Friday, 30 September 2016

You change, me change, tree change


The Webb's are moving to the bush. And we're so bloody excited.

This November, we're gonna pack up our little Yarraville house... you know the one: the house that started this blog while we renovated knocked up to the sky rocket. Silly kids.

We're heading to Trentham, leaving our sweet 160sqm joint and spreading our wings on a quarter acre down  the road from the pub.

It's been a year in the making. Reggie started the ball rolling, but Alfie hit the pedal to the metal when he asked us if we could take the back fence down so we could keep running. I wish we could, but there's an apartment block in  the way.

Reg and I smashed some funds together, both working full time, dying a little of exhaustion - single parenting but living in the same house, just without a day off together.

We started hardcore house hunting six months ago, trying to find an old dame with a porch in  the sun. Each of us taking Alfie with us on separate days, Alfie exhausted at the thought of looking at another house.

We turned the house hunt into adventures, taking a measuring tape with us each  time to work out a space for a pirate ship-themed cubby with a trap door and a pterodactyl nest.

And then one day we cracked it, chucked in an offer on a joint and then sank some beers at the local pub while we watched our kid demolish chips.

We didn't get the house. Then a few weeks later... we did. I squealed like a madwoman in my open plan office.

So here we are, pooing our pants at the thought of the massive change ahead of us. A massive change involving a 110 year old house located next to a cemetery. Possibly haunted, definitely in need of renovation.

We don't really know what we're going to do. We don't have any daycare nearby, I'm going to be commuting to the city an hour each way five days a week, Reg is going to be hanging out with our kid growing some veggies and putting on a home brew until Christmas. Then I'm sure we will wing something to take us into the new year. We're gonna be poor, but we will have space for a bonfire which makes us happy.

All I can say is I'm so bloody relieved. Reggie and I suck at being adults. The chaotic life that we've had over the past year was all a bit much. Trying to be a grown up is hard and sometimes not very fun. We're chucking it all in and we're gonna make our own bread (in a COMBUSTION WOOD FIRE OVEN) and maybe purchase a piece of shit Holden and do it up in our front yard. Man, I'm also thinking about building a half pipe in the back yard. Just because we have space and I've always wanted my own skateboard ramp.

But I'm going to need some help. Firstly, I haven't lit a fire in  about 20 years. I haven't chopped wood in about 25. I've forgotten how to use preserved lemons - let alone how to preserve them. And our dunny is fucking OUTSIDE. That will change pretty quickly.. since it snows in Trentham.

I moved to the city from the bush when I was seventeen and I'm so excited to be heading back.

Wish us luck. We move in November.

Ali xx

Saturday, 10 September 2016

The eighties mum

Paleo, green-eating parents look away! I just made jelly crystal bikkies.

And they are so fucking tasty, I've already eaten four.

So what! My kid cleans his teeth (sometimes I have to pin him down or bribe him with an episode of Rabbids) and has been on his bike for the past two hours smashing leaps off jumps and scraping his knees through classic burnouts. 

I sometimes wonder if my own  mum, in her drop waisted summer frock, ever felt slightly guilty or required any justification for when she made us these as kids in the eighties? 

We were skinny little runts of kids running around the paddocks, told to stay outside until we were hungry. It was awesome. We were too busy to be hungry. But when we were, we would kick our gumboots off at the back door, run inside and smash one, two, three rock cakes in a row. If mum had made her cinnamon scrolls, hell we'd be floating our way back to the house from the fort Pepe-le-Peu style.

So I'm sure it's all in good measurement and of course, all in good taste. Whatever it is, these bikkies aint gonna last.

Super easy to make, thanks to  CWA. Have a go, maybe mix some colours together and then you will be a bloody legend at the park.

Courtesy Berris (of course) Sharman, TAS CWA branch

225g softened butter
1 x packet of jelly crystals (I used red)
2 eggs beaten
3 cups of SR Flour
1 tablespoon corn flour (don't ask me why)

Cream the butter with the jelly crystals, beat in the eggs, add the flours. Roll into little balls then press the top of them with the back of your fork. Pop in a pre-heated 180 degree oven for around 15 or til golden-brown.

Be an adult. Wait five minutes for the bikkies to cool. Breath. Then chew.

Bam! Jelly Crystal Bikkies

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Social Truths

It started with homemade pesto. 

My son Alfie and I had collected, well I collected while he yanked, the delicate spicy smelling leaves off the plant in our front garden. I smashed the greenery together with some pinenuts, some parmesan, some olive oil and whizzed it around in the food processor. Then I gracefully heaped a few spoonfuls in with some cooked pasta and put a warm bowl down on the table next to a Lightning McQueen cup.

My kid ate it all and asked for seconds. I posted a heavily filtered pic of the pasta dish on Instagram and shared it on my blog. I’m a champion.

But actually I’m not. I failed to mention that my son had ONLY been eating pesto pasta or ‘green pasta’ as he likes to call it, for almost two weeks. Straight. He refuses to eat anything else except apples. Whatever. But I didn’t mention that.

This is the absolute joy of social media isn’t it? It hides all of our secrets. And we all know that we have those little secrets, no matter what your social media pages say.

I’m ready to come clean. Remove myself of the guilt.  Shake it all off Taylor Swift style. Reveal it all in the hope that someone else comes clean or throws shit at my car.

Ok. Here goes.

  •          My three year old can ride a bike with pedals like a champion but still wears a nappy and has a dummy.
  •          I bribed my son with a jelly snake last Saturday night to get him to get in the car in his pyjamas so I could go to the shop to buy chocolate. My hubby was working and it was the only way. I was desperate.
  •          I lie to my husband saying that I have diarrhea and secretly play Tetris on my phone in the toilet.
  •          I hide snacks in my house.
  •          Sometimes I rummage through the Lost and Found box at daycare to see if there is anything good that has been left behind.
  •          I choose new Lego based on my own capabilities and enjoyment, not on my son’s.
  •          I’m still wearing maternity leggings. And there’s a hole in the crutch. And I need to throw them out. Tomorrow.
  •          There’s fish fingers in my freezer and sometimes I wedge a few in a white bread roll with mayo and eat pretending I’m hungover so I can whisper to myself that it is a ‘one off’ and that I will never do it again.
  •          I had a skiddie on my pants from my kid and didn’t realise it until 11am when I was at work. I cleaned it up with a wet paper towel in the work bathroom.
  •          My kid farts and I think it’s funny, so I laugh. I know this is not what I’m meant to do, but I can’t help it. It’s funny.
  •          I like to dress like a toddler.
  •          I let my son watch Jurassic Park and it was the worst decision of my life (I forgot how scary that movie is). I didn’t tell anyone in case they judged me for being a bad uncaring mum, which I was for letting my 3 year old kid watch that film.
  •          My son was yelled at by another mum in the park for kicking sand. I was too busy hanging with my mum pack to notice, but turned when I heard her yelling and calling him a brat. I called my son away quickly and stopped him from kicking sand but secretly wanted to pick a fight with this lady, which would not have helped the situation whatsoever (I would, however, have had my mum pack back me up).
  •          I was once so tired I put the film Cars on for my son while I dozed on the couch, ever since this day I’ve had a creepy fascination with Owen Wilson and his purring voice.
  •          My son is three and cries for his dummy.
  •          I cried during the film 27 Dresses a few nights ago. It had been a tough day that seemed to never end. It started with the bmx track at 7.30am and ended with a nudie run through the house where my kid slipped and scored a giant egg on his head. I don’t know what made me cry more during the film – my parenting skills, James Marsden’s inaccessible self or simply the out of reach love scene, so far removed from my house complete with a dog walking around with a pair of jocks caught in his collar, that just made me bawl into my lukewarm beer. But fuck it felt good.
  •          My kid drinks more milk than a potty calf. I’m sure it’s an addiction.
  •          Sometimes I pretend to cry when my kid is too rough so I can get a cuddle.
  •          Sometimes I pretend as though I’m three and it’s so much fun.  Sometimes Alfie and I call each other ‘best friends’. Then I realise I’ve got to be a responsible parent and I stop building the ramp that was to be used as a bike jump.

That’s just the surface. I’d love to hear your secrets. Or maybe you just want to check out my pesto recipes. 

Whatever you do, keep it real.


This story first appeared in BubbaWest magazine. Since I wrote this over a month or two ago, I have to totally come clean and say that MY SON NOW WEARS UNDIES AND DOES WEE AND POO IN A TOILET NOT BEHIND A CURTAIN.

Thank you. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Miseducation of Ali Webb

A few months ago, Alfie and I were enjoying the delights of the Melbourne Zoo, in  particular a brand-spanking new born baby gorilla.

The gorilla was cradled in its mum's arms enjoying a little cuddle. Alfie was smitten. Then I went and fucked up the situation.

"Look Alfie! Look at that sweet little baby monkey with its mummy in their nest. How lovely. You know that baby monkey has only just come out of an egg. And look, here it is now lapping up the sunshine."

I had a feeling what I was saying was wrong, but I couldn't quite figure it out. A gentleman with a kid in a Baby Bjorn and a camel-pak water bag next to me was kind enough to explain the situation:

"It's not a monkey. It's a gorilla."

Thanks dude.

"And a gorilla does not come from an egg - it is neither reptile or bird. It is a mammal."

Yep, gotcha. Thanks dude.

"It's all there (pointing at a brochure in a waterproof plastic pocket), in the kid's hand out."

Shut up.

As Alfie and I journeyed around the Zoo I tried to figure out where my crap knowledge of gorillas came from.

So. Gorillas and monkeys are kind of similar. Gorillas sit in nests. Nests are naturally associated with birds. Birds lay eggs.


I worked it out. My pop culture mind takes over whenever it comes to conversations about the world and our natural environment.

Monkey. Fucking. Magic.

Monkey was born from an egg on a mountain top.

Dammit. But it now made sense where my insane 'monkey-nest-egg' theory had come from.

So this leads me to my latest discussions with three-year-old Alfie. We picked up Ice Age on DVD from the shop. I told Alfie it had dinosaurs in it and was really cool.

So we watched it and there were NO fucking dinosaurs. But, there was a mammoth. Which lead to a serious of questions:

"What is Ice Age'. Gah!
"Can I see a mammoth at the zoo?"
"What is extinct?"
"Why aren't there any dinosaurs in the Ice Age?"
"Why do the tigers want to eat the baby?"
"Where's the baby's mummy?"
"What is died?"

All of these questions lead me to explaining, well fudging, my way through evolution. And the questions got deeper:

"Mum, am I a monkey?"
"My dad's a monkey, isn't he, coz he has a hairy face?"
"Is Cheef Dog a mammoth?"
"Do mammoths have doodles?"

And so on...

Why is this so hard? Am I the only parent fumbling around with the theories of life and evolution with a three year old?

I got really frustrated, mostly with myself at not knowing all the answers, so I wrapped the whole evolution conversation in a puff.

"Jesus Christ Alfie! I don't have all the answers.. Let's just take our time on this one and watch Ice Age again."

To which he responded:

"What's Jesus Christ?"

Kill. Me.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Cupcake bedtime treats

When I was a little girl, I had a friend named Kelly. Kelly lived in a small town just near Yackandandah and some weekends our dads would play live music together while we ran around her huge yard pretending to be dancers or fairies or discoverers. Her huge backyard was the best place for a tiny explorer, the garden filled with nooks and crannies; teapots with plants creeping out of them and a kooky concrete boot.

Zoom forward 25 years and here I am reading THIS stunning book titled Cupcake created by Kelly's creative mum Heather Mullen.

It's a breath of fresh air against the stories I've been reading Alfie of late, but all the essential ingredients are still there: the digger, the lighthouse,  the treasure map, the boat, the plane, the thunderstorm and the dragon.

What I adore about this book is that it's not made specifically for just a boy or just a girl, it's made for a kid with an imagination (and maybe a parent too).

Cupcake the cheeky dragon loves his home and shares his favourite places with the reader. After a thrilling thunderstorm Cupcake wakes to find his home has changed from being nature's paradise to a bustling city. He tries to find his way back to the places he loves - the sand, the surf, the mountain, the water but the new city-dwellers keep shouting at him for being too hot!  He goes back to his snug cave and another thunderstorm kicks in for days. The city-dwellers want him to come back so he can stop the storm and he does. Everyone is happy and Cupcake learns to control his temperature.

What I loved about this story was that Alfie had so many questions. The book allows for many interpretations but for me I saw a strong environmental message. Perhaps it was the delightful questions Alfie was asking such as "Does being hot make the ground sad?" or "Can I be a dragon so I can save cities?" that made us read this book over and over again.

Whether or not the climate message rings true to you throughout this story, what both myself and Alfie adore are the wonderful illustrations by Heather which might take you back to your own childhood filled with imaginative journeys through mysterious backyards, discovering tiny Cupcake dragons hidden within flowerpots made of clay.

Heather is launching her new book Cupcake this weekend in Yackandandah at the delightful Yack Station where you can also discover some of the incredible crafts Heather creates.

More info can be found here. Discover Heather and Yackandandah, it's good for your soul.