HOT: Saving up for a pram bike

Many people have told me that it’s simply not practicable not to have a car when you have children. Well, that may be so, 100mg but I’m saving my money to buy a Zigo anyway. I’m dubbing it the Pram Bike.

The Zigo® Leader™ is a functional multi-gear city bike which attaches a ChildPod® at the front. So you can see your kids in front of you instead of twisting around to watch a trailer or child seat. Once uncoupled, medical the ChildPod® becomes a stroller or jogger. For the times where I must use a car, the ChildPod® folds up flat to fit in the boot of an economy size car.

The Zigo® Leader™ with ChildPod® retails for $2495 for the 3 speed bike and pod and $4595 for the 7 speed bike and pod. You can also buy the bike and pods separately, and there are other accessories such as a jogger kit ($99.95), rear rack ($9.95), rain cover ($9.95) and traditional back trailer kit ($99.95).

HOT: Awkward Family Photos

Joyce and I like to consider ourselves to be fairly stylish people.

We do understand that parenthood MAY impact on our ability to maintain the image that we project to the world at all times  (I don’t think Joyce has quite accepted this quite yet but we’ll see).

However, parenthood would have to change us to the core before we would consider a costume themed family portrait.

Which gives us some chance of avoiding inclusion in the very HOT Awkward Family Photos Blog.

AFP is the anti Anne Geddes, bypassing the twee and drilling straight the cringe-factor of family photos. Misguided childhood costumes, fashions, hairstyles, poses and parenting techniques abound at this post a day tribute to the awkward side of family life.

I’m sure there are no photos from our childhood that would make it onto this site…

Three Stooges Impression


Mommy the Pooh

HOT: Think Geek Maternity T-Shirt

For reasons that I don’t yet fully appreciate, JJ is aiming to avoid the need to buy/utilise maternity-wear during the pregnancy. While I have my own thoughts about the practicality of this strategy (she’s already bursting some seams ;) ) this means we haven’t really gone clothes shopping yet.

But I have managed one maternity-wear purchase in the name gimmickry if not utility – this kitsch Think Geek Women’s Maternity T-Shirt. All that it’s missing is the old Macintosh wristwatch icon and the classic geek appeal would be complete.

I don’t think JJ is too impressed – but I think it’s amusing if nothing else :)

HOT: Nursery Design – Yiying Lu’s “Lifting a Dreamer”

Yiying Lu - "Lifting a Dreamer"

The pregnancy books (well the one I’m reading at least) seem to recommend that expectant parents begin ‘nesting’ after the three month mark of the pregnancy.

This is a bit of a problem for JJ and I given that we have an absolute ban on twee, cuteness and cliché – three characteristics upon which the entire baby products industry seems to be founded.

So knowing that we’ll be facing an uphill battle avoiding the saccharine scourge, we’ve been keeping an eye out for cool, high design baby products to snap up in preparation for the arrival of the NKOTB.

One of my favourite finds so far is Aussie designer (and creator of the Twitter Fail Whale), Yiying Lu’s “Lifting a Dreamer” wall graphics set (first seen on Boing Boing). Yeah, so maybe it’s not quite Le Corbusier Chic, but I think  the Geek Factor puts this heads and shoulders above the whole Jack and Jill school of nursery design.

You can buy it here.

HOT: I feel the need, the need for cheese

I always quite liked cheese, but I can’t say I love cheese. In fact, I think a cheese platter at the end of the meal is just a poor excuse for cheating me out of dessert.

So it’s quite strange that I’ve developed a strong penchant for cheese. I don’t think it counts as a bizarre pregnancy-related food craving, but my increased desire for cheese (and yoghurt) I think it just my body’s way of telling me that it needs calcium. I’ve never been much of a dairy fan and nothing makes me gag more than the thought of drinking a glass of milk, so it makes sense that my body is making up for its lack of calcium now.

Anyway, the reason for this post is actually to point towards a new discovery – artisanal cheeses delivered to your door (or picked up from Hawthorn) thanks to Melbourne-based business Farmgate Cheese.

I particularly like idea behind their hamper ‘The Nursery‘, a selection of cheeses that most women tend to avoid whilst pregnant (oh, brie!). Designed with the new mum in mind, each box contains blue mould cheeses, soft white moulds and washed rinds along with some crispbreads and dried fruits and nuts.

Friends and family, please take note :)

HOT: Retro Kids Books From Mum and Dad’s Childhood

Is it altruistic or egotistical to dig up things that you loved from your childhood for your own children?

It’s one thing to look back fondly on things that you treasured from your own childhood and want your kids to share the same feelings of delight, but can you really expect the things that made an impression on kids in the 1980s to still have an impact in the 2010s? Is it self-indulgent to want your kids to like the same kinds of books you liked as a child, or should you be satisfied if they can get the same experiences from their telegraphicly controlled Playstation 9 holograph edition? Is it unreasonable to want your kids to appreciate the same things that you do?

I don’t know, but I’m hoping there’s some cross-generational continuity. It would be nice to share some experiences across the generations.

An Imjim!

To this end, I recently went about tracking down children’s book that left a particularly vivid impression in my childhood imagination. I’m not sure what prompted it but when I was very young, I went through a phase when I devoured mythology from all around the world (Greek, Norse, Indian etc). I’d sit in the library reading them like comic books for hours. It was all very ComicCon/D&D in retrospect; what can I say? I was just a kid.

Out of all of those hours reading myths from around the world, the only one that I still remember clearly to this day was “The Quinkins” by Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey. The Quinkins was a series of books that told the stories of an Aboriginal tribe in Cape York. The stories included mythological creatures;  evil ones called Imjim and good ones called Timara. The didn’t look like any of the creatures I’d seen in other countries’ myths. The Imjim looked like over-sized bipedal beavers with and fangs. Timara’s were giant, skinny creatures with large droopy ears. They were just so different to anything else I had seen in the other library books.

Timara and Imjim in Rock Painting

Partly because of how odd The Quinkins was, and despite the vividness of my memory, I’d almost convinced myself that the books didn’t exist until recently. I’d never come across the books, or the Quinkins myths again after leaving primary school.  I’d forgotten the names of the characters, which despite the emergence of Google meant that no matter how vivid the images were, finding the books was  impossible.

Thankfully, in one of the serendipitous moments that makes the current Information Age in which we live so wonderful, I recently stumbled on a post at the Meanjin blog, Spike, by someone who had had a very similar experience to me, but was lucky enough to come across the book at a second hand sale.

Newly inspired I set out to track down a copy of The Quinkins so that my children could experience this strange, uniquely Australian story. After a bit of fishing around Amazon Marketplace, I managed to track down a copy for a reasonable price (not the 40 quid that a number of people seem to be charging) and arrange for it to be shipped to Oz.

Now I’m just going to have to wait and see whether The New Kid On The Block is as impressed by it as I was…

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