Thursday, October 31, 2013

Arts Centre Backstage Tour

We Know Melbourne recently sent me to review the Backstage Tour at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.

Wanna know how it went? Click here!

You can also follow We Know Melbourne on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Best Toffee Ever

This recipe is my Grandma's.  It is the best toffee you will ever eat, and you probably have the things to make it in your cupboard right now.

You will need:

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of cream
1 dessertspoon of butter
1 dessertspoon of honey
1 Pinch of Cream of Tartar

Put all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the butter melts.  Bring it to the boil and then DO NOT STIR IT ANYMORE.  Seriously, I mean it, do not stir it.  If you do, you will not get toffee at the end, you will get crystallised gunk and that will make you sad.

Turn the heat down so it is simmering rather than boiling and set your timer for 25 minutes.  Go and find something else to do, lest the temptation to stir overwhelms you.

After 25 minutes, fill a mug with cold water and get two teaspoons.  Dip a spoon in the water and then scoop a bit of toffee out of the saucepan.  Quickly drop it into the mug (using the other teaspoon to get it off the first) let it sit in the water for a few seconds and then taste it to see if it is still chewy or it 'cracks'.  If it's still chewy, it needs more cooking.  You will probably need to repeat this step a few times until it's at the crack stage but that's ok, because at this point it is yummy, but not quite perfect.  You may need to change the water in your mug.  This batch today took about 35 minutes in total I think, but it can vary a lot, so start checking it from about 25 minutes.

If you were smarter than me you would probably have a candy thermometer and know what temperature is 'Hard Crack' stage, but this is how my Grandma and my Mum did it and it works for us.

Once it's done, (and be careful because it can go from perfect to burnt quite quickly), remove it from the stove and quickly pour into a non stick tray.  Only pour what comes out of the saucepan naturally, resist the urge to scrape out the toffee, because that is essentially stirring it and will ruin it. However, you can scrape out the rest and put it in your cup of cold water and eat it while you're waiting for the main lot to cool.

Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then mark it into squares by pressing lightly with a blunt knife.  Keep going over your lines until they stay in the toffee, then let it cool completely and break it up.  Store in an airtight container. I'm not sure how long it will keep for because we always eat it in in a few days.

Here are some bad iPhone photos of the process.  Please keep your comments on the cleanliness of my stove to yourself.

You should make it today.  Or sooner!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Bit Lost

Imagine if you had something you really liked, for a really long time, let's say about 8 years, and then you lost it.

Sometimes, you just get used to having something around. And then it goes away for a while. Even though you know it will definitely be back, the time when it is gone is hard, man.

I'm a feeling bit lost and lonely.  But I know this is all for the greater good, so I will soldier on.

With cats. 



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Above The Line

Once upon a time, a fair youngish maiden spent her Saturday working at a polling booth.

Then she died from exhaustion. 

The end. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 21.  Again.

I had a lovely birthday. 

Chyken took me out for dinner and then to see Hot Shoe Shuffle.  The amazing dancing was somewhat ruined by the very ordinary storyline and a few too many Dad jokes.  The set was very kitsch.  Think 1980's.  Think pastels.
At interval Chyken said 'It looks like Daryl Somers has exploded on the stage'. 

We got up from our seats and who do we see sitting RIGHT behind us? 

Yep.  Daryl himself.  Oops!  Although, if he heard us, he didn't seem to care.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hi Kids!

I'd apologise about the lack of bloggy action around here, but I don't really have a valid excuse, I've just been out and about living my life.  I'm sure you know the feeling.  Nothing new to report, except that if you are in Australia and you haven't made plans to see King Kong The Musical then you are bloody mad.  This show is the most amazing thing I have ever seen on a theatre, and I've been going to the theatre for over 25 years.  Seriously, get yourself a ticket.  (not sponsored, I just think it is AWESOME!)

In other news, I recently resigned from my job. I have a new one now, it's early days, but so far so good.  It's much closer to home, so that's a huge bonus!

This is the resignation letter I sent to my boss:

To whom it may concern, 

Please accept my resignation, effective end-of-day Wednesday 17th July, 2013. 

I feel very fortunate to have been associated with your company for the last five years. My experiences and training have been invaluable, and I leave with many pleasant memories.

Yours sincerely,


And this is the letter I wanted to send, but I wimped out didn't:

To whom it may concern, 

Please consider this as my resignation, effective end-of-day Wednesday 17th July, 2013. 

You will recall that during the five years that I have been with your company, I have applied for various promotions. Upon only one occasion, was I successful with a promotion.  For the lengthy period that I was working as a 2IC to one of your Team Leaders, I was not paid for these additional duties, which demonstrates a breach of your responsibility for the financial welfare of employees.  It was during this period that my father suddenly passed away, and I took bereavement leave.  Upon my return, I was demoted from my 2IC position.

I have since moved to another team.  I believe that despite my legitimate absences due to illness recently, I have been taken away from doing off phone ‘admin’ work, which is under-utilising my strengths. This is tantamount to penalising a person for doing too good a job. Clearly, this would mean that I can have no hopes for further promotion in your company.

I believe that there is a significant amount of manipulation by management of employees through duress.  This is evident through my observation of the workplace culture.  Equally, it is my opinion that the complaint structure is not a fair and reasonable protocol which tends to err on a band-aid solution.

I leave your company with many pleasant memories; the experience has been rewarding in many ways. Under the circumstances, however, I’m certain you will fully understand the reasons for my decision.

Yours sincerely,


Monday, May 27, 2013


We went for a drive on the weekend and ended up the area I grew up in. It's a gorgeous part of the world.

For many years they took sand from the creek at the back of our house.  This is a rusty old sand hopper that was left behind.

We went down a lane that ends up in the back of what used to be our family farm.  Another family owns it now.  It was strange, so familiar, and yet different all at the same time.  I met Chyken after my parents sold it, so although we've driven past the house, he's never been right into the paddocks before.

I took this photo of the dam as I got out of the car to open a gate. 

The farm will always be home to me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Things and Stuff

How is it May?  This year is just flying by. 

At the start of April we took a visiting Kiwi on a road trip.  We went to Echuca to see the paddlesteamers, Deniliquin to see a Ute on a Stick and to Beechworth to do a ghost tour of the old lunatic asylum.  There was a bit too much testosterone for my liking at times, but overall we had a great trip.
Port of Echuca


Our accomodation in Beechworth

When we arrived home, I got sick, nothing too terrible, just a nasty chest infection, I will live.  I occasionally got off my sick bed to see some stuff at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  We had to give away some tickets we had pre-booked because we were just too sick, but we did see some of my favourites like Paul McDermott and Cal Wilson.  Also a 'reunion' of the Doug Anthony Allstars.  The highlight for me was Hannah Gadsby, if she comes to a town near you, check her out!

Becuase I've been so sick, I've been watching a lot of bad TV.  The highlight for me lately has been Celebrity Splash.  I love it!  I know it's awful, don't get me wrong, but for me it is lighthearted and shiny fun.  It is the very definition of 'craptastic', and if you've been around these here parts for long you will know that we love ourselves a bit of craptastic fun.  Sometimes I like my TV to make me think, but othertimes I just want to see people do belly flops. 

Also, every episode so far of Celebrity Splash has started with synchronised swimming and that is possibly one of my favourite things in the entire world.  No, seriously, I LOVE it.  When we went to Expo 88 (otherwise known as 'That thing a long way away that cost a fortune where you spent most of your time lining up to see things') they had a synchronised swimming show that I reckon I made my parents sit through at least 6 times.  I loved it.  I like to think I could've been one, but that's not true.  I can barely swim.  And I float too much.  But it doesn't hurt to dream, does it?

I've seen a lot of people bagging out Celebrity Splash and saying it is horrible and should be taken off TV immediately.  I don't think that's very fair.  There are lots of shows on TV that I don't like, for whatever reason, and you know what I do?  I just don't watch them.  I respect that other people enjoy them and I don't demand they be taken off air, I just watch something else.  It's not hard.  Live and let live and all that stuff.

Speaking of TV shows I like.  Why are shows so short these days?  I'm sure years ago that if you made a TV show it was just expected that you would make forty odd episodes whether you liked it or not.   Eight or ten episodes is nowhere near enough of shows like Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and Call the Midwife, I need more! Even Aussie TV shows are shorter.  Rafters and stuff like that only seem to go part of the year.  I don't like it.  Can someone please fix it?  Thanks.

Do you enjoy craptastic TV?  Do you want more Call the Midwife in your life?  Who is your favourite comedian? 

You can't tell, but my 16 year old self is having kittens in this photo

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Maternity Leave

Before you get all excited, no, I'm not up the duff.

But... Today I want to talk about maternity leave.

The way things where I work are set up now, people doing the same job fall under several different contracts, with different conditions for various things (rates of pay, shift times, loadings etc) in each one.  This is something that I believe the union is trying to fix, and that is another post for another day.  Today I want to talk about maternity leave.

I'm one of the lucky ones, the agreement I fall under currently pays 12 weeks of maternity leave.  This was put in place after a LOT of lobbying by the union.  The agreement a lot of others are under (who do the same job as me and may sit at the next desk) pays NO maternity leave.  (This is separate to the allowances the government pays that most people are eligible for, obviously).  I am unsure as to if this is something that is automatically in force, or it needs to be approved by the union.  I've asked the union and I'm waiting to hear back from them about it.

My work released a statement today saying they are changing our maternity leave entitlements.

As of the First of January 2013 they want to make everyone get the same.  They are paying 14 weeks maternity leave.  14 weeks instead of 12. Sounds great, doesn't it?  I thought so too, until I read the fine print.

This is how I understand it:  Under this new proposal, if I was pregnant, when I commenced maternity leave I would be paid a lump sum of 7 weeks wages.  When I went back to work after having the baby I would again be paid a lump sum of 7 weeks wages.

When I first read this, I thought 'Great, I'll just come back to work for a month or so and then leave again if I want to'.  Nope.  Reading further through the document I discovered that I would have to stay for at least 6 months, or repay the 7 weeks.

Sounds to me a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul.  What if you decided not to come back after you had your baby?  What if you moved away in that year or so?  I see so many problems with this. 

I look forward to hearing back from the union as to if they can enforce this.  It was my understanding that these sort of conditions needed to be negotiated, not just changed whenever my employer felt like it.

It will be very interesting to see how it all turns out.

Does your employer pay maternity leave?  Are you in your union?  I'd love to know why/why not!

Monday, February 11, 2013

So. Freaking. Excited.

Late last night I was in bed playing on Twitter instead of sleeping and saw someone tweet something wonderful.  Two minutes later I had purchased this.

It's like being 16 again, except this time I didn't have to beg my Mum to be allowed to go to an over 18's show.

In fact, I think I'm even more excited this time around.  If that is possible!


So, in the space of 8 days during April I will be seeing DAAS and Bryan Adams. Should I perm my hair again too?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hindsight - Part Four

This is a sponsored post.

Remember when we talked about problem gambling?  No, well then you need to go here, here and here.  It’s OK. I can wait while you read them.  You're back?  Great, let's carry on.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to wake up early in the morning and find Fred gone.  He’d come back hours later.  It turns out he was up all night waiting for money to land in our account so he could take it out straight away, catch a taxi to the casino and put it through the pokies.  Always confident of a big win that never came.  I did try and explain that the machines are designed so that you never actually win, but he refused to believe me.  In the end I got sick of the arguing, so I stopped complaining.

I really wish I had known about Gambler’s Help back then.  I wish I could’ve called them and got some advice as to how to handle the whole situation.  I tried to talk directly to Fred  about it, but it always ended in tears from me and him disappearing to gamble some more.  We had so many people chasing us for money it was beyond a joke, and yet he still refused to listen.

Gambler’s Help is a free service.  They’re available all the time.  You can call them on 1800 858 858 or email them.  They even have a super amazing live chat feature and public forum on their website

Gambler’s Help offers counselling.  Over the phone, in person, with or without your partner.  They can help with financial counselling too.  One in four people that contact them are actually not gamblers themselves, but they have someone in their life who is struggling with a gambling problem.  You need to know you are not alone.  There are many people that have walked down this road before you and they can help with practical and emotional support. 

To speak to someone directly, contact Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858, or to find out some more info and check out the live chat or email counselling, just go the website.

Wordless Wednesday

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