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This Week: I'm in a rush!
The Small Batch List

April 14th, 2017

I have rabbits to sew! Lots of rabbits. While I stitch I am listening to entrepreneurial podcasts and dreaming about my empire. Yes, that's right. I said empire. I like to aim high in my rabbit-sewing-fuelled daydreams. If you want to have a front-row seat for this next adventure of mine (and when isn't there some adventure brewing?) please follow me on my new Instagram account: Owl Hill. Initially Owl Hill will be inhabited by my homemade soft animals but from there I hope it will unfold and lead to all sorts of exciting additions - whatever takes my fancy - and yours! I always appreciate your interest and support and this next step is an exciting one for me. It feels a little like everything I have been doing in the last five years or so has led up to this point. 

Next week I head to Ottawa with the high  school improv team to cheer them on as they compete in the Canadian Improv Games. It's exciting to see that such folk as Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen and even Alanis Morrisette got their start at the CIGs which celebrate their 40th year in 2017. Our hotels are booked, the kids' agenda is set and the money has been raised! Hooray! Thank you so much to you if you helped out with a donation. I know some SBL readers did, and it is much appreciated.

So, life's a bit busy... but here are a few interesting things to look at for this week:
1. After what I like to call EAT-FEST 2017, which was actually our trip to Australia, I have been contemplating the undeniable fact that as one gets older, gained weight likes to stick around a lot longer than it used to. I will make to you the terrible admission that when we got home I actually stuck a calorie counting app on my phone. It tracks everything... food consumed, water drunk, steps taken. I'm sure it even noted when I looked at the buttery jam tarts in Café Talia the other day. My favourite bit (because, technology!) is the bar-code scanner so you can quickly scan your banana or chocolate bar before bolting it down. I am quite facinated with what this bar-code scanning doozer-whizzy tells me. I will use the word "uneducated" rather than "idiot" to describe pre-app me.

After a week or so of scanning and entering everything carefully I know a few things. Firstly, I know that this calorie counting gig does not suit my personality at all. My short attention span and my tendency towards rebellious behaviour are not terribly compatible with curbing delicious food consumption according to numbers and guilt. But also at least now I know that eating a huge plate of roast potatoes is not as healthy as I thought it was (I said, "uneducated", okay?). I had no idea that when people tell you potato chips are bad for you, they are really that bad for you. Awareness is the key, I guess. So now I am aware of not drinking too many bottles of delicious ginger ale, and I am aware of how boring a low calorie diet is, and I am now acutely aware of all those Australian chocolate bars I brought back, which are all sitting in the cupboard calling to me. 

2. As a result of all this, I am enjoying reading things like How I went from 59kg to 77kg – and never looked back by Clem Ford where she shouts out that great piece of writing that did the rounds a few years ago -  Walk With Mike by Mike Moore.

3. More reasons to forget the calorie counting: Psychologists Explain The Benefits Of Baking For Other People. I fully support this theory. I know one small highly emotional person who gets her zen on by baking. We get a calm child and baked goods. 

4. On my 60th birthday, this is what I wish I knew 30 years ago.  I love this article by writer Jenna Price in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Kind and encouraging advice for women in their mid-lives..."I'd like to give younger women a gift and that's the gift of knowing that there is time, so much time and not everything needs to happen at once. We all need a longer game plan. Time is not running out. It is just running."

5. R.I.P John Clarke, one of Australia's funniest satirists. He will be so missed! Here are ten of his best bits from over the years in The Guardian

6. The True Size is an interactive world map which allows you to drag countries around to make surprising size comparisons. Who knew!? ("uneducated" not "idiot", remember). These screen shots on Bored Panda are totally illuminating. "Putting a 3D planet on a two-dimensional map was something of a challenge for early cartographers... In 1569 [cartographer Gerardus Mercator] designed a map that could be accurately used for navigation purposes, but the downside was that his system distorted the size of objects depending on their position relative to the equator. Because of this, landmasses like Antarctica and Greenland appeared much larger than they actually are." I was amazed. (Again, I say "uneducated", not "idiot"). 

7. Here's the best of what's being played in the car on the way to school this week. (That's another way of saying "here's what the kids are listening to"). For a little indie teen pop: Declan McKenna's songs Brazil and Isombard (I can't help but be reminded of that great 80s-nostalgia movie I mentioned a few months ago, Sing Street - still haven't watched it? Watch it!).  And rapper Smino's  Netflix & Dusse and Father Son Holy Smoke.

8. Tash Sultana's tiny desk concert... forget calorie counting. I think a new workout should be playing loops and drum machines while singing into two microphones. 

9. Crazy! Getting your baby to sleep. This is not a Portlandia sketch... though you could easily be fooled into thinking it is.

Friday Five Favourites - guest-starring Shauna Reid

Shauna is an Aussie copywriter, author and old school blogger living in Scotland.

Most often found at and @shaunareid on Instagram.

1. Hashtag Gelato
When I'm feeling blue, I look at pictures of ice cream on Instagram. What could be cheerier than ice cream? All that colour and swirl and sunshine. I also admire people with the self control to pose artfully with their cone instead of scoffing it right away.

Sometimes I just search #gelato but my favourite accounts include Edinburgh's @marysmilkbar, London's @blutopicecream for salted caramel goodness or @gelatomessina from Oz for OTT decadence.

2. Call Your Girlfriend
Every Friday I eagerly download the latest episode of this podcast "for long-distance besties everywhere". It's hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, actual besties, and two of the sharpest, brightest, funniest women whose conversation you could ever hope to overhear. It's a perfect blend of politics and pop culture. They're an oasis of real talk in a crazy world. 

3. Cacao Mint Lip Stuff from Cook's Organic
This lip balm smells exactly like an Arnott's Mint Slice biscuit - darkest chocolate, sharpest mint. One whiff and I am back home in Oz, ripping open a fresh packet. Handmade by chef Cookie Glatzel Hebert, it's also really effective lip balm!

4. Adventure Cats
I'm a newbie cat owner and in my quest to learn how to keep it entertained, I stumbled across Adventure Cats. These cats go road tripping, camping, hiking, sailing, skateboarding and canoeing down rivers. Also: cat in a life jacket is the cutest thing ever.

5. MumFace
I adore this YouTube channel run by beauty journalist Grace Timothy. She describes it as "TIPS, TRICKS AND INSIDER CHEATS FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE FACE AND ALSO A KID."

I'm not a mum, but I do have a face, and I'm very lazy about putting makeup on said face. Grace's tutorials are genuinely fast with minimal products. I love her witty repartee and no-faff approach to helping you look just a wee bit more awake for everyday or for a rare night out.
Quick playlist.

See you the week after next!

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List

Person with a keyboard


p.s. 100 points for guessing the quote in the subject line! Last week was Anais Nin. "We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls."

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