level 5. We had to wait an hour (but could continue to tour the museum), but I have to say, it was worth it. For a museum cafe, the food was absolutely sensational! We started with a selection of five cheeses with red wine, followed by a very delicious trout salad we shared, then dessert. Hubby had a Bourbon and pecan ice cream, I had the Chocolate Fudge Marshmallow Sundae.

Nom, nom, nommy, nom, nom.

Oh, my...it was SO amazing. It's the first time, I think, I've indulged in dessert here, and what an introduction! It even had salted pretzels mixed through it, which sounds weird, but really, really worked. (Mardi - you were right - chocolate and pretzels SO go together!)

Tonight, we're off to meet another friend for dinner in the Meatpacking district, so I'll write about that tomorrow (*crosses fingers*). I'm quite certain I'll be too tired later tonight!