Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Does Your Phone Number Say About You?

I had a crank call this week. You know, the kind where the person sits on the other end breathing a little heavily.

And since we are having a few interesting family adventures that have resulted in a person out there that might possibly think they have a reason to hold a grudge and are known to play silly buggers with crank calls I thought it was worth checking out.

Who makes a crank call from a public number to a mobile? Seriously? Long story short, I actually think this was a case of wrong number, with the other person too rude to say so, but the reason for this post is not actually the crank call, but availability of information out there.

I took the mobile phone number that had rung me and Googled it. One of my top matches was a reverse lookup company (and here I thought they weren't allowed in Australia anymore) that provided a name, and an address.

I then Googled the street name and suburb combined with the name and suddenly everything I might want to know was on my screen. Including the fact that my crank caller has fronted court twice on alcohol and violence related offences in the last 18 months. And no mistaking the person with a reasonably common name either. The articles I found read along these lines:

"Mr XX of XX Street, Mudgee, age 22, appeared in court today on charges of violence and alcohol related offenses".

Pretty specific. I didn't even bother to check the Facebook link but can you imagine how much more information I could have gotten there? Scary.

Needless to say I have not called this person back. Isn't it scary how much information can be found about a person using their mobile number? Full name, (including middle name!) age, address, and various personal life details. Ones you definitely don't put on your resume.

This little exercise reinforced to me how important it is to keep the details about my children on this blog surface level only. Much as it would be nice sometimes to spit out some of the personal things that are happening, I stop and think about whether they will want their employer's reading certain things.

So if I sometimes present only the funnier or happier side of life, please remember this is not the case. I don't want anyone getting any kind of false life envy.

Have you tried Googling your phone number? Were the results a worry or have you got your privacy settings everywhere all stitched up?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finish Quantum with New Power Gel: Review and Giveaway

I'm a generic buyer. What else would you expect from a complete and utter tightarse like myself? So does it surprise you to know I use one of the more expensive dish washing tablets found on the supermarket shelf?

It wasn't always the case though. I used to use generic branded powder, whatever cost the least. A few years back I was watching a friend stack her dishwasher after a hideously messy meal. Each plate was loaded with scraps of leftovers of saucy meat and creamy cheese stuck, remnants of our demolished lasagna that night.

I was shocked to see her just stacking each plate without another glance. I would have rinsed every single plate thoroughly first, removing all food scraps. Otherwise, I would be pretty much guaranteed to be scraping off food and rewashing plates by hand afterwards, and since I hate washing dishes almost as much as I hate ironing, I would rather take the time to rinse when the food is still rinsable.

I figured my friend was a dishwasher rookie, but she just laughed at me. Turns out, dish washing powder is one area that tightarsery does not pay. Her dishes all came out looking like an advertisement for Finish - sparkling and spotless. Without any of the rinsing effort I go to.

This is last nights dinner - nice and messy spaghetti, with our bowls all goopy going straight into the dishwasher with no prerinse. As promised, everything comes out spotless once a Finish tablet goes in.

If you want to source your Finish products on the cheap, I find mine on sale through the various group purchase sites (Groupon, Scoopon, Living Social, etc), and occasionally pick it up cheap in the supermarkets. Watch the catalogues for sales. I picked up this pack this week on the clearance rack - x4 of them! $2.70 for almost $20 worth of product!

And as if Finish wasn't already quantum enough, they are releasing a whole new variant:

Finish Quantum with New Power Gel - For an unbeatable shine!

With a revolutionary new gel chamber that delivers intense cleaning action, Finish Quantum with New Power Gel is a dishwasher cleaner with three powerful ingredients to produce clarity and brilliance in your dishes:

New Power Gel: Delivers a pre-soaking action, for a clean so clean it shines

Unique Powerball: Fight spots and watermarks for a dazzling shine

Powerful Detergent: Advanced powder detergent breaks down even the toughest dried and baked on food

The Quantum Difference with 9 Power Actions in simple dishwasher tablets: 

  • Amazing Shine 
  • Powerful Clean 
  • Rinse Aid Function 
  • Grease Cutting 
  • Tea Stain Removal 
  • Wrapper Free 
  • Filter Protection 
  • Machine Limescale Protection 
  • Salt Function 

Finish Quantum Variants Available: 

  • Fresh Scent 
  • Lemon Sparkle
  • Odour Neutralising with Baking Soda 
  • Apple & Lime Blast (NEW!)
Just putting it out there that I would LOVE to try the Apple and Lime Blast - beyond disappointed that the sample I received was for Lemon, which has always been my go to in the past, but Apple and Lime sounds so much yummier.

For more information head to

The lovely people at Performics and Finish are giving you the chance to win a pack of the new Finish Quantum with Power Gel too! Easy entry below via rafflecopter.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NSW Blue Mountains State of Emergency

Like many others living at the foot of the mountain, we have friends and family affected by the current bush fire situation. Lorelei and Sebastian's preschool teacher has been evacuated, along with friends, and we have family teetering on the brink of leaving. I've read that some of our blogging community is affected, and somehow, the fate of these people I have never met is just as important to me as the friends and family we are worrying about.

In true Aussie fashion, this country has rushed to provide support for the displaced - the victims that the fire has picked out for special attention. Crisis centre's are overflowing with clothes, toys, and furniture, and everywhere you go there is a tin rattling for contributions to the Red Cross.
PAWS Dance Studio Penrith/Springwood

This week and over the weekend we have been contributing to collections and delivery of supplies up the mountain to the Fire Brigade. And it's them I want to drag into the spotlight right now.

At this point in time, there are over 1800 firefighters from all across the country, doing everything to keep a blaze with no end in sight under control. Some days this blaze gets the better of them, today they have sucked it back.

Tomorrow is D-day though. The day that has been predicted all along to be the Superbitch of all bushfires, as weather conditions do their best to spread the damage far and wide. Our firies are working night and day, to the point of exhaustion to protect lives and homes. They stagger, exhausted, back to one of the welfare points for their breaks, and eat a bite and suck back a drink while they have the chance. Their clothes are blackened, and they look buggered. But I cannot describe how much pleasure they get out of a cold drink and a sausage sandwich.

When we've taken loads of supplies up, these fire fighters are so sweet. So appreciative. And a little in shock that the deliveries are coming from people who are not from the mountain.

Because so many people in my life, and in my community have rallied around this week. When I take the cash donations of the many people in my life who are not nearby to buy supplies, stores are throwing in freebies and offering discounts when they hear its for the firies. People from my workplace made platter after platter of sandwiches, friends and family are donating nappies, drinks, snacks etc. Many business's have donated outright.

Every last item is appreciated. So it's now that I put out to my wider community, if you were looking for ways to help but were at a loss, here are some of the things that our firies desperately need:

-Sports drinks
-Individual packet snacks (chips, shapes, muesli bars, etc)
-Lollies. It's incredible what a sugar pick me up can do
-Long life milk
-Picnic plates/cutlery/cups
-Tin foil
-Old, clean, cloth nappies (to wet and cover faces)
-ICE! Only people nearby and buying it at the last second can deliver on this, but ICE is a big one

There are massage therapists up there giving massages during the day, there are cool rooms for storing food that have been donated, anything though, that provides comfort to the hundreds of firies is needed, many who are far from home and will not be going back to their own beds for quite a while.

There are firies who have lost their own homes in the blaze - but still they fight.

If you want to contribute and are able, I can point you towards drop off points in the Penrith region where items are being gathered for delivery each day when a whole load is full. I know there are fires in other regions besides the mountains, but this is the area that I know most about. This post is not me asking my reader network for cash - I am not a registered charity so would not want you to think that's what I'm reaching out for. But I also know that many people would help moreif they knew how - I jumped on board this particular soapbox at the encouragement of a wonderful family in this area who have been coordinating the effort and canvassing business's for major contributions.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know drop off points - I am reluctant to just post them on the internet as some are business's that are only open at particular times, and others are peoples home addresses - people who are coordinating deliveries constantly each day.

Just think - $8 buys a 24 pack of generic brand water. $3 buys 5kgs of ice, $2 buys a pack of muesli bars. Contributions don't have to be expensive. Everything counts.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why It's Greased Lightning!

**Sponsored Content**

It's a pretty rare occurrence that Husband and I have a date night. And it's even rarer that we are both on board for our date night activities.
Usually one or the other is there on sufferance, (Houso's live show anyone?) really only fronting up to make the other one happy.

But this time....well, it was Grease. The musical. Need I say more? For once it was a show we both wanted to watch, so the kids were packed off to a babysitter for the night and we headed out to see the opening show.

Husband slips in as an honorary T-Bird

*Side note, next time I score tickets to opening night, I'm 100%, totally, going to get myself made up properly and strut my stuff on the red carpet like I belong there. The photographers had no idea who anyone was, they had little note pads to write everyone's names down. Watch out for me appearing in the next edition of Who or Woman's Day as I scam my way down the carpet.

Highlights of the evening.

#1 The Red Carpet. The who's who of Sydney worked the carpet in gorgeous outfits. My favourite was the current Hi5 group, who very sweetly posed for me when I blocked their path asked them nicely. They thought they could get away with a simple smile, but I wouldn't let them go encouraged them to do the Hi5.

This is how close we were to the action
Kylie Gillies and Sons (Ch7)

#2 The Photobooths. If I'd realised there would going to be photobooths I would have brought along a fake mustache and an afro wig. As it was I had to make do with working the selfie without props. These babies were complimentary so I went a second round with hubby too. It makes a nice little souvenir for the night to tuck into my program.

#3 The Slushie. I can bypass a glass of wine quite easily, but I can't say no to an alcoholic slushie. And since Husband was behind the wheel for the night I didn't have to! We made a point of eating at home before we came, so I felt like I could splurge on the slushie and a refill. At $12 for the first and $9 for the refill these are a little more of a plan ahead indulgence.

#4 The Cast. This was a brilliantly cast show. Rob Mills is WONDERFUL as Johnny Zukko, with the arrogant little chuckle down pat. All the supporting cast carried themselves well, the only person that made me a little sad was Rizzo. In the first half I was missing some of the raunchiness that Stockard Channing brings to the movie role, but suddenly in the second half it was all there, and Lucy Maunder carried off her owns scenes perfectly from then.

The Finale
Parking wasn't *too* steep at $20 for the 3.5 hours at the venue (The Star), but if you wanted to save a few dollars pre book your parking online at Wilson Parking Harbourside for $12 - it will be a 10 minute walk to the venue though.

This is a show you could 100% take the kids too, although unlike the movie some of the innuendo's are a little more obvious. You could find that less goes over their heads than you rely on when watching the movie.

For something a little more special for the night, if you are celebrating an anniversary or birthday at Grease, preregister the details for a special little shout out from Bert on the night.

Tell me about it...Stud
Where: Lyrical Theatre, The Star
When: From October 13th - No end date is stated but the show is due in Melbourne by January. 
Tickets: Start at $94.90 for an adult and go up from there. Cross check Showbiz vs Ticketmaster for your preferred dates as there are often pricing differences.

PS If you want the fun of living vicariously through me at these events, make sure you connect with me on Instagram, as I fanatically post my impressions as they occur to me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Where's Wally?


Or should I say, Where's Lolly?

I got a call from the kitchen today, "Mummy! Come quick, I'm hiding!".

This is a pretty standard game for us, and the hiding places are what you would expect for a 2 year old. Sometimes she has a towel over her head as she stands in the middle of the room, other times she might be sitting under the table.

The glass topped table. With no table cloth. This kid isn't winning any prizes in a camouflage competition.

But today it took me a second, usually it's pretty obvious. Can you see her?

Is she in one of the pantries? No, although it wouldn't be the first time she's climbed in. But I can tell she's not in there from the absence of Tupperware or food items on the floor.

Is she behind the door into the other living area? No, but again, that's actually a favourite. There would probably be fingers peeking around the door.

Nope, as you probably narrowed down by the weirdness of a random travel laundry hamper in the shot, she has climbed inside (after first dragging it from our room where it is currently in use).

Where's Lolly?

Pssst, have you entered to win a Family Pass to see Disney Live presents Mickeys Magic Show?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Woolworths Aussie Animals Trading Cards: Flash Giveaway! *CLOSED*

***Completely, totally and absolutely, unsponsored***

So I wandered up to Woolies tonight to top up on formula, and as usual, I asked for the animal cards. Only to be told that this promotion is over. 

That was a quickie, and I only managed to collect 64 cards. Well, collect is a generous term for "asked for, but never got around to doing anything with".

But what my Facebook is telling me, is that we have a country full of people far more diligent in nurturing their kids interest in Australian animals than I was. So I thought to myself, "self, why don't you give your cards away?"

So this is for my readers, and my readers families, the random strangers that might come by, and anyone in general who was hoping for more cards to perk our their kids collections. 

I have 16 packs of 4 unopened cards to giveaway. Thats 64 cards in total, and no, I can't tell you what numbers they are because I have no idea. But I will give them away, random draw, to one person on Thurday.

Completely easy entry via Rafflecopter, and I say good luck to you all, I hope you complete these collections.

While you are here, why not also stop by and enter to WIN a Family pass to a venue of your choosing to see Disney Live! presents Mickeys Magic Show

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Working 2 Jobs: Who Has The Time?

Did you know I work two jobs? At different times in our lives, both Husband and I have had 2 jobs, sometimes both at the same time, sometimes just one of us.

It really depends what is going on in our lives, and what our financial goals are at the time. I picked up some term time only Saturday work while I was on maternity leave this year to help make ends meet, and although I have returned to my job part time, Husband and I have decided that I will keep my Saturday job for a while.

So many people I know tell me they don't have the time for a casual job, or they wouldn't work weekends and evenings. There are times that we feel a little like that too, but this is our thought process for keeping an extra job right now:

- Miss 12 takes dancing lessons for several hours on a Saturday. That rules out any Saturday excursions for us during term time anyway.
- We are quite keen to take a small overseas holiday before Sebastian turns two next August (and we have to start paying FIVE airfares to go anywhere). If we let this casual job pay into a separate account and leave it alone, it could be almost enough to pay for a holiday over an 18 month period.
- My work hours fit quite nicely with Madeleine's dancing lessons, so I can drop her off and pick up easily as we are near one another, and we both get home in the early afternoon - plenty of time left for family time!

So while this job eats into some key housework time, and means I have less time to spend with Husband and the babies, it doesn't really have that big an impact.

Husband gets some along time with the babies, and we kick off things like laundry on Friday night and early Saturday morning before I leave. We seem to be able to fit everything in, and no-one is missing out.

Now I just have to crack out the travel brochures and decide: Bali or a cruise? Which would you choose?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic Show *CLOSED*

*WIN* 1 of 2 Family Passes to see Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show *CLOSED*

Thanks to Cavanagh PR, Mummy Hearts Money has not 1, but 2 family passes to a venue of the winners choosing.

Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show - Join Mickey, Minnie, and some of their Disney friends for a world class illusionist show, performing the most exciting magic from legendary Disney films. 

See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella's rags into a beautiful ballgown, and watch the Master Magician himself - Mickey Mouse - perform astonishing illusions.
Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter makes a special appearance, and watch in awe as Aladdin's Princess Jasmine levitates to the tune of "A Whole New World"!
And no magic show is complete without the enchanted dancing brooms of Fantasia. Watch out Mickey, they multiply!

For more information about tickets and touring visit Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (Melbourne) and Ticketek (all other locations).

Tour Locations:

Perth (Dec 27-29)
Gold Coast (Jan 4)
Melbourne (Jan 9-11)
Wollongong (Jan 15)
Adelaide (Jan 19)

For your chance to *WIN* 1 of 2 Family Passes to see Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show, to a venue of the winners choosing, entry via the Rafflecopter below. (Please read the terms and conditions before entering)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I wasn't paid or perked for this one peeps - when I get an awesome giveaway opportunity sometimes I just do it**

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Road Trip to Rylstone, & A Step Back in Time

Rylstone/Kandos has always been on my list of must visit places. Dad grew up there, and there is the occassional illustrious person on our family tree (a female bushranger, an early senior clerk in the Australia Treasury) that has always made me want to see the area.

For the October long weekend we packed the kids up and headed out to stay in the most gorgeous little historical home you can imagine.

Picture high ceilings, deep fireplaces, a dining table smack in the middle of a kitchen filled with ancient cooking implements, and a backyard that never ends. It was fully self contained with all the modern amenities you could want, so we had fun playing house. Definately beats a hotel.

Lorelei was in her element, banging in and out of the screen door, running around a yard that included tree's, bushes to hide behind, a pond with a bridge, a gorgeou big blue tongue lizard, and flowers. For her this trip was about the never ending flowers, all hers for the picking.

 While I think the council and local business's are really missing some key opportunities to make more of their deep historical heritage, there was alot of fun to be had. Museums, bushdance, HEAPS of great places to eat, (The Globe Hotel in Rylstone has a great feed at a great price), local markets, great little rural shops, as well as the family history side of it for me. I took the opportunity to visit my great-grandfathers grave, as well as review the records in the local museums for information on our family.

James Nash House - Cottage Museum in Rylstone
St Laurence Church in Kandos - for such a small
population, we counted 10+ churches in the
Rylstone/Kandos area. All of them beautiful

Bizarely enough, in my travels I actually ran into someone that I am distantly (like from here to the moon) related to.

The only downer for the trip, was getting to the one museum I had a really keen interest in, and finding out that it is closed indefinately due to council disputes. Grrr. We will have to pay a trip back again one day if it reopens, as I understand there are records in there on my family.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Working From Home or I Miss The Office Vending Machine

I miss the office vending machine. More than I miss the office.
At one of our usual coffee catchups, my girlfriend suddenly leapt up and excused herself to make a call. A few minutes later she was back, apologising for the disruption.

In order to secure work for the next week, she had to call in at a specific time to find out what work is available, and let them know whether they can do it. If you can't call right then, too bad, so sad.

If extra work comes up, everyone is emailed, and it's very much first in best dressed. Too bad if you are a uni student in classes, or even just not monitoring your emails every second. Tough luck chuck, no work for you.

Although everyone is paid well and promptly for their efforts, rosters are verbal, and last second (like Thursday for Saturday/Sunday work!). What a terrible way to run a business, and what a scary job to have in terms of trying to budget - you never know what work you will have till the last second!

I've been working from home myself now for a few weeks, and it's a whole new experience for me. I've managed staff that work from home, and I've clocked up the odd extra hours to keep on top of my work, but I've never actually, officially, worked from home.

It's quiet. In some ways it's easier to be distracted (I'll just put away the laundry, I might just pop Ellen on TV, was that the postie?), and in other ways it's easier to stay focused (no birthday/pregnancy/farewell celebrations, no meetings for the sake of meetings, or having my opinion asked just because I'm there).

The most important thing I rely on now is my communication channels. I always took them for granted as a people manager, I didn't realise how critical they are to the employee at home. And I'm not just talking about the phone either. My boss isn't always easily accessibly by phone - she might be in meetings, ignoring calls while she works to a deadline, or even working a flexi day herself. I can't just lean over to ask about time off, check in with other staff regarding company events, or ask for overtime payments. I do everything electronically now, and I can't say how thankful I am that the company I work for has the tools in place for me.

We have an intranet full of internal company information. A payroll system for storing my payslips, changing my banking or superannuation details, and asking for leave or overtime, along with checking the availability of everyone else in my team.

I have a messaging system that allows me to chat electronically with my team real time, and lets me see whether they are available for messaging or off in a meeting. I rarely, if ever, have to pick up the phone, unless I want to. It's stable, reliable, and makes working from home easy.

A vague, unformed dream of mine is to manage my own business sometime in the near future. My dabbling in social media, and working from home for a major company, is making me very conscious that it's not necessary these days to maintain a bricks and mortar base - even if you employ staff! But working from home myself is also showing me that I would need the right tools in place if I want to employ others remotely. 

PayGlobal provides software for both payroll management and human resources management. Whether you're a small business or a large company, PayGlobal has solution for your human resources needs.

Professional remote employment does not just need to be for the majors - you can be a small business and still do it right. And if you have the right tools for managing staff - you are more likely to keep your staff. Training staff is one of the biggest expenses you can incur, and this expense is only validated if you hang onto the staff member for a reasonable time period. So I was more than happy to write this post when the opportunity came to write for PayGlobal - it's timely, and I suspect plenty of my blogging cohorts who are dabbling in side business's may benefit from a service like theirs.

Do you work from home? What are the setbacks you experience and how would you improve on it? Myself, I need to install a vending machine like the office. I miss the stud muffin that used to change the cans.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Siblings Never Change

Scrolling back 25+ years, and I remember the joy of niggling my much old sister for her attention. Any attention. A thump on the arm, a squawk of frustration, a hug, kiss, board game time, or chat. Usually I got the thump on the arm or a whine of irritation to Mum.

"She's so annoying! Muuuuum, make her stop!". Usually she was put very firmly in her place and told to suck it up. Occasionally I might be told wearily to leave her alone, but mostly she was roused at for being a whiney cry-Buffy.

Scroll forward again to our road trip to Rylstone this week and my kids are no different. 1 year old Sebastian loves his position of centre seat as it gives him access to both siblings. He can't quite compete with 2 year old Lolly yet, as she takes toys and car entertainments off him with mild scolding.

"Not for babies, Bastian. For big girls".

No amount of intervention is solving that one yet, as she is also too little to reason with, so Seb will just have to wait till he is strong enough to hold onto his possessions.

12 year old Madeleine is another story. Sebastian delights in plucking at her bra strap and letting it fling back, knowing that she will shriek in irritation every time. "Stop it" she shouts, and Sebastian gurgles with laughter.

Once she has secured her bra strap from him, he'll start to blow raspberries at her, getting more and more effort behind them till she wipes her face and starts to whine.

"Muuuum, he's so gross! Make him stop! Stop it Sebastian, that's disgusting!". Lolly will join in with this, and tells her brother solemnly that "Spittings gusting, stop it Bastian". He chortles and laughs, flapping his hands at Madeleine, trying to catch her to play. Once the spitting has settled, she goes back to ignoring him though, so he has to pull out the big guns.

The leg. He sticks it out and lets it graze her arm, oh so slightly. She twitches, compresses her lips and continues to ignore him. So he sticks it even further, putting pressure against her arm until once again she starts to carry on like a pork chop.

And just like 25+ years ago, the big kid gets told to suck it up.

If nothing else it breaks the monotony of the long road trip for the rest of us.