Just what the doctor ordered… (Or What Fletch made. Best. Biscuits. Ever.)

So the Easter holidays came and went in a flash – where does time go when you enter that rarified holiday zone where deadlines don’t exist and school lunches don’t need to be made?

All too soon we’re all back at work and the kids are back at school. But now I’m working at smoothfm on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show, that all-vexing dilemma of what to put in the kids lunch boxes is no longer mine. Lucky me!

Fletch, bless him, is doing a sterling job catering to the families needs and I was very chuffed to come home from work yesterday to find he’d even been baking, so as to avoid giving the kids the mass produced chemical-filled products for lunch. Definitely a five-star Dad.

Honey Oatbars

Honey Oatbars

These biscuits, which are made from my Grandmother’s original recipe, are a bit like muesli bars, but even better. They’re also like a version of an Anzac biscuit, so it’s a timely recipe given April 25th is just about on our doorstep.

They are so delicious, a fresh batch rarely lasts in the cake tin for more than a couple of days. I also took a tub of them into work two weeks ago and they vanished in a flash.

So given the Honey Oatbars massive popularity, I thought it only fair that I share the recipe with you. You might want to whip up a batch for yourself just in time for Anzac Day. (FYI, I always double the quantities)

HONEY OATBARS RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon of honey
150g butter

Method:
Combine oats, sultanas, flour, sugar and coconut in a basin. Melt butter and honey in a small saucepan, then mix into the dry ingredients until the mixture clings together. Press evenly into an oven tray. Bake in a moderate oven (180) for 15 – 20 minutes until golden. Cut when hot, but wait until cool to remove from the tray.

Slightly burnt but still popular...

Slightly burnt but still popular…

See – very simple, but VERY yummy! Now my only problem is that the kids think Dad cooks better Honey Oatbars than me. Seriously? Just because my last batch was a little over-cooked? They were still popular….

But I have to agree. Anything cooked by someone else ALWAYS tastes better! Thank you Fletch.

 

Catch of the Day strikes again…

It was nearly a year ago that I posted this story – A Steamy Situation – Domestic Battles on the Homefront http://jenniferhansen.com.au/?p=1681

Fletch using the Beldray steam mop...

Fletch using the Beldray steam mop…

 

You’d think that would have been enough public humiliation for husband Fletch to give up his addiction to Internet shopping site Catch of the Day – but NOOooooo…

Only last week, another domestic appliance arrived to clutter up the laundry cupboard. (In case you were wondering, that was the last time he used that useless steam mop.)

 

 

 

 

THIS IS IT…

REVOLUTIONARY SPLIT ADJUSTABLE IRONING BOARD!

REVOLUTIONARY SPLIT ADJUSTABLE IRONING BOARD!

 

Not just ANY ironing board. It’s a REVOLUTIONARY SPLIT ADJUSTABLE IRONING BOARD!! Well, that’s what they called it on Catch of the Day’s website.

Apparently, having two ‘arms’ instead of just ONE plank to iron on, helps save time and energy, makes ironing an absolute joy and sends masses of endorphins pumping through your veins. I wish. Ironing would have to be my most hated domestic chore, so I would have welcomed something to ease the pain, but this device doesn’t do anything of the sort.

In fact, contrary to its claims, it’s a complete and utter piece of crap. I tried it. Shirtsleeves do not fit over the arms – like it claims – because they are too fat. The clamp in the middle takes twice as long to hold a collar in it to iron than doing the damn thing in the old-fashioned way, PLUS it’s a good metre shorter than the old faithful ironing board that we’ve had for twelve years and never had a problem with in the first place.

How to put an ugly crease in ALL your ironing...

How to put an ugly crease in ALL your ironing…

But the ‘piece de resistance’ of this contraption, is what happens when you put the arms together for ironing. Instead of a SMOOTH plank, you have a crevice down the middle, so that anything you attempt to iron ends up looking MORE crumpled than when you began. It’s hilarious that anyone could have thought this would be a good idea in the first place.

You might think I’m being unreasonable and ungrateful, but I challenge you to try one yourself. Actually, don’t. You’d just be wasting your hard-earned cash. And I am appreciative that Fletch thinks these gadgets can in some way make life in the Fletcher household rosier, but I’m of the view that we need to start getting RID of STUFF, rather than accumulating MORE.

Like the useless Beldray steam mop, I placed the said crappy ironing board in his office for him to ‘RETURN TO SENDER’. No such luck. It’s found a home next to the steam mop,  on top of the ever-growing chaos inside our laundry cupboard.

So please, Fletch, NO MORE Catch of the Day super specials. And can you book a hard rubbish collection before Christmas???

 

A Winter Wonderland – Partying in the snow at Riva

Being the long weekend, I decided to take a day off like everyone else. Instead of slaving over an opinion piece, I thought I’d relax and put up a picture essay instead. And that’s because Fletch did all the hard work, taking shots at the Riva Snow Party last night and they’ve come up a treat.

Full credit to Riva owner Drewe Bellmaine who organised a brilliant night. Using a wonderful collection of props, he created a magical winter wonderland with REAL snow from snow machines, inflatable igloos, giant snowmen and icy cocktails – all making for a sensational party. Guests dressed appropriately in ski gear and there were also a couple of snow bunnies hopping about. Just like being in Aspen without having to go anywhere. Take a peek!

Riva owner Drewe Bellmaine (centre) and mates

Riva owner Drewe Bellmaine (centre) and mates

An ice-filled fountain - the perfect way to keep your beer chilled...

An ice-filled fountain – the perfect way to keep your beer chilled…

Fletch, Ross Wilson, Kasia Z, me, Seph McKenna and Tania Gogos-Wilson

Fletch, Ross Wilson, Kasia Z, me, Seph McKenna and Tania Gogos-Wilson huddle up to stay warm…

We danced under a giant disco ball and a flurry of real snow...

Then we danced under a giant disco ball and a flurry of real snow…

Nick Gianoppolous, Jessica Barclay and Hayden Burbank

Nick Giannopoulos, Jessica Barclay and Hayden Burbank enjoyed the cocktails…

Wilbur Wilde was seriously impressed by the giant disco ball...

While Wilbur Wilde was seriously impressed by the giant disco ball…

Riva owner Drewe Bellmaine (centre) had no trouble keeping warm...

Riva owner Drewe Bellmaine (centre) had no trouble keeping warm…

A reindeer family watched on, fascinated...

A reindeer family watched on, fascinated…

Matching snow bunnies

There were even matching snow bunnies…

Amanda and Francine Mazzeo, owner of DQ Vodka

Amanda and Francine Mazzeo, owner of DQ Vodka help keep the cocktails flowing…

DQ Vodka model Tegan Nixon

As did DQ Vodka model Tegan Nixon…

Loving Jason's glitter-ball helmet reflecting the sparkling lights decorating the palm trees

I fell in love with Jason’s glitter-ball helmet reflecting the blue sparkling lights…

Rachel and Katelyn Watkins

Rachel and Katelyn Watkins kept warm with ear muffs and gloves…

Nick Giannopoulos, me and Seph McKenna

Expresso martinis went down well for Nick Giannopoulos, myself and Seph McKenna…

Hayden Burbank (far right) and friends

While Hayden Burbank (far right) and friends tucked in to the blue daiquiris…

Me and my photographer, Fletch

Big thanks to my photographer and ski instructor Fletch and Frosty!

So you can see why I needed a day off. That was one helluva weekend…

 

Why Fletch is in the dog house…

Even after centuries years of marriage, I sometimes still have cause to look at Fletch in amazement, shake my head and say ‘Really? Seriously? I mean, you REALLY, even now, still don’t GET me?’

I mean, he couldn’t understand me, could he? Not when I only find out LAST NIGHT that while he was swanning around at the British TV Awards last week he met and had a photograph with MR BIG. Yes… THE Mr Big, of Sex and the City fame. AND he FORGOT to tell me!!!

Mr Big (aka Chris Noth) and Fletch at the British Soap Awards

Mr Big (aka Chris Noth) and Fletch at the British Soap Awards

How in a zillion years could you forget to relate such a momentous meeting?

Me, who has always been such a HUGE Sex and The City fan. Me, who has the entire box set of every series, who adores Sarah Jessica Parker, who aspired to be my own version of Carrie and who obsessed over Mr Big for years?

Not even a phone call on the night? He could have passed the phone to my fantasy beloved and we could finally have had a REAL conversation??

Seriously peeved. But that’s fine. He can have a ball, kicking up his heels with the rich and famous in London… because I can make my own fun. And I will. I’m heading off to a winery now for a VERY long lunch. Let’s see how that goes….

(And yes, I have AGAIN failed to stick to my Blogging schedule as today was SUPPOSED to be Fashion Friday Blog, but I needed to vent. In fact, I think a signature of my Blogs will be the footnotes at the end of each story, explaining and justifying WHY I haven’t stuck to my own Grand Plan, yet again. And again. Well, the art of rationalisation is something to be admired, isn’t it??)

Doesn’t anybody use the phone any more? Plus my latest Blog Plan…

 

Conversations beat text messaging

Conversations beat text messaging

I was thrilled to see a girlfriend’s name pop up on the mobile this morning and very much enjoyed our half hour chat. Especially as it’s been a bit of a bugbear for me lately that people just AREN’T making the effort when it comes to communication.

 

 

We lead such busy lives, that often it’s easier to just send a text or an email. But nothing beats a REAL conversation. Dry words on an electric device just don’t carry the same depth and meaning and can often lead to mis-communication.

Take this example last week when I received a text message from a girlfriend in the UK after she spied Fletch making an appearance on a TV show over there.

‘No email, no text. He just turns up on Loose Women. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be Okay.’

Wow – my eyebrows to nearly hit the ceiling. My first reaction was – ‘Of course, she’s joking.’ But what if she wasn’t? What if she was genuinely offended we hadn’t let her know Fletch was heading over there?

Texting can lead to miscommunication

Texting can lead to miscommunication

And that’s the problem with text messages – there’s no TONE in them. We can’t hear the sarcasm, the dry irony, the jesting voice – and that’s where the miscommunication comes in. Luckily in this instance our lovely friend was OF COURSE joking, but it did give me cause for a few unsettled moments until we  clarified the issue.

 

 

Likewise, I’ve been told by a few friends lately that I need to be a better blogging communicator – that I need to have a BLOG PLAN so that readers know what to expect from this website. They want a clearer picture of what’s coming up on which day.

Point taken. I get that. And especially as you may have noticed some new advertising at the top and bottom of these posts, I’m aiming to put in more effort to make this magazine-style Blog a more professional venture.

A promise to my readers to kick off with – I vow NEVER to allow POP-UP advertising on this website. I abhor those.

I can’t promise to post a Blog every day – (even Fletch thinks that’s overkill) – but I’ll try to stick to a certain theme or topic for each day of the week. So the Blog Plan I propose is this:

MONDAY – A feature interview or opinion piece on a topical issue

TUESDAY – A light-hearted look at life or a family story

WEDNESDAY – Beauty tips or a review of the latest products

THURSDAY – Health forum, dietary advice and recipes

FRIDAY – Fashion review and Internet shopping tips

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – Most likely rest days, but if I’ve been to a fun social event, I’ll post pics here and call it The Social Pages.

SO that’s the plan. Stay tuned to see how it pans out. But right now, isn’t there someone you need to phone?

IKEA Survival Tips

Ikea Richmond

Ikea Richmond

 

If you’re anything like me, then the mere thought of visiting that massive maze IKEA, leaves you reaching for the whiskey bottle. I’d rather watch Tony Abbott attempting a Baywatch sprint along the beach in his budgie smugglers than go anywhere near the place. (Actually, that might be overstating it a tad…)

 

Past experience has taught me that you never escape IKEA in less than two hours, by which stage you’re tearing your hair out with frustration after getting stuck in the maze that is its furniture display area, fighting through harried crowds of similarly frustrated customers, then arriving home with a load of junk you never intended buying and swearing you’ll never go back. It’s even worse than trying to shop at an Aldi supermarket.

Fletch with fellow Neighbours actors Saskia Hampele

Fletch with fellow Neighbours actors Saskia Hampele

With Fletch being in the UK, I decided to freshen up his office to surprise him on his return. (It’s okay – he’s on a plane now so won’t read this before getting home.) After much research, the best option for a new rug – taking price, size and colour into account – was… sadly… IKEA.

A bit unfair when you think about it. He flies overseas, swanning around presenting prizes at the British Soap Awards while I get stuck with a visit to IKEA.

But the desire to renovate was stronger than my IKEA-phobia, so I decided not to let the place defeat me. I’d make a cunning plan and come out tops.

 

And GUESS WHAT? The plan actually WORKED!! I managed to get in and out of that vast wasteland of consumerism in FIFTEEN MINUTES. I was very up myself about this record-breaking feat, so tweeted the fact and was met with a big reaction – meaning LOTS of you guys related to the trauma of an IKEA visit. So I thought it best to Blog my tips to help you all when you next take the plunge.

IKEA SURVIVAL TIPS

1. Do your research before heading to the store. Jump on the Internet and work out which items you need and write down the details. Then phone the store to check they are in stock.

2. Do not take small children with you.

3. Wear runners – not heels – you need to make some quick crowd-busting moves.

4. Try to plan your trip mid-week when fewer customers will be vying for attention from sales staff.

Try NOT to go through the showroom

Try NOT to go through the showroom

5. Accost the front-of-store help-person on arrival to verify the location of the goods you’re looking for. If you’re in luck, you can TAKE A SHORT CUT and head straight to the MARKET HALL section, by-passing the entire furniture display area. This will save you at least half an hour. I was in luck yesterday as all I needed was a rug.

6. If you can’t see your item immediately, accost another sales person to help you otherwise you’ll waste precious time wandering around.

7. DO NOT STOP to look at any other items that grab your attention. They are NOT on your list. STICK TO YOUR LIST.

8. When you have all your items, head to the self-checkout service section, which is much, MUCH quicker than queuing for a checkout assistant to process your purchases.

Sprinting with a load...

Sprinting with a load…

9. Sprint to the car so that hopefully you will make it out of the car-park in under an hour, which means parking is FREE.

10. Congratulate yourself on being such a smart, efficient shopper and head home for that whiskey.

See – you can actually visit IKEA without having a nervous breakdown!!

The old stained rug

The old stained rug

 

And what a difference the rug made to Fletch’s office. Just over a year ago, we’d rearranged rooms and somehow, he’d ended up with an old faded, stained pink rug that used to be in Veronica’s room when she was little. Well past it’s use-by date…

 

Fletch's new rug - on sale for just $149

Fletch’s new rug – on sale for just $149

 

What an improvement! A clean, cream rug to lighten up a dull space. And it was on sale too.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, that is a spare bed in his office. Just in case he’s in the doghouse or snoring too loudly. A girl’s got to be prepared…

 

Why Fletch gets a huge gold star this weekend…

Sometimes the logistics of running a family get tricky. For instance, what happens if your husband has bought a ticket to a Neil Young concert this weekend (in Geelong) and then at the same time, you’re offered an amazing weekend away along the Great Ocean Road,  staying at an up-market beach property overlooking the sea, to cover the Airey’s Inlet Music Festival – but your teen daughter needs DESPERATELY to go to a party in Melbourne and your son is playing in an all-important school cricket match???

Ezard's wedding anniversary dessert

Ezard’s wedding anniversary dessert

Hmmm… As I said, tricky. Plus, this weekend happens to be our 23rd wedding anniversary. Which we celebrated in fine style at Ezard’s restaurant in the city last night. Definitely one of Melbourne’s best on every level. I was particularly impressed that they noted it was a special occasion and decorated our desserts to suit.

 

But back to this weekend. Often my amazing Mum and step-father help out with the kids, but as it turns out, my older brother had already booked their services… So Fletch, bless him, realised this was a great blogging opportunity for me and gave up his ticket to see Mr Young to stay home and ferry the kids about to their various commitments. What a guy!!!

THAT IS WHY FLETCH GETS A HUGE GOLD STAR THIS WEEKEND.

This ALSO left me free to turn this into a ‘girl’s weekend’ and invite along a few mates for a break from domestic and kiddie duties. And yes, they were pretty happy with the offer to head down to one of Victoria’s most picturesque holiday locations for an uber cool music festival AND stay at a beautiful holiday home.

View of the Great Ocean Road

View of the Great Ocean Road

Driving down to Airey’s Inlet, I had to stop along the way and marvel at the view from the Great Ocean Road. Truly stunning, isn’t it? As a child, I was lucky enough to enjoy several family holidays at Fairhaven, just up the road from Airey’s Inlet, so it felt a bit like going home.

 

Erin Hughes, from Great Ocean Retreats sorts us out

Erin Hughes, from Great Ocean Retreats sorts us out

I dropped in to Great Ocean Retreats to pick up our keys and was mighty impressed with their organisational talents. Marketing manager Erin Hughes had printed lanyards for the music festival ready and waiting, printed directions to our property with the keys AND she had even found out what wine I liked and told me TWO BOTTLES of chardonnay plus a cheese platter were in the fridge waiting for us. Tick, tick and DOUBLE tick. I knew from the moment I met her she was my kinda gal!

 

My beachside bedroom

My beachside bedroom

Then we set off to the house and found a magnificent two storey property, with double-bedrooms both upstairs and downstairs, two bedrooms with bunks for the kids we left behind, and two living areas. Both double bedrooms also come with their own massive ensuite bathrooms.

 

 

Our living area

Our living area

The kitchen is modern and open-plan, with wonderful wide benches, which would be brilliant if we actually wanted to cook, but no, maybe next time… There’s too many bands to see down here to waste time slaving over a hot stove.

 

 

Even better, most of the bands are playing at the Airey’s Inlet Pub which JUST HAPPENS to be a stone’s throw from our beachside mansion!!! Now ain’t that a happy coincidence… Oh yes, the house is also walking distance from the beach too. Of course.

I’m going to show you more pictures and give you the lowdown on the music festival on Monday, but for now, I want to get to the pub and enjoy myself. And if you haven’t got anything planned for tomorrow, jump in the car and head on down. Cheers!

 

 

My next scientific self-improvement experiment – post muffin-top

You all loved the blogs about my muffin-top experiment so much that I’ve decided I really should get off my butt and try another beauty treatment – just to keep you entertained. I mean, heck, it’s not like I CARE what I look like, or anything??? All in the name of duty, right?

It just seems that’s there’s so MUCH stuff out there about how to improve our faces and bodies – how do we actually sift the good from the shonky and know what actually works?

Jocelyn Wildenstein

Jocelyn Wildenstein

 

Don’t go thinking I’m going to turn into some kind of Jocelyn Wildenstein, though. I do understand the meaning of restraint. And just in case I went all silly, I KNOW Fletch would pull me into line. He even hates lipstick. To the point that he WIPED HIS MOUTH after kissing me at the alter during our wedding. The shame…

Luckily the kind folk at the Liberty Belle Clinic in Toorak, where I underwent the Cool Sculpting process, are happy to help out, so I went along to check out the different procedures available.

 

Pelleve brochure

Pelleve brochure

Looking through all their brochures, I learned there’s a helluva lot of different and NEW treatments available to improve ourselves that I’ve never heard of. I could easily hang around this clinic for years. After focusing so much on my tummy last year, I thought it was time my face got a bit of attention. When I saw this brochure with the line ‘A Fresher Face WiTHOUT Surgery’ – I snatched it up faster than you could say ‘Botox’. Because, yes, I have had Botox and I love it, but something new and different is always appealing. This treatment is called Pelleve.

 

 

I’m at that age where anything promoting WRINKLE REDUCTION warrants immediate attention, especially now those nasty lines around the neck region are becoming more prominent. Unfortunately, if I’m to blog about this, it means more humiliating photos of myself to show you what really happens….

Side profile - NO MAKE-UP!!!

Side profile – NO MAKE-UP!!!

 

So I have to show you a really ICKY close-up photo of my face without makeup, so you can get the gist. Ewww. These pics are taken by the lovely staff at Liberty Belle in the same photo room each time so the lighting is consistent too – very legit!! This snap was taken before my first treatment.

 

 

Before and after photos

Before and after photos

 

But getting back to how Pelleve works… In the brochure, it explains how a metal probe is used over the skin – using gradual radio frequency that becomes quite hot at times – to stimulate the re-growth of collagen. The effect is not immediate and you really need about three treatments over a course of several months. But I’m assured it WILL work.

 

 

 

To give you a much better understanding of the science behind all this, I’m going to interview Dr Chris Moss (you met him last time, chatting about the Cool Sculpting fat freezing treatment) who will explain it properly. He’s a very busy man, but I’m going to nail him down in the next few weeks for the nitty gritty and get back to you. Then I’ll have some Pelleve sessions and, over time, we’ll see how my wrinkles go. (Away, I hope.)

(For further enquiries, contact the Liberty Belle Skin Centre on 9826 9988 Address: 504 – 506 Toorak Road, Toorak)

 

 

 

 

What housework and emails have in common…

If there are two things in life that are certain – death and taxes – then I’d like to add to that list. Two things that certainly NEVER get finished – housework and emails. When life gets busy, these two everyday, necessary chores are the bugbear of my life. Increasingly so…. And they both have a lot in common.

They can be ignored, but they pile up, weighing on your conscience. And the longer you leave tackling them, the bigger and more daunting they appear.

Email overload

Email overload

I used to be much more responsible on both fronts. When I worked at Ten, I had a set period of time where I would deal with emails and because I had a routine, I managed to deal with them all. But then I was juggling only one job. Now, wearing several hats, the email input is busier than ever and life has less structure in terms of dealing with it.

 

I became weary of being the one person I knew who emailed everyone back ‘straight away’. It became a reflex. Even at home. Hear the email ‘ping’ on your phone, and there I was, tapping away a reply instantly. I became frustrated if others didn’t do the same. So now, I’ve decided to be like everyone else and take my time. Not do emails on the weekend, because hey, everyone needs a break, don’t they?

I’m not sure it’s such a good idea. Right now I can see 109 emails in my inbox… Perhaps I should go back to being ‘Responsible Jen’?

The housework blues

The housework blues

Emails are also like housework in that they both invoke a feeling of Groundhog Day Syndrome. As soon you THINK you’ve finished, sit back smiling with a wine in hand, the computer pings or you spy a cobweb in the corner and it’s time to begin all over again.

It’s just like Joan Rivers says. ‘I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.’ Okay, so I don’t leave it six months between the washing up cycles, but it feels like every day the list of chores in my head grows longer and more tedious.

 

Like housework, emails don’t care if you’re going through a busy patch. They don’t stop and say, ‘Hang on, Jen’s under the pump. Let’s lay off a bit.’ Oh no, they just keep growing and growing, turning into a bigger, dirtier pile than ever that you have to deal with once that other busy stuff is done.

We used to have cleaners, but more than a year ago decided to ditch that idea. With me not ‘officially’ working, it seemed indulgent, especially when they took such long ciggie breaks outside, turned up late and there was the constant pressure of having to ‘tidy up for the cleaners’. It just wasn’t worth the trouble.

To his credit, Fletch does more than his fair share of the household chores. Ever since I started this Blogging caper, I’ve been scampering upstairs to my office, pronouncing I have a ‘very important’ blog to write and letting the housework slide. He’s picked up the slack without complaint. But as I tap away and hear him washing the dishes downstairs, I do start to feel guilty. He doesn’t lay a guilt trip on me either, which makes it worse. He really needs to develop a few flaws.

One housework solution

One housework solution

To combat the guilt factor, I actually pulled out the vacuum this morning and decided a full spring clean of the bedroom was required. I’m talking vacuuming BEHIND the bed-head and getting on a ladder to dust the light fitting!! Impressed? I was.

And the funny thing was that as I cleaned away, slightly resentful of the boring tasks at hand, I was hit with some fab blogging ideas.

So perhaps there is an upside to this housework burden after all? Perhaps cleaning can be a source of creative inspiration? I might even tackle the rumpus room tomorrow. If this keeps up, I’ll be Australia’s answer to Martha Gardner before the week’s out. Watch this space.

 

 

 

I didn’t realise my husband was SO competitive – until today…

 

Generally speaking, I reckon men are more competitive than women. And sometimes, you even find that within relationships, couples can be competitive with each other. I’d never thought that about Fletch and myself – UNTIL TODAY.

There we were, happily enjoying some ‘time out’ – kiddie free – down along Victoria’s surf coast with my brother and sister-in-law. Early this morning, Fletch rose at dawn to take some photographs along the beach. Sunrise shots are his specialty. You may remember a few of his picturesque snaps from a blog I posted at Lorne last week. I stayed in bed and was probably snoring when he twisted his ankle among the rock pools.

We waited for him to return so we could ‘go out’ for breakfast. By the time he got back, I was starving. We decided to take a stroll through the scrubby bush lining the cliffs, down to the Anglesea Life Saving Club, where they’re renowned for dishing up a killer brekky. Fletch said his ankle would be fine, that it wasn’t ‘too bad’. Watching him power ahead of Penny and myself, I believed him. He likes to be the fastest and lead the pack. I’m used to that and didn’t think much of it.

After we arrived at the Life Saving Club, we sat on the decking, over-looking a sweeping view of the Anglesea beach. The tide was out, leaving a glassy expanse across the foreshore. While sipping on a latte and waiting for my eggs and bacon, I took a photo of my own and posted it on Instagram. It looked like this:

Jen beach

My photo of the Anglesea beach

Now, it’s a little over-cooked. I know, I know… My excuse is that we were sitting in the sun, and as you’re all probably aware, trying to peer into the dark glass of an I-phone to see ANYTHING on a sunny day is practically impossible. Fletch looked at it and nodded silently. Knowingly.

Next thing I know, he’s grinning as he also takes a shot and posts it on Instagram. His photo is,  OF COURSE, infinitely better and looked like this:

Fletch's photo of Anglesea beach

Fletch’s photo of Anglesea beach

Remember too, that he IS photographer and has dozens of special ‘Apps’ on his I-phone that I am blithely unaware of, so his creative powers are naturally, going to be far superior to mine. My eggs arrived. I felt I may as well wear them on my face after he’d shown me up on Instagram to be a failure. But it didn’t quell my appetite. I stuffed myself and the eggs were delicious. As were the mushrooms.

After finishing up, we walked back home along the beach and I spotted a row of fence posts that screamed artistic potential. ‘Great,’ I thought. ‘Now I can show the world what a brilliant photographer I am!’ And I took this:

My photo of beach fence posts

My photo of beach fence posts

I took more time with the effects and was quite chuffed with the results. That is, until Fletch saw my photo and then ran back to the fence posts. I watched in disbelief as he snapped away, knowing what he was doing. For the second time he wanted to prove to the world that he is a better photographer than me by shooting the SAME subject matter. Here’s his picture:

Fletch's beach fence posts

Fletch’s beach fence posts

Humph! Quite frankly, I think it’s a bit over-the-top. A bit melodramatic – don’t you think? But damn him, yes, it’s STILL stacks better than mine. Then I remembered him striding along the bush track to breakfast, trying to keep ahead of the girls, despite his twisted ankle. It suddenly dawned on me that he is one helluva competitive bloke.

I called him on it.
Jen: ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you so competitive?’
Fletch: ‘I’m not competitive.’
Jen: ‘Well, why do you take the same shot as me?’
Fletch: ‘If I see something and you see something at the same time, we both take the shot, that’s all.’
Jen: ‘But you see me take the shot, then copy me and do a better shot and it makes me look bad.’
Fletch: ‘No I don’t. Don’t be silly. You’re over-playing it.’

I’ll say it again. HUMPH! You’ve seen the photos. You be the judge.

But come on – we all KNOW he’s a better photographer than me. I mean, just take a look at these shots he took at sunrise:

Sunrise at Anglesea - by Alan Fletcher

Dawn breaking at Anglesea – by Alan Fletcher

Sunrise at Anglesea by Alan Fletcher

Sunrise at Anglesea – by Alan Fletcher

That last shot is my favourite. It’s pretty impressive.

So there you go, Fletch – you win. As you lie on the couch with ice on your swollen ankle, moaning, I tell you – you ARE a better photographer than me. Can you just stop copying my Instagram shots to show me up??? Thanks.

And by the way – here’s one shot I snuck in at the Life Saving Club that you DIDN’T get to copy:

My photo of classic teaspoons

My photo of classic teaspoons

Yep, all the teaspoons at the cafe are vintage classics – all different and probably sourced from Op Shops all over. I love them – their detail and craftsmanship – that each one has it’s own story and a past life.

So there, Fletch – bettcha jealous now.