Twas The Night Before Birthday…

Twas the night before birthday
And all through the land
The excitement’s been building
The day off is planned.
Yesterday’s Vintage
Was a trip back in time
From disco to swing dance
And fashion sublime.
And today we’ve done polo,
With divot and chukka,
The picnic we had
Was definitely pukka.
So sun-kissed and dozy
I’m back at my screen
At my cosy front window
To muse where I’ve been.
41 has been tough
With ‘curve balls’ galore
And it’s been hard not to miss
The good life from before.
But finally it seems
The sun has come out
And its warmth on my face
Reminds me what it’s about.
Old roads and new paths
To defend and to chart
With family and friends
Those close to my heart.
So on this night before birthday
As 41 fades away
I fondly wave it farewell
And bid 42 ‘Gidday!’

The Universe Is Testing Me…9 Sleeps To Go

The Universe is testing me.

Really it is.  I kid you not.

Absolutely, unequivocally testing me. Pushing my buttons. Stretching my patience.

All in the space of the last 24 hours.


Weekends are a highly valued commodity where I come from, as I’m sure they are for you, so I like to plan a bit of stuff but also make sure I have time to chill out, avoid doing chores, write – you know the drill.

(The current silence tells me that the wet washing is ‘ready’ and will not hang itself out.)

With a weekend plan including a photos viewing Friday night on the way home, a haircut on Saturday morning and then off for a mani-pedi Saturday afternoon, I was looking forward to firstly feeling rather productive then followed by some serious chilling as a busy Saturday mellowed into a Sunday of pottering about.

So Friday morning I pick up a message from my hairdresser asking me whether I could turn up 15mins early.  Sure, I think, no problem.  I call back to confirm that this is ok to be told ‘No it’s ok we worked something out – turn up at 11.’  Great news but I’m glad I rang back instead of turning up early – tolerating lateness is not my strong suit.  Anyway, moving on.

I leave work a little early on Friday to get to my appointment to view my photos at 6pm (a 90min trip but it is a stop-off on my regular 2hr commute home. I know it’s long. Don’t ask.)  I reach Clapham Junction station which is about a 15min walk from the studio and get a message – which had obviously arrived during the underground portion of my journey – asking me to come at 7pm instead.  With an hour and a half of travelling under my belt already, my weary brain shouts ‘NOOOOO!’.  Long story short – we settled on 6.15pm instead. 

To kill the time, I take myself off to Caffe Nero for a white chocolate and raspberry muffin and a soya cappucino, thinking I will just chill for a little bit before wandering up Lavender Hill towards the studio.  Another message arrives, this time from the Mani-Pedi salon.  There’s a problem with my 2pm appointment on Saturday – can I come earlier?  Brain swears loudly.  Despite the ensuing conversation confirming that someone else will be available at the time of my booking to pretti-fy my paws, I feel mildly nervous walking up Lavender Hill, wondering whether I will receive an apologetic phone call Saturday morning (or better yet, be mucked about upon arrival).  I have next Friday off so I call back and agree to have pretty paws then.


Photo viewing goes well (pics look amaaaazing – I will collect my chosen ones mid August and share with you) and I go to bed last night, thinking I will get up early-ish and dash into Kingston to do my errands before my hair appointment.  I’m up at 8.30am and, feeling mildly awake and presentable after my ablutions, am eating some vegemite toast before heading out.

There’s another message. 

My hairdresser (a new one, the lovely A having decided to embark on some world travelling for a while) has called in sick.  Brain sighs resignedly.  Little voice in my head reminds me to ‘breathe’. 

I’m going at 12.30.

In, out. In, out. Breathing, breathing. Time for a coffee.  And a post.

And if it’s really lucky, the washing will get hung out to dry.

ps…as I’m a little intolerant of lateness and would really love a chilled out, low-irritant birthday, I thought it prudent to remind you that there are now only 9 sleeps to go. We are now into single figures peeps so don’t be late – I can just see the good ship 42 coming into view.

You’ve got mail…16 sleeps to go

I staggered out of bed this morning to be greeted by a drizzly Saturday and have been faffing about (great word that, faffing) instead braving the elements and getting out to do the list of things I need to do.  This is also known as re-prioritising and is a very useful skill to have here in the UK, saving hours of damp trudging and allowing one to enjoy the soothing sound of the rain from a dry and comfortable vantage point at the front window.

But I digress.

My faffing meant that I was home when the postman arrived.  Nothing exciting really comes through the mailslot: just the usual assortment of bills to pay, flyers advertising things I could never imagine needing and To The Homeowner letters from local estate agents wishing to sell my little flat from underneath me.  But today was different.  As I whipped around, startled by the metallic clunk of the mail flap, I saw a flash of girly colour.

‘Pink!’, my little heart cried.  ‘Could it be…my first birthday card?’

And so it was.

Itinerant Father and Erstwhile Wife have won the Birthday Derby again, and although 2 days later than last year’s stirling effort, getting in with 16 sleeps to go can only be vigorously applauded.  (Sounds of wild cheering and me doing a little ‘Hooray it’s my birthday soon’ dance around my postage-stamp-sized lounge room).

The card (we are allowed to open birthday cards pre-special-day in the Hamer clan) is a testament to their continued concern about my welfare in a faraway land and featured some handy hints for me to consider in my advancing years:

An ode to ageing gracefully

May your bum stay firm and pert
May your boobies not head south
May your lippy never blend
Into thin lines round your mouth
May you eat a ton of chocolate
But never gain a pound
May you always look your best
Whenever Brad Pitt comes around.
May you never wear big pants
Or grow unwanted hair
And Birthday Girl if all else fails
May you be to sloshed to care!!


Well, don’t mind if I do!  And I have 16 days to plan how…

Dad & Bev, thanks for the birthday tip and the lovely wishes.

ps…for a little more detail on the Birthday Rules according to the Hamer clan, click here…my sister Lil Chicky sums it up so succinctly in her comment!

It’s July…And You Know What That Means…

Here we are in July already, half the year has gone and there’s only one topic that is an absolute must for today: 

There are 29 sleeps to go!

That’s only 29 days of 41-ness before setting sail on the good ship SS forty-two. 

For those of you new to Sleeps To Go, this is a family tradition around all significant events in life. The raison d’etre? Why wait for anyone else to make it All About Me?

So, that’s just over 4 weeks of planning, wishlist-ing, shopping time for you all.

Time to get your skates on peeps!

Two For The Price Of One…

Today is Mother’s Day…again!  With the UK already celebrating Mothering Sunday in March, it always leaves me wondering whether I should be wishing Mum a Happy Mother’s Day then (as I am in the UK) or today – but I guess that two for the price of one is a pretty good deal and anyway, who am I to begrudge sending a little more Mother’s Day love out into the ether?

In any case, those of you who read Gidday From The UK on a regular basis may remember that I have already posted in honour of Mother’s Day Part One so I figured it was time to roast honour Mum in a different way – this time by regaling you all with the trials and tribulations of my childhood dressed as ‘Two For The Price Of One’.  The story goes like this:

My Mum sewed.  A lot.  Before I came along, she made big stuffed toys like this gi-normous panda. 

Yes that’s me with the panda!

She also made amazing ‘pyjama dogs’ that had a zip on the underside that you could pop your ‘jarmies’ in ’til next time.  Mine was orange. No, I do not have a picture.

Deciding that toys were not enough, she then moved on to outfits. It started innocently enough with individual ensembles…

(Lil Chicky was eye-ing off the Christening Cake)

And then she got thrifty…

Look at those ringlets – Mum’s a talented woman!
We do love a birthday in the Hamer clan!
Actually I think our Oma might have knitted these vests – Mum got everyone in on the act!
And still matching hairdos!

…as not only could Mum get a better deal on the material, it meant that Lil Chicky could continue to wear my hand-me-downs for years to come.  (Boy, she REALLY loved that!)

Anyway, this continued on until we rebelled (it was a little uncool once we got to school and had friends who came over to play!), only to slide right back into it in our teens…

I’m (17) on your left, Lil Chicky (13) is on your right

…although we were being Mum’s bridesmaids and she didn’t make the dresses herself and they are different colours – but enough said.  A picture paints a thousand words.

So a it’s couple of decades (and a bit) later and I figure Lil Chicky and I have managed to weather the storm and emerge relatively unscathed. (‘Oh thank goodness’, I hear you whisper.  No it’s ok – don’t apologise. I understand.)  But little did I realise that my departure from Oz had left such a gap…

Mum (L) and Lil Chicky (R)

Ladies, it’s time to let go! 

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Piece De Resistance…Of Birthdays!

Last weekend I found myself tucked cosily in my sunlit train seat chugging my way across London to a 1st birthday party in Borehamwood.

Little N was an Australia Day 2010 arrival and having visited him in hospital when he was just a day old (I have the dubious honour of being his first ‘friend’ photo), I am constantly amazed each time I see him how much he’s grown into even more of a ‘little’ person.  And it’s been two months, what with travelling, Christmas and the like, so trekking across London on a fine Sunday afternoon seemed the least I could do.

Being of the child-free variety, I had been invited to attend ‘the adult’s party’ where there would be substantially fewer small people and more grown up fare (ie. drinks and nibbles).  And after his small person shindig earlier followed by a baby power nap, N was in fine form and ready to receive our assorted offerings in the ’12 months and older’ category.  He even gave every parcel his due and careful attention…until the next one appeared!

(Between you and me though, I’m afraid that the whole ‘ding dong’ and ‘more things for me’ association that was happening is just likely to yield disappointment and/or frustration for him on all days non-birthday.  Sigh…we all have to grow up some time…)

But really, the point of this entire post is to brag about the piece de resistance – I give you (dramatic pause)

…The Cake…

And in case you couldn’t see Drago the Dragon on top, here it is again…

And underneath that awesome icing, there was Red Velvet Cake (from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook no less)…and Mum A made it all herself!

Do you think six months prior is too early to start dropping hints for my big day?

ps…and before I head off to plan my strategy/plead my case, I’d like to extend a big gidday to new follower, spriteyone.  Come on in and make yourself right at home!

Fros ‘n’ Flares…

So Friday night saw me trekking cross-London to Borehamwood for a birthday-filled weekend.  Ostensibly it was all about my friend A’s do on Saturday night but it all started a little earlier than I had thought it would with the news on Friday night that we would be popping in to a 1st birthday party on Saturday morning (said friend has a 10 month old boy and has been venturing into fields somewhat alien to a resolutely childless 41 year old). 

Many balloons, small people, and toys later, I emerged flushed with success at managing to have conversed amicably (with the adults) whilst riding complacently along the wave of ceaseless attention grabbing unique to the under-5s…and having quite enjoyed myself!

But really this weekend foray into the ‘wilds’ of North London was for my friend’s 40th birthday bash on Saturday night, a 70s themed ‘fros and flares’ do at Ziloufs in Islington.  Now I’m not a huge fan of the whole fancy dress thing and funds being what they are (or aren’t as the case may be!), I was forced to indulge in a great deal of frugal googling (70s fashion) and frantic imagining (what’s in my wardrobe) to come up with ‘the look’:

Me ‘n’ the birthday girl…btw, I’m the one on the right…and that’s actually someone’s sequinned shirt in the background…
An hour in the mini-bus later, we found ourselves boogie-ing away to the funky sounds of Soulscape, enjoying some great cocktails and impressing the dining crowd with our general party spirit…needless to say it was a big night and a long mini-bus ride home with the remains of this on my lap…
So all that was left to do was remove the eyelashes and pour myself into my floor-level airbed (no falling out for this little black duck!).  And after a reasonably gentle recovery on Sunday morning, fuelled by flat diet Coke and a small bad-for-me snackette at the tube station (a chicken and mushroom pastry if you must know), I toddled my way back to South West London…
…wrapped myself in a blanket and finished the weekend off with cheese and tomato on toast!
ps…the widget thingy says there’s 33 sleeps til Santa comes…that’s less than 5 weeks now people so chop, chop!  On with the preparations I say!

Sleeps To Go…Better Not Cry

I haven’t seen any actual evidence of this whilst out and about myself but I have been reliably informed via email, facebook updates, blog posts and ads that Christmas has begun to cast its long shadow into the world again.

And as always, it just seemed too early to be right.  So I investigated further only to discover that there are in fact 90 days until the fat man in the red suit (or whatever your version is) comes to town.

My first thought was ugh!!!  Immediately followed by ‘hmmmmm, how can I embrace this in a sustainable-til-Dec-25 yet ridiculously childish fashion?’

So the new look Gidday From The UK blog has a guest widget…an attempt to bring a little festive cheer to the shortening days and fallling temperatures and to chart that rollercoaster of feelings (eg. excitement, dismay and the somewhere in between) that relate to any impending time of Yule. 

I may even try a little earlybird planning to get on Santa’s ‘nice’ list…

ps…you should also know that the Lil Chicky Birthday Countdown is also underway…only 23 sleeps to go Chicky!!!

Summertime…and the blackberries are easy

We went blackberry picking today….hunting out those fat juicy gems in amongst the thorns and undergrowth…in our car park!

For those of you new to Gidday from the UK or those that have simply forgotten, it was just over a year ago that I discovered the joys of plump, juicy, fresh blackberries and bemoaned the fact it had taken me 40 years to do this.

So today, being J’s birthday and all (Happy Birthday honey!) and before the little blighters got eaten by other wildlife (human or otherwise), we ventured out into our street and car park to snaffle as many as we could.  And snaffle we did…an almost-full ice-cream container.  And I have the proud scratches on my forearms and hands to prove it.

We were going to indulge in these tonight as a post birthday dinner treat but I’d already promised to make my first ever apple crumble (after a birthday resolution to master some basic dessert skills beyond cheese arrangement) so the blackberries are being held in abeyance until tomorrow – but are still on hand if the crumble is appalling.


Wish me luck!

1 Sleep To Go…10 Things About Me…

There’s just one sleep to go.  One day left to complete my 41st year on the planet.  What better way to round off the year than with a few more things that make me tick:
7.  It’s ALL about The Hair…the way I feel about my hair underpins how I feel about life at any given moment.

8.  When I say ‘yes, you can have a bit’, I only mean a LITTLE bit. 
Don’t take liberties!
9. I am Half-Dutch – cute though the outfit may be, underneath there is some serious attitude – don’t mess with it or you’ll get ‘the look’! (See 8.)
10.  Life’s A Beach…gritty bits ‘n’ all, there’s no better place to be.
So the 10 Things You Love/Hate/Need To Know About Me are:
  1. I like my laundry line-dried…just because
  2. I like teddy bears…they are better behaved than children
  3. I like food..admiring it, eating it, cooking it
  4. I like to help…so let me
  5. I like birthdays…a lot
  6. I like being a sister…the older one
  7. I like my hair…fabulous
  8. I like sharing…a little bit
  9. I like my mixed heritage…shaken AND stirred
  10. I like the beach…anytime

Yes peeps, this post really is all about me – here endeth the lesson…

ps…if you missed Parts One and Two, click on the underlined bit and you can read them for yourself.  Or you can read them again if you liked the photos and are a bit of a nostalgic git like me.