A Little Prick

Sometimes I fret that I spend too much time on the fence, but immunisation is a no brainer. The science is sound and it turns out that a little prick can do even more than prevent terrible disease.

New Scientist Magazine reports that a recent study into the side effects of vaccines have had a “wider ranging influence on our immune systems than we ever imagined.”

A study undertaken by Danish Professor Peter Aaby and colleagues in Africa has shown that measles vaccination also reduces death in all other infections by a third by reducing the instance of pneumonia and diarrhoea. The vaccine teaches the body how to combat other infections.

peter aaby measles immunisation

Peter Aaby with Manuel Fernandes

In the west there is evidence to suggest that some vaccines help reduce the effects of eczema and asthma. These unexpected bonuses are known as “non-specific effects”.

Scientists have been noticing these non-specific effects since the early 20th century but no one has taken much notice until Peter Aaby’s work in the West African state of Guinea-Bisseau.

If you are on the fence about immunisation, follow the science. Use Google Scholar and read the meta studies. The Australian government website, Immunise Australia has some useful information as well. Follow the link to New Scientist for more detail.

immunise tshirt

You’re just my type[face]

There’s a whole world universe out there that unless you’re in the design industry – or close to it – looks like just another Calibri or (dare I even write it) Comic Sans Serif world to you. Or for those still not sure, Times New Roman-esque.

It takes about 0.5 seconds of looking around for a ‘nice’ font to become a fully fledged Font Junkie.

Send me an email using Arial default? Good thing you can’t see me scoffing.

I haven’t slept more than a few hours in days, and when I do find the strength to tear myself away from the free downloads page at fonts.com, I dream in Pinto Handlettered or GT Eesti Pro Display Medium (old Soviet typeface resurrected for the western world’s pleasure).

In a nutshell, a typeface is a group of fonts all in the same style, such as Garamond. The font is each variation of the typeface such as Garamond Light and Garamond Italic. How great is this one from Under Consideration (link below)?


If you’re interested in falling into a massive hole of blackout time where minutes have become hours without you realising, check out these pages:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.19.55 AM

fonts.com I never knew this website was about to replace eating, showering and sleeping.

under consideration cool beyond words.

Aerial Bold – two guys created fonts based on what the built world looks like from 400m in the sky.

The University of Northern Texas has more to worry about than its font.

For the super-enthusiast… Spector captures real life typefaces and colours and transfers them directly to InDesign.

One of my favourites, Playfair:


Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

not porridge, oatmeal

We used to call this porridge but now it’s oatmeal which sounds less stodgy and more superfoodbloggy, but don’t let that put you off if, like me, you’ve had a gutful of the superfood thing – it’s incredibly delicious and so easy your dog could make it. I have it every single day and never tire of it.

oats porridge nuts raisins

That’s Gary in the background, a lonely fighting fish.

Chop up a couple of cups of raw oats in your food processor with an optional tablespoon of psyllium husks and a handful of chia seeds. Store in a jar in the pantry.

oats nuts oatmeal jar

Toss into food processor your own preferred quantities of nuts (almonds, brazils, etc), seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds etc), muscat raisins and coconut. Chop so it’s still chunky. You’ve just prepared about two week’s worth of porridge oatmeal.



2 cups oats

some psyliium husk (optional)

boiling water to cover

microwave for a minute

add handful of nut/raisin mix, and a big slug of pure maple syrup

top with blueberries – they have just been proven by Harvard researchers to be even better than you thought


To serve, put about half a cup of your porridge in a bowl, add enough boiling water to cover and microwave for a minute. Stir in a large handful of the nuts mix, and add maple syrup. You won’t think about food again until lunchtime.

The Angry Almond in Perth (Subiaco and Nedlands) has everything you need.


Angry Almond, Rockeby Road Subiaco (conveniently two doors down from Jean-Claude Patisserie)

Young Blood

It’s been a while between drinks (strictly figuratively speaking). Speaking of which I have been favouring a lovely pinot noir discovered with a sensible friend in a seaside cafe during a wild storm that nearly knocked us into the Indian Ocean.

Two Paddocks Picnic Pinot Noir is a from actor Sam Neill’s vineyard in Central Otago in the south of New Zealand.

sam neill two paddocks

I know little of wine but I could keep drinking this one until the Central Otago cows come home.

On another type of red, it was reported this week in New Scientist that there’s some blood-swapping going on. For some years researchers have been seeing what happens when the blood of young mice gets put into old mice with interesting results which hit the press this May, enough to spawn a human experiment to happen in October. Alzheimer’s patients will be given transfusions of blood from healthy young people with an eye to reversing some of the damage caused by this terrible disease.

If successful the procedure has widespread ramifications. In a Flowers for Algernon twist it may only work for a short time, perhaps a day, but as the article points out even a day of greater health will warrant further research.


While the first thought of many my age will be the endless cosmetic applications, there are some genuinely useful rejuvenating effects that could be possible if the trials are successful: New Scientist’s Helen Thomson reports that young blood could help stop or reduce the muscle wastage that occurs with chemotherapy. There is also investigation into the possibility that it could inhibit the growth of tumours.

Perhaps Eric Northman’s healing powers are seated in more than just racy tv drama.

Eric Alexander Skarsgard

Entirely gratuitous photo of Alexander Skarsgard aka Eric Northman


Travel the World for Cost of a Postage Stamp

We’ve had a little friend visit us the past week or so. Flat Stanley came to us via snail mail to check out our bit of Australia and then head home to New Jersey, USA to report on his adventures.

The story is that apparently Flat Stanley was just plain old Stanley when he was accidentally flattened by a notice board falling on him. Luckily he survived. This wasn’t all bad news as Stanley was wanting to visit friends interstate. Now that he was flattened he could travel in an envelope for the cost of a stamp. His parents posted him off and he had a wow of a time.

Now he’s here visiting us – he’s been to the beach, to the shops, to school for a piano lesson.

Living the dream.

flat stanley

Oxygenetix Rules

Maths is Fun.

First of all, it’s actually not.

Secondly, I am nervous that my companion to getting through Chapter One of Statistics For Psychologists is a children’s interactive website called Maths is Fun.

Who knew that when you multiply a negative number with another negative number you get a positive number? That’s just plain crazy! Or that when you add things you have to add what’s in brackets before you add and you have to multiply before you add or subtract. Really? Why?

There’s even a song about it. Not as good as the latest Busta Rhymes song, Thank You if you like a bit of hip hop.

Finding a new foundation that acts as a poly filler while looking light and translucent on the skin…now that is fun.


Say hello to Oxygenetix, introduced to me by a dewy-skinned sensible friend: It was designed by a Beverly Hills makeup artist for a plastic surgeon to cover and even heal procedural scars.

Designed for doctors, Breathable foundation covers and treats a wide variety of skin problems: skin injuries, wounds, rashes, cracked, dry skin, acne scars, rosacea and other skin conditions. On post-surgical scars, patients are re-assured and impressed that after care includes safely camouflaging any evidence of surgery.

Basically, this is a healing cream that also just happens to be a banging good foundation. It comes in a variety of shades so you look like you. I use Beige which seems to be the most popular colour.  It also has an SPF 25 – ticking all the boxes.

It’s a small pump bottle and costs $85 here. I was recently in Beverly Hills (I know, I know…did a little damage in Melrose Ave…) and checked it out there thinking I would stock up cheaply, but in fact their price control is pretty standard so no need to hunt around  for hours online or travel to the States for it as I did. Do let me know if you find differently.

Also it lasts for ages and ages as you use a tiny amount for amazing coverage. I’ve had mine for months, use it religiously and there’s still plenty left.

I bought mine in Subiaco, Perth at Skin Evolution, conveniently located next to Jean-Claude Patisserie in Rockeby Road.

There’s nothing in this shameless promo for me, I still pay the $85 like everyone. Also, they are not likely to give free stuff to someone who has six followers on their blog, are they?

Now if someone could just explain interval ratio scales to me I will be content for the rest of the day.


Keeping It Off

Not another diet article, you say? I know…it’s become so boring, we are so over-informed, over-fed and under-nourished these days.

For the past year and a quarter I have been seeing a doctor who specialises in bariatric (read: fat) medicine. I wrote about this earlier this year and so far on my own journey the weight (about 13 kilograms) has stayed off for a year. It may not always but it’s where I am for now. I just want to tell you what I found out. If like me you’re an old yo-yo dieter trying to keep the weight off and you’re finding it tough, this might help.

If you’ve been at your goal weight for years (or forever) you have it sorted: perhaps read this instead.

loving earth fudge brownies

It isn’t really important how you take off excess fat. What matters is that, as you age, you do. Of all the health problems associated with being overweight, one that puts a firecracker up the proverbial in my age group is the knowledge that excess fat is ageing.

A sensible friend pointed out tonight that there are many roads that can get you there. Some have had fabulous success with the 5/2 Fast Diet. Others swear by going Paleo, others Vegetarian. They are all very different approaches and once you find something that agrees with your body and you can stick it out, hooray.

I never had a problem until I left school and spent a year in Idaho wondering why my clothes seemed to be shrinking so much. Thirty years later I am armed with tools and working at it. Recently I attended a sort of exit seminar in which Dr Rensburg talked about keeping weight off and it was really useful information.

First a quick look at the basics of getting it off:

  1. It’s normal to feel hungry. We should feel genuinely hungry at least once a day.
  2. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable when you’re hungry, otherwise you’d starve to death: It’s your body telling you to refuel.
  3. Generally we all in the western world eat far too much. Eat much less.
  4. Some people are excellent at storing fat – they once kept the species going. It sucks in this day and age and culture but there it is. You’re either a polar bear or a hummingbird and if you’re a polar bear you just have to eat more sparingly than those who seem to eat constantly and never gain weight (the hummingbirds).
  5. Make what you do eat count. Look up ‘nutrient density’; put down the two-minute noodles.
  6. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re a grownup.
  7. Weigh yourself each morning (I know this one causes people to react with horror). This way you don’t need to count calories ever; the scales do it for you. Up a bit eat less, down a bit eat more.

Maintaining is a bitch for we polar bear types. This is why the scales can be your friend; your calorie counter (because we know there is nothing more depressing than actually counting calories). A lot of people say do not use bathroom scales. I say use them in the morning before you eat to get an idea of where you’re at and how you’re doing. If you’re getting on more than once a day, you’re obsessing: stop that.

Here are a few ideas I picked out from the recent talk.

  1. Expand your discomfort zone: We all live within a comfort zone but in order for it to feel really comfy you have to step out from time to time to appreciate it. If you always feel full, you’ll hate even a tiny bit of hunger.
  2. Sometimes choose foods you don’t like so much. You’re less likely to go hammer and tongs and go back for seconds.
  3. Help with fatty acid release by taking cold showers (but they can’t be hot then cold; just all cold). This is harder than it sounds.
  4. Eat less.
  5. Go for a paleo style of eating (I realise this doesn’t suit everyone). However if you’re faced with freshly baked  Yallingup Woodfired Bread don’t say no!
  6. Eat whole foods, nothing ‘low fat’ – just less of it. 
  7. Exercise how you wish but include some walking or running and some weight-bearing.
  8. Laugh and smile – it releases endorphins (happy hormones).
  9. Sleep: lack of sleep raises stress hormone levels which can cause adrenal fatigue which is bad for a heap of reasons, one of which is that you tend to overeat and your metabolism doesn’t function as effectively.

Crazy as it sounds: have a bit of fun with it. Although I have to admit I am really struggling to find a cold shower fun.

cold shower psycho