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How to Pack for Vietnam.

How to Pack for Vietnam.

Packing for holiday is easy. Just read on for insider tips. There might be the odd swear word: this is an honest account.

savvy content au

Day Minus 10

You are such a capable, organised woman. So on top of things. Today you set aside five lightweight tops that will take you seamlessly from the streets to the cocktail bar.

You even put them in the delicate cycle and ironed them yourself. Tick! Well done, you.

Day Minus 7

Thank goodness you have those five tops done, it will be a cinch to add the rest. Plenty of time.

Day Minus 6

With such a strong start (those five tops) you will now be thinking about cooking some meals and freezing lunchbox items that your husband and kids will just adore. Each time they grab a pre-packed lunch out of the freezer on the way to school/work, they will take a moment to remember how amazing you are and how lucky they are to have you.

You make a list of ingredients including takeaway containers.

Day Minus 4

Taking only hand luggage could be an option! You have those five light-weight tops and once you add thoughtfully chosen shoes, knickers and pants, you’re done.

Day Minus 3

You now only wear your uncomfortable underwear. You want to keep the decent stuff for the trip.

So clever. So prepared. You think you might be the right person to start a travel prep blog.

Day Minus 2

Time to pack! Time to cook and freeze! But first a proper list so you don’t miss anything. Being a woman of the 21st century, you use Notes on the computer. You open the computer and notice Bassike is having a flash sale.

Seven hours later you realise you have no list yet, but your time online wasn’t wasted – you know now why Cara Delavigne shaved her head and how to use apple cider vinegar to solve every problem in your life.

Day Minus 1

It’s fine. Really. You’re just not the type to panic about silly little things like not having finished packing (you have five beautifully laundered versatile tops already, you legend!).

It will take mere minutes, and then you can slow-roast that beef you bought and make exciting little meals for the family. First things first though: time to make use of that handy new feature on Netflix that lets you download. You need a few eps of Grace and Frankie for the plane. Mad Men catches your eye. You secretly know Jon Hamm would fall in love with you instantly if he met you. Maybe just five minutes of that first wonderful episode…

But you are focused. Strong. Not the sort to be distracted. Hell, you’re 50. You’re basically a young Helen Mirren.

Day 0

It’s 2am.  Time to pack. The maxi taxi with the girls is coming in one hour.

You’re now realising that you didn’t really need to watch all seven seasons – again – of Mad Men yesterday. Fucking Jon Hamm. He’s probably secretly gay. You throw your five tops in your carry-on spinner. You then add pants, shorts, dresses, underwear, bathers, hair dryer, and your 15-kilo giant sponge bag of absolutely necessary face serums and creams.

You quickly realise hand luggage was a little optimistic. You use your iPhone torch to find the huge Samsonite case in the shed amongst the spiders, weedkiller and semi-deflated pool toys (which take up a lot of space considering you don’t have a pool).

It’s filthy, but what’s a little dust for crying out loud? Dusting’s your forté.

You fling it open and toss everything in, adding another 13 items of clothing just in case. With 10 minutes to spare you wash your face (no time to shower, but hey, they have showers in Vietnam!). You race outside using a fridge trolley to move your suitcase and it’s a tad heavy. The girls are happily waving as you meet the taxi. With the help of four friends haul your case in the boot.

As you whizz off to the airport in the middle of the night you remember you didn’t make those meals. Or buy milk, bread or toothpaste. Or dog food or dishwasher tablets. But you smile because deep down you know they were only going to eat two-minute noodles anyway.

Bon voyage motherfuckers!

A Little Prick

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]

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)?

mysensiblefriend

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:

playfair_display_font

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

not porridge, oatmeal

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.

 

Recipe

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.

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

Young Blood

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.

blood

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

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

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.

oxygenetix

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.

 

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