Another January, another camping trip

With Grimace having a Saturday out of the shop, off the back of public holiday Friday 26th January, we had three days to get out for another camping trip. The original plan was to head to Burralow Creek in Blue Mountains National Park (north side, near Bowen Mountain/Kurrajong) however fire season unfortunately meant our back up plan needed enacting.

After arriving at the fire trail gates for Burralow Creek, heartbreak set in when we found the gate tightly locked shut, Grimace turned our vehicle around and headed to the other side of Bells Line of Road and into Wollemi National Park for the Wheeney Creek campground. As the boys’ Gra had forewarned, the creek and campground were heaving with day trippers and weekend campers.

Grimace took charge with the set up after finding a nice patch of green, while the boys took charge of cricket, swimming and exploring. We were all set for a laid back 3 days/2 nights out in the wilderness, and with thanks to the Australia Day long-weekend, a thousand others.

Having pre-cooked our pasta for Friday night’s dinner, it was a very carefree night indeed, well, that was until our little campers were too excited for sleep. After what felt like an eternity, the little buggers finally dropped off and Grimace and I were able to enjoy a wine or two, taking in the expanded universe.

Boasting a little, this was our first camping trip whereby it didn’t rain, or have all the equipment soaked with overnight dew. Grimace and I cannot recall a camping trip together where we’ve escaped the wet stuff, and I gotta say, it was rather nice packing down with everything dry!

In a decision I sort of regret, we opted to take our smaller tent – a 4 person tent. We were all on moon mats and it was a squeeze to fit us all in. I am well aware that no-ne ever gets enough sleep when camping, and so the justification for taking the smaller tent was not around the inevitable sleep disturbance (sleeping altogether in the one tent meant both boys slept through both nights), rather the smaller amount of space we’d need in the car and at campground, and if we take the bigger tent, we are more likely to take more stuff, just because we can… now, my lesson from this is: the 4 person tent CAN fit 4 people for sleeping, however it doesn’t MEAN you have to.

Across our lazy days I read a lot of my book, adventured up and down the creek and watched Giggles Magoo flourish, practicing his school-ready social skills.

A very fun and dry camping trip – let’s start planning the next one Grimace x

Run, run as fast as you can. You’ll catch me

In October last year, I found some courage and joined a local running program, specifically for women who are in the beginning of their affinity with running. I’ve quite enjoyed the challenging nature of the sessions and felt extremely supported by those in the group, some of which are far more experienced, some who have just recently completed the beginner runs too. I’ve learned that everyone has a running pace – some are faster than others, and some plod along, just getting it done. The latter is me… And proudly so.

Since joining the Tuesday evening class, I’ve started running 5km with relative ease (when compared to the huff and puff I used to run 100m with), and on public holiday Friday, I’ll be running my first trail event! I’m certainly enjoying my runs around the block, down the road and through the local Bush tracks so I’m pretty keen on doing it in an event setting.

Tuesday night, training night has also become the ‘time for me’ night. Grimace does the school/day care pick up, dinner and bed time while I sweat it around a local running oval. It’s the best!

After being able to complete 5km in 2017, I’ve made the goal of running a 10km event before May, 2018. I’ve committed to a 10km ‘race’ in April, and honestly, I’ll just be so proud if I can get to the finish line!

Anyway, that’s where I’m off to now… training! If you run, run as fast as you can, you’ll definitely catch me!

One for the memory bank

With Monday now under my belt, I feel it appropriate to write about the weekend that was. There is nothing quite as a depressing as a Monday back in the office after a lovely celebratory weekend, so a reflection on the weekend that was is rather essential.

I spent the weekend in similar fashion to that as mid-twenties me would have, rather than the responsible adult-me usually does. And it was grand. And I was so busy enjoying the 48 hours, I forgot to take any photos, other than the goofy one you’ll get to at the end. Actually, I don’t think I even took that pic – that credit obviously goes to Jake.

Friday night was to hang out with my perfect friends whom I have known for 5, going on 6 years. Yes, we bonded during those first few weeks of becoming new parents, and I have to tell you, without these outstanding ladies in my life, I may very well not be the pleasant person I generally strive to be. By trusting the process of friendship, each of us was able to be entirely vulnerable and received loads of support, affirmation and laughs as a result. Anyway, fast forward five-or-so years, and we find ourselves sitting with drinks in hand, waiting for our banquet to be served at Penrith’s newest bar, Mr Watkins. Whilst yelling over music isn’t entirely my thing, the delicious food and tasty drinks did ease that somewhat and I’d like to say the vibe of the establishment surprised me.

After maybe a drink or three too many, it was 5am wake up for me after Little Mate remembered I hadn’t been around the evening before. And I knew the day was going to be A Great One, as I had zero feelings of resentment for being forced out of bed at 5:01am. We watched a sunrise together, where he kept asking if the sky was on 🔥. We played on the car mat, plotting traffic jams to rival any Sydney blockage, and then Little Mate made Grimace and Giggles Magoo scrambled eggs for breakfast – my not yet 3 year old cracked the eggs, poured the milk in (granted I did pour the right amount into a jug so he could pour himself) and mixed altogether. Once the pan was hot enough, he slurped it all in and stood there stirring until it was “all done”. He went screaming into Grimace to announce “bekfast is weady”. I seriously cannot wait until I can get this kid cooking his own gourmet inventions – he has a natural affinity to the kitchen, or rather it could be a natural affinity to the mess he can legally create whilst at the helm of our galley-style kitchen. Either way, it sure is going to be fun when he wants to make me a 3 course meal (with drinks to match, please).

After washing what I’m sure was every single kitchen dish, pan and serving implement, I got the kiddies ready for a sleep over with their “other family”. Rewinding to my previous paragraph, the boys and I have been lucky to befriend a family from my mother’s group, in which they feel completely at ease when hanging out at their place. In fact, both boys at times prefer their “other family”. Anyway, after I dropped them for a sleep over, I headed to the city to celebrate my wonderful SIL’S SURPRISE 40th.

I spent the entire afternoon smiling, socialising with Wendy’s fabulous circle of friends and eating delicious Greek food (including possibly the best hommus of my life) at Kepos & Co. in Waterloo. I should also add in we of course sipped on delicious bubbles and the matching wines. I think my favourite part of the afternoon was watching Wendy rock into the restaurant, and at discovering the extent of the surprise, loudly proclaiming us all “fuckers”. It was truly the best reaction! My second favourite bit was having 3 of the 4 siblings in the one spot, with no parenting responsibilities, before my bro and Wendy head back to the land of chocolate, watches, tennis super stars and snow.

After stuffing ourselves completely, we headed to Archie Rose Distillery in Rosebery, for a few merry gin-based drinks. I previously announced my love of gin, so none of you should be at all surprised when I say I really enjoyed this part of the evening.

Anyway, the only photo I have of my weekend shows just how merry these gin drinks were:

After celebrating Wendy on Saturday and my mother’s group friendship on Friday night, Sunday was filled with another lovely past-time: home time and pool time with the fam bam.

It really was a weekend that I’m grateful to have in the memory bank

For the love of music, let me write!

I quite often dream about writing music reviews – live shows, releases, anniversary release related posts; anything to do with music really. ***The dreams also quite often include me rocking out up on stage, shredding like a pro. I can’t sing and I definitely can’t play guitar.

I love music, especially when it is in the live format. I especially love the journey one undertakes when discovering a new band or artist and the joy at working through their catalogue. I’m not so great just yet at articulating why I like the song/album/show – rather, I like to focus on how it makes me feel. I’m quite open to experimenting and finding a new favourite song or artist/band; open to the feeling you get when you stumble onto something that stands out. So, combining my love of music with my love of writing these blog posts, theoretically, I can only be onto a winner.

But, the thing is I’m lamely lying to myself when I think of myself as remotely ‘with it’ enough to be blogging with any great regularity on new music. Between listening to Camp Cope (obsessed much?!), working part-time, commuting/sleeping on the way to the part-time job, parenting with love, being a decent and responsible human, I don’t have an abundance of space to ‘discover’ the new stuff. As a default, I will quite often listen to what I know. It’s a little depressing to think I am only limited by my memory/recently played list. The truth is, I’ve come to rely heavily on a simple rule that exists in Theverymoodyhousehold.

Grimace and I have had one live music rule for many a year, and that is “NEVER, EVER MISS THE SUPPORT”. It is something we drummed into our concert-going friends, and always taken great pride in supporting the supports. Following this golden rule, I’ve been introduced to epic bands that have gone on to shape the industry, artists that have taken off, bands/artists that haven’t really taken off (and probably shouldn’t ever take off because they’ve sucked), bands that I wished had taken off and of course other acts that really shaped my music tastes.

Having a young family, Grimace and I are breaking our rule far more than we like to admit, but on Friday night we actually:

  1. Got to a show, together
  2. Got to see the support act.

Driving to the show, I got thinking about how it was that I ended up in the lucky position of knowing about the show, and securing tix to the sold-out show. I was able to work it back, and realised that we were in Glebe at The Record Crate, all because I followed the “never miss” rule:

Rewind about 8 or so years – I’d built a healthy obsession with Jen Buxton (after seeing her support Frank Turner at the Annandale, back in its Glory Days), and when she hadn’t played a show in Sydney for a long time, I dropped everything (including two children; dropped them around at a friend’s place. HaHaHa there you were thinking I’d physically DROPPED them) to get to her show at the now-defunct Blackwire, I think supporting The Hard Aches. Grimace and I had gotten the set times incredibly wrong, and we just caught the end of Jen’s set (sob), but as it turned out, we were there in time to catch Camp Cope’s set. It was at the back of Blackwire, on a sweltering Sunday afternoon I watched them awkwardly rock out, refreshing my take on what it was that I like in music. Georgia’s weirdly profound lyrics, Kelly-Dawn’s banging bass and Thommo’s beanie-laden sad drummer face – was all so simple, so refreshing and it just resonated wholly with me. Ever since this fateful Sunday, I have jumped at any chance to see or indeed just listen to any and all of their releases (as an act or individuals). In this weird social media-era, I also follow each member, so I know far more about their daily life than I should do.

On Friday night (12 January 2018), Camp Cope’s lead singer, Georgia Maq played an intimate show in Sydney (to celebrate her previous split with Spencer Scott, of Paper Thin). As the story goes, I’d been slow to nab tickets and unfortunately, they’d sold out (sob sob) before I got my butt into gear. The day before the show, stalky social media suggested I “RSVP to the organisers to let them know if I’m going”. Clicking on the event page, a post offloading two tix to the show popped up – luckily for me, the tix were still available and after a couple of donations to Girls Rock Sydney and Melbourne, I had the tix in my hot little hands (or inbox anyway). Cool story.

So anyway, Grimace and I rocked up and actually got to abide our rule – solo show from Sports Bra’s member, Dog Dirt (A.K.A Zoe). And I gotta say, I loved her solo stuff far more than the group’s. Her heart-wrenching lyrics were delivered in a larrikin style, yet maintained complete clarity and conviction in working though the challenge that is life. Her raw and powerful topics were presented to a crowd that quite obviously knew Dog Dirt, and appreciated her performance. And while I probably can’t say Sports Bra will be on my “All Time” list, it was nice to abide the rules again and catch an artist I will definitely see again. I’m wondering to which bands this little show will lead me…

P.S. Georgia Maq was awesome, and Spencer Scott too.




2017 in review, sort of

There is nothing like a new year to kick you in the butt. I have been drafting the Year in Review blog that I feel I should do, but didn’t get to. I was busy being on holidays – you know, what we all aspire to be on! I promised myself I would enjoy the end of year holiday and not stress about getting the right pictures or draft any content. And I have to tell you, I did very much enjoy my holiday – playing with the boys on the beach, sipping gin with loved ones, challenging my legs and lung capacity with a few runs… it was an ace end of year!

But, while I was doing all these holidaying things, I did reflect on the year that was 2017 and I have decided it would be nice to document a couple of things. While I had some personal highlights and funtimes (I’m sure this is a word in its own right), it was a year that I feel should be titled ‘Struggle”. I struggled to balance everything. I made a promise to focus on personal growth and reflection, but at times struggled to balance this with quality family time or quality Grimace time. I struggled to keep up this blog, but had some fantastic adventures and subsequent posts that really helped grow my content and engagement. I got my motorcycle licence but struggled to find the time or desire to ride (even though I love it!). I struggled to come to terms with my parenting style and accepting that I don’t need to be perfect – I just need to be; but I am feeling so very connected and at peace with Giggles Magoo and Little Mate as they both finished up a hectic 2017.

I suppose there wasn’t any major grief or loss, but I was able to see a whole lot of struggling by those loved ones around me and struggled to see how I could help them through. I think maybe, it was the year I realised that my empathy level for people is extensive. When they are struggling, I look at them and want to help them. I want to understand them, their situation and how they have come to be at this time in their journey. And while that I think it is something positive, something I want to strive to do, I also think sometimes I over-complicate things and probably take on too much. I feel a responsibility to my loved ones, to make sure they can be the best they can be. With a little understanding of myself, I can begin to really have confidence in this positive aspect of my personality.

But personal reflection aside, 2017 was a year of adventures, discovery and getting ready for new adventures ahead. 2018 will see Theverymoodyhousehold experience a few changes to our little existence – Giggles Magoo is off to start school, Little Mate is starting a new Day care centre, Grimace is taking on different hours at work and I while I will mostly remain the same (in terms of routine), my focus will be to support the new family structure in whatever way possible. We’ll meet come across new communities as we settle into our new environments, which means new friends, new commitments and getting to know our family capacity.

2017 saw some big highlights for theverymoodyhousehold – travels to Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Austria (all for the first time); some personal goals drove me to get my motorcycle licence (did I say that already?), start running and run 5km for the first time in a VERY long time. I’m probably missing a whole heap of highlights, but I think my biggest personal achievement was getting to know me again – now that the new roles in my life are well and truly cemented (think mother, wife, professional, social being, blog writer), I took the time to remember the essence of me and embrace how this has changed. I undertook some self-directed reflection (also took the time to do Bettina Rae’s Vive, 21 day challenge) and reaped many a benefit, including the knowledge that I need to remember the very essence of me and that I need to foster this as much as possible.

I learned that when I ask for help, I can achieve great things. I asked for help when I was struggling with illness – doctors to the rescue. I asked for help when I struggled to find motivation to keep up my motorcycle riding – friend to the rescue with just a couple of rides together and I was inspired once more. I asked for help when my idea of outdoorsy me wasn’t where I want it to be – enter amazing running program and now I’m feeling far more empowered about me running than I’ve ever felt before. Hell, I’m even making goals to run 10km and setting a long-term goal to do Trailwalker again.

So, in hindsight, while I think 2017 was a year of struggle, I also think that reflecting on these struggles I’ve learned A LOT about myself and used it to put my life into context.

2018 is already looking brighter xx


Theverymoodyhousehold in 2017 – our year in Social Media Pictures

School’s nearly in… my approach to The Lunchbox

With Giggles Magoo starting school in 2018, I’ve found myself getting ready for the onslaught that school is widely said to be. I feel I’m in a great spot expectation-wise though. We have a number of close friends who had their first-born kidlets start school in 2017, and I’ve been able to watch them, their kids, their family unit to get an understanding about how we will be impacted.

The first major action I wanted to take was The Lunchbox. Daunting topic I know! I’m pretty passionate about the food we eat being as fresh as possible and as un-processed as practical. Also, our family has a big commitment to reducing waste, so I want something that we can use over and over again. I want to have a positive attitude to the lunchbox and probably naively am thinking that if I’m positive, hopefully Giggles Magoo is just as positive to the contents of his lunchbox (long-term). So, with all that in mind I drafted my ideas on how to approach he whole lunchbox thing :

  • Giggles Magoo wanted the ‘Bento Box’ style lunchbox…and while I love the theory behind offering a variety, the practicalities of this won’t play out in his first year – being a Crunch n Sip school, there needs to be a separate container for that. Plus, having my genes Giggles Magoo can be incredibly clumsy. I have visions of a beautiful Bento Box being opened at recess and in his excitement/hunger, he knocks it all to the ground, losing it all to the dirt. Needless to say, my instincts (and friends) advised me to stay away from the bento-style until he is a little older.
  • The containers/lunchbox needs to be as easy to access as possible. I thought about when I’m Hangry and in a rush to move onto something fun, I need something that is all there, in the one spot and easy to open. Giggles Magoo, being an extension of myself seems to be the same – make it easy to open, and he’ll eat anything. I really wanted him to be feel confident in his ability to access all his foods.
  • The containers/lunchbox needs to fit nicely into an esky/freezer bag, so if possible a set is the way to go.
  • Giggles Magoo needs to feel connected and in control of his lunchbox, so he needs to be involved with the lunchbox choosing.
  • I follow a few great individuals on Social Media who provide fantastic resources and inspriation for what to send in a lunchbox (if I was any great sort of blogger, I’d link them here…but I’m not, so I haven’t 🙂  ), and I’ve consciously been working to incorporate many of them into Grimace and mine work lunches over the last year.

On one of the days we’ve had just the two of us, we wandered on in to a well-known storage store. We looked at each of the containers, lunchboxes, bento boxes and drink bottles for sale. He sat there and tried each one out – he told me what he liked, what he didn’t and seemed quite excited by it all. And then it all went out the window – he spotted a Paw Patrol-branded sandwich box, and the rest was history – he could not be talked round not using this box. Although every ounce of me was against the choice (I mean, really – Paw Patrol?! Worst. Kids. Show. Ever), I had to let him be in control. I was so pleased I’d reflected on what was important in the process of lunchboxing – it meant I was able to step back, assess the container and remember it will probably get broken or lost in the first few weeks of school! It wasn’t going to be the be all and end all of his school lunchboxes. So, I let him choose the containers, and slowly built him the lunchbox he can own.

We sat in the aisles of the store for close on an hour, figuring out how it would all fit together. We had customers stepping over us, reaching around us but Giggles Magoo was not aware of the chaos around us – quite simply, he loved his choices and was so heavily focused on working them all out – Where would the ice pack go? Is there any room for cutlery? Can the thermos flask have yoghurt in it? Where does the sandwich container fit? He was loving the whole ‘school lunch’ idea and was practising opening and closing the containers, packing and unpacking the little esky bag he’d chosen (luckily, NOT a Paw Patrol-themed bag) and making suggestions about what he could take to school to eat.

In hindsight, teaming up with him was a great way to connect with Giggles Magoo around his new school journey and something I know will become a big focus of the family. He has practised eating out of the lunchbox each day since, and I have to admit – I am a little excited at the prospect of all the food discussions we’ll have as a result of his interest in the lunchbox process.

I do also know that all too soon, the lunchbox will become a drag. It will be the painful ‘thing’ we have to do each day – but for now, I’m revelling in the lunchbox love.