Archive | November, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby

28 Nov

The mercury is rising and that familiar sweaty, squinty, sticky look that is reserved for the summer months is back with a vengeance. There are lots of ways to keep cool this summer, Europeans for example like to wear no clothes, but for the less adventurous it’s the perfect time to indulge you and your family in some ice cool goodness and I am not talking beer flavoured slurpees. Without further ado here are three fantastic recipes that I often turn to for instant relief on those hot days. They are all very easy to make, child friendly and cheap -win, win, win! Due to the amount of sucking, slurping and licking of fingers that these recipes will require I am going to ask that you read them in the style of that sultry temptress or pain in the arse, you decide, Nigella Lawson.

Banana Choc Thick Shake

Three ingredients is all you need for this one folks! 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1 frozen banana and 350 mls of milk. I discovered this recipe when I had a glut of bananas that were more brown than yellow. I peeled them, broke them into pieces and stored them in a bag in the freezer, I think I was just hiding them to be honest. I blitzed one up in a blender with some milk and I was transported to American diner thick shake heaven! There must be something scientific going on and I can’t actually be bothered to check what it might be BUT the freezing process makes the shake very thick and very creamy. As a self confessed Chocaholic I naturally add cocoa powder and it pays off in a big way. I sometimes tweak it with a little cinnamon or honey but its all about the freezing! Add a straw and suck like you know Nigella would. Max often has it for desert and its my go to breakfast on the go.

Mint and Lemon Iced Tea
After getting sucked into Melbourne’s coffee habit I have been dabbling in a bit of tea of late and very nice it is too. Tea and sweat don’t go we’ll together though so I came up with this recipe to cool the whole situation down and Max loves it! Brew some mint tea (enough for a jug), add fresh mint if you have any kicking around, add a chopped lemon and honey to taste  - I like to get a real hit of citrus in mine. Leave the whole concoction to get to know each other and then strain it into glasses, add enough ice to give you brain freeze and slurp like Nigella. If your little’un is having trouble sleeping whack some camomile tea in their too, put it in their pre-bed bottle and bam! Other worthy ingredients include, orange, apple juice and ginger.
Fruit Icy Pole
Nothing particularly novel about this one, but again it’s quick, cheap and healthy so it’s worthy of a shout. If I have time I like to go to the market and stock up on juicy fruit but alternatively you can just buy a good juice and that works just aswell. Flavour combos I keep coming back to are apple, mint and ginger or pear, apple and lime. But its all down to what works for you and yours and having a little bit of experimentation with the kids, before you know it your engaged in wholesome Nigella-like bonding with your children, I’m sure she’s not like that off camera! Pour the juice into the moulds (you can pick them up in £2 Shops or cooking stores if your rich) and place in the freezer. Don’t fall into the trap of watering them down, more science at play here, it seems to crystalize the lollies and they become brittle. Max loses his shit now when I go anywhere near the freezer. 
There you have it folks three easy peasy recipes guaranteed to put the chill in your children this summer.

Let’s Talk About Sex (Post) Baby

27 Nov

You can’t really claim to be a bona fide blogger, until you write a post embarrassing enough for the next conversation you have with your mum to be a little awkward. So here goes. For reasons unbeknownst to me I feel compelled to go into the deep and murky waters of SEX post-baby.  I suspect that mums are far more likely to discuss this topic than Dads, we mainly discuss sport, beer and the weather you see, so in the spirit of sharing I think it’s only fair you have a dad’s perspective.

Sex pre-Max was a little like good beer, it was on tap and it put a smile on my face. Whilst watching on with morbid curiosity as Mrs Under’s nipple was rhythmically thrust back and forth through a pump, I wondered if sex would ever occur again. Breast pumps have all the aphrodisiac potential of a hairy man in a thong…………..or so I am told anyhow.

There is no shortage of contraceptive symptoms for life post baby. There is the fact that you have recently witnessed a blue creature emerge from a place that is normally reserved for the two of you. Watching Mrs Under give birth combined an overwhelming sense of joy and beauty with an overwhelming desire to look away and/or faint.

Once mother and child are safely home the chances of any amorous behaviour is curtailed by the fact that everyone is asleep, exhausted or in tears. Throw in a ready supply of baby sick, the afore mentioned pump that reduced Mrs Under to a dairy cow, a wife coming to terms with some bodily adjustments, a mysterious little person I don’t really know sharing our bedroom and a husband trying to come to terms with all of the above and you do not have the makings of a passionate encounter.

On those tough parent days, you know the ones I mean,  we both look at one another and without saying anything acknowledge that it was sex that got us into this mess in the first place and should therefore be regarded a s the enemy. Even the simple pleasure of holding hands has its challenges, one of you is generally laden with nappies and other baby paraphernalia whilst the other is pushing a pram, two handed jobs if ever there were.

Time is a wonderful healer though and like a long lost pet you once loved (another really awful analogy) the sex has returned – hoorah! The act of foreplay is now checking and double checking that Max is asleep and it’s every bit as satisfying to find out that he is. No longer like a good beer sex now bares comparison to a fine wine, getting better with age and reserved for special occasions.

I am off to seek Mrs Under’s approval for this post, what you read will have had 50 Shades of Censorship for anything divorce worthy. I suspect that this is all a little tame for the subject matter and for that I apologise, but I am a man and I did try, so I deserve points for that surely? I look forward to that awkward conversation with my Mum.

Virtual Babies

22 Nov

Raising Max without the love and support of our family has not been easy. There are the practical challenges of not being able to call up the grandparents to grant us a much needed parental time out and we’ve had to learn things on the job so to speak rather than benefit from the wise words of those who have been there and done that. But far more gut wrenching than that is that we know they are missing out on Max growing up and Max misses out on their wrinkly smiles.

Max is a virtual baby growing up in front of their eyes on a computer screen. They see him smile, laugh and cry, but miss the small habits and behaviours that he shares only with us and make him Max. He recognises the Skype ringtone and comes bounding into the room to see who it is who wants to see him point, dance, wave and peek-a-boo for their amusement. It’s fair to say Max has gone viral, like the cat that plays the keyboard. I made the mistake of Skyping my parents recently without Max, thinking it would be nice to have a little catch up minus the main attraction, and was politely but promptly asked to beckon the boy. 

Max is now so familiar with the virtual wrinklies that he will say “nanna” and point at the computer screen, this habit is equal parts adorable and heart breaking. To their credit the grandparents are doing what grandparents should and spoiling him at every opportunity, he receives brown packages at regular intervals (and they don’t smell like his brown packages), I’m sure the postman suspects we are running an elaborate drugs cartel, chock full of toys, books and clothes.

We braved the 30 hour flights to Good Ol Blighty in the early days when Max was 6 months and was largely mute and immobile, he is neither now. What was meant to be a beautiful moment at the airport when my Dad (who has opted for the unconventional title of G-Paps) was handed Max for the first time was ruined by Max howling like a hostage. We had 4 weeks with our families and it was such a welcome novelty to hand him over to someone else, pour a stiff gin and tonic, sit back and enjoy watching on as everyone got acquainted.

One of the few positives to come out of the situation is knowing that we have shaped this amazing little boy, just the two of us all on our own, and that makes us immensely proud. From a personal point of view I have dodged any well intentioned tutorials on nappy changing or bath time, I’m a graduate of the school of stubborn and like to make my own mistakes, and as you’ve probably noticed I’ve made a few.

The Mother-in-Law is making the long journey next month and it will be fantastic to see the two of them enjoying one another’s company. I’m sure when it comes time to saying goodbye again we will be left asking “why does Australia have to be so far from everywhere else?” After all I have firsthand experience of how special the relationship with grandparents can be.  

Is an Occasional Massage Too Much to Ask For?

20 Nov

At around 5pm regular as clockwork Monday to Friday, both myself and The Boy start to count down to Mum’s grand return. Max will sink deep into a trance-like state repeating the mantra ”Mummy, Mummy, Mummy” over and over again, ungrateful little so and so. I begin checking my watch, initially with a casual glance but soon building up to something more desperate with frenzied looks every two minutes. Max looks forward to a hug, a kiss and a cuddle and I look forward to throwing Max at Mrs Under, slumping into the sofa and closing my eyes for five minutes or as long as I can get away with.

Mrs Under must feel very special indeed with both her boys barely able contain their excitement on seeing her. As a stay at home parent I seem to pace my day to Mrs Under’s return, giving all the energy and love I can muster up until I can take off my attentive father hat and put on my lazy husband hat. The worst phone call I can receive is Mrs Under calling at 5:30pm to say that she has to work late – “but Mrs Under” I begin to remonstrate “I have spent nearly all my energy and love in anticipation of you walking through the door any minute now, I couldn’t possibly love and care for another whole hour!” Turns out I normally can, but it’s begrudging, through gritted teeth, slightly forced, feeling ripped off love.

This is normally the perfect opportunity for Mrs Under to remind me of the phone calls she used to receive from me when she stayed at home. I was not pleading my case to work late; I was issuing my right to go for a well earned post work beer. “Mrs Under” I would say in a slightly patronising voice “I have had a very tough day in the office doing whatever it is that I do. You on the other hand have had a blissfully relaxing day with Max, no doubt cafes, shopping and parks all played a prominent part”. I even once had the audacity to suggest that I should be allowed five minutes when I got back from work just to gather my thoughts before I had to engage in any fatherly duties.

I think it took all of one day in full charge of the Max situation for me to reform my ways, give Mrs Under a big kiss, make my apologies and realise what most men don’t ever get to realise – being a stay at home parent is damned hard work!  Of course I helped out but perhaps I could have helped out more. Of course I was sympathetic but not sympathetic enough. Of course I tried to empathise but I could have empathised further.

Being able to share Max’s upbringing has not only led to a deeper bond with The Boy it has also fostered a profound understanding for what Mrs Under went through and has cemented us as a couple. We have a mutual understanding and respect for what each other does. I understand what it’s like to close the door on a child that desperately does not want me to leave only to have to go to a job I desperately don’t want to go to. Mrs Under understands that sometimes a day with Max can all be too much. We both understand that post work drinks are a rare treat issued at the discretion of the other, rather than a right.

So a message to all the men and women out there who have not been fortunate to ride the stay at home journey, a little more empathy, a little more sympathy and a little more help would go a long way. And for goodness sake is an occasional massage too much to ask for?

Taking the Me Out of Meat

18 Nov

Whilst I continue to wait patiently for something to happen in my veggie plot, zucchinis, capsicum, eggplant, cucumber, tomato, basil, rocket and chilli’s are all in a happy place, I thought I would try to explain or perhaps justify my reasons for saying yes to no meat. I am only about three months into my new life as a vegetarian but I know this man’s not for turning.

Even the word vegetarian comes with preconceptions. When you close your eyes and try to conjure up a vision of what a vegetarian looks like it’s hard to shake the image of a slightly out there, alternative hippy type pedalling notions of free love and peace on earth. I don’t tend to pedal that, although it would be quite nice, I have never owned a dreadlock, my fire throwing is appalling, tie dye is not part of my wardrobe and I don’t have a sidekick dog.

When I tell people I have kicked the carnivore I am faced with a look of utter shock bordering on dismay. Indeed when Mrs Under told her Mum, a traditionalist it’s fair to say, her reaction was, “oh Anna why have you done that” it was as if she had just confessed to torturing a puppy or some other heinous crime. The other reaction might be, “I just couldn’t live without bacon”. I myself have spent 33 years convincing myself that meat is the best thing since sliced bread, so to speak. But it hasn’t been difficult at all, you adjust your mindset, ignore your prejudices and it all just happens. Like smokers trying to kick their habit, the veggie curious will put preventative bacon flavoured barriers in place.

All the way up until my last days as a meat eater I tried to buy free range and organic but it was just too expensive. The money I now save on expensive meats goes towards buying extra good oils, cheeses, breads, cereals, etc, the gourmet shit.

It’s amazing how quickly my relationship with meat has changed. Even the word ‘meat’ sounds a little more barbaric than it used to, I have to hold my breath when we walk through the butchers section at the market and I don’t have to question what sort of life the zucchini I am chomping on led before it met my mouth – I grew it!  

It has reinvigorated my love for cooking, it was previously too easy to throw some meat at the situation with a little token veg to score some health points. Since my conversion I have to try much harder, I love food and would not settle for simply eating nut loaf night after night, who would, so I have needed to be more adventurous and more creative. I am certainly eating a higher quality of food than I was in the meat years.

I am eating healthier than ever before, one of the reasons I converted is because I kept hearing that the diet leaves you feeling more energised. My body no longer has to break down the porterhouse steaks that I used to inhale in seconds.  Cheeses, herbs, spices, dressings, vegetables, pastas, breads, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, beans, pulses, grains, oils are all stepping up and vying for attention on my plate. Rather than having a central meaty focus my meals tend to be a smorgasbord of bits and pieces. After realising my jeans were starting to feel a little loose around the waist it’s easy to justify a glass or two of wine, some fairly extravagant deserts and not to mention second helpings at mealtimes. Fattening up is a new experience and I’m quite enjoying it.

Looking for fresh inspiration to make the journey smoother and more enjoyable I wanted a veggie bible to show me the light. After a lot of research, I get quite anal when it comes to research I usually research to the point of mental breakdown, I purchased Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s “River Cottage Veg Everyday”. Yes that is the bloke who took great delight in cooking up and gobbling down placenta. It is however a fantastic book and I would recommend it to veggie and carnivore alike.  Rather than trying to conjure up dishes that desperately try to replace meat, the book asks that you ignore it all together and focus on how great vegetables are.

If any of this came across as preachy that was not my intention, these are my reasons and I couldn’t give a burger what you do. I still buy and prepare meaty meals for Max (remembering that I am no longer allowed to lick my sausagey fingers), he can make that choice himself one day. I feel it will become a choice that more and more people are going to make and okay Australia might be a fairly hard nut to crack. I look back and wonder why on earth it took me so long to switch allegiances.  Now if you’ll all excuse me I am off to activate Pete Evans almonds.

Blogger Children

17 Nov

Blogger children have evolved from regular children and are a relatively new breed. The first Blogger Children were sighted in the late 80’s, they are now globally rampant and threatening to displace regular children.

Blogger children are more independent than regular children, they have to be, they are forced to fend for themselves for large periods of the day whilst their parent fannies around with Instagram and Pinterest. They are largely starved of attention and are forced to delve into their vivid imaginations, often inventing games that last for hours on end armed with nothing more than an i-Pad. Mimicking behaviour sees blogger children show unhealthy levels of fascination in phones, laptops and computers, in fact anything with lights and buttons.

Their habitat is usually a little dishevelled and there is a good reason for this, whilst regular parents spend their days ensuring that their nests are kept clean and tidy, the Blogger Parent is too busy ‘networking’ to give a damn about the hoovering or emptying the dishwasher.

Whilst regular children enjoy a healthy and nutritious diet lovingly prepared by their regular parents, the Blogger Parent is known for their habit of making half arsed sandwiches or special toast sandwiches. Having frittered away three hours of Blogger Child sleep time in a flurry of Facebook Status Updates, the Blogger Parent is left in a state of panic and putting something between two slices of bread is usually the best they do.

Blogger Children grow up with a sense of self importance and often see themselves as Alpha children, they habitually mock Regular Children pointing out that they are not worthy of a website entirely in their honour.

Blogger Children are social creatures, this is a survival technique, unlike regular children who spend their days at parks and the beach, Blogger Children spend an exorbitant amount of their time at ‘events’. Blogger Children can show signs of anger at said events, doing their best to accommodate PR interns who have been promoted to Blogger Child minders for the day. Their mood lifts a little as they forage for items of interest in the ubiquitous goodie bag.

The vocabulary of a Blogger Child also separates them from their regular peers. Whilst mumma and dadda seems to be high up on the regular child’s speaking agenda, Blogger Children are more likely to say widget or gone viral.

It is uncertain whether Blogger Children will continue to thrive, but it seems the global thirst for cupcake recipes and tips on toilet training will see them reach endemic proportions. If you want to see one in the wild head to your nearest cafe that offers free wi-fi. Do not pet them, feed them or even have eye contact with them, they are wild animals.

Hunting in Packs

14 Nov

Today I was sat with Max in a cafe, we have taken to bringing crayons along and he now happily sits on a stool and draws pictures. He will scribble away and then point at the resulting chaos and say “car”, he will point at the most frenzied scrawl and say “wheel” and then scan for the most circular scribble and make a steering gesture. I do what any parent would do and pat him on the head in congratulations of his fine work. He will then start eating the crayons and art class is over.

When I’m not critiquing Max’s artwork I tend to listen to the conversations that are taking place around me. I listened to the cyclists, you can’t not hear the cyclists they seem to talk louder than is required, get overexcited about their respective bikes – it was like a conversation with Max I understood the odd word here and there but most of it was technical bike gibberish.  I listened to the couple who only seem to disagree on things, I listen to them most days and they are yet to find common ground on anything. I listen to the girl on her I-phone strategising her night out, from outfit to venue and back to outfit.

The real action was going on at the table next to us, three mums were deep in chatter about a fourth Mum. It started off fairly tamely, with one mum explaining why their usual quartet was reduced to a trio, number 4 was meeting up with other friends that day. Boring I thought to myself, but probably more potential than the cyclists indulging in bike porn, the couple that shouldn’t be and the girl with a fabulous new dress.

My ears pricked up when one of the mums began to question Absent Mum’s decision to return to work and call on childcare. I discretely drop Max’s crayon and shuffle my little stool across to be closer to the action, blame Mrs Under she has taught me all I know about earwigging. With first blood drawn, the 2 listening Mums, smelt blood and sensed it was time to move in for the kill. Poor Absent Mum was stripped bare and left for dead as the trio set about questioning, mocking and generally attacking a series of Absent Mum’s parenting choices – her choice to still breastfeed and her decision to let Absent Child cry it out. Things then took a more unpleasant and vicious tone as her wardrobe was ridiculed (not the piece of furniture but its contents), her age was brought into question and even poor Absent Husband found himself in the firing line, apparently he doesn’t earn what he should. It was along and drawn out affair that required me to order another soy latte.

I recently opened an unintentional can of worms on my Facebook site by asking Mums for their thoughts on mothers groups and some of the lively debates that are prevalent. I was shocked by the response and received more comments than I have received for any other update I have posted and the comments were bristling with emotion. There was a real mixture of positive feedback about Mother’s Groups and some negative stating all manner of potential flair ups. It seems to be ingrained in the human psyche to analyse and criticise things that are done differently to our own.

In the early days before I found me some parent buddies to call my own, I found staying at home with Max to be isolating and lonely, but I would take isolating and lonely over what I overheard this morning. I love that me and Max have largely got acquainted without unwanted outside interference or judgement. Perhaps I still crop up in some bitching circles for letting Mrs Under go to work whilst me and Max have a grand old time getting up to all manner of mischief, but on the whole I’ve been allowed to make my own parenting decisions without prejudice. Every parent has the right to decide what is best for their child, that’s sort of our job, and to have something so personal and important torn apart by others must be humiliating and belittling. I have lots of my own ways to humiliate and belittle myself and don’t need any outside help!

Flogging my blog with Grace at With Some Grace

My Dad

11 Nov

I asked my Dad if he would write a few memories of his childhood. The idea was that I would then compare it with mine and Max’s to show how radically attitudes towards parenting have changed through the years. But when I read it I liked it just the way it was and didn’t really want to change anything. So here it is, my brilliant Dad, Christopher Michael Ross, who I miss so very much, picking out bits and pieces from his childhood.

I was born in 1950 and England is still recovering from WW2.

My earliest memory was being wrapped up tightly in blankets and put in a large pram for long afternoons of sleep!

I was one of 6 children

Dad was a major in the Royal Marines, strict at times but I loved him dearly. He was warm and tactile. Up on his shoulders, thrown into the air always trusting his catching skills.

I remember the words “a damn good larruping” which were usually directed at my elder brothers. I don’t remember getting more than a smack on the bum!

Most of my clothes were too small for Nigel or Jamie so I usually finished them off!

I was 3rd to get the water in our old tin bath in front of the fire! I loved my father drying me “in the nooks and crannies” after my bath then lots of nursery rhymes and songs.

We took a candle up the stairs to bed.

I had a large red wooden train that I enjoyed sitting astride and pushing myself down the sloped drive. We also had the morning ritual of pushing dad’s old Austin 4 down the same!

Dad once built a little fire place in the garden out of loose bricks he put a grate in and then let me screw newspaper up and put on the kindling but best of all he let me light the fire!

My mum preferred the hairbrush as her weapon of punishment, to help her control 6 strong willed kids.

Mum was a master when it came to feeding us, lots of dishes to fill us up. Milk puddings, junket, bread pudding, tapioca and one of her favourites was Pobbies (really just bread cubes, hot milk and sugar). She chose this name wisely as we thought it was special!

Savoury examples included brawn; we got to watch the pigs head bubbling away for hours on the stove and also endure the smell. Stews and soups to use up odds and ends. Cheese sauce on toast or cold cheese sauce on bread. Tea was often sandwiches and if we were lucky a piece of cake or cold bread pudding. We had daily doses of cod liver oil (vile). Treats included packs of sweet cigarettes, 4 blackjack toffees for a penny, crisps with a blue paper twist of salt and if back late a bag of winkles and a pin!

We had a dog called Mac who we took for walks to a pond we called” lilly of the valley”. We threw stones in and he would dive down and always appear with the stone in his mouth. Mac was attacked and killed by farm dogs , I remember sitting with him and hugging him, he was dead the next day. I recall a fox hunt ending near the house and the tail being hacked off and red coated toffs daubing themselves with blood, some things never change!

We would walk 3 miles to school and back every day and that was at 5yrs old!

My father died in 1957 and as a 7 yr. old I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again!

I dearly love my family and my handsome wee grandson. I am also proud of my son and his lovely wife Anna, little Max is in safe hands.

For more on my Dad and his eccentric parenting ways check out an earlier post I wrote, back when I was a young scamp of a Blogger, where I looked back on my own upbringing. As a parent I often refer back to it and ask what would Dad have done?http://daddownunder.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/chip-off-the-old-block/

9/10

10 Nov

My Dad is a bit like a big kid. He insists on coming down the slide with me each and every time even though I am perfectly capable of executing a tummy slide all on my own. The other day he tried to dismount a swing whilst it was moving, I think he was trying to show off to the Mums, he does that a lot, it backfired massively and he sort of crumbled into a heap. Being Dad he tried to make it look like he did it on purpose but I can assure you he didn’t, he can be so embarrassing at times. We go everywhere together, most of my friends find it a bit odd that I hang out with Dad so much but I like it. He doesn’t fuss over me quite as much as Mum and sometimes he gives me a pathetic little slap on the wrist if I push his buttons, not enough to hurt but just enough for me to pull my neck in.

He does things that would make my Mummy’s blood boil, but he mostly waits until she has gone to work. He never puts a bib on me, regularly lets me eat with my hands and no matter how many times I make him regret it he often lets me run around nappy-less, the fool! He spends far too much time on the bloody computer though, I have no idea what he’s up to but judging by the withering looks Mum gives him it’s no good. I‘m sure one day he will have the cheek to tell me to get off the computer and go outside, I will simply tell him to “go swivel”

He likes to think he’s in charge but I have worked out that if I kick and scream enough (usually about 5 minutes) he lets me get away with all sorts of criminal activity. He does seem to be wising up to that of late, but I’ll keep moving the goalposts day in day out just to fuck with his head.

Meal times are a real hoot, the more effort I see him putting into the nom nom the more I like to throw it back in his face, literally and metaphorically. All of my friends get their food from the supermarket, their food is all shiny and new, my Dad insists on pulling ours from the mud and then putting it in my mouth. I am hoping this is something I am too young to understand rather than child abuse.

Of late, my Dad has taken the extraordinary step of asking me what I want to wear, I’m not even 2 for God sakes! I will continue to insist on Wellies and a cape until he stops asking me, what a Wally! I have a multitude of cars and lorries and trucks, and take great pride in lining them up in order of awesomeness. I was quite happy with one to be fair but as long as he’s buying I’m accepting. He reads to me every night, every time he thinks he’s finished I just go and grab another one, I don’t even listen to the stories I just nod and look interested, sometimes I have been known to go to bed 30 minutes late using this ploy.

I do miss my Mummy and it is quite hard watching her pedal off every morning to this place she calls work, she had better have a damned good reason for going to work! I imagine work is the most fun place in the world, better even than the park, it’s got to be for her to go every day?

Life is good for me, I certainly can’t complain. Contrary to what my daddy thinks I’m pretty much running the show, talk about blind leading the blind! One thing there is no shortage of is hugs, smiles and kisses, as much as I try and wriggle out of every embrace it does make me feel warm and fuzzy inside and they seem to like it too. I seem to be quite a well adjusted little boy, there are some real terrors at the park, you have to keep your wits about you it’s like a jungle out there. Overall I would give Daddy a 9/10, he needs to deal with his computer addiction and get out more, other than that I would tell him to hold his line he’s doing alright.

Mental As Anything

7 Nov

As I write this my belly is in a happy place, my soul is feeling cleansed and my wallet is intact, these three things very rarely happen simultaneously and no I have not just been for a bite with my homeboys Jesus and Pope. I have just returned from an excellent family brekkie outing to Lentil as Anything @ The Convent, Abbotsford. One of a growing number of ethical eateries in Melbourne, Lentil as it’s affectionately known, has a revolutionary philosophy all of its own and we will get onto that later.

The Convent and its immediate locale is my top pick for a relaxed family outing in Melbs. The combination of good and interesting food, open spaces, relaxed vibes, ethical stand point and the piece de resistance of a petting farm to walk off any excess gluttony is hard to beat (did I also mention the Boiler Room Bar has a great range of craft beer?) We tend to rock up on a Sunday morning strap Max into his bike seat and take an ambling ride along the Yarra, back to Lentil to refuel on ethnic and ethical nom nom’s and then finish The Boy off with some bovine offerings (for petting not eating) at Collingwood Children’s Farm.

There is no shortage of purveyors of quality brekkie in Melbourne but Lentil has quite a few pleasing Unique Selling Points. My go to dish is the Sri Lankan Farmers Brekkie, a crispy sweet potato crepe filled with spiced potato, a mint raita and tomato chutney. Could I just say that if this is standard fare for Sri Lankan farmers then I am off to get my combine on in Colombo. Mrs Under is partial to the spiced beans with semolina corn cakes and tomato chutney. Max meanwhile is in foodie heaven with THE fluffiest buckwheat pancakes, doused in maple syrup, natural yoghurt and fresh fruit. Mrs Under always tries to order a child’s portion for Max and I always have to deliver a well placed kick in the shins to ensure I get a bit of fluffy action too. I love the novelty of having a slightly unconventional breakfast rather than the usual egg, avocado, smoked salmon, blah, blah, blah, don’t get me wrong they have their place too but a change of scenery is nice too.

Unique selling point number two is the philosophy. This can be a little harder to get your head around. At its core the Lentil model is based around trust, respect and generosity, Ronald would never dream of putting an unhealthy Mc in front of any of these words. The restaurant asks that customers pay what they can afford and what they feel the meal is worth. Imagine not being able to afford the simple pleasure of dining out, Lentil takes that possibility out of the equation for those fortunate enough to be in its vicinity and welcomes one and all. The opportunity to go back for seconds or even thirds without the scrutiny of an over officious waiter also scores highly in my book.

Go there knowing that you will be eating rustic rather than refined fare. Enjoy eating something a little out of your norm. Embrace the pay what you can philosophy and enjoy feeling just a tad morally smug for the rest of the day knowing you’ve got karma points in the bag.

Dad Down Under

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Wearer of Labels: Stay at Home Dad, Blogger, Fitness Junkie, Foodie, Follower of Fashion, Nomad

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Wearer of Labels: Stay at Home Dad, Blogger, Fitness Junkie, Foodie, Follower of Fashion, Nomad

the illiterate infant

An Aussie Daddy blogger that's figured out the kids haven't read the books either

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