Friday 29 March 2013

Guest Post: On "Supermarket Etiquette"

Guest post by Dave Quills 29.03.13
I read a blog post aloud to my partner about the rules one is supposed to be following to shop in a supermarket. Neither of us felt that Penny  Flanagan's list, intended to be humorous and resound with shopping Mums, achieved anything other than to make us annoyed at her supermarket intolerance! Dave thought he should give you his opinion on the situation, so here's my first guest poster - Dave Quills!

Re: Supermarket Etiquette - 10 rules to follow

Why is it that to so many people think humour and anger are the same thing? I can only assume this is because they are so full of hate that they can only crack a smile at someone else's expense.

The article is by one Penny Flanagan, and it's all about how she wants YOU to shop when SHE's at the supermarket. I'm just going to dive right into tearing up her points.

1. "The supermarket is one way. You start at the fresh produce and finish at the toilet paper.  PLUS if we all follow the same path, each aisle should also only be one way."
Wow that's some nice logical thinking there. Penny seems to think that everybody buys at least one item from the end of each aisle, and that if you just want toilet paper you should go down every single aisle first, and then get trapped there. Newsflash lady: supermarkets are designed the way they are for the benefit of the store, not the consumers. Your fresh produce gets bruised under your tins, and to get straight to the milk you have to run the chocolate gauntlet.

2. "No Playschool-style commentary in the fresh produce area. This is not the time to teach your kids about every single vegetable known to mankind"
When and where exactly are we supposed to teach our children about food? Penny is a mother of three, and I can only assume her boys can't tell the difference between a capsicum and a carrot. Wait a minute...
"and loudly proclaim to everyone around you what you are cooking for din-dins that evening. We are all giving our children chicken nuggets for dinner and we don’t give a toss if your kid ‘looooves’ wok-flashed baby bok choy."
Lady, why are you in such a hurry? I cook because I can't afford convenient frozen food. If I'm talking to my kids I'm not expecting anyone else to listen, let alone peeking at what's in your trolley - which is apparently nothing at this stage.

3. "Old people: stop being old"
Penny clearly hasn't ever heard of respecting her elders. I'm sure she'll love being surrounded by people like her when she's waddling around as an old lady. Let's keep some perspective here: you're simply going to a store.

4. "Minimum speed of 5km an hour. Anyone going slower should get their groceries delivered."
Does she even know how fast that is? You wouldn't have time to stop - that's assuming she means on average and that you can stop. Everyone would have to get their groceries delivered, but that's mission accomplished for Penny I suppose. If she abhors going to the grocery store this much then maybe she should just do it.

5. "Self-scanning checkouts are for BASKETS only"
Nope. That's why they have ones that are wider than the others. Why would you even think that? The self-serve checkout is usually the fastest option regardless, especially in a crowded store. I guess that's why she wants you to wait in a different line to her.

6. "No inane small talk at the checkout. In particular do not ask me what I’m up to today. Sometimes the answer is, ‘not much,’ and I feel embarrassed about that. Also, once you open up that dialogue I will worry that you are going to comment on my groceries, which may also be embarrassing."
Oh WOW. You're embarrassed that you aren't doing much? They're at work! You think they're going to comment on your embarrassing groceries? You can't have ever actually engaged a clerk in conversation before. You are asking for them to be rude instead of polite, they're not going to do it. I go to the same store every week - they know me there, they're my neighbours. It doesn't hurt to be nice, although apparently being mean saves you a few seconds.

7. "Checkout ladies:  scan embarrassing items as quickly as possible. If they don’t have a barcode/ are not scanning, just toss them quickly behind you, pretend it never happened and move on."
I bet you're the kind of person that turns on the hand-dryer to pee, and gives dirty looks to anyone browsing the condoms.

8. "To the store manager: The checkout is a free library of magazines"
And that's a rule too is it? I thought you were talking to the customers.

9. "Grocery shopping is not a romantic couples activity"
Oh please, everything is a romantic couples activity. Angry and bitter is not the default state for a long-term relationship just because yours is.
"(You may involve your husband/boyfriend at the unloading and unpacking end, in the privacy of your own home.)"
Way to set women's lib back 40 years. What a chauvinist.

10. "People with FPOCD (Fresh Produce Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) move to the side please. If you are fussy about hand-picking your beans/apples/oranges etc., be aware that some people are happy to just toss a few in a bag and keep going."
Those people can't be eating much of that food, that's for sure. Almost everything in the supermarket is already going rotten, but you'd have to actually eat fresh food to realise that. You'll just have to come back after I've finished teaching my daughter how to tell if the fruit is ripe - or you know, say excuse me.

Honestly, why is this woman in such a hurry? I bet she's one of those idiots that jaywalk 10m from a pedestrian crossing. That's enough of her negativity. Happy loitering folks. Remember to park your trolley sideways across the aisle when you see Penny coming.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Picture This.

This year, I want to take more photos. Both for my blog, and just for myself.

These photos are to be of thrift shop fashion (to showcase how nice you can look when you have no money to spend!), the crafts I make, my little family, and my life. To document the sweet things.

I'm pretty good at listening to criticism and taking seeing with grey-tinted glasses. I know that my life isn't always going to be peaches-and-cream, but sometimes by looking at the amazing little things, you can see a brighter way forward. I'm taking that approach this year (for anyone who wonders why everything in my life seems happy on paper - it's not. Just like you and everyone else you know), and embracing the things I do with eager, open arms.

A photographer came up to us last time we were at the dog beach, wanting to take a photo of a dog and a kid playing together on the beach for The Daily Telegraph. Indigo and Trilby the Wonderhound definitely fit the bill, and spent the best part of an hour playing around on the beach (only to get the shot just as he was putting away his camera!). We all had a great time, and two days later, they were in the paper!

Indigo Quills follows her dog "Trilby" along Horseshoe Beach in Newcastle. Picture: Liam Driver Source: The Daily Telegraph

We've got a copy of the photo up on our wall, where Indigo points to it frequently, and says goodnight to her dog by waving at him in the picture (because he sleeps outside).

As far as taking my own photos is going? Well, I could be doing better. I don't have a cable to connect my camera to my computer, so I'm usually only getting dodgy old mobile phone snaps. Not the awesome, clear photos that I had planned, and none of the outfit shots either. I WILL get a cable so I can take better photos with my camera, because I'd like to share a lot more. In the meantime, I'm glad someone got such a great shot of my daughter and my dog to inspire me.

Friday 15 February 2013

Typo Giveaway!

This is a commissioned post, with the object in mind of giving free things away to you - my readers! 

Why not make your home the best it can be in 2013? We’re giving away one $40 Typo gift card to help you create the perfect space.
Stockland’s residential properties are the perfect blend of modern stylish living and a comfortable homey atmosphere. From house and land packages craigieburn to house and land packages in berwick, there is sure to be a perfect place to find or build your dream home. Stockland gives your family a place to truly call home – a place where your family can live and grow, and enjoy many years to come.

Stockland have given me the opportunity to give away a gift card to one lucky reader! Thanks Typo and Stockland - you get to help me give away my first prize!

I figured I'd make it a bit fun - leave a comment in 50 words or less on how you're going to jazz up your home this year for the chance to win! This competition is open to Australian residents only.

This year, I'll be jazzing up our home with a whole bunch of handmade delights! From baking to gardening and crochet, I'm planning on making a lot of lovely things on a budget this year!

The judge will be my partner Dave, being read the comments without any names attached. This will allow the competition to be impartial, but still based on your efforts!

This competition will be open for a week - until Midnight on Friday 22nd February. Simply comment to have the chance to win!

Having trouble commenting? It's come to my attention that my blog comments section asks for your Google account/Livejournal/etcetera.


There is an option for Name/URL second from the bottom on the pulldown list, so you can just put your name if you like!

Tuesday 1 January 2013

A Fresh Page

A new year begins, and I open my notebook to a fresh, blank page. The possibilities are nearly limitless, but this very vastness intimidates me, and makes me think small.

This year is my year to get past the huge, gigantic, enormous big things floating around in my head, and focus on smaller, more manageable goals. Wanting to be amazingly successful and lose ten kilos and run every day is all well and good, but it's no good just telling yourself all of that, you'd just end up mad. This is, however, what I've been spending the better part of a lifetime doing - thinking too hard about the outcomes to pay attention to the processes. Not this year.

I haven't written a blog post for months for fear of the rejection of others and not living up to my own high standards, but not this year. This year I will write about the things I make, the recipes I test out, the things I do with Indigo, and will focus more on fashion, because I want to document my amazing op shop bargains. I will take more photos of the things I do, photos help you feel grateful for the little things in life in an amazing visual way, and collected together chronicles Indigo's life.

This year I will work smarter, not harder. Stress less about the small stuff. Work harder on making things nice, instead of waiting for things to get better. Stop beating myself up about my very human lack of perfection. We want to make a baby this year, so all my goals are around being a more relaxed, focused, and balanced person to help me be a better mum and to take some of the self-imposed stress off.

A fresh new year, a fresh outlook, a fresh page. I am eager to make my mark.

Beatrix xoxo

Friday 17 August 2012

Rice-ish Balls

Vegan Rice-ish Balls (Rice, barley, lentil and vegetable balls, if we're getting technical!)

Dave and I made these rice-ish balls for Dave's birthday party, but this is a more awesome, modified version. Indigo liked the blended mush before it even got to rice ball stage, and fell asleep full of goodness.

Since Indigo dunked my phone, I have no camera to provide the photographic evidence of how lovely these are, or what they look like so you can imagine the taste. I implore you to make them though, because all the ingredients are cheap, healthy and vegan!

After being a vegetarian for ten years and hardly cooking at all, as a meat-eater we cook a non-meat option probably once or twice a week for dinner, or more often if we're on a tight budget.

So here is the recipe!

Brown rice 3/4 cup
Black rice (substitute wild rice) 3/4 cup
Silken firm tofu, 1 block
Red lentils, 1/2 cup
Pearl barley, 1/2 cup
1 Capsicum, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (to taste, I love it!)
Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon
Tumeric,1 tablespoon
Paprika1 tablespoon
Cumin 1 tablespoon
Salt 1/2 tablespoon
Pepper 1/2 tablespoon
Flour, 1/2 cup
Small handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 spring onions, sliced
1 grated carrot
LSA (to roll balls in!)

Boil rices, lentils, and barley according to packet instructions. Reserve a third of each so the riceish balls have texture. Prepare 1 teaspoon chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and leave for ten minutes to form chia gel.

Add onions, garlic and capsicum to a pan with olive oil and 1 tablespoon brown sugar and carrot and cook until onion is translucent, add to blender.

Put the rest into a food processor with chia gel, onions, capsicum, spices, coriander, tofu, flour, tomato paste and half the spring onions into food processor and blend until smooth. Add reserved ingredients including remaining spring onions and put into the freezer for half an hour. Form into patties/balls, put in fridge until firm.

Roll in LSA mix and freeze for a couple of hours, or overnight. Don't make the balls too big - golf ball size will ensure they stay together and aren't frozen in the middle when you cook them!

Deep fry in vegetable oil (makes a tasty companion to felafels, or as a member of a party of finger-foods!). Olive oil works if you're stuck (like I was this time!) but you need to fry at a lower temperature so it doesn't end up all smoky and gross.

Enjoy! xox

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Wonky and Rambling All Over the Shop

Things have been really busy, really stressful, and not particularly conducive to blogging. I have sat and attempted to write a few times, but nothing came out.

Then I shaved my head again (Trich relapse, goddammit motherfucking arse cock FUCK), cried a lot about losing the hair I worked so hard to grow, and now I'm starting again, again. For the umpteenth time. It's so fucking hard to keep trying when I keep failing, but on I go.

It's getting too cold to go around bald-headed, so have been wearing a lot of daggy beanies, and occasionally my Bettie Page-esque wig, which has received compliments even when people know it's a wig. That makes me feel a little uncomfortable...people think I look great even if I'm bald, but then the wig looks good too? I've got to stop over-thinking things, and worrying about what other people think. People do seem to think I'm a cancer patient though, and it makes me feel sick, which I guess I am in a way, but usually I can hide it, because it's "not that big a deal" (at least, not to anyone who HAS hair).

On a positive note, I weighed myself the other day, and I'm down to 68 kilos! I started at 94, so we're getting somewhere! I can look at myself and although I'm not a hundred percent happy with my reflection, I can see that I just need a bit of sun, a bit of exercise, some delicious healthy food and a decent night's sleep. This is a very good thing! I don't mind improving myself - I WANT to look perfect, but I'm not so unhappy with the way I look that I'm impatient to diet crazily, join a gym that I won't go to, or do much other than what I've been doing for the past year to get this far.

I'm hoping that the negative things will work themselves out in time. It just sucks that any stress in my life sends me into a relapse that takes MONTHS to recover from. I feel so fragile, and I hate it. I hate that I'm not strong and capable and all the things I try to be. I am working on building a support network of lovely, positive people, and hopefully just having less negativity around me will help me to feel less anxious in the long-term, rather than straight away.

All this work, and it feels like I get no play! I play with Indigo all day, but it's hard to find time to relax without simply falling asleep. It's hard when all my favourite, cheap things to do are homey, crafty things - Indy wants my full attention, and hates when she can see me, but I won't completely engage with her. It's very frustrating, so I haven't made any crafty things in months! Dave is allowed to do things, though. Princess Indigo decrees it. Maybe it's because Dave has always insisted on having a bit of time to himself - I think he's better at self-regulation than I am. I find it hard to know my limits, and am always mentally, physically or emotionally taking on more than I can bear. I need to take a few tips from Dave, I think. Or maybe just be a better listener.

This is a really wonky post that is rambling all over the shop. I think I'll stop here.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Self-Help for Trichotillomania Update #1

My blog is three months old today! Thanks for reading!

So, for anyone who knows me, or who's been reading for a while, you might know that I have trichotillomania. It's part of a bigger, mental un-health picture, but I'm working on one thing at a time, trying to relax, take it slow. Help myself heal from whatever the hell caused me to get so messed up in the first place.

I shaved my head in Summer, a few times, to break the cycle of pulling my hair out when I'm bored/nervous/busy and just not paying enough attention/sleeping. I even kept my eyebrows plucked to perfection (with tweezers), shaved off my pubic hair, kept my legs and underarms shaved regularly - just so there was nothing for me to fiddle with. Nothing out of place. I think that my flawed perfectionism has a lot to do with my problem, so it was time to reassure myself that I had achieved perfection (of a hairless, stubbly sort. The sort that doesn't fiddle).


I have hair now. It's about 2cm long, max. But it's there.

No bald spots. No hair pulling (well, three hairs. Total. Before I couldn't even count how many I pulled out in an hour, let alone 4-5 months).

I have developed the habit of running my hands through my hair fast, repeatedly, when under stress. This seems less debilitating than hair-pulling, so I'm running with it. It felt nice on my stubbly bald head, and it feels nice now I've got a full head of hair too. I'm just trying my hardest to keep it. I don't want to be bald again. I didn't realise how desperate I was to fix this problem, because now I don't think I'd be brave enough to want to shave my head again. 

Another side-effect of not-pulling is that I've started attacking my fingernails. I've always bitten my nails, but now it's getting chronic. I basically don't have nails. So, I've started the same process with my nails as I did with my hair - make them un-biteable. I paint my nails, and cover them in glitter, so even if I was to bite them with polish on, it'd be like chewing sand. 


Ok, I back-slid because I am a mum, and finding the time to paint my nails, let alone this laborious process involving glitter, takes a lot of time. And because I'm looking for a job, and tiny, glittery finger-stubs are a bit offputting in a job interview (even if they look much prettier to me, because I am used to my deformed fingers). At least I can keep my hands from drawing too much attention if I leave them bare, but it makes it EXTREMELY hard not to bite them.

I'm just hoping I find a job where they don't mind me painting my nails, even if my hands are mangled, or that I get a job that involves me using my hands all the time, so I don't have the opportunity to bite my nails.

Stay tuned for future updates. I'm really trying to make this method work, because I'd love to help people with trich (and other people who, like me, deal with their anxiety by mangling themselves in other ways) in a real and tangible way - not just awareness raising and being open and honest with people about my own troubles with trich.