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 Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated.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

Friday, December 31, 2010

So that was 2010...

Image: http://publigestion.blogspot.com
It has been an amazing year here at Mummy Mayhem! As always, it's flown.

I started the new year launching two new blogs. Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Blog (which I neglected for a little while and relaunched in October) and a family movie review blog that I later closed because I couldn't keep up with it! (But I'll still review some movies here occasionally.)

Personally, in January Hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. (I never did get that bling ring BTW. Dammit. Still working on that one. ;) )

I reached my first 100 posts in Jan, and celebrated. A little late, mind you. (FYI - this is my 361st post!)

Henry Cavill was my first Hot or Not choice
In March, I launched my first Hot or Not post. It has become a weekly fave. (If you didn't get around to it - check out 2010's Hottest of The Hot!)

A few days later I wrote a post about 'Taker Mums' and the next thing I knew, I found myself talking to the very lovely Carol Duncan of ABC Newcastle on the radio. For the first time EVER! That was so exciting.

In May, I had a little idea which came together after meeting a fellow blogger in person for the first time, watching a Desperate Housewives episode, reading this post by another gorgeous fellow blogger - as well as another post from a fellow blogger (whose blog no longer exists) - and then finally seeing the "Stars Without Makeup" issue of Who Magazine. It was Bloggers Without Makeup Day, and many fellow bloggers, tweeps and readers joined in with me and took a photo of themselves sans make up and posted it on their blogs/twitter profiles etc. It was so liberating for so many - including me.

There were some great follow up posts written about BWM Day. I later spoke, for the second time, to Carol Duncan all about it, and the lovely Brenda over at Mummy Time made a fabulous video to celebrate it all. It even got a little mention in one of the June issues of Who Magazine - the very magazine that inspired that first blog post about Bloggers Without Makeup.

Who Magazine, 7 June 2010

(I plan to run a second Bloggers Without Makeup Day in May 2011. Stay tuned!)

In July, I wrote a post about blog comments that wasn't intended to be controversial at all, but it ended up that way. To date, it is my most viewed blog post by far. I'm kind of glad, after problems with my blog comments this year, that the comments on that post are not showing. It got a little heated. I lost a friendship over it too (which I've since managed to rebuild), and it showed me that I have no desire to set the world on fire with my blog. It's a rather draining process being controversial (even unintentionally), and I don't know how people who purposely are that way cope!

In August, I was so very honoured and excited to be listed as one of Kidspot's Top 50 Bloggers for 2010.  Thank you Kidspot and to all those who voted for my blog. MWAH!

Turning 40
On a personal note, I turned 40 in September. Surely you couldn't have missed that. I blogged about it a lot! I had a GREAT day. And night. Thank you to everyone for all your beautiful birthday wishes. XXX

That same month, I took a deep breath and posted the first of a series of posts on the book I started writing at age 14, The Dance of Revenge. Whoa! That takes guts, people! In fact, it has given me a good laugh at times. I haven't actually read my 'book' in years, and have only been reading as I've posted each instalment. I think I was reading way too many Danielle Steele books or something back then. (All instalments posted so far are listed on my homepage. Just look for the ballet slippers (natch) on the RHS.)

I also had a go at making my first ever VLOG in September. What fun! I've since made three more, and plan to vlog again in the new year. ;)

In October, I celebrated ONE WHOLE YEAR of blogging here at Mummy Mayhem. Woot!

In November, an online video for Kleenex Mums (FAB website - do check it out) - Escape Poo Poo Island (all about toilet training) - was released, with moi involved. What fun that was! I've since filmed a little something else for Kleenex Mums too (for their internal awards night). I hope to do more for them next year. Thanks Kleenex Mums team!

Mummy Mayhem's Fan Page
Later in November, I finally gave in and joined Facebook. I have to say, I'm LOVIN' it! I've reconnected with some old friends, and I've also been able to connect with other bloggers too and see what they're all up to. Who knew there was another world going on there? ;)

This year, I popped up on a few other blogs. There was a little interview I did with bellaMumma about my skin care routine and fave makeup. I had 10 minutes with Belinda over at Cupcakes Frocks and Pink  and shared some of my fave things over at Fat Mum Slim. Thanks ladies for having me. :)

Another couple of highlights for me was being chosen as Blogger of The Week at Aussie Mummy Bloggers, as well as being chosen as a Crowdsourced Keynote speaker  - where I get to read one of my blog posts out aloud - at the Aussie Bloggers Conference to be held in Sydney in March 2011. Woo hoo! Can't wait for that!

I'm looking forward to more in 2011. I'll be starting off with a mini-makeover of my blog, so be sure to come and check it out! I'm really excited about it.

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for stopping by!

Jodie

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Best of 2010

So what did I think was the 'best of' in 2010?

Best Food: Let's start with the important stuff, shall we? By far, it's Hubby's homemade gelato. Ok, so I really didn't discover it in 2010 - he's been making it a while now, but I think I've come to appreciate it more so this year. I'm planning on sharing some of his homemade gelato recipes next year on my recipe blog, so stay tuned for that because his Dark Chocolate Gelato is by far the BEST EVER I've tasted. (Just sayin'.)

Best Drink: I'm tempted to say 'coffee' because I've only really started drinking it fairly regularly this year, and enjoy my morning cappuccino. But, to be honest, it would have to be Margaritas! Are you surprised? I just love them. Especially in summer. And now the 6yr old has a new slushie machine, me thinks Hubby and I will be indulging in the odd icy Margarita soon. ;)

Best Restaurant: Not that I go to a lot of restaurants, but for me the dining experience of 2010 was Gordon Ramsay's Maze in Melbourne. My friend Jen and I indulged when we were there a little while back, and we always joke about how a-MAZE-ing it was. It really was! Go. You won't be disappointed.

Best Book: To be fair, I haven't read a lot of books this year, but the ones I did read, I really enjoyed. I mostly read biographies, but I picked up a fiction book this year that I just couldn't put down, and I'd highly recommend it. It's Kylie Ladd's After The Fall. It's a really interesting insight in to the world of adultery, told by all the characters. Grab yourself a copy, people!

Best Trip: Although Hubby and I had a great time on the Gold Coast with the kids this year, the weather kind of let us down. I have to say, my trip to Melbourne with my friend, Jen - as well as a bunch of other gals - was fantastic. It was a much needed recharge of my batteries. We ate great food, we shopped, I looked around a museum without interruption... fabulous. Melbourne's always great for a trip.

Best Song: Oooh...this is hard to choose. I don't think my choice was released in 2010, but I've only discovered it this year....Uprising by Muse.  LOVE it. Especially loud. When the kids are out, of course. ;)

Best Movie I Saw: Ok, to be honest - I don't watch a lot of movies. I most certainly hardly EVER get out to the movies either, so it's mostly DVD for me. One movie I watched this year that immediately sprung to mind, because I laughed out loud when I watched it, was - of all things - The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I really, really enjoyed it. A close second would be The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt. Love biographical and historical stories!

Best TV show: Ok, so this year I discovered a few shows on DVD that I love - Gossip Girl, The Hills (are you seeing a pattern here?). I LOVE Brothers & Sisters too. But the show I only started watching this year was GLEE. LOVE IT. The soundtrack is fab too.

Best New Blog: I've discovered a number of blogs this year, and I have a number of other blogs I've read for over a year now that I just love, but there is one blog in particular I discovered (as have quite a lot of other people!) that I've particularly enjoyed this year, and that's Maxabella Loves. Check it out (if you haven't already). It is such a good read!

What were your 'best ofs' for 2010? 


Jodie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 3yr Old Turns 4

The 3yr old officially became a 4yr old today. 

There was always something about the number 3 and our youngest son. First of all - he was the third child. My waters broke at 3am the morning of the 28 December 2006, and he was eventually born at 3.03pm that afternoon.

I'm not going to lie and say that the past year has been easy. The (now) 4yr old is a handful to say the least. When I told my friend, Fiona, that I was dropping one day a week of his daycare, and therefore he would only be attending once a week in the new year, she looked at me as if I had gone mad and said, "Are you insane?" She knows.

Having said all that, the 4yr old is also a HEAP of fun. He has a great sense of humour, and makes us laugh every day. Even when we're supposed to be angry with him at the time. He's a daredevil. He gets up to mischief often. Sometimes, his antics put him - and us - in danger. In fact, he's had his fair share of visits to the hospital. (Not listening to us about what not to do doesn't help.)

He's a real live wire, but it makes life interesting, and without doubt, life wouldn't be complete without him.

He loves Star Wars (he sings the theme song constantly). He loves to dance. He loves building Lego and 'doing schoolwork'. He loves sport. Cricket. Basketball. Soccer. You name it - he's in to it. He can climb a basketball hoop pole like a little monkey. He loves keeping up with his big brothers (and loves them dearly too). 

I have semi-high hopes for the year ahead. Even though the testosterone hit will come (although, in my opinion, I believe it happens earlier - around 3), I'm hoping that the tantrums will become less, and he'll find a level of maturity that the other two reached at the same age. I'm hoping he will become more reasonable, and will stop doing the kind of things he has been known for that I've found completely challenging at times!

But I'm also going to enjoy him even more so over the next year. In 2012, he'll be starting school. We have some fun stuff to do together before then. ;)

Most of all, I want him to be a happy, confident and a caring person. I want him to know - no matter how difficult he can be at times - he is very much loved.

Happy Birthday big boy. xxxxx

Jodie

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010


Wishing all my wonderful Mummy Mayhem readers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I'll be back here on the 28th after a short little break with the fam.

Until then, if you feel like a bit of a read, check out my recent posts on the RHS of my homepage. Or scroll down even further and you'll find a bunch of my ramblings listed for your viewing pleasure. ;)

Oh - did you check out the wrap up for 2010's Hot or Not candidates? You simply must do that. ;)

Thank you so much for all your support, readership and comments . Even though I'd blog even if I didn't have a single reader, it makes it all the more worthwhile having you here. MWAH!

Take care of yourself until next week, won't you?

Jodie
xxx

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hot or Not? 2010 Hottest of the Hot

So who did we vote 'hot' this year? And who made the 'not' list? It's the yearly wrap up for 2010's Hot or Not .

Firstly I want to say that Hot or Not was not my original idea. Most weeks I remember to put a little bit at the bottom to say that Hot or Not was inspired by Insomniac Mummy's weekly Hot or Not posts. I enjoyed hers, but with her being in the UK, I found some of the celebs I wasn't aware of. I thought I could put a few Aussies in mine (and we did). 

Secondly, the idea of a Hot and Not of the Year came from the ever lovely Samantha Currie (@samanthac). (You are a clever lady, Samantha. Thanks for the idea!)

Ok, so I had to go back through all the comments to see how everyone rated, and I've come with the Top 5 HOT celebs, and Top 5 NOT

Firstly though, here's the complete list of celebs that had us voting Hot or Not each week!

Adam Brody
Adrien Grenier
Alex O'Loughlin
Andy Garcia
Bear Grylls
Brad Pitt
Brian McFadden
Chris Noth
Colin Firth
David Beckham
Eric Dane
Ewan McGregor
Hamish Blake
Henry Cavill
Hugh Jackman
Jake Gyllenhaal
Jarvier Bardem
John Corbett
John Stamos
Johnny Depp
Jon Bon Jovi
Josh Holloway
Justin Bartha
Mark Raffallo
Mark Wahlberg
Matt Damon
Matthew Fox
Patrick Dempsey
Prince Frederik
Robbie Williams
Robert Downey Jnr
Robert Pattinson
Ronan Keating
Russell Crowe
Ryan Reynolds
Sam Worthington
Stanley Tucci
Tom Cruise


Isn't that impressive? I'd link to them all, but I'm just too darn lazy...and time poor! (It's Christmas, ya'll!) But if you want to check any of them out, just search on Hot or Not? Adam Brody for example in my search box and you'll find them. 

Now, without further ado, here are the top five "NOT" celebs for 2010. Let's start at the, ah, 'top' so to speak: 

5. Stanley Tucci - I doubt you're surprised he made it in to the Top 5 - but I bet you're surprised he's not closer to the No. 1 NOT spot, huh? Go Stanley!



4. Jarvier Bardem and Chris Noth - A tie! Seems the Spanish actor might be Penelope Cruz's style, but he failed to raise most of our heart rates. 


Are you surprised Chris didn't cut it? Will his Sex & The City co-star, John Corbett, fare any better? 



3. Fredrik, Crown Prince of Denmark - It seems not even being a Prince can get you in to the Hot or Not Top 5.



2. Justin Bartha - I think a lot of why Justin didn't make the cut, is because he wasn't well known enough. And he's a little young. Some day, Justin. Some day...



And now....who did Mummy Mayhem readers vote as the least hot of 2010 - with the largest "NOT vote?

1. Brian McFadden - Nope. Brian just didn't quite cut it with most of you. Sorry, Brian. But you still get the gorgeous Delta - so there. 

The 2010 Not The Hottest of the Hot

At the end of the day, we know all these guys have gazillions of admirers, don't we? I'm sure none of them will be crying over a beer at the local pub tonight. ;)

So, who did Mummy Mayhem readers vote the hottest of the hot? I can tell you that in the top 10 was Alex O'Loughlin, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Henry Cavill (my fave!) and Johnny Depp. But there were five more gentlemen that ended up with more hot votes vs not votes. 

Let's work our way up to the Hottest of the Hot, ok?

5. Hamish Blake - Yep. This Aussie funny man was actually only the second person up for Hot or Not, and it seems many love a good sense of humour, and Hamish doesn't disappoint. 



4. John Corbett - Yes, as I said, John did fare better than his colleague. 



3. Ewan McGregor - This Scottish lad proved one popular candidate indeed!




2. Patrick Dempsey - Patrick was only a recent addition to the weekly Hot or Not, and he came a very, very close second to our Number 1. Seems McDreamy is, well, dreamy...




Ok - so who made No.1? Who is it that takes home the incredibly prestigious title of 2010 Hottest of the Hot for this year's Hot or Not

Can you guess? 

It's......


1. Mark Wahlberg - With only 1 vote that was an 'uncertain' vote, seems this ex-Calvin Klein model still has the funky stuff to make him HOT!

The 2010 Hottest of the Hot WINNER!

Congrats, Mark. In my opinion, you deserve the title. Maybe not quite as much as Henry Cavill - but close. 

So, that's Hot or Not for 2010. It'll be back in the New Year. 

Who would be your ultimate 'hot' vote for 2010? And who would you like to see on 2011's Hot or Not list?

Jodie


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sisterly Love

It's my sister, C's birthday today.

Growing up, my sister C and I were not overly...sisterly. With a twenty-one year age gap between us, that's pretty understandable.

We were also very different personality wise. I was described by my mother as being a lot like my other sister, Valda, who died when I was almost seven months old. Vivacious. Creative. Opinionated. Bubbly. Outgoing. My sister, C, on the other hand, was more serious. Studious. Responsible. Polite. Reserved.

Craving the kind of sisterly relationship I felt that I had missed out on, I spent a fair amount of time in my youth thinking about my sister, Valda. I imagined - seeing that my Mum thought we were fairly similar personality wise - that she and I would have been close. To be honest, that was unrealistic. Even if she had lived, by the time I was old enough to have a close relationship with her, she would have more than likely have been married with kids of her own - just like C. There still would have been a seventeen year age gap between us.

I grew up wishing I had the sisterly relationship I saw my friends experience. My friends P & B are sisters, and even though they fought a lot when we were all younger, they were also very good buddies and spent a lot of time together socially. In fact, they are still very close today. I would never invite one somewhere without the other. They're a package deal, if you like. I think I really wished I'd had that. I used to spend a lot of time bemoaning the fact that my sister C was 'too old' for me, and my other sister had died, so both relationships were 'taken from me'.

I recall shopping for birthday cards for C when I was younger. Even in to my twenties, I couldn't choose the sisterly cards on the market with sentiments like, 'To my sister, my best friend' or cards that said something along the lines of, 'I'm so glad you are in my life, sister, and I love when we spend time together' because they just didn't accurately describe the relationship we had.

To be honest, until I reached my thirties, I had spent literally less than a handful of times one-on-one with my sister, C. I really didn't feel like I knew her that well at all. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for her too? Obviously there were times when she took on the role of carer with me; like when I would stay at her house during school holidays. How can you be the responsible adult and the sister at the same time? It's virtually impossible. Add to that my move from my hometown of Perth at the age of twenty-five to Sydney, and the fact we saw even less of each other - our relationship never had the opportunity to blossom.

And then I had my first son.

When the 8yr old was about 6 months old, Hubby took an overseas work trip. He was always concerned about leaving me alone with our baby, and suggested we invite someone to come stay. As my parents had recently visited, as had my mother-in-law, Hubby suggested my sister, C.

I hesitated.

Why? Because to be honest, I imagined how awkward it would be having C here. We weren't close. We were very different. What on earth could we possibly have in common? I imagined us sitting together in awkward silence, both trying to find something to say to one another. In the end, I invited C to come stay, because I knew it was 'the right thing to do'.

Imagine my surprise then when the very moment my sister, C, walked in to my home we didn't stop talking? We talked and talked and talked. In fact, we'd sit down to watch a show on tv, and wouldn't see even half of it, so busy talking were we. I soon realised we had far more in common than I ever imagined we would. (For example, we could both sit and eat a truckload of brie in one sitting. No problemo!) It was as if the years of not having that opportunity to connect meant we had a lot of catching up to do, and our connection was unbelievable.

By the time my sister left, about two week's later, I stood on the front porch - tears rolling down my cheeks - as I watched my sister's taxi drive away. I knew I was going to really miss her. I was 32 years old, and I had finally found the sisterly relationship I had always longed for.

It was right in front of me the whole time.

Now, years later, I regret that I didn't spend a lot of time getting to know C when I was younger. I spent so much time mourning what I could have had with my sister, Valda - when I had a sister right there to love. By the time I reached my twenties, I figured that was it. It was a lost cause trying to establish a sisterly bond with C. I resigned myself to the fact that that was my lot in life. We were too different both in age and personality.

How wrong I was.

It's not like we talk every day on the phone now, but our connection is much stronger. When we do get together, we enjoy every moment. C was here when I gave birth to my 6yr old. She was here not long after the 3yr old was born, and she has visited us many times since that first trip when the 8yr old was a baby.

On one particular shopping trip together at a local shopping mall during one of her stays, we were having a blast buying up big. We'd bought shoes, bags, clothes - we were on a roll - and had walked in to a clothes store when I picked up a belt that caught my eye. I turned it over, and on the tag was written the name of the belt. I gasped. It was called the 'Valda belt'. I called C over. "Look at this," I said incredulously, pointing to the tag. "It's like she's here with us," C said - referring, of course, to our sister, Valda. We smiled at each other. We both felt that Valda was right there shopping with us.

Sisters. Together.

Now, when I shop for birthday cards for my sister, C, I can buy the cards that truly reflect the wonderful sisterly relationship we have. It may have taken us 32 years to get there, but I'm just glad we did.

Happy Birthday, C. I love you and I miss you. See you soon, sis.

XOXOX

Jodie

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Planner - Christmas Day Lunch

Have you got Christmas lunch sorted?

I've just posted the latest of my Menu Planners over at Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Box and thought I'd share it here, for those of you who don't follow my recipe blog (*sob*).

Because, you know, I'm a thoughtful kinda gal, and I wouldn't want you to miss out on what could possibly be the BEST CHRISTMAS LUNCH EVER!

Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but in any case, I'm sharing.

So pop over HERE to view the menu we'll be following on Christmas Day here in our family, and get shopping for your ingredients.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Until then...

Jodie

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Dance of Revenge - Chapter Seven

It's time for another incredibly exciting instalment of The Dance of Revenge - the book I started writing at age 14. 

Last week I promised something big would happen this week. It does.

If you're just joining in now, check out my sidebar on my homepage for all the story posted to date. You have a bit of time to catch up on the story - next week we'll take a little break from Dance due to Christmas and all, but then I'll be back with ballet slippers on with the next instalment. ;)

Last week, Sherrie was once again visited by Mr Brair (isn't he a real creep?) and was told that her ballet days were SO over, due to her mother and new husband's financial difficulties.

This week, she prepares for her final ballet class, and is about to make a last minute decision that will change her life forever... (It's almost as dramatic as Days of Our Lives, huh?)



THE DANCE OF REVENGE
Chapter Seven

THE sun shimmered through the window of Sherrie's room, awakening her with its rays. Sherrie stretched lazily in bed and yawned. She was very tired, as she had not slept very well the previous night. Sherrie had lay awake thinking of a plan to rid of Mr Brair. But no plan had sprung to mind. She would have to think more later. 


She jumped up from her bed and then suddenly remembered that this was her last day of ballet lessons. This made her believably [I probably meant, 'understandably'] sad. Now she could not keep her promise. Or could she? Maybe she could keep practising without a teacher? Then when she was old enough, she could move away and get a job that would help pay for her lessons. But she was only fourteen, and her mother would not let her go unless she was eighteen. There was also the possibility that Aliza could teach her steps that she learnt in class. 


Sherrie knew it would not be the same on a Saturday anymore. She could sleep in, but she wouldn't want to. She sighed at the though of telling Madame about her awful news. And now, if she got into the ballet production, she could not do it. Sherrie tryed [here we go again... 'tried'!] to hold her tears, but she couldn't. The box of tissues were in her mother's room. She would not go in there. She could, but she won't. [Or, 'wouldn't'. Whatever.]


Instead she pulled out her delicate lace handkerchief that her grandmother had made for her. She sighed at the thought of not being able to see her grandmother anymore. Grandma Dolty was her only true friend, apart from Aliza. Sherrie knew that she would miss her grandmother greatly. 


Sherrie dressed for the last time for her ballet lessons. Crying openly, she put the tutu on over her slim body. She tried [Lordy! I got it right!] to think of nice and pleasant things. She felt alarmed she couldn't think of anything. 


"SHERRIE? Breakfast is on the table!" Sherrie jumped at her mother' voice. She was scared of facing him this morning. She hated him. 


"I'll be down in a minute!" she shouted back. 


Sherrie hurriedly grabbed her coat and ran down to her breakfast. She sighed with relief when she noticed only her mother sitting at the table. 


"Isn't Mr Brair here?" Sherrie asked quietly.


"Try to call him Adam, ma chere. And no, he's gone [or, 'he went'] to his office for a while." Sherrie noticed her mother looked distracted. She frowned at how her mother always had time for Mr Brair and not her. Sherrie sat at the table and tried to force down the eggs and bacon on her plate. [Not really a traditional french brekky.]  


"Will you pick me up from class today, mother?" Sherrie's mother looked up from the paper in front of her. 


"I'm sorry, darling, but you know that Adam and I like to relax on the weekend. You can catch the train home."


"But mother, you know how I hate catching the train."


"This is your last time though, isn't it Sherrie?" Elizabeth hissed. Sherrie lowered her eyes dangerously. [I'm not sure what that means. Do you?]


"Fine. I'll catch a train....MOTHER DEAR!" Sherrie got up from her seat and raced out the door. 


Not once did she stop running until she reached the train station. The train came fairly quickly, so she jumped aboard and tryed [that was a brief moment of correct spelling] to concentrate on other things than her mother. She cursed to herself when she realised she'd forgotten her gloves. She shoved her hands in to her pocket and felt a piece of slippery paper. She pulled it out and realised that it was the photo of her mother and that man. She'd forgotten to take it out of her pocket. She stared at her mother's face. Her mother was so pretty. Then she focused on the gentleman. He was definitely handsome. He could be kind, and warm. 


Going over the bridge, Sherrie shut her eyes and noticed that it clittered [once again, I think I meant 'clicked'] and clacked a little more than usual. She was glad when the train was safely over the other side of the bridge. It didn't take much longer for the train to finally reach her stop. Sherrie jumped off the train and ran the one block to the large building. Exhausted and sweaty, she finally made it to her class. Her last class. 


*     *     *     *     *


Madame was at the barre warming up to the music of Cinderella


"Ah, you are late again, Sherrie. Maybe it would be easier for you to catch an earlier train, non?" Sherrie nodded sadly. 


"Madame, if you're not too busy, could I speak to you"? She watched the other dancers walk on to the floor dressed in their warm ups. "Privately." Madame looked curious, but she did not say anything to Sherrie. 


"Of course, Sherrie. After class, okay?" Sherrie nodded and then ran into the change rooms.


Once she was inside, she began to cry a little as she changed for the last time. She carefully put her tutu aside. There was no need to wear it. She would put on her warm ups. People had looked at her as she had walked with the delicate tutu on. What she did do though was pull out her best ballet slippers. The pink ones with the delicate white ribbon. They had been a present from her grandmother only three months ago. 


As she threw her coat on to a hook, out flew the picture of her mother and that terribly handsome man. [LOL. I had to laugh at my description of him.] She knew that she could not risk hiding it at home, so she looked for a place to hide it. As she looked around the room, her eyes rested on a tall cupboard that had been in the change room for as long as Sherrie could remember. It held all the cleaning supplies. It was very tall, but Sherrie noticed that there was a little space between the cupboard and the ceiling. 


It's too high, she thought miserably. Then her eyes widened in delight when she noticed a stool sitting in the corner. It wasn't too heavy and she soon had it rested near the cupboard. With the photo in her hand, she quickly placed her foot on the bar that lay under the stool. In no time at all she had heaved herself up next to the cupboard. Still too short, but if she reached up.... She did it! The photo now lay on top of the cupboard. 


Sherrie decided that one day she could come back and claim it when she had found a safe enough place to put it. She quickly put the stool back in its place and dusted off her hands. Suddenly, a knock came from the door and it flew open. It was Aliza.


"Come on, Sherrie. What's taking you so long? Madame is waiting, and she isn't waiting patiently." Sherrie shrugged. 


"I'm coming. It just took me a little time to put on my shoes. That's all." Aliza glanced down at Sherrie's feet. 


"Sherrie," she exclaimed. "What on earth are you doing wearing those good slippers?"


"My others are too old and ruined. I just have to wear these until I get a new pair," she lied. She ran towards the door and Aliza hastily followed. 


When she got out on to the floor, she made a promise to dance her 'god damn' best. She hurried in to her floor exercises with perfection and determination. [You go, girl.] 


*     *     *     *     *


Madame watched Sherrie with disbelief. Never in her thirty-five years of teaching had she seen anyone perform so brilliantly as this girl with her golden hair pushed in to a bun. [I don't think I needed to give the full description of Sherrie's hairstyle, but there you go.] Every step the girl made was to perfection. There was definitely no flaw in her arabesques or plies. The girl was dancing like that of a professional. Madame shook her head in amazement. 


"Girls?" she called abruptly. "Come and sit down in front of me." All the girls hurried to the floor and most of them collapsed with exhaustion. Except for one girl. Sherrie. 


"My students," Madame began, "you have all worked hard today, so I have decided to tell you what part you have for the production of Cinderella." She paused and looked at the alert faces. "Now, I will start from the bottom." [Oh, that's a nice way to put it.] She went on to read all the parts. Some of the girls looked crushed when they heard they did not get the part of Cinderella


"Now for the final part. Of course, you know that some of you have been left out as you will be playing chorus. All right? Now, there are five of you left. Aliza, Julieanne, Christina, Marie and Sherrie. This part is the most important of them all. The audience will get to know you as they know the character so well. They will learn to laugh when you laugh. Cry when you cry. You will be their own fantasy. I have done a lot of studying for this, as you know. I was going to tell you on Wednesday....or rather put your names on the board, but I could not wait." Five girls now looked at her anxiously, but one frowned and lowered her head. Once again, it was Sherrie. Madame could not figure out why the young girl wasn't excited.


"The girl who will play Cinderella is...Sherrie Dolty."


*     *     *     *     *


Sherrie's eyes widened in surprise. She had got the part. She had gotten the part of Cinderella. She began to cry when she realised it could not be hers. The girls thought she was crying in happiness, until she ran from the floor to the door and outside in to the hall. She could barely hear Madame and her class mates calling her to come back. 


Suddenly the door flew open and next to her stood Madame. She crouched next to Sherrie and placed her wrinkled arm around her. Then Sherrie heard Aliza. 


"Is she alright, Madame?"


"Yes, yes, Aliza. Go back inside and get changed. Then wait at the front of the room." Aliza reluctantly headed towards the door. She turned around and frowned. 


"Sherrie?" she whispered. Sherrie looked around to see her friend's distressed face.


"It's alright, Aliza. I'll be fine." Aliza nodded at Sherrie's words and hurried inside. 


Madame put her fingers under Sherrie's chin and made her look up in to her wrinkly, kind face. [As in previous chapters, I'm still obsessed with the ageing of poor Madame.] 


"Sherrie, tell me what is wrong. Don't you want the part? Have I done something to---." Sherrie interrupted. 


"Non, Madame. It isn't you. It's---" Sherrie went on to explain about her mother's financial difficulties and how she could not pay for anymore dance lessons and how her grandmother had not left her mother any money of her herself. Madame looked at Sherrie in horror. 


"Ah, no, no, no. This can't be true. Sherrie, you must do ballet, you have a career in front of you. A very promising one. You could be the best. You already are the best in my class. Now I understand why you performed so well today. It was your last dance." She shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry that I cannot do anything to help you, Sherrie. If I could I would teach you privately, but I'm not allowed to. Unless you had the money, of course." She stood and pulled Sherrie up from the floor. 


"Sherrie, you could get a scholarship, but then you would have to go to America or Russia to study dance. And the scholarship only pays for your tuition, and you really should be sixteen. You are only fourteen, aren't you?" Sherrie nodded sadly. 


"My mother wouldn't let me go anyway." She began to cry again. "I'm sorry, Madame. Maybe one day I will have enough money of my own to start again. I'm sorry..." She ran from the woman and ran to the change rooms. When she came out, all the girls looked up at her. It was obvious that they had heard the news. Aliza stood up. 


"Sherrie, I---." She stopped when Sherrie hastily waved goodbye to all of them and left. Sherrie stopped running as soon as she was out of the building. She turned around and looked up at the glass window of the studio and saw Madame and all the girls waving, sadly. She watched as Madame wiped her eyes and turned away from the window. Madame was crying!


Sherrie turned away awkwardly and headed towards the train station. She walked slowly and dabbed her eyes with her handkerchief. Finally, she came to the station and realised she was early. The only train she could catch was the old train that had been around for so long that her mother used to catch it. So she said. Her mother warned her never to catch it because it was too old and creaky. But if Sherrie didn't catch it, she would have to wait another hour or so. She had left clas and hour early, she did not want to go back there and wait, and she certainly didn't like the idea of waiting at the station where young 'sex maniacs' hung out. [Okaaay.] She saw one [of them] eyeing her with satisfaction and move towards her, so she quickly boarded the train, and took a seat in the rear of all the carriages. [I think I meant 'she took a seat in the rear carriage.] As she left on the creaky train, she caught the man standing near the side of the toilets playing with his 'thing'. She was shocked that she had been the cause of this. [Well, there you go. I must have had some sort of premonition of what would eventually happen to me on a train in France!]


Sherrie turned away from the window until she was sure she could not see the man anymore and then again she looked out and watched the scenery move past her. This didn't help in the slightest, so she tried to concentrate on the people in the carriage with her. An old man sat dozing in his seat and a girl about Sherrie's age sat next to him. It was at this point that Sherrie realised she had left her bag behind and only wore her woolly dress and carried her coat. She would have to go back tomorrow and collect it. How stupid of her to leave her good ballet slippers behind. Maybe one of the girls would take them to their house later? 


Sherrie finally looked out the window again to see that the bridge she dreaded was coming up. The old train shaked [or shook] furiously and for a minute she panicked. Then she screamed when the train seemed to jolt forward and back and go faster, then slower. The old man had awoken and was pulling the emergency stop with force, but nothing was happening. Sherrie stood, dropping her coat and noticed that half of the train was flying off the side of the bridge! Sherrie suddenly felt a sharp pain on the side of her head. She had bumped in to a rack that stood above the seats. [I think you know I was talking about the luggage rack.] Sherrie suddenly felt dizzy, and soon everything went black. The last thing she heard was someone shouting, "Fire!"

Phew. That was one long chapter.

I promised something big would happen this week.

Will Sherrie survive the train crash? Find out in TWO WEEK'S TIME - after a short break next Sunday - when I publish Chapter 8. (I think you know the answer, otherwise, there probably wouldn't be much of a story left, now would there?)

Until then....

Jodie

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hot or Not? Eric Dane

It's time for our weekly Hot or Not here at Mummy Mayhem...

As you can see, I'm following a bit of a Grey's Anatomy theme here at the mo. Why not? We had Grey's Anatomy's 'McDreamy' last week - Patrick Dempsey - and this week I thought we'd turn to his bestfriend and fellow doctor (on the show, of course)...Eric Dane AKA 'McSteamy'.

I think he has an incredibly gorgeous smile. I'm focussing on the smile, people. But I'm pretty sure some of you will agree with me that's not his only positive characteristic. Yes?

So what do you think? Is Eric Dane hot, or not?




*** HOT OR NOT YEARLY WRAP UP Join me on a very special day next THURSDAY for a Hot or Not yearly wrap up (thanks for the idea Samantha!).

We'll revisit all of this year's Hot or Not candidates and find out who made the HOT list, and who made the NOT list. Who was the most popular of all the Hot or Not choices this year? Was it Robert Downey Jnr? Ryan Reynolds? Hamish Blake? Ewan McGregor? Come back next week to find out.

Until then - enjoy your weekend!

Jodie

On Mummy Mayhem This Week & "The Perfect Gift" This Christmas

Gosh - are we at the end of another week already? 

At least this week I'm not as time pressured as I was last week. Christmas gifts are almost sorted, and the social activities are winding down. A little anyway. Phew.

Ok, so here's what you might have missed this week. (If you haven't been here yet this week...where have you been?! Glad you're back.)

Last week's Hot or Not was very popular. Seems a good bedside manner - as well as some smouldering good looks - goes down a treat. Check out Patrick Dempsey, people!

In Chapter Six of The Dance of Revenge (the book I started writing at age 14), Sherrie was just coming to terms with her grandmother's death when she found out that her mother couldn't afford her beloved ballet lessons anymore. Tsk, tsk. 

After a challenging week last week, on the weekend the 3yr old got up to his old tricks and found himself in the Emergency department at the hospital. Again.

I shared my Christmas decorations. (Another one of my Not-So-Wordless Wednesday posts.)

The Gift That Keeps on Giving...I reviewed 3 children's books that will knock your kids' Christmas stockings off this Christmas.

Something I wish I had an infinite amount of, but find I don't have nearly enough of these days. Find out  what it is.

Over at Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Box I finally posted my Mum's Lemon Butter Tarts recipe. Check them out. They are SO delicious.

I also posted a dessert that the kids can make that they'll love, and is incredibly healthy.

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Hey - if you have a blog, why don't you leave me a link to one or your posts this week you'd like me - and others - to read? I'll be sure to stop by. ;)

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You may have noticed I have a little noticeboard at the top of my blog. Yes? Well, I'd like to draw your attention to a new item on there.


The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) is launching a new Christmas campaign called “The Perfect Gift”.


The focus of this campaign is to get people to consider giving something that will really make a difference this Christmas by donating blood and giving the gift of life. If you head to the ARCBS' page for The Perfect Gift, you can print out and personalise a specially made “The Perfect Gift” gift box which you can put together and give to friends, family and colleagues. 

Just quickly, here are some facts:

  • Every donation can save three lives.
  • Every donation is valuable because 1 in 3 Australians will need blood, yet only 1 in 30 donates.
  • The need for blood is constant and all blood components have a limited shelf life, which is why donations are needed every day. Blood and blood treatments are delivered to hospitals around Australia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even on Christmas Day.
  • Australia needs over 26,000 blood donations every week to save lives and to meet the need of patients.
  • Donations made in December could help patients recover to be home for Christmas or the New Year.
I also have a button on my homepage that will take you straight to the website for more details. 




Finally, come back for today's Hot or Not, and to find out about a very special Hot or Not I'll be having next week. It won't be on Friday either, so make sure you pop back later today to find out what it is, and when it's going to be posted! You won't want to miss it. ;)

Until then my lovelies....

Jodie

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Patience Is a Virtue. So They Say.

It's officially Day 1 of school holidays for us. Lord, give me strength.

Ok, so our house might not be an alternative for families who can't afford Disneyland. Outside, we have a trampoline and a slide. That's it. Oh, and the slide is currently broken, because the 3yr old (surprise, surprise) took out the rod that keeps the darn thing together, so it now lies almost flat on the grass outside. The only thing that's going to slide on that at the moment is an army of ants. 

But, you know, the kids have toys. They certainly have stuff. I know this, because I see it all over their floor every day. In fact, just yesterday, they were sent brand new Lego which they are LOVING, but still...I'm getting the question every parent hopes not to hear until at least Week 3 of school holidays: "I'm bored. What can I do, Mum?"

Sheesh.

I wish I was bored. I really do. I wish I didn't have Christmas cards to create and write out. I wish I didn't have to think about what I'm going to make for dinner tonight. I really wish I didn't have to clean up the little package this morning that the dog left on the floor of my formal lounge room  - presumably because his 'brothers' were making too much noise downstairs jumping on the couch they've been told NOT TO JUMP ON three hundred and forty nine times just today, and didn't feel like trying to make his way past to get outside and do his business.

Boredom is underrated. I'd give ANYTHING to be bored. Just for one day.

However, the lack of boredom in my life isn't my main problem at the moment. It's my lack of patience. 

I don't know. The older I get, and the more kids I accumulate (that sound like I'm some sort of poor man's Angelina Jolie. I'm not. I only have three kids, but sometimes it feels like I have 300), the less patience I have. 

I remember when the 8yr old was 3, and when he'd get up to mischief, I'd use the controlled voice to tell him what he was doing wrong, and promptly send him to time out. Afterwards, we would discuss in full his wrong-doings, and why he shouldn't do what he did. There would be remorse, apologies and cuddles and all would be good again.

These days, I can barely be bothered explaining anything to the 3yr old when he does something REALLY naughty. When he, say, hits his 8yr old brother on the back with his Buzz Lightyear - I'm more likely to grab him by the arm, drag him in to his room, yell something remotely coherent and leave him in there - screaming to "come out!" - for 3 minutes whilst I calm myself down. 

My problem is: I'm over it. I just don't have the same level of patience I had five years ago. Hell, I don't have the same patience I had last week. Slowly, but surely, my patience level is going dooowwwwn, people.  

But that's not going to do the 3yr old any favours, is it? Or me. I need to find my Zen. My good place. Most  of all...I need my patience back. Because let's face it, with three kids, you need an infinite supply of the stuff. Especially when one of your kids finds Every. Way. Possible. to test that patience level. BIG time. 

How about you? Do you find you have less patience with age? Do you wish you had more of it?

By writing this post, I have entered a a competition hosted by Vodafone.
To find out more about their Infinite Plans, click
HERE.

Jodie

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.”  ~ Elizabeth Hardwick

I love books. My only complaint is that I don't have as much time to read them as I would like. Sigh.

Both Hubby and I buy a fair amount of books throughout the year. Personally, I can't help myself. I'm instantly drawn to the crisp, white pages and the new stationery smell. I have a healthy stack on my bedside table that are just waiting for my attention.

Our kids like books too. We started reading books to them at a very young age. One of my favourite photos of my 8yr old is of him, aged about eight months, lying on a blanket in our then unfurnished formal dining room, pointing to a Spot book, as if he was reading the words. At six months of age, we would read to him and say, "Now turn the page," and dutifully, he would.

I don't like buying my boys 'gifts' throughout the year. It happens on occasion for various reasons, but I'm not keen on it. I'd rather stick to Christmas and birthday gifts. I'm conscious about sending them a message that 'money doesn't grow on trees'. (I'm not sure I'm succeeding in that lesson, but Hubby and I will give it our best shot.) However, there is one item I don't mind buying them throughout the year at all, and they are always on the birthday and Christmas lists too, because they are just too important not to be around the home.

Books.

When Black Dog Books offered to send some picture books my way to review, I jumped at the chance to take a look with the kids. Every night we read before bed (and often the 3yo and I will read a few stories during the day as well), and the night they arrived, the 8yr old sat down on the couch with the 3yr old and began to read to him. (I love it when my 8yo and 6yo read to their little brother.)

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and I could her the boys laughing and laughing from their possie on the couch. They were reading the first of the three books we received Katrina Germein's My Dad Thinks He's Funny.

Don't you love Dad jokes? I'm always teasing Hubby that he's become one of 'those' dads, because he's always using them. Imagine then how amazed I was when I read the book and discovered just how many of the Dad jokes I use with my kids too?

The book is written from a little boy's perspective about all the Dad jokes he hears from his Dad, and there are some classics.


'When people say, "Would you like sugar" Dad says, "I'm sweet enough." ' 

Lord. How many times have I used that one?

The kids thought this book hilarious, and I really enjoyed reading it with them because it took me back to my childhood and Dad using the same jokes. The illustrations (by Tom Jellett) are also great (there's even a maze on one page which the kids loved doing as well). It's a book you can totally relate to. It's also totally funny! Your kids will love it.

The next book we picked up was Heath McKenzie's The Aussie Nutcracker. The boys were fascinated by this Aussie take on the much-loved classic Christmas story, and didn't move an inch during my reading of it. Completely drawn in! What I love about books, is how they can create further discussion, and we started talking about the Nutcracker and about ballet and Australian animals.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and the kids particularly loved that the Nutcracker was a kangaroo version of the soldier! This will undoubtedly become a favourite Christmas story we'll read each year.

The third book is one of the most beautifully illustrated picture books I've seen to date, called All Through the Night by Dean Jones.

First up, the kids loved the Special Ticket that comes with the book. It's an actual ticket that sits in a sleeve on the title page. Then Dean takes us on a magical train journey, through a young boy's dream, which is filled with amazing pictures of the boy's train traveling over oceans, through clouds (including past the Sandman who lights the way with his lantern and sprinkles bubbles over the boy), past the moon (which snails, whose shells pose as alarm clocks, symbolically eat away at the moon) until he finally arrives at a new day. The 3yr old especially loved all the pictures, and we found ourselves spending quite some time on each page, because there was just so much to take in.

If you're needing an extra Christmas present or two for your kids, consider picking up one - or all three! - of these. You won't regret it.

Jodie