Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is a star vehicle for Adam Sandler but don’t let that put you off. Its the best kind of Adam Sandler film there is – one where you don’t have to look at Adam Sandler.  Adam flamboyantly voices the unfairly maligned Count Dracula, a doting single Dad who only wants to protect his daughter Mavis from the cruel and vicious human world. He builds the Hotel Transylvania in the midst of a “spooky” forest as the ultimate sanctuary for Mavis and the whole of monster kind. Its a place where the freakish and spooky can unwind, undisturbed by those pesky, lynch mobbing, pitch fork wielding humans.

On the eve of Mavis’ 118th birthday, Drac gathers a motley crew of his nearest and dearest including the Frankensteins, Wayne the werewolf and his litter, Murry the Mummy and Griffin the Invisible man, to throw an almighty monster mash. Meanwhile Mavis has ideas of her own. She is desperate to escape the cloisters of the hotel and experience the wide world. Both their apple carts are upset by the unexpected arrival of a human backpacker Johnathan. Chaos ensues when Mavis and Johnny take a shine to one another. Drac must learn to let his little girl grow up and overcome his distaste for humans so that true luurve can prevail. Luckily the adventurous and fun loving Johnny is the right dude for the job. He  teaches the ghouls how to party 21st century style  and in the process bridges the gap between the two races.

Count and Mavis Dracula

Whilst the central theme of father/daughter conflict is well trodden territory, the film is fresh and playful.  I’d braced myself for an onslaught of potty humor but there was less of it than I had expected.  We do however learn early on that monsters do monstrous farts, which is bound to appeal to young boys. Johnny is a free styling party dude whose philosophy is “you just gotta roll with it”. His exuberance gives the undead Drac a new lease of life.  There are plenty of gags about the way vampires are portrayed in the popular culture. One moment where Drac huffs in disgust about the Twilight saga is pure gold.  In another uproarious scene Drac and his gang stumble into a “monster festival” where they discover that rather than being despised by humans, they are revered, by the nerds at least.

Mavis and Johnny have “zinged” but will true luuuurve win?

The support cast including Kevin James and David Spade add pizazz. Steve Buscemi does a hilariously dead pan hen pecked were wolf and Fran Drescher is brought out of moth balls to play a nasally, big haired Mrs Frankenstein. Overall the dudey high jinks and camaraderie make Hotel Transylvania play like a Judd Apatow  movie minus the sexy bits. This makes it pitch perfect for the 6 to 10 age group.

Mumabulous Verdict: 7.5/10

Given that most of Adam Sandler’s work is juvenile, his foray into children’s films seems like a natural progression. He gets it right with Hotel Transylvania. Apparently Adam wanted to make a film that he could enjoy with his own daughters. He’s put some heart into this project and it shows. Its a fun, high spirited holiday film which is ideal for primary schoolers and has plenty to make the grown ups smile.

P1’s Verdict: I liked the bit where they had a piggy back fight in the pool. That was so fun. Could I have the DVD of that?

P2’s Verdict: Popcorn!



Can’t Take ‘Em Anywhere!

Having misspent my teenage years in the 1980s I love the Hoodoo Gurus. When Dave Faulkner sang ” You can’t take me anywhere. I’ll strip down to my underwear. If you give me half a chance” in the 1991 hit Miss FreeLove, I thought it was delightfully risque. A few years down the track I figured the Gurus must have met a former colleague of mine who had tremendous difficulty keeping his pants on at any after hours function.  Some twenty years later the song is still as resonant as ever but for different reasons. It makes two salient points about parenting. Firstly ts true you can’t take pre-schoolers any place where public decorum is expected. Secondly they will strip down to their underwear (or better still go the full monty) at the slightest provocation.

You cant take superannuated rockers or pre-schoolers anywhere.

Bitter experience has taught me that you can’t take your kids to the following places.

1) Grocery shopping

If they cant be restrained I’d strongly advise against just popping into your local Colesworths with your kids. That five minute diversion to grab some milk can so easily turn into half an hour of the purest form of hell. My girls think that super markets exist solely for their entertainment. On one fraught visit they used our local Woolies as their own personal derby track. I swear I could see the smoke coming off their heels as they raced each other up and down every aisle. Usain Bolt would have had trouble keeping up (he has a much larger turning circle than they do as well as being too large to clamber through shelves).

On an even more embarrassing occasion, the terrible twosome decided that they were going to transform the paper towel aisle in Coles into a cubby house.  Dadabulous marched off with the trolley leaving me to deal with the scene of mass destruction. The girls had climbed onto the shelf behind the stacks of paper towel and were nonchalantly knocking them into the aisle. Restraining them would have involved me joining them on the structurally unsound scaffolding. I did what any responsible parent would do. I stood there and laughed. Surprisingly the staff didn’t have the care factor to kick us out.

Don’t venture down the aisles of HELL.

2) Clothes Shopping

Taking preschoolers clothes shopping is an experience that can cause PTSD in even the calmest most level headed of parents. We need a whole new generation of counselors to deal with this burgeoning issue. Containing them in the change cubicle is next to impossible and the chances of them escaping into the big wide mall are sky high. If they do mange to stay inside the store they will often rummage  through the merchandise with their grubby hands whilst you are berated by an irate shop keeper. Its even worse when they decide to play an impromptu game of hide and seek. You go into code red PANIC whilst they are laughing at your hapless tomfoolery from the inside of a  size 20 pants leg.  Its small wonder that mothers have limited wardrobes.

3) Weddings

If the invitation states “kids welcome” don’t take them up on it. Your enjoyment will be seriously curtailed.  Not only will you not be able to make the most of the free booze, the potential for embarrassment is off the scale.  At the last nuptials we attended P1 spotted the approaching bridal party and being the diva that she is, wanted to be part of the parade. She was appropriately dressed in tulle after all. No amount of explaining that it was the bride’s special day could convince her that she was not allowed to be in the show. I had to physically restrain her from skipping around the bride’s gigantic hooped skirt on the march up the aisle.  The ceremony was held in the Camellia Gardens in Miranda. I swear P1s howls of disgust could be heard all the way to Cronulla. Luckily the bride was too high on emotion to notice.

P1 wants to be a part of that action.

4) Public Swimming Pool

A strict one parent to one child ratio must be adhered to at the local swimming pool. Do not attempt to take two children or more alone.  Your sanity will be tested to the very limits.  I promise there will be near drowning incidents, skull cracking tumbles on wet concrete and toddlers going MIA. Worse still there will be fights over the pool’s limited supply of noodles. You’ll have to resort to bribery to cox your kids out of the germ ridden waters and have no alternative but to spend your cash on fatty hot chips and ice creams. Heed my warning Mumrades.

5) Long Haul Flights

Fortunately I have never had to endure this brand of cruel and unusual punishment. A girlfriend of mine took her two pre-school boys to Denmark and suffered the 30 hour flight without a wink of sleep. She is scarred for life and so am I just hearing this tale of woe. The thought of my two tired, crank,y pent up girls harassing the cabin crew and racing up and down the aisles for 14 hours or more is too much to contemplate. The queuing at customs at the end is just the ghastly icing on the hell cake.  If it means that I’ll have to wait until P1 and P2  are teenagers before my next glamorous European jaunt so be it. Mind you, celebrating my 50th birthday in Paris is something worth waiting for. (hint, hint Dadabulous).

So Mumrades, have you also learned the hard way that there are some places you just can’t take your kids? Regale us with your tales of horror.

I’m thankful for baby sitters this Thursday.

Thankful ThursdayLove

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So Frocked Up

Sometimes a blogger has to reach for the low hanging fruit and the fruit doesn’t hang much lower than entertainment industry award ceremonies. The silly season leading up to the Oscars kicked off today with the Emmy Awards. It was nirvana for fashionistas and celebrity addicts alike. Undoubtedly social media is going haywire, deconstructing every red carpet ensemble. The world doesn’t need yet another Emmy’s fashion blog post. But hey – Mumabulous doesn’t need another piece of Lindt chocolate but I’m sure as hell going to have it anyway.

Here are some of the highlights for me.

Sophia Vergara

Ariel called. She wants her tail back.

Six innocent mermaids died so one Latino diva could look fishy on the red carpet. The fashion police panned this frock. It was relegated to worst dressed lists all over the web. I don’t think its that bad. Perhaps on a lesser mortal it would have been a disaster but Sophia has the chutzpah to carry it off. She’s like the bride of Neptune. It reminds me of what the Swedish exchange student wore to our year 12 formal. Her head to toe emerald sequins out blinged my ruffled green taffeta. ( It was 1988!).

Lucy Liu

C3PO is getting excited.

In an episode of Futurama Lucy Liu is featured as a sexy robot gone rogue. Its therefore fitting that she should wear this. As Zack Brannigan said in the aforementioned program ” Now there’s a wave of destruction that’s easy on the eye”.

Christina Hendricks

You dont expect to find so much curvy goodness in your lunch bag.

I am a Mad Men freak and therefore a big fan of Christina Hendricks. Not only is she one of the most beautiful women in the world, she’s a very handy actress. However this is not her finest red carpet moment. She looks like she’s wearing a wet paper bag. I’m sure most men would love to see her fight her way out of it. Mind you she still looks smokin’.

Julianna Margulies

From living room to red carpet?

Is it just me or does Julianna look like she’s wearing sofa upholstery? Looks like she’s raided my grandmother’s sitting room. On the positive I love the colors and her skin is amazing.

Ashley Judd

Don’t tell the bride.

The fashion critics tore this one to bits with gleeful savagery. It reminds me of a bridesmaid dress I wore back in 1997. I was wearing a similar amount of hair lacquer too. It took days to get it out. I’d imagine Ashley’s shampooing her hair for the hundredth time instead of schmoozing at an after party right now.

Lena Dunham

Too Mumsy even for Mumabulous

This is the only Emmy’s frock that I would describe as a “shocker”.  Lena Dunham is the creator and star of the HBO series Girls. She’s 26. Sadly this dress would be better suited to Susan Boyle who is 51.

Padma Lakshmi

A sunrise woven into fabric.

This is my favorite. This woman looks breathe taking. The color reminds me of the sun rise over the ocean. This is not something that I need to be reminded of as I’m seeing it every morning when the sun blazing through the window at 5 freaking 30. Still this dress is divine and just perfect for Padma’s exquisite skin tone.

What were your Emmys  frock picks? Does posting about this kind of thing make me a shallow and vacuous person? If yes, is that a good thing?

Get glamorous girls.




I’m A Feminist But….

Recently I was speaking with a very switched on lady who is  juggling family life with a  successful small business venture. She was trying to explain why she disliked the term “mumtrepreneur” commencing her argument with “I’m not a feminist but..”. It struck me as a strange thing to say. This astute woman was living out the feminist ideal of “having it all” but denying the underlying ideology. “Im not a feminist but..” is a phrase we hear often from educated women trying to forge their own paths. I believe what they are really trying to say is “I’m not a hairy legged, man hating ideological zealot.” Its a shame that feminism is automatically viewed this way by so many.

WTF? – No wonder we are confused.

My generation (X) has been the beneficiaries of the “sisterhood” before us. Unlike our grandmothers, we’ve enjoyed tertiary education and most of us have at least started our careers off on an equal footing with the men. We’ve been able to buy property in our own right and  control our bodies through easily accessible birth control. Feminism has been part of the back drop to our lives but how many of us really know that much about it? I confess that whilst I’ve worked in a “mans world” and purchased my own apartment, I’ve never read any feminist literature (unless you count Kaz Cooke). I don’t feel confident about entering the debate as I’m not 100% au fait with the arguments. I’m not even certain what feminism means anymore. I guess I skated through life not really needing it until I found my career prospects greatly diminished by five years of being the primary care giver to my girls.

Something I really should read.

In order to keep it simple stupid, I turned to the font of all knowledge – Wikipedia. Here I found that at its most basic level “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women. Feminist activists campaign for women’s rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women. Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violencesexual harassment, and sexual assault. They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women“.

By these standards we’re all feminists. Seriously who would support unequal access to education, lower pay for equal work, domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault? By the same token most reasonable people would support maternity leave and a level playing field in the workplace. Many of the battles appear to have been won (at least in the Western World) making the feminist call to arms sound shrill. “Choice” is a feminist catch-cry. Most of us choose family and that’s where things begin to break down. Its almost impossible to come through motherhood with your career unscathed.  Some do manage it (including friends of mine )but these ladies often have support from the extended family not to mention a super human ability to function on very little sleep.

It all seems very unfair. Afterall men are not asked to chose between career and family are they? I’d argue that there are millions of men who would dearly love to spend more time with their kids but feel they have no choice but to tread that well worn corporate hamster wheel. The brave few who choose to take time out or to reduce their working week often find themselves lagging behind in the rat race. Its symptomatic of us living in an economy rather than a society rather than some kind of unconscious conspiracy against women. Ignoring or diminishing the pressure that men are under does nothing to advance feminism.

I’m  a feminist but –

I don’t hate men. I adore men. They are gorgeous, smart and funny and the vast majority want to do the right thing by us.

I’m a feminist but –

I don’t wish to blame some kind of indefinable patriarchy for all of the difficulties women face.

I’m  a feminist but –

I don’t wish to view everything in the popular culture through the prism of feminism.

I’m a feminist but –

I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘antimen’. I’m just ‘Thumbs up for the six billion’ (Caitlin Moran – How To Be A Woman)

Caitlin Moran – A new icon for a new century.

I welcome your disagreement.

Love Mumabulous

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The Road To Dagsville

Parenting is not like going riding on the freeway of love in a pink Cadillac. More often than not it feels like the highway to hell. Its certainly a long and winding road that leads to Dagsville.

When you set off on this journey you soon find its a one way street. There’s no need to pack your mojo or your inner cool. You wont be needing them for this trip. Luckily the route is  clearly signposted. Here are some major indications that you’re fast approaching Dagsville in your sensible family wagon.

No baby on board sticker here.

  • When you’re racing in pursuit of your cheeky toddler that’s not the Benny Hill chase theme you can hear in your head. That’s you humming it – loudly.
  • You might watch gastro porn like Nigella or the ever popular Master Chef but your own diet consists largely of slobbered on crusts left by your child.
  • Bright colors may be so on-trend this season but your wardrobe is turning a cheerless shade of khaki, embellished by baby detritus.
  • You find yourself Googling the personal lives of popular children’s entertainers. I’ve heard that Jimmy Giggle has a devoted following among Mums. I’m sure Jimmy is a lovely young man but those bright orange owl feet slippers just don’t do it for me. Sportacus is more my scene – Bing bang digga rigga dong! While we are on Lazy Town, beneath Robbie Rotten’s prosthetic facial features and figure hugging lycra lurks a smoldering Clive Owen look alike. Don’t believe me ? – http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4082284288/nm1133284 *
  • You find yourself laughing while your kids watch completely inappropriate clips on YouTube. Ghetto Dora is a prime example. In this heartwarming series Da Map says things like ” F&#k You GPS” and “Dont go thru da woods. There’s some really f#%king freaky s^*t going down in there”.  Then there’s Goth Dora, crack whore Dora and a multitude of clips where Dora’s castmates commit extreme acts of violence. When it comes to inappropriateness Dora’s got it all!
  • You’ve got a “nudie rudie” theme song for bathtime. Mine goes to the tune of Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti – ” Nudie rudie, nudie rudie, nudie rudie, nudie rudie Wooooooooooooooo! Nudie rudie, nudie rudie, A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-wop-bam-boom!” Do you serenade your husband with your “nudie rudie” song when you walk in on him in the shower? Nah – me neither.
  • Similarly delightful little ditties accompany your toileting and nappy changing activities. I’ve got two favorite poo songs . One goes to the tune of Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino, the other to Coldplay’s Yellow. I’ll spare you the details.
  • Your lyrical genius finds its way into the kitchen. In my case –
  1. “She’s got eggs, she knows how to use them” ( Legs by ZZ Top )
  2. “I smell the bread dough rising” ( Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  3. “Rice, Rice Baby” ( Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice)
  4. “I’ve got my pizza base, my p pizza base”. (Poker Face by Lady Ga Ga )   And my personal favorite as it causes both the girls to groan in annoyance;
  5. “If you like a plate of pasta put some cheese on it. wo oh oh oh oh oh” ( All The Single Ladies by Beyonce)

Put some cheese on it!

  • You have two date nights a year with your husband and you spend them talking about the kids.
  • Busting a move on the dance floor involves Ring a Rosy or some kind of chicken impersonation.
  • You used to view global warming as the most pressing problem facing human kind. Now its potty training.
  • Target has become your retail destination of choice.
  • Chocolate is the definitive answer. Could you repeat the question.

What are the glaring signs that you’ve descended into Dagsville central?

The road to Dagsville is all down hill.



* If you looked at this you are as tragic as I am.

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It’s All About YOU!

This is the post where I reach out across cyberspace and invite YOU to tell me all about yourself. I’d love to know about your life and the issues that concern you. More specifically I want to hear about the types of blogs you enjoy and what in your opinion makes an engaging blog. Please feel free to shamelessly hustle your own blog and Facebook page here. I’m hungry for all that tasty, tasty spam.

This is the kind of blogger Picasso follows. How about you?

Mumabulous has been going for a little over three months now and has just pipped the 10,000 page view milestone.( I realize that Mr Woog gets more hits than that during her morning coffee run but for a newbie it ain’t too shabby.) She quickly became a very different beast from what I’d originally intended. I’d wanted to create a sensible and informative resource for parents. (I know, I know I’m stifling a giggle as I type). However my fingers hit the keyboard and something entirely different happened. Who knew there was so much mindless fluff and frivolity inside me wanting to get out.

Over recent weeks I’ve been flaunting my wares all around town like a ghetto pimp in the hope of taking Mumabulous to the next level. The good people at Aussie Mum Network (http://www.aussiemumnetwork.com/) have invited me to become a regular contributor and there’s some chance that I will be splashing my stuff on another start up website. I’m doing this purely for the glory and accolades this will undoubtedly bring. Luckily its not for the payola as there is none. Nevertheless if I’m going to take this step, I want to do it right. I hope to come up with content that people will actually want to read.

I’ve trawled through dozens of Mummy blogs since Mumabulous’ awkward inception – big and small alike. I’ve found an amazing breadth of talent out there. Many of the blogs are giving a voice to some very serious matters like mental health, PND, single parenthood, struggles with weight loss, grief and bereavement etc. This is absolutely as it should be. These issues should be dragged out from under the rug, aired and discussed. Nevertheless I find myself drawn to the light side. I’m attracted by wit and levity in a blog. Humor aside, I admire writers who offer something a little more than just your standard “mummy” fare. Those who are not afraid to offer an opinion and stand by it also have my respect even if I disagree.

Here are some blogs that have kept me engaged and entertained.

This Charming Mum

This Charming Mum
Parental Parody

Crap Mamma

Musing and Mayhem

A Cup of Tea and A Blog

Cup Of Tea And A Blog

With Some Grace

Handmade Tears and Triumphs



Here’s a bunch that must be wearing pullovers as I get see their buttons.

Kimba Likes


Enid Bite ‘Em


House Goes Home


Life With Square Pegs


This is really just the tip of the proverbial ice berg. I hope you’ll introduce me to a few of your favorites. Even more importantly for me at this stage, I hope you’ll help me become a better blogger by giving me an insight into what you’d like to read.  In the immortal words of the Spice Girls ” Yo tell me what you want. What you really, really want”.

Thankfully Yours


If you wannabe a blogger, you’ve got to get Facebook friends..

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Kate Says Stuff


Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a highly original work with a multi-faceted plot and delicately nuanced characterization. Just kidding! The good people At Dreamworks are milking this franchise for all its worth. The film is so laden with cliches that it even self-consciously jokes about it. Madagascar 3 is yet another shameless merchandising platform but dont let this stop you from enjoying yourself.  Its a colorful rollicking ride with a toe tapping pop sound track. There’s plenty of slap stick humor for the kids and a few one liners (mostly at the expense of French Canadians) for the benefit of the adults which is all you really need in a holiday film.

The tale begins with the familiar foursome of Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman along with the lemurs, deciding to follow the penguins to Monte Carlo. Minutes later our heroes arrive to find the ever resourceful penguins have an elaborate scam going at the casino. Of course the reunion does not go as planned and the gang find themselves the target of the psychotic Captain Chantel Dubois from Animal Control. Stranded in a new exotic landscape the troupe go undercover with a traveling circus. Far from being the easy route back to their New York home they find the circus is seriously lackluster and in desperate need of some American style razzle dazzle. Alex the consummate show-lion takes on the task of revamping the show and bringing it into the Twentyfirst century. Predictably all of the animals “dig deep” and discover talents and passions they didnt even know they had. For instance Marty the zebra finds that he loves being a living cannon ball and Melman the giraffe learns that he is not “rhythmically challenged” by dancing on a high wire. Even Vitaly the (literally) burnt out Siberian tiger gets his mojo back.

The team wow London audiences whilst simultaneously avoiding Dubois’ relentless pursuit. Finally a big time show biz promoter gives them a gig in New York and our protagonists are back on home turf. Yet home is no longer where the heart is. After their many adventures in the wild the team realize that they can no longer be contained in a zoo and that they are deep down “circus folk”.  The finale where Dubois gets her comeuppance is a joyous spectacle of neon color set to Katy Perry’s Firework. P1 could barely contain herself bopping along enthusiastically in her seat.

Mumabulous Verdict: 6.5/10

It’s not rocket surgery but it is fun, frenetically paced holiday fare with a few chuckles for the grown ups. Ideal for young primary school kids.

P1’s Verdict

That was so fun. I want the DVD.

P2’s Verdict

Da da da da da da Afro Circus, Afro Circus.

Great school holiday fun.