Parenting | Lifestyle | Food | No F--king Idea

Author: TheObliviousNewMama

Jess Rasho: SLEEP

Jess Rasho: SLEEP

I giggle when I think back to pre-Imani days. “I’m tired,” I would say. Coming home from my eight hour job, having my thirty minute lunch break, unlimited toilet breaks and then having a long hot shower and a completely uninterrupted 8-9 hour sleep at […]

Esther Campion x T(O)NM

Esther Campion x T(O)NM

Delighted to be asked to share some of my writing experience on this blog. To be honest, I’m a little jealous of The (Oblivious) New Mama when I see those gorgeous Instagram pictures of her lovely son, but then I remember the twenty-four-seven job that […]

The pleasure (and patience) of baking

The pleasure (and patience) of baking

I haven’t always baked. For a very, very long time I was absolutely terrible at it. I have always loved, however, the romance of baking. From my very own kitchen in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning, to those iconic scenes we see in film, there is something so deliciously sensual, romantic, uplifting and xxx about baking.

Think of that scene in Bridesmaids when Annie makes her cupcake (albeit a very sad cupcake), or when Meryl Streep and Steve Martin’s characters in It’s Complicated go into the bakery after-hours to make chocolate croissants. Or literally any scene in Chocolat. Or when Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson are messaging each other from different rooms in the same house in Something’s Gotta’ Give in the middle of the night and they decide to make pancakes (or is it French toast?).

I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly about baking that is so sensory and lovely and calming and wonderful and romantic, but it is. It totally, totally is. One of my favourite memories is when I was living in my apartment in Hunters Hill by myself. I was recently single and it dawned on me that not only was I single, but I was an adult; I could do anything I wanted. Upon that realisation, just before midnight when I was still lying awake in bed, I got up, pulled my favourite recipe book from the shelf, pre-heated the oven and baked. While my slab of brownie was cooking I didn’t pass the time distracting myself with my phone or my book, instead I slid down the cupboards, sat on the floor and listened to the hum of the oven. To date it is still the most ‘in the moment’ I have ever been.

It wasn’t until recently that I started really baking. When The Cliterature Club was in its prime, I discovered just how much I loved baking and, even more so how much I loved the joy it brought those around me. And then even more recently, that I realised just how badly I want to bake as my career (among every other creative pursuit I am wanting to do as my career). I have never been someone who enjoys watching YouTube tutorials, instead I like to fumble my way through life ad its activities. Over the last few weeks though, after hours of scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest feeds I saw just how much I don’t know about baking. I am a complete novice, actually. I am a YouTube tutorial FIEND now and I cannot express how much I am enjoying learning new skills, techniques and tips when it comes to baking, icing and decorating. There as some INSANELY talented humans out there and after seeing so many of them work, it has spurred me on to really get better at what I love doing.

Yesterday I discovered an absolute boss of a woman, Yolanda ‘Yo’ Gammp from How To Cake It. I went through her entire site and YouTube channel and came away so fucking inspired. Seriously. This woman is INCREDIBLE. She is a self-taught baker and creator as well which just made me love her even more, and the things that she creates seem impossible. Her tutorials and instructional videos break every element down to seem do-able as well as being absolutely hilarious.

I also discovered just how impatient I am.

Patience has never been a strength of mine, never ever. But it wasn’t until yesterday when I was watching one of Yo’s videos that I came to a realisation: my impatience is my absolute downfall when it comes to baking. I get so excited when I am creating a new cake that a lot of the time (all the time) I don’t give the cake nor the icing enough time to rest. I rush everything so that I can see the end result. I didn’t realise just how much beauty of the baking process I was missing by taking it just that little bit slower. Not only that, but by rushing into making cakes and not giving myself that time to learn and watch tutorials, I also missed vital steps. For instance, Yo’s catchphrase ‘Crumb Coat and Chill’. This is basically when you ice a cake with a thin layer of buttercream so that all of the crumbs are glued to the cake itself. Then, after chilling the cake until that layer sets, when you go to do you final icing layer, everything is smooth and wonderful!

Baking is gifting me with so many more things than I ever thought it would, and it has been such an amazing surprise. Not only is the process of baking and cake decorating teaching me the fine art of patience, but it is helping me rediscover how much I love learning. Baking is teaching me just how important it is to fail, because when we fail we cannot help but learn, and problem solve, and amend and improve. Baking is providing me with the most fulfilling outlet for my creativity. Baking also makes my house smell really, really good.

Yesterday when I was icing my Halloween cake, I attempted to make it a ‘fault line cake’. I was not prepared for that skill level yet and it looked awful. After the hours upon hours that I had spent baking the cakes and making three batches of icing (literally all day), when I looked at the wayward icing I almost cried. Hunter was on my hip, I swivelled the cake around to inspect every flawed angle and I almost threw it in the bin. Instead I paused, took a deep breathe and scraped the entire thing clean. I then reused the icing that was’t clumped with sad, discarded sprinkles and re-iced the cake. It wasn’t perfect, but it was cute.

Having Hunter has been the best motivator for me to really give this whole blog/writing/baking/entrepreneur thing a red hot crack. Whenever I fell lazy or tired (which is often, trust me), I think about how grateful I am that I am able to stay at home with him and how desperately I want to be around for his first years, for school pick-up and drop-off. I want to be around for everything, and I am doing my absolute damndest to make that happen.

So, like, order some cakes from me.

(Please?)

How To.. fall in love with your post-baby body

How To.. fall in love with your post-baby body

I feel quite vulnerable and self-conscious posting these photos and this article today. I feel so passionately about women being madly in love with their bodies, while at the same time fearing that I am coming across as self-important, vain, attention-seeking and whatever other insults […]

The glory of meal prep

The glory of meal prep

For a long time I thought that ‘meal-prepping’ was reserved for enthusiastic gym-goers who needed to monitor their calorie and protein intake by way of steamed greens and creepy, pale chicken and sad brown rice. HOW WRONG I WAS. Since having Hunter, I have gained […]

How To.. get out of the house with a little one

How To.. get out of the house with a little one

For a very long time, my family has found it extremely hilarious and entertaining how punctual, organised and time-aware I am. Where my brothers and mum are relaxed and keen believers of ‘going with the flow’, I am the stark opposite.

I would rather be an hour early somewhere than on time or – GOD FORBID – five minutes late. If a party starts at seven, I am there at seven. If I have been invited to a dinner out at six thirty, you can guarantee that I will be there at six (quarter to six). When Pete assures me that everyone else will be there at least twenty minutes late, he still showers and jumps in the car with me to be wherever we need to be very, very early.

I have zero idea where it comes from, but that’s just me. I have always been punctual and I have always been a (very) early riser. The hours between 4.30am and 6am are my favourite of the day. (Having said that, waking up at 6am is preferred as I need all the sleep I can get at the moment, but I digress.)

A friend of mine asked me the other day, “Do you find it hard getting out of the house with Hunter?” and I was honestly able to answer, “Nope!” She then went on to compare me with a friend of hers who also has a little one who she swears can’t get out of the house before midday. Another friend of mine, also with a little one, said to me a few months ago, “I have no idea how you got out with Hunter when he was so little, I can barely make it out before the afternoon!”

I hadn’t thought anything of it – Hunter and I were just doing our thing.

Every single baby and mother and parent and child is different. I have had mornings (and afternoons and nights) where I cannot wrangle Hunter, I cannot coax him to do anything. And on those days, he and I don’t get out of the house until HE is ready and I can handle him.

But hey, if I can pass on even ONE handy tip that can help a mama get to her caffeine sooner then it is totally worth it.

  1. Pack your nappy bag.

I can’t tell you how simple and helpful it is to pack your little one’s bag the night before. Whether you have a newborn, a six month old or a toddler, preparing everything you will need for the next day will save you a lot of stress in the morning. Here are my ‘must-haves’ for Hunter’s day bag:

  • Nappy pouch with a change mat, three spare nappies and nappy bin bags
  • Wipes. All the wipes. I have a Huggies wipe pouch that I then purchase bulk refills for
  • Spare formula. Hunter is formula-fed so I always make sure that I have spare portions with me. There are a number of formula dispensers on the market – I have an Avent one that holds three separate portions
  • Water for Hunter and I. I always make sure I have a litre bottle of water for me and to make another bottle if he needs one. I also pack a bottle of water for Hunter
  • FOOD. Hunter is on solids now and, like his mama, the little man loves his food. I pack a small lunchbox with breadsticks, avocado sandwich, rusks, rice puffs, cut up fruit, etc.
  • Spare change of clothes – in case of any accidents!
  • Bibs – because you always need bibs
  • Toys. I always pack some blocks, some teething rattles and whatever other toy he is fixated on at the moment.
  • Spare dummies. I cannot tell you the number of Hunter’s dummies that I am sure litter the streets and shopping centres of Sydney
  • And then for me: book, wallet, sunglasses, phone, lip balm, hair elastics and keys

2. Check the weather

This may sound silly, but it is something that I do every night. Not only does it help me plan what I am doing with Hunter the next day but it also helps me plan what to wear, what Hunter is going to wear and also if I need to pack anything extra in his day bag (like an umbrella, a hat, etc.). Now again, all of that may sound like a silly idea, but there are days when I just have no idea what to wear; or days when I will come out of the shower and want to wear something in particular only to realise that it is in the washing machine and then Im just naked, confused and Hunter is getting all restless because he knows we are going out.

3. YOUTUBE IS YOUR FRIEND

Now I realise that not everyone may like their children watching television, and some may be totally against it! That is totally fine and I completely admire you! Just before I hop in the shower, I connect my laptop to the television, head to YouTube and put on either “Disco Food Party”, “Sparkabilities” or “Baby Einstein”. By that stage of our morning, Hunter has eaten breakfast, had a bottle and is playing with his toys on his playmat on the floor. These videos are educational (besides the Disco one) and Hunter loves them! He doesn’t sit there blankly watching the television, instead he plays with his toys and tends to listen to the videos rather than watching them. When I get out of the shower and am doing my hair and makeup, I have a clear view of Hunter and these videos simply help keep him THAT much more distracted so I am able to make myself feel nice for the day ahead. Like I said, not everyone will agree with this method and there are some mornings when Hunter doesn’t need that extra stimulation. But for me, it allows me to have those brief five minutes to myself to brush my teeth, tame my hair and brush some mascara onto my tired eyes.

4. Relax

It’s all well and good to get your little one out of the house for the morning, but what is the point if you are frazzled, feeling pressured, putting yourself through unnecessary stress and feel like absolute shit! Hunter normally wakes up at about 5.30am, so by the time 7.30am-8am rolls around, he is ready for another nap. This has been his routine for about a month and a half now, and it works for us! When he goes down for his nap is when I like to start my day properly. I make myself a coffee. I make myself breakfast. I put The Today Show on. I open my book. I sit. Hunter is awake for most of the day after that so I allow myself that time when he is napping of a morning to be selfish. There may be dishes that need washing, clothes that need folding, vacuuming that needs doing but I ignore all of that and do exactly what makes ME happy.

5. Trial and error, baby!

Each and every day, Hunter is different. Like yesterday he decided that he wouldn’t have his morning nap. Cool. But then this morning, he went down from 6.15 until 7.30. There are mornings that I have cried, that he has screamed, that my mum has had to come over; there are other mornings where he is happy, and content, and I am caffeinated and showered. It’s all trial and error.

Jess Rasho: Breastfeeding Goddess

Jess Rasho: Breastfeeding Goddess

I am so excited and humbled to introduce you all to my beautiful friend, Jess. Jess and I met through the Peanut app when our babies were two months old. If you aren’t familiar with Peanut it is essentially Tinder for new mums. Jess and […]

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green

Disclaimer: there are not enough nice words in the English vocabulary (or any vocabulary for that matter) to properly describe the absolute beauty of this book. Sophie Green, author of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club returns to our shelves with the […]

Remember me?

Remember me?

It has been over two months since I last posted and truly, I have no idea where that time has gone. Next Monday, Hunter is eight months old. EIGHT MONTHS. That’s almost nine months, which is pretty much ten months, which is pretty much one year which is a hop, skip and a jump away from him being eighteen.

A lot has happened in the ridiculous world of Hunter and Leah over the last couple of months. I got all four tyres of my car replaced for the first time ever. Then, precisely two days after that, when Hunter and I were exiting the car park at Top Ryde, a woman ran a red light and hit us and wrote off my car. Yep. Airbags deployed, the ambulance was called, tears were shed, whiplash was had. So that was fun. I have had the best run of books I have ever read. Hunter experienced the beach for the first time. My mum sold her cafe. I bought a sweet pair of flares (SO EXCITED THEY ARE BACK). I reconnected with my best friend and definitely cried with happiness. I learned how to make a unicorn cake. Meanwhile, Hunter started self-feeding, he learned how to sit up, he can stand unassisted for about four seconds at a time and he made an entire bus-full of people laugh by smiling at them.

So yeah, it has been a mixed bag of life stuff over the last couple of months.

I’m learning, however, that that is how things are going to be from now on. Before I was a mum I knew what each day was going to look like, pretty much. I woke up, got ready, bought a coffee and went to work, worked, came home, made some dinner, curled up with Pete and watched some television and then passed out to do it all again the next day. But now, every single day is different. Even if Hunter and I go to the same places and do the same things, each and every day is completely different to the last because he is different every day. Watching him grow and learn is truly remarkable and I know I am not alone when I say that.

Hunter has been such a driving force for me when it comes to wanting to run my own business, be my own boss, etc. etc. I have always had projects on-the-go, but it wasn’t until Hunter came along that I realised just how determined I am to make something out of my creative pursuits. The problem is choosing which to pursue. Every day I struggle with knowing how to spend my free time when Hunter goes down for his naps. Do I read or paint or draw or bake or write or blog? Lately, I have been reading in any spare time that I have. I have always loved books but over the last few weeks I have read some truly incredible novels by some truly incredible writers that I have fallen in love with the written word in a whole new way. Having said that, I would love to start a book club again. I would love The Cliterature Club to become a huge thing – a national movement where women, mothers and everyone in between are able to meet like-minded people and find their tribe. And then there is my love of baking and food and cheeseboards and events. What I am working towards is to have an event and catering business. I will cover all aspects of a function/party/hens night/wedding from the decorations, to the drinks, to the food. I would love to be inundated with cookie and cake orders. I want to offer ‘takeaway’ cheeseboards that people can order for picnics and whatnot. I have had orders here and there, and more are slowly trickling in, and I am currently giving away whatever I bake to get my food out there and into people’s bellies!

And then there is the book I am still writing and this blog that I still really want to be somewhere where mother’s feel heard and safe and everything.

I have no idea what the fuck I am doing.

(Also, most of the time I am going off like, four hours sleep so my decision making is not quite as keen as it used to be)

(Nah, nah, its more like seven hours now. Hunter is slowly sleeping better so that’s exciting)

Anyway – I would love to do a ‘call to arms’ if you will just indulge me. If anyone out there is keen to be a part of a book club, raise your hand (aka, send me a message or an email). If anyone is hosting an event of any kind and would like it to be catered AT COST, please let me know and we will get it happening! If anyone out there would like to order cookies or a cake, let’s chat! And if anyone has any other amazing things that they want to talk to me about, I’m here.

Sorry I have been away so long everyone but seriously, look how cute my son is.. can you blame me?!

My Tribe

My Tribe

I have a new tribe. Hunter has brought with him a whole new way of life, an entirely new lifestyle and, rather unexpectedly, some of the most beautiful friendships with the most incredible women. One of us is a champion breastfeeder. One of us couldn’t […]