How did this happen you may well ask?

Cyclone Gabriella at it again.

This was a photograph I took not long after I posted about my morning routine and how close I was to pulling out my hair before getting us all out of the house on time.

The morning I took this photograph I think Elliot ended up 30 minutes late for school for the first time ever. I just could not get it together that morning and situations like Gabriella pulling things out of those drawers (which cannot be shut - we have tried) is something I simply cannot time manage.

I guess taking the photograph took a minute but I felt compelled to get this on record. I clearly recall the despair I felt as I sat on the sofa just opposite from the kitchen as with rising panic I put on my shoes quickly in an attempt to get out of the house. My head was down concentrating on my shoes, when my eyes rose this was the scene that confronted me. I just felt so overwhelmed - why can't I control the morning better why does it control me?

That day, once I realised I was going to be later than 9.00am I thought what the hell, I will just achieve everything I need to and then get going - hence a whole 30 minutes late.

That afternoon as I picked up Elliot I spoke to another mother about our daughters who are of a similar age and she asked me if Gabriella's busy fingers were bothering me. I replied that her busy fingers are driving me insane. I can't decide if I have simply forgotten about what 18 month old children were like (it was 4 years ago for Elliot) but Gabriella just moves seemlessly from one mess to another these days.

I am continually amazed at what I will consider giving to her for a few moments peace, knowing full well of the risks. Of course my trade-offs rarely pay-off in my favour, for example, a clip seal jar full of hundreds and thousands, a sealed tub of yoghurt, the open pantry, my handbag, my wallet. I know, some really stupid things when I write them now but at the time, it seem like a perfectly rational decision when compared with the hell I would have to pay if I did not let her and the screeching ....

Sometimes I have the resilience to deal with Gabriella's tantrums sometimes I don't. I have been watching Super Nanny and I do know that I am the one who must exert control and about 80% of the time I do, occassionally I am weak and I let her have her way but I am learning that the more I give in the more it costs me later.

On my brief holiday, I also decided I would have to get up earlier to reclaim some control over my mornings so I have started setting the alarm for 6am and getting up and having breakfast before the kids get up, so far so good so I thought until today as I arrived at school at 9am. Elliot is supposed to be in class by 8.50am and as I was hurrying Elliot out of the car I got a phone call from the school office checking he was still coming to school for his Under 8's week excursion - seems I still have a bit of work to do on my home time management!


Interview questions

In an attempt to motivate myself to get back into the posting groove, I put my hand up for some interview questions from this person.
Here are the questions and the answers:

1. Do you arrange your CDs in any particular order? what is it and why?

I have all our CDs in two big drawers under our bookcase and there is an arrangement of sorts, jazz all together, classical all together, Australian rock, Brit Pop, mellow men, mellow women. It's certainly not arranged alphabetically or even in order of purchase but based on more of a musical style arrangement. I know I can certainly be anal i.e. the whole making coffee and dishwasher cutlery organisation but I have drawn te line at alphabeticising the CDs I think that would just be going way too far.

2. What was the best thing about the birthday party that just took place?
There were so many bests but I would have to say the top of my list is that I totally loved the company of my girl friends - I have great female friends who have always known how to party up a storm, I had them and many good times with them before I had the husband and I am glad that despite our having grown up and got responsible jobs and in the process of trying to raise our children we do know how to leave that stuff behind for one night and totally indulge ourselves in drinks and dancing and jokes and smokes!

3. How has the past decade been compared to the one before that?

In a word "busy."

The decade previous to the last was really all about me, me and more me and some travel and despite becoming a lawyer still trying to work out what I was going to be when I grew up and being with P.

This past decade has been about having 2 children, buying and selling houses, trying to forge a career yet not forging so far ahead that the children are forgotten. It's the decade where I have the least sleep ever in my life and earned more money yet spent less money on me.

4. How would you feel if Gabriella decides to adopt her husband's name if/when she gets married in the future?

Oh I wouldn't worry about it - if it is HER personal choice so long as her husband to be doesn't insist she change her name. If her husband to be insisted I wouldn't be too happy about it.

I have always said that if I had have married 5 years earlier than I did I may have changed my name too.

A secretary from our work who is quite a malleable young girl on the Friday night a week before her wedding was being harassed by our boss not to change her name. I thought the pressure to NOT change her name was just as bad as there being pressure to change her name - because she said her husband to be didn't mind.

5. What was Elliot's first word? When did he utter them and how did you feel?

Babies first words, I find are one of those milestones that it is really quite hard to determine exactly when and what was said. I think he said the usual da,da and I don't really count as a real word. I think he said something quite male really like "car" his obsession with cars started early I was amazed that he knew how to push a toy car and say "vrooom" when no one had ever even shown him how.

I can quite clearly remember him saying his first swear word though after I had dropped my heavy Le Cruset frypan on the floor, "Mummy, you say sit, sit" he said. "Where did you hear that ?"I asked him incredulously "You, mummy" he replies. I then feel about this small.

The milestones which are my favourites with Elliot is the first time he has he told me he knew what it meant to use his manners without being reminded and apologising without my asking him to do so.

These are the The Official Interview Game Rules if anyone else wants to play.

1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.

3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


Sky at Rainbow Beach.

I am so busy now that I am back at work I only have time to post a few pictures and will catch up on the narrative later.

This Rainbow Beach beach house is going to being available for rent and my husband will be preparing a website for it, so a sneak preview shouldn't hurt.

P.S. An update under the photo of the band about party night details.

More Beach House.

Succulent, Rainbow Beach.

More Rainbow Beach Sunday morning.

The pavillion for the living/dining and kitchen area.

The beach house at Rainbow Beach

Sunday morning Rainbow Beach 100 metres from our friends new beach house.

Elliot and the stingrays - Underwater world Mooloolaba

Just across the road from our apartment at Mooloolaba

This is what Missy Moo was up to behind that green bag.

Missy Moo in the chaos that has been my life over the last week and a half.

The band on my big night.

It was so worth all our effort. The venue a big hit - so many of the guests loved being in such a great space there are few who have been inside such an incredible use of so much space. In a couple of months my friends M&J will be renovating and creating two more indoor terraces and using some beautiful and enormous french doors that they obtained off a European Chateau on the warehouse. But that doesn't mean it takes any gloss off the fact that I got to have my party at unique venue.

All up there were about 60 people. I was one staff member down, but had some very helpful family and friends were there to assist P prepare the Chinese food which went down very well in these cool little boxes. In fact the food went down too well as so many people decided to have seconds that by the time the stragglers came to have some food they ended up missing out. My uncle (a chef) thought we had catered for 100 people - but what can I say they were a hungry hoard.

I believe it was because we didn't get around to putting out as much hot food as we would have liked, it was that staff member whose boyfriend rang an hour before she was to arrive and tell us about the "accident".

I have to say in my experience I have never in some 5-6 years of working in the hospitality industry been unfortunate enough to experience an "accident" on the way to work on a Saturday night. Maybe I am being a tad ungenerous but puhhlease Saturday night an hour before the time your to start work and your boyfriend rings for you!

Anyway back to the party which went on despite the absence of a staff member. The cosmos, wine, champagne and beers also went down well. There were quite a few nursing a hangover the next day, me included.

The 80’s theme dressing. I did make it optional so I would say only about 8 people all up came dressed but it was very well done by those eight and most of them "show ponies" who didn't mind making themselves the centre of attention. Two notable mentions, one friend raided her mother’s wardrobe and wore her long sleeved, dropped waisted, high neck (a la Princess Di) gold lame number complete with Alice head band, another friend came in her very own Country Road stirrup pants and bat winged brindle leather jacket and big hair. They were 80’s classics right down to the handbag complete with 80’s tampon.

Some of the quotes guests made to me at various stages of the night:

With cosmopolitan in hand: "I feel like I am on the set of Sex and the City"

In front of the band: "I feel like I am in the middle of a foreign movie set it’s so surreal with the lighting of the band and in this warehouse"

From a friend who thought I might be trying to fob a talentless family member on them: "When you told me your sister was singing I thought it might be a bit of a worry, but she is fantastic!"

Basically the feedback was very good, but never having hosted terribly many of my own parties maybe that’s what hosts get from kindly guests.

I decided to throw myself into enjoying the evening and moved around to all guests with drink in hand at all times. I didn’t want to stand around and be sombre and sensible. Later in the evening after my sister finished her set and the band started to move into serious muso jamming mode, I moved the contingent I knew would be into dancing back upstairs and we cranked up the 80’s tunes.

There was much crazy dancing recalling our best 80’s moves, limbo and then some skipping – yes skipping you know "Fish, fish come into my dish."

Of course there was also many more drinks, some darts (yes a real dart board - to bring back memories of my misspent youth in London pubs i am fairly handy with a dart) and by now drunken chit chat until about 2am when the last of the revellers departed and P and I retired to our cosy bed under our canopied bedroom in the middle of the warehouse.

It was the most fun, to have new friends, family and my very oldest friends (20 years) throw themselves into the revelry I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate.


My goodness

so neglectful of my other world. It's not that I don't think about it, because there have been many times when I have thought about writing something when it was happening, but then upon returning home after a busy day of writing, or just a busy family day, I just can't bring myself to sit down in front of the computer... again.

I did the kiddie run this morning and although Gabriella turned up in my bed at 5.30amish, I didn't budge out of bed until 6.45am, that is a particular time which I recognise as being the latest I can stay in bed. For if I linger any longer, instead of cutting things fine, I am definately unlikely to leave the house by the ETD of 8am.

As soon as I was up I knew I had to make every second count, so before I could even leave the bedroom to release the dog I made my bed then moved straight into the kitchen to provide breakfast for Gabriella, while preparing my lunch, Elliot's lunch and Gabriella's, at the same time ensuring Gabriella didn't leap from her high chair. Then I made Elliot breakfast and asked him to eat it at the dining table away from the television. My rules are no television until he has finished his breakfast, dressed in his uniform and brushed his teeth. Although he knows the rules he still fought against my asking him to have his breakfast in another room.

I then prepared my breakfast. No time for my breakfast though, there are children to change out of pyjamas so find the clothes for the day, chase down Gabriella who regards the removal of her clothing everytime as an incentive for streaking. After they were taken care of, then and only then could I sit to have my breakfast at the dining table while I multi-tasked (again) and assisted Elliot with his homework. Then it's clean up the kitchen, find Elliot's soccer kit, Gabriella's pyjamas for that night and pack our bags with the lunches made previously.

Before my shower I decide to make Elliot's bed too. I look at my watch and it's 8am - what have I been doing, how could I have wasted so much time! I better revise my latest time to linger in bed, I am probably out by a good 20 minutes given that I wanted to leave the house at this time and instead I am still unshowered, in my nightie and big fluffy slippers and can't recall wasting a moment.

By the time I have showered, changed and applied my make-up, Gabriella is exhausted and starts to cry, Elliot refuses to listen to my many polite requests to brush his teeth until, I, given the furious pace of my morning finally combust and shout at him:

"WILL YOU PLEASE BRUSH YOUR TEETH!" I begin a tirade of "Why don't you like being asked nicely? Why do I always have to get mad before you do what I have asked?

I think I have heard this before, yes I am channelling my mother yet again!

At one stage when cajoling Elliot to eat his breakfast instead of watch television I said to him that next week while on holidays I don't care how much morning television he watches because we won't have to be anywhere by a particular time.

As my holiday approaches I am now questioning why I only decided to take one week off, given it is my first major break in the year since I returned to worked after having Gabriella (except for Christmas and that holiday comes with it's own unique pressure). I am allowing Elliot a break from school other than a scheduled holiday so it's not as if I would have allowed him 2 weeks off, but this morning I realised just how important it is that we as a family have a break from this furious morning routine for more than 9 days because if it's not me doing all the above then it's Paul (I do help him a little though as I don't have to leave as early as he does) carrying the burden.


Time to catch up.

If nothing else, I feel I should write in order to catch myself up. I guess I have been busy, I certainly feel as though I have particularly with work and on the home front.

Two glorious long weekends in a row. I wish it were all our lives. It's just not as much fun unless your partner stays home too. Last weekend P and I made invitations for my birthday party which is on May 14. I finally committed myself to a party - A BIG ONE for the BIG ONE. In my view after 35 they are all BIG ONES, but this is one of those birthdays, the ones that happen every 10 years.

Theinvitation expresses my sentiments on this birthday exactly:

I am having one of THOSE birthdays.
PARTY Therapy will involve copious
If your inclined you're welcome to
by the 80's or NOT!

I have had an awful time trying to decide what to do, run away, run away I kept thinking for a long time, Sydney, Melbourne I would love both, Tetsuyas, Vue De Monde lots of lovely dining choices... but the thing is, I decided this getting older business is much easier when you have amassed some great friends and family, so who better than to share it with.

The party is going to be held at a great venue. Our friends, M & J live in a warehouse in the inner city. We have been to many fun parties there. They live in an apartment in one section of the warehouse and on the second floor they have a reception area and rent space to a fellow who sells gorgeous upholstery fabric. M&J run their own business from that level too (landscape architects). They used to have a set of drums set-up smack bang in the middle of that floor but have sinced moved the drums down to the studio they built downstairs. It's a fantastic space and 80 people won't make a dent in it. M will convene a band for the night - cool jazz and my sister will sing and we will dance and dance and drink and dance. NO KIDS!

Now the ambitious part - P and I have decided to do the food. We decided we wanted to have more money for the drinks and some staff to help. My plan is that on arrival, there will be two cocktails, one is a Cosmopolitan (I know it was soooo last year but I still like them!) and maybe something with an Asian theme, Japanese Slipper or Singapore Sling.

To start we will serve sushi (avocado, cucumber and salmon) and vietnamese rice rolls (chicken and prawn). I am planning that we (my sister too) will make the nibbles on Saturday morning i.e. sushi and vietnamese rice rolls for 80!

For hot food - we are going Chinese. We are using those Chinese food pails so no plates, and no sit down needed. The Chinese food will be simple. P and I are practising on a couple of dishes tomorrow. I think a lemon, ginger chicken with almonds and a marinated beef with broccoli and bok choy and of course fried rice. I will be cooking them on the Friday before the party.

Dessert? I am not completely insane I am buying cakes from my favourite pastry shop, a flourless chocolate cake? a flourless almond and orange cake? a tiramisu torte? Maybe two or three I will decide later.

So lots to think about with that happening shortly, like the practical side where do you keep food for 80 people, do we hire a fridge or get a huge esky from some friends and buy some dry ice? The latter I think . How many glasses? How much sparkling, wine and beer etc? Coffee?

The week after the birthday party will be fairly busy but I am so looking forward to it. We have just booked to spend some time in Mooloolaba.

Elliot will be out of school but I just really need a break I haven't had any proper time off since Christmas and before then it was when I returned to work last May from having Gabriella and moved house, so time off as a family is way overdue.

When we get back from Mooloolaba we will be going to a wedding on the Friday night at Samford, dress is optional Victorian wite tie would you believe. I have a very formal long black Laura Ashely dress that I am going to wear. I have a black faux fur coat that I am going to wear over that (should be cold out there) and I had a groovy leopard skin pill box hat I had made for another winter wedding a few years ago i.e.


I decided to use this picture because the only other picture of the hat was one of two very skanky girls wearing MY hat with completey hideous outfits. This hat and a bright blue dress puhlease! I would rather be thought of by the internet as a ponderous Eastern European man than a skanky chick in completely uncoordinated garb!

Well my attire isn't particulary Victorian but I was not going to have something made that I may never wear again, and the dress is quite formal and long and I think I just need my wrap with beaded fringe when I am not wearing the coat - and maybe a black lace like beaded choker and that is it. I have a black handbag with some leopard skin trim on it and some high black patent Italian court shoes.

Given that there will be some women there with bustles I don't think I will look that out of place. For P white tie is optional I think he is going to wear a black suit.

The wedding itself is in Samford at the Glengariff (Historic) Estate (love that musak!) and the ceremony itself won't be until 8.00pm so I think we are in for a very interesting evening.

After that evening the next day we may be getting a lift with some friends of ours to go to the house warming of some other friends up at Rainbow Beach. Rainbow Beach is what Mooloolaba was about 30 years ago a relatively undeveloped beachside town. Fraser Island is just off Rainbow Beach and I think I was last there 10 years or more ago, doing this


and camping. It was a great time and I hope that when Gabriella is older we will be introducing our children to a few days of beach camping though somewhere a bit closer more likely Moreton or Stradbroke Island.

Our friends B&V built a beach house up there with another couple and it will be available for holiday rental. Knowing B&V I bet the house is very stylish - they had it designed so that there could be two separate pavillions so that two families with kids would not feel crowded in it. They are having drinks of the beach first then food back at the beach house.

It will be great but it is a bit of drive at least 3 and a half hours each way which is why we won't go unless we go with our friends. We will also stay over in Rainbow for the night - NO KIDS!

So that's a snapshot of my next couple of weeks.

On the food front I have been so busy in the kitchen I haven't actually had time to post about all the culinary discoveries I have been making on my no wheat, no dairy, no red meat diet, which I am seriously considering adopting for the long run.

Last night I made a pumpkin, leek and zucchini, garlic and lemon soy cream sauce to have with my rice pasta spirals it was very tasty. I have been surprising myself with the joys of mostly vegetarian food. I have made a pecan, date, fig and carrot cake with no dairy, little fat and no wheat. Wheat-free blueberry muffins, nourishing and tasty vegetable and lentil soups and curries, leek and spinach brown rice pilafs etc. etc.

In long and in short for me life is... currently..... good.