Tuesday, May 31, 2011

P365 - Day 151 sending an email

Juniordwarf hasn’t played with a lot of technology. He can operate his little CD player and the DVD player (with a nervous parent or two supervising).

I gave him a old computer keyboard that he does his ‘work’ on. (He doesn’t say what his work actually is; it’s just ‘work’ and he is sometimes very busy doing it.)

A couple of days ago he set the keyboard up on his dressing table, put the computer shaped squeezy stress toy that I gave him next to it and set up two chairs. He sat on one and Blue Teddy sat on the other and they both did some work on their computers.

He’s started very slowly typing words on his keyboard – mainly his name, ‘Mum’, ‘Dad’ and other words he remembers how to spell. He’s also had a few times typing on a real computer and seeing the words come up on the screen.

Today I was doing some stuff on my computer and I asked Juniordwarf if he wanted to send his aunt an email. So I helped him type it out. This was the result:

From:           juniordwarf@juniordwarf.com 
Subject:        hhhhhelloooooooooooo
Date:           31 May 2011 2:02:54 PM AEST
To:              aunty@lilsis.com.au
dear aunty lilsisssss
i 41112111111111111111111111ijjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj
Before he deleted the last 14 or so rows, each line following this was a number from 1 to about 14.

As he was typing each number he said, ‘when I was little I was 1.’ ‘When I was little I was 2.’ . . . ‘After my 4 I’m gonna be 5.’ ‘After my 5 I’m gonna be 6.’

And so on.

After we sent the email, he got his alphabet book and started typing out the words in that book. He got up to G for giraffe before he got bored, and that was the end of that.

It was fun helping him.

Monday, May 30, 2011

P365 - Day 150 keg of sound

A few weeks ago Slabs bought a case of beer. There was a promotion running at the bottle shop to win an iPod dock/speaker in the form of a keg of said beer. You got an entry into the draw with every case you bought.

As you do with these things, Slabs entered and thought no more of it.

Today he got a phone call from the bottle shop telling him he'd won the prize.

How cool is that! Now he tells me he needs to get an iPod . . .

Sunday, May 29, 2011

P365 - Day 149 Deyrah Dexter

Today’s post is an unexpected set of photos for Frogpondsrock’s Sunday Selections project.

This weekend was starting to look like another one of those weekends where I spent most of it moping around the house. I’ve got another cold, which seems to just be a continuation of the last two – or the last one that lasted a month, whichever way you want to look at it – and didn’t do much yesterday as a result.
Today was going to be much of the same, but a friend texted me last night and said she was going to look at some cows and asked if we wanted to come along.

Well looking at cows sounded like something Juniordwarf would like to do. It didn’t sound too strenuous, it wasn’t too far away and it would get us out of the house, so I said we’d love to go.

The cows in question were Dexters, which I’ll admit to knowing nothing about until today.

The Dexter is a fairly small Irish breed, about one metre tall, which was brought to Australia in the 1880s. They are bred both for beef and milk, hence their tagline ‘beefy little milkers’. You can find out more about them at the Official Dexter Cattle Australia Inc. website.

The property we went to is Deyrah Dexter, in the Derwent Valley. Daryl and Sue held an open day today, which was part of the 2011 Tasmanian Heritage Festival.

Juniordwarf was very excited about going to a farm, and he was hoping to see sheep and pigs as well, but I think not being able to see those animals was well outweighed by being able to get close to these beautiful, docile cows.

Typically for a little kid though, he ended up being more interested in the cow poo than the cows themselves, and was quite delighted when one of the cows actually did a poo right in front of him.

The cows were great and didn’t mind a bunch of strangers standing round in their paddock watching them and patting them. I got a bit of a surprise when, standing next to a hay bale, a cow’s head suddenly appeared practically under my arm to get some more hay. They certainly weren’t shy.

We also got an opportunity to sample the Dexters’ ‘beefy’ nature, with a sausage sizzle. They make a very nice sausage. Juniordwarf thought so too, as did the farm cat, which was quite determined to take Juniordwarf’s away from him.

We left with my friend and her partner very interested in getting hold of a couple of these lovely cows, once they have the land to do it. I’m very excited for them.

Juniordwarf attempting to pat a cow

P365 - Day 148 turn your ears on please (28/05/2011)

Slabs and I are often entertained by Juniordwarf playing out various scenarios from his school day.

One of his recent favourites is to announce that it’s now story time and one of us (me, usually) has to come and sit on the mat. He then sets up his chair and proceeds to ‘read’ a story.

Often before he starts reading he says to me, ‘turn your ears on Mum’, usually followed by ‘click click’.

If it’s not us he’s reading to, it’s one of his teddies (usually the long-suffering Big Teddy), who has to sit on the mat and have his ears turned on by an enthusiastic ‘teacher’.

Today story time was a bit different.

Instead of setting up the mat for Teddy to sit on, Juniordwarf set up his two little chairs next to each other, sat Teddy on the red chair and himself on the brown chair, told Teddy to turn his ears on, and then read the book.

He takes the education of Teddy very seriously.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

P365 - Day 147 a door (27/05/2011)

Some days I walk past this door.

It often catches my eye, and I find it quite intriguing.

(Edited with Camera+ and PictureShow)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

P365 - Day 146 let me diarise that

Most of the things I’ve read about time management and organising say that having a diary is essential to getting your life under control.

I have one.

I wrote in it once, on 6 January.

The books also say that you have to actually use the diary. That means writing things in it, then looking at it during the day.

You are also probably supposed to do the things you write down to remind yourself to do.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

P365 - Day 145 it's all too much

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I’d come to the realisation that ‘life is now’. It’s not something that happens once you’ve worked out what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Although I was feeling pretty unwell that day, I appreciated having some uninterrupted time to think about things and be a little reflective for a while.

I came up with the ‘life is now’ mantra, which I think I’ll turn into a nice wall plaque or something for my crafty space to keep  it at the front of my mind.

After that day, I had a couple of ideas about what I needed to do and where I wanted to go from here and I was feeling quite positive about it all.

Only real life interfered and pushed all that stuff to the back of my mind, where everything that is ‘on hold’ sits.

Right now it seems to me that I can’t even do the simplest thing to make my life easier, and that I’m hell-bent on sabotaging everything. I don’t have time, I don’t make time and I can’t be bothered anyway.

I’ve lost count of the number of time management, how to prioritise, how to get things done, how to manage your life, secrets of organisation books and websites I’ve looked at, how many times I’ve seen a great idea and thought I want to do that, how many times I’ve started something that’s fallen by the wayside . . . you get the idea.

Every time I see a new book or a new website, I think, yes this is the one that is going to work for me. And what happens? I read the book, print out all the worksheets, start to fill them out, maybe even start to do one or two things, and then it all gets too hard and I slip back into my old ways and life goes back to normal.

I don’t know if it’s because my life doesn’t immediately change as a result so I don’t think the strategy is working, or if it’s because it’s just so hard to break an old habit and replace it with a new one.

(I know, I know! It’s flawed logic. You don’t put on that extra 15 kilos overnight, so you can’t expect to lose them after one session at the gym.)

Here’s an example of what I mean: I want to drink more water during the day. I make it as easy as possible for myself by taking a full water bottle to work so I don’t even have to go to the water cooler. And still some days that bottle can sit in my bag, right next to my desk, all day without me having a single drink from it. I don’t think I could make it any easier, unless I got one of those beer caps with the tubes running straight into my mouth.

So if I can’t do something as simple as drink water, what hope do I have of doing anything that actually will get me to where I want to be?

I’m feeling quite disheartened about it all.

All I can think of is that for me to be able to work out where I want to go and how I’m going to get there, I need to get out of the real world for an extended period, sit down and work this all through. I can’t do it while I’m tending to my day to day responsibilities. It’s too much. I don’t have time.

A week in a secluded retreat, with no phone, no contact with anyone, days to think and write, quiet uninterrupted nights, blissful silence. Wouldn’t that be great?

It would, but it’s never going to happen.

Still I keep thinking to myself, if only I could somehow get to that place, then I could sort myself out and things would be better. I could work out which dreams I want to pursue and which ones aren’t me any more.

The result is I don’t do anything, and things stay exactly the same, and I keep wishing they could be better.

This week, however, I’ve read two things that give me a glimmer of hope that I might be able to find a way through it.

The first was a comment in (yet another) book about decluttering (from Simplify 101), which was the very simple and very obvious premise that you have to actually do something. All the reading in the world won’t help if you don’t get out there and start doing it.

That is: to create change, you must take action. Or in motivational speak ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes’.

And to do that, you have to make a commitment to take action, and then do it. And doing it once and sitting back and thinking ‘that’s it’ doesn’t work either. You have to do it again the next day, and again the next day.

It’s not rocket science is it? And I bet every book I’ve ever read says the same thing. I’ve certainly heard it many times before.

But what am I going to do? There’s so much I want to do, so much I need to do and so much more I don’t even know that I want to do yet. It’s all too much. I really need that week-long retreat to work out what I want to do, so I can work out where to start.


Since the retreat is not going to happen, at least not now, if I want to do this stuff (a lot of which is just vague ideas of future plans, goals, dreams and hopes), I have to do it within my day to day life. That is, now.

I actually have to make time to do it. Gretchen Rubin came to the same realisation when she was embarking on her Happiness Project

And since changing everything at once is way too much (and I don’t know what ‘everything’ is that I want to change yet) and is completely unachievable, I need to take one step.

I need to make the time to take one step. Surely that’s not too hard.

And here’s the second thing I’ve found helpful. An email from the Planning Queen (aka Nicole Avery, who runs the Planning with Kids blog and has just released a book called Planning with Kids).

She said what she did was focus on the things that made her grumpy. Being grumpy was making her day worse and dragging everyone else down too. But if she could find the things that triggered her grumpiness and work out something she could do to deal with those triggers, in a 15 minute timeframe, which would be manageable in a busy day, she wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed or be as grumpy.

One of her examples was not having cluttered bench tops.

I totally relate to that. Just the fact that the benchtop is cluttered seems to make me (more) tense and anxious. It makes preparing meals more difficult and is a particularly unpleasant sight first thing in the morning, when I’d rather still be in bed. Looking at a clean benchtop is somehow calming. It makes me feel like things are under control, even if they aren’t.

Cluttered benchtops are definitely a grumpy trigger for me.

It seems to be a common thing among organisation books and websites that clearing your benchtops (and kitchen sink) at the end of every day is a great first step to making your life more manageable. I made one of my resolutions earlier in the year to wash up and clear up every single night, and I stuck with it for a while, then it fell away.

So today I’m returning to that resolution. It’s the one thing I commit to do every day, starting today. I will do it every night immediately after dinner or, if I’m putting Juniordwarf to bed, as soon as I’ve done that.

This is my first step. It’s action.

And to make sure I stick to it, I’ve made my own version of Juniordwarf’s rewards chart. I made a resolution chart earlier in the year as part of my Happiness Project, but I always kept it in my journal or somewhere else out of reach and always forgot to look at it or update it.

It’s now in full view. I hope this will make me more accountable and that by taking this first step, I'll be inspired to take the next step.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

P365 - Day 144 the final cooking class

Today was the last of Juniordwarf’s four cooking classes.

We made meatballs, fruit skewers and a very creamy berry dessert. Juniordwarf was very proud of his fruit skewer, even though he ended up eating more marshmallows than fruit.

Left: "Oh no, Mum's taking more photos This IS a
smile, Mum." Right: "Amazing!"

After everyone had finished for the day, there was a little presentation where the children all got their own kids cookbooks, a bound copy of all the recipes we’d cooked (personalised with their photo on the front) and a certificate for completing the class. Juniordwarf was very excited to get a ‘tificate’ and insisted I stick it on the wall near the dining table so he can look at it while he’s having breakfast.

It was a really useful and fun activity for Juniordwarf and I to be involved with, and we learned a lot. I’m grateful that we were able to participate. Thank you to the Salvation Army for this fantastic opportunity.

Monday, May 23, 2011

P365 - Day 143 another rainy day

In which I post yet more photos of the mountain shrouded in cloud

12.20 pm

3.30 pm
and share photos of the amazing double rainbow that we saw this afternoon from our office window.

It really was beautiful and the photos taken through the window can't do it justice. It was so vibrant and bright, and it had more than one layer of colour (if that makes sense), as well as the secondary rainbow.

This photo isn't great, but it shows how the rainbow was more than just a rainbow. From where we saw it, it continued to circle back round on itself until it hit the ground - or from our perspective, a car in the car park. Lucky car owner if they found a pot of gold in their car!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

P365 - Day 142 lettuces

A good thing about letting lettuces go to seed is that a bit later on you get new lettuces.

In the bricks that are holding up the garden beds.

And sometimes, exactly where you want them.

Right next to a self-sown spring onion. Who needs to buy seeds?

P365 - Day 141 12 layouts in 5 hours? I can('t) do that! (21/05/2011)

Today I went to a scrapbooking workshop at one of the nearby scrapbooking shops.

The workshop was called ‘12 layouts in 5 hours’, and the idea was that you get the instructions for the layouts in advance, prepare your supplies, go to the class and assemble the 12 pages.

Of course, as with most scrapbooking, we were free to interpret the examples in any way we wanted to and didn’t have to follow the instructions exactly – after all they are our layouts so they need to work for us.

But the idea of having instructions and examples is that it should make it easier to complete the layouts instead of having to spend hours trying to work out what to put on the page and where everything should go.

During the week I gathered supplies, went through boxes of photos, went to the local scrapbooking shop to buy more supplies, printed more photos and tried to organise everything so I’d be ready to go today.

I ended up having a pretty good day. I bought a lot more stuff because once I got there and laid everything out I didn’t like some of the stuff I’d brought with me, and I hadn’t got all the embellishments for all of the layouts anyway.

After five hours my tally was: eight pages started, no pages completed, but several well advanced layouts, which I was able to finish tonight when I had access to the rest of my stash.

So it wasn’t the raging success I’d hoped, but I did have a great time meeting some new people and I loved having five hours of uninterrupted time to scrapbook, which hardly ever happens at home!

Friday, May 20, 2011

P365 - Day 140 red awnings

If you’ve been into Central Hobart lately, you’re probably aware of the saga of the red awnings.

The owners of the building that was formerly the Hobart Savings Bank at 26 Murray Street recently erected the awnings, but didn’t get permission from the local Council or the Tasmanian Heritage Council to do so.

The building, built in 1845, is on the Tasmanian Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate.

There is currently something of a debate going on as to whether the awning should be allowed to stay, with the Heritage Council and the Hobart City Council both opposed to the retrospective application by the owners for approval, and what seems to be a large majority of the public in favour of keeping them.

According to The Mercury on 7 May:
The Tasmanian Heritage Council has decided to ban the awnings as they "intrude upon the heritage character" and "impact on the ability to appreciate this and adjacent heritage-listed places".
Some recent articles from The Mercury about the issue are here, here and here

There’s also a Save the Red Awnings Facebook page campaigning to keep the awnings.

I think the awnings look great, and liven up the building and the streetscape in general. The certainly stand out on a bleak, grey winter’s day.  I’m not particularly fussed by whether they are consistent with the architectural style of the building and its surrounds.

It seems a bit crazy to me that someone can’t enhance the appearance of their own property in such a simple, non-intrusive way without having to get layer upon layer of approval. It’s not like they want to demolish the building or anything.

But it’s not up to me. So I took today's photos, in case they do have to be removed, to remind me of what the building looked like right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

P365 - Day 139 morning walk

I went to a training course today. The course was held in South Hobart, and I arrived a bit early, so I went for a walk along the Hobart Rivulet for a few minutes before the course started.

It's a really pretty walk and was a lovely relaxing way to start the day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

P365 - Day 138 questions

I got the idea for today’s picture from Gretchen Rubin’s (from The Happiness Project) Facebook page, but it really rang true to me in relation to how my work is going at the moment.

There are some big questions on my mind.

On one level there’s a lot of concern at the moment about possible job losses in the near future as a result of budget cuts, which is unnerving and creates a general air of unease.

On a more practical level, I’m simply not sure how I’m going to do the project I’m currently working on. It’s supposed to be a priority, but other stuff keeps getting in the way and I’m not able to find (or organise myself to find) the large chunks of time I need to sit down, uninterrupted, and concentrate on the project.

Being not 100 per cent health-wise for the last three weeks hasn’t helped much either. Lately I seem to be fading pretty fast after three or four hours at work.

I’m going to sit down with my boss and talk about things we can do to get me back on track with it, and to help me get things back into focus. I'm hoping that will answer at least some of the questions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

P365 - Day 137 broccoli

You might remember back in February - coincidentally exactly 100 days ago - I planted some broccoli seedlings.

I haven't thought much of them since then, other than noting how well the snails have fed on them.

Today I was hanging the washing out (part of my vege garden is in planter things under the clothes line - yep, really well thought out), looked down at the broccoli and was amazed to see there were actually heads on them!

This is the biggest one. It's not quite ready, but it's not far off.

Looking back over my gardening past, this might well be the first, or perhaps second, time that I've successfully grown broccoli.

So it can be done. Yay!

(Today's edit is in picfx)

Monday, May 16, 2011

P365 - Day 136 going home

Today's photos are of Hobart at dusk.

Franklin Square

Davey Street

Murray Street

Sunday, May 15, 2011

P365 - Day 135 i don't want to go outside

Here are my photos for this week's Sunday Selections over at Frogpondsrock.

This afternoon at about half past three, Juniordwarf suddenly decided he wanted to go outside.

We’d been inside all day, even though, as days nearing winter go, today wasn’t too bad. Still, I was quite cosy inside and didn’t really want to go out with him. (The way our house is set up, it’s impossible to keep an eye on him from inside.) I had stuff I wanted to be doing (or rather, needed to be doing – I didn’t feel particularly inclined to actually do it) and I groaned inwardly when he said he wanted to go outside.

But I don’t want to discourage him from being outside, and I know I should also be setting more of an example by spending time outside too, so I took a deep breath and followed him out.

We did some stuff together and then he did his own thing for a while. I decided if I had to be out there, I might as well make use of the time and find things in the almost dead garden to take photos of, as there might not be many more opportunities.

There was also a pretty moonrise just before sunset, so that was a good subject too – lots of interesting clouds in the sky. And then sunset itself (where I looked out the window, saw the light and raced outside to take some more photos).

All of these are taken on my phone, with the exception of the two sunset pictures, and all are edited with my go-to app, Camera+.

Moon rising in the clouds

Pansy from Juniordwarf's garden

One of our last roses

Juniordwarf's petunia that he potted up at
play group last year

Grape vine. I was hoping to find an angle that
made it look like I was in a vineyard, but who
am I kidding?!

Sunset 1 - my standard sunset view over the hill

Sunset 2 - behind the sunset

Saturday, May 14, 2011

P365 - Day 134 open & closed

Juniordwarf is very interested in when shops open and close. He can read the words ‘open’ and ‘closed’ on shop signs.

On Tuesday we went to a few shops while we were out, and in almost every one, he asked the person in the shop what time the shop closed. So on the way out, we’d have a look at the opening and closing times in the shop window, and he’d look at the signs and we’d discuss how the sign that said ‘open’ would get turned around to say ‘closed’ when the shop closed.

We walked past one shop where the ‘c’ was covered by another sign, so he thought it was hilarious that the word on the sign was ‘losed’.

He keeps talking about his 'shop' being open, and it being closed (and likes to walk around turning the lights off when the shop is closed, and on when it’s open). Last night Slabs printed off the words ‘open’ and ‘closed’ and stuck them to a shoebox lid for Juniordwarf’s shop.

He was so excited about it, and spent most of today opening and closing his ‘shop’, which is the little nook in between our front door and our lounge room. He kept opening and closing the door as well, although there didn’t seem to be much of a correlation between when the shop was open and when the door was open.

A shocking photo, but the only one I could get
in the fast-moving world of Juniordwarf's shop.

P365 - Day 132 bandaids

Ever since Juniordwarf began to get fixated on particular things, we've wondered (in jest, of course) if this is an indication of his future career path.

At a very young age he was obsessed with toilets, and everywhere we went he would find the toilet and spend an excessive amount of time looking at it. So we thought maybe he'd be a plumber (which his teacher suggests is still an option, given the number of times during the day she has to remind him to hitch is pants up).

He’s also been very much into hairstyles, leading us to believe that a career as a hairdresser might also be on the cards.

Just recently, things took a different turn. A few days ago, he told me Teddy’s knee was sore and he needed to put a bandaid on it, so I let him have one or two from the cupboard to apply to Teddy’s injuries. I told he we could buy him his own packet of bandaids so if Teddy hurt himself, Juniordwarf would be able to fix him up.

Today I finally remembered to do that. Then we had to take Sleepydog to the vet for her weekly follow-up visit after her surgery. She had her stitches removed today, and Juniordwarf helped the vet count them as she took them out (there were eight, if you wanted to know).

When we got home, Juniordwarf told me that Teddy had hurt himself and he needed a bandaid, so he took his packet and proceeded to stick a bandaid on Teddy.

When I say ‘a bandaid’, I actually mean ‘a packet of bandaids’.

Yes, he used the entire packet of 50 bandaids.

He told me he was Teddy’s vet. Then he tossed Teddy on the couch and said Teddy needed to get some rest. 

So while the care and attention might have been there during the medical procedure, the after-sales service leaves a little to be desired.

P365 - Day 133 helping out (13/05/2011)

I signed up to do parent help at Juniordwarf’s class today. I had no idea what this would involve, other than that I’d be turning up and helping some of the children with an activity.

I was the second cab off the rank. One of the other mums had her turn on Wednesday, and she said she’d had a great time. She'd only had to work with a small group of children, and had helped them with their cutting.

I didn’t really imagine that the teacher would leave me in charge of more than a couple of kids at a time, but still, the idea of spending an hour and a half in a room of 20 or so four and five year olds was slightly overwhelming.

On the other hand, I was excited to have the chance to sit in on Juniordwarf’s class and see what they did and how he behaved. I didn’t tell him until Wednesday that I’d be in his class today. He told me how his friend’s mum had been at school that day, so I told him that I’d be coming to his class too, and he was really excited about it.

I told him that I’d be there until recess and then I’d have to go back to work. I was desperately hoping that he wouldn’t cling on to me the whole time and refuse to do anything the teacher said, or that he’d get really upset when I left, given our experiences earlier in the year with school dropoffs.

Neither of those things happened – by now he knows that he has to do what the teacher says. I had to remind him a couple of times to pay attention, but other than that he was great. He stuck very close to me until it was time for him to go off and do something else, which was really sweet.

My job was to work with one child at a time – perfect – and help them threading wool through holes. The kinder aide was doing the same thing so I could check in with her if I had any problems, but I didn’t and I really enjoyed it.

I loved seeing what they did at school, but I was pretty busy, so I didn't get a chance to take any photos. Here's one I took when I picked up Juniordwarf this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

P365 - Day 131 birds

Tonight as I was walking up the street to pick up Juniordwarf from after-school care, I noticed a flock of birds doing laps in the sky above me. 

I'd noticed it last week as well and had wondered if this was something they did every day at about 5.00 or if it was just something they felt like doing that day, so I was happy to see them again today. 

I've only seen this happen twice, because I don't normally go that way, so I still don't know if it happens every evening or if it's just something they randomly do. I don't even know if they're the same birds.

I wanted to stay and watch them to see how long they did it for and where they went to next, but my little boy was waiting for me, and picking him up is one of my favourite parts of the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

P365 - Day 130 hot toddy

Today I wasn't feeling much better than I was yesterday.

A couple of people suggested a hot toddy (or three) as a remedy for my cold, or at least to make me feel better temporarily. Or possibly taste so bad that I momentarily forget how unhealthy I feel.

I'd never had one before, and all I knew that hot toddy was a warm drink (of course) made from whisky, honey and lemon. Similar to the honey and lemon drinks I'd been having. Obviously it would be good for me, but we didn't have any whisky.

So could I use rum instead? I wondered.

I did a little online searching and discovered that a hot toddy could be made from any dark spirit - rum, whisky, brandy, bourbon . . . I picked a recipe from the BBC website (that has to be authoritative doesn't it?) and after Juniordwarf went to bed, proceeded to make it.

The recipe is from here and in Step 1 it says:
Give this recipe to somebody else. If you have a partner, flatmate, parent, sibling or responsible offspring present - get them to go to the kitchen while you curl up under a blanket - you're poorly, remember?
Well Slabs wasn't here, so that wasn't an option. I had to do it myself. So here is how to make a hot toddy in photos.

Step 1: Get your recipe. The link for this one is above.

Step 2: Assemble your ingredients. You need 50 ml of your spirit of choice, 50 ml of boiling water, lemon juice, honey and cloves. I had also seen recipes with cinnamon, so I included that as well.

Please note: until tonight, I had never drunk any of the above rum. I bought it for cooking purposes and it has been in my cupboard for well over six years.

Also, since my 1/4 cup measuring cup is 60 ml that's the quantity I used, rather than measure out 3.5 tablespoons, or whatever 50 ml is.

Step 3: (This is where I varied the recipe. It mentions later down the track microwaving the alcohol so that it's hot. Call me weird, but I just can't bring myself to microwave alcohol. So I put it into a pot to heat on the stove)  Add 1/2 teaspoon of honey (I used a full teaspoon) to the alcohol and mix it in. I started to gently heat it at this point.

Step 4: Add boiling water.

Step 5: Stir until it is all mixed together and 'piping hot'.

The recipe suggests that a glass is not the best thing to use for a hot toddy because it doesn't retain the heat, and says a pottery mug is better, but not much - it actually suggests an insulated mug with a lid. I have a lovely pottery wine glass from Bendigo Pottery that I thought would be ideal, so I filled it with boiling water to warm it up while the drink was heating.

Also while it was heating, I juiced half a lemon.

Step 6: Once it is hot enough, pour it into the glass (obviously after tipping out the hot water).

Step 7: Add the lemon juice.  I wasn't sure how much lemon juice I'd need, because the recipe said 'to taste' and I'd been using half a lemon in my lemon and honey drinks. I ended up using about half of that. Add cloves (I used two) and cinnamon (I just used a couple of bits of a broken stick - they sank to the bottom).

Step 8: You are supposed to sip it very slowly to allow it to 'soothe your throat, clear your nose and relax your aching muscles'.

I don't think it did any of those things, and it tasted just ghastly. I wonder if it would be any better with whisky?