Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweet Chilli Crime

In my travels around the supermarkets and cafes of Sydney this year I have noticed a disturbing trend. Sweet Chilli sauce..that perennial fave sauce hailing from Thailand is starting to pop up everywhere and in some very disturbing guises.

Once upon a time sweet chilli sauce lived in its natural habitat - in bottles on the tables of thai restaurants or nestled in a pot next to some curry puffs or spring rolls. As time went on and Aussies discovered the delights of sweet chilli some bright spark discovered that it also tasted very nice with potato wedges and a bit of sour cream....these early days back in the late 90's were the golden years.

A little bit of experimentation can be a good thing and a little bit of something tasty is also good but just because something tastes nice doesn't mean that it needs to go everywhere. In 2007 things seemed to have gotten waaay waaay out of control in my opinion and many a sweet chilli crime has been comitted. The list of horrors I have compiled in my travels is very long and far too distressing for public consumption but here are just a few of the crimes I've witnessed recently:

Sweet chilli foccacia
felefal, hommus and sweet chilli sauce kebabs
Sweet chilli and vege pasta
And my personal favourite: sweet chilli dolmades - a true nasty crossing of the cultures where salty vinegary savoury greek meets sticky sweet thai, what an international stomach turner. I've now got my eyes peeled for sweet chilli gelato - surely it can't be far away.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Death to vanity

Ed and I went out for the first time since Ivy's arrival on Sat night, well out at night I mean, and together...for the first time. (Don't want to sound like some weird person who's been in the house since the birth..but usually one of us goes out and the other babysits if it's night.) Anyway Ed got invited to a very swish Xmas party in Balmain and I thought bugger it, if I'm not going out at night much these days then this is the night to cash in my babysitting chips with my Mum, get frocked up and head on out to a fully catered, schuzchy, glam event such as this one.

After Ivy was in bed I got dressed, quite normal I can assure you..I don't spend my days naked generally but I felt quite odd as I got my outfit on. It was nothing that special, just an embroidered white top, jeans, earrings, purple suede heels, makeup, perfume....nothing out of the ordinary really but it all felt very strange. After some thought I realised why...

Babies are evil buggers, they can take a perfectly normal, self obsessed, slightly lazy 30-something and turn them into a tired, grotty servant in the blink of an eye. Without even realising it - Ivy has performed the death blow to the last remnants of my vanity.

I was never a real princess type but the other night I realised things have changed in the last 6 months. For starters I never really wear make up anymore - foundation gets smeared off on clothes during cuddles, lipstick is either smeared off by chubby little cheeks or hands or ends up on her forehead from all my kissing. My hair, in fear of being ripped out is usually tied up in a messy ponytail. If it's loose it's not only in danger of being ripped from my head but also of being coated in vomit. I have trouble wearing perfume as it smells so strong when it rubs off on her and she likes to lick and dribble on my neck and wrists...sunscreen and insect repellent - ditto.

When it comes to clothes I have to have a strategy. This usually involves having to wear two tops, both with easy access to the boob region of my bod for feeding (unless I feel like flashing either my gut or my chest when I'm out) dresses are off limits too unless you fancy pulling it right down to feed or up showing everyone your knickers... The clothes I choose must also be good at absorbing stains such as vomit, regugitated carrot and on the occassional horrific moment poo and wee so darker colours like black and grey seem to work - white is a definite no no unless you want to spend even more time in the laundry performing stain removal miracles. Skirts aren't so good for climbing around on the ground when playing with your darling (it's the flashing your knickers dilemma again) and no heels as flat shoes are a must for hoiking a stroller the size of a 4WD around the streets. Oh and just when you've found an outfit that matches this criteria you'd better make sure you have another just like it ready to go as guaranteed the first one will be covered in vomit before you reach the front door.

Once the clothes are sorted it's time for accessories. Namely none. Earrings are pulled out, necklaces become garotting devices, are slobbered on or become vomit catchers that are mighty hard to clean up. Scarves suffer the same fate. My favourite bracelet has been shelved also as it's a solid silver square and tends to stick into little backs and arms which results in screaming. My final resort was rings, which I thought would be completely baby proof. Wrong again as it seems that 6 months of endless stain removal experiements and laundry chores have meant constantly wet hands which means dermatitis on my fingers - so the rings are off now keeping the rest of the jewellery company in my cupboard.

So here I am, the real me, stripped of all my smoke and mirrors by my little darling. It's not glam but I've got used to it and on the bright side I'm pretty quick at getting ready these days. But I must say again that babies are evil buggers. As nowadays I can't spend anytime making myself look good, I find myself having to channel my asthetic energies somewhere each morning. So how do I do it? By dressing her in the cutest things I can find - and somehow babies can still look cute even when they've just vomited. Evil.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mobiles, mobiles everywhere

So after a few fits and starts my beloved mobile, a second hand Nokia, purchased in Bangkok after probably being stolen, or traded in by some young fashion conscious thai chick who needed a smaller, better phone...anyway I'm getting carried a nutshell my beloved phone, after a few feeble bleets shuffled off this mortal coil a week or so ago.

I knew the writing was on the wall and quickly arranged to buy a replacement on ebay some weeks ago. Said new mobile arrived by courier and after much excitement I discovered it to be a bit of a lemon - bad sound, nasty to operate..not my bag at all. I contacted the vendor and arranged to send it back for a replacement, they said no worries. I trot off the Australia Post, pay for a pricey express post envelope and send it off.....then........nuthin.

It seems that good old Australia post have lost the bloody thing. So as it last stands I still have no mobile, am out of pocket 130 bucks and someone out there has nicked my new lemon of a phone.

Unhappy but undeterred I decide to buy a phone from a shop instead. This is where I discover that buying a new mobile is easier said than done. I go to Kmart - 'hi I just want to buy a replacement phone, I don't want a contract, I don't want to switch to vodaphone blah blah can I just have that one?' spotty young sales guy shakes his head. "Oh, to have that phone you would have to switch to Telstra, pay an unlocking fee, commit to a monthly spend but then you could cancel the contract but there would probably be a cancellation fee.." what the??? I then ask which phone out of the rows of shiny phones sitting there would be available without all the palaver and he shakes his head..I would have to go on a contract.

I head to Dick Smith, there out of all the sexy shiny phones in the display cabinet I am told I can have one dodgy looking Nokia without committing to some kind of dodgy contract. When I ask to have a look at the phone (that they want to charge me 150 bucks for) this particular spotty teenager says "nah, we're not allowed to open the can just look at the picture." Gee thanks spot boy, great customer service. I walk out in a huff.

On my way downstairs I pass a shiny shop front bursting with mobile phones and then notice the Vodaphone sign above the door, I then walk past a stand set up near the escalators piled high with mobiles and then discover it's for Telstra only. Finally I check the shopping centre directory which shows a shop called "All Phones" - surely they must stock, errrr, all phones for all the carriers..

I arrive at All phones to be greeted by a spotty boy who then puts me in the hands of a smirky looking 20 something girl. As soon as I utter the fatal words...'no I don't want to go on a contract I just want to buy a phone' she throws me a look of distain and points to a single box containing a crappy looking Nokia. That's it? Out of the whole shop that's all that's available to me? I look closer.....'is that phone hot pink?' I ask...'yeah' she says. I say I don't want a hot pink phone, she then reluctantly rummages around and finds a black version. I then ask what would happen if I agreed to buy the hot pink or black phone and then decide I don't like it - could I exchange it? "no" was her bored answer. I retreat to the mall via a pitstop at Donut King to ease the pain.

So here I am.....24 hours later still with no phone and everywhere shiny mobile phone shops seem to be taunting me..even at frickin Australia Post, where all my troubles began you can buy mobile phones so why is it just so tricky to JUST BUY A PHONE.

I'm now cruising ebay again, ordering yet another phone and just praying this one arrives safe and sound. Otherwise I'm heading back to Bangkok.