Thursday, 5 May 2016

Currently... April

A few days late with this as it is already May... such is the life of a working mum!

Reading:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Young adult fiction, which is a genre I'm not ashamed to say that I love. Enjoyed this book, very easy reading with a twist at the end that made me want to go back and reread it for clues to the twist. 

Watching:

The Americans Season 2 and House of Cards Season 2. Both great series. I'm practicing "mindful TV watching" where I can only watch television that I find completely engaging and I'm not allowed to be playing on my phone at the same time. So if I have an urge to look at my phone then it is probably not worth watching. 

Oh and of course Game of Thrones Season 6. We've only seen episode 1 so far, and I won't say anything except it seemed really short - which again means it must have kept me engaged! In preparation we watched this recap of Seasons 1-5, which succinctly and humorously explains all the major storylines in under 10 minutes which was pretty impressive.

Listening to:

Death, Sex & Money - a new podcast I've stumbled upon (recommended on another blog) that is about "the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation."

The Hamish & Andy podcast. Pretty late to Hamish & Andy, who are a famous comedy duo/radio presenters here in Australia. They do "The Drive Home" radio show on FOX FM, and so every weekday a new podcast comes out with the highlights from the day before. The podcast is pretty hilarious and so you will frequently see me walking with Ella down the Yarra River giggling to myself while I listen to it.

Cooking:

As mentioned in previous posts, dinners are mostly our Hello Fresh meals, but I've done a bit of baking and cooking of breakfasts on my non-work days this month. A few highlights:
Carrot Cake Porridge from Apples Under my Bed. How good is it when you manage to get a portion of veggies into your breakfast? And it actually tastes like dessert? Pretty good.
Pumpkin Quinoa Chocolate Chip muffins from Once a Month Meals. Part healthy, part indulgent, very yummy. An old favourite of ours. I made a few without chocolate chips for Ella and she is not a fan though. Maybe she has realised I've withheld the best bits? Oh well, your loss Ella, more for mummy and daddy!
Chocolate Nut Butter Cups from Apples Under my Bed. Oh. My. God. These are amazing. A full batch lasted about two days in our house. Not super healthy but much better than buying Reece's peanut butter cups, and they taste better too. I used 70% dark chocolate and all peanut butter (as opposed to half almond butter, which is SO expensive).
Soft & Chewy Baked Granola bars from Oh She Glows. Made these as we've got into a bad habit of buying store bought granola bars, which are SO bad for you and I don't even really like them. But not a fan of these ones unfortunately. A shame as I had to use a lot of medjool dates and chia seeds which are not cheap ingredients. Forcing myself to eat them as they are relatively healthy and do fill me up. But I won't make them again.

Obsessing Over:

Work-life balance. At the end of last term I was so exhausted and that was only working two days a week. I was feeling very overwhelmed at the thought of going back to work full-time in July, which is what my contract says at the moment. So over the holidays Andy and I decided that it would be best for our family if I stayed part-time for the rest of the year, going up to three days a week in July. I had a chat with my boss about it last week and he has agreed to this deal, which is a huge relief. I just couldn't bear the thought of sending Ella to daycare five days a week, ten hours a day, when she is only one year old.  

Looking forward to:

Restaurant Club! Last year I attempted to start a book club with some of my friends. It started out well but after a few months it sort of died off. I've revamped it to make it more of a Restaurant Club with an optional book recommendation. Our first meeting is at the end of this month and I think the first restaurant we've decided on is Supernormal in the CBD. Will report back next month. 

Also, our trip to England in 6 weeks! Yay!

(Not looking forward to: 24 hours in transit with a one-year-old. Something tells me this time might be a bit more challenging than when she was younger.)

Loving:

My new bike. I bought a Toyko Bisou this month so I could ride to school and use it to run errands. I absolutely love it. It is very different to my other bikes, which were much more functional in design. (Yes, I actually had two other bikes, a hybrid and a road bike. I sold them both on gumtree to pay for this new bike). I wanted a somewhat pretty bike, that wasn't too girly, and would also be easy enough to ride up some hills which I have on my commute to work. I wasn't sure this type of bike existed until I came across Tokyo Bikes. The Bisou is EXACTLY what I had been looking for. I've been riding my bike to work every day since the school holidays ended and I'm so happy with it.



This response to an article in the New York Post about ME-ternity. ME-ternity is an argument put forward by Meghann Foye that women that don't have children should get paid time off, basically all the perks of maternity leave without actually having kids. She claims that women who choose not to have children should get the same time off and "space for reflection" that women get when they go on maternity leave. Haha, what a comedian she is. I would somewhat agree that being on maternity leave has made me reflect on what is important in life, but that has come about BECAUSE of the tiny little human I am now responsible for. Also, any lovely "me time" only really happens once you get through the first six months or so (if you're lucky, and only if you have one child), and by then any actual pay has run out. Anyway someone has written a hilarious response with "rules" for ME-ternity that would make it equivalent to maternity leave. My favourite rule is this one:

You must rub sandpaper over your nipples until they are red and bleeding. Once this is achieved, you are required to tug on them 15,000 times a day. You may opt out of this but you are required to feel like a terrible person.

Hating:

Roads without cycle lanes. My last 2km to work is down busy Heidleberg Road which has a token bike symbol painted on the left side of the left lane, but no actual bike lane on most of it. It's not much fun, especially when trucks and buses whizz by you. And there is no alternative back route, trust me, I've looked.

City planning that does not take into account improved cycle and pedestrian conditions, and/or improved public transport, just does not make sense to me. It's 2016, the environmental impact of humans is well known and documented... we are ruining the world people! The least governments can do is encourage people to drive less. It benefits not only the environment but also the general health of the population, putting less stress on health services. Surely it's a no brainer? Oh, but we will always have those people who complain that cyclists don't obey traffic laws so we shouldn't be catering to them. Sure, some don't. Just like some drivers don't obey traffic laws. And I do agree, this is wrong, and puts everyone in danger. However, while I don't condone cyclists breaking the law, I do think that most times when they do, it is because they feel unsafe in the conditions they are riding in. So maybe if we had safer conditions, such as more separated bike lanes, then cyclists wouldn't feel they have to break the law to be safe. 

Anyway. I hate driver/cyclist angst basically. Can't we just all get along?

Wearing:

Winter work clothes... booooo. I had to put on tights for the first time this week.

Enjoying:

The prolonged summer weather we've had throughout April this year (which is over now that I've finally got around to publishing this post). It's been so great for walks and trips to the park with Ella. 

Needing:

Nothing really. Life is pretty good.

Wanting:

A baby bike seat for Ella. This one is my favourite of the ones I have researched. I saw a mum and her baby riding around our neighbourhood with it and immediately went home and googled the brand. It's much more stylish looking that any other seat I've seen. I think it will be Ella's present for her first birthday.

A Mountain Buggy Nano. It's a pram that folds up small enough that you can take it as carry-on luggage on a plane. One part of me feels like this will be a good investment and well used for all our travelling needs, even when we go on car trips within Australia. The other part of me feels like owning three prams is slightly excessive. Which part will win? Stay tuned...

Missing:

As usual, my family. I miss having constant grandparents around for Ella. FaceTime is good, but not the same as actual physical contact.

Considering:

A Californian Christmas - spent with my family (my brother lives there with his girlfriend).

I'm lying, I'm not "considering" this. It's been considered, and we are going. Just need to consider how we will pay for the plane tickets now... I keep trying to get Andy to be an Uber driver for some extra cash, but for some reason he's not game. 

Working On:

Still driving. Haven't got that far since I pledged to drive once a week last month. I need to drive a few days this month when Andy goes on school camp and a work conference and I'm in charge of the daycare drop offs in the morning. Eek, I'm nervous! 

Grateful for:

Supportive work colleagues. If I have to go to work and leave my baby girl, at least I am going to a place where I like the people I work with!

Pic of the Month:


This is not the best shot, but to me it sums up the joyfulness that is Ella right now. I love seeing her expression when she is happy and experiencing something new. Seeing her face light up like that gives me a feeling like nothing I've ever felt before. She is wonderful.

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