Holls

I don’t know when I realised how much you mean to me.

Years ago, when I was small. A long time ago it seems to me.

And how funny that when we were 5 we had to live a world apart.

Seems so unlikely we’d stay close but in our story that’s just the start.

As soon as we could write and read we wrote letters from then on,

And dyslexia be damned because you replied to every one.

Over the years the fun filled letters of our teens turned to emails and FaceTime in our much mellower 20’s

Never going too long without a word however short and sweet.

Taking time to write the big catch ups that would go on for sheets and sheets.

From Big Brother to big break ups, from family to friends.

You kept me up to date with everything. Your friends have become my friends.

We used to talk of time travel, worm holes and teleportation.

We always had a hard time with the idea of “gods creation”

And if we could teleport. All the things that we could see!!

Though to be fair we mostly dreamed of sharing pots of tea!

You were the kindest and the sweetest and the most thoughtful person I know.

You were the strongest and the bravest and someone I’m glad my boys could know.

When they finally got to meet you, “The one who buys the cool toys” “Auntie Hollie who loves Minecraft” you didn’t disappoint.

Those first few hours at your mum’s Are some of the happiest I’ve known.

Knowing NOW they all understood Why for you, we HAD to go.

To be there at your wedding

To see you dress with a nervous smile

Hear you cackle during the speeches I’d have travelled many more miles

But Holls it’s only a few weeks later

And now we must be brave

Living our lives with the courage

That you showed us every day.

Your heart was just so tired It deserved a tantrum too

It had a pretty crappy run

And, my dear, so had you

So rest forever sweet Holls

I’m so glad you fought so long

Our hearts are full of memories

That will help us all go on.

Mid-Mummy Meltdown

When you have a newborn, you spend weeks or months spending a lot of time at home. You’re tired but you’re learning about yourself and about your baby all the time and the months fly by.

As your baby grows up. You make friends with babies the same age. You get out and socialise. Coffee and Cake watching your babies learn to roll over, talk, share, climb playgrounds as they grown up. 

Life has a routine, food shopping on monday, swimming lessons on tuesday, mothers group on wednesday, daycare on thursday, other girlfriends on friday etc. There is quality time with the kids, time spent out as a family, time spent out with others and their kids. 

When you and your friends have more babies they all fit into that routine more or less. There’s probably a little bit more, home by lunch so the bub can have a nap, but otherwise life is grand. Everything is good with the universe…

Then before you know it. You’re half way through their forth year. This two day a week Kindy thing is nice but all of a sudden you’re looking to next year and you won’t see your baby 5 days a week. Your other child or children, in my case a 16 month old boy, won’t see his big brother 5 days a week!  Friends are heading back to work after enjoying 4 years at home and it dawns on you that life is about to change in a BIG way.

This is the reason for my ‘mid-mummy’ meltdown. I feel like my role as mother is being challenged. Jayden is learning all sorts of things now that I haven’t taught him. He doesn’t need me as much, and delights in telling me. “I don’t need your help for this Mum, I can do it myself”  I relish his new found independence I do… but I am realising that from now on his need for me is only going to lessen. He’s going to go to school 5 days a week next year, fill his brain and become a ‘real school boy’ and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So I’m holding on to the next 6 months with both hands. Enjoying the chatter and even the arguments between my babies playing together, because next year there’s going to be a lot less of it. Trying to get my business venture off the ground so that I can be sure of staying at home to raise Taj. Sure of doing the school drop off and pick up and still have some money.

I know that this next phase of our life is going to be great as well, just really truly different, and I never was much good at dealing with change!Image

 

 

Lost in my head

Feeling decidedly up and down
My life feels full to the brim
Yet empty of something

On top of the world at one minute
lost in my own thoughts and dwelling where
thoughts should feel no need to dwell.

Feeling grateful and thankful for my lot
Then guilty and saddened that it doesn’t always feel enough

What a funny thing is life
When teeth can reach to the depth of your heart
Tear you apart
With no root to trace you back

When a tear running down your face
Feels like a disgrace
How dare you cry
What right have I?

When a twinkle in a loved ones eye
Sets your heart alight
You might take flight
If they weren’t there to anchor you.

Whether I’m lost
Or right at home
My emotions have a tendency to roam
And leave me questioning my place
In space
In this atmosphere
Do I belong here?

There’s things I love
I can’t get enough
Of cuddles,
of tea,
of cake.
Of these things with friends I could indulge all day
And I might never cope if you took one away
But there are more than just those few

I love text messages out of blue
that make you smile
Someone’s thinking of you.

I love group hugs with my boys and my man
One strong unit I hold in my hands

I love waking-up cuddles from my baby boys
Rubbing their eyes, still warm from bed
Watching dreams slip out of their head

I love high school memories of my best friend
Of a simpler life that didn’t feel simple then

Of a lazy day
When there’s not much to do
But someone would love to do “not much” with you.

I love a good book and a nice warm bed
I won’t lie down, just one more chapter instead

A great recipe that everyone loves
Serving it up
Hearing a hush.

Showing off my kids and feeling the pride
Swelling up from deep down inside
I made them, they have grown from me
And already they are more amazing than I ever dreamt they’d be.

So isn’t it funny with so much to love
that there’s a tiny spot that feels so blue
Frowning and disapproving of things I do.
I will fish you out one day
This malignant thing that wont go away
I will stop listening to those who bring me down
I will love what I love and put my foot down
But until then I’ll have to just be
The up and down head case
That is
Me

Down the rabbit hole

Gosh I never realised how much my newest obsession would take over my life!!
If I’m not baking or decorating cakes, I’m researching techniques, watching YouTube tutorials, flicking through endless Facebook pages of fantastic out of this world cakes, testing recipes and yes … More than a little eating cake too!!

I feel like I’m falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland and discovering this amazing world I never new existed.

There are times I doubt my abilities, usually half way through a cake when I remember that no one has taught me anything and I’m really just making it up as I go along, but boy is that a fun thing to do!

I’ve made some lovely “cake friends” been inspired on infinite levels, but I think the thing that’s made the biggest impact on me…. Is that when I finish a cake, I look at it and think “I made that” and I am CHUFFED!! I haven’t felt like I was good at anything since … Who knows?

I love my life and my kids, but having a little mini achievement in cake form every now and then has been good for my confidence and good for my soul! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still done those 6 loads of washing, emptied and stacked the dishwasher an obscene amount of times and cooked meals too but in between all that I’ve made something to be proud of and that’s rather cool.

So here’s a few of my latest cakes. As I fall deeper down the Rabbit Hole.

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Best mates

Friendships are a tricky thing.

When is someone you know, a friend (no a Facebook friend does not count) when does a friend become a best friend…

Growing up, we moved around quite a lot. We moved from England to Australia when I was 5 years old and I left everyone I knew behind. Friends and family.

My Mum and Dad split up when I was 10. It wasn’t super traumatic, just sad. We lived with Mum but visited Dad and had friends at school, friends at Dad’s house and friends at Mum’s house.

A few years later, my Mum met a man and it was decided we move from WA to QLD. The man who would be my mums second husband had family there and my brother and I were pretty excited about living on The Gold Coast with permanent access (so it seemed) to the themeparks.

That move was harder, I had friends at a school and even though I could keep in touch while on our holiday access visits with Dad it was bound to be hard.

From 11 until the end of high school we stayed in the same area but for some reason I never seemed to hang onto friends. I had a new “best friend” every year, lots of friends in between and didn’t really mind.

I’ve always been a very honest person, and a bit of a nutter (my grandma would call me eccentric) and most people find that hard to deal with in the end!!!

Many of these friends, although not my best friends or even close friends I am still in contact with. Some are lost forever in the sea of time past and misspent youth that is remembered far longer than it was actually lived. My senior high school year is filled with more memories than I believe actually fit in that one year!

In 1999 in year 9, I was good friends with a girl, Katie, she continues to be one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Katie had a best friend, Amie, and when I started sitting with Katie at lunch (the early high school equivalent of moving in, it seemed) I met Amie and loved her straight away. She was quirky and cute and honest and fun.

Amie was soon and continues to be my best friend. Amie is “Aunty Amie” to my kids. She is my husband’s Drinking buddy and she knows everything about me it is worthwhile knowing (possibly that’s not a lot) she’s been there for me through every important aspect of my life and even when I throw a curve ball at her she says things like “I’ll support you whatever you decide to do” which really is just amazing!

Amie has other best friends (Katie for one) but she manages to be there for me in entirety when I need her to be.

She is the only friend I’ve never fought with. The only friend I’ve managed to hold on to and not alienate over consecutive years and truly one of the most important people in my life…. (and she’s single which is unfathomable to me!!!)

Friendship has always seemed like a taboo thing to me. For a long time (ok if I’m being honest – still) if I find someone who I connect with. I grip on really tight with both hands … And eventually suffocate them…

My Mum got let down by a good friend when I was young, I struggled with friends growing up and who knows 100% why, but I’ve never felt like I deserve friendship. Or the happiness that a really good friendship brings.

Since I’ve become a Mum. Friendship had taken on a new meaning to me. I look at my sons and I hope they will have a friend, they grow up with, someone he can share with, fight with, tell secrets to, hide from, and love. Other than each other of course.

This year though, I’ve been completely taken by surprise by making another Best Friend. Yes, that’s right, I in my bitchy bubble, apparantly get not one but two best mates! Go figure?

And I tell you what. Making a best friend when you’re all grown up (I’ll be 27 this month) is bloody weird! I’m constantly second guessing myself. I think of something funny and go to send a message and then think, stop harassing the woman, and then think, nah it’ll give her a laugh. Send it and then think …. Shouldn’t have done that… Must not message again until Tuesday! Lol. (she tells me I think too much and I know it’s true) I must be the only person on earth who acts like this.

I’m also a super affectionate person. I’m a cuddler. If it wasn’t socially unacceptable I’d cuddle for 5 minutes rather than the 5 seconds at the door! Lol. I like to give gifts, that let the other person know ” I was thinking of you” Once for Aims, I put together a little photo book of pics of us, and the kids and why she was so important to us…. Amie loved it, and I knew she would but now with BFF2 (have to work on that… ) I have to rethink my gestures… Sweet or scary? Touching or terrifying? Cuddle or Crushing? You get my point? Haha

Maybe the thing with best friends is that, it doesn’t matter what I do, it’ll sort itself out. I know if I did suffocate, scare or shock either of these amazing women they’d waste no time in letting me know. I know I can tell them anything, I don’t need to apologize to them for being me, I will be there for them no matter what, and love them no matter what. And that is something so special!

I haven’t written a blog in months but thinking about friendship seemed a good thing to come back for.

My long enduring friendship with Amie. 13 years, nearly half our lives
And this new friendship which makes me smile and blows my mind how important she’s become to me.
And the best part, about my “new best friend”: my best friend’s son, is now my son’s best friend!!!!

May you all be so lucky to have such great friendships. I’ll be treasuring these two with all I have 🙂

Until next time … Tanya

Cake!!!!!

When I was a little girl my Mum made all our birthday cakes. Among many I have vivid memories of a castle with turrets and chocolate doors and windows.

I’ve always been interested in food but I’m really not a fantastic baker. I’ve just always been more of a cook a fantastic dinner sort of girl.  Saying that, I’ve made an effort to try and make cakes for my stepson’s and I made Jayden’s 1st and 3rd birthday cakes (we were in Bali the day he turned 2) 1 for his party and 1 for the night of his birthday. The 3rd birthday cake I made Jayden was a Ninja Turtle cake tin, cake. Iced pretty well for my first time icing to a design instead of freehand. I was so proud of it and Jayden was pretty happy with it too!

Previous attempts….

Anywho …. so there was me. Happy to make cakes for my kids and loving to get the piping bag out but definitely not a cake decorator or cake fanatic.

Then someone on my Facebook page ‘liked’ Sandy’s cakes. I stopped by to have a look and was instantly inspired. Her work looked amazing and I decided – my kids were going to have cakes like hers for 2012….

My very favourite cake of Sandy’s is

http://cakesbysandy.blogspot.com/2011/11/cat-in-hat-for-kai.html

this one. It just blew me away.

I was imagining all the training she must have had when I came across her Blog link and could not believe it when I read ‘I made my first fondant cake for Easter this year, 2009. I have had no formal training but have learned through watching YouTube demonstrations, reading and practice.’

INSPIRATION COMPLETE – I CAN DO THIS!!!!

So off I trotted to YouTube which to be honest I’d never really even thought about looking at before. I’d assumed it was all piano playing cats and dogs riding jet ski’s? Apparently not. I did a lot of fondant surfing and then also found a recipe for fondant on this website which had, had rave reviews. http://thecookduke.com/fondant-recipe/   My first batch of fondant came out REALLY well. This recipe calls for corn syrup which I wasn’t able to find here, so I made the sugar syrup as suggested. I mixed it a bit in my new MIXMASTER a present from my hubby and kneaded it out by hand after it came together. I think after working with it, it may be a tad dry but I will adjust that next time.

I decided to make a cake for one of the activities I do with my boys, Mainly Music at the Salvation Army. So I had a week and a half to figure out what I was doing and put together a cake.

My first problem was that I really don’t have any cake making supplies, and not being sure if this was going to work out AT ALL, I didn’t want to buy a whole heap of things I’d never use again.  I did however have some brown, green and red gel colour from Jayden’s turtle cake, and some liquid colours so I decided to just stick with that.

My very first creation was this little snowman….He’s not great – but he really gave me an idea of how much I needed to knead out the fondant, how pliable it needed to be. The way it absorbed the colour. And how to use water to attach it all together. Pretty informative little guy really. I wasn’t sure how to do eyes so I dotted a toothpick in the colouring and into his eyes…. I also wasn’t sure how to store the fondant and after popping him in the fridge his eyes ran…. Poor frosty. He didn’t make it onto the cake in the end, I made a new snowman. It turns out the best way to store fondant decorations is to pop them in a cardboard box with those silica things still in the box. WHO KNEW?

I found a useful YouTube video on using scissors to create the fronds of a christmas tree and I made a jolly little santa claus out of my head which I was pretty happy with. Years of playing play doh with my boys really started to pay off here.

The day before the party I cooked a marbled green and red butter cake. It came out well. I got my hubby to trim it and then let it cool. I had read somewhere (my head is a sea of fondant and cake decorating info at the moment) that you should do a crumb coat and that buttercream icing was a good icing to use…. mmm I had just made these tasty little morsels … and I had the green icing leftover … MISTAKE!!!

Back to that in a minute…

So once I was sure the cake was cooled, and also once I was sure that the boys were both happy with their Dad so I could do this uninterrupted. I sifted out some cornflour on my work space and got to work on the fondant, I microwaved it for 15 seconds to warm it, kneaded it a bit and then rolled it out. Lay it over the rolling pin like I saw in the YouTube clips… took a DEEP BREATH and… lay it over my crumb coated cake.

Now to be honest I had expected to absolutely screw this up first time, but it went on really well. I smoothed out the bumps that I could…. trimmed it up and it looked bloody fantastic! Smooth and shiny and pretty great really. …. Then I noticed that the green buttercream icing that I hadn’t bothered to whip up again in plain white (I HATE waste!!) had come back to haunt me… it was just visible around the bottom of the fondant. GRRRR…..

I had noticed on another cake I’d seen recently that sometimes ribbon was used to decorate. So I tried this. I was pretty happy with it but was haunted with the idea that … It just needed something.

In the middle of the night it came to me – holly! In the end the holly leaves were just going to be too difficult without a cutter so I made normal leaves with a toothpick to make the indentations and that worked out well enough for me…

So here is the finished product… MY FIRST FONDANT CAKE!

It really is easier than you think!

Although I’m definitely not going to have Sandy Quality Cakes for my boys birthdays but they’ll have cakes made by Mummy and that should be good enough?

Until next time …

Blindness by José Saramago

I have been intending to write a review on this book for a few weeks now and I keep getting caught up in life and forgetting. Yesterday when I pulled up at the local supermarket I was transported back to Blindness. “The Doctor’s Wife”, the only sighted person in a sea of blind, hunting for food. It is for me the strongest visual from Blindness and such a sign of a great novel.

The first thing I love about Blindness is how much you care about the characters although you do not know a whole lot about them. They are not given names. “The Doctor” “The Girl with the Dark Glasses” etc, are only ever referred to as such.

Sitting at the traffic lights, a man is waiting for the lights to change. He looks up. He sees a bright white light and cries “I am blind”. He is “The First Blind Man” A passer-by on the street offers to take the man’s car and drive him home. He drops off “The First Blind Man” at his house to await the return of his wife. We stay with him, but later we find out the man who dropped him home stole his car… and soon after turned blind himself.

“The Wife of the First Blind Man” takes her husband to “The Doctor” he is perplexed and recommends more tests, before the night is out he has turned blind and so have the patients waiting in the waiting room along with “The First Blind Man”

This epidemic of white blindness spreads and the powers that be decide to put those who are blind along with anyone who has been in contact with them into a closed mental facility to be controlled by a branch of the army. They are separated into The Blind and The Contaminated.

I am fascinated by this post-apocalyptic style of novel. This situation of mass blindness asks a lot of humanity. When the food stops coming regularly and one ward of the facility decide to control the food in return for sex from the females of each ward, I am sickened but not surprised. This return to primal desires is brought up often in post-apocolytic novels. In King’s The Stand, a motorcycle gang block a road and capture those woman who try to cross. A blind man in The Day of the Triffids, captures a sighted woman and uses her as his sighted slave.

Would I, as a woman, be prepared to offer myself to these men in return for food for my husband? Would men who were not felons or mental patients in their normal life, turn into sexual devients because of the leadership of one inherently bad man? If I were blind, with no indication of sight returning would I even have the will to continue to live in conditions such as these? For some reason these questions fascinate me and Jose Saramago does not disappoint. The characters do not have huge amounts of back story, but you are with them every step of the way on their struggle.

Let it be noted that I read this as an audiobook – Wikipedia says “Like most works by Saramago, the novel contains many long, breathless sentences in which commas take the place of periods. The lack of quotation marks around dialogue means that the speakers’ identities (or the fact that dialogue is occurring) may not be immediately apparent to the reader.”  The audiobook however was wonderfully narrated by Jonathan Davis and never felt like a translation. This book was originally publishes in Portuguese and there has also been a movie adaptation which, kids permitting, I will sit down and watch tonight and share my thoughts with you later.

If anyone is out there I’d really love some suggestions of similarly themed books to read. Earth Abides, The Stand, Day of the Triffids, The Road, Children of the Dust…  I’d also love to know of any outstanding audiobooks. Jonathan Davis narrated The Earth Abides also and I thought that was fantastic. A good narrator really does make all the difference.

Until next time …

 

Postscript; Well I did get to watch the movie adaption of Blindness. I watched it in 2 or 3 sittings which is the only way I ever get to watch movies and it wasn’t bad….

I am not usually a fan of Julianne Moore but she was good as the “Doctor’s wife”.  As is usual with most movie adaptations there were important segments missed and it was definitely not as good as the book but considering that all but one of the cast have to play a blind person I think it was terrifically well acted and scripted.

Give it a go if you like the novel but don’t watch it instead of reading the novel!