Recent Loves

Toby once suggested I was too liberal with my use of the word love. I was 21 when we met and good at being 21, including by professing my undying love for everything and everyone. Avocado on toast? Love. Toby’s roommate, who I barely knew but was polite and laughed at my jokes? Love. Bodypump class? Love.

It’s 11 years later and I still love everything. I also have many favourites. Toby only benefits from this, being my most beloved and most favourite of all. I can’t imagine life without loving things, truly, madly and deeply. It must be very dull, to only ever like things. In any case, here are some recent things in my life that I love.

My rumble roller. I’ve already documented my deep affection for the foam roller, which continues to send me to a level of bliss I probably shouldn’t talk about on a public blog. But it wasn’t enough. Hauling a toddler around plus weights/yoga/pilates work means I end up with these knots in my shoulders and the only way to fix them is for Toby to hold his thumbs out like he’s giving me a thumbs up, and I grind my back into them until Toby begs me to stop because he is afraid of breaking something (either in my back or his hand, I’m not sure). This routine wasn’t sustainable. Enter the rumble roller, which my dear mother in law commented looked like a piece of medieval torture equipment. It’s seriously brutal and seriously good. (So brutal that I couldn’t find anywhere in Canberra that sold it. Canberra, land of the X-rated adult shop!) Forking out $100 seemed a bit steep when we already had a roller, but a massage costs about the same every time and this way I can give myself a massage several times a week. And yes, I still use the regular foam roller so yes, I do need two. (Purchased from here which I would highly recommend.)

True Detective. Toby fell asleep during the first episode, but I think this is one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson play a couple of cops investigating a serial killer. The show moves between their investigation (about 15 years ago) and the present day, when they are being interviewed separately during a new investigation. There’s only 3 episodes that have aired so far, and we’ve only watched 2, but I’m already looking forward to the next one. Definitely worth a watch.

Vanilla cupcakes. I made these for a friend’s birthday recently and thought they were some of the best cupcakes I’d ever eaten, let alone made. The method is unusual and a lot of bloggers who had shared the recipe were like, ‘There’s no creaming of the butter and sugar! This is amazing!’ As a descendant of Theresa McKinnon, I rarely cream the butter and sugar anyway, so this wasn’t such a big deal to me, but the method still seemed to end up making a unique and delicious cupcake. I’m not sure the frosting is as amazeballs as a lot of bloggers made it out to be. Sure it’s good – but it’s sugar and butter, so it’s going to be. Possibly this is because I didn’t have the right attachment on my mixer, I’m not sure. It’s very rich frosting so you need to make sure you get the ratio of frosting and cake right – the cake is (unusually?) the best bit, so you don’t want it to be lost under too much frosting. Anyway if you want something simple and yummy, this might be it. I think I might need to visit the Hummingbird Bakery next time I’m in London.

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How TV is totally shitting me lately

Argh, things to make a feminist woman person angry come so thick and fast on TV it’s hard to keep up.

There’s a soap ad at the moment where the mum is spending the morning pouring cereal for kids old enough to pour their own (surely? How old is that?) and helping dad pack his briefcase when he is surely old enough to do that himself. And she’s smiling beatifically like all TV martyrs mums, and instead of being impressed with her organisation skills, or asking what soup kitchen she’s running today, or really valuing anything about this woman, you know what her kids and husband do? They smell her hands. And they are so happy. Because I guess her hands smell great. And she looks happy, because I guess that’s the main thing in life for a stay-at-home mum, what we really need to aspire to. Get your kids and husband their breakfast, and make sure your hands smell great.

Then there’s a life insurance ad, where the mum and school-aged kids are sending dad off to work wrapped in bubble wrap. Because, hello! He’s their only source of income so if he got injured, they’d be in deep trouble! And the neighbour looks at this (apparently able-bodied and sound-of-mind) woman in this big beautiful house with her kids who are going to school (and apparently have no special needs) and says, “Maybe you could get a job?” Yeah, in opposite land. A woman supporting a family? Hilarious. No, the neighbour says, “Oh just get life insurance.” Of course.

The other day on the ABC there was a little story about the Australian cricket team winning the world cup. It came after all the other stories about sport. Really, you say? But they won the world cup! But you see, it was the women’s team. So it barely counts. Out of interest I watched the headlines scrolling down the bottom of the screen – you know, the big news you can’t miss – and of the two cricket stories, that one didn’t warrant a mention.

(Aside: Speaking of women in sport I’m really curious as to whether the ACCC report covered women’s sport at all. I wonder if the results of that report and investigation will do anything for women’s sport. Probably not, but I’d be interested. I’m also interested in the report out today on the rock-bottom morale of the swimming team at last year’s Olympics considered the awesome results of the Paralympic team and whether they might have something to learn. Maybe all that time spent selling raffle tickets outside Coles helps with team morale? Who’d have thought.)

On the other hand, I also caught a very pretty young blonde thing presenting the weather the other day…gorgeous pregnant belly covered by a raspberry-coloured dress. So maybe things are changing, slowly, inconstantly, and maybe mostly for the gorgeous and young among us. But changing nonetheless.

Where have you been all my life?

Sometimes I “discover” something only to realise the rest of the world already figured it out. Like, in 2009. Or earlier.

Lately, this list has included online grocery shopping, roasted broccoli and Downton Abbey.

First, online grocery shopping. I don’t mind the groceries. It’s probably my favourite domestic chore – if I had to choose between cleaning and shopping, it’s shopping all the way. I usually just do it myself, and after Emma arrived I even started counting it as ‘me’ time. Can you imagine? An hour battling the crowds in Coles and I considered it precious ‘me’ time just because I didn’t have the baby with me? How life changes. We try to negotiate our weekends so we both get a sleep-in, we both get some alone time, we get some quality adult time sans baby, and we get some family time. It doesn’t always work so well, but we’re pretty good at making sure we all get what we need. And I was using up my alone time doing the grocery shopping. What a martyr. So, I started getting it all delivered – fresh fruit and veg from Aussie Farmers on Tuesday, and everything else from Woolies on Saturday. Of course, there are downsides, to the Woolies delivery at least, Aussie Farmers is pretty foolproof. You are trusting someone else to choose everything – this is especially tricky with perishables. We got kangaroo with a use-by date that was very soon and I didn’t realise, so we had to throw it all out. I don’t trust them to choose good fruit and veg so I ordered a punnet of mushrooms, which was already out of date. (I complained about this on their Facebook page of all places, and got a voucher and a refund. So, that was impressive.) If something’s not in stock and you haven’t ticked the box that says ‘substitution’, you won’t get anything. One Friday night I requested a delivery between 5 and 8pm, intending to use some of it to cook dinner. It arrived after 9pm, by which time I’d improvised. The bloke had been out to Bungendore before us – since then, I also don’t order any frozen items as I don’t want them thawed by the time they get here. But in general, YAY for online grocery shopping and using my me time for ME.

I don’t have as much to say about roasted broccoli, but – oh my. I prefer my vegies grilled or roasted in general. And roasted broccoli is especially genius because it can be served either hot, like with potatoes or pumpkin next to your protein of choice, or stirred through pasta or quinoa with some other delicious bits as a meal-in-a-bowl, or at room temperature as a green salad ingredient. It’s also awesome with aioli, but then most things are. It’s brilliant. Stop steaming broccoli!

And Downton Abbey, well most people already know. I avoided it for a long time because I’m totally not into British period dramas.┬áPeople would tell me it was great and I smiled politely. But, oh my God, they should have told me it was like Desperate Housewives, but with servants, and better costumes, in a beautiful English castle. And since it’s from the BBC (is it? Not sure actually) and it’s set in the early 1900s you can pretend to be all cultured and knowledgeable about the history of the aristocratic classes. I inhaled the first two seasons, then had to wait for the husband to download the third, and I inhaled that. Anyone with a baby (just one baby, not a toddler as well or anything crazy like that) who tells you they don’t have time to watch TV is totally lying, or their house is pristine. There is heaps of time to watch TV, especially since you can watch anything in front of a baby and they won’t go asking awkward questions like “What’s a prostitute?” (I remember asking my mum that once) or learning how to cook meth or anything. Now I just need to watch the 2012 Christmas special and I’m up to date. I think I saw a spoiler online today about Matthew, but I’m trying not to think about that.

So, there are my three ‘hot’ tips for early 2013. Who knows what new-fangled thing I’ll review next.