Basco gluten free cake mixes

How can one brand be so variable?

I’ve made Basco’s chocolate cake a couple of times, and it’s wonderful. It is moist and tasty and you can barely tell that it is gluten free. Lovely stuff! In fact I’ll probably do that one again for Elspeth’s birthday party.

But I just tried their carrot cake. Oh, what a contrast! It is crumbly and doesn’t taste very nice – it certainly doesn’t taste anything like carrot! I’m not even sure I’ll eat all of this, let alone make it again!

Basco carrot cake

Basco carrot cake

Next time I make a carrot cake, I will do it properly – from scratch!


This morning we finally put together Elpseth’s toddler bed. It has been sitting in its box for several months now, awaiting effort. And effort did it take! There is a reason the thing was cheap; I think it was the most shoddily put together thing I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. Holes for screws didn’t line up, the whole thing was slightly crooked, and there were pieces missing. However, with the aid of some brute strength (from Aidan) and string (from me), we got it together. I figured that if it could support my weight, it would be fine for Elspeth to sleep on. So upon it I sat, all 70kg of me, and what do you know – it was fine! So tonight for the first time she will sleep in a bed instead of a cot. Hip hip hooray!

That Thing, again

Quite some time ago, whilst 24 weeks pregnant with Elspeth, I blogged about an incident caused by my pregnancy.

I’m not very pleased to report that this has occurred again!

I was walking to the train station this morning with the aim of going to the zoo. I was almost there when I began to feel dizzy, and sweat was pouring off me. My vision blurred, although this time I did not go completely blind, which was a positive!

I stopped and leaned on a post for a few minutes. The feeling passed, and I thought I would be alright. So I kept going. But it happened again, twice, and finally I simply had to sit down.

Fortunately (for me) the final episode occurred right next to the on-going construction works on Cooper Street, where the workmen have been seeing me walk by for many months and know me by sight. They offered assistance, water, a chair – even offered to call me an ambulance, but I called Aidan instead.

Aidan came from work and brought me home. His boss very kindly said not to worry about going back to work today, so for now I am pampered and fussed over and virtually forbidden to exert myself unnecessarily.

The dizziness and sweats have passed, my vision is back to normal. But my body seems to be in some sort of shock or something. I feel quite cold, I’m a bit pale, and I just keep needing to pee! I know that last bit is normal for pregnancy, but not this much!

Anyway, in lieu of going to the zoo, Aidan made a zoo for Elspeth at home. She seemed quite happy with it!

Elspeth's Zoo

Elspeth's Zoo

I’m actually not very sure if this post makes a lot of sense. I feel like it might be a bit disjointed. Anyway, I’m alright.

Aggressive Marketing Campaigns, or, Where companies are going wrong

We all know, and for the most part accept, that marketing and advertising play a very large part of the world we live in. They are omnipresent, and as such it becomes easy to tune out, to not see them. And so marketing companies adopt ever more aggressive, offensive, or bizarre  methods of getting your attention and getting their message across.

However lately I feel that a line has been crossed. I find myself consciously rebelling against and rejecting companies I feel have impinged just a little bit too much upon my convenience.

TRUenergy is one prime example. For those readers who are not familiar with the company, it is a gas and electricity retailer, and that is all. Nothing fancy or unusual. In recent months they have been campaigning in my area for new customers, and as part of that I’ve had multiple door-to-door sales people visit me. That, in itself, is not a problem. I’ve been a door-to-door sales person myself, it’s just one of the many jobs you take to get you by. However, when those people begin to either outright lie or subtly mislead their clientèle, a line has most definitely been crossed.

“I’m from your gas company,” says the young man standing at my door. “I’m here to tell you about some great new deals we’ve got.”

It takes several attempts and repetitions of “Exactly which company are you from?” to elicit from him that he is from TRUenergy, which is not a good start. I then assert, correctly, that TRUenergy is not my current gas retailer. “No no,” he insists, “We cover all of this area.” So now, at best I am being mislead, and at worst I am being insulted and called stupid, as if I do not know who I pay my bills to. On one occasion, I was even told that TRUenergy actually own the company I am with, which is blatantly untrue.

The idea behind it all, naturally, is to convince you that even though his company name is different from the one currently billing you, “Nothing will change, you will just get this new deal.” Insofar as I will still have gas connected to my home, that is true. But, lacking any actual problems with my current gas retailer, I have no incentive to change, particularly not to a company who have just tried to trick me into doing so. It would involve the provision of all of my details, setting up new billers in my netbanking environment, and very probably entering into a twelve or twenty-four month contract. All that, for very little noticeable benefit, to be the customer of a company with questionable morals. I’m quite happy with the company who leave me alone, thank you.

In short, TRUenergy’s tactics have actively put me off ever choosing to go with that company, regardless of rates or deals.

My next target is Emirates, who are currently trying to convince me (via to fly to New Zealand. That’s all well and good, and their sidebar advertisement is fine. However, should I let my mouse cursor hover over said ad, it expands and pops out over the article I am attempting to read. There is a close button, however mis-timing the click can result in being taken to the Emirates website instead of closing the pop-out. And, once closed, it does not stay closed; it will pop out again next time my mouse inadvertently strays to that side of the page. How annoying. I wasn’t looking at flying any time soon, but should I consider it, Emirates will be low on the list of options.

Next! ANZ! A bank, what an easy target in these times of economic hardship! ANZ recently had a campaign going which is now finished and I still have no idea what they were on about. In the TV ad, a supposed ANZ representative presented an award of some sort to the wrong person, which just makes me think they’re incompetent. Their internet-based advertising was another of the “pop up and take up the entire screen, blocking out what you’re trying to see” variety, which I find frustrating at the best of times. It is only made worse by the lack of coherent message or any useful information.

My very last gripe for the day is one which I have blogged about before. That specific blog deals with an ad for a Ford Fiesta Zetec, and the complete lack of meaning in their catchphrase “Life’s better connnected.” However similar senseless, meaningless advertisements crop up all the time, everywhere, and it irritates me. Tell me something about your product, something useful, something I may actually want to know if considering a purchase – such as price, accessibility, appropriateness for my circumstances. Telling me that life is better connected (than what?) is a sure-fire way to make me wrinkle my forehead in confusion and immediately forget your product.

Thank you, that is all.


Sweet Potato… thingie

I don’t know what to call this one, I literally made it up because I happened to have a sweet potato I wasn’t going to use otherwise. But it turned out nice!


One small sweet potato, grated

Half an onion, chopped or grated

An egg

A little bit of self-raising flour, probably about 1/4 cup

Salt, pepper, mixed herbs, other yummy seasonings to taste


Mix it all together and fry dollops of it like a pancake or fritter. It took about four minutes each side, over fairly high heat.

Aidan and I thought it was really yummy, but Elspeth refused to eat it.

I used to do WHAT?!

Once upon a time, I would be up early every morning and out of the house by around 8am. I would spend an 8 hour day working hard – usually not very physically active, but mentally focussed. I wouldn’t be home until perhaps 6pm, and then there was cooking to be done and housework and maintaining a relationship. And that was my day.

Looking back, that seems such a long day! Such a long time to be out and active and doing things. I never gave it a second thought then, but now I find that a mere 3 hours out and about with a toddler and a pregnancy has me exhausted!

Going down the jumping castle slide

Elspeth and I left the house around 10.30 this morning. I thought I’d take her to Child’s Play again, to get her nicely exhausted so that she would stay happily in her pram while I did the shopping. Well, for starters, going on the jumping castle with her was seriously exhausting! I don’t remember the last time I went on one, but I’m sure it wasn’t that difficult.

I kept going to sit down – the wonderful thing about Child’s Play is that the layout means you can see the whole place from the tables, meaning you can sit and sip tea while still watching your munchkin play. However every few minutes Elspeth would realise I wasn’t with her, so she would come and take my hand and say “Mummy play too!” and we were off again!

After an hour of this, I decided it was time to go – we had shopping to do, after all. Leaving prompted a minor tantrum, but that was easily dealt with. But then when we got to the Plaza, despite her obvious tiredness, she was still begging to get out of the pram and walk! Needless to say, that idea was firmly quashed, and she stayed up. Darned if I was going to be chasing her around all day!

Dangling from the rings

So we came home after the shopping, and I thought maybe it would be nap time. How could she not be sleepy? But instead, she wanted to go “out the back” and play some more! So we spent an hour or so running around out there.

It’s 3pm now and I’m wrecked. She’s still going strong, though!

I seriously have no idea how I used to manage eight hour work days, plus transit time, and then do everything else on top of that! And I seriously seriously have no idea how I’m ever going to go back to work any time after Evelyn is born!

Aidan should be home soon, hopefully he’s a little less buggered than me, and I can handball this little bundle of energy to him!

All the fun of a morning out

Last night, I dreaded this morning. I knew I would have to get Elspeth and myself up early and ready quickly in order to make it to the hospital by 9am. Breakfast was scoffed, bathtime was a hurried affair, and we caught the bus with seconds to spare.

Once at the hospital, questions were asked and my stomach was prodded, and all was declared to be perfectly fine. My blood test results are great, my blood pressure is normal (I can never remember the numbers; as long as they tell me it’s fine, I’m happy), the fundus is measuring 27cm (which is spot on for this stage of pregnancy), nothing is abnormal or worrying. Probably the only unusual thing to happen was Elspeth tickling my toes as I lay on the table!

So then the midwife was finished with me and sent me on my way, and I realised it was still early. Elspeth was behaving, I was feeling oddly energetic, so what to do? Of course! Child’s Play! On a day like this, any normal playground or other outdoor activity is out of the question, so a wonderful big indoor play centre for the under-fives seemed just the thing! And best of all, it’s only a short walk from the hospital – even with a flat tyre it wasn’t a problem for pregnant me + pram.

Child's Play Epping, ball pit

Child's Play, Epping

To me, Child’s Play seems just a big room filled with rubber matting and foam things and stuff. But to children, it appears a veritable heaven of playtime! They adore it, and Elspeth is no exception. We spent over an hour there, and even then she didn’t want to leave. I’d have stayed longer, but I really needed to pee.

And so the toilet was visited, a quick grocery trip was done – that was where I expected tantrums, but there was only one brief yell – and we didn’t get home until midday. We read a couple of books, and then it was nap time! Oh, glorious nap time! I’m surprised I didn’t just pass out on the couch myself, but I thought I should blog instead!

Can you choose?

I had a dreadful night’s sleep last night. I was ill, my stomach churning, the baby kicking, I don’t think I ever slept deeply and I was wide awake every hour or so checking the time. As a result, of course, I’m quite tired today.

I deal with toddler stuff, including tantrums, quite well when I’m not tired. It’s like water off a duck’s back. What do I care if she screams and cries? My foot remains down, my decision made.

But when I’m tired, sometimes, it all just seems too much. Why must I listen to this drivel? Why won’t she just take a nap? I want a nap, why doesn’t she?

It is tempting, right now, as I listen to her cry from the next room, to break down into tears. It might be nice. It might make me feel better, at least temporarily. But heck, crying involves so much cleaning up, all that water and snot, blowing the nose, and trying to keep it all off the keyboard… it might actually be easier to adopt my usual who-cares attitude.

It’s times like this that I realise life is really what you make it, what you choose. I could choose to be a drama queen and break down, but ultimately I chose to be a mother, so here I am typing serenely.

But I still wish she’d shut the hell up and sleep!