Archive | March, 2011

UPDATE – to Jackie O story below

29 Mar

Yesterday, I posted about my outrage over The Daily Telegraph’s inferred condemnation of radio personality and new mum, Jackie O, for bottle feeding her 3 month old daughter while crossing a road in Double Bay. Today the Tele has run a follow-up story giving Jackie’s side of the story. I for one think she should never have been put into a situation where she felt forced to explain her reasons for this. The way she parents her child is completely her business, and not the public’s. However, as you will see from the story below, it is just as I suspected – Jackie had completely understandable reasons for feeding her bubby on the street. So why didn’t the Tele talk to her BEFORE they published the photo? Well, you know the old saying – don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

RADIO personality Jackie O went on air yesterday to explain her motivation for bottle-feeding her newborn daughter while crossing a Sydney street.
While her breakfast show partner Kyle Sandilands took a swipe at Confidential, O explained she was feeding her baby on a Double Bay street because she was running late and her daughter was hungry. The 2DayFM star, who conceived baby Kitty following IVF treatment, admitted the street was not the “most ideal place” to feed an infant. “We were running late and Kitty was screaming and I knew I had to feed her because, you know, what else can you do? When your baby’s hungry your baby’s hungry and I pulled out my express bottle and I fed her … whilst walking,” she said. “I’ll be the first to admit it is not the most ideal place. Of course 95 per cent of the time I’m seated . . The last thing I would ever want to do is jeopardise her welfare.”She’s my No. 1. This wasn’t a busy road. There was hardly anything around. It was a pedestrian crossing on a leafy street.”

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A story to make every Mum’s blood boil

28 Mar

I’m not an angry person but this morning I saw a news story that made my blood boil. It’s an awful example of the media casting totally unfair judgements on a new mum, for no aparent reason, other than complete nastiness. In its wisdom (not), The Daily Telegraph published this photo of radio personality, Jackie O, and her daughter, Kitty, crossing the road. It was accompanied by the following story, which is written in a cowardly way inferring, but not saying outright,  that Jackie O is a bad mum. Totally unfair, I say.

WITH books by Libbi Gorr and Jessica Rowe being launched this week, there seems to be no lack of information on the subject of caring for one’s baby. Yet in all the literature, we are yet to spot a single chapter which touches upon feeding newborns while crossing the road. In a quick search, Confidential found that professionals generally agree the preferred position for feeding a three-month-old is sitting in a chair or in a bed. Radio star Jackie O might disagree after being snapped bottle-feeding baby Kitty while crossing a street. Mothercraft and Nannies director Jenni Waldron gently suggested: “It would be best to sit comfortably in a chair and hold your baby correctly while feeding.”
OK. So, this article is insinuating that Jackie is a bad mum on three counts
1) she’s carrying her baby across a road
2) she’s bottle feeding, as opposed to breast feeding her baby
3) she should be sitting down to feed the baby

How unfair! Whoever wrote this story has cast some very harsh judgements without knowing ANYTHING about the situation. At a guess, the baby is three months old. At a guess, she was probably very hungry. As any Mum knows – when a baby is screaming with hunger, you would do ANYTHING to feed them, including doing it while crossing a road. I have a three month old, and when she is desperate for food, I’ll feed her any way I can – standing on my head if I have to. The hungry cry is a very distressing sound – it’s designed to be that way so you feed the baby straight away. It’s like an inbuilt survival mechanism.

As for how she’s feeding the baby (ie with a bottle) – all I can say is – the feeding of babies should be a judgement-free zone. Mums need to do what works best for them – and for the baby. If that’s a bottle – great! If it’s breast – great! Mums tend to beat themselve up enough on this issue – we don’t need the media to do it for us.

What’s going on with models these days?

28 Mar

If a genie granted me the wish of looking like any celebrity of my choice – I would chose Megan Gale. To me, she is the epitome of one seriously HAWT woman. She recently came out of her catwalk retirement to walk in a show for Alex Perry. Seeing her strut her stuff was like witnessing a one-woman-party crashing the sad and lifeless place that most catwalk shows have become. (Watch it here on youtube).  She looked strong, confident and sexy because she smiled, she wiggled her hips, she showed off cleavage galore, a lot of personality – and (gasp) proved that women over 30 can still be smoking hot babes. Most importantly, she made me covet every Alex Perry dress she wore. And, after all, isn’t that the point of a fashion show – to sell clothes. The image of her strutting down the catwalk has stayed with me for a couple of weeks as I wondered why fashion designers didn’t use more models like Gale.
Traditionally, I know they’ve said they use skinny models because the clothes hang better on them. But why the sad faces? Why the absence of personality? The absence of curves? I guess the theory is that they want the audience to focus on the clothes, not the models. But compare the photo of Gale to the photo at the end of this post of a model in Paris wearing a similar type of dress. Which one would you want to buy? But it seems I’m not the only one who’s uninspired by the current crop of top models. Today, I read that designer Herve Leger (who no longer stages catwalk shows) has been quoted as saying ‘If I had to go back to catwalk presentations I would be in a panic… Already the models I find are too skinny, too sad. I knew the age of the super top models, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford, who were always lively and smiling. Today you go between several défilés and you will see the exact same type of girl – it just doesn’t inspire me.’ Interestingly, Herve Leger is famous for his ‘bandage’ dresses (see photo at end of post) which also accentuate a woman’s curves, similar to Alex Perry. So maybe it’s a case where designers who concentrate on making women look ‘womanly’ also aren’t afraid of using models who are life-like – that is – they look alive. I just don’t get why other designer like to use models who walk like robots? I mean, who aspires to looking like that?

Fergie in Herve Leger

My fashion campaign – bring back ‘the outfit’!

27 Mar

I still remember my first ‘corporate’ suit (called a ‘power suit’ in those days). It was a fire engine red skirt suit – a cropped jacket with a (rather short) skirt in exactly the same colour. It was very Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear’s character – see photo) from Melrose Place. For memory, my Mum bought it for me when I was about 20 – but I know for sure we bought it from Sportsgirl. The reason I’m so sure is that, some 15 years later, I still have the jacket, it still has the Sportsgirl label, it still fits, it’s still in great condition, and I still wear it – but never with the matching skirt.  Walk into Sportsgirl now, and you’ll find an amazing array of fabulous separates – but you won’t find anything resembling a corporate suit, and you certainly won’t find a matching top and pants/skirt in the same colour – or anything that resembles a co-ordinated ‘outfit’. And it’s the same in all the High Street chain stores – from Portmans to Cue, Events and Country Road. I used to own a rainbow collection of different coloured suits from all of them – a cream skirt suit from Portmans, a pastel pink skirt suit from Events, a beige pants suit from Cue. At the time, I was working in TV journalism – and wearing a suit like I’ve described was like a uniform. It was easy, it looked polished.
At some point over the last 15 years, the concept of the ‘matching’ outfit went completely out the window – wearing a jacket in exactly the same colour as your pants/skirt is pretty well out of vogue, except if you work in a very conservative workplace where black and grey suits are like a uniform – or, if you’re over 50 years of age. Our Governor General is the ‘Queen’ of that look (see photos at the end) and I think she always looks fabulous – polished and appropriate. Even the concept of a ‘co-ordinated’ casual outfit has gone out the door. When was the last time you walked into a shop and found a pair of pants sitting right next to a top, designed specifically to ‘go together’. So why did it happen? Well, for a few reasons, I think. The workplace has become more casual – and fashion has become more ‘individual’ – that is, the trend these days (according to the fash mags I read) is to mix and match designer ‘pieces’, with chain store ‘cheapies’ and vintage ‘finds’. And – maybe I was just a complete dag in my early 20s and failed to realise that matching suits and outfits were completely uncool. But – I, for one, think the death of ‘the outfit’ is a great shame. Namely, because it’s made shopping so damn difficult. You might find some great pants in one shop, and then spend another two hours scouring other shops for a fabulous top to go with it. Frankly, with two kids under 2, I just don’t have time for that any more. I’ve got a wardrobe full of tops and bottoms that I love. But nothing ‘goes’ with anything. I know that a fashion magazine would say that I should be able to pull a ‘look’ from all these disparate items by mixing them in an interesting and witty way – but I don’t’  have the eye. Or – here’s a revelation – maybe I should ask a shop assistant about what goes with what. But – let’s face it – when does anyone ask a shop assistant for real advice? What I want is to be able to walk into a shop and walk out half an hour later with a complete outfit – with no help, no fuss, no fashion styling degree required. Anyone with me?  

Making fish yummy

25 Mar

Fish is something I neither love nor hate to eat. Give me a choice between a piece of fish, and a piece of steak and I will probably chose the steak every time. However, I know there are good health benefits to eating fish and so I try to cook it at least once a week – and I’m always on the look out for recipes to make fish taste less ‘fishy’ if that makes sense. I’ve found the following Donna Hay recipe to be the best yet – quick enough for a mid-week meal, sophisticated enough for a dinner party and doesn’t stink out the whole kitchen!

Fish roasted in lemon, parmesan and caper butter sauce
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 x 200g firm white fish fillets (like deep sea perch, ling, gemfish, flathead or monkfish)
2 tablespoon salted capers (rinsed)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
60g softened butter (works OK with margarine too)

Heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Mash together the capers, lemon zest, cheese and butter. Smear over the fish. Cook fish on non-stick baking dish (or line a dish with non-stick baking paper). Cook for 20mins or until fish is cooked. Serve with steamed greens and boiled or roast potatoes.

Parenting the second time round – is it any easier?

22 Mar

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t have the fondest memories of the first six months of my first baby’s life. I remember there being frequent tears – mainly from me. The problem was, I treated parenting a bit like an exam, figuring that if I studied hard enough, then surely I would pass the ‘parenthood’ test. So, I swotted and swotted – reading and re-reading three different books about caring for newborn babies. I was quite obsessed with establishing a routine, and getting her to sleep through the night, believing this to be the holy grail of parenthood, like getting an ‘A’ on an exam.
I had the script memorised by heart – and the times that everything was supposed to happen – the time she was supposed to wake, supposed to feed, supposed to sleep. Note the use of the word ‘supposed’. The fact was, I knew the script off by heart – but my baby didn’t. She did not sleep in the way ‘the book’ said she was supposed to. At 9am, she was meant to sleep for 2 – 3 hours. She’d sleep for 45 minutes, wake, and then I would spend the remaining hour patting, rocking and shushing her to try and get her back to sleep. And this would happen 2 – 3 times a day. It was back-breaking, mind numbing, isolating and totally demoralising. Night times weren’t much better. I introduced a ‘dream feed’ – the idea being the baby would get her last feed of the night just as I was going to bed, thereby giving me at last 4 – 5 hours of solid sleep before the next feed. It never worked – and at six months she was still waking every 2-3 hours – and the real heart breaker was that she was a serious little baby who rarely smiled at my husband and I. The only thing that made her grin was a damn picture in our bedroom. She found it hilarious – much more funny than either her Daddy or Mummy. Fortunately, I had an extremely supportive husband, and I wasn’t working, so the lack of sleep was survivable. By 7 months, we’d taken some action (a whole other post) and she was sleeping through the night and having two long’ish sleeps every day – and she started smiling at us a bit more. But, do I remember spending much time just enjoying my baby in that first 6 months  – just cuddling, just chatting, just hanging out? No, I don’t. And that’s what has changed this time round – with baby number 2. I’m just trying to enjoy her. And, so far it’s working. I’ve given up on endless hours of trying to settle her in her cot. If she wakes after 45 minutes, and she seems wide awake, I get her up. If she cries and seems hungry, I feed her – even if it’s less than 3 hours from the last feed. I use a dummy a lot more. And – I even cuddle her to sleep if I feel like it – something I never did with baby number 1 for fear of establishing ‘bad’ sleep habits. I’m looking less at the clock, and more at my baby to really try and establish what she needs, not what I think she should need, or what some book says she should need. I don’t mean to rubbish all the books on managing newborns and establishing routines. Some of the advice is very useful – and many babies respond really well to it. The book that has really helped me is Robyn Barker’s Baby Love. In it, she advises that routines are difficult to establish in the early days – and that trying to re-settle a baby during the day is rarely successful – advice that has given me the freedom to walk away from all that rocking, patting and shushing. Who knows? Maybe I’m establishing some ‘bad’ sleep habits. But – you know what – we can deal with that later. One thing I’ve learned is that babies are pretty flexible, and they can ‘unlearn’ a bad habit, just as quickly as they learn it. Interestingly, now that I’m no longer following ‘the rules’, I’m finding that baby 2 is naturally finding her own routine, and she’s a much better night time sleeper than her older sister was at the same age. Go figure. Sure, she doesn’t sleep through. But I don’t expect her to. Not yet. For now, all I want from her are the cuddles, the goos and the gaas, the raspberries and the smiles – which she is giving in abundance. So, I guess the difference between baby number 1 and baby 2 is me – and my expectations. First time round, all I wanted was a baby that stuck to a routine. This time round, I just want a baby to enjoy. And that’s what I’ve got.

You know you’re getting older when…..

20 Mar

Lately, I’ve been feeling my age – and not just in a physical way. Wrinkles, aches and pains – they’re an accepted and obvious part of getting old. However, up ’till now I’ve always considered myself fairly young in the head – that is – I felt like my mental attitude towards life hadn’t changed much from the age of 16, and that I still thought about things in the way a young person did, spoke in the way a young person spoke, dressed in the way young people dress and had fairly ‘young’ interests in music and TV. But I’m realising that’s not really the case any more. So I put together a list of examples to demonstrate my ‘aging’ attitude.

 You know your getting old when…
1) You start sentences with the words – ‘in my day’
2) You think someone born in 1990 sounds really young – until you figure out they’re celebrating their 21st birthday this year
3) You realise you can no longer wear a tartan mini-skirt (unless going to a fancy dress party as Britney circa ’99). Looking like a naughty schoolgirl at the age 25 is kind of cute – at the age of 35, it’s just creepy
4) You listen more to AM radio, than FM – and if you do listen to FM radio, it’s MIX 106.5
5) A cracking Saturday night involves 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And that’s it. Bliss.
6) You use the word ‘hip’ to describe something cool – and an 18 year old doesn’t get what you’re saying. ‘Hip’ – that’s a part of the body, right?
7) You find yourself giving your parents advice – and occasionally – they actually take it
8) You talk to someone younger, and they say they’ve never heard of (or seen) the Brady bunch
9) You’ve never watched Gossip Girl – and you have no intention of doing so
10) You can remember the days when there was no email, no mobile phones, no internet – and sometimes you wish that’s the way the world still was