In Pod We Trust

It’s been a long while since I last blogged. Probably because I’ve been listening to podcasts for a year straight. I promise I’m going to get serious with this blog soon enough, but for now, something a bit more light hearted. In honour of my return, here are my recommendations for the podcasts that I’ve been absolutely bingeing on lately.

Someone Knows Something

Anyone know knows me knows that I’m an absolute true crime buff. I eat up anything and everything true crime, then beg for more. Someone Knows Something has two seasons so far, each season focusing on a different unsolved cold case. Season 1 looks into the disappearance of toddler Adrien McNaughton, whilst Season 2 investigates the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard. It’s well presented, heartfelt, and at times, gripping. David Ridgen knows how to give great pod. Neither case has been solved, but they’re still fascinating stories, nonetheless.

Up And Vanished

If you like investigative journalism into unsolved cold cases that DOES lead to a break in the case after many years, then Up And Vanished is for you. Payne Lindsay leads us on an enthralling journey into the disappearance of beauty queen Tara Grinstead, and just recently there was a major break in the case, prompted possibly by the buzz in the small town she disappeared from, over this very podcast. Do yourself a favour, listen from the beginning and don’t spoil it for yourself by doing any Google searching. You won’t regret it.

My Favorite Murder

If you like your true crime dark and funny, this is the place you wanna be. Cuddle up with the original Murderinos, and find your people. This one isn’t for everybody, but if you like a bit of murder-related dark humour, and always loved to talk about murder but never had anybody to talk about it to… this one’s for you. Comediennes Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark chat in an open and unabridged way about their favourite murders, and the result is something that keeps me hanging out for each new episode. My Favorite Murder has amassed a huge cult following over the last year, and just keeps getting bigger and better with a live tour happening across America, and talks of coming to do some live shows in Australia.

Homecoming

Heading away from true crime, I am also getting heavily into serialised fiction. Homecoming is a great place to start if you’re new to this, with a great story that’s just the right length, and has a nice twist at the end. It’s well produced and I honestly couldn’t stop listening. An added plus is that David Schwimmer lends his voice to the cast, as well as some other fantastic actors.

Alice Isn’t Dead

Now, you all know, from my previous Music Monday posts, about my utter love for Welcome To Night Vale. Alice Isn’t Dead is done by the same people, and it has the same gorgeous poetic darkness, but with a bit more scary and a bit less odd. Like Homecoming, it is not a huge long rambling story (although I hear another season is in the works), but it’s definitely something that draws you in and doesn’t let go until it’s had enough of you. These guys definitely have a unique approach to storytelling, and it definitely works for me.

The Black Tapes

If you like your serialised fiction longer and more involved, The Black Tapes is one I highly recommend. There’s loads of episodes out currently, so you can binge heavily, if you’re into that kind of thing. The Black Tapes is dark and spooky and really gets its fingers into your mind and doesn’t let go. Its sister podcasts TANIS and Rabbits are amazing too, TANIS however is quite involved so I’d recommend starting with The Black Tapes first to ease yourself into it. Rabbits has just started but already I’m hanging on every episode, so if you want something that you can follow weekly, I highly recommend that one too.

Alright, signing off for now, if you’ve never given podcasts a try before, I really really think that you should. You can listen through iTunes or any number of great Android apps (I use Podcast Addict and love it) or you can listen via each podcast’s website.

Toodle-Ooooooo… let me know YOUR fave podcasts here, so I can add to my huge long list of must-listens.

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Music Monday [9] – Get It In Ya!

It’s been a while since I’ve bombarded you with the music that I think is shit hot, so I thought it was high time to get that happening again. Let’s dive straight in.

Highasakite is an indie band hailing from Norway, who’ve only been around in their current form since around 2012. They’ve become known on the Aussie scene of late because of the huge success of their single “Someone Who’ll Get it” from their most recent album Camp Echo. This song is seriously my obsession at the moment. You know those songs that you can listen to a bunch of times over and over, and you always belt out when you hear them?  Yeah, that.

Send somebody out of his mind / send a god damn leader

Send someone not psycho polite / send some god damn freedom

 

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a pretty mad Hilltop Hoods fan. It took me SO LONG to get into Australian hiphop, and I’m pretty particular about what I like and don’t like, but the Hoods have always been up there with some of my faves. I am completely digging on their new single 1955 (featuring Montaigne, who incidentally has one of the most awesomely unique voices out there at the moment as a young Aussie artist). This is absolutely my bop-at-the-traffic-lights song of the moment.

We’re living in the days when everybody sayin’ “What a time to be alive”
But I’m feeling out of place like I live in outer space ‘Cause it seems I’m stuck in time
It’s like we ride through life / Right in the shadow of the cold war
It gets so quiet at night / Like martial law took a hold of ’55…

 

Next up is a lovely little chillout piece by Melbourne electronica two-piece Two People. You’ve probably heard this doing the rounds on the radio lately. It’s just a perfect mix of haunting vocals and sweet chilled vibes. Perfecto. These guys are pretty new on the scene, so they’ll be worth keeping an eye (or ear) on in the future.

 

To round off this little tune sesh, let’s hit it hard with some super fun Aussie garage punk-rock. Seriously, who doesn’t love Magic Bones? If you don’t, I want to hear from you, so I can ask you whyyyy?  This song makes me grin. Then it makes me shake my head around like a bit of a lunatic. Then it makes me dance (or shoulder-dance if I’m in the car). SO MUCH FUN.

 

Alright, that’s me over and out for another Music Monday. As always, let me know what you think of my picks.

Happy Listening!

Bake It – Cheesy Biscuits

I’m baking up a batch of these this morning, so I thought I’d share the recipe. These little biscuits make great lunchbox additions or tasty toddler treats. I’ll also admit that they make perfectly scrumptious adult treats too!
They take less than half an hour from start to finish, so are a good fit for the time-poor (or just lazy cooks like me).

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup self raising flour
50 grams cold butter, cubed
1 tsp salt
2 cups cheese**, grated
3-4 tbsp cold water

METHOD
Put flour and butter into a food processor. Blitz until breadcrumb consistancy. Add salt and cheese. Blitz whilst adding water slowly to form a non-sticky dough. Form small balls with the dough. Place on a tray lined with baking paper. Push down with a fork to form biscuit shape. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden on top. Cool on a wire rack before eating.

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NOTES
* You can use plain flour instead of SR if you like. The result is a flatter more dense biscuit, but still delicious!
* You can leave out the salt if you’re watching your sodium intake.
** You can use any type of hard cheese for this, I usually use half cheddar and half parmesan.
* You can make these without a food processor, just use your hands!
* The dough freezes well for future use.
* You can roll the dough flat and use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes if you want to get creative.

Happy Baking!

The Long Hot Aussie Summer

This blog post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.

Back in September last year, I participated in the “I Beg You Not To Burn” giveaway on the lovely Kez Unprepared blog to win a kids pack of Banana Boat sunscreens. I left a comment about how this summer was going to be a summer of ZERO TOLERANCE for my toddler and I. I’m doing my utmost to make sure that her delicate skin is as well protected as it can be from sun exposure and damage, as well as my own freckled fair skin which has seen its share of bad sunburns over the years. And this means Slip, Slop, Slap – and then some!  Even during the cooler months I made myself get into the habit of suncreening her up whenever we were going to be spending more than 30 minutes outside, and as Summer started in earnest it’s rare that we find a day where we’re not applying it, often multiple times a day. With all of the fantastic outdoor opportunities that Perth has to offer (we’re finding ourselves to be regulars at Hyde Park and the Maylands Water World) it’s smart and responsible to make sure we’re totally protected from the West Australian sun.

Long story short, I was lucky enough to win the competition, and I was rewarded with an an awesome Banana Boat sunscreen pack, with the four products specifically made for using with kids. This was such a boon for us, because it meant that we now had enough suncreen in our house to ensure that it was always readily available, so no excuses for having any slip ups when it comes to protecting ourselves. It also gave me the opportunity to road test each of the different suncreens, to see if they were up to the task of protecting us in one of the harshest climates in the world.

The pack consisted of:

Kids SPF 50+ Aerosol Spray

Kids SPF 50+ Roll On Sunscreen

Baby SPF 50+ Non-Aerosol Spray, and

Kids SPF 50+ Pump Pack.

From the very beginning I was super impressed with all four products. All of them offer SPF 50+ which is fantastic, the more protection the better!  When it comes to babies and kids, their skin is so vulnerable that you really want the highest sun protection factor that you can get. Each of the four sunscreens have both a UVA and UVB protectant, and are water resistant for 4 hours. They’re all made of a non-greasy formula that is easily rubbed into the skin and won’t run into your eyes. The baby sunscreen is also a mild and gentle formulation with no added fragrance, simply perfect for sensitive new baby skin.

I decided that a great test for these products would be on our recent Summer holiday to Tasmania. Tasmania not only has a degradation in the ozone layer above the state, but has the added danger of it’s geography. Tasmania sits so low south on the Earth (compared to the rest of the mainland) and this means that when the sun is closest to the land during the day, the sun is literally closer to the land in Tassie than it is in other parts of Australia further to the North. This means that the sun in Tassie is different to the sun in Western Australia. And you can FEEL it. A 30 degree day in Tassie can feel like a day 35 degrees and upwards in WA. Fifteen minutes in the sun in Tassie can be the equivalent to thirty minutes or more in the sun in WA. And since we were going to be staying in a beach house for the duration of our 10 day trip, and daily beach trips would be the norm, it seemed if I was ever going to put these products to the test, this was it.

I’m happy to say that these products all lived up to their promises. We went to the beach EVERY day, sometimes two or even three times a day. Whilst we were very vigilant and hardly ever spent more than an hour there at a time, the way the sun felt meant that we were easily getting a similar type of sun exposure to say two or more hours in the sun in WA.  We started each morning liberally applying the Kids SPF 50+ from the pump pack onto every bit of exposed skin. My husband and I both used the Kids sunscreen on ourselves and it worked brilliantly.

BB kids pump

The pump pack comes with a huge 400g, so we were never in danger of running out, even though we used so much of it!  My two year old loved the pump pack too, as it meant she could get involved in the process herself, learning how to pump the sunscreen into her own hand and then spread it onto herself (albeit very messily – but hey, holidays aren’t for being a neat freak, am I right?).

BB Kids Roll On

The Kids SPF 50+ Roll On was perfect for the beach bag, and it stayed in there the whole time. That way, we were NEVER without a handy sunscreen whenever we needed to do reapplications. The roll on pack is great for doing kids faces, my little one is not a huge fan of having suncreeny hands approach her face and smear it on, but loves having the roll on applied directly to her face. Hey, anything to make my job easier!

BB Kids Baby Spray

I used the Baby SPF 50+ sunscreen on my own face, I find the baby sunscreen clogs my pores way less than a standard sunscreen and is generally less greasy or irritating to my sensitive facial skin.

BB Kids aerosol

My husband is a huge fan of the Kids SPF 50+ Aerosol Spray pack, he loves how easily it is applied, and also the added bonus that it feels nice and cool when it’s sprayed on (due to the aerosol), so he’s pretty much comandeered that one for his own use.

The final verdict? Not one of us suffered from a sunburn whilst on our 10 day beach holiday. Not even once. I was so surprised at this outcome, even when I’m pretty vigilant with the sunscreen thing, usually somebody ends up with a burn somewhere. Not these little ducks!  I was very impressed and pleased that the kids sunscreen formulations had been just as effective on the adults, and I am absolutely proud to say that I’m now a die hard Banana Boat fangirl.  I was very blessed to have been given these products to try, thanks to Kez Unprepared I have a fantastic stockpile of sunscreen for summer, and I never have an excuse not to use them.

I feel a lot more confident venturing out in the harsh Aussie sun with my little girl now that I know I have great sun protection for our skin, and that I have tested them myself and KNOW beyond a doubt that they are as effective as they say they are. If you were ever trying to make a choice as to which brand of sunscreen is the best for you and your family, I personally recommend Banana Boat as a fantastic and effective sun protection for babies, kids and adults alike. As a final tip, here is a link to the Banana Boat website, where they have a really handy and informative page of “Sun Facts” that I think everybody living in Australia should know.

Happy Beaching!

 

Music Monday [8] – Mish Mash Of Aural Sustenance

I’ve been quiet. Sorry about that. Life gets in the way of blogging, yadda yadda. No excuses, time for some sweet tunes. Today’s Music Monday has no theme. It’s just four great tracks that are making me headbop this week. Sharing is caring.

First up, I really should have included this one in my last post about hilarious songs. I’m not sure why it slipped my mind, but I’m serving it up for you now, on a platter full of belly chortles. Seth Sentry is a Melbourne hiphop artist who’s been around in various incarnations since the early noughties. He’s just finished touring his most recent album Strange New Past, and I’m sure there are only great things to come from this guy in the future. I’m not the biggest hiphop fan, but I do really dig Mr Sentry at the moment, and I find his music very “accessible”. This track is a lighthearted hilarious tale about watching Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader and coming to the somewhat shocking realisation that, perhaps he is…*gasp*… not as smart as he once thought.

I think I’m dumb I think my brain’s broke / I found out last night watching a game show
I didn’t answer one question right the whole time / I am not smarter than a fifth grader case closed…

So, this is the part where I admit that I have a strange musical obsession. I love every song that is used in adverts for Assasin’s Creed. Honestly, whoever is in their marketing department who chooses the music for their ads – you’re doing it right!  Woodkid (aka Yoann Lemoine) is a French neofolk artist who is not only a musician but also an acclaimed director, directing music video’s for Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, Taylor Swift’s Back To December, and Lana Del Ray’s Born To Die, among other notable visual feasts. Iron was released in 2011 and was used to promote the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations game. This song is just the perfect mood-tingler, it still gives me shivers to this day. As a bonus, the film clip is visually spectacular and very much worth a watch.

A soldier on my own, I don’t know the way / I’m riding up the heights of shame
I’m waiting for the call, the hand on the chest / I’m ready for the fight and fate…

This next one is a little out of left field for me. I’m not a huge Chet Faker fan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great muso with his own style, but he’s not an artist I would generally find myself listening to. However, this Aussie muso’s latest colab with Marcus Marr The Trouble With Us is just pure funky heaven. It’s grown on me like moss on a tree. Just listen, and funk the f–k out!

You mumble under your breath / I doubt you know what she said

Let’s get this off of your chest / Right here, right now I’m tryna make this a mess,

We’re tryina run in the dark / We’re makin’ reasons to destroy what we needed…

Aussie singer / songwriter Emma Louise is going from strength to strength at the moment. This offering is from back in 2014, but is still a goodie. This one is for popping on in your car and going for a long drive down the coast at sunset. Etherial and perfect. Put the windows down and let the balmy breeze whip through your hair. Go on, do it.

In a dark room we fight, make up for our love / I’ve been thinking, thinking about you, about us
And we’re moving slow, our hearts beat so fast / I’ve been dreaming, dreaming about you, about us…

And that’s it for another MM update. As always, I love to hear about what you think of these tunes, or for you to suggest some awesome tracks for me to listen to.

Happy listening!