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Today’s Quote

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The coming Autumn/Winter

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So you think I’m a bit daft writing about Autumn/Winter clothing?   Not so daft because it’s fun and wise to get in early with some of the modern trends that aren’t TOO unlike your favourite styles.   Buying online from overseas suppliers is a bit of a hit and miss, I agree, but have your tried out some of the New Zealand suppliers?

Zebrano at  is a case in point.  This range from “Moss” goes from 14-24 and gives a hint of what the Australian women will be wearing.  Once again it looks as though black will be the colour of choice, whether alone or with contrasts.  It also looks like boots will be the rage as well.

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Dinky Di Australian Dishes for Australia Day

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Forget the fancy stuff that our “leading” chefs and cooks are telling us are the true blue Australian foods.  Let’s get back to basics and if you can’t remember many of these dishes, then ask your Mum or Grandma and they’ll come up with all sorts of surprises and ways to cook and serve most of these foods.   OK, I’ll agree there could be a slight problem with sugar content (you’ll be stunned to learn though that we were healthy when we were kids and growing up because we played outdoors and were busy racing around all the time, using up all that extra energy we’d stored from eating!).  But heck, it’s only one day of the year, so let’s forget the calories of a few of these dishes, and get in and enjoy what being Australian is all about.

I’ve been reading that abalone and blue fin as well as barramundi either served hot or cold in salads is one way of celebrating Australia Day.  Well, I’d like whoever suggested these should take a look at my weekly budget ‘cos there’s no way I could afford to buy any of these.  My local fishmonger had fish tails last week and they were $37.95 a kilo.  Blimey!  I used to go to the Lakes Entrance Co-Operative and buy fish rails for $8,95 not so long ago.   Even salads have undergone “sophisicated updates” these days.  What’s happened to the popular Potato Salad (plain or with finely chopped boiled egg added) and Coleslaw – both home made mind you – none of this popping down to the supermarket and paying exhorbitant prices for a small tub.

Now I love Lemon Delicious Pudding (sister to a chocolate self-saucing pudding) yet I’m being told that sticky date pudding is THE favourite of all time.  For some maybe – for me it’s far TOO sweet (and I’m a sweet-tooth at any time) and anyway it’s an English pudding – it didn’t originate here in Australia!  That’s not to say we can’t or haven’t commandeered it as our own.  We Aussies will claim anything that’s good as our own invention – have you noticed that?   But let’s get back to Lemon Delicious – I have a recipe that I use from an old dog-eared cook book from the mid 1800s – maybe it came out from the “old country” but I like to think that it’s Australian.

Another dish that is represented as “originating in Australia” is pumpkin soup.  Well sorry folks apparently it originated back in the early 1800s in Haiti.   This is another dish that we have claimed as our own.  Then there is Trifle (which of course we know comes from the UK) but we do “trifle” around a bit with our trifles until they’re different enough to be Australian.

But there are a few things that Australia can be rightly proud of.

Lamingtons.  That old favourite – a square (now sometimes a circle) of sponge cakes, double dipped in chocolate icing and then covered with dessicated coconut.  Sometimes they are filled with cream and even a small dollop of jam these days, but they’re still typically Australian.

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Chocolate crackles and Fairy Bread are two that kids enjoy – and not only kids, mind you.   According to Wikipedia these two items are served at children’s parties in both Australia and New Zealand so both countries could probably claim them as their own.

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I couldn’t leave out Vegemite and Cheese as a combination, but in order to avoid too much fatty food on Australia Day, merely use rye Wheat Crackers and make your own vegemite and cheese “sandwich”.

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Pavlova HAS to be included.   It’s as “Aussie” as you can get – and a small serving will suffice.  Don’t get uptight about the sugar content!!   Serve it as a Mini-Pavlova.  Served with a dollop of creak and sliced strawberries or in fact any berry that is in season, this will delight the taste buds of any true Aussie.

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Now we come to Kangaroo Steaks and Damper.   Damper is one of those beautifully simple things to create, cook and to eat, that I’m surprised more people don’t make their own damper more often.  In fact, regularly.  Because it’s a basic that can be used for so many things.  Dunking into your soups (and tomato soup is a good old favourite whatever the marketers tell you); and wiping up the gravy or juices from your BBQ.   Kangoo steak if cooked properly is scrumptious (and I’m not known to be a red meat lover!).

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I just cannot leave out the essential Aussie food that is not only a part of our history but is an everyday staple.   The Australian Meat Pie, served with tomato sauce.  (Relish, mustard and the likes just will NOT do – it has to be a quality red tomato sauce).

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And to balance out a menu for the day, why not include:  Pumpkin scones served warm with real butter (no margarine, it has to be butter!);  Stuffed Curry Eggs (we don’t see these often enough these days, and honestly eggs are good for you); Celery Sticks filled or stuffed with Cream Cheese; Baby Sausage Rolls and Trifle on the side.

Plain low-sugar Cordial for the kids, and sparkling mineral water for the grown ups.   There’s no need to go on a “bender” – simply enjoy good wholesome food, with good friends.  You’ll be surprised at how much fun you have and you won’t land up with a “headache” from over-drinking!

So there, that’s my list of Australian dishes – maybe too simple when compared with our leading chefs and cooks, but I reckon there’ll be quite a few people who will be serving up some of my old favourites on Australia Day too!

BELITTLING ONE ANOTHER ……

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According to a study by Canadian psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt, young women are innately bitchy and behave badly towards peers they perceive as sexy. (I believe it’s not only the perception of being “sexy” but is based on pure competition of being a female!!!)  Instead of confronting a rival, however, they use verbal assassination and petty vendettas, giving their opponent withering glances, making catty comments behind her back and subjecting her to silent treatment.

Mean-girl” behaviour is apparently hard-wired in the female brain.

Men use physical aggression, Vaillancourt explains, but women rarely do, preferring back-stabbing, belittling and humiliation. The strategy is rooted in our evolutionary past, she adds, since women are the higher-value gender because of their child-bearing abilities. “It’s always been more important for women to stay alive than men because a baby’s life-expectancy is inextricably linked with its mother’s,” she adds.

Back-stabbing behaviour persists into young adulthood but lessens as women mature.

This article appeared in The Times earlier this week.

Now I don’t know about you, but it’s the final sentence that I disagree with.   Quote: Back-stabbing behaviour persists into young adulthood but lessens as women mature.

My observation is that back-stabbing continues a long time after maturity – in fact it continues indefinitely as far as my experiences have found).  Another thing that I’ve found is that it is not only friends or strangers but also family members who will cut down another member with this same behaviour.   What are your thoughts on the subject? 

 
 

WASN’T IT JACK LONDON WHO SAID:

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“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

  

 

HOW CAN YOU STAY HAPPY AND HEALTHY …..

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While at the same time you’re growing older …..

As we well know, most women very early form a habit of putting everyone else first. When she becomes a mother this is a “natural” habit that very soon becomes a life-style. It stays with her. A consequence of this, though, is that as we grow older, we’re often unaware of what activities we can enter into, which will boost our mood, our attitude and immunity. But there are a few things, that even the so-called experts agree on, that will help us through this.

Here are one or two suggestions.

TALK. Bottling up worries or sadness is deeply unhealthy and guaranteed to suppress immunity. If you feel sad, chat with a friend and don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are a good way of releasing repressed emotions and stress. If you feel you need more than that, ask your GP to refer you to a professional counsellor.

LISTEN TO MUSIC. Countless studies show that laughter is hugely beneficial to health – and sharing laughter is better still. So rent a funny DVD, get some friends around and let your humour take over. If you’re not really into some of the “modern” humour, why not even drag out of the kid’s cartoons/Walt Disney films? Just be a kid again – even if you have grey hair and wrinkles.

EAT and DRINK. In moderation – of course! But then why do we always put limitations on what we should do, especially to relax and recharge our batteries. Seriously though, don’t let the fact that just because you might be alone, that you needn’t go to the bother of laying the table properly for a meal. Put a small vase of flowers of a specimen rose beside your plate setting, and enjoy a nice wine (even non-alcoholic). Too often we can feel guilty about enjoying ourselves, which is not the way it should be. Tell yourself, I deserve to be pampered and if this means pampering yourself, then so be it. You’ll soon believe it.

PRAY. Even those with “no-faith” understand the importance of having a special little place in their home such as a small side table with family photos, flowers, a candle, anything that represents beauty and love, will bring a warm sense of well-being. Those with faith, know the importance and the countless benefits they receive from actually praying or talking with God.

THINK POSITIVE. Hard to at times, but work at it. Never go to sleep fretting over a problem. It achieves nothing. A better idea before going to bed is to concentrate on all the happy (even tiny) events of the day for a few minutes. Avoid negative thoughts at all costs.

Stay away from people who constantly bombard us with doom and gloom. Never lose hope. Remember, miracles do happen, every day, to ordinary every-day people, like you and me.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL.   MAY YOUR DAY BE FILLED WITH MUCH LOVE AND MANY NICE SURPRISES. 

 

 

MANNEQUINS LARGE AS LIFE

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So read the headlines of an article in a recent issue of the Melbourne Sun-Herald (Victoria, Australia).

I sat up and took notice!  It now had my full attention so I read on:

“Slender models and clothes draped over stick-thin mannequins in shops have long caused women untold anguish.”

Well, they’re right there!   The article goes on:

“Now British department store chain Debenhams has made a step forward in promoting body confidence by becoming the first high street retailer in the UK to permanently introduce size 16 mannequins.

The mannequins will be used at its shop in Oxford Street, London, and appear alongside size 10 dummies on all women’s fashion floors, before being introduced in all 170 Debenhams’ UK stores”.

This must be one of the best Christmas presents size 16 (and plus) women have had for decades.  One can hope that Australian chain stores will see the wisdom in making a decision such as this, and do something similar.  It’s about time.

I, and other like-minded professional women, have put this idea and suggestion forward to the retailers here in Australia for decades without success.  Perhaps now they’ll realise that their customers are not all size 6, but include the curvaceous and everything in between.

(Clipart is of the famous “Elle” plus size doll).
 

 

YOU shouldn’t wear THAT!

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Honestly!!!!!!!

I’ve been hearing this, and similar things, since I was a kid. You shouldn’t eat this, you shouldn’t eat that. you shouldn’t wear this, you shouldn’t wear that!

I got a few years grace from all this flak, or so I thought. I reckon it’s probably because I just shrugged my shoulders and got on with life.

But all of a sudden, I’m being told – again! You shouldn’t be wearing that!

Am I committing a crime or something? It’s not as though I’ve run amok, is it?

I saw a lovely little short-sleeved cardigan recently and bought it!   Modern styling, totally different from I’ve previously chosen or worn. It’s in a pretty dove grey colour, and worn over one of my long-sleeved shirts, looks good, even if I say so myself. I feel good wearing it.

Well – first of all it was a “friend” (well, she thinks she is) – “that’s a bit young for you isn’t it?” Then my own young grand-daughter, “Hey Nan, you don’t want that do you, this is more my style”. The lady serving coffee took one look and said, “I thought of getting myself something like that, but I was told I would be mutton made up as lamb”. (She’s only in her 30s so who is she kidding?) Was she giving me a subtle message?

Hey look, I no longer care what other people think about what I choose for my wardrobe. I made up my mind a long time that “other people” didn’t necessarily know what’s best for me, and now I’m certain. By the way, I’ve just put on my lovely dove grey cardigan (with some other clothes I hope you realise!) and am ready to go shopping – what I’ll find may be interesting!

Recognising BEAUTY for what it is at whatever age! – Part II

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Why is it, especially in western society, that older women are seen to be “unlovely” because of their wrinkles, their faded complexions, their thinning hair?  I ask this because it is quite obvious in many cultures that aging is equated with wisdom and that age, in the number of years, to be seen as something to be admired.

Women of age, and of different nationalities are nurtured and loved within the family unit;  it’s not unusual to see four generations in the one home all doing their own thing, but being mentored in the womanly arts of cooking, craft work, good manners and etiquette among each other, by the eldest member (s) of the family.

Take for instance our Greek and Italian friends. They live for each other, they go places and do things together; they eat together, they celebrate together.  They help each other.  They cook for each other, they do for each other.  When there is a need it is met by others within the family.  They don’t even seem to notice age differences.  It’s the people and personalities that seem to matter.  Funny thing, that.

I have a personal friend – a lovely Chinese woman Linda, whose large home she shares with her husband, their daughter and son and their partners, their little children.  Her home is also shared with her mother.  This wonderful great grand-mother is revered as the sage of the family;  everyone seeks her advice and everyone treats her as a special precious gem.  She is included in every discussion and every decision made within the family.  She is in her late 80s.   Her great grand-children are in her care during the day.  The joy this family has in her presence in their lives is overwhelming in its simplicity and intensity.

Yet I have another friend in her 60s who is ignored by her children and grandchildren.  They’re too busy.  She is forgotten for months on end, and then usually it’s only when someone wants something that she has that they will contact her.  She is very seldom included in family get-togethers (birthday, Christmas, Easter) and there’s always an excuse as to why she is “forgotten”.  This lady lives less than 3 kms from her son.   She lives alone and her loneliness has brought with it illness and lines of anxiety and worry (which could have been avoided if she’d been able to talk through things with the family).  Yet she did everything for her family when they were younger;  gave them as much as she could and more, was always available for baby-sitting and house-minding when the grandchildren were small and when they went on holidays.   But now in her growing older years, she’s seen to be a nuisance, and she’s made to feel it, too.

What is doubly sad about this second lady is that her grandchildren actually told her that she looked “ugly” because she’s old, and they’ve even laughed about her, in her presence.   The fact that they now ignore her, is something that she bears because she feels she has to, and because it’s easier to do so.

From what I’ve experienced, as Western women, we tend to look at our reflections as something that needs “beautifying” or making younger by way of anti-aging methods, one way or the way.   Shouldn’t we take time to look at ourselves and to study our reflections seeing the beautiful things about us that no one else on this planet shares?    Many women from western cultures who are growing older or who are deemed to be “old” have forgotten how to love themselves.  They’ve forgotten that they are uniquely formed and created.

We’ve got to get back to basics.   We’ve got to treat ourselves as the person we are, not necessarily the age we are.   We’re no different to that young teenager wanting to be accepted by a peer group;  we’re no different to that young woman wanting to have a happy home and family;  we’re no different to the maturing woman wanting to have a career or satisfaction in her hobby, leisure pursuit or even a personal enterprise.  We’re no different to that woman through all her states of womanhood as she seeks companionship and love and affection.

What’s age got to do with anything?  OK, so we slow down.   Our bodies are impacted by gravity and in some cases, illnesses.

But that shouldn’t stop us from doing the things we’ve always wanted to do;  and to pamper ourselves every now and again.   We should be able to experiment with new things, new dreams, new goals, without having to justify why.   Have fun.  Don’t take any nonsense from anyone!  Don’t accept bad manners, or inappropriate attitudes and/or behaviour.