Blimey, my kids just ate real yoghurt

Most of the time I mainly endure yoghurt.

For example, for breakfast I’ll bung together bunch of grains and nuts and seeds and something in the soft fruit family and then sprinkle this lot over greek style yoghurt.

Then I will eat the combination in such a way that my tastebuds by pass the yoghurt bit of the breakfast entirely. It is quite difficult to curl your tongue and crunch and chew and swallow without it all going horribly wrong.

For a while now I’ve been meaning to spread my food net a bit further and go back to trying to make the effort to get to farmer’s markets.

Yesterday morning was the first Saturday morning in ages that I had no teaching to do so I arranged to meet up with friends at Eveleigh Markets. I’ve been doing a bit of Twit for hire work on Country Valley’s twitter account for a while and was desperate to try some of their stuff because everyone raves about it. Country Valley’s award winning Lush yoghurt has been described thusly (and variously) as:

the greatest yoghurt of all time” – hercanberra.com.au

To me, no other yoghurt comes close and in fact tasting Lush has ruined every other brand of yoghurt that I liked before” Kate Freeman Nutrition

the thickest, lushest, creamiest yoghurt I have ever tasted” – A Food Story Blog

ambrosially creamy“- Not Quite Nigella

So I had fairly high and hopeful expectations of a yoghurt that finally I would enjoy eating.

The lovely Ester at Country Valley plonked a little plastic beaker of yoghurt in the Minx’s hands and one in mine. The Minx pulled a face. “Go on” smiled Ester “It is really very nice. Honest. Try it!

Esther - Country Valley, Highland Organics Eveleigh Markets

The Minx did try it.

Mummy” she said with a big smile on her face “that is the most best yoghurt ever.” She paused. “It is” she added looking me straight in the eyes and nodding at the same time. Just so that I knew she was (a) telling the truth and (b) serious.

She also tried various cheese made with Country Valley milk with even more rapturous results.

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This just tastes so much different to normal yoghurt. Can we get this all the time?” my eight year old asked today after polishing off his third bowl of Lush.

I had some for my breakfast this morning with just one pear cut up into small pieces. I found myself trying to ignore the taste of what I had put on the yoghurt and celebrate the flavour of the yoghurt itself.

Wondering if I can hire Ester on a consultancy basis to get my children to eat other things…

Yoghurt in Ceramic Cups by Fergus Stewart ________________________

Neither Esther nor Country Valley asked me to write this post but I do so with the great pleasure that comes from sharing wonderful food with other people. To find out more about Country Valley Dairy Products have a squizz here:

Country Valley Website : http://www.countryvalley.com.au

Twitter: @Country_Valley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CountryValleyMilk

I Shall Play This Only Once

Sitting on the sofa last night the news is clearly and crisply delivered:

‘Margaret Thatcher has died from a stroke’.

My husband turns to me with a look of what? Relief maybe or just a weary cognisance of the machinery of inevitability chewing steadily forward.

This morning an email from my mum with a link to an article pounding irresponsible persons from congregating in George Square to mark her passing. They unleashed the horses and police in riot masks at us there, once upon a time in the days when university education was still paid for by the State and we still felt that activism could make a difference.

There was a time when the very mention of her name brought up an irrational anger in me.

My days of anger are mostly behind me now. Yesterday morning and well before the news broadcast, however, I was irrationally out of sorts. A young woman running for the traffic light nearly barrelled into me as I crossed the road heading towards the yoga studio. Stuck between her forward trajectory and a slightly stationery car, my shoulder instinctively turned and I buffeted her physically away from me.  An entirely over the top defensive movement – she gasped in shock more than pain (I hope).  As I walked away I looked at the reaction. Why on earth suddenly was I so frigging angry?

Not that I am blaming Maggie or her demise for my actions. I can choose how to feel, how to behave. I am a grown up and a yogi after all or so I would like to think.

How can you possibly blame one woman for the wreckage of social justice, the slow dissolution of the welfare state? She was probably no more than an emetic for the aspiration of greed.  A crusader for salvation through home ownership, a pinup girl for free market forces the zeitgeist she brandished like an axe polarised allegiances more effectively than any war ever could.

It is clear to me now that I was always going to be one of those destined to stand on the outside watching as others cranked the wealth machine inside still and dusty corporate factories.

Today I live in a suburb that is a veritable Australian shrine to her legacy. Multi-million dollar homes built by self-made men and women. Amongst these people I am a renter, a lower caste to each and everyone one of my neighbours. Renting is a dirty word round these parts. Such is my destiny that it is more likely than not that I will never own my own home either in part with the bank via a stonking great mortgage or outright. How will that change my life? All I know is that not to have the same goals of acquisition as others puts me in the precarious position of relying on charity in my dotage or hoping my kids will put me up (and put up with me).

Maggie did not create the schism that places on either side of the wealth divide but she grabbed a palette full of residual fears and anxieties and painted a broad social canvas of indifference and self service with it.

I will never say that I am happy that someone else is dead. Death is but a dissolution of a life force that chugs on unabated in her absence. I will only be happy when that frissure that she worried open is filled or the carapace onto which I  presently cling splits away entirely letting me drift away with it.

Maybe true freedom will follow?

RIP Margaret Thatcher

The Parable of the Iron Lady

My Son, My Hero

Last term before Christmas my son was picked on in and out of school.

It hurt his heart to walk to a place that he had always thrilled to go to.

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What hurt him most was that people who he thought were his close friends made fun of him.

‘GAY-briel’ they taunted ‘GAY-briel is a big BABY’.

This was a hard nose smashing against life’s window for us as his parents.

‘Are you a baby?’ we asked him, my husband and I.

‘Of course not!’ he replied.

‘Then they are lying. You can ignore lies’ we tell him.

This week the Easter weekend arrived rather earlier than the school holidays. There was the customary Easter bonnet parade to prepare.

My husband picked up a few odds and sods from the local dollar shop. Gabriel surveyed the constituent pieces and gave me my instructions …

‘Mum I need you to put this here, that there and THESE’ he waves a hand left and right.

‘Perfect’ he says of the end result which he joyfully wears to school.

On arrival one of his little adversaries says: ‘GAY-briel – your hat has FLOWERS on it’.

Gabriel looks over his shoulder briefly on his way to the bookshelf.

‘Yes’ he says ‘it does.’

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Och honestly – enough with the acne already

Once upon a time a LONG time ago I looked forward to getting old.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could yell at people in public and hit them with things.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could pretend not to hear things I didn’t want to hear.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could wear leopard print and fire engine red lips with complete and utter lack of irony.

I looked forward to getting old because no longer would I suffer the indignity of (miscellaneously):

Spots

Plukes

Zits

Pimples

Blackheads

In my youth I took every known cure for acne known to teen-woman. Oxy this and that. The contraceptive pill (and that was A Big Mistake). The months and months of Oxytetracycline which finally knocked the whiteheads on the head.

Nowadays you can blame me and my spots for the prevalence of superbugs.

For a while in my twenties I was pimple free. Then in my late thirties I had children. The bitter irony of childbirth that was not only was I twenty years too old to be giving birth in the first place (a fact I feel keenly every day) but my plukes reappeared. Quite ferociously in fact.

Now and again I will go out and spend a lot of money on zit cream and.or wodges of skin care regimen products. These usually work for a couple of months and then not so much thereafter.

Today when I woke up I had face spots, shoulder spots, back acne and (horror) bum spots.

Enough is enough – I thought to myself.

Today I went back to basics. A homemade salt shower scrub with lavender and tea tree oils followed by a trip to the pharmacy to buy all these things.

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Let’s hope they work because let’s face it – being a pensioner with pustules would be weird, right?

Half way through FABruary

Left to my own devices I would, most morning most of the time, be flinging on black yoga pants and a singlet. After all it is only a matter of time before I will be going to practice yoga or teaching a pilates class myself. Why bother to change clothes half way through the morning and again half way through the afternoon?

This is, of course, my lazy arse equivalent of wearing pyjamas all day, including to the supermarket.

It is good, therefore, to have my arse kicked by the lovely Fox in Flats once more for another month of daily style challenges.

For those of you unfamiliar with the last style challenges I would encourage you to read the following posts:

The Dress Dare (wear a dress a day for a week)

The Colour In Dares: Day 1 – Looking on the bright side, Day 2 – Green Grass and Yellow Icecream, Day 3 – The Saltire Compromised, Day 4 – By the Peacock, Day 5 – Rehabbing Orange, Day 6 Indian Trucks and Day 7 – The Entirely Unroyal but Still Spectacular Wedding .

and more recently the DAREcember/Dressember posts.

This month’s style challenges in an eggshell blue box shaped nutshell are as follows:

And here is my first fortnight’s Fabruary photo album :

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Not Quite the Crotch Length Boots

For Darecember Day 6 - Boots in Sumer

For Darecember Day 6 – Boots in Summer

A long long time ago, when I was just a lass of not even I fell madly and deeply in love with a pair of very long boots not dissimilar to these.

I saw them in a shop called the Wild Pair in a mall either in New York or California. I cannot remember where exactly now but I remember clearly wondering to myself how amazing it would be to pull a pair of boots on that would magically transform my short, funny looking legs into something elegant and (possibly) alluring. I worked hard all that summer at temporary office jobs to afford those boots. When I finally stepped into the shop the assistant informed me sadly that they no longer stocked my size. I could feel my dreams of leggy sophistication evaporating and I wondered out loud whether they had the boots in a size near my own. They had a half size smaller. The boots fit but without but wiggle room. My feet felt like sausages inside but the leather shaft smelled so rich that I was prepared to forget about the comfort and hope that they would stretch. With the aid of Dr Wild’s Incredible Mink Oil, a lot of newspaper and patience the boots eventually stretched. Just in time for thigh length stiletto boots to be considered passe, tacky and faintly ridiculous.

So the boots remained in a box, brought out now and again for a tender caress and then packed away. When we migrated to Australia in March 2000, I was sure that the boots had joined us. We have a lot of still unpacked boxes full of art books, ornaments, paintings. No place to put them. No home of our own for long boots to find a space of their own. When thigh length boots became fashionable again approximately 3 years ago I rummaged through our many unpacked boxes at first with a sort of gift unwrapping excitement and then, as time grumbled on, with a slow creeping horrible disappointment.

The boots were not in any of the boxes.

The boots were gone.

Somewhere between my previous home and my new homes in Australia the boots had left my possession never to return.

Convinced by the magical properties of eBay I recorded a search for ‘wild pair boots‘ and ‘wild pair thigh boots‘.

Three years later I am still waiting for a pair of piratical principal boy boots to wink at me from a seller’s alert.

Three years later I had all but given up the notion of them entirely, let their memory puff off into the ether.

And theeeeeeen?

I saw these…..

Thigh Boots. Crotch Boots

Anna Dello Russo for H&M Crotch Length Leather Boots Discovered via Bootlovers Blog

I just about ended myself with excitement and typed myself to H&M’s online store as fast as my nimble fingers could carry me.

Only to find this message:

” Online shopping is not currently offered in your market. Please visit your local H&M for availability.
Please note that colours and sizes may have varied availability in our stores.”

I wanted these boots so badly that I felt like I had phantom limb syndrome.

The boots were only available in a handful of stores around the globe. London, Paris, Singapore, New York, etc. Not Sydney.

On Facebook and on Twitter, I begged anyone who might happen to be in an area where the boots were being sold to let me know if they would be prepared to go and pick them up for me and then send them to me. I would be not only over the moon but well, I would be pretty much forever in their debt.

I mean that most sincerely folks.

My fairy godmother sprinkled some happy sparkly thoughts over the photo of the boots on my Facebook page.

She is not only kind and beautiful but she is as bat shit crazy as I am about life altering footwear. Her name is Cheryl Wischover. She writes for Fashionista.com and blogged for me a while back about her wonderful Alexander Wang boots.

She felt my pain and she used her fashion writer clout to breeze in and pick up a pair of sold out everywhere boots in the ADR H&M pre-sale.

Here they are worn inside:

Picture 18

I haven’t had a chance to wear them outside yet.

I wanted to wear them for the Foxinflats Darecember boot challenge today. But I didn’t dare. They are too beautiful to be out anywhere other an elegant restaurant matched with my floor length leather Matrix trench coat. The Sydney summer beast is not yet fully awake so you never know, I might get a chance to wear them for Christmas Day…

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Meantime, my trusty RMK boots (first pic) did a grand job for Day 6 of Darecember (Boots). The 5 inch heel shrinks down to 3 inches with the generous platform. Match with a floaty silk chiffon Wish tunic dress and summer boots don’t get (too) much adverse attention. I suspect that the ADRs would have had me followed down the street by boot fetishists. You have to be in the mood and well armed to deal with That Sort of Thing really don’t you?

My Big Arse & Other Oddly Endearing Bits – I Heart my Body 2012

If it were not for some things about my body other things might make people think that I was a boy in drag.

The first time I trotted into Confession I rattled into my pre-prepared speech. “Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my FIRST confession and these are my sins..

Ah, you are a little American boy” the Irish priest crooned through the mesh.

I AM NOT A BOY” I spurted with my usual little girl decorum.

A little American girl then?” He is tentative, on guard.

I am not American although Z for me will never be ‘zed‘ but ‘zee‘.

It was always easy for me to phone boyfriends at school and university. Their mums did not suspect that I was anything other than an adolescent boy.

Deep voice. Little breasts. Big butt. High Heels. To this day I am kind of a chimera – a hybrid half female half something else entirely.

It is an odd little body but I have been living in it in for 46 years now so we are accustomed to each other now.

Here are my arms.

My muscly hairy girl arms

People stare at my arms. The deltoids are defined and when I demonstrate Pilates arm exercises the ligaments rustle underneath the skin like a werewolf mid-transmogrification.

These are warrior arms – arms with hair and muscles and sinews.

My ex-boss frequently suggested that I get the hair lasered. I equally countered that if my arm hair offended her and she was prepared to pay for laser hair removal I would happily commit to a course of depilation.

My arms are still hairy.

Here is my waist.

The Beach – a place to reflect on Pilates Cues of all kinds (class members take note during scapular placement)

For some reason at an early age I became a bit obsessed with tiny waists. I had a collection of wide belts that I progressing tightened until, more often than not, the leather snapped or wore clean through. Fast forward 20 years and suddenly steel boned corsetry is back in vogue. Through the magic of a beautiful waist training device I can shave anywhere between 4 and 6 inches off my usual waist size.

Puimond Corset http://puimond.com/

The only thing that prevented me spending $500 plus on this Puimond corset from Baby Likes to Pony two years ago was that I can guarantee that until the children are teenagers I won’t get enough nights out to burlesque/fetish events to justify the expense.

Hang on… I can hear collective murmurs out there. You are a yoga enthusiast, a Pilates instructor, a modern woman, a mother. Why wear a corset?

Have you ever worn one? Have you ever tried breathing in one? Walking around in one? If you have not, do try. If you have you will appreciate that a good corset will keep your spine in alignment and will force you to breathe laterally and posterially. Pilates breathing is a posterior lateral breathing – when you inhale you breathe deep into the back and sides of your rib cage. When you exhale you engage deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement throughout the sequence of exercise. To help my mat class members experience this concept I have brought one of my leather corsets along to strap people into.

Lastly but not leastly I would like to doff my cap to my big, beautiful backside. It snagged me my first serious boyfriend. When I say this I mean that I was serious about him but the converse was not true. His nickname at school was Bumface. Perhaps it was kismet that he would break my heart.

At university, I used to walk up the stairs two at time to the law school library. This, I reasoned, would justify a restorative pint later. Often I wondered why I could hear footsteps behind me but no one ever rushed past to overtake. One drunken evening one of my friends told me that her brother and his friends used to follow me up the stairs to stare at my arse. I suppose I should have been flattered but wondered why none of them ever asked me out. Perhaps like my arms, my arse is just a wee bit scary.

My husband does not have a problem with the booty. I hope that you do not have a problem with the booty. If you do I am sure that there are other blogs to read.

Here is my big butt:

And just in case I haven’t offended anyone quite enough yet…

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If you can, do drop in to read and comment on some of the posts by other contributors, including this one written by my legal blogging pal Kathryn Hodges.