Au Naturel

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I remember when it all began. I was 15 years old and I wanted to dye my hair. Mum was a bit reluctant at first, but I convinced her that a Napro Live Colour, retailing at $4.00 at the time, was a semi-permanent, and might not even make a difference. I'm sure Mum then asked "well if it's not going to make a difference, then why do it at all" and I'm sure I would have responded with "just becaaaaaauuuuusssse okaaaaaaaay?????" (my negotiation skills were a little light-on when I was 15.) I'm sure the real reason was that all my friends were doing it and I didn't want to be left behind.

So permission was granted. I'm pretty sure I started with the chestnut colour which made my hair nice and shiny and glossy. And then I was hooked. The thing about Napro semi-permanent dyes, is that they're actually quite permanent. (Aren't they Ah-dele!?) I mean, the shine and gloss fades after a week or 2, but the colour certainly stays around. So I was hooked. I moved on to the reds and burgundy colours after that and ever since then, I've always had a colour in my hair. Mum actually let me experiment with foils at age 17 and I had some wicked stripes happening for my formal. I looked like a tiger! But mostly, I just went with the all-over-hair dye.

Once I turned 18, the freedom was so overwhelming that I moved on to permanent dyes! Woah! (I also got the top of my ear pierced, got a tattoo, and considered a belly button ring. Oh yeah. It was a big turning point in my life!!)

At 26, and during what I'm sure was a bit of a crisis point in my life, I decided I wanted to go blonde. I had found a hairdresser who worked from home who was happy to oblige (at a good rate too!) and suggested that since I had so much red dye in my hair, caked on over the years, that she would just put a whole lot of foils in. And I didn't so much go blonde, but ginger. Well, kind of orange. The roots (that didn't have any dye in them) were a lovely blonde, but the rest, well, not so much.

So I decided to start fresh. Wipe the slate clean. It's been almost a year since I last dyed my hair. And since I'm pregnant, I also decided that I would wait til the bub is born before I embark on anymore dye jobs. So here's what my hair looks like in it's natural state:

(Thankfully you can't see all the greys!!) And another one, in my natural colour, but waved for a 1920s-themed lunch we went to a few weeks ago:

I'm not sure what I'm going to do once I dye again! How about I try blonde again?! Ha ha. Maybe not. Maybe some cute red tips or something. Am I getting to old for such things!?? NEVER!!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm a pretty organised person by nature. I love it - it's my thing. Unfortunately, I can be rather forgetful, which is hilarious when you look at how ordered my life is most of the time. And ever since we moved down to Melbourne, I've started losing things! I think I've lost 4 scarves to date, and sadly, VERY sadly, I lost my pink hat a couple of weekends ago when I was out shopping. There's just too much to keep track of down here!! Cardi, jacket, gloves, scarf, hat. No wonder I came home with less than I went out with! I'm sure I left it sitting on a counter top somewhere - I would have put it there while I was putting on my jacket, my crumpler, my scarf, and picking up my bags of shopping. And of COURSE I didn't realise til I got home, at which time, it was too late to go back and look for it.

And it was one of my favourite hats too. I mean, it only cost $2 (new!) but it was for that very reason (bargain!!) that I loved it so much. That, plus it kept my ears toasty warm. And now that winter has arrived in Melbourne (it's 2pm and 8 degrees) I'll be missing it even more!!

Maybe I need to tie a rope around things and tie them to my wrist. I'm so trendy...


Friday, June 25, 2010

I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant, or because life seems to be changing at a rapid rate, or if it's the rainy afternoon we're having in Melbourne, but I've been feeling very nostalgic lately. Remembering old times, old friends, the way things used to be, and how they'll never be the same again and what that means.

And I've had this song in my head all day, which lead me to look up this. And I gotta say, after reading the following part of the article, I got all choked up... (see if you can guess what it's from before you look up the links!)

Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back...with wonder.

Life is just happening and I feel like I'm along for the ride. And what a ride! Looking back over the last 5 years, I can't believe how much has changed, but everything is just falling in to place. It makes me feel amazingly blessed.

Wifey's World Cup

Well, I did it! I got up at 4:15am yesterday for the Socceroos last pool match, and am I ever glad that I did. It was a cracker. A great way for the boys to, unfortunately, end their World Cup campaign. Apart from a few wah-wahs, it was a classy match by the Aussies, and a deserved win. Shame about that damn goal difference!

I think that may be the last game I watch this world cup, but I may get up for the final, depending on the teams playing.

I also think that this may have been the last World Cup that I'll be getting up to watch. The game is just too theatrical and whingey for me, and it really takes away from the great spectacle of soccer which is such a shame. I know that there is a huge following for soccer around the world, so I'm sure they won't miss me not watching the games in Brazil in 4 years time.

It's been fun!

I should have known

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As I mentioned, it was Hubs' birthday yesterday (and still currently his "birthday week") so I had planned to take him out to dinner here. The place had been recommended to us by a couple of people, with the main attraction of "cheap pizzas" ie $4 pizzas from 7-11pm Mon-Thurs. Hubs likes pizza, and we like being cheap, so I thought it would be a great place to go! I was expecting a dodgy little place with mix-matched couches and a casual vibe which would have been perfect, especially since I had my walking shoes on (we had walked the 1.5km from home) and was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. This is not the place that greeted us. Instead, it was this rather trendy, though still relaxed, bar and restaurant that wasn't really "us". We stood at the bar for about 5 minutes and looked around for a spare table, of which there were none. After not being served for a while, we had a quick discussion and decided it wasn't really what we were hoping for, so we left.

We started walking down the street looking for something else, and I asked Hubs what he felt like. Then I mentioned the B word. Burgers. His face lit up and he looked at me in his "I'm so cute I know I can get what I want if I look at you like this and talk to you all sweet-like" way and said:

"Honeeeeeeey. You know what I'd really love? If we went home and you cooked us some roo burgers."

I should have known.

You see, my Hubsband is a man of simple pleasures. As I'm sure I've mentioned, he is easy to please, but difficult to impress. This goes for most aspects of his life, but in particular, with food. Of course I was happy to oblige. So we swung by Coles and picked up some salad stuff, knowing I had the main makings of the burgers at home. And with a few mushrooms on the side, they really hit the spot. I've been making roo burgers for over 2 years now, and I think I've pretty much perfected them! Not that I like to brag or anything. We devoured the burgers and topped off a great meal with leftover cake and ice cream, while watching the last episode of The Hollowmen, and a ep of Daria.

Hubs' take on the evening? "Best birthday dinner EVER."

And who am I to argue?

(Someone's looking like a tired little bunny...)

Happy Birthday Hubs!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You really take the cake :-)

Showered with love

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last weekend was a big one and on the Sunday, a couple of my friends had asked if I wanted to catch up for coffee. It was in my diary, but by about 1:30pm I was so tired and had put my neck out, so I had a little lie down on the couch with Hubs. *sigh*. It was lovely. The thought crossed my mind to cancel coffee, but then I thought better of it - we're leaving Melbourne soon and I really wanted to make the most of my time here with my friends. So my friend swung by and picked me up around 2:30pm. We were meeting our other friend at her place (for whatever reason) and when we got there, she opened the door and.....

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!! My friends were hosting a surprise baby shower for me!! Needless to say, I cried. It was so thoughtful and touching and it really blew me away. They had been planning it for a few weeks and Hubs was in on it too! We had a lovely afternoon eating cupcakes..... (how gorgeous is the plate!!??)

...and other delicious food...

...playing fun games like "guess the ingredients in the baby food"...

...and opening presents!!

So you can imagine how glad I was that I didn't try and cancel!! Although, Hubs would have changed my mind. I really had no clue whatsoever and I love surprises so much! I've been missing my gal pals back home lately, and it really was so special to be reminded that I've met some wonderful, thoughtful, caring, beautiful women down here who have welcomed me into their lives. Thanks ladies - you really made this time in our lives even more special  x x x

"That's naw how you make porridge"

I was chatting with a Scottish lass living in Australia the other day, and, of course, the Uncle Toby's Instant Porridge ad came up. If you don't know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favour and take a look. It brings back so many memories of my childhood! (Is that a bit sad??)

Of course when you look for a video on youtube, you always get distracted by the "related videos" and I couldn't go past this one.

Absolute gold!

Wifey's World Cup

Monday, June 21, 2010

I stayed up on Saturday night to watch the Socceroos vs Ghana match, and it was a very exciting game indeed! I came away from that game feeling proud of the way we played and impressed by Australia's regrouping after the game against Germany. There was still a bit of OTT theatrics but on the whole, it was an enjoyable match. Our defence was more solid and Schwarzer seemed to be much more in control of his backline. Our goal was a great clean up of a tentative save by the Ghanan goal-keeper and the friends I was with got very excited indeed.

The mood changed when Kewell was given the red card, but after looking at countless replays and talking to people who live and breathe soccer, it would have been hard for the referee not to give it in that instance. I mean, it clearly wasn't deliberate, but it was an arm in front of a certain-goal, so it was a pretty expected call I would say. Disagree if you like, but I'm happy to move on from it.

So we're still in with a chance to make it to the knock-out round, albeit a small chance. Their next game is at 4:20am on Thursday and I'm going to try really really hard to get up for it. I have every good intention to do so, so wish me lots and lots of luck!!

Chocolatey goodness

Friday, June 18, 2010

Last night, I headed out to Blackburn on the east side of town, to my Chocolate Making Workshop. It was SO much fun. It delivered everything it promised, and then some. Our teacher, Sylvia, was fabulous - so knowledgeable and a lot of fun. It really was a jam-packed 4 hours, and I'm SO glad she gave us a booklet at the end with all the info we had learnt. And of course, now I want to be a chocolatier. You know, like Juliette Binoche in Chocolat (hubba hubba). Sorry. Getting side-tracked.

We started out with Sylvia explaining the history of chocolate and the cocoa bean and its composition. Then we learnt about "confectionery" as opposed to chocolate and how chocolate has to contain a certain % of cocoa bean to be classified as chocolate (i.e. Nestle White Melts are actually a confectionery as they contain 0% cocoa bean) so I'll be keeping my eye out for the "good stuff". I controlled myself and didn't purchase any equipment there and then, but you can be sure that I'll be looking into it once we move to Wang! Here are some photos from the night:

The little chocolate cups we made using oranges and the chocolate leaves (so going to try these again)

These were our little chocolates in the process. We made ones with hazelnut praline, Cointreau liqueur, caramel, lemon lime genache, and another one that I can't remember! We also filled some truffles which were scrumptious!

This was our little work area, and the other 3 participants with Sylvia (2nd from left) our expert

The attention to detail was lovely!

And oh so very delicious! Hubs had one when I got home and loved it! I really would like to buy some basic equipment and give this a go - just for fun! I'll add it to my wish list for when we move to Wang. Who knows? You might benefit from it one day!

Thanks for the prezzie guys - it was just brilliant   x x x x x x

Renting it is...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So Hubs and I didn't get the home loan we were hoping for :-( Oh well. You win some you lose some. The Dean of the college told me that her brother always says "I don't catch every boat but I've never been left behind." I like that saying. We know that there's something out there for us, and we know we'll find it.

So here we go with the rentals!!

Goodbye Woolies

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I had always been a Coles shopper - the closest Coles to where I grew up was always nicer than the Woolworths - which was just across the road - and parking was easier as well. So I got to know the products and was happy to be a Coles shopper. Even when I moved houses, I would always look for the nearest Coles and choose it over Woolies. Then we moved to Melbourne and the closest supermarket was a Woolworths (or "Safeway" as they call it down here!!!!) so I switched. It wasn't easy to do, but I made the transition and was quite happy about it. I got to know their products and days when things would go on special etc, and was a convert. I started looking for Woolworths/Safeway when I needed to do a shop. And the funny thing is, the Coles and Woolies near my parents house (the ones previously mentioned) did a bit of a switcheroo on me; the Coles is now dodgy and rubbish and the Woolies has been renovated and is totally awesome.

So I figured, that was it. I was a convert. I figured when we moved to Wang I'd find the nearest Woolies and continue being content. Alas, this will not happen. I will no longer be shopping at Woolworths. The reason? Woolworths is no longer accepting our CommSec Credit/Debit card. It has to be a savings account. Our card won't work. I went to pay for my purchases and they told me I had to press the "savings" button, even though I told them it wouldn't work. And what happened? It didn't work. They said it was the bank that had changed, so I called the bank ready to give them a piece of my mind (albeit, a small piece!) but they assured me the change had come from Woolies.

So I went back to Woolies (the dirty, filthy liars) and asked the check-out chick about it and she told me the truth - that the powers that be at Woolies had decided it cost them too much to process the Credit/Debit card as a credit card, and so they had stopped accepting them. She also thought it was ridiculous. I can't even change our account to a savings account, so now we're stuck with a card that won't work at Woolies.

So they've lost a customer. I know I know, I can get money out and pay cash, but it's the principle. Why should I give them my business if they're not going to make it convenient for me to pay? So now I have to convert back to Coles; I have to get to know their products and specials and the way they operate. And hope that they accept my card.

Actually, I'm hoping to do all my fruit and veg shopping at markets, and getting meat from a local butcher, and just odds and ends from Woolies Coles. Or maybe Aldi. Hee hee!

Has anyone else been inconvenienced by this?

Wifey's World Cup

Monday, June 14, 2010

There aren't many things that will get me up at 4am. The World Cup Finals is one of the exceptions. 4 years ago, I was living with friends, one of whom was soccer mad. So much so that he dragged his mattress out into the loungeroom for the month of matches, and tried to watch every single one, regardless of who was playing, all the while holding down a (high-responsibility) full-time job.

I'm not as crazy about soccer. In fact, I don't really like watch the Premier League or whatever they have in Europe/England. That kind of soccer annoys me. All the theatrics get old very quickly. And even though that still goes on in the World Cup finals, 4 years ago I was impressed that Australia weren't buying into that crap.

Last night, I was disappointed that this had changed somewhat. The theatrics I saw from both Germany (my favourite was the guy who grabbed at his leg with a non-existent injury before he even hit the ground!!) and Australia last night was terribly frustrating. That's not what I got up at 4am to watch. Nor was the thrashing that Germany dealt us. I'm not being a sore loser - all credit to Germany. Apart from the first 7 minutes where we seemed to come out kicking (so to speak) they outplayed and outclassed us in every way. They were amazing, and the skill was impressive to watch. We can all admit to that and congratulate our German friends. (Well done boys).

Where was I going with this? I think I just wanted to vent a bit. I don't like watching Aussie football players, whom I'm used to being tough and no-nonsense players (I've been watching Rugby League, Union and AFL too much, clearly) taking dives and crying foul to the referee, when clearly in the replay, there was nothing to it. Why is soccer like this?? It really spoils the game for me and frustrates me no end.

On a brighter note, I also watched the opening match of the World Cup finals on Friday night between South Africa and Mexico. So many people around college had been saying how Mexico were going to win, and convincingly, and I thought "well it doesn't matter, as long as it's a good match." And boy was it ever! And the best thing about it? That South Africa scored the opening goal for the whole World Cup. That was awesome. I think, unless you were born in Mexico, you were barracking for South Africa - I know I was! And not just because half of Hubs' family are from there! Mexico equalised with a good goal, but not before the SA goal keeper had saved some absolute crackers. It really was an entertaining game, without too much theatrics, and with a near-goal to South Africa in the dying minutes that would have won them the game, and that so many people wish had gone in. They have already done their country proud.

I hope to feel that same pride - that my team has played a good, fair, competitive game, win, lose or draw, - when the Socceroos take on Ghana at midnight this Saturday. I'm proud that the Socceroos have done so well to get in to the finals, I just want them to show the world the skill and class that I know they have, and not have to play the silly sissy games that other teams feel the need to play.

This has been Wifey's World Cup. I look forward to joining you again next week.

Cutie cuties

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So just because I can, I would like to show off my gorgeous Godson and his super-cute new baby brother. Hubs took these photos while we were visiting Brizzie a couple of weekends ago and I can't stop looking at them!!!

Mmmmmm.... babies..... Alex was 1 month old when we went to visit, and just so damn cute.

 Liam acting all serious in between giggle-fits! How gorgeous is my Godson!?

It was so easy looking after Alex! I really don't know what all the fuss is about. 
(Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I'm sure I'll find out soon enough!!)

It was so nice hanging out with the boys and Mama and Papa as well. We had a cruisey morning with only a little bit of spew and poop, and LOTS of baby cuddles and toddler giggles. Thanks guys! T'was so much fun!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Prepare for some nonsense. When I was 10 years old, I was involved in my primary school's production of James and the Giant Peach - a play based on Roald Dahl's famous book. When the time came for auditions, everyone wanted to be either Aunt Sponge or Aunt Spiker, (including me - I was a follower), cos clearly, wanting to be one of the insects - a male insect no less - was totally weird. My grade 5 teacher, who I'm not ashamed to say I had a HUGE crush on, suggested I give the Centipede part a try. So I did. And it actually ended up being one of the main parts, with a few solo songs to sing! (I may have been a follower, but I always liked like a bit of attention!)

Mum and I made an awesome costume which consisted of a black shirt, black pants, black top-hat and lots of legs made with stockings stuffed with newspaper, all strung together, dangling off my arms. Was it the best costume there? Well. That's not really for me to say :-)

I practised my lines diligently, and learned my songs by heart. I recall that I was very nervous leading up to it, but I believe I performed well and don't think I forgot any of my lines. And it was a LOT of fun.

So what is the point of this little story, you may ask? Well. The point is, I may not be able to remember what I did a week ago, but I can still remember the lines to one of my songs in the play:

I’ve eaten fresh mudburgers by the greatest cooks there are
And scrambled eggs and stinkbug’s legs and hornets stewed in tar
And pails of snails and lizards tails and beetles by the jar
A beetle is improved by just a splash of vinegar

I’m mad for crispy wasp-stings on a piece of buttered toast
And pickled spines of porcupines and then a gorgeous roast
Of dragon’s flesh, well hung, not fresh, it costs a pound at most
And comes to you by carriage, If you order it by post

For dinner on my birthday shall I tell you what I chose?
Hot noodles made from strudels on a slice of garden hose
And a rather smelly jelly made from armadillo’s toes
The Jelly is deeeee-licious, but you have to hold your nose

Now comes I do declare
The burden of my speech
These foods are rare, beyond compare
Some are right out of reach
But there’s no doubt I’d go without a million plates of eeeeeeeeeach

For one small mite
One tiny bite
Of this fantastic peeeeeach!

Ridiculous, no?*

* Oh my gosh I just googled the first line of the song and it came up! AND I remembered all the lines correctly! That IS ridiculous...

My Parents

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aren't they gorgeous?

An explanation

Monday, June 7, 2010

So I promised I'd explain these photos, so here goes. Hubs likes free stuff - who doesn't!? - and he likes to help people out - what a man! - so when he saw an advertisement at uni by 2 photographers starting out, asking for volunteers to pose for couple photos, he jumped at the chance to volunteer our services. And I was happy to oblige. 2 hours posing for photos and smooching with Hubs? Where do I sign!? In return for our time, we have been emailed 8 photos that have been "touched up" (as if we need any "work" done) to look nice an professional. Pretty sweet deal huh!?

The 2 gentlemen who were our paparazzi for the afternoon are getting into the wedding photography industry, so they just wanted some couples to practice on. I think they did a mighty fine job! Although, with subjects like us.... well.... you know....

We were given instructions such as:

"Look lovingly into each other's eyes." Easy.
"Hubs, give Wifey a little kiss..... Uh Hubs, you can stop now.... HUBS!!!" hee hee! Gross!!!
"Here's a water fountain. Do something spontaneous." After I splashed Hubs with water and he tried to get me back, I think the photographer regretted that instruction...

Another one of my favourites:

It was a fun afternoon and really, quite easy "work". I don't know what all these super models complain about. I mean really.

Cutesy couple

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'll explain later......

I've chosen my own adventure!

As I mentioned previously, my cousins and aunty and uncle gave me a red balloon voucher for my birthday in January, and I've finally booked something in! It wasn't even on the voting list I blogged about! This is what I went with: (Quoted directly from the website)

Chocolate Making Workshop

Chocolate Making Workshop
What is the Experience?
This chocolate-making workshop is all about chocolate-making in a dream setting. You'll make gorgeous hand-made chocolates in a fully equipped commercial Melbourne kitchen. Under the guidance of a professional chocolatier, you'll be preparing ganache filling, chocolate curls, and more!
Professional foodies and chocoholics alike will simply love this beginners’ chocolate-making workshop. To begin with, Sylvia, a professional chocolatier, will talk you through the process of turning cocoa beans into a block of chocolate and give you some tasty information on the history of chocolate. Then you’ll be ready to temper the chocolate and turn it into chocolaty delights!

Correct tempering of chocolate is the key to perfectly-made delicacies. During the workshop you will work with only the highest-quality Belgian couverture chocolate, which averages over 64% cocoa. You’ll make ganache filling, choose your own flavouring, and pour into moulds that are the same as those used by the world’s top chocolatiers! You will also get to call on your creative side when making little curls and other decorations for your chocolates.

Throughout the four-hour class you’ll make a variety of chocolates and decorations – all of which you’ll get to take home with you afterwards! Everything is done to the highest professional standard and the atmosphere is all about fun.

One of the best things about this class is the size. With no more than six participants in the group you will all work together and receive all of the attention you need in order to bring out your innermost chocolaty creative flair!

This course is ideal for the chocolate-lover who wants to learn about the intricacies of chocolate appreciation and learn how to make goodies for themselves, or as gifts for others. Any professional cook or patisserie chef who wants to hone their skills in chocolate-making will also benefit greatly from this workshop. Whatever your motivation, you will walk away from this workshop knowing all about the full potential of chocolate and with a box full of chocolaty treats. This is a fun-packed four hours that you won’t forget!

Oh yeah. I'm just a bit excited. The course is in a couple of weeks so I'll let you know how it goes. I might have to wear my stretchy pants! Tee hee!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So yeah, I've been pregnant for 15 weeks and have had to keep it to myself for the majority of that time. And let me tell you, it's been tricky. When it comes to other people's secrets, I'm a vault. With extra security. But when it comes to my own secrets, I can rarely keep my trap shut. But this time round, that's exactly what I did. It was hard not being able to share everything with everyone, as I'm usually a big sharer. But the flood gates are open now! Woo hoo!

Don't worry (Nate) I won't be dedicating every blog post from now on to the growing human life inside of me. Just a few. Like this one.

Right now I'm hungry. In fact, I can't actually remember a time in the last 15 weeks that I haven't been hungry. I pretty much knew straight away, even before I peed on a stick, (tmi??) that I was pregnant. I just felt different. I could feel things going on that I'd never felt before. And it was really cool. It still is! Except that I'm hungry. Did I mention that already? "They" (who are "they" anyway??) reckon you only need an extra 300 calories, or 2 pieces of fruit, per day, to keep up with your body's needs. I think "they" are wrong. I have been eating SO much more than that, but have been trying to keep all my "extra food" on the healthy side - fruit, yoghurt, rice crackers and nuts mostly. Apparently the whole "eating for 2" idea has been tossed out the window. Dammit.

So I have to wait another 16 minutes til lunch and it seems like the longest wait in the world. (I know - my life is hard...) The first couple of months I just felt constantly nauseous and eating helped with that, but now I feel like my body is needing extra fuel, so I'm going to give it what it needs.

Aaaaaaaah. I feel much better for sharing all this. Gosh this is going to be a big year for us! And I'm loving every minute!