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Let’s Do Coffee

Let’s Do Coffee

Finally. Proof from my favourite people (scientists) that coffee is good for you.

Huffington Post reported earlier this week that drinking coffee can lower your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. I went to Google Scholar to check the paper the news came from and yes, it’s true.

black coffee

That’s not all my fellow Cimba’s regulars: Coffee has also been discovered to do the following. I am keeping this very short as I know you want to skim over this and rush to the kettle to get cracking.

  • Coffee can lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s by as much as 25%
  • It can help ward off basal cell carcinoma (more so for women than men)
  • It can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer in men
  • It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by boosting GCSF levels in the brain (google it)
  • It can lower the risk of depression in women by 15% to 20%
  • Finally it can help you spot grammatical (although not spelling) errors in your writing

The ‘dose’ seems to be around three to four cups a day and it’s still unclear as to whether the benefits are specifically tied to the caffeine although the evidence seems to point in that direction.

If this isn’t the best news you’ve had all day…you just haven’t had enough coffee.

Milk and Cookies and Vegas

Milk and Cookies and Vegas

Sensible friends today come in the form of Trip Advisor strangers. The thing I love about Trip Advisor is that you generally visit the page when planning a trip and who doesn’t love a trip to anywhere?

Rob and I have been talking about this one for a decade, since we sat on a veranda in Bali on our tenth wedding anniversary sipping champagne from our treasured “bride” and “groom” glasses. We decided back then that if we made it to twenty years we’d go to Las Vegas and get married again in the cheesiest ‘wedding’ ceremony we could find.

That time has come. A lot has happened in our twenty years together. There’s a time for knuckling down to the hard, often happy, sometimes sad business of raising a family….and there’s a time for fun.

I’ve been angling for a drive-thru ceremony but Rob’s insisting on an Elvis celebrant who looks and sounds nothing like Elvis. We’ve booked a couple of nights at the Bellagio as it seemed to embody everything that is wonderful about Vegas – majestic fountains, close to the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, a volcano, “fun with guns”, Rod Stewart, and the Colosseum. Who needs Europe?

Before Vegas we’re taking a road trip from San Francisco down the Big Sur with a couple of overnighters including a quaint little place in Carmel that serves milk and cookies with their turn-down service. Adorable.

The children will fly themselves over to meet us in Los Angeles. A week in West Hollywood (WeHo!) is about as close to camping as we’re likely to get, I think. Some of you might think this is a bit sad but I think: Santa Monica Boulevard baby!

welcome las vegas

 

Energy Balls (Amazeballs #2)

Energy Balls (Amazeballs #2)

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was impossible to go wrong with the amazeballs, consequently our recipe here at home has morphed with each making and currently it’s proving an easy winner and looking better than ever before.

Lately I have been leaving out the raw cacao powder for some variety and rolling them in a really lovely desiccated coconut I found at The Angry Almond. Rather than weigh the ingredients into the thermomix (food processor), I sit it on the same shelf of the pantry as the jars of ingredients and just throw them in, hence the measurements in handfuls rather than grams.

Energy/Superfood/Bliss AmazeBalls

  • 3 handfuls almonds
  • 1 handful cashews
  • 2 handfuls pitted medjool dates
  • 1 handful each of gogi berries, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, shredded coconut
  • Big Tbsp coconut oil, small Tbsp coconut sugar if you want extra sweet.

Grind the nuts a bit first then add everything else, form into balls (or press into a muffin tin) and roll in desiccated coconut.

energy bliss superfood balls

Bliss.

 

Why the Frown? (It’s Bitchy Resting Face)

Why the Frown? (It’s Bitchy Resting Face)

Oldest Daughter: “Why are you always frowning at me when I talk to you lately?”

Me: “Because the Botox has worn off and I have ‘Bitchy Resting Face’. Sorry.”

This is something that has bothered me for years without my having any idea what it was; ever since I was in a restaurant with a group of friends at around the age of 20 and the glamour-boy lawyer sitting next to me suddenly said, with no preamble, “Why are you so serious all the time?”

If only we’d had the Internet back then in the eighties (actually, I thank the Lord above we didn’t).

It’s all over the web right now: Bitchy Resting Face (BRF) is the syndrome of one’s neutral expression looking like one has just swallowed half a lemon, or is gearing up to belt someone in the head. Or is simply a total bitch. Usually the person who has this affliction is thinking nothing more cantankerous than whether the sheets need changing, or whether anyone remembered to lock up the chicken that night.

There are some famous people who share this affliction with we everyday people: Kristen Stewart aka Bella is the poster girl for BRF.Kristen Stewart

My BRF pin-up girl is Anna Paquin aka Sookie Stackhouse – frowny forehead and yet absolutely gorgeous.

BRF Sookie Stackhouse

.Sookie Stackhouse Anna Paquin

A few men even suffer too, often called Resting Asshole Face for the guys. Kanye West does it best and Robert Downie Jnr scares young children with his.

BRF Kanye West

BRF robert downey jnr

As we age, our neutral, or ‘resting’ face is the one that becomes etched deeply upon us. For some lucky souls like the lovely Jennifer Aniston, this will be laugh lines.

BRF Jennifer Aniston

For many of us however, Bitchy Resting Face it is. Even the ever-beautiful Jessica Lange.

jessica lange

For we sufferers from Generation X, how different would our twenties, and even thirties, have been had this been a recognised ‘thing’ then? I, for one, wouldn’t have sweated about being ‘too serious’ for about a decade and just worn a brooch announcing ‘I’m Not Unhappy, I Suffer From BRF’.

Clever Man: Man Up.

Clever Man: Man Up.

“Poor Rob” as people sometimes refer to my husband has a terribly sore back. He recently had to forgo several days of surfing while on a surfing holiday. This is him after a recent visit to the physio:

sore back

Coincidentally, at this time his buddy (today’s Clever Man) Henry Willis has been expounding the virtues of the Standing Desk, something he has had great success with himself.

standing desk 19th century

Rob has leapt to his feet fast on this one, and ordered a standing desk from Bad Backs, According to Henry if you have a sore back, walking into the store is as exciting as it was walking into a lolly shop as a kid.

msf standing desk RN

Ernest Hemingway was a big fan:

art manliness ernest hemingway

The article itself was on a fabulous website that is going to take up a good chunk of today’s online surfing time if you’re a fella:

The Art of Manliness

art of manliness logo man

The site is filled with wonderful, manly advice. Who has experienced the floppy fish or too strong handshake? Who worries that we’re not shaking hands enough anymore? Here’s how to do it right:

art manliness handshake

There is a whole section on relationship advice such as Being Neighbourly, How to Communicate Your Needs in a Relationship, How to Create a Lifelong Brotherhood and my favourite: Fathering with Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture:

“Understand this: A family culture happens whether you’re consciously creating it or not. It’s up to you and your wife to determine whether that culture is of your choosing. If you want a positive family culture, you must commit yourself to years of constant planning and teaching. A culture isn’t something that’s created overnight; it requires daily investment. But the payoff is definitely worth it.”

art manliness breakup

Do you actually know the right way to break down a door? It could come in handy.art manliness break door

Yes, it is manly to carry a handkerchief like our fathers and grandfathers did. You’re not likely to be robbing a stage coach but there’s something rather attractive in a Don Draper sort of way about a man whipping out a handkerchief to mop his brow.

Art Manliness handkerchief

Not sure how to dress for a particular occasion? It’s all sorted here. There’s even a how to on shoe shining, which buttons of a jacket to do up and what to wear when an invitation says formal, semi formal or smart casual.

Art Manliness Casual Office

Thank you to our manly Clever Man Henry for this little gem of a website and for easing Poor Rob’s pain.

 

Easy Peasy 1970s Silverside

Easy Peasy 1970s Silverside

Another one that surprised me with its simplicity recommended by former country lass and fellow child of the seventies, Sara: Corned Beef, or Silverside as we knew it.

No wonder my mother made this for us regularly when we were young and she was living the feminist dream of raising three kids, putting food on the table, reading us stories, working and studying at uni all at the same time.

Corned Silverside

(recipe from taste.com.au and adapted for the slow cooker)

This is for the meat part only – for the white sauce use your thermomix if you have one and add in some chopped parsley and grainy mustard if your kids will bear it or use your favourite white sauce recipe.

  • 1 pack of corned beef/silverside – mine was $8.40 for 1.4 kilo piece)
  • 1 onion (stud with cloves; I had none so threw in a quarter tsp ground cloves)
  • 1 carrot big chunks
  • 1 celery stick big chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves smashed a bit (don’t bother peeling)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  1. Put silverside in a pot on stove and bring to boil.
  2. meanwhile chop other ingredients and put in slow cooker on low.
  3. Once beef is boiled drain and add to cooker and cover with water.
  4. Once done make a white sauce and serve with veggies – my favourite at the moment is mashed cauliflower.

msf corned beef silverside 5

msf corned beef silverside 1

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the finished product as it was devoured so fast, however I did find one online I have posted below which is an honest-looking shot. It’s a shame as it’s a tres ugly dish before serving and once cut a lovely silvery pink. I reserved the stock it was cooked in to make some soups.

silverside

TMI

TMI

My corner of Australia is rife with head colds at the moment. I tried to dodge the one after me but have succumbed gracelessly. Winter is officially upon us and while is sunny and crisp, bugs abound, so I’ve had time to lie around reading the paper and surf the world-wide web.

Because of all this downtime, I made it all the way to the technology pages of the newspaper and discovered a couple of interesting blogs:

STFU Parents is hitting the news at the moment as the blog author, Blair Koenig has just released a book of her posts. People send in snips from social network sites like Facebook and tumblr with parents’ status updates that are the very definition of TMI (too much information).

There are entire categories for different over-sharers, such as Sanctimommy (my personal favourite), Onesies, WTF of the Day, Woe is Mom and MommyJacking, where someone may post a note that they got a job promotion and in comes mommyjacker with a comment about how that’s “nothing compared with raising kids!”.

stfu parents stfu momyjacker 1

Then there is the Gross Out Factor section, not to be viewed while eating.

stfu parents gross

Most of we Generation X-ers who are on Facebook, the last of the adults to reach adulthood without the Internet, know that there is a line not to be crossed when it comes to over-sharing – so far I haven’t had any look-my-toddler-pooed-all-over-the-room shots show up in my news feed. Then again I have very few friends whose kids are still toddlers these days.

But is there a place for mummy-sharing online that isn’t going to get you a featured spot on STFU Parents? It’s a question Koenig gets asked often. Can I share my ultrasound photo or is it going to end up here?

As she says “We’re entering a new phase where placentapics may occasionally inspire more organ appreciation than nausea.”

Good thing or bad thing? It’s up to you. I agree that we are becoming more desensitised to the over-share than we used to be however for some this is the forum for which mums and dads share baby news with their distant family.

If the snippets of parents who should probably not own a computer or smart phone (or be parents) fills you with dread for the future of civilisation at this point, perhaps don’t read on.

The Bun in the Oven section of STFU, Parents is just plain gruesome. Here we have the pleasure of mu-to-be Stormie’s update regarding the approaching birth of baby Memphis by C-Section:

stfu parents c-section

You don’t really get the whole picture just by reading these snaps. What makes the blog un-put-downable are the comments by Koenig that accompany each morsel. Her writing is clever and funny and while cutting she isn’t cruel. More incredulous.

The other blog is Reasons My Son Is Crying by Greg Pembroke, a 32-year-old New York father. If it wasn’t so funny it would almost qualify for a spot on STFU Parents, but as you look at each photo and the caption it gets funnier and funnier. Pembroke has two little boys and has started a blog in which he captures a photo of one of the kids in tears along with a single sentence caption describing why.

This one is titled “his sock wouldn’t come off”:

why my son is crying sock

Others have captions such as “A fly landed near him”, “He saw a beetle”, and “I wouldn’t let him get a tattoo.” The blog has only been around for a month or so and has already gone viral and earned him a spot on Conan O’Brien. It’s raised some interesting discussion about bringing parenting to the online world. Is Pembroke damaging his little fellas in some way by publishing their every tear? There are plenty of mommy bloggers up in arms about how despicable this is, and others who see it as harmless fun:

At GeekMom in the comments section of a blog post entitled 3 Reasons To Detest “Why My Son Is Crying” Suburban Snapshots writes:

“Let’s not assume that the rest of these kids’ days aside from the 4 seconds it takes to take and post a photo of their tears is not spent full of love, reassurance, giggles, discipline, play, and everything else that nurtures kids. I’d guess that they spend a LOT of time laughing, because their parents clearly have excellent senses of humor. I’d rather my child be raised knowing how to laugh at herself than raised to write blog posts critiquing the parenting of strangers.”

While Lisa Quimby counters with:

“What a despicable thing to do to a child! Toddlers face each day being shorter, slower, weaker and less coordinated than most everyone around them. They are trying to figure out the rules of a world that seems so unpredictable. Of course there will be meltdowns when expectations (a favorite cup, for example) aren’t met. As parents, it’s up to us to recognize the struggles that seems so small to us and help our children learn to handle their emotions. If we don’t treat them with respect, how will they learn to respect others? And what about when this kid grows up and finds his crying toddler face all over the internet?!”

My vote goes to Pembroke who told Today.com

“Kids have meltdowns 20, 30 times a day. You can drive yourself crazy or you can laugh and just accept it.”

He is now taking submissions if anyone reading this happens to have a camera and a crying toddler on hand…

As for frowning at Pembroke or laughing with him, I’ll take laughing. He sounds like a genuinely nice guy having a bit of fun with sweet, normal little boys.

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