Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Charlie, Me and PND

Maternity Choices Australia Magazine recently arrived in my mailbox, along with the feature article I wrote for them. They are a small magazine in Australia that provide tons of information on birth, birth options, and after childbirth information. Each issue also provides readers with first hand account birth stories. When asked to write for them I chose to write about my struggle with Post Natal Depression rather than my birth story. I think sharing my story and writing it all down was part of the healing process for me. My main reason for sharing my story, being so vulnerable and open, was to help other women who may be struggling with PND now. I tend to call my own experience Post Natal Anxiety instead of Post Natal Depression, because for me the anxiety is what really took over.

I don't have the option of sharing the magazine with my readers, friends and family so I've taken to podcasting to share it. I have read out the full article in the link below, and it's really easy to listen to on your iPhone, or in the car. Please share this with soon-to-be mums, and new mums. I wish I had heard a story like this when I was in my dark spot.

Listen here: Charlie, Me and PND

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yummy Mexican Food - El Poco Loco Truck

Saturday we hopped, skipped and jumped our way through puddles to get to the Hunt and Gather Markets in Pacific Park, Newcastle. It was mildly raining when we got there, and we expected to see the hipsters that we heard would be congregating there, but it was hard to see much at all when we were so cold and wet. I headed to El Poco Loco Food truck to try out their Mexican comida (food).  This ain't no ordinary food truck folks! The food that comes out of this truck is created by Chefs, as I learned from the owner Tracey. When we visited Vancouver last year my friend Leah took us downtown just to have our pick of food trucks there. We went with the  Mom's Grilled Cheese Truck, (you can see a photo of what that looked like at that link). It was quite the adventure, and one I had wished we had in Newcastle; which is why I was especially excited to try out this truck's food.

El Poco Loco had 3 glorious items on their menu today! To start we tried their Mexican Torta
My mum and sisters have been telling me of their love of Torta's for years and I have never been able to try one until today. I was not disappointed and this one was worth the wait. It was full of slow-cooked pork, loaded with chorizo, guacamole, salsa, cheese and beans! The bun was very fresh, although Dave (my husband) reckons the top of the bun was a little too thick.
BUT I got talking to one of the guys who works for Casa De Loco (the Mother restaurant to this food truck),  and I discovered that they are currently trying to find the perfect bun for their Torta, and are still tweaking it with their baker. Personally, I loved it. You can't fault their delicious, tasty slow cooked pork!

Next up we tried their Breakfast Burrito

Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, rocket, mushrooms, guac and salsa on a nice light tortilla.
This was impressively presented for coming out of a food truck's kitchen, and the combined flavours were just really yummy. I have never had rocket in a burrito before and it really worked!

Lastly, Tracey brought out some Churros (Mexican Doughtnuts) for us to try. They were covered in Dulce De Leche (slowly heated sweetened milk). Dave and I reckon these are now our favourite Churros in town. We loved the crispy exterior and the just soft enough middle. Again, talking to the boys from this place, I discovered they have been through a few Churro recipes and this one seems to be the keeper. We certainly hope so!

Now you want to hunt this truck down, don't 'cha? Well, because Newcastle Council is super cool and awesome (insert total sarcasm here) we won't be seeing this truck up and down our streets just yet. I did have a little mexican pollo (chicken) whisper in my ear that they will be at Newcastle Uni for Autonomy day (early August). AND they will be serving yummy food on the streets of Sydney on weekdays. And, and, and they will be hanging out at local gigs and markets on weekends so keep an eye on their Facebook page to find out where they are going to be next.

What nice, lovely people Ben and Tracey are! Just check out those smiles!

*This post was sponsored by El Poco Loco but all opinions are my own and I am honest. Promise. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lesson on Female Anatomy: you have three holes not two

You've got three holes not two! This might sound totally ridiculous to some people but there really are grown, sexually active women out there who have no idea about their own anatomy. How do I know this? I know because I often tell this story to people about an old roommate of mine, and some of them have confessed to thinking the same as her.

She was 19 and yes, sexually active. One day she walked out of our bathroom and said to me "Isn't it so annoying that you have to take out your tampon every time you pee?" My jaw dropped. I couldn't hide my shock from her. I asked her what she was talking about. "You know what I mean, so your tampon doesn't fill with pee?" Stupefied, I replied "What …fill with pee? How could your tampon fill with pee?" Now she looked at me like I was the crazy one. Like, duh, don't you know you pee through your vagina. My mind was officially blown, I had just learned something new about my anatomy that I never knew before. I could pee from my vagina. Mad skills. No, okay, so all joking aside, the truth is that I tried to give her an anatomy lesson right then and there. A very basic one with words from my mouth, not by taking down my pants. "No, we have a pee-hole, then a vagina, then a butt-hole." She didn't believe me. She was a very stubborn girl and insisted that she was correct and left for work.
When she returned that evening I called her over to the computer and showed her something like this, and explained the pee-hole was called the urethra.

Her first response was anger, " Oh my God, Jessica, you always have to be right, don't you!" Well, maybe I do and maybe I don't, but when it comes to anatomy things are the way they are for all of us and that's just hard fact, (unless they aren't which is then considered an abnormality, which I'm certain peeing through your vagina would be considered).

Was I the only one paying attention in Sex-Ed? I didn't think I was. I confided the story in another girlfriend (same age as us and also sexually active) and was surprised when she turned quiet afterwards, and looked embarrassed. She then told me she has always thought the same thing as my roommate too. Oh man, maybe a little note should be written on the inside of tampon boxes "Wearers should know that they have a separate pee hole so there is no need to fear a urine soaked tampon in the Vagina." Or Sex-Ed classes that teach "UVA! UVA! UVA! Urethra-Vagina-Anus!"

I have now learned 13 years later ( and several times over) that this lack of education about our own female genitalia is actually more common than I ever thought. That's why I'm posting this. If it will benefit one woman then it was all worth it, even monetarily; after all, just think how much money that woman will now save on tampons. Right. Those things aren't cheap.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Healthy Wholemeal Coconut Prune Chia Seed Muffins

There are so many great things packed into these little guys that it was really hard to pick a  recipe name. I went looking for a HEALTHY wholemeal muffin recipe and came across one I liked on Prolific Cooking's page. I used her recipe but tweaked it quite a bit, making it my own. It's an EGG free recipe too, which is great for me cause I have a son with an egg allergy. I freeze most of the muffins and take them out and defrost in the microwave, with some coconut oil used as a spread instead of butter. They are a great accompaniment to the juices I make.

Here's what I came up with.


3/4 cup of plain flour (all purpose)
1 cup whole wheat plain flour - I used organic for both kinds of flour
1/4 cup of whole flaxseeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp of ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cup of warmed milk ( I used light milk)
3/4 cup coconut oil, which I warmed to melting because it was raw and cold pressed
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar (PC said you can use any kind)
3/4 cup of raw sugar

Add last:
1 1/2 Tbls lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
6 pitted prunes cut into quarters
1/4 of whole dried cranberries (I prefer not to use craisins as I found that they are too dry and small)
1/4 cup of shredded coconut (I made this once and left the coconut out and was so disappointed)
1/4 cup chia seeds

Start by:
Heating oven to 180 C (160 C Fan forced)
Grease a (12 cup) muffin pan with butter and flour, or use cupcake liners

Sift flour into a large sized bowl. Add all other dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
In a smaller bowl add warmed milk and melted coconut oil, then add the raw sugar so that it melts in the warmth of both. Add vinegar and mix all wet ingredients well. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly but don't over do it or the batter will get tough. Gently mix through the last ingredients - walnuts etc …
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out of centre clean

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I hate first birthday parties

I hate first birthday parties

Yup. Those are the words that have been said in secret to my husband for quite a few years. Why have I decided to break my silence and tell you how I really feel? Well, for starters, it's more like how I really felt. Yeah, I kinda, sorta, maybe changed my mind about the whole thing. Gasp. The number one reason for this is, of course, I now have a child.
I spoke to a friend recently who has yet to become a mother. She understood what I meant when I told about my (old) deep, dark secret. Guess what parents? Your friends who don't have kids don't necessarily want to come to a party for a one year old. It's true. Yup. When we were pre-baby we reluctantly went to a few first birthday parties and honestly wondered if we were just invited for the gift (there - I said it). Especially because we were usually the only couple there without a baby. The parties, for the most part, were soooo boring for us. Most of the parents there were busy chasing their kids or talking about their kids. We are both from huge families so we could hold our own in conversation regarding kids but did we want to?No, not really. Not unless your kid happened to be someone very, very special to us. Which they probably were not because if they were we would have made a point to tell you about how amazing it was to be a part of their first birthday.
The worst experience I've ever had was for a 1 year old girl at one of those big playlands. Ya know the ones with the slides, the ball pit, and jumping castle? The one year old, (who had hundreds of dollars spent on her and the party), had no clue what was going on, had no interest in her gifts or cake; and we knew no one but the parents who happened to be talking to the tons of other parents they invited. WHY the big deal MEGA birthday for a one year old? Made no sense. Hated it! I think I hated it even more because it felt so senseless. The voice in my head was begging me "Is it over? Can we go home yet? PLEASE!!!"
But then Charlie happened to us, and guess what? NOW I really enjoy the socialising that goes on with the other parents. Shock, right? Again, that's because I have MY OWN KID! All I'm saying is that you either really take good care of your childless friends if you want them at the party (like maybe give them free booze). Or just let them know that they are invited but there is absolutely no pressure to come. Wish someone had said that to us back in the good ol' days of no child.
Our boy Charlie turned one recently, and we decided on a very low key family BBQ. But my husband has 10 siblings (and their partners) so it ended up being 23 of us in our tiny backyard. And you know why we threw the party (it wasn't a party, ok, it was a  BBQ)? I'd say 75% of it was about us. I'm being honest. We FREAKING made it through the first year of our kid's life (and those first 6 months were incredibly HARD)! We desperately needed to have a beer and some cake to celebrate our incredible feat. We did it!!! YAY! We needed to celebrate with the people closest to us, who saw the tears, the ugly-ness,  the desperation AND our greatest joy! I didn't understand that about parents before Charlie. Parents of one year olds are, probably, (mainly) throwing the party for themselves. I get it now. OK. That's alright. It makes sense. Everyone party 'cause I'm no longer a hater!
All dressed up

Aunty Sulyn and an outfit change

Cousin Isabella
It's supposed to be a drum

Lot's of Aunty's and Uncle's to share the day

Mr Giggle Bottoms