Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thanks for playing along with the auction guys.

I'll be making contact with the highest bidders and delivering prizes this week. Unsold items will be donated to Green Collect for sale in the shop.

That's it for Go Mumma. The time has come for this era to come to a close.

If you would like to follow along on my next adventure please come and see me at

Love to you!


Location:Thanks for playing folks and goodbye Go Mumma

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Upcycling Challenge : Auction for Green Collect : Closing 8/11

Hey guys!!

I was becoming a little disheartened due to there being no bids on any of the items when I just saw that there were lots of comments awaiting moderation & for some reason Blogger had not notified me!!

Anyway, to those of you that have already, thanks for bidding!

The auction will close on Friday November 8th at 8PM so please get your bids in if you haven't already!

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Auction: Upcycled blanket neck warmer!

Our next very cute item has been donated by Mezz Coleman, a crafty lady from Footscray, Australia who spends her time making sweet sweet music, hanging with asylum seekers and sewing up a storm. She also blogs at

This little neck warmer is made from an upcycled blanket, a vintage sheet and a sweet wee vintage button. 

Mezz is an avid urban cyclist and knows that a long scarf can be annoying and dangerous on the bike! So she has come up with this dear little neck piece!

Bidding starts at $10. Please place you bid below in the comments! 

All proceeds will be donated to Green Collect, an innovative, Melbourne based social enterprise.

Auction: Upcycled t-shirt neck piece!

Kirri Mae Sampson is a very talented textile designer based in Melbourne, Australia. 

She specialises in unique macrame and resin jewellery and sells at Melbourne craft markets and on Etsy.

have been fortunate enough to receive this delightful neck piece as a donation. This piece is made from a de-constructed t-shirt.

Bidding is starting at $15. Get in quick in the comments with your bid!

Remember, all contributors go into the running to win a great prize & all  proceeds will be donated to Green Collect, an innovative, Melbourne based social enterprise.

Auction!! Item number 1!

Hey kids!

First up we have a fantastic bag made from a reclaimed blanket and a floral bed sheet. The clever clogs that made this item was Marie Reade. Thanks Marie and well done!

What a great way to make use of items that often sit in the linen press while moths nibble at them! 

Please comment below to bid! 

Bidding is starting at $15! What a bargain!

Remember! All your generous donations are going to Green Collect, an innovative, Melbourne-Based social enterprise. 

All makers go in the running to win a great prize!

Announcing :: The Upcycled Challenge for Charity Auction!

Hi there!
After a short post-Vietnam, sick-well-busy-sick hiatus I am pleased to announce that the auction for the upcycled challenge for charity auction is upon us!

Over the next few days I will be posting the wonderful hand-made and upcycled items that have been contributed to support Green Collect, a Melbourne based, innovative, social enterprise working to create inclusive workplaces for people that have experienced homelessness and disadvantage.

If you would like to bid for one of the items listed please leave a comment below the post. If you have any dramas posting, send an email to gomumma [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you love all things hand made and want to support a GREAT cause please bid away! All proceeds will be donated to Green Collect. I can accept paypal payments, bank deposits and cash payments if you know me personally.
Please please please share the posts with your friends. I will be posting on Facebook also however bids will need to come via the blog.

Thanks guys! Stay tuned!!


(Ps.. If you are still working on an item you have until the end of the week to get it to me (or at least a photo & description!))

(Pps.. I know it is no longer winter but please humour me.. xoxoxo)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Welcome Visit to Phuoc Tien Primary School - Nha Trang

School begins at 7am here in Vietnam so it was a bright & early start for us yesterday morning!

The school is only a few blocks away so we are able to walk. We arrived a little late and assembly had already started. As we walked in, the 1000+ children let out a huge cheer and applauded us until we took our seats at the front. It's certainly the closest I have felt to some kind of celebrity status.

We were part of a very formal assembly with a drum group, flag raising a gift presentation. One boy from Footscray gave a great speech in Vietnamese and all the children were very impressed.

The teachers let us sit in their classrooms for a little while as they completed the morning lesson and our kids got involved in a reading task. It was fantastic! Today the students are in class all day and our teachers are taking lessons too. No doubt our kids will get mobbed in the playground and they will be signing autographs all day.

I am in the hotel with a sick student which is actually fine because I'm enjoying spending some time in the air con. It's 31 degrees and about 1000% humidity, which is apparently cold for the locals!

Vinpearl Waterpark- Nha Trang

It's been a few days between posts so its time for an update!

We flew in to Cam Ranh Airport in Nha Trang on Monday morning and travelled by bus to our hotel "The Nha Trang Lodge" which is right on the beach.

It's really lovely here. There's a bit of a Gold Coast vibe but much more down to earth and with more spectacular views! Actually, it's more like if Lorne were a small city with high rise apartments. It's a popular tourist destination and we have noticed lots of very brown Russians in teeny tiny bathers, but it's the off season so it's mainly locals around now.

After putting our stuff in the hotel we nicked across the road to pho 24 for a quick lunch before heading to Vinpearl Water Park. It's on an island so we caught a cable car over the water. It takes 12 minutes and the views are breathtaking!

We enjoyed lots of scary water slides, the lazy river, wave pool and the ocean beach and the kids ran themselves ragged before taking a tour around the aquarium.

We shared a special birthday dinner for one of the teachers, Josh, on the island too. Something scary happened during dinner, I pulled out the bushman insect repellent as the tiny winged Air Force was coming in for the kill. We passed it around the table and all applied it and suddenly the teacher next to me started coughing and saying she couldn't feel her lips. She had an allergic reaction and thought her throat would close up. Fortunately she had some antihistamines and it settled down quickly but it certainly gave us all a fright! I've decided to stick to the Aeroguard from now on!

Once it was dark the cable car pillars lit up like the Eiffel Tower. It was a great day and the kids were asleep before their heads hit the pillow.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A day in Hoi An

As I said in my last post, Hoi An is a touristy place. I would liken "old Hoi An" to Sovereign Hill as there is a lot of history there but it's been overtaken with gift shops & Aussies.

One awesome thing about Hoi An though is that it is the home of many tailors and you can have clothing made cheap and very quickly!

Many of us had clothes and shoes made. It was very exciting waiting and receiving our packages at the end of the day. I got two pairs of pants and a skirt, a dress for Molly and April got a pair of pants, a top and a special dress for her graduation- see the last pic!

The kids got to make lanterns before we headed out on a boat to the cooking school! We made several dishes including fresh rice paper! I found this fascinating and I will definitely make it again! Other dishes included an eggplant clay pot, Vietnamese pancakes and a green mango salad. It was very delicious and a great thing to do!

Some photos from our day on the farm in Hoi An

Here are a few pics from yesterday! After a quick flight from Hanoi to Da Nang we arrived at The Hoi An Historic Hotel. It's very touristy here with lots of leathery brown Aussie older people.

After getting settled we cycled through the Hoi An streets to a local farm (quite a full on experience, especially as some of the kids had said they were competent riders but we quickly discovered they were NOT!) April did well, no one died.. Phew!

We arrived at a small herb and salad farm and the kids spent time learning farming techniques before being taught how to make Vietnamese pancakes.

We were all full but returned to a big dinner as compensation from the travel company for the pool not being operational. We struggled through the meal and the kids were SO tired that a few just started bursting into tears! The teachers removed gaming and Internet devices from their rooms as many kids have been staying up very late playing.

We are spending just two nights at this hotel before travelling to Nha Trang early tomorrow morning. I'll do a separate post about today's activities as I don't want to have any trouble posting due to too many pics.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Day 3: Perfume Pagoda Cave

(I've tried uploading a bunch of photos with this post & it's not working so ill need to do it some other way.. Until then, here's another big slab of writing about yesterday!)

This morning we travelled through beautiful rice fields on the way to visit the Perfume Pagoda. We passed a few small towns on the way and for the first time noticed lots of signs for dog (thịt chò) and cat meat (thịt mèo). Apparently it's much more common in the north. Vinh explained that during the many times of food shortage the Vietnamese people have learned to see meat as meat and not to discriminate as a matter of survival. He is going to order some "special treats" for us to try tonight including dog & insects.. Yummy!

We went by boat for an hour and were surrounded by beautiful mountains. It was raining quite heavily and some of our flimsy cheap ponchos were torn so we all got a bit soggy. I really didn't mind because it was still quite hot and sticky and the rain was cool and refreshing. I bought a new one when we got there.

Once at the Perfume Pagoda precinct we climbed many many slippery steps to ascend to the lower pagoda. Some of us decided not to climb all the way as our shoes weren't grippy enough and it felt too dangerous.

Vinh explained that there was once a young girl who forewent having a husband and family to look after her sick father. One day the father became sick and the monk told her that the only way to cure his illness was to bring a human arm and human eyes to the temple. She sacrificed her own body parts and cured her father. She later died and it was decided that her spirit was the god of mercy. People come to the perfume pagoda to pray for mercy still.

After very carefully climbing back down the steps (I took my shoes off because it was the only way I'd make it down!) we stopped for lunch at a restaurant at the foot of the pagoda. This meal was very basic but the nicest I have had so far. The ingredients were apparently sourced from around the mountains and very fresh.

With full tummies we climbed more steps to find the cable car and we went in groups of six up the mountain to visit the Hòn Đun Gạo- hưởng tích cave. This is a very special place of worship with a giant stalagmite in the centre. It was absolutely amazing! 

We then boated back again to our bus before making the 2 hour trip back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. I'm a bit nervous about trying the "special treats" but I said I'd try anything once... 

When in Vietnam...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

River boating at & Ha Long Bay on land- Day 2

It was more difficult to wake up this morning. I think the jet lag is catching up with us a little bit!

After another delicious buffet breakfast Vinh arrived with our bus and we made the two hour drive to the Ninh Binh Province to visit some temples (there are the remains of an ancient king and queen there but I don't have the right characters to spell their names correctly so I won't try in case I end up writing something completely wrong). We travelled through rice fields and farming land. I felt like I was in an episode of M.A.S.H. It was so lush and green and many of the built structures were in quite bad disrepair, lots of buildings were unfinished and Vinh explained that there was not enough money to finish them. People rode bicycles and motorbikes but there were weren't nearly as many as in the city. A thick mist lay heavy over the rice fields and farmers worked in their long blue cotton clothing and bamboo hats. It was really like something out of another time. 

We arrived at the temples and were rushed at by roadside traders wanting us to buy their fruit, umbrellas and ponchos but we followed our tour guide's instructions and showed no interest in their wares and they left us to walk past. The temples are set in the middle of beautiful green mossy mountains and are surrounded by a freshwater river. Donning colourful ponchos to protect us from the rain, we wandered around the grounds and Vinh told us some stories about the ancient king and his wife. The queen had been married before (re-marrying was a big no-no as they believed that widows should look after their dead husband's family until her death... Nice huh?) but she was allowed to marry again after her husband's death as he was the king and his wish over-ruled traditional beliefs about morality. The statue of the queen in the temple shows her smiling like the Mona Lisa due to her love for the king and being permitted to marry again.

We learnt the difference between temples and pagodas; a temple is a place to worship and bring offerings to the dead and a pagoda is for worshipping gods/Buddha. In a temple people can bring anything as an offering but in a pagoda only vegetarian food. Vinh explained how you can look at the foot of the dragon on the stone tablet in the front of each temple to gauge how old the temple is by how many toes the dragon has. I don't remember how many equate to which era though... So much info to take in!

As we made our way back to the bus one of the children decided it was a good idea to pick up a rotten human molar that she found on the ground... I drowned her in hand sanitizer while explaining why this was not the best idea to handle something like this.

Lunch next at a lovely elevated restaurant overlooking Tam Cốc (I found the Viet button!) which is also called "Ha Long Bay on Land". We were served a wonderful variety of dishes and it was lovely to feel the cool breeze blowing through as the rain fell outside. We hoped it would stop before the next part of our journey, a boat ride through the caves, but it didn't. 

We were then rowed down the river by very skilled rowers, many of them rowed with their feet! The 2ish hour journey up and back took us through three caves and the scenery was magnificent. Mountainous and tropical with mountain goats (thịt dặ - meat goat) dotted all over the rocky faces. On the way back we were ambushed by boats with people peddling food and drink. They held on to the boat until you bought something from them. I was totally caught off guard and ended up spending the 50,000 dong tip I had been holding for my rower on a drink and snack for him. My wallet was in the bus so I had to ask for more money from Chau to tip as it is expected. Also, the boatmen/women have very limited opportunity for work I think they said only once every ten weeks and the company only pays them 70,000 dong per ride which equates to about $3 AUD for 2 hours work. 

Despite the money dramas it was a beautiful experience! We were all soaking wet from the rain so we decided to come back to the hotel to change before dinner. April and I skyped Molly, Rich & John very quickly before we headed out again on foot to 24 Pho, a fast food soup chain, where the children were required to order in Vietnamese.

A great second day, well and truly ready for bed now!

Night night!

We actually made it to Vietnam!

April keeps turning to me and saying "We're in Vietnam... We are actually in Vietnam!" 

It has been the most surreal experience getting to this point. After my last very disenchanted Vietnam related post I actually almost gave up on getting April's passport altogether as there were just so many hoops we had to jump through and the whole thing became so tiring. But the citizenship document arrived just in time!! It was almost like I needed to give up and let go of the reins a little before things could fall into place. 

I picked up the passport last THURSDAY, we got the visa on Friday and we got on board the plane yesterday (Monday) morning! Talk about the eleventh hour! It really was like a bad early nineties American comedy- think Home Alone.. Or Home Alone 2.. Or 3.. Whatever takes your fancy.

Fortunately, since then, everything has been super smooth and we are now sitting in an amazing five star hotel in the middle of Hanoi after a jam packed day of amazing new experiences. The journey here felt very long as we flew 8 hours from Melbourne to Saigon/HCM, then had a 2 hour wait in the airport, another 2 hour flight to Hanoi and then 45 minutes in a bus to our hotel. We have 19 kids, 6 teachers and 2 parent helpers all together and I was expecting a few disruptions. I thought there might be a few cheeky/naughty/pushing the boundaries all the time kinds of kids, a few vomiters and definitely a whinger or two thrown in for good measure but to my surprise, everyone was amazing! Very little complaining was heard even though the journey was quite arduous. There was one sick child but he seemed to chirp up quite soon after.

On the bus trip to the hotel my right eye and the whole right side of my face was in pain. It felt like the beginning of a migraine and I started to worry that I would be down for the count for a couple of days. My head went so fuzzy that I couldn't open my suitcase (damn complicated padlock is hard to work when you're in a migraine haze) to get a Panadol out so I had a couple of pain killers from the other dad which were so effective that I was nearly asleep before I got off the elevator and into our room. I fell straight into bed and April had to do everything to set us up in our room. She was a champ figuring out the adaptor and power boards and she plugged all our devices in so they'd be ready for this morning's activities. 

We woke at 6 feeling really fresh and ready for the day and after a quick shower I was anxious to head down to the lobby to use the wifi to Skype and email the family back home. The buffet breakfast was amazing but I was a little bit distracted chatting to John and Richie (Molly was already at school) and I didn't really eat much, just a little Bircher muesli, coffee and fruit. Tomorrow I'm planning on making a better effort. The kids were going nuts on the pastries, coco pops and bacon and showed an appropriate 12 year old lack of self control leading to some being starving by ten o'clock and some feeling overstuffed. I guess it's one of those living and learning experiences. Another of those is the need for sleep and the 12 year old's inability or refusal to acknowledge this vital human requirement. Kids are crazy... They're great... But crazy.

We met our wonderful tour guide Vinh (Vinny) in the lobby and the first thing on our agenda was a visit to the Vietnam Ethnicity Museum. Lots of artefacts and information about the different ethnic groups around Vietnam, which regions they came from, what set them apart from each other etc and while it was very interesting, the heavy humidity was making it very difficult for the kids to concentrate and enjoy it. They were very good though and didn't complain too much before we finally took off through the lovely tropical gardens, stopping to look at the historical buildings on the way, to our next destination, The Temple of Literature.

This is a temple that was constructed to honour education and literacy. It was very beautiful, set in pristinely kept gardens with a large pond in the centre. Turtles are everywhere as the turtle is a symbol of education. The turtle lives the kind of life required to do well in study, the Vietnamese believe, as they are steadfast and they are nourished on living food. There was also a Phoenix standing on a turtle to represent the balance required for study- like yin and yang, one stays on the ground and one soars above. There were gorgeous floral displays everywhere and it was just a lovely lovely place to be. I rubbed the turtles head in the hope that it brings me luck in my planned study next year. 

We left the temple and did our first Vietnam road crossing! It's quite the experience crossing the road as a pedestrian in Hanoi. You need to slowly walk out into the traffic without hesitating and the motorbikes and cars stop for you. The whole driving thing seems super chaotic but the more you are in it the more you realise that this sort of chaos works here. Everyone is always beeping their horns at each other but it's not aggressive like it is in Australia, it's more like an "I'm here, just letting you know" kind of beep. It's sort of friendly really!

Anyway, the road crossing led us to KOTO restaurant for our lunch. KOTO means "know one teach one" and is a social enterprise that teaches street kids hospitality skills so they can go on to work in professional hospitality jobs after. It's the same kind of model as STREAT in Melbourne. Chau (the bilingual coordinator at the school) seemed to think it was the same thing  but I'm not sure. It is affiliated with Box Hill institute so it's possible. The food was amazing, BBQ pork in a sweet and sour fish sauce with rice vermicelli noodles and salad and to finish all the adults had a coffee with condensed milk. I wasn't sure if I'd like it but I really really did. I loved it actually. 

Feeling full and happy we then travelled to the Ho-Chi Minh mausoleum. The area around the mausoleum was quite tranquil as there is no traffic allowed and it provides a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Hanoi. We wandered through the presidential gardens and looked at some of the significant buildings from the time of Ho-Chi Minh, his cars, and, as the kids were fading fast (maybe a proper breakfast would've been good) we decided to abort our plans for an hour and head back to the hotel and let the kids have a swim in the pool and recharge before the next bit of our adventure.

After a little R&R we hopped into the bus again and arrived (a little late) at the water puppet show. Water puppets are a traditional story telling art form. It was quite clever and a bit weird really but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and that's what's important . 

The next experience was by far the highlight of my day. We left the water puppet show and wandered through the crowds to the intersection of two busy roads where we waited for our cyclos to arrive and show us the back streets of Hanoi where our big tour bus could not fit. I loved this experience so much that I want to do it again and again. Sitting on a cyclo, which is a bike that has a seat in front for a passenger and a little roof overhead, and riding through the crazy Hanoi traffic has to be up there with one of the coolest things I've done. It was such a fantastic way to feel what it is like to be in the traffic without having the responsibility of manoeuvring through it myself - which I must say, I don't think I will ever try. There was an air of familiarity as we travelled past restaurants, this-n-that grocery stores and neon lit mobile phone shops... Footscray! It's very different of course, but definitely familiar. 

The cyclos dropped us off at our dinner destination and we were lucky enough to meet up with some lovely friends from Footscray who have recently moved with their three kids to Vietnam for 6 months and celebrate their daughter's 13th birthday with them. It was so lovely to chat to them as its been few months since I've seen them and they were clearly really loving having some familiar people around again. I am hoping to catch up with them again before we leave. 

Dinner was ordered by Vinny; a selection of dishes which we shared with one another. Soup, rice, noodles, spring rolls... So much food! Then cake with our friends and a lovely walk back to our hotel before trying to get the kids to settle down. 

April has been asleep for half an hour but I can still hear some other kids making noise in the other room.. Oh we'll, they're not my responsibility.. My kid's asleep.. I'm the winner!

I'd better go, we need to be at breakfast by 7am.

I'll add some pics to this post tomorrow... Stay tuned!

Friday, 30 August 2013

I've applied to go back to uni next year!



I'm about to go and print off my writing examples and pre-selection kit.

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Good friends and soaking up rad-ness...

Growing up I was always someone who could bounce between friendship groups and, without too much effort, get along with everyone. I had cool pals, geeky pals, pals without other pals, pals with loads of pals and I felt as comfortable with the boys as I did with the girls. Apart from one terrible year of bullying and exclusion; an experience so foreign and traumatic for me that it sent me on a rapid decline in to what I now know was depression; my friendships have, in the larger part, been quite pleasant. 

I was the no-drama gal. I was the mediator when it came to schoolyard disputes. I advocated for disability access in the school, I coordinated the peer support program in year ten and, even from those early years of my school life, I have always seen the importance of helping others to be treated justly, to be heard and understood.This easy-going, justice loving trait has become a part of my identity and has shaped the path that would lead me where I am today. 

Throughout high school I developed a chameleon-like talent for changing my behaviour and personality to suit whoever I was spending time with. If I was hanging out with my friend C (let's call her C because, funnily enough, her name begins with C) my sense of humour would come to the fore. We spent most of our time together cracking each other up and singing  nineties pop songs. We got drunk at parties and would spend our pocket money on Peter Jacksons and Bubble-O-Bills. This was the "me" that emerged when I spent time with C; the drinking, smoking, ice cream eating, hilarious good time girl. Not so bad, but not that great for me either.

My friendship with H began in year nine. The teachers loved it when I became closer to H, because, despite being quite likeable and easy to get along with, I wasn't the hardest worker. My motto was "less is more" i.e. less work = more fun. When H came onto the scene my interest in academics increased in a dramatic way. Both the quality and quantity of the work I was submitting improved tenfold and it was all because of dear H. H was one of two daughters of a very intelligent professor who had, five years prior, lost his wife to cancer. So H and her sister were raised by her dad and H's natural intelligence combined with her father's insistence on working hard meant that H's grades were constantly awesome. In my chamelion-like fashion, when I hung out with H, I became a fantastic student. I could see something in H that I wanted to be able to find in myself and it was a brilliant lesson in self direction that this change did actually occur in me.

Some may feel that my changeability is a flaw however I don't think that my talent for altering myself is necessarily such a negative thing. In fact, I feel it has helped me to connect with people with whom I may not otherwise have connected. I am a social worker now, and this ability to become like the person I am speaking to can be very useful. I am much more subtle about it as an adult and, fortunately, unlike in  my teenage years, I no longer "become" the person I am with. These days my skills are used to empathise with those I come in to contact with and as a result, I still have the same mediator-like role in the lives of my friends, colleagues and clients.  Most people would still say that I'm the no-drama girl, which is nice, I think.

Another lesson that I am continually re learning and refining is about who I choose to spend my time with. Because of my chameleonism, I know there is a danger that if I spend too much time with negative Nellies, I will actually become one myself. If I hang out with people who have really destructive habits I will most likely take those, or similar habits on board for myself. This could be a daunting and scary thought... It really could be. However I am making the choice to see this as a wonderful opportunity to decide who I want to be. What do I find inspiring? Who is awesome in my book? Where do I want to take my life and my work? Who exudes rad-ness!?

I can ask myself these questions and then seek out people from whose butts this rad-ness shines!  And I can bathe in that rad light and soak up that inspiration, creativity, great work ethic and kindness and I can BE like those people. 

I can be a chameleon of awesomeness. And then maybe some other chameleons will think that I am awesome and bathe in my rad butt-light. And if we are all being really kind, and working hard, just imagine the things that will happen!

So if you find me sidling up to you one day soon, please don't be alarmed. I am probably just trying to soak up some of your rad-ness. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Hundreds and Thousands mag...

So my sisters-in-law Mezz & Taz are clever makers and they're collaborating on a very exciting project. I'd love to do something like this some day. Hopefully I'll get to be involved with their baby too.

Go check out the cute cute photos they've been taking in preparation.

Thing's I'm doing.. a list

Thanks Pip & Mezz for the inspiration. Here's a list of things...

Making : A latch hook Mary and Jesus rug. It's quite kitsch and awesome.
Cooking : Not much.. We have been busy and stressed and I am spending way too much money on eating out.
Drinking : Coffee, coffee, coffee. Lovely single origin espresso from my work-local cafe Wee Genie
Reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Wanting: Peace of mind about miss 12's passport. It's not looking good.
Looking: Forward to being less busy next year.
Playing: With the idea of doing some post-grad study.
Wasting: Organic spinach... (wilty-sloppy! eww!)
Sewing: With miss 12 is fun!
Wishing: The citizenship document would show up for miss 12!
Enjoying: The sun shining today
Waiting: I feel like life is one big waiting game right now.
Liking: The thought of spending next year at a slower pace.
Wondering: If we'll be in Vietnam this time next month.
Loving: My wonderful friends and family that have rallied together to help us recently.
Hoping: The government becomes more loving towards asylum seekers.
Marvelling: At the loving way in that my boss (and friend) interacts with the people around her.
Needing: To look on the bright side.
Smelling: Thurlby "Blokes Soap"- we have just started stocking it at Green Collect
Wearing: My favourite Metalicus dress
Following: This lass's blog
Noticing: That I have been eating my feelings a lot again recently.
Knowing: I will get fit again one day.
Thinking: About asylum seekers a lot.
Feeling: Like there is so much I'd like to do and that I want to leave my mark on the world by making a "thing".
Bookmarking: Dates in my diary for great things that are happening.. Tavi, Women of Letters, family birthdays etc.
Opening: A block of hazlenut milk fairtrade chocolate.. I'm back on sugar.. lol
Giggling: At a hilarious Vine of a fellow high-fiveing another guys bare butt.
Feeling: Like I'm on a roller coaster.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

PRIZES! Winter upcycling challenge for charity update..

I currently have only a few entries for the challenge!

If you haven't entered yet please see THIS POST  for details!

I just wanted to let you know that I am gathering some lovely prizes . Prizes will be drawn at random so no matter how good/creative/useful your creation is, you'll have the chance of winning something nice! All prizes are being purchased by me. I am not sponsored by any company or organisation (I do work for Green Collect though.. for the sake of transparency! Ha ha!)

Prize #1 :: A delightful Marimekko Mug (for no reason other than they are my favourite!) It may not be this design, but it will be this style..

Prize #2 :: A $20 Green Collect gift voucher

Prize #3 :: A hand made upcycled blanket cushion made by yours truly! Something like this but maybe not as "tigerish". I made this one for my footy mad husband::

So get making people!!!

Flick me an email if you'd like to participate.. as I said check out THIS POST for details!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Holding out hope...just

This foster parenting palava is quite the adventure. For those of you who know us and/or follow our adventures via social media, you'll already know that we are trying to get everything organised so Miss 12 and I can go to Vietnam as part of her school's bilingual Vietnamese program.

It will be a wonderful adventure, visiting ancient villages, bustling manic cities and spending a week actually going to the sister school in Nha Trang. It will be so much fun.

But we are coming up against so many brick walls. First was her birth certificate. As we are not yet her permanent carers, it was up to the Department of Human services (DHS) to get this for us and it took a good couple of months just to get it in our hands. Then, I went to submit the passport application and was informed that her birth certificate wasn't enough.. I needed to provide proof of her Australian citizenship. Which meant I needed to get my hands on a copy of one of her biological parent's birth certificates to prove that they were Australian citizens at the time of her birth. Either that or go through the immigration department citizenship office to obtain a proof of citizenship document.

We tried the first avenue and got in contact with her bio-mother. We had arranged for me to pick her up and drive her to Births, Deaths and Marriages. DHS gave me money to pay for it and the plan was that we would then go together to the passport office to submit the form. She wanted to get her birth certificate anyway so it sounded like a plan that would benefit both parties.

I drove across town to pick her up but when I knocked on the door she wouldn't come out. I called her phone and she said it wasn't a good day. Becoming a little nervous that it might not happen, I asked when we could do it.. she said she didn't know. A couple of days later, the DHS worker went to visit to attempt to take her to get the certificate but again she refused. For someone who wants to prove she cares for her daughter, this would be the perfect opportunity to show it, but no..

Next I went to Immigration. The person I spoke to at the citizenship office made it seem like our challenges would end with them. She told me to fill out form 119 and supply lots of certified supporting documents, plus a fee, and we should be able to get a proof of citizenship document. So I did all that and posted it off.. we all kissed the envelope..

I called the immigration department yesterday and was informed that the application was, for some reason, invalid. The operator couldn't tell me why but advised that there was a letter being sent which would explain it..

That was yesterday. I'm waiting for the letter.

For the first time in this whole adventure I am feeling that maybe it is not going to happen. Maybe the stars wont align like I want them to. Maybe our prayers wont be answered.

I sat down with Miss 12 last night and told her what is happening and that we need to remain hopeful but also be prepared for the worst. We need to make a plan B in case it doesn't all come together at the last minute.

Her little face. My heart broke a little.

So that's what is happening for us. If you're a the praying type, please send a few out for us.. if you're an immigration worker that can help us or if you have any ideas, please get in touch.

I don't know what to do now..


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Polenta pancakes of awesome

3/4 cup polenta
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
A pinch of salt 

Pour boiling water over polenta and allow to sit for 5 or so mins. Combine the eggs and milk and stir into polenta mixture. Stir in flour and salt and mix until smooth.

Heat a heavy based pan & grease with a bit of butter and olive oil. Over a moderate heat, cook as you would  regular pancakes. 

Enjoy with butter or as a side instead of your usual carbs. 

Sneaky zucchini cake

Mr. 2 is going through an "EWW THAT'S YUCK!" stage.. If its green, it's yuck. So I've decided, while also offering him his regular dinner-type veggies, I'm going to do some sneaky veggie hiding too. 

I went looking for a "veggie cake" recipe & stumbled upon this fantastic recipe over at I have adapted it to make it nut free- so here's my version:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3-4 zucchini (about 250g grated)
450g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp mixed spice
180g chocolate
225g brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sultanas
125g melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml milk

Preheat your oven to 180C and grease a large cake tin (23 cm). 

Squeeze out excess water of the zucchini by placing in a clean tea towel & squeezing. Sift the dry ingredients, except the sugar, into a bowl and add sultanas. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and set aside. Beat together the eggs, sugar and butter. Beat in chocolate and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture and the milk & when combined, add the zucchini.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a a skewer comes out clean.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Morning : a non fiction narrative

A sharp thud between her shoulder blades and her eyes spring open. Then another, and another. Violently tearing her from the deep, dark solitude she escapes to in the wee hours of morning. 

The searing pain lingers as she realises where she is and what on earth is going on. Toddler feet. Toddler feet jabbing her back like some kind of blunt weapon. "OW OW! STOP IT, STOP HIM!" She attempts to say with some kind of authority, although in her half awake state she has little chance of sounding coherent. Turning to face her attacker, sweeping his legs back under the doona in one swift, surprisingly coordinated movement, she takes in his face. His lovely face, smiling, sleeping. 

What might he be dreaming? Perhaps her vertebra were a trampoline or a splashy puddle? Maybe all that remained on her back was the ruins of a magnificent sandy masterpiece? 

Smiling to herself, she pulls that warm little body close, breathing in his sweet toddler morning breath, his hair and the faint smell of laundry powder on his flannel pyjamas. Her heart swells. 

She forgives her attacker.

*written as part of Blog Fast-

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Winter upcycling challenge for charity : It's a thing!

Hello dears,

I had an idea.. Seeing as there are quite a few of you crafty people around these parts I thought we could perhaps try and do a good thing with our great skills and creativity!

It's pretty cold in Melbourne right now so this challenge is inspired by trying to keep warm!

Here's the challenge outline:
Make an item that helps you keep warm

It must be made from mostly upcycled/reclaimed materials

It will be auctioned on my blog and the proceeds will be donated to Green Collect (*see below for details)

I will choose a random contributor to win a great prize (details TBA at a later date)

Submissions will be accepted until August 31st 2013

Please email me at gomumma(at)gmail(dot)com if you would like to be involved!

I would love you to get involved and for you to share this with your crafty friends. I don't have a massive pool of crafty readers so please tell your friends and share on your social media pages if you think you know people who might want to show off their skills and raise money for a great charity!

Lovely upcycled products made and sold by Green Collect

Thursday, 11 July 2013

We recorded a song for you.. and Ms.Clare Bowditch

Hello friends!
Please enjoy this little song Mezz, Byron and I recorded. This is our entry for Clare Bowditch's Winter Secrets competition. Enjoy! Feel free to click "like" if you're so inclined!


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Nice things in pictures...

Family celebrating over Japanese food. Three birthdays; Pop, Little Bro Dave and April.

My latest crafty endeavor- a huge latch hook rug of Mary and the baby Jesus.. totally kitsch and wonderfully awesome!

Me and my wee doppelganger

 A secret recording project with Mezz & Baz.. will be revealed very soon! Stay tuned!

Ash & Mezz selfie.. We've recently re-discovered the value in making time to spend together. We've now been best mates for 15 years. I'm very much looking forward to going to the Women Of Letters event that is happening later in the month with Mezz. We used to sleep over at each others houses and have teenage adventures on trains.. Now we do grown-up things like go to literary events. Haha.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Let me tell you about my Nan

Taking the lead of Pip from meet me at mikes, I'm going to tell you a little about my nan..

Beryl is her name.. She's always hated being called Beryl and has gone through phases of wanting to change her name.. Angela was one she liked. 

She's funny like that. 

In fact she's just funny in general. Loves a laugh and to debate. She finds it frustrating when people have strong opinions about things without having a reason and loves to hear what I think as long as I am willing to justify why. We have had our disagreements but what I love about my nan is that she adores me no matter what. And I adore her. 

She's full of old fashioned sayings like "Just let me get my hat 'n pants on", meaning "Let me get ready to go" and "We'll, this isn't buying the baby a new dress!" Meaning "we're not being very productive are we?" And "goodness gracious groceries".. I find myself saying them often. We chat like peers.

She goes through phases of having crushes on good looking fellas on TV.. Like the boys from  Il Divo. And spends most of her time playing on her iPad.. She and pop upgrade whenever a new version comes out. She doesn't get out much. In fact, I think it frightens her a bit these days as her mobility is quite limited and she is scared she'll fall. But the iPad really keeps her connected. I love it. Even though she harasses me to play my Words with Friends turn. I like to keep her keen. 

We spent most afternoons and many many sick days off school at nan & pop's place and we were spoilt rotten with lots of love and kisses (and choc wedges). Every afternoon after kinder nan would pick us up in her gold Mazda 626 and she'd take us to Chaddy (a big shopping centre to the south east of Melbourne city) for warm double chocolate muffins (with two butters). She'd always let us eat her cappuccino froth. 

Her love and affection has extended very naturally to my children- and she loves our foster daughter just as much as she loves the two that came out of my body. 

There's so much more to say but I'll leave you with a few lovely pictures instead. 

Nan & I circa 1990

My adorbs little brother Dave around the same time as the last pic 

Nan & I last year.. She was upset with us for taking it as she hadn't "arranged her face".. I think her face is fine.

A typical scene at Nan's these days..

Tell us about your nan! Go visit Pip at Meet Me At Mikes to read about Pip's nan.


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