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 Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated.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.au.

Drop by anytime. :)

Jodie
xox

Monday, August 30, 2010

Adventures of a (Reluctant) Soccer Mum


This is it. The soccer season is almost over. Just one more weekend to go. Thank goodness for that.

The 8yo and 6yo play soccer. I have to say – the soccer season always feels ridiculously long to me. (And now I understand why my Ob/Gyn – a father of 5 – once told me he would sometimes pray for rain on Saturdays, just to avoid the whole sports day thing.) To be quite honest, I’m not the biggest soccer fan. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. When my niece (who is my age) dated a guy who played weekend soccer years ago, we used to head to all the games, and I loved it. There was something about sitting in the stands or lying by the edge of the soccer pitch, flicking through a magazine in between goals being scored that made for a lovely past time. And of course, players like David Beckham and Harry Kewell and the like are great to watch too. :)

Kid’s soccer on the other hand? Ah, well…that’s a whole new ball game. (So to speak.)

Have you ever watched a 5yo soccer match? If your kid isn’t playing, it might seem cute to watch a bunch of kids run around missing the ball more times than they actually kick it. However, when it’s your child, and you’re watching him standing there as the ball rolls past his feet, head facing up to the sky, tongue sticking out trying to catch a few rains drops, it can be nothing short of frustrating. Funny – but also frustrating. The 8yo’s first year of soccer was almost cringe-worthy. I mean, yes – it is cute to watch at times, but mostly, I stood holding my breath and willing my son to just run for the ball. (For the love of God, please.) 

Earlier this year, the 6yo – currently in his second year of soccer – even refused to play at one match. Thankfully, I wasn’t there that time, but Hubby was, and he ended up bringing the 6yo home early, because he couldn’t stand to watch him sit on the ground in the middle of the field, arms crossed in determination to not play a second longer. And I don’t blame him. Hubby or the 6yo, that is.

The 8yo had a couple of particularly shocking matches too. At one, he practically refused to play, because just that morning, he had decided his soccer boots were too tight. He didn’t discover this at training two days prior, or at the previous weekend’s soccer match – just that morning. And he went in to shut down mode on the field.

After purchasing new boots, he played a whole new soccer game. The other parents marveled at his progress, and I thought we had finally turned a corner. Then we got a particularly cold and windy day for one match (as you do, being a winter sport and all), and once again, the 8yo couldn’t function. He walked around barely able to get even slightly close to the ball, and no amount of explaining that if he ran he would actually warm up, was working. Having played netball for many years as a kid in the cold and rain (and disliking it intensely), I understood, and allowed him to wear his jumper during the match. But it didn’t do much to lift his game, unfortunately. 

And soccer training…don’t even get me started. We race home after school to jump in the car and head to the local park and stand in the cold for an hour, whilst I attempt to keep an eye on the 3yo and the dog. We had one particularly disastrous soccer training session recently.

Firstly, as we arrived and I was attempting to get drink bottles out of the soccer bag and keep an eye on the 3yo and the dog, the dog decided that the 1,249 trees surrounding the park were not up to scratch to pee on, and used the soccer bag instead. Great. As I attempted to clean it up and get the big boys off to their coaches, I looked up to find the 3yo MIA.

I scouted the oval, and after five minutes, starting to mildly panic - and just about to alert the media -  I suddenly spied him rounding the corner on his scooter, having decided today was the day he would attempt a circuit of the oval on his own.

I redirected him to the adjacent dog park, with strict instructions not to leave my side, and was telling my friend about the start to the day’s training session - in particular noting that the soccer bag was now drenched in dog wee - only to look down to see the dog taking another wee. On my friend’s boot. Which, not surprisingly, was on her foot at the time.

Seriously?

When soccer training was finished, the 8yo was complaining about some friends teasing him, and how they wouldn’t pass the ball to him, and the 6yo was getting angry because he couldn’t find his soccer ball. The 3yo was running towards the car – parked on the side of the road – and I was busy attempting to keep the dog away from any more bags or boots.

As I raced towards the 3yo, the 6yo – now tired and irritable after a long day at school and soccer training – was having a mini-meltdown over the fact that I chose to save my youngest son from almost certain death by a passing car, than wait for him to locate his soccer ball on an oval containing no less than a thousand children (probably a slight exaggeration) all with almost identical looking soccer balls (probably also a slight exaggeration).

Eventually, he found it, and made sure I was aware how annoyed he was that I didn’t help him – and I had managed to find the 3yo, not by the side of the road at all, but hanging out near the public toilets. Yeah. That’s a good place to be. The public toilets, now close to dark, at the local park.

We eventually all climbed in to the car, and I was just wrestling the 3yo back in to his seat after climbing over in to the front seat to ‘drive’ the car (and hence, play with every button he could possibly find in the process) when I suddenly whiffed something unpleasant. Uh-oh. Dog poo.

I immediately instructed everyone to check their shoes, and as I lifted the 3yo’s I discovered it. Great. Now it was not only on the floor and on his seat (and therefore, on him), but it was also on my seat.

I cleaned it all up best I could and drove home to collapse with exhaustion start dinner after cleaning the poo from the 3yo's shoes. Sigh.

But this past weekend made all the effort worth it in the end, because the 6yo finally scored his first goal of the season. He didn’t seem to understand how exciting it was at first, but I sure did. I jumped up and down like a lunatic, and the other parents quickly worked out this was the first goal. Then I watched as his friend lifted him in to the air in celebration, and the 6yo raised his arms in the air too, and I couldn’t have been more proud.

Still…after this Saturday, I’m glad to say goodbye to soccer for another year. The 8yo will commence cricket soon, and that’s much more my style. I’m quite happy to sit around in my foldout chair and chat with the other mums - the warm weather enveloping us as we sit in the shade of a nearby tree, relaxed after arriving to find plenty of parking spots nearby. No strapping on of soccer boots either, and no muddy clothes. Bonus.

How about you? Does your child play a lot of sport? Do you enjoy it, or find it a nuisance?

Jodie

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hot or Not? Mark Wahlberg

Friday is Hot or Not time on Mummy Mayhem...


Aaaah - Friday. Time for a glass of wine and a chat about which celebs out there are making us *sigh*. Or not. 


Last week, former 'bad boy' Robbie Williams got the thumbs up from a number of readers. Just goes to show that the bad boy can still get the girl. ;)


This week's choice, Mark Wahlberg (or, as some of you, like me, who are teenagers from the 80s might still call him: Marky Mark) has just visited our fine shores here in Australia to promote his new film with funny man, Will Ferrell - The Other Guys. Here's a preview:





Lovin' it!


Of course, you may recall that Mark was a member of the very successful boy band of the 80s and early 90s - New Kids On The Block and he was also the, ah, 'face' (*wink wink*) of the Calvin Klein underwear advertisements some years ago....




These days, he's more the successful movie star, having been in a number of films (I thought he did a great job in the movie he did waaay back in 1996 with Reese Witherspoon - Fear), as well as the producer of tv show, Entourage (which I LOVE - remember: we had Adrian Grenier on here a few weeks ago as well).


So tell me readers, what do you think? Is Mark Wahlberg hot, or not?




Oh, and if you haven't voted for my little old blog yet for Kidspot's Top 50 Bloggers - and you quite like my blog - I would really appreciate your thumbs up. You can vote HERE. THANK YOU! xxx


Jodie


* This weekly post was inspired by Insomniac Mummy's weekly Hot or Not. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother's Group - My Experience

Before my first son was born, I always thought I was going to be a mother’s group kinda gal. 


I imagined my mother’s group and I would get together each week and talk about the progress of our babies, exchange useful information and watch our children grow together. Maybe we’d even have 'baking days'. We’d form lifelong friendships, and so would our children. Our relationship would be supportive, encouraging and filled with understanding and empathy.

Imagine my disappointment then, when only 3 weeks in to my mother’s group meetings at the local early childhood centre, I realised that perhaps, in fact, this whole mother’s group thing wasn’t actually for me after all?

I recall the moment I had this thought: I stood in a room at the clinic with my mother's group surrounding me. It was wet and miserable outside. I was so, so tired. Our babies were lying in our arms, or on our laps, and as I looked around, I suddenly wondered what on earth I was doing there? What did we actually have in common – apart from our children?

Not unlike many mothers do, I was struggling a little at the time. I had a baby who wasn’t the best sleeper, had close to no routine (not for want of one) and fed at the most awkward times, leaving me perpetually tired (as most new mothers are). As a result, I found myself unable to socialise or even get out of my pyjamas most days. I was run ragged – probably averaging 4 hours of broken sleep most nights – and not used to the lack of sleep at all. I started to ask myself why I was ‘wasting’ my time with all these women I didn’t know, when I could be catching up with friends I had barely seen since the birth of my baby 8 weeks prior?

I had expected to feel supported, encouraged and less of a failure when I was with my mother’s group, but I didn’t feel that at all. In fact, I felt quite the opposite. All because of witnessing what the other mothers were doing around me.

There was the mother who walked in confidently to each meeting and held her child as though she was born with her baby attached to her hip. Seeing her move about with him, with such ease, made my own movements with my child feel awkward.

Then there was the mother whose 6-week old baby was already sleeping from 8pm though to 6am. When she announced this, she did so not in a sort of “so there!” way, but rather matter-of-factly. The women in the group on hearing this though, immediately laughed and told her how “easy” she had it, and in the space of five minutes, probably managed to alienate her from the rest of the group (you could see it in her face – she was shattered by their response, and never uttered a word about feeling tired after that day). At the time, even though I didn’t join in on the ribbing from the other mums, I admit I did feel a sense of jealousy that my son was such a bad sleeper, and I silently wished that I was in her position. The mother went on to describe how her baby hardly slept a wink during the day, and how she was finding this difficult, which the mothers promptly dismissed, and assured her that her life was “much easier” than theirs was – still getting up once or twice through the night to feed. (However, as someone who had the bad sleeper at night, and then the good sleeper at night who took only micro sleeps during the day, I completely understand now where that mother was coming from, even if I didn't at the time. Babies are far more hands on than you realise, and not getting a break through the day can be very difficult.)

There was the mother whose child always attended our meetings in the most beautiful ‘day’ clothes. At one meeting, the mother arrived and looked at all of us apologetically. “I’ve had such a busy morning,” she announced as she fell in to her seat at the table, “I didn’t get to change Charlotte out of her pyjamas this morning. I’m so sorry!” I looked down at my son lying peacefully in my arms, still wearing his Bonds suit that he had slept in the night before. His drawer at home filled with many of the same, just in an assortment of colours. (I had no intention of changing him, because he constantly brought up his milk, and when I didn’t have to change his clothes every hour or so, it was something of a miracle relief.)

Then there was the time I was standing around with my mother’s group, all of us holding our babies. I had my son facing outwards, and to keep him amused, I was jigging him up and down. And then he threw up (as he did all the time often did) all over himself, all over my arms and legs, and all over the floor. His constant ‘possetting’ of milk (for want of a better word, because ‘possetting’ always sounds like a small amount to me – it was not) was proving increasingly frustrating to me, and I longed for him to be like the other babies in my mother’s group who just drank their milk, and maybe had a little spit out afterwards.

Standing there that day, I felt like even more of a failure. I didn’t feel like me anymore. I felt more and more that both my parenting, and even my baby (I can’t believe I felt that way), were not up to scratch.

Of course, I was overly sensitive at the time. Everything seems ten times worse when you’re dealing with lack of sleep. I wasn’t seeing things clearly, and to be honest, no one even blinked an eye when my baby threw up that day. I was allowing my own feelings of inadequacy to see things that weren’t there. I was doing what many women do in various situations: I was comparing myself to others.

My mother’s group was not the positive experience I expected it to be. Partly, that was my fault for allowing myself to worry about what everyone else  - and their babies - were doing. (I even went out and bought nice outfits for my son to wear to our mother’s group meetings, so that I didn’t show up in his usual Bonds suits each time.) But most certainly, I didn’t walk away from those mother’s groups feeling good about myself. Instead, I left them questioning what I was doing and how I was doing it. Made worse, in my mind at the time, by the fact that my son was the eldest in the group, and surely I was the one who should have known what I was doing and therefore be the most confident? (Our conversations were quite competitive at times. "Whose baby is sleeping through?" "Is  your baby talking yet?") Surely my son should have been sleeping through first, and should have been rolling over independently before the others? (Ha! Having three boys now, I can now see how silly – albeit normal – thinking that was. Every child is different, and goes at their own pace, and the benefit of hindsight is incredibly helpful!)

Having said that though, I know many, many women who have great mother’s groups, and go on to have the kind of relationships that I had imagined I would have before my son was born. I know mums who, with their eldest child now 8 or 9 years of age, still catch up with other mothers they met through those first mother’s group meetings - and regularly. In fact, those mothers count some of those relationships as some of their closest. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen for me.

Yes - there were times that my mother’s group was a positive experience. All first time mothers, we were all going through similar situations at the time, and it was helpful to ask what worked for some and what worked for others. And initially, I did make one good connection with one of the mums, and we would often catch up outside mother’s group. It was nice to have someone to sit down at a café with and talk about motherhood over a banana smoothie, whilst our children slept in their pram (mostly). However, she then moved out of the city and eventually, our friendship waned.

In the end, my mother’s group went from meeting every couple of weeks, to every couple of months to a couple of times a year (and usually those get-togethers were organised by the same few – including myself – each time) to – what it is now – a quick chat should we bump into one another when out and about. I don’t think it was just me. I just don’t think our group ‘connected’.

However, the point of this post is to say that not everyone will feel as though they fit in to a mother’s group, and sometimes, some mothers will be competitive, and that can make a group uncomfortable, and not the positive experience it should be. I may now not have a handful of mums as friends from those early days, but I have certainly made up for it through meeting some great mums through my sons’ school. Even though I used to feel robbed of the dream I had so long ago, I don't feel like I’m missing out anymore.

It didn’t work out for me, but it works out for many, and if I had my time again – even with what I know now – I’d still give it a go. (In fact, when pregnant with my second son, I called the clinic to see if they had mother's groups for 2nd time mums. They didn't, unfortunately. They should! I'd have given it another go.) For many, a mother’s group is a great connection to the ‘outside world’, and can be a comfort and help to many new mums out there.

How about you? If you’re a mum – did you join a mother's group, and did you enjoy it? Do you still keep in touch with the other mums/dads? And if you’re a mum-to-be (Ami and Tina!) – do you think you’ll join a mother’s group? What are your expectations?

Jodie

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kidspot's Top 50 Blog Your Way To Dunk Island

Hubby and I are currently negotiating discussing our next family holiday.

We’ve had a few good ones in the past. There was the trip to Vanuatu last year: we stayed at a pretty nice resort somewhere in the depths of the jungle. It was my kinda holiday, actually. No cooking, cleaning or clothes washing. Yes – I still had to parent (darn it), but that was nothing compared to my usual workload.

The only downside was the constant fear of contracting malaria. We were armed with long sleeved clothes for evening dinners and had citronella…everything. Getting back in to our villa after dinner was nothing short of a highly planned tactical maneuver. Hubby would stand at the front door, with everyone lined up and then he would open the door and shout, “Go, go, GO!” waving everyone in before throwing himself through the door and slamming it shut. Yep. If you want anyone in the trenches with you, it’s Hubby.

Back in late 2003, whilst pregnant with the 6yo, Hubby and I flew with the 8yo to Coolum in Queensland. We spent our days frolicking in the sun and eating out. Then when the 8yo (then 18mths old) took his daily afternoon nap, so did we. The only downside to that trip was that daylight saving hadn’t started yet, and the 8yo used to wake up at the crack of dawn. Like, 5am. He used to eat breakfast at 8am back in those days, so finding 3 hours to entertain him before his daily Wheetbix was quite the challenge. But all in all – the holiday was fantastic.

Two years later, we even ventured to Italy with the 6yo and 8yo (then 18 months and 3yrs old, respectively). I thought we were really clever catching a 10pm flight out of Sydney. I reasoned that as soon as we got on the plane, the boys would be SO tired after a full day and late night, that during take-off they’d more than likely collapse in exhaustion, and sleep the whole way to Japan. Um, no. They were so excited being on a big, new adventure, the 6yo fell asleep only just after midnight, and the 8yo was up watching the on-demand movies until at least 1.30am.

Of course, the best was yet to come with the looooong flight from Japan to London and then the connecting flight to Milan. Why is it that the deepest sleep kids fall in to during a flight somewhere – wherever it may be – always occurs just minutes before landing? Huh? How do kids know how to time that stuff?

However, once there it was all pretty relaxed. And let’s just say a daily gelato was good for my sanity. It kept the boys quiet for at least 20 minutes – and the clean up afterwards was more than worth it. Although, there is a bit of a trade-off if they choose chocolate. (Just sayin’.)

My holiday wish list includes somewhere warm. Maybe with a kids’ club or at the very least, some activities they can indulge in (ie tire them out). However, as the weather starts to warm up, I live in constant fear that Hubby will suggest another sort of holiday that I have been successfully avoiding up until now.

The camping trip. (Brrrrrrr. Is it just me, or did it suddenly get chilly in here?)

As you’ve no doubt guessed, I haven’t completely warmed up to the prospect of living in “the great outdoors” for a few days at some stage. It’s my own fault really. When Hubby took the big boys for a one-nighter early last year, I was all for getting the Taj Mahal of tents, in light of the fact it seemed only logical that the 3yo and I would join in the fun later, and why waste money on something that wouldn’t go the distance? Hubby was dubious at the time. “You won’t want to go camping,” he accused. “Yes I will!” I protested, probably sounding a little more convinced of the fact than what I actually was. I started ticking off my fingers, “Firstly, there was the time I camped at Margaret River and…well, I camped there for a WHOLE week!” Hubby just shook his head in dismay.

You can understand my hesitation, can’t you? I liken it to looking back on what I thought parenthood would be like before I actually had my children. (Need I say more?) And hence, my concern about the camping thing. I’m quite sure it’s not going to be how I like to imagine it: lazing in my camping chair, reading a good book whilst my children frolic and play around me; picking flowers to place in my hair, my husband close by catching our dinner from the nearby waters that he’ll cook over the flames he built from scratch earlier; and singing songs together around the campfire that night, our bellies full with the fruits of the glistening waters of the nearby lake.

Yeah, right.

No. Give me a trip to some sunny, warm destination any day - with a bed, bathroom and four walls made out of anything other than an artificial fibre - and then I’m one happy camper.

This post is my submission for Kidspot's Top 50 Blog Your Way to Dunk Island competition. If you haven’t already, and you quite like my little old bloggy, you can vote for me HERE (pretty please!) or by using the button on my homepage, and help me win a family holiday which will almost certainly save me from that camping trip (pretty please with sugar on TOP). 

And whilst you're here - why not tell me about the best holidays you had as a kid, or you've had as a parent? 

Jodie

Monday, August 23, 2010

So, What's On Your Mind?

Here's what's been on my mind a LOT lately: it's now less than 4 weeks away to the big 4-0. 


You know - I've been thinking about my 40th birthday for years now (but more so as of late). As I wrote in this post, unlike some, I've never been too worried about getting older, and I've always planned some sort of celebration for the big day. 


However, as the big day has drawn closer, I've often found myself suddenly disillusioned with the whole thing - mostly due to the fact that I just couldn't decide what I wanted to actually do to mark the occasion.


Then after all this thinking about what I wanted to do, I suddenly realised it was August already, and my birthday was a mere month and a half away. Minor freak out!


Years ago, I always imagined a party - most likely held at home - and I was going to have a 70s theme (seeing that I was born at the start of the 70s and all). I imagined passing around hors o'dourves like my Mum used to make for her and Dad's parties back when I was a kid. Like toothpicks with cubed cheese, gherkin and pickled onions; home-baked quiches and 'little boys' (frankfurters on toothpicks, wrapped in bacon); and my favourite back then: a slice of white bread, crusts removed, covered in mustard and then a slice of cheese put on top and a couple of pieces of tinned asparagus rolled up in to it all, and held together with - you guessed it - a toothpick, and baked in the oven. Hmmmm. Delicious. ;)


But eventually, I went off the 70s theme idea. What can I say? It's a women's prerogative and all that. 


Then I went through a stage where I thought I wanted to take a trip to a tropical island of some sort with a bunch of girlfriends. You know, spend a few days lazing around a pool, sipping cocktails and then dining in sarongs or maxi dresses in the evening. However, I soon realised that that would not be a great idea. Firstly, it would be kinda nice to have Hubby with me as I reach my 40th year. Secondly, my close friends are made up of people I've known since high school, and a few I've met since living in Sydney, and not everyone knows each other. Awkward. After all, as we all know, just because you love someone and think they're great, it doesn't guarantee that another of your friends will see that person in the same light as you do. Life just doesn't work that way. 


So then I went back to the whole party idea. At the beginning of this year, I still imagined a party at home - catered for of course, and perhaps with a white marquee set up in the backyard (just without the 'theme'). There was just one catch: the 'home' I had in mind was not the home we are currently in. Our house is by no means 'tiny', but it's not big enough to have guests over and expect the kids not to get in the way. At the beginning of the year, we were casually looking at houses with a bit more space (our boys aren't getting any smaller with time), and there were a couple of times we thought we may have found just the right thing. (And each time, I could imagine myself at my 40th birthday party there.) However, the house purchase never happened, and in the end, we got tired of looking for a new place and eventually gave up the hunt. 


Hence, the party at home plan was shelved.


After tossing around a bunch of ideas in my head (harbour cruise? Nope. Don't like to get stuck on a boat. Local bowling alley perhaps? Nah. I want to wear a frock, and bowling shoes just doesn't go with ruffles I imagine. A dinner at a nice restaurant in a private room? No, I'd sit down and not get up and mingle. Just too darn lazy!) and then I realised something. Just like when Hubby and I got married, I had to decide what I felt most comfortable doing. You see, I think there's some sort of pressure, when it's your 40th (just like a wedding), to have a more sophisticated affair than what you had for your 18th or 21st birthday parties. And although I can behave quite appropriately in fine dining restaurants and at cocktail parties (I promise) - and enjoy them -  I'm more at home in a relaxed environment such as a cafe or at the local pub. 



So eventually, it hit me. It was obvious, and just last Thursday, in fact, I booked it. A venue where I also had my 30th (which is why it originally wasn't on my radar, I think). It's at a fairly local pub that has some nice function rooms and catering and a jukebox and...well, everything one needs really to have a pretty good time (and I can wear my frock with ruffles). Hubby and I used to live close by to there, and frequented it often in the early days after we moved to Sydney. We also met up with pals there the night before our wedding back in 2000 for a drink and we've had some great get-togethers there with my 8yo's soccer team parents in the past. I guess it's fair to say it holds some sentimental value with me. It's a place where I feel very comfortable, and I have some very fond memories of past celebrations there. 


It's fortunate that it was available so late in the game. Since booking it, I've felt more relaxed and very happy with my birthday plans - and it's got me thinking now about the preparations, the menu, the decorations, the champagne I want to serve. My mind is a hive of activity over 40th birthday plans! 


So that's what's been on my mind lately.


I am happy to say that I've also finally started (albeit incredibly belatedly) my quest to become fabulous, fit and forty just this past week - by hitting the treadmill and cutting back on some of the crap I've been eating lately. I'm drinking more water too - I need the skin to glow on the night, now don't I?! ;)


Speaking of skin...the lovely bellaMUMMA asked me to take part in her weekly post, Glow and Tell this week. So why don't you pop over there and read about what beauty products I'm in to, and what the best beauty advice I have been given is. What fun!


Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the party plans. Believe me: you'll hear ALL about it! I'm so excited.  


But for now, what don't you tell me what's on your mind right now? Happy or sad...whatever it is...feel free to share. :)


Jodie 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hot or Not? Robbie Williams


Is he hot, or is he not? That is the (big) question we ask here on Mummy Mayhem every Friday. 

Yes - we're dealing with all the big issues here. There's no doubt about it. 

Firstly, last week's choice of Stanley Tucci was described by some as a "surprise choice." Indeed he was, but he still managed to get a few 'hot' votes nonetheless. Go Stanley!

Last weekend, I was chatting with my friend, Bron about Hot or Not, and we were talking about past celebs, and it was she who suggested this week's choice of bad boy turned good: recently married singer and ex-Take That band member, Robbie Williams.

Yes - Robbie is off the shelf, ladies, and over the years, he seems to have moved from rock n roll bad boy to committed singer, boyfriend and now husband. I wonder if the 'new' Robbie is as appealing these days to some of my readers? Hmmm? 

Now in the past, a couple of bad boys have had quite a good rating here on Hot or Not. There was Russell Crowe (mixed response, but lots of 'hot' votes too), and one of the most successful of all choices to date - Robert Downey Jnr who racked up a respectable amount of 'hot' votes. 

So, I'm curious...how does Robbie Williams rate with you? Is he hot, or not?


Jodie

*This weekly post was inspired by Insomniac Mummy's weekly Hot or Not. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Warm weather means Maxi dresses...or does it?

The weather has warmed up so much in Sydney today, I've put my three-quarter pants on for the first time in months. The 3yo is running around in a t-shirt and shorts. What a difference to yesterday, when I had a turtle-neck skivvy, cardi, jeans and long boots on!


Last year, I bought my first maxi dress. I was in some shop (can't remember which one) and the colours caught my eye. I tried it on, and thought: 'Why not? Lots of women are wearing them now," and certainly, I'd seen some really lovely maxi dresses on other friends and thought they'd looked beautiful in them. 


When I brought it home and showed Hubby, he was not as excited about my new purchase as I was. "What is that?" he asked. "Don't pregnant women wear those? It looks like a hessian sack."


I couldn't believe it! I thought it looked feminine and flowing and cool and fashionable. 


Turns out, Hubby isn't the only male that thinks this way. 


My friend bought a maxi dress online recently, and her husband made similar comments. He said something along the lines of, "It looks like it's too tight where it shouldn't be, and too loose where it shouldn't be." 


I think women love maxi dresses because they hide muffin tops and a multitude of body sins, but men just don't seem to be as impressed with them. I recall reading about this on another blog, and there were plenty of men who made similar comments to my husband's on that post!


Do you wear maxi dresses? Do you have a partner, and does he like them or not? Will you be wearing one this summer? If not - what will you be wearing? I could always use some fashion tips. 


As for me: I'm a bit put off wearing my maxi dress around Hubby now - but I'm sure that when I'm with my girlfriends, I'll get it out of the wardrobe for a wear, and Hubby won't be any the wiser. ;)


Jodie

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Mama in Melbourne

My recent trip to Melbourne wasn’t just about shopping and dining out (although, it was that too). Nope. It was more than that. It was about me. And you know what? That's ok.

To be honest, I’m not a big shopper, but if you want to shop, then Melbourne’s not a bad place to give your credit card a good work out. My friend Jen and I wholeheartedly intended to hit the shops, and indeed we did. I bought a few things – including a dress in Veronika Maine on Chapel Street that I think just might become my party frock for my upcoming 40th birthday celebrations next month. (That is, once I have actually organised something – I know, I know! I keep changing my mind about what I want to do!)

Chapel Street, Melbourne

Melbourne wasn’t just about shopping though. It was about taking a break for myself. A complete ME trip. And it was long overdue.

I blogged here about the need for a break. And yes – admittedly, I did feel some guilt about doing it – how could I want to spend time away from my family? But it's ok. I soon got over that. ;) 

When I awoke on Friday morning after my first night there (a little earlier than I had hoped!) - in my gorgeous fancy-schmancy hotel room - it took me an hour to realise that it was the first time in eight and a half years since I had gotten up and had no one else to look after other than myself. How awfully liberating. As my friend Jen slept in her room next door, I was happy to read, watch the Today Show (haven’t done that for a loooong time), take a long shower and even pluck my eyebrows. All without interruption. Heaven.

Relaxing on my hotel room bed. Ahhhh...

The whole weekend was fantastic. Jen and I immediately went out for cocktails on the Thursday night after quickly checking out our rooms on arrival, and dumping our bags. We went out for breakfast the next morning and had the yummiest eggs and bacon. We shopped in the city and on Chapel Street. We saw the Titantic exhibition at the Melbourne Museum that afternoon with friends. (Highly recommend this – the highlight for me was getting a ‘boarding pass’ on our arrival where you become one of the passengers on the ship, with the details of who you were traveling with and why you were traveling. I’m happy to say that both Jen and I were first class passengers who survived the sinking – as did our husbands – only 2 of four couples who were reunited after the disaster). Afterwards, we did some last minute shopping in David Jones in the city, before grabbing an incredibly yummy late afternoon treat from Café Laurent.

A little break at Cafe Laurent

We met up with six other girlfriends from our kids’ school, who were staying nearby. We had drinks on Friday night at Madame Brussels (a quirky kind of tennis club type drinking place which serves fun cocktails in jugs), followed by dinner at a fantastic Thai restaurant on Swanston Street called Cookie. (Noisy, but FANTASTIC food.) And we wound up drinking one last cocktail that night at a wine bar down at Southbank.

Pre-dinner cocktails at Madame Brussels with friends

On Saturday, I nervously and excitedly caught up with two beautiful bloggers for brunch: Nomie at Under The Yardarm and Megan at Writing Out Loud (whom I had met before). What gorgeous gals these two are. (I am SO annoyed I forgot to get a photo of us together!) We didn’t stop talking the whole time, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that we caught up. I hope to see them again VERY soon. Unfortunately, Emily over at Emly The Strange was supposed to join us, but couldn’t due to work commitments. :( Next time, Em. :)

After brunch, I went to see The European Masters Exhibition at The National Gallery of Victoria (or NGV as its known). I loved the french art especially - have always been a fan - and I bought myself a lovely print of a Henri Rousseau painting that I loved.

The Avenue in the Park at Saint-Cloud 1908
Henri Rousseau

Then it was back to Chapel Street to meet up with Jen for a quick cup of tea and piece of Tiramisu (as you can tell, much of the weekend revolved around eating), before watching our 6 other friends in action shopping. They had spent the morning on Bridge Road, Richmond shopping up a storm, and my goodness – I’ve never seen such determination and perseverance during a shopping expedition that some of them showed! I gladly lived my life vicariously through those gals that afternoon as they purchased shoes, bags, jewellery and clothes galore!

Tiramisu on Chapel Street

Then it was back to the hotel for a bubble bath and rest before Jen and I headed to what would be my dining highlight in Melbourne. We went to Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, Maze at the Crown Metropole. Oh. My. Goodness. It was (as Jen and I have joked constantly since that night) a-MAZE-ing. Truly. I can’t recommend it highly enough. All the servings are small, so the idea is to have a few courses. Jen and I took it one step further and enjoyed the 7-course chef’s meal. Fantastic. Just fantastic. You must book and go when you’re next in Melbourne. The 7-course meal for one person was $95, and for the quality restaurant and amazing food and dining experience that it was – this was more than reasonable in my opinion. (It should be noted that Hubby suggested it. Traveling so much for work, he has eaten in fine dining restaurants all over the world, and he puts it up there with one of the best restaurants he has ever dined in.)

MAZE was A-MAZE-ING!

We passed some of our friends on our walk back to our hotel, making their way to the Casino. We made our way to their apartment to visit the remaining three friends, already comfy in their pjs and drinking tea, before heading back to our hotel.

On Sunday morning, Jen and I reluctantly checked out of our hotel and Jen headed off to breakfast with a friend, as did I. I caught up with my friend, Kellie, whom I haven’t seen since Hubby and I got married back in 2000. An ex-Sydney gal, she has called Melbourne her home for the past 9 years, and it was so wonderful to see her again. We had breakfast at a little café over at Federation Square. (And once again, I forgot to get out my camera. Ugh!)

Federation Square

Jen and I then met up and, taking a leaf out of our friends’ books, took a trip to Bridge Road in Richmond ourselves to see if we could pick up some last minute bargains. However, we soon discovered our shopping mojo had disappeared. We wandered aimlessly for a while before stopping for a coffee and croissant at Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder (which our friends raved about after having lunch there the day before) and heading back to the hotel – empty handed – to collect our bags and head to the airport.

Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder

Before boarding the plane, our friends arrived for their flight, so we spent a few minutes chatting with them. Many hugs goodbye ensued. Everyone looked happy and rested after the last few days.

The flight home was…a little white-knuckled on my part to be honest – but I’ll tell you about that another time. However, we did arrive home safely, and I can’t tell you how heartwarming it was to ring the doorbell and hear the boys jumping up and down with excitement inside, shouting, “Mum’s home! Mum’s home!” Better still – Hubby had a roast lamb cooking in the oven, served just minutes later. (Bonus points for you, Hubby.)

Time to head home

I absolutely missed my family, but I also really enjoyed my time with Jen, the other school mums and everyone else I caught up with. I also really enjoyed some time to myself. It was fantastic, and a trip I wouldn’t hesitate to do again some time in the future. (You up for it, Jen?) 

I found that some time to yourself is good for the soul, and makes you realise just how fortunate you are to have such a beautiful family to come home to.

How about you? If you have kids, do you get away often, or dream about doing so? If you don't have kids yet - make me jealous: where have you travelled to lately?

Jodie