The Almost Dealbreakers

Mumabulous is feeling the uncomfortable tingle of shame regarding last night’s post. I revealed my husband’s charming quirks to an audience of 10s on the internet purely for my own amusement. The thing is that after 8 years together I still rather like Dadabulous. Hence the mild case of the guilts about publicly “dissing” him.  In order to even the score, I have decided to list some of the things I have done to drive poor Dadabulous crazy. Here are the almost dealbreakers that have strained the relationship.

I lost the car keys

This may not sound too serious but Dadabulous had bought me a shiny new Mazda 2 for my 40th birthday. I was truly overwhelmed by such a generous gift. He on the other hand, was just pleased to see the back of my old Mazda 121 box car. It was an embarassment to him. Anyways about a week after taking possession of our new toy I went and lost the car keys. We had them replaced at inconvenience and expense. The experience was akin to taking $600 and flushing it down the toilet. To say Dadabulous was mightily unimpressed by this sorry episode would be an understatement.




I scraped his car

You may by now be getting the impression that Mumabulous is not The Stig. Returing from a Halloween picnic, in the pouring rain and having indulged in a legal quantity of white wine, I scraped his Mazda 3 in a feeble attempt to enter the garage. He was so very disappointed in me, to put it mildly.

I got booked for speeding in the same spot three times

Are you sensing a pattern here? Much of the tension in our marriage is car related. I drive like an 80 year old woman and was gunning the Mazda 121 at 55k per hour. The problem was it was in a school zone at 9am. I attribute this display of idiocy to baby brain as I was heavily pregnant with P2 at the time. Dadabulous’ reaction was “Every one can make a mistake but three times is just carelessness”. I paid the not insubstantial fee with my own money and I’m looking forward to finally getting all my licence points back later this year.

Body image angst

The first 3 decades of my life were fraught with body image issues of epic proportions. This is because my hips are epically out of proportion with the rest of me. A slight weight gain or a little extra wobble could bring on floods of tears. Now I have reached my 40s I’m completely bored with this subject and totally over worrying about such trivia. So is Dadabulous. His manly mind could not fathom any of it.

I burnt his one of a kind Paris metro map teatowel

This was my most heinous act in the history of our relationship. I absent mindly put the precious heirloom too close to the gas burner while cooking and presto – up in smoke! We were able to salvage its tattered remains but it is no longer used for its intended purpose. Dadabulous has scoured the internet for a replacement but to no avail. This incident occured 6 or 7 years ago but scars of trauma remain.

World’s rarest tea towel.


The good news is that dispite me having done all this Dadabulous still appears to quite like me too. Sometimes he even says he is lucky to have me. Go figure? Perhaps its my wonderful cooking and cleaning skills that keep him coming home.

What have been the almost dealbreakers in your relationship?




Trivia They Dont Tell You About Marriage

Marriage is an institution that attracts many a cliche. Infact I’d wager that there are more cliches floating around about marriage than any other topic ( except for maybe death and taxes.). Before we slip on that plain gold band we are told, among other things that ;

–  Marriage is hard work.

–  If you put a coin in a jar every time you have sex during your first year of marriage then take a coin out every time you have sex in subsequent years the jar will never be emptied.

– Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

– A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he’s finished.

Mum and Dadabulous leaving the big issues behind.

On the big day things get  florid. In between all the amusing anecdotes about the groom’s wild past, the schmultz is laid on as thickly as marzipan on a wedding cake.  Wedding guests are regaled with lines like “today I marry my best friend, the one that I have laughed and cried with”, ” I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” and “stand together yet not too near together. For the pillars of the temple stand apart”*

Couples who have paid attention enter into marriage expecting to have a best friend to laugh, cry and stand together (but not too near) with. They hope that these benefits will compensate for the inevitable hard work and drop off in sex. Yet for all the jocular warnings and warm fuzziness, NO ONE tells you what marriage is really about.  Mumabulous is here to tell you that marriage is  about TRIVIA. When you decide to commit to another adult for the rest of your life every day thereafter is spent sweating the small stuff.

Chez ‘Abulous is a remarkably peaceful household. Dadabulous and I have quarreled only a handful of times in our 8 years together. Nevertheless we have long running disputes over some trifling issues. Our number one disagreement is about the toast. According to Dadabulous I overcook it. He frets that I am feeding the family carcinogens. My counter argument is that he undercooks the toast. His toast is like “Obama” – only half brown. The second point in my rebuttle is that he is paranoid about cancer. Inevitably this triggers a rant about the solid scientific evidence backing his position. Googled facts haven’t changed my opinion. I still prefer my toast more Denzil Washington than Barrack Obama.

Obama toast?

Toasty perfection or health hazard?

My use of cleaning products is also a bone of contention. In Dadabulous’ opinion I use too much of it and am dousing Chez ‘Abulous with carcinogens. I repeat my point that he is paranoid about cancer. One squirt of Spray and Wipe and he is stomping about the house opening windows in a huff. If I dared to use The White King toilet bleach in all of our bathrooms simultaneously (we have 5), he would order a full scale evacuation. So accute is his sensitivity to chemical smells he has banned scented babywipes.

Bottles of evil?

Grocery shopping is a fraught experience. Dadabulous’ approach is scientific. He will carefully scrutinise every label checking the list of ingredients. There’s a rule of thumb whereby he will only buy chocolate chip biscuits if they contain at least 25% chocolate. Anything less leads to an almighty moan about poor value for money. Fruit and vege shopping is even worse. He will check and double check each item ensuring fruity perfection. God help me if I bring home a bruised apple, overripe melon or a punnet of strawberries with a few “manky” ones at the bottom.

Talking to my Mumrades, I am assured that this is a universal experience. One friend believes her husband is suffering domestic blindness when it comes to grime. He can’t see her point or the mess.  Another gal pal and her husband disagree on when to terminate well worn underwear and socks. If he had his way, he would hang on to these items until the very last molecules of fabric disintergrated.

What inane disagreements go on in your household?  More importantly, did anyone tell you the truth about this stuff before you leapt into the matrimonial abyss?



* From “Today I Marry My Friend” by Bertrand Russell who had alot of knowledge on the subject having married three times.

I Carry Your Heart With Me by EE Cummings &

What of Marriage by Kahlil Gibran – my father wheeled this one out for Mum & Dadabulous’ wedding.

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Cafe Japone

1 Canberra Street, Randwick NSW 2031


This quirky little space is one of Randwick’s hidden gems and a family favourite. The proprieters have gone for an artsy vibe. The atmosphere is Asian chic meets Parisian bohemia. Japone describes itself as a “classical music cafe” and true to form, classical music provides diners with a serene soundscape. As if to drive the point home, there’s a piano against one wall.  Work from local artists is always on display however the quality varies from impressive to rank amatuer. Newspapers and a collection of magazines are piled up beneath the counter. The reading material is as eclectic as the decor. You can chose to exercise your intellectual muscle with the Scientific American or in my case finding it hopelessly out of shape, turn to the high-end fashion glossies.

Fresh muffins and patisseries.

It is a beloved local hangout populated on the weekends by dog-walkers, cycling bunches and families cruising in for a leisurely breakfast. There is a constant queue of track suited parents stopping by for a caffine blast. We even spotted local MP Peter Garrett here once. He smiled awkwardly, trying not to knock over fellow patrons with his lumbering frame. We fought back the urge to launch into a rendition of The Power And The Passion.

Loving the retro chic sugar bowls.

We love the French style coffee bowls which are large enough to bathe in and ensure you won’t be napping any time soon. The hearty and generous big breakfast is a family staple. One plateful of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, tomatoes, sausages, bacon and beans is enough to satisfy Dadabulous and the two princesses. Meanwhile I can never go past the muesli with fruit compote and yoghurt. Throw in a serve of raison toast with a freshly squeezed juice and we are fuelled for the day. Occasionally naughty Dadabulous likes to indulge in one of the fresh patisseries. The pain au chocolat is a particularly wicked treat.

Big breakfast.

I suspect that the staff comprised of cute, petite Japanese ladies is the major drawcard for Dadabulous. They are lovely and polite in the way that only the Japanese can be. There is certainly no snotty waiterstaff syndrome here. During the evenings Cafe Japone is transformed into a creative hub. It regularly holds writers nights, classical music jams and art exhibitions. All of this just adds to the unique personality of the place. If you’re in the neighbourhood come on in.

Muesli and fruit compote with yoghurt.

Mumabulous Verdict: 7.5/10


Success With Mess..

The Messy Spot

166 Maroubra Rd, Maroubra


Tucked away inside an unassuming office block in Maroubra is a riotous explosion of colour and creativity. The Messy Spot is a unique venue where kids aged from 2 to 12 have free reign to let their imaginations run wild. Here kids are “smocked up” given paint and glitter along with a smorgasbord of art equipment and invited to go to town. Painting the walls is not only allowed its encouraged! From Tuesday to Friday The Messy Spot is open for casual visits. No bookings are required so kids and carers can simply rock up and choose from the many art options available. Over the weekend the space is transformed into a one-of-a-kind party venue where staff provide a fully coordinated program of painting and craft activities.  They’ll even do all the catering, leaving parents nothing to do but enjoy the party. What could be easier?

Don’t try this at home kids!

The Messy Spot is a wonderful concept. Its a place where kids and parents can get away from the TV and actually do something “hands on” together at their own pace. The staff are always friendly and have a lovely affinity with the children. They are more than happy to offer advice and suggestions to help the littlies create their perfect masterpieces.  Of course the best thing is that you can mess about with paint, playdough and glitter (the mortal enemy of Mums everywhere ) to your heart’s content and leave cleaning up to them.

Suzannah is very proud of her masterpiece.

How it all came about.

The owner Karen Levi, Mum to Zac (aged 7) and Ashley (aged 4),  has a background in event management and business development. After having a family Karen found that her passions and priorities had completely changed. Although she was strongly motivated to work “outside the home”, the corporate world had lost its gloss. More importantly her former career simply did not offer the flexibility she needed.  Karen laughingly attributes her decision to plunge into the small business abyss to Oprah.  She was sitting in front of the TV one afternoon breastfeeding Ashley, when Oprah turned to the audience and asked ” Are you living an authentic life?”  As naff as it sounds, this was Karen’s epiphany. At that moment knew she had to crystallize an idea that had been rolling around in her head for years. Karen’s sister had long been urging her to push ahead with her dreams but it took one rhetorical question from Oprah for it all to click together in Karen’s mind. Inspired by her son Zac, she  wanted to create something that would be beneficial to young families. Spending time playing with and observing Zac as a toddler helped her ideas take shape. She envisioned a venue full of colour and texture, where kids had the freedom to experiment and express themselves. Ideally she wanted it to be an oasis of creative spontaneity in a world that she saw as increasingly structured and regimental for children. The blue print for the The Messy Spot was based on the kind of place that Karen wanted to take her young son but there was nothing like it available. The astute business woman in her saw a gap in the market and an opportunity.

Karen Levi loves encouraging creativity in kids.

Karen’s first obstacle was getting the idea past her husband. It was a “hard sell”.  Karen’s husband, an IT professional at a leading investment bank, forced her to reign in her enthusiasm and consider the practical aspects of her decision. The couple set about putting the building blocks in place. Organising finance and insurance was a monumental task. However the biggest challenge was finding a suitable space to rent. On December 16th 2008, The Messy Spot finally opened. It had taken the best part of that year to do all the ground work.

The first year

Karen began an advertising blitz centred around the Sydney  Child magazine. Customers began to trickle in and the business gained momentum through word of mouth. The Messy Spot’s first year was the hardest yet most exciting of Karen’s life. Juggling a baby and a pre-schooler, she was physically worn down by the work. Exhaustion and illness took its toll but blind determination and the fear of failure carried her through. With the Messy Spot being the only business of its kind in Australia, there were no role models or mentors to follow. Mistakes were made and the business model evolved through trial and error. Three years later Karen thinks of the business as being still young and just reaching the point where it is self-sustaining.

Just some of the fun art tool available.

Work/life balance?

Work/life balance is a Holy Grail that Karen is still searching for. She owes much of her success to the support of her parents and in-laws. Their help with the children enabled her to channel her energies into the business. Once he was “sold” on The Messy Spot plan her husband became a Rock of Gibraltar despite working long hours in a high pressure role himself.  He organises Zac and Ashley over the weekend when Karen is busy supervising the party side of the business.

The future

Thanks to the power of social media and old fashion word of mouth, business is steady enough for Karen to start thinking about taking a step back. She admits this is difficult given her emotional investment in the project. The brand is still in flux and she is introducing a variety of new products such as Hen’s Parties, adult craft sessions and corporate events. Her long term goal is to build a franchise but its a question of perfecting the business package and finding people who are as passionate about the Messy Spot concept as she is.

Creative freedom – The Messy Spot philosophy.

Its been a bumpy ride at times but Karen clearly relishes the journey. Having travelled down the small business road she doubts that she could return to the corporate world.  In fact she describes herself as a once “serious corporate employee” turned “small business goofball”.  She enjoys being part of the community and the rapport she has with parents. Most of all she loves seeing the children who regularly come to the Messy Spot grow and develop.

Karen is proof that with vision, perseverance and a little bit of inspiration from Oprah an enterprising woman can turn mess into success.


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Mumrade, I Salute You!

Our weekend family excursion was a trip to the Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. After fortituously finding ample parking at Mrs Macquaries Chair, we happened upon a lone Mum with two very well behaved little boys strapped into a Phil & Teds Mountain Buggy. We exchanged the usual parental pleasantries and expressed mutual outrage at the exorbitant $7 per hour parking fee. We both wrestled with a recalcitrant ticketing machine that obstinantly refused our credit cards. Of course Dadabulous resolved this technical issue and we parted ways. Mumabulous made a bee-line for the cafe. (It was 10.30am and I was suffering caffine withdrawal).

Some 20 minutes later, we were taking a leisurely stroll around the duck pond when we were approached by our new friend. Almost chirpily she asked if she could borrow our phone. Her Mountain Buggy had just rolled into the pond taking her baby bag with it. Her phone had been destroyed and her nappy supply completely drenched. Her clean and tidy appearance was explained by the fact that she had removed her jeans to enter the pond and retrieve the errant pram.

A beautiful day to lose a pram.

If this misadventure had happened to me, I would have been a gibbering wreck. Such an incident would have pushed me to an emotional melt down a la Brittany Spears. The difference between Brittany and I being that my pants would’ve remained securely on. ( A complete horror of exposing cellulite preventing me from disrobing). By contrast this super Mum calmly called her husband, cracked a few jokes about not having to wash the pram and headed with her dignity in tact back to her car. Her little boys uncomplainingly followed her.

What a graceful performance under pressure. Mumrade, I salute you.

Now I am posting a couple of unrelated but cute photos of the girls because that’s what Mummy bloggers do.

Keep a close eye on your prams people.


Taming the lion


P2 is learning the art of the pose


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Go For Gold At The Parenting Olympics

As  the 2012 London Games commences the entire world has seemingly worked itself into a frenzy over the ultimate sports carnival. Mumabulous is astounded at the passion and enthusiasm she hasn’t been able to muster this time around. As with pop music, my interest in sport diminishes with each passing year. To me the Olympics are an overused concept. There’s a winter Olympics, a Paralympics, a Gay Olympics and a Masters Olympics for geriatrics ie the over 35s. It follows that there should  be a Parenting Olympics.  Mums and Dads need more stamina and determination than any elite athlete. I’d argue that parents do it tougher than our top sportspeople as they don’t have armies of coaches and support people. Moreover parents can’t rely on performance enhancing drugs (although red wine does seem to help). I’d like to suggest the following list of events to the IOC.

Hope to see this guy at the Parenting Olympics.

The Sprint

The 100m – Individual parents hurtle down the street in pursuit of a rogue toddler.

The Relay

Mums and Dads take it in turns to race down the street chasing the rogue toddler.

Brangelina lines up for the sprint.

Pram Dash

A field of competing parents converge upon a cafe with a pram. The first to claim the best table wins gold. There are separate categories for different models of pram so that hefty Mountain Buggies are not pitted against light weight Mclarens.

At the starting line for the pram dash.

Weight Lifting

A competition to see who can lift the most shopping bags whilst simultaneously carrying a squirming, whinging toddler.

The Marathon

An all night session with a sick, screaming baby. This gruelling event is enough to put the fear of God into the likes of Steve Moneghetti and Rob de Castella. The parent who can keep their eyes open for the longest period of time wins gold (and a much needed sleep).

The Supermarket Obstacle Course

In this challenge an  individual parent must acquire all of the items on a weekly shopping list with two pre-schoolers in tow. The obstacles arise spontaneously along the way and are different for each competitor. One may have to deal with a child pilfering from the confectionary aisle. Another may have to stop two mischievous sisters from building a cubby house from packets of toilet paper rolls.* The first to reach the check out with all of the listed items wins gold.

A contender in the Supermarket Obstacle course


The fastest parent to dress a wiggling baby in a body suit wins gold.

The Morning Heptathlon

This is an competition made up of  7 separate tasks necessary to get pre-school children ready to leave the house in the morning. Parents must 1. wake children, 2 feed them breakfast, 3. brush the children’s teeth, 4. dress the children, 5. pack bags with nappies, snacks etc, 6. ensure kids go to the toilet or have fresh nappies and finally 7. strap kids into their car seats. The first parent to finish this series of tasks and drive away wins gold.

Gold Australia Gold!!!!!

Given that parenting involves feats of athleticism every day, I am sure that we can come up with hundreds if not thousands of other events for the inaugural Parenting Olympics. Which intense and thrilling competitions would you like to see scheduled at the Parenting Games?

Fortunately this will not be one of the Parenting Olympic uniforms.

Nor will this…

Happy Olympic Viewing


* P1 and P2 actually attempted this a Coles Eastgardens.It was both hilarious and mortifying.


The Perfect Hiding Spot

Mumabulous is a terrible person. I got a laugh from someone else’s misfortune today. According to the ninemsn website, a Sydney man who understandably didnt wis,h to be identified, sold his car last Saturday for $15,000. For reasons unexplained he wanted to hide the cash bounty from his wife. Perhaps feared she would race straight to the local Westfield. Anyway this genius came up with the perfect hiding spot – the oven. Apparently she never uses it, so believed this kitchen appliance would be the domestic equivalent of a  Swiss bank account.

Not so much! Wednesday rolled around and the unsuspecting wife switched on the oven to heat up some chicken nuggets for the family. How she missed a great wad of cashola sitting in there remains a mystery. Needless to say she was quick to notice the clouds of billowing smoke spewing from the oven door. Talk about having money to burn – wokka, wokka, wokka.  I couldn’t wait to tell Dadabulous this tale of woe because it makes an unfortunate incident where I accidently burned his irreplacable map of the Paris metro teatowel seem trivial.

Money to burn?

This sorry episode reminded me of the old joke – Question : Where do you  hide a five pound note from a Pom? Answer : Under the soap. – tish boom.*  It also got me wondering if I had a hypothetical boxload of cash how could I best conceal it from Dadabulous. The solution was immediately obvious. It would be as invisible as dark matter to him in the washing machine. In the seven years that we have lived together he might have done one load of washing.  By extension, he has rarely folded or put away any clean washing so the girls’ wardrobes should also be a safe bet. He’ll never volunteer to dishes so under the kitchen sink would be another secure option. To be fair, should he wish to secrete somthing from me, he need only place it under the ironing board. I havent used it for so long I’m not even sure where it is . The next best choice would be under the wheelie bin, as taking the garbage out is strictly his “husbandly duty”.

The perfect hiding spot

Where would you safely stash your $15,000?



* To all my lovely friends from the UK – I don’t think you smell. Anyways I am sure you have told worse jokes about Aussies.