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April 29, 2012 / mummaVegas

…the morning after

It was the jeans that tipped me over the edge. A pair of black “shine”-wash straight cuts that I bought in our previous life in Spain. I hadn’t worn them in over nine months. They are the style of jean that just weren’t going to work with a 38-week pregnant lady trying to squeeze into them like a sausage skin and using a BellyBelt rather than the button-fly.


Ode to the Jeans…

Secondly, since Boy Wonder had decided my exclusive menu was no longer for him, it had started becoming increasingly difficult to keep the baby weight in check. Thirdly, I am a fierce disciple to my own EAT CHOCOLATE rule. Often. Not a great trio.

With such a combination, the scales weren’t being as friendly as I’d have liked them to be at 20 weeks postpartum. I was using up all my learned excuses: “No, I can’t get on the treadmill because….. I read that if the baby hears me exercising he could grow up with body image issues.” “Every time I try to get out for a run, my son decides its time to start throwing his own nappies around the nursery.” “Don’t you like coming home to a home cooked meal? Would you really rather me be at the gym while you’re forced to eat meat pies or KFC every second night?”

The time has obviously come. My little man is growing fast and doing super well (the nappy thing was an out and out fib); Hubby doesn’t mind cooking Emergency Sausages one or two nights a week and I’ve since read a peer-review of the scary Baby Body Image Issues article that kyboshed the whole theory. Apparently 20 week-olds are not bulimics. They vomit for entirely different, normal and healthy reasons. Like not swallowing the ground fluff. Note to self: vacuum asap.

My excuses have officially expired. It’s also fair to say that a majority of first-time mums want to get back into their Skinny Jeans, and for me, now was as good a time as any. Hell, I was starting to have conversations with my jeans. “Don’t feel lonely, Little Jeans. We’ll be able to play together again in 2015! My arse won’t look this way forever. I Promise.” I was even imagining that my skinny jeans were jealous of my oft-resorted to Boyfriend Slouch cut. Things were getting out of control.

But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Per chance, I happened to get wind of a “Ladies Only” personal training session held on Tuesday evenings, located within an easy stroll of dropping Boy Wonder off to his Dad. In what seems to be the exercise homeland of BrisVegas – housed under the shadow of the ‘Gabba – sits an awesome little personal training mecca – ASPIRE Fitness and Rehab, Trafalgar Street.

Sweats on, towel and bottle in hand, I bowled on up to my first session ready to go! The first thing I said to the kind girl at reception  – before even saying my name – was “I haven’t done any exercise in about 59 weeks.”

Her look was a little concerned.

“…..Oh, and I called earlier about joining the Ladies PT class.”

Things relaxed. She introduced herself – she was the class Instructor. Pretty, really fit but non-intimidating – she didn’t look like she took herself to Hades and back every morning and afternoon. And she had a lovely, calm, nice nature that reassured me that I’d come to the right place for the gentle ease back into the world of physical fitness I was hunting. Plus, when I looked around – what I saw was friendly faces, not scary dumbbells – and if Arnie’s contemporary was a member of this place, they had strategically wheeled him away for Ladies Night. People were working out but they weren’t behaving like they were locked in a self-torture chamber.

There was even an elderly lady – let’s call her Mavis – on a poster on the wall sprouting something inspirational like “Spin like a Winner”. Don’t quote me. Anyway, it was a great atmosphere. If Mavis could do it, I could do it.

Those balls don't look so intimidating....

I reckon I can work those things...

Surely if Mavis can work these things out, I can....

It all started going a little pear-shaped when one of my fellow Ladies Only PT classmates leaned over and introduced herself. She pointed to our pint-sized Instructor.

“Don’t let her fool you. She made me vomit the first time I came to this class.” Awesome.

What followed was an hour of sheer (and in hindsight – glorious) physical intensity like i hadn’t felt in…. well 59 weeks (childbirth aside – it’s in a completely different category and has no place in this story!)

Yes, I remember when my limits were far greater than taking 3 minutes to row 500m. I remember 30 second sprint-cycles on level 16 not hurting as much as it did. I remember going through an hour of intense physical workout and not wanting to vomit! But instead of scaring me off and making me fear this difficulty of getting back into shape, all of this helped me through 40 jump-squat reps, 2×20 sit-up combos (hello Abdominals – where have you been….?), 2×20 “Burpees”, 100 bicep curls and a row-jog-sprint, winding up with a 2 minute Spin Cycle Classic where the group competed for the furthest distance in the shortest time. Me? Dead last. By an embarrassing gap.

The morning after, I felt like a bear had rolled over me. And not the same bear that used to hit me on the back of the head and steal all my money on the odd Saturday night out before sonny came to town. But the day after that the aches subsided and what remained was the memory of how much better I felt when I was a little fitter. My body had told me it was time, and for the first time since bub was born, I’d heard it. I will return. The ten-week program will be hard going, but its perfectly designed for someone in my situation. I’m surrounded by inspiring women who have been doing it for months, even after barfing the first three sessions. The Aspire fitness programs seem to be tough, but fun. Perhaps not quite as much fun as when bub first smiles, reaches for an item, enjoys his first foods or hilariously rolls under the couch and gets stuck, but feeling good in and about myself is pretty frickin awesome after feeling a a tad sluggish for the last few months. I know its all part of the amazing adventure – but it’s good to finally be back on the horse.

I told my jeans’ that the days of being hidden away in the “Before Child/Send to Vinnies” clothes box are numbered.

And like every great exercise regime – the  rewards are worth the effort…..Late night dinner dash. It’s called Calorie Balance.

Every Good Deed deserves Grill'd

Yours in (moderate!) health & fitness,

mummaV xo

April 12, 2012 / mummaVegas

brisVegas mummaFashtacular #1

I could scarce believe it. Where had the time gone?? It surely could not be already!?

Alas it was true! Boy Wonder was fast approaching the end of his fourth month!

While he had been smiling at us for the last 10 weeks, he had just started to chuckle (cutest thing. Ever.). Tummy time was rockin’; sleep and eat patterns were beginning to emerge; he was grabbing for stuff; standing up against supporting obejcts; and gnawing on his fingers. And toes. Grossest thing. Ever. (Actually, there is no way I can back that up).

We were beginning to rely on his capacity to….*gasp*…..sleeeeeep throooooough the niiiight!…. HURRAH!!!

My little guy’s horizons were broadening faster than my ability to instagram and tweet his every development. What I wasn’t prepared for were avenues beginning to open to my own sense of identity!… Such as the end of the era of buttons, zips, flowy fabrics, top-half/bottom-half dressing. Nursing capes.

In short, the end of Strategic Dressing is approaching. As Boy Wonder moves away from relying solely on me for his breakfast, lunch and dinner….and elevenzies, snack’o’clock…. A Little Somethin’ Extra and finally; food coma-rama, I have noticed my options for investing in the fashion stakes are also beginning to broaden.

Does this come in jersey-knit?

Do you have anything that doesn’t rely on dry-clean only??

These may not have to be the first questions I ask myself when I dare to venture into the next boutique, however, being a single-income family I still need make savvy investments. Put simply, the “What, this old thing?” routine doesn’t cut it with Hubby these days. Everything that isn’t milk-stained is new. I need to be able to show that I can wear a new piece vacuuming as well as to his cousin’s wedding.

The other issue facing my newest mode of dressing was that I can no longer get away with some of the styles of my childless years. Take the triangle bikini for example. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that in years to come, when my son looks back at photos of his first day at the beach and I’m busting out of a teeny-tiny black “bikini” because I just don’t cut the figure I used to, he has every right to mock me relentlessly. Relentlessly. And deny me to his teachers: “I don’t know whose mother she is.”

So, I need to dress a little like I’m responsible for the physical,social, mental and emotional development of another human being. Examples I’ve seen elsewhere indicate this may not be as simple as it seems.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to look to far afield to embrace my new fashion opportunities. In fact, I was fortunate enough to catch five with head designers and proprietors of Surafina, Laura Hart and Rechelle Vidakovic to get the serious lowdown on investment shopping for mummas like me. The Surafina boutique opened in 2011 to complement an existing and vastly successful wholesale fashion design arm of apparel and accessories and can be found at Shop 2, 204 –206 Given Terrace Paddington.

It turned out these women embody “Investment Dressing” across their range; and it was certainly prevalent in the AW12 collection.

Laura and Rechelle talked me through it.

MV: Describe Surafina’s style ethos – particularly directions for Autumn/Winter 2012.

LH: Surafina does well at dressing women across ages and tastes due mainly to our commitment to clean lines, classic meets hobo, teamed with a glamourous asthetic. [Fellow head designer] Rechelle and I complement each other perfectly because we each have strengths in these separate areas and are able to bring the two elements together to create classic pieces. Our standout pieces for AW12 include classic shifts and cape dresses reworked into bold autumn shades. Wear with opaque tights and chunky necklace for lunch, then swap to a slimline black pant for evening with a heel and statement jewellery. These are perfect for mums as if the necessity arises, women can give their bubs “access all areas” while not looking like they’re wearing “maternity wear”.

Just one from the many options for shift dressing at Surafina. Check the Gallery for more!

MV: Clearly as a new mum, I’m not flush with cash but of course I want to look stylish. Where should my style investments be channelled?

RV: Peplum tailoring will be everywhere this season and it’s the perfect example of buying on-trend for but investing in a style that will stand up to even the most fickle fashion seasons. Take this navy peplum jacket with burnt orange piping. A mum trekking around the house in her jeans and a singlet can instantly clean up and mildly formalise her look by throwing this on for a shop dash or picking up the kids from school. And in a year – ten years from now, this jacket will still look amazing with jeans and the latest boot fashion. It’s the must-have look of the season. 

Pony Love and a great jacket!

MV: What tips can you offer mums when making investment purchases?

LH: Sensible dressing is about paring things back to simple roots. Buying clean lines and quality tailoring means a piece will carry through the seasons and will stay fresh as you individualise your look with accessories and personal embellishments. We don’t dress any particular age group and we don’t target sizes at Surafina. We style women who want to channel their individual flair and expression for dressing by providing that clean “canvas” in clothing.  

The simple things in life are often the best. The Surafina style works for anyone.

With Surafina style appearing across Mercedes Benz Fashion Weeks, DOLLY magazine, and at David Jones’ Melbourne Cup marquee, its very clear to see the broad appeal of the girls’ lines.

I was also particularly taken with the exquisite tailoring of Surafina’s transitional smart-casual-to-work-wear.

A quirky skirt that can be worn front-to-back and back-to-front. Upon my return to work in six weeks, I’ll be needing simple, go-to options that can be found in a flash and relied on to look sharp. Clever.

Sensible workwear with just a peppering of quirk. My Pony Love makes a second appearance too!

Accessories to channel our inner-fashion queens. Galore!

A table dedicated to individualising your look? Thank you girls, I think I will! (ooh - hallo furry!)

And I digg a swish handbag, just quietly. Plenty of space for nappies and pacifiers...pffffft.

MV: In your own words – what has been Surafina’s greatest achievement?

LH: Throughout all of our collections, we have stayed tuned in and true to our customers’ needs and have kept our fusion of styles balanced in order to cater to a broad range of tastes. Our pieces are transitional and often multi-functional making investment purchases easier for women. We touch on trends rather than slaves ourselves to them.

I hear that. Here’s to my hopeful transformation into a Yummy Mummy… and shoring up my chances of having my son admit to me at the school gate.

Yours in dressing,

mummaV xo

PS: The other, other great thing about these girls is their stuff is available to purchase online. Perfect if your little cherub is holding you hostage in the house because you’ve tried to convince him that day-sleeping is the New Black…and he’s just not buying it.

Filed under Fashion, Lifestyle
March 31, 2012 / mummaVegas

Eat chocolate dammit! (Whoops, I’ve ranted)

Whoa. Ranting Banshee! Well, at least I know what happens when she gets upset...

Ok. I have done my absolute best to avoid using this blog space as a platform for my occasional inner-rant-demon. Perhaps you have seen snippets of the rant in some of my “earlier work” but for the best part, I’ve kept the soapbox in the laundry. But I’m sorry – I recently overheard a couple of new mothers having a discussion over a cup of coffee (it was Anouk….I wonder if they read my Prams in Cafes post…? Pfft) and it made me a little upset. Can you tell?

These girls seemed to be having a pretty serious discussion about their struggles to get their pre-baby body back. There were comparisons to a number of celebrities and – I hate to say this as a mad trash magazine fiend – trash magazines who were congratulating the famous mummas’ whip-around from labour ward to size 6 in a matter of weeks. Curious, I wandered past with Boy Wonder of fifteen weeks on my hip and coo-peered into their prams. The bubs would not have been 6 weeks old! Their mothers, looking exactly as I expect a mother of a 6-week-old to look, were amazing. At least they had been able to leave the house!

Why must there now be a ridiculous notion that in addition to carrying the child, bearing the child, breastfeeding the child and all the other joyful experiences of becoming a parent we are also expected to snap back to our “former selves” almost immediately? Please! It’s hard enough to balance the choices between natural and caeser, private/public, returning to work, and battling members of the militant branch of the local breastfeeding support group through mastitis, grazing and supply issues, not to mention just getting to grips with functioning as a two-prong. Parenthood is awesome, but at times it can also be a real shock to the system. I’m not saying anything new there!

But I do say to all new mums: Eat chocolate dammit! Enjoy this short period in your life where the extra kilos you may have retained are well and truly justified. You have the perfect excuse to be softer. You truly look terrific, and your body is busy enough. It needs the few extra calories that a chocolatey treat will provide. Lord knows we don’t get many opportunities to be a little more relaxed about our bodies than usual. You hear that? I said relax. Oh hell – even Frankie says Relax and I’d take Frankie’s word over New Weekly‘s any day of the week and twice on Sundays! You are beautiful. Posh Spice has an army of personal trainers and dieticians at her Becks (hawhaw) and call to “help” get her back in shape by ridiculous’o’clock. She also doesn’t seem to smile a great deal. Just sayin’.


…*ahem*…Just by chance I have a couple of suggestions to help you in your quest for relaxation and indulgence. I reckon I’ve been able to hunt down two of the city’s, if not the nation’s, best sweet haunts. I do what I can!

Drum roll…

1. The Welsh Lady, 92 Fernberg Road, Rosalie.

Did somebody say “gateau”??

Right, so for the past 23 years, the Welsh Lady has been baking, icing and decadenting (new word alert) her way into Brisbane’s wedding scene. Her cakes are absolute masterpieces! But did you know that you can rock on down to this little cakery just north of the Rosalie Village and select single serve slices of pure indulgence from this true sponge Craftswoman? The display case is also full of bite-sized little morsels – chocolate creams, little-lemon-tarts, and some banana-ry treasure that other BrisVegans were keen on and I I’m sure I would have loved save for my apoplectic dislike of anything banana-ry. Ignore me, the other customers were going…well….bananas for them. I always settle on this chocolate/ricotta number that makes my ears perm.

To give you an idea of just what’s in store I have included a link to her formal menu – approach with caution – and relish!

2. Dello Mano, Doggett Street, New Farm.

Formerly of the Breakfast Creek locale, the Dello Mano crew opened doors on Doggett Street back in November. I met a fabulous fellow mumma and her absolutely delightful 6-month old for coffee and a brownie last week. I’d been looking forward to discovering the ultimate brownie joint since leaving Sydney and the Tripod Cafe’s delightful brownies behind in 2009.

Dello Mano obviously specialise in brown. But you can select a whole rainbow of varieties on the brown and while I’m a Belgian Classic kinda gal, these artisans really have mastered the brownie for everyone. They even have a gluten free variety. Bringing brownies to the masses can’t be easy but they sure make it look that way and for ten bucks, a great cup of coffee and a crunchy-smooth bliss bomb can be yours just off James Street. They also do truffles and rum balls if you want to mix it up a bit.

Get amongst the indulgence, ladies. Alls I’m saying is the world of dieting won’t go anywhere while you nurture your little bundle for a few months. There will always be time for treadmills and scales. Now is the time to embrace a little bulge and let the pheromones ooze. Happy mumma = happy bub. Just sayin’.

mummaV xo

March 14, 2012 / mummaVegas

the Kid’s so Advanced!

I’d heard rumours about it. The folklore of mothers’ groups country-wide. No, it wasn’t Bob Carr returning to public office. It was the infamous Week Thirteen. The Week Where Everything Changes. Again.

Here I am, amidst Week Thirteen and in the case of Boy Wonder, it’s all about regurgitation. Eat. Throw up. Repeat.

A high proportion of my pants have some kind of milky masterpiece perma-stained into the fabric. White shirts have become off-limits. Not that I’m a huge fashion champion of velour, but if I were a little more J-Lo in my choice of attire, el chico would certainly put paid to the plushness with all things he brings forth at meal times!

Yet, in the style of hapless positivity that envelopes me as a new mumma when something in my infant is slightly awry, I’m looking on the bright side. Every vom-vom brings forth an opportunity to explore how “advanced” my baby is. So Advanced. Yours too? Heh. We are procreating a world full of genius, protege, genetic masterpieces aren’t we?

So Advanced.

And what to make of Boy Wonder’s latest act of self-expression? Perhaps it is that Hubby and I have produced the next generation designer of “custom print” mummaswear?

Because it couldn’t possibly just be a spewy phase!….right?

In order to explore where other creative genius might hatch in brisVegas and like any good parent trying to ingratiate herself into the life and style of child rearing I recently wheeled down a fantastic avenue of self-expression that might nurture and encourage my own three month old’s gift. Where did I land?

Young Designers Markets, Little Stanley Street (1st) Sundays. What do they hold in stall for your creative genius-in-waiting?

The Young Designers Markets! The first Sunday of every month (weather permitting) Brisbane City Council closes off Little Stanley Street to traffic and singles, couples, mummas alike can explore the latest in young and emerging design talent in the fields of fashion, homewares, jewellery, small furnishings, accessories, bric-a-brac and other random collections of colour and vibrancy and spesh. We were both impressed and I reckon I could make out the Kid taking pointed mental notes for projections in his own range.

Boy Wonder-rated highlights include (as pictured in the newly-mastered slide-show feature of my blog – who says we aren’t all learning and growing):

ties&whimsy by alisa newey. Stuck wearing plain cotton-dyed tees that won’t show up drool and milky patterns? Alisa’s range of vintage, hand-me-down necktie accessories add a cool punch of inspired colour and creativity to even the most banal mumma outfit. Seriously impressive talent.

Mishee-Moo: self-professed “handmade goodies for Mums and Bubs” – Laura Worth creates outstanding unique dribble-proof jewellery and handbags. I can’t see a kid teething through a keyboard necklace anytime soon. That’s a whole new level of “advanced”.

Francesca Rockette “Baggery Hub” (ok – I made that “last bit” up) But, Francesca, it’s yours if you want it!: She’s got a whole new world of nappy-bag style just waiting to be embraced by brisVegas mummas city-wide. From onion or flour bag totes to hand stitched leather goods and the cutest little make-up bags that easily double as a pacifier and teether pouches, Francesca’s collection is eco-cool and uber-stylish!

the whimsical blossom: Can I just quietly say – ADORABLE!!! If the delightful little kiddy-kimonos adorning the stall at the whimsical blossom aren’t enough cute for mummas and bubs out in this city then I’m not sure what to say. I almost out-squealed my boy when we discovered this gorgeous range of unique chico-couture on sale.

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Boy Wonder’s eyes did not blink for the full hour of colourful stall-browsing. So it was in the Week Where Everything Changes. And, can I just say as an aside: at the end of the day… my 13-week old spit-up fashion protege slept like a “regular infant” after our little pram-venture into creativity.

Don’t forget to pop down to Little Stanley Street on April Fools Day. Weather or fools permitting.

Until next time my glorious readers – keep strollin’!

mummaV xxx

February 27, 2012 / mummaVegas

A bit of mid-morning, anyone??

I have come to the realisation that Brunch may well be the new mumma’s social saviour. Sandwiched neatly between morning nap and the mid-afternoon feral fest, Brunch is the happily-timed meal that manages to address a number of  eating-out issues.

1. The last time I had a chance to eat was after the 4am feed – and that was a piece of cheese – the “quiet” food. Breakfast o’clock has been all about Boy Wonder for the last 12 weeks.

2. Society is not really ready for a squark-off with my infant at 8am at the local cafe on a Sunday morning.

3. Saturday night dinners out are ok but there is only so much breastfeeding in the hottest new restaurant in Brisbane that my childless friends should have to tolerate.

4. In order to keep with Bub’s regular bed-time “routine”, the only real mid-week option for eating out is a 5pm/$6.50 Roast of the Day Special at the Broncos Leagues Club – which is a poor option not just because the concept disgusts me. There are issues of code, ok. Jack Nicolson was right.

So, Brunch it is. Taking a hot tip from one of Hubby’s socially plugged-in work colleagues has lead to my discovery of one of Brisbane’s finest contributions to the Brunch-time set. Lady Marmalade. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? What now??! Oh. I would love to. But. We have a 12-week old. I’m referring directly to the breaky&brunchery on Stone’s Corner. Unfortunately, it seems that a good Brunching is the best my man can hope for on Sunday mornings.

We were joined this particular Sunday by the delightful… well let’s call them uncleVegas and auntVegas, at Lady Marmalade and I am glad to report that there was a quadrilla of satisfaction at the Turkey table. (Rather than table numbers, you get allocated a random farm animal. Digg it.)

I don't think Boy Wonder's mouth was the first to have this toy in it. But an aptly chosen table number for us nonetheless

Some culinary stand outs include:

1. The iced chocolate:

“You know, whenever I order iced chocolates, i’m usually disappointed by the chocolate syrup. It’s usually a little bit ‘Cottees’. This Lady Marmalade syrup is different. Different in a good way.” – auntVegas

Not your Cottees-variety iced-choc

2. Haloumi on the side:

“I’ve come to realise that haloumi is the answer to every question about a good meal.” – quirky waiter-dude who was master of the side-order up-sell.

He was right. In fact, the concept of A Side of Haloumi was such that serious issues broke out at the Turkey table when Hubby and uncleVegas realised that I hadn’t anticipated their willingness for haloumi on this particular morning. Talk about traumatised adult-babies! “Fine! I’ll get you both some bloody haloumi! Keep your skirts on!” – mummaVegas.

Haloumi me! You know I want it!

3. Succinct menu choices:

One of my most admired features of a cafe or restaurant menu is it’s ability to offer a bit of everything to please the lactose-intolerant, celiac, hipster, vegans of the world, as well as the regular-Joe, garden-variety eaters like the rest of us. Game, set, match Lady Marmalade.

Hellloooo carnivore!

Well-serviced, succinct menu selection.

Mmmmm. Roasted pumpkiny, vegetarian greatness! With a side-order of bacon. Damn you, talented up-seller waiter!

Baked eggs.....'nuff said.

4. Passing the ultimate test. The coffee:

“This coffee easily gets an 8.5 out of 10 before I’ve even had a drink. I like coffee to be hot enough so that I can pick it up and take a sip, but I can’t keep the cup in my hand for any longer without it burning. This coffee has nailed it.” – uncleVegas.

5. Ahhh, to be kid-friendly:

“I feel comfortable enough to eat whatever I like here!” – Boy Wonder.

Comfort eating

Nice job, Lady Marmalade. We’ll be back. My husband thanks you for at least planting the kernel: I was humming Patty Libelle in French all afternoon.

Bon app my good readers, Bon app.

mummaV xx

February 13, 2012 / mummaVegas

But will the pram fit, honey? Overcoming cafe pram-scorn…

One challenge for mumma-kind: enjoying one of these, scorn-free.

So one of the things they warn you about, but something which you must experience for yourself as a new mother is the phenomenon of integrating into the “regular” society with your baby.

I’m not saying that as a new mother you yourself need any kind of self-preparation or K.I.S.S Guide to pry yourself away from today’s episode of Ellen and out the door. What I am saying is there really needs to be some kind of dissertation written into the expectation of society on new mums. And their prams. In cafes.

Go on, admit it. Before you brought forth your own little contribution to the Next Generation you’d fallen into that trap of chai-fuelled scorn. Scorning the new mother that dared to venture into your peaceful little caffeinated Wonderland on the corner of Life and Its All About Me. With her godforsaken pram. I know I did. If I’d counted the times I navigated my way from the coffee counter to the cafe’s exit, paper cup of Cappucino-Magma in hand raised condescendingly above my head to dramatically indicate the risk these women were exposing their dune buggies to…. What I’m saying is, the scorn is out there. On the flip side, i’ve now experienced that sensation of wincing and mouthing “sorry…” (but really thinking “go f*** yourself”) to the childless hottie on the cafe bench as she looks on at me and my pram wheeling through her zen-space with what can only be described as a simmering rage-pity. I know she’s thinking about having her ovaries removed before she commits that cardinal sin of “societal inconvenience” herself.

A bit too far….? Well.

Rather than pretend to know anything to pass on about turning the other cheek and pretending the looks of horror don’t exist, I thought the Boy and I would take the pragmatic approach to this aged dilemma (Prams in Cafes) and spend some time researching the city’s cafe scene with a mumma focus and offer up a couple of cafeteria alternatives where babies AND prams are welcome (or at least the floor space is so vast, no one really notices…). Each visited cafe had one stand out pram-friendly feature and I’ve done my best to be explicit:

1. Eurovida: 1/208 Given Terrace, Paddington: Home of the spacious piazza entrance where babies cries are muffled somewhat by the Given Terrace traffic. Home to the world’s BEST steak sandwich. Not a joke.  This baby (sandwich) is loaded with flavoursome beef, blue cheesy and brie-loaded goodness and some kind of mustardness that made my elbows tingle. The downside is its a little squishier going inside, and a Brisbane stinker makes sitting in the piazza at lunch just a touch less enjoyable. Still. Steak sandwich. Enough said.

***PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Mouthwatering goodness of steak sandwich allows for ignorance to overcome you, therefore you experience pram-scorn immunity.

Invoke your inner Homer and wrap your drool around one of these babies at Eurovida, Paddington

2. Fig Tree Deli: Shop 11, Samuel Village, 17 Samuel Street, Camp Hill: Terrific little one-stop-delicatess filled with exotic goodies you wouldn’t expect to find in a suburbia, let alone all together.

Fig Tree Deli: Cheap and chic location for a ham sambo (with room for the pram on the side)!

As an ex-baklava chef (in the loosest term of the word), I was thrilled to see Orange Blossom and Rose waters on sale (the last time I saw these was in a Lebanese food wholesalers in Punchbowl).

Considering my options of returning to my days as a quasi-pastry chef.

Add to this a bit of trick timing – midday on a Sunday out in Camp Hill is not the height of commercial activity apparently, and lunch services finishes at the family-friendly time of 1.30pm – and you have the ultimate in spacious, free-wheelin’, stroller-friendly, cheap eateries. $7.50 for a deli fresh sambo is my inner city idea of suburban value. And the coffee? It passed the doppio macchiato test swimmingly – 8/10.


Mmmmm...Beer...enberg Preserves.You can't beat the fresh stuff

****PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: This is suburbia on a Sunday. Calm, peaceful, with tasty eat options at a family-friendly hour = plenty of room to manoeuvre your buggy.

The other truly delightful discovery I made around this Samuel Village Precinct was stumbling into the hidden gem; Espialmerchant store. I wandered through this charming and well-stocked giftery and then patted Hubby on the head telling him he should be pleased I didn’t have a credit card… The perfect mix of stylish apparel, sweet children’s gift in a style of years gone by, interesting and intriguing fashion “bibles” (including a pictorial tome of Isabella Blow!) and quality jewellery and accessories – the ultimate chicks store!

Gotta love a sales rack to lure a mumma to her credit debt...

Espial: Gifting heaven, right there.

"Yesteryear" inspired kids toys @ Espial, Camp Hill

Espial: A little something for the mummas, surely!

And so, armed with suburban realty aspirations and a belly full of fanciness, Albie and I made our way back to our inner-city existence…

3. Anouk: 212 Given Terrace, Paddington: Yes yes, I realise I have brought you back to the neighbourhood of the ultimate steak sandwich yet Anouk was one of the first places hubby and I tried when we moved into the area. We were impressed then, and having met a fellow mumma for a light lunch – both of us with prams! – I continue to count this amongst my guaranteed go-tos. Added bonus factor: you think a bowl of chips is a bowl of chips, right? Well at Anouk you can order a bowl of rosemary-salted, fried chat potatoes served with a garlic aioli! Oh so lahdeedah and oh so delish! Wash these puppies down with a freshly muddled apple cider, lime and mint cocktail (unloaded) and let the groovy vibe envelope you.

These = heaven

Pram-friendly, hello!

Family-friendly barista coffeeing up a storm in a serene setting

****PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Not an abundance of pram space however the amazing and friendly staff go out of their way to ensure whatever your circumstance you feel invited and comfortable to enjoy your cafe experience. They’re a little hipster but a lot of terrific. Oh…and those freaky chip things!

4. Mugged: Oxford Street, Bulimba: Right. So there are times when the question is simple and the answer is clear.

Scenario: I get one bite of the caffeine cherry a day if I don’t want the wrath of the community health nurse bearing down on me at the next check up/interview. Therefore, it has to be a bloody good one. I want it quickly. I have a pram.

Question: Where is my nearest guarantee??

Answer: If you’re on the Bulimba side of the inner city, you’d be hard pressed to find another spot like Mugged, an Oxford Street hole-in-the-wall where not only can you wheel your precious cargo right up to the counter with out pissing off the locals or the barista, but the coffee is pretty outstanding and the service is friendly and prompt.

A hole in the wall on Oxford where the coffee is outstanding!

Check your expectations at the door when it comes to seating: Park your heiny on a low stool or milk crate on the footpath, move your pram up close and watch Bulimba go by. Alternatively, head across the road to the park and get native with your coffee’n’kid.

Don't expect a lounge chair people. This place is about the coffee. Enjoy!

***PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Essentially, Mugged is surrounded by public space so you have every right to be wherever you damn please! Nonetheless, the staff love kids. It’s Bulimba – with an adult:infant ratio of about 1:6, they kinda have to!

5. Jude Urban Kitchen: Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane CBD: Ok, so this place was a brand new discovery for me. And wasn’t I excited. First of all, if I’m about avoiding pram-scorn, the CBD is usually the last place I will venture. It isn’t isolated to cafes around here. Mummas across Brisbane risk exposure on buses, footpaths, traffic crossings, the Mall! But stroll a little further out of the CBD – just a touch – and you’ll find yourself on Eagle Street Pier where Jude Urban Kitchen serves up delicious inner-city treats catering for the white-collar on the hunt for tasty, reasonably priced, lunchtime fare. The quirky take-out style serving plates make this an excellent option to meet a friend – if you have to make a mad dash to the conveniently proximate baby-change room, you can pack your lunch up asap and whisk away. The place is busy, but efficient, and is a great option if you’ve been craving that sense of bustle you’ve been missing since you punched on to maternity leave.

Jude Urban Kitchen: The chic and perfect locale for a touch of CBD action.

Served in style

****PRAM-FRIENDLINESS: It helps to ring ahead and book a table to ensure your precious cargo is positioned at a table away from the bustling city slickers. But the food and Eagle Street Pier atmosphere are accommodating to make the trek from suburbia to the CBD worth the trip.

Jude: Busy, bustle-y, but efficient

Well, kids; here’s to the Fabulous Five. Bon apper-caf my friends. Happy socialising.

Until next time, keep on strolling’.

mummaV xx

January 23, 2012 / mummaVegas

how do you take your culture, Son?

I’m home writing this a little earlier than anticipated due to some inclement weather putting the stops on our final family jaunt for the week. I will recommend 2/3’s of the new J.Edgar film starring Mr DiCaprio and Ms Watts – only because we didn’t see the ending, and discussions in the car on the way home through the rain had Hubby and I agreeing that the “absolute power corrupts absolutely” theme was a little OTT. Any James Ellroy novel amply needles the level of dodge that Mr Hoover possessed in his day. What Ellroy has never needled explicitly is the orientation of Mr Hoover’s romantic interests….annnnd the movie lays it on pretty thick. It isn’t Naomi Watts, but rather one of the twin rowers from The Social Network. I did not see that comin’. I thought Mark Zuckerberg maybe…. but…meh. Albie’s only real thought was how drastically Naomi Watts had aged over the weeks since he has been alive. Yes, he said drastic. So advanced. It was less difficult than I thought explaining the skills of make-up artistry to a 6 week old.

Setting up for bed'o'clock @ the Cinema

For all the years I lived in Sydney, Moonlight Cinema month was always the way to kick off the new year and often there was a last minute dash to Centennial Park to catch Ferris Bueller on the big screen. I was pretty delighted to learn that Brisbane has incarnated its own version on the lawns of the Brisbane Powerhouse over in New Farm. Movies will run until Feb 18 and the line up is pretty neat. Although Boy Wonder barely batted a 1.5month old eyelid at his first shower el naturale, we did have to baulk early as the rain came tumbling down so I’d be keen to head back for Midnight in Paris…. or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off…. dammit – that’s the Sydney program. And if anyone can post the ending to J.Edgar we’d be most exceedingly obliged.

The clouds roll in....

How did I know my son would survive a couple of hours of captive cultural entertainment!? Well- I put the training wheels on him on Wednesday with a matinee viewing of Mary Poppins at QPAC of course! *tsk* what else??? Through a stroke of circumstance, I was informed on Monday morning that I was the fortunate “filler” to accompany Sister Armidala and Niece to the 1.30pm performance – and a good deal of fist-pumping later, I bundled up the child in a Baby Bjorn and whisked him into the dark confines of the nose-bleed section of the Lyric Theatre. What a show! I was truly torn between favouring the swirling and twirling debaucherous “Supercalifragalisticexpialidoshus”-ness of excitement or the all out, knees-uppery of “over the rooftops Step in Time!!” Exhaustingly brilliant. And that Matt guy, you know the judge from Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance?, can actually dance!! (am I the only SYTYCD tragic on wordpress?) I don’t know how Albie stayed asleep with my bouncing around in the chair with glee. Kids or no kids, go see it. Niece rated it an eleven to of ten and I’d trust the judgement of a 5 year old on that sort of thing on any day of the week. Twice on Sundays.

By Friday, both Albie-boy and I were a little tuckered out from all the activity and fun of having the family in town yet, thoughtfully, I had arranged his 6-week vaccines to occur on Friday. Jesus…. a whole new level of tears – and Albie let her rip as well! Poor little duffer. I won’t torture you with descriptives, but I knew at the end of the episode that we were both in need of a stiff drink…. or, given we are still in the throngs of nursing for his supper, at the very least the good company of stiff drinkers. And what, pray-tell would be a more culturally rich experience to surround oneself with drinkers of a crisp white wine on a Friday evening in brisVegas? Hmmmm…..The Opening Night of the Matisse Up Late at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) might just cut it!

Converging on the GoMA on Friday evening for Opening Night of Up Late

I don’t know about you, but it is kind of fun choosing an outfit from your wardrobe that clashes ostentatiously yet artfully; cursing that you don’t own a pair of wedge Birkenstocks, yet rejoicing that you can wear your thick-rimmed reading glasses all night – even when you don’t need to; walking around an exhibition of Matisse Drawing Life with your Moleskine notebook and nodding poignantly at all the Moby lookalikes that cross into your art viewing zone. (Albie noted half a dozen would-be Mobys in one Matisse display space on Friday night – it turned into an hilarious family game… and also a little bit like watching a plague).   Anyhoo, the Moleskine notebook ended up proving extremely handy as I was able to note – for my readers’ benefit – in true Hemingway style that Matisse would sketch upwards of three thousand drawings in preparation for some finished artworks, was influenced throughout his long a career by the likes of fellow artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso (which explains the diversity of his works then yes?) and it took GoMA more than two years of collaboration and dedicated work with the Bibliotechque Nationale Francais as well as private collectors in New York to cobble together an amazingly broad collection of his drawing works. Thank you Hannah, Sponsorship Manager at GoMA for the time and information!

I wish artiquette would allow photography of the works so I could visually share some of the amazement. There are valid examples of some sketches preferable to the finished work! I’m re-inlove with Matisse after the viewing. But alas, you’ll have to trust that our mouths were open in astonishment a lot; and get by on the entrance signage, and some pictures of the Drawing Room put together by the Gallery for would-bes and probably-ares to sit and sketch a set with their chilled crisp white wines. Taken on the trusty blackberry so not the finest aperture, yet you get the jist, right?

Entering the zone of awesome

The Drawing Room: Matisse: Drawing Life @ GoMA

Add to this, Up Late on Fridays throws in DJ Jazz knocking out remixed Marvin Gaye plus an international performer as a little seasoning for the art setting. We stuck around just long enough for Eleanor Friedberger to commence her croon, and although Boy Wonder encouraged us to get him home to bed, our early departure still made the whole evening 20 bucks very well spent. I don’t know if GoMA is going to share this exhibition or initiative with any other galleries along the eastern seaboard but if the Matisse: Drawing Life exhibition makes its way to the MCA or the Heide, do yourselves a favour, NSW/VIC friends, and see it. An outstanding collection of a great man’s life work.

A cultural overload for Boy Wonder I wonder? I’m exhausted just reading it!

This week we’re trying Baby Sensory classes, Australia day celebrations at a grown ups house, and a visit to Aunty, Uncle and Great Cousin on the Gold Coast – just to mix things up a little.

Until later…. mummaV  x

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