Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy birthday Freddy!

This young lad turns 80 next week. This is my Dad in 1934, aged three years. That's where I get my hair. I often wonder what I would look like if I were a pioneering woman, with no beauty tools at hand. All I can say is, thank God I live in the age of hair products.
Dad ventured south on the weekend and we celebrated his birthday a little early.
We had a good old fashioned barbecue at our house. My husband resurrected our old barbecue for the occasion. I am not exaggerating when I say I have seen better barbecues tossed onto the footpath for the kerbside clean up. It did the trick though.
I whipped up this salad.
I used baby cos lettuce leaves, avocado, roast pumpkin, blue vein cheese and scattered some caramelised bacon and onion on top. The only dressing it needs is a splash of olive oil and some red wine vinegar.
Another week, and yet another birthday cake.

It was gluten free. My sister's husband can't do gluten, so it's just easier if everyone goes gluten free. Let me say, you certainly don't need gluten to make a good cake. This one is chocolate mud, and it was most excellent. I could have decorated it much more spectacularly, but I wanted that 'homemade' look, which I think I achieved don't you? That's my story anyway.
The next birthday cake, mine, will be outsourced.
I am currently writing an article about women returning to the workforce after having a few years off to raise children, so if you know anyone, please let me know.


  1. Wow it looks like a beautiful cake. I have returned to the workforce after a few years off. Mimi xx

  2. Mimi, what line of work do you do. Did you return full time or part time?

  3. Salad looks delish Madam. Happy 80th Freddy, such a milestone.
    Any cake I bake these days is gf and you can't tell the difference. The packet mixes are very good.
    I returned to work 11yrs ago after 13yrs 'at home'into a totally different field after study and gave it away last year for various reasons. In a nutshell it's bloody hard yakka while you have to run around after kids with a husband often away with his job.

  4. I am about to go back to work. In a completely different career (for which I have been studying for the last 6 years), so I can be 'career ready' by the time (most of) my children are at school.

    Mothers come off second-best, I feel, when it comes to returning to the workplace. We have all this practical, valuable experience, but it means absolutely nothing in a professional sense.

    I have a string of academic letters behind my name, but I actually feel quite worthless - in a paid-work sense - after six years at home watching Play School and Peppa Pig. To children, being a journalist or a Ministerial adviser means nothing - you're just 'Mum'.

    And then there's the issue of unfamily-friendly 'childcare'.

  5. Well I must bear in mind I'm not going through it alone next time I become melancholy. Today I called a recruitment agency about a job and spoke to a twelve year old. Told her all my (very) relevant experience adhering to that particular position, and she said 'but what have you done lately'. When I gave my job away six years ago to stay at home with the children, I didn't give it a moments thought about how it would affect me when I was ready to work again.
    It's very interesting. Tell me more.

  6. Madam Restora,
    don't ask, because this is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately. I started to get teary(!) in my most recent interview because I felt like saying, "I have all these qualifications. I could tackle anything you throw at me, because I fly by the seat-of-my-pants everyday, but suddenly I feel crippled because my clients at the moment are primary school children and toddlers".

    Only mothers make such a sacrifice in terms of work. And if we 'return' to work, we have to pay hand-over-fist, for someone to replace us.

  7. I've gone back after 25 months off work!

  8. Oh my favourite (not) topic! I sympathise with you about the recruiters. I'm trying to find plain old office work, but having 6 years off for my daughter - I might as well be fresh out of high-school! And then I'm told by recruitment agencies that my referees don't count because they are from my current unpaid volunteering (rather than my out of date employment) so they won't add me to their books! I'm told applying directly to jobs with small family businesses is my best chance. Hate it! Men don't realise how easy they have it. (end of my rant!) B.xx

  9. I think about this issue a lot. I am on my 3rd week of maternity leave and want to get back to work asap as I do NOT want to lose control of my job which I love 1 million/10 for lots of different reasons. My job has the added benefit of being super flexible and very pro-mother/pro parent and manangement are supportive of me. I am the 1st person at my level/in my role to ever need maternity leave so there are no precedents set, which is probably a good thing. The thing that makes my blood run cold is Childcare-the cost of a nanny is high and daycare is far from ideal. I am so lucky to have the employer I do. When I was at work I had a girl in my team who worked part time and was a mum- sometimes her child was ill so she couldn't come in to the office, but we arranged for her to telecommute from home and she always did an amazing job- we were flexible with her and she was a great employee in return. I telecommuted for years one day a week and it always worked well for me too.
    It's not just the loss of income when you are at home either- it's the loss of super. This is something that weighs heavily on my mind. Good luck J- I hope you find the right job for you soon. x

  10. Also J, in my office people have between 6 weeks and about a year off work for maternity leave. However, I do know that a lady who'd had 6 years at home was recently given a fairly senior role. It's so interesting that you didn't give much thought about your return to work when you started leave- this has basically been my obsession throughout my pregnancy and been the subject of much planning. I got a promotion the day I announced my pregnancy (at 18 weeks) and I put a plan in place to Management that outlined my intentions and how I wanted my team to be run in my absence. I wanted to reassure them that my return to work would suit them and me and work well for the team. It's a shame that in 2011 Mum's are still facing these challenges.

  11. I thought and planned a lot about my return to work following my first born and went back part time. On return I worried a lot about how she was being cared for especially when she would cry when I departed. I don't care what people say about they are fine when you leave - I have been at care and seen some other children continue to cry for ages because they have been so upset. Now I have just had my third child, I am not keen to return to work for quite awhile as I really want to be there for my children when they need me the most. I would prefer to approach an organisation directly rather than go via a recruitment agency any day unless a recruitment consultant or an agency came highly recommended. Not all recruitment agencies or consultants are the same! I think woman reentering the workforce need to be very creative about the strategies they adopt to regain employment.

  12. I did a lot of planning prior to having our first child, but it mainly centred on how we would fund my staying at home to look after them.

  13. I know the funding the maternity leave is very challenging because the baby start up costs are so 'spensive...I'm opting for longer maternity leave at 1/2 pay and using some but not all of my long service leave. I feel very sad for those who can't get any maternity leave or even the paid parental leave- my neighbour is in this situation and it is extremely worrying. Single mums do it so tough too- always hard to fund a life on 1 income. Good luck with recruitment.

  14. House of Dust & Fur, I wanted to ask you some more questions. Can you contact me at please?

  15. Do you ever read Mamma Mia, Mia Freedman’s Blog? She has some good reads on there. Use this link and it will take you to an article relevant. I read it sometime last month and thought I’d find it for you -- just saw that it now has 280 comments which will be a good bit of research for you on this.xo

  16. Hi Madam, I have this month returned to the workforce in a part-time capacity after approximately 3.5 years at home with my babes. I have 2 children, now aged 7 and 8.

    I initially had maternity leave from a mid-management position with the responsibility for 11 to 12 staff. After maternity leave I returned to work in a job-share arrangement (the first one to be established at management level) and after 3 years of this effort I felt the need to resign. I needed to spend more time with my children, they were growing into bigger people all to quickly while I was busy managing projects, deadlines, budgets, staff etc. My priorities had changed.

    After several years at home I have now secured a role where I got to pick my hours. The flexibily comes at a price and that is much less money than I used to earn, but hey the time with my family is priceless.
    If you would like to know more, just get back to me.

  17. I am currently in the very frustrating process of trying to secure part time work. I had 7 years off to be a mum and started looking to return to work last year. After 4 months of searching with no success, I ended up accepting a full time contract. The seven months I worked full time nearly broke myself and my family, and I promised myself I would not put myself or my family through that again, regardless of the financial benefits.

    However I am having little success as before. I am degree educated with some fantastic international experience but even with my recent experience I cannot get a response from my applications - I apply for every job on Seek in my field of work - ven those that I am over qualified for - and fail to even get a response. I too find it very frustrating to speak to incompetent, young agents and recruiters (if they can get a job, why can't I?).

    It is a very soul destroying experience! Happy to provide more info as I find it so sad that there is this huge pool of talented Mums out there at school - many of whom would like to work but are unable to find anything that is flexible enough to fit in with having a family.