Weekend round up.

This has been a strange weekend all around. On Friday night Buzz went to have some bloke time with a friend and stayed the night there, meaning that this was our first night apart since our wedding more than ten months ago and perhaps our 5th or so since we started living together in lovely sin more than 2 1/2 years ago. I find it difficult to sleep without him, and so do our puppies. Sam barked loudly in the middle of the night which woke me up with a start as he rarely does so, and making fear that there was someone breaking in. No, he’d done a wee in the litter box and wanted a treat. Back to bed. The dogs and I slept strangely all night, waking up at 7:30 after much tossing and turning.

On Saturday morning I trooped over to my parents’ for a shower (we are still waiting for our new shower screen to be installed) and then met a friend and her gorgeous baby for a local coffee. We met so we could discuss her experiences with HypnoBirthing, and my reluctance about some of the more ‘earth mothery’ aspects of it. I learnt so much from her about how it worked and left feeling so much more enthused and reassured. We also talked about how women often don’t share their birth stories in detail, and particularly not the positive parts, so I really appreciated her sharing her whole experience with me and her advice on things I hadn’t even considered yet. I ended up enrolling in a CalmBirth course, and hope that the mind-settling and relaxation techniques will be a useful tool for us when the time comes. Thanks V!

The rest of Saturday I did a little bit of household organising with my new baskets, and spent far too long in front of the idiot box watching gems like Toddlers and Tiaras and eating biscuits. I did slip in a bit of Elvis in Girls! Girls! Girls! before the demand for football from Buzz could be ignored no longer. I felt disturbed and unsettled but a Facebook conversation that rattled me more than it should have.

And here’s where the weekend really took a funny turn. I went to bed at about 1:30am, and at 2am woke up to a loud bang. I asked Buzz what it was, and he shouted on his way out the door that it was a car accident and to call the police. I heard some shouting and yelling, and rang 000 as I pulled on shoes and a dressing gown to go outside.

On the other side of the road to our house, a car had gone through a front fence. I couldn’t see what else had happened, but Buzz looked quite calm as he talked to a couple I didn’t recognise. Going closer while still talking to the dispatcher, I could see that there were actually two cars in the front garden, one in front of the other and only narrowly missing the block of flats, but only two people waiting. After I completed the 000 call (and what a difficult job the dispatchers must have, and how well they do it), the couple standing with Buzz said that they had been followed from a neighbouring suburb, run off the road by the first car in the garden, and after they all crashed three men had jumped out shouting “Give us the money!”. The man of the couple tried to defend them both – Buzz says that when he first saw the scene, the man was holding a brick from the destroyed fence and brandishing it at the three attackers shouting “Someone’s going to die!” – and as Buzz approached then he chased two of them down the road while the other ran the other way. By the time I got there the man had returned and was bleeding heavily from the back of his head where he had been hit with a brick, and had a knife wound to his arm. I went inside to get a towel for his bleeding and water for them, feeling all the while that brandy would be most needed but least appropriate. The police arrived and called in the dog squad and helicopters to chase the three attackers, and the fire brigade and ambulance also arrived. After giving our names we were asked to go home so as not to confuse the dogs, so we left for a slightly shocked debrief with each other. As we went to bed, the helicopters circled low for at least an hour, and the dogs barked in the distance. The lights from the ambulance shone through our windows for over an hour.

Fitful hours later, we got up and I realised that what had scared me most was that we were the only neighbours to come out of our homes, except for another couple who lived on the other side of the block and had walked around. I know that some people are fearful of intervening – and if this had happened the night before when I was home alone I certainly wouldn’t have left the house before I had the police on the line, and I would have armed myself and maybe stayed on the other side of the road – but not even the next door neighbours or the people who lived in the block of flats that the cars almost hit came out, not even once the police had arrived. The woman of the couple who were attacked was screaming for someone to help them and call the police. If I ran out the front of my house screaming for help, I would like to think that someone would help me. Isn’t it part of our social contract to help one another? Don’t bad people feel they can get away with bad things in public because no one will say anything? I once saw a young boy in school uniform punch another in the face on a train platform, with literally hundreds of adults on the other platform watching. Not a single person except me said anything, and I yelled at him and sent Buzz over to stand with the boy who had been hit. Hundreds of adults and two young boys in uniform, and not even a shout or a call to the stationmaster. Only a short burst of bossy cross yelling settled them down; they certainly weren’t hooded thugs with shanks. They were 14 year old boys in blazers. How scared are we to allow this to happen? Every time a Good Samaritan is hurt we become more fearful to be decent citizens, and more outraged every time something happens as though there is no connection. But each time we choose not to help another person in need, bad people fear less and grow bolder, and good people allow it to happen. Twice now I have seen Buzz rush to someone’s aid without thinking, the first being when there was a fight upstairs in our old house, and I love him the more fiercely for it.

We debriefed further over breakfast with Buzz’s parents at a cafe, and a ritual trip to Bunnings later we are now on the couch, heater on, enwrapped in blankets with coffees and more biscuits. I am going to see Lady GaGa tonight and must soon face getting up, getting changed, and venturing into the rain and chill. A ‘monstrously’ fitting end to a strange and bizarre weekend.

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Little luxuries

There’s a lovely thread on the Vogue forums about little luxuries – not the yacht/quail’s egg gems/golden toilet kind, but the small things that give you a little wave of warmth every day.

A few of my little luxuries are temporarily denied to me – a glass of Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio in a crystal wine glass, a cold G&T prepared for me at the end of a trying day, a weekend afternoon beer, and a daily latte (I was allowing myself one a day until suddenly The Bunny decided that coffee was not mama’s friend. I became involuntarily caffeine-free and have just begun to re-introduce it, to minor heart palpitations and noticeable bursts of nervous energy). My goodness, all my denied items are liquid and addictive.

But many luxuries remain – here are my special moments.

1. Glasshouse Candles. I was never a candle fan until I was given a Glasshouse candle as a birthday gift, and so began an obsession. The Glasshouse range is deliciously scented and come in gorgeous (and reusable! Thrifty!) glass jars. I have a number of them that I also use as little motifs in vignettes around the house (that sounded ridiculous, didn’t it?). Each fragrance is named after a destination, making it hard sometimes to tell if you want the scent or the idea of the holiday! They make beautiful gifts too.

Glasshouse ‘Leura’.

 My favourites are Marseille (gardenia), Caracas (frangipani), Leura (jasmine blossoms), Galapagos (kaffir lime and coconut butter), Esperance (mimosa and wild apple), Tahaa (vanilla caramel), Skye (wild honeysuckle) and Manhattan (little black dress). Hmmm, that’s actually almost half the range. I’m very tempted to try the new fragrance Sassafras (blackberry and tea rose) too.

Glasshouse’s new fragrance ‘Sassafras’. So sweet!

 

2. Good sheets. I was a late-comer to the joy of 1000 thread count sheets. I haven’t quite made it to the Moss River stage of manchester obsession, but it can’t be long. Good sheets make slipping into bed a whole-body moment of ‘ahhhh’. They keep you warm without sweating, and cool without shivering. I have had good luck with the Mercer & Reid range (the stripe sateen – make smaking the bed much easier when you have vertical striped to follow)! and Adairs often has sheet sets at 50% off.

3. Good towels. Growing up, towels were a major point of conflict with my mum. She is of the make-do and mend mindset, while I am of the ‘if I remember towels from my childhood that you are still using and I am almost 32, you should buy new ones’ mindset. One of the first things I did when moving out was to buy bath sheets – not towels – and as that starter-set wore thin, I replaced them with the Sheridan Trenton range. This isn’t the best of their range, but I am sucker for a big fluffy towel and these ones do the trick. I have to admit I’ve spoiled the pristine look of more than I’d like of them with benzoyl peroxide, but for skinfeel they are still going strong.

Sheridan Trenton. Perfect for being enveloped post-steaming hot shower.

 

4. A good bed. Once upon a time there was a princess who lived alone in her castle with only one puppy and two kittens for company. Her double-sized bed was sufficient for the four of them, but alas her mattress was the cheapest she could find on her return from foreign lands many years before, when the lifestyle and income of a student obliged her to be as thrifty as a churchmouse. One day the princess was joined by a charming prince, and suddenly the double bed was just too small, and just too hard, and the charming prince even preferred his terrible futon to the princess’ bed. And she couldn’t blame him.

And the princess chose to upgrade not just to a queen size, but a king size, so she would never have to regret not going bigger (although she now wonders what a Super King would be like). The princess also chose a latex mattress and the moment that she first lay down on it, she fell in love. In fact, when the prince and princess were looking at buying their next castle, some castles were rejected solely on the basis that the master bedroom was too small to accommodate the king sized bed, and they had vowed to never give it up, no where, no how, no way.

And when the prince and princess were joined by another puppy, and then by a little baby, they were very glad that they had a big comfortable bed for everyone.

And they all slept happily ever after. The End.

(I got my mattress from here and it was about half the price of what I was quoted at a chain store, and it is truly wonderful)

 

5. Homewares. I take great joy in a series of lovely photo frames and homewares. I just do.

Favourite frames are:

Vera Wang for Wedgwood ‘Chime’. Love the grosgrain edging.

Vera Wang for Wedgwood ‘Chime’ set of three in different sizes – I have my favourite wedding photos in these. I bought one, my bridesmaids gave me another, and my sister presented me with the final of the set on my wedding night, just from her.

Waterford ‘Kilbarry’.

I have most of my photos in various sizes of Waterford ‘ Kilbarry’, They are simple, classic but modern, elegant. Sadly I can’t find them on the Peter’s of Kensington site any more, which is a shame because they were most reasonably priced.

Royal Doulton ‘Radiance’. Also useful as an ad hoc weapon.

Royal Doulton Radiance bevelled frame – nothing like some sharply edged crystal. Not to be dropped on naked toes.

Favourite items are both wedding gifts from very dear people, so it’s not just the beauty and generosity of the gift but knowing the truly special people who gave it to us that makes me all warm and happy whenever I see them:

Georg Jensen polished steel pitcher.

 

Georg Jensen ‘Cobra’ candlesticks. Sinuous.

But … have you seen this. Pure silver. The form, the fluidity … the price!!!!! Just $54,000 will have this beauty on your buffet.

Georg Jensen Koppel Collection silver pitcher.

 

6. Sweet indulgences.Koko Black dark choc with coco nibs and caramelised hazelnuts. Don’t think this one needs any more explanation.

 

Koko Black. Don’t search google but forget the second ‘o’ like I did. Especially not at work.

 

(This one has no caramelised hazelnuts. I highly recommend them).

I am more of a sweet-tooth while pregnant than ever before, and I take great and over-proportionate pleasure in a nightly one of these:

 

7. Fruit. Chilled Fuji apples. Pre-Bunny, I wasn’t much of a fruit eater. Apples gave me a stomach-ache and made me hungrier, but now I can’t get enough. Crisp, sweet, firm. They must be chilled, mind.

Crunch.

 

8. Flowers. There’s something about fresh flowers. Maybe it’s having made a bit of extra effort, or maybe it’s just the general wellbeing that comes from having living things in a home (admittedly flowers aren’t exactly alive). I try not to spend much money as buying flowers is a weekly luxury, so I particularly love long-lasting bunches of vibrant proteas. I’ve found it harder to find proper places for flowers in the new house as there are fewer obvious spots than before, but I suppose that’s half the challenge.

South African proteas – but they look so Australian that they are usually included in bunche o f native flowers.

I would love to get more of these incredible giant proteas too – the soft pinky-greyness and the oversized scale intrigues me.

Giant proteas.

 

9. Massage. Pre-pregnancy, a quick massage from one of those walk in places would suffice, particularly Vigorous Thai massage in Bourke St which is far less brothel-y than it sounds. Iam of the school that if it isn’t hurting, then I’m not benefitting, so firm pressure and attention to knots is a must.

Now, however, I feel that the lack of wine and gin in my life means that I deserve a proper massage, and on the recommendation of a friend I have been visiting the most wonderful masseuse/physical therapist who I just love and no I won’t share her name in case you take all my appointments. She finds the most satisfyingly painful pressure points and I walk taller and more easily after every visit.

 

10. Finally, the cheapest and most lovely luxury of all – a clean and tidy house. Costs nothing but time and effort, but brings calm, relaxation and satisfaction.