Food for thought

I’ve never thought I would make a good restaurant reviewer, despite the fact that I eat out quite a bit. That’s because I’m too busy eating. And reading or playing with my iPad if I’m on my own, or drinking and acting like a bit of a noisy dickhead when I’m with my friends.

Most times however it’s just my husband and me. We tend to frequent the same places, not because we lack any sense of adventure, but because we know we are guaranteed good food and excellent service.

After all, we’re paying for this.

So yesterday, on day one of our Christmas holidays at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, we ventured out the mall. Perhaps that was our first mistake.

Now I love the mall in Broadbeach. Mainly because it’s where John Farnham filmed his “Two Strong Hearts” film clip, circa 1988, at the height of his mullet. Regular readers know that I would give up my second born for John Farnham. Mercifully I only have one child. And in 2012 it is no longer a requirement to sacrifice your child, no matter what you owe.

Feeling festive and full of the excitement that is a Gold Coast Christmas, we knew seafood was on the cards. [Read more…]

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Self-confidence tips

Tip #1 – Make Decisions
• Think outside the square to make decisions
• Reflect on what outcome you want and show discipline achieving them

Tip #2 – Set Goals 
• Remember your reasons why [Read more…]

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The skinny on brides

Of course the obvious person to blame in all this is Kate Middleton. For no other reason than half her body seemed to be missing when she stepped out of the car on her way to marry William. Did you see that tiny waist? Of course you did. So did New Idea, Women’s Weekly, Cosmo and Vogue. Now they can’t stop talking about it.

Because Kate did what just about every bride the world over does – she lost a heap of weight for her wedding. Unlike just about every bride in the world, however, Kate seems to be keeping her weight off. I think that’s because she exists on a diet of hearty Welsh air, and when she’s totally famished, she nibbles on the rotor blades of Will’s helicopter. I hope Diana’s ring doesn’t slip off her skinny finger and fall down the sink when she’s doing the washing-up one night. You remember the Lara Bingle/Michael Clark diamond-down-the-drain fiasco? Imagine what it would be like with bona fide royalty.

A dear girlfriend is getting married later this year. She’s lost 25kg since Christmas. That’s Christmas 2010. Not 1994. That’s pretty impressive. That’s up there with The Biggest Loser. Which is good for me; I’m already two years ahead on my daily fat allowance. I’m looking for skinny people to see if I can borrow theirs. [Read more…]

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Secret single behaviour

It is entirely possible that I’ve lived alone for too long, indulging my whims, dancing to the beat of my own drum, setting my own agenda, etc etc.

Of course my mother disagrees. She thinks you can never live alone for long enough. But that might be because when I rang to tell her the theme of my blog, she answered the phone saying, “you’ll never believe what your bloody father has done this time.”

Mmmmmm.

Living alone isn’t the sad sorry scenario is can sometimes be painted by Smug Marrieds (thanks Bridget ) or worried grandparents. Mine have long given up saying, “can’t you find yourself a nice chappie?”

And while it is delightful to snuggle up in bed at night with Lover Bloke, giggling and carrying on like you’re the only two people on the planet, there are certain unalienable benefits to snuggling up alone.
The remote would be one of them.

You can watch what you want, when you want, how you want. I can replay that corny scene from Notting Hill where Hugh Grant busts in on Julia’s press conference as many times as I want. I can even fall asleep when it’s on, if I want.

Football, cricket and horse racing never sour my screen. The toilet bowl is skiddy-free, the milk is fat-free and my fridge is beer-free.

But even better, I can do those things that you can only when you’re totally and gloriously alone.

I can finish work, lay on the floor in the middle of my lounge room and stare at the ceiling while Frank Sinatra tells me “That’s Life”. I can go all day without a bra, without showering, without eating a single vegetable.

I can eat random, unrelated food off the same plate, like brie with crackers, anchovy stuffed olives, Oreos, smoked trout, cold pizza and cupcakes. And finish the whole bottle of wine. Whilst wearing heels.

Sometimes I just sit and jiggle the fat parts of my body and try and poke them to see if they’ll deflate, or better, disappear. That never happens.

None of these things sound super weird when I write them down, and really, they’re not. Secret single behaviors aren’t necessarily freakish – that’s not the reason they’re secret. Adding another person into the mix changes what it is you inherently love about these solo-delights.

They’re not only things you do by yourself, you do them FOR yourself; comforting little rituals or indulgences, just idiosyncratic enough to raise an eyebrow, but innocuous enough that they can’t really be explained.

Whether you are single or in a relationship, we all need our alone time. Having the freedom to watch whatever you want on TV or clean your house in the nude can be totally liberating.

I’ve been known to take my dinner, my crossword, my book, my cuppa and my laptop to bed. If you thought having a Lover Bloke in your bed was fun, try my combination. There were six in the bed and the little one said…

SSB lets me talk on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. Depending on how many alcoholic beverages I have enjoyed over this chatting period, I can view myself as a nuclear physicist dispensing political funding opinion or a brain-dead blonde pondering the merit of Paris Hilton winning a spell-a-thon.

It also lets me put on my Greatest Hits of the 80s CD, push my lounge against the wall and dance barefoot with only a hairbrush-come-microphone for company. I can order a Margarita pizza at midnight, I can eat baked beans at 6pm, or I can write until dawn.

I can pumice my heels with the bathroom door open. I can walk around for half an hour with a face mask. I read the weekend papers until Monday. I can have thrush, a hangover, weeds in the garden or an unpaid rates bill and it affects no one but me.

I have risen at 4am to join the treadmill for an hour. I have worked until 11pm without need to apologise. I have smoked a sneaky cigarette in the kitchen while waiting for a white sauce to thicken. I have stayed in my pajamas until 5pm. I have rearranged the living room furniture in the middle of the night.

Now and then I do an audit of my life. Probably a little more now than then. When I look at it in black and white I become somewhat thoughtful. Sure it’s an indulgent way to live, but I question the morality, ethics or political correctness that ensues. Are idle hands the devil’s tools? And are those hands currently holding a wine glass and a hairbrush?

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True story

Last night, I went to cook a chicken dish. Earlier that day, I had seen the picture in a magazine and thought it looked fab. It had chicken and white wine and lemon zest and a hint of chilli and a few other gorgeous things. I had skimmed down the list of ingredients to make sure I had them all.

So about 7pm, I saunter into my kitchen to get the magnificent chicken dish underway.

Then I read step one.

“Combine first six ingredients, and marinate chicken in refrigerator overnight.”

So I ordered pizza.

That will teach me to read the “method” not just the “ingredients”.

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Wax on, wax off

It’s like any form of female body hair is reviled these days. Viewed with immense disdain. A slight screwing up of the nose and an almost imperceptible shudder. Similar reaction to when I see, say, a dead cockroach on my kitchen floor or that Paris Hilton music video. Or when Lover Bloke asks me to get him another beer from the fridge.

Eeewwwwwwww.

Women have been shaving the hair off their legs for an eternity. Well, actually I don’t know whether it is in fact an eternity, there’s certainly no reference to it in the Bible, but let’s just generalise and say quite a while.

I know there are some women who espouse more liberal views and enjoy a more hirsute look. And that’s about choice. One woman’s Matthew McConaughey is another woman’s Kevin Rudd. Etc.

We shave it off from under our arms. How else can we be expected to grace the beaches, bars and boulevards of south east Queensland in our fabulous Escada singlets and Lorna Jane gear with under arm fuzz. Unthinkable.

The face is an entire stand-alone episode. A postcode if you will. Correct eyebrow shape and definition is a facial must. Ignoring your eyebrows is like ignoring a 75% off all stock sale at Tiffany’s-it’s something that you just don’t do.

Women will shell out $50 without hesitation to get the perfect eyebrow shape. Eyebrow salons now account for over half of this country’s GDP. Sydney eyebrow doyen Sharon-Lee Hamilton is worshipped globally. Even my adored Princess Mary popped into her parlour for a reshape last time she was in the harbour city.

A hairless top lip is also essential. No woman needs to resemble a walrus, even if it is that time of the month. I was holidaying at Coolangatta earlier this year and popped out for a top lip wax, as you do. The beautician was telling me that every three months she actually waxes the entire bottom half of her face. Now that’s commitment.

And so it has come to pass that the area our mothers told us to stay away from, the one we later found out is reserved for bedroom romps and birthing babies, is under scrutiny.

Let’s not beat around the bush. If you’re not sporting a Brazilian you’re no sport at all. And so somehow I ended up in a salon with my knickers on the floor, my legs in the air and my modesty out the window.

My good friend Hot Wax, which to date had spent its time amusing my face had found a new playground. My playground. Mei, this tiny Chinese woman unapologetically splashed the wax around my mound, then had the temerity to not only rip it off, but to show me the offending strip. There’s a few things in my life I’m not interested in seeing and that’s one of them.

Let me tell you about the rip. It goes like this. Turn up the music and let it rrrriiippppppppppp. Apparently it is customary for the waxer to throw your legs over their shoulder or ask you to moon them so they can get the strays. Without even asking me out for a drink first.

The pain was like nothing I have experienced. Well apart from that time I broke my foot and was in plaster for eight weeks. I told everyone that it was dark, the stairs were slippery and the strap on my sandal was a bit loose. The truth is I was pissed off my nut and forgot that walking down stairs involves the careful placement of one foot in front of the other. A simple mistake that anybody could make.

Or the first time I went to a sushi restaurant and thought the wasabi was avocado. And I really love avocado.

The worst part was knowing that the searing pain wasn’t going to happen just once, or, at the worst, twice. The whole rrrriiiiipppppppping process was going to continue, over and over and over, until the dear thing was bald.

I felt comfortable in letting loose with a few expletives because Mei, bless her, didn’t appreciate compound English words. I’m not sure if f*** is a universally interpreted word or whether each dialect has its own derivative, but I didn’t care. I let them rip. Or should I say rrrriiiiipppppppp.

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Why I will never be size 8

 

If the recipe says “50g butter”, I put in 250g of butter. Sometimes more. Never less. Never the amount it tells me too. And it is always that yummy full-fat butter that comes in a block, not that watery, oily make-believe stuff they try and palm off as butter. “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” they advertise. “Really?” I think. “I bloody well can.”

It can be 5.10pm, and my spin class starts in five minutes, and I’m standing at the door of the gym, wearing ugly gym clothes, which consist of some shorts I once painted the house in, a sports bra with a broken hook, and a Yankees baseball cap because I managed to buy one in pink, and a friend can walk by and say “Hey Bron, you want to go for a drink?” and next thing the only spinning I’m doing is on my heel, and off to that pub.

There are two types of people in this world: those who order pasta with a tomato-based sauce, and those who order pasta with a cream-based sauce. I’m in category two. Usually I add lots of bacon, olives, mushrooms and a solid helping of cheese. In addition to some garlic bread, several glasses of Pinot Gris and a latte.

Sometimes, I am very energetic and walk home from work. Sometimes, I think I am very energetic and start to walk home from work, and then I realise I’m not energetic at all, and then I get on the next bus.

You think Nigella can pick? Or those Two Fat Ladies? I buy a simple bbq chook for lunch, and as I’m cutting it up, I’m picking at bits of crispy fat chicken skin, and the fleshy bit of the thigh. I’ve eaten so much that I really don’t need any lunch. But I have lunch anyway. It would seem wrong to, especially after I’ve gone to all that trouble to cut up the chicken.

I have an ungrateful stomach, I am sure. No matter what it had yesterday, it wants more today.

 

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Making a formal approach

My current introspective retro phase would not be complete without sufficient attention being paid to formals. School formals. Grade 12 formals. Or Year 12 as they say in the new currency.

As a mum, I witnessed my daughter Jade’s Year 12 formal. She was an All Hallows girl, so those of you from Brisbane will know exactly what I’m talking about – a school on a large tract of land, smack bang on the river, good elevation, naturally freehold title to the Catholic faith.

Mind you, I was a Lourdes Hill girl – again, a large tract of land, smack bang on the River, good elevation, naturally freehold title to the Catholic faith. I was merely continuing the generation

That Pope of ours is quite asset-wealthy, I figure.

I’ll get onto Jade’s formal eventually, in a separate post. You need to hear about mine first. This story is too good to gloss over.

To start with, I did not have a date. I’d just broken up with a Villanova boy called David (for my out-of-town readers, Villanova being a boys Catholic school built on a hill in Brisbane; David being either something once in Royal City or so the Christmas carol leads us to believe; or my first true love – if anyone reading knows him, please ask him to drop me a Facebook friend request.)

Now, back in 1982, gays weren’t fashionable nor recognised, so I couldn’t use that card. We didn’t have boys as “friends”. We didn’t even consider boys as equals. Your brother was a close as you could get to “a mate”. Or a formal date

So in lieu of taking my brother, I pleaded with a girlfriend to cough up a mate of her boyfriend’s. Pathetic. I know. I was desperate.

His name was Louis and his car of choice to drive me to my formal was an open-topped Suzuki 4WD. Imagine what that did to my carefully coiffured hair. And my self-esteem.

Considering my self-esteem had already taken a battering. And here’s why. With my part-time income from Woolworths, I’d bought this hideous dress which I thought was the epitome of elegance. However, my darling mother and all her 1950s neurotic upbringing alerted me to the fact that only prostitutes wore black underwear. Therefore I was forced to wear a beige bra under this black chiffon creation. You can imagine the result. Or see it for yourself in the pic I’ve included

On top of that, I got it in my head that I would look elegant and sophisticated if I had my hair up. Back then, my hair was long and naturally blonde but I wanted it styled in a manner that made me resemble Princess Anne on a good hair/bad horse day.

I’ve never looked uglier.

The only concession out of this is that I continually win when we have “bring in your ugly childhood photo” day at work. The prize is that I get to eat the last Tim-Tam.

My school issued a set of rules for our formal, a 1982 code of conduct, if you will. One of the rules: “girls are encouraged not to smoke at the formal”. As opposed to the 2010 version: “girls will be instantly expelled if caught within four metres of someone who used to smoke 10 years ago”. Look at this pic – yes, he’s smoking!

There were nuns a-plenty at my school, meaning there were nuns a-plenty at the formal. If you were sitting on a boy’s lap, or having a bit of a canoodle (what a gorgeous word) they would barge right up and melodically say “telephone book, telephone book” which was code for “get off that boy, you are one second away from getting pregnant, I don’t care that he goes to St Laurance’s” (insert Melbourne Grammar, Scots College, Eton etc, whatever your geographical equivalent).

Even back in 1982, we still had “post formals”. My daughter would like to believe that her generation invented this concept. Like they believe they invented sex, getting drunk and lying to your parents. It was with great glee that I told her she was about 25 years in arrears.

My mum and dad, bless them, had prepared chicken, cheese and champagne as our after-formal supper. Again, the height of 80s sophistication – a BBQ chook chopped up, some cubed Coon and a bottle of the frightful Asti Riccadonna.

Except in the 30-minute period they spent standing at the front fence waiting for their young charges to arrive, our dog, a loyal but hungry cattle dog, happily jumped up on the table and devoured the chicken and cheese, bones included. I think he was almost waiting for my Dad to fill his water bowl up with Riccadonna. Not a bad move. Less for me.

And you have to remember, this was the Brisbane days of no pizza delivery, everything worthwhile shut at 8pm, no 7-11 or Night Owl.

Mum, ever the stalwart, found us some pickled onions. We didn’t care. We were already pickled.

Louis and I had a “pleasant” evening. He and his pale grey suit truly wanted to get out of the disaster zone and away from my freakish hair as quickly as possible.

To this day, I still wished I’d got a “disco pash” at my formal. Even if the dog was watching.

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“What Women Think” is back

If I had a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes I’ve bought I would overtake Danielle Steele. If I was to cook all the food in every one of the recipe books I own, I’d be cooking and eating for 417 years and 85 days. If I paid off my credit cards in one go, Westpac would go bankrupt through loss of interest payments.

For four years, I wrote the popular column “What Women Think” for Babes in Business and Brisbane Times, and after missing in action for a year, I have resurfaced with my very own blog. Welcome to “What Women Think”, where all things that women think are discussed, often ad infinitum, but never ad nauseam.

Oh, this is me, facing a daily conundrum: eat or drink wine? Clearly, I decided to do both…

To my old readers, I say a big hello and a big apology for leaving you for so long. And thank you for continuing to ask me “where’s your column Bron?” To my new readers, I say welcome and hope that you stay a while to have some fun, and get your friends to join in.

So, let’s get this gig on the road!

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