31 July 2012

Thich Nhat Hanh and having a peaceful mind

While I was at University I attended a few - maybe three - free meditation classes. I was blown away by how I felt afterwards. It was like someone had given me the most amazing drug! I was blissfully calm, and everything seemed more beautiful, friendly and clear. It is incredible that your own mind can make you feel that way.

I haven't been very successful at following up on it, but occasionally I get there in the lie-down at the end of a yoga class. Other times I go to sleep or mentally explore something that I really don't need to. The strange thing is how it feels like it's so important to think!

I remember a girl saying that in a meditation class. She said that it felt as though she didn't have enough spare time to not think: it felt like an urgent thing to do. We were at Oxford University and it definitely felt as though you had to keep your brain burning with something approaching brilliance at least most of the time, or you were toast! The teacher assured her that it was just an illusion and she would be much better off not thinking for a little while. Even if you only manage a few seconds of a still mind, it is worth it, she said.

Recently I've been reading books by Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh (after three books I still have to look up his name!). I started with the Dalai Lama, but Thich - if I may call him that - seems to write more briefly and simply.

This is what it says in Walking Meditation, which he co-authored with Nguyen Anh-Huong: Meditation is stopping - stopping being carried away by regrets, anger, worries about the future. Stopping the turmoil - good or bad - that usually goes on in our minds (actually this sentence is my words).

Breathing is the place to start. Our breath can feel like a pillow; we can rest our mind on it. It feels nice. If our minds rest on our breath, a feeling of calm and ease arises.

With the in-breath, let the thoughts move down to your belly and rest there. With the out-breath, feel softened and cleansed.

That's not even the end of chapter one and it's about the depth of my experience so far! Wish me luck!

30 July 2012

Citrus time - Lemon cake recipe

The lemons are ripe! As are the limes, mandarins and orange. This weekend I hope to plant another orange tree and perhaps a tangelo.

Last week the children decided to make their own lemonade, which consisted of lemon juice, water and sugar. They picked, cut and squeezed all the fruit themselves. They were perhaps a little bit excessive with the picking, given that those lemons need to last us all year, but I forgave them.

They declared it delicious, but some of it's still sitting in the fridge.

Do you see all that lego on the bench? It is semi-permanent! Depending on my mood I'm either a wonderful, generous mother to allow such clutter in the kitchen, or a complete fool.

Today I made lemon slice, and I'd planned to give you the recipe. I hadn't made it since Jack was a baby - about 8 years ago - and remembered it being divine. It's pretty good, but when the children wouldn't eat more than a mouthful and Ian said he'd eat it if he was starving in the desert, I decided I'd better not inflict you with it. However, I like it!

However, I will give you the recipe for my most fabulous lemon cake. I actually call it Giselle's lemon cake, because she gave it to me. Usually I double it so I don't have to bake as often. Most people who taste it ask for the recipe:

Giselle's Lemon Cake
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c plain yoghurt (or milk if you don't have yoghurt)
3/4 c grapeseed or olive oil (it is actually really good with the olive oil taste!)
Rind 3-4 lemons (or less if you're short of lemons)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder*
Beat together the sugar and eggs with an electric beater until quite thick - just a minute or so.
Mix in yoghurt, oil and lemon rind, then fold in flour and baking powder which you have sifted together.
Bake at 180oC (350oF) for 35-45 minutes.

Leave top plain or, when cool,  top with either:
- lemon syrup (1/4 sugar mixed with 1/4 c lemon juice)
- vanilla icing (icing sugar, boiling water and some vanilla essence or paste)
- lemon icing (icing sugar and lemon juice)

You can add about 3/4 cup either thread or dessicated coconut at about the same time as the flour. And if your'e a coconut nut (the best type!) then you can add some to the icing as well.
Lemon coconut cake = great! But I've made it so much that the family are sick of it!

*I never use baking powder. For each teaspoon required I use a scant 2/3 tsp cream of tartar and 1/3 tsp baking soda.

29 July 2012

Planting trees for the future

This is what we do. Once a month on a Saturday afternoon, a group of locals get together with an expert plant man and nurture our local bit of bush.We do just a couple of hours, or less if we want to. Because it's winter, it's time to plant rather than weed, which is what we generally do at other times of the year. Yesterday there were about 12 of us, out on a stunning Saturday in a beautiful place. We planted new baby plants, and cast admiring glances at what we'd planted in the same area a couple of years ago. Kaboosh, how they have grown!

Our riverside patch of bush is pretty special, actually. It's got more plant species in it than any other bush remnant in Hamilton. It has a beautiful boardwalk running through it. And one of our country's two species of native bat is often found there! Hamilton is the only city in NZ known to have a resident population of these bats.

As we worked and chatted, we made new friendships and cemented old ones. The tuis sang while we did it. Perhaps they were thanking us. We think the hard work is worth it.

27 July 2012

Photo of the year

Ever since I thought about starting a blog, I've wanted to put up this photo. It was taken last summer at Omanu Beach, Mt Maunganui. 

The lazy gardener

Sometimes in this family we're lazy in the garden because we really are lazy. Don't you agree that a little laziness is a healthy thing?

But sometimes we do things that seem lazy but we think are clever. One of those is leaving a few plants to go to seed.

As a result we get many little plants for free - free of money, time and labour! And of course there is no root disturbance because they don't have to be moved (unless we want them in a different place, that is). So they are always very healthy babies.
Can you spot the little purple seedlings?

Many of the plants in our current winter vege garden are self-seeded. Even though we have had a huge number of frosts, these salad greens survive and we can have fresh green salads all winter! The salad plants that do well in frost - in our case rocket, cress and purple and green mizuna - tend to be quite peppery though. If only I could get the children to eat them...

Our winter vegetable garden
We manage to get harvests that are plentiful enough to require me to take my little basket outside. This is thanks not only to salad plants but our citrus trees, chickens and my husband's autumnal waving of a gone-to-seed carrot plant above a conmpost-filled mound in the lawn. Good stuff. Now for all that weeding....

25 July 2012


When you're saying goodnight to your beautiful child, trying to hug him, and he's looking at a point in the distance with one eye closed, his palms held together with index fingers pointing in the shape of a gun... chck chck, he says, firing imaginary bullets..... he's definitely a boy.

24 July 2012

A first ballet exam

Yesterday Anna had her first ballet exam. She sprang out of bed and got dressed in her little outfit, then did some practice. She was so grown up about it! She is desperate to get a 'gold medal', which is what the teacher told her she'd get if she did everything very well.

We went off to the hall together, having secured the morning off school. The little lady sat down very seriously and had her hair done by the teacher and her assistant.

I had to restrain myself from commenting on the fact that her part was off centre, and from leaping to cover her nose and mouth with a cloth or something in order to protect her from the hairspray. Next time I might have to do it before we get there!

I thought a toilet stop would be wise before she went in, and she agreed. However, because the only way to the toilets is through the hall itself, in which some older students were being examined, she had to use a bucket! Very undignified.

However she pulled herself together.

All the little girls lined up ready to go in. The one and only boy had basically been expelled from the class for naughty behaviour! The teacher, in the background, must be her late 60s but is still very much the ballerina. The poise!
The parents weren't allowed to watch, so another mother and I eyed up the crack in the door, but could see very little. So I don't know how it went.

Then it was time for a treat before heading back to school. We took our (home made) lunch to 'our' favourite picnic spot - the glasshouses of the Hamilton gardens. We sat and ate our food, and Anna said, "Mama, can we come here for a picnic after every ballet exam I have? I wish we lived here with all the flowers around us! That could be our lounge, that could be our front door....".

It was a special morning together.

23 July 2012

Our favourite rainy day activity

At the moment, finger-knitting is it! On a rained-in Sunday like yesterday - or any random day, for that matter - one or both of my children is likely to be found finger-knitting.

Once they're finished, the knitted chains usually get turned into anklets.

But yesterday, some were so long that I'm going to save them for Christmas tree decorations, to be used in place of tinsel.

New yarn can be expensive, so every time I find myself in a charity shop (which is quite often!) I scan the yarn  basket which most such shops seem to have. I've quickly collected quite a variety of colours, and part of the challenge for the children is choosing which colours go together best. Usually they knit together two or three colours at once.

Thanks to Amanda Soule - aka SouleMama - for yet again inspiring creativity in our family. I got the idea from one of  her three books, but I can't remember which! They are all listed here.

I wish that the whole indoors day had been as idyllic as the photos make it seem, but it wasn't. My children do clash quite often. However, part of it was idyllic, and the nice thing about this blog is that it makes me focus on the lovely things that happen.

22 July 2012

My friends, and lessons from crazy dieting

In the last couple of weeks I've had marvelous catch ups with friends I've known since school. Aren't old friends great? Even if it's been months or years since you've seen them, you still get on so well together that it might have been yesterday. And the shared history is irreplaceable.

This year and next, my school friends and I turn 40. We've all had good lives so far.

Some of them want to lose weight, and I think the impending 40 year milestone is an impetus for that. Part of me screams "But you couldn't possibly be better - I like you so much as you are!"

But another part of me totally understands, because once upon a time I existed on the extremely unpleasant yo-yo dieting treadmill. Phew, what a relief it is to leave that well and truly behind, for many reasons. One reason I managed it, I think, was having whatever hole it was inside me filled with a lovely husband and children.

The food lessons I learnt along the way are this:
- eat some protein and a little bit of fat at each meal. It makes you feel fuller for a lot longer. But eat carbohydrate, too.
- eat porridge for breakfast! And an egg, perhaps, for protein. There's nothing better than porridge for filling your belly for ages and giving you lots of nutritional goodies. Cinnamon and fresh and dried fruit improve it, as does cooking with milk (thanks for that tip, Sandra).
- find some delicious, healthy and belly-satisfying meals you can easily make for yourself and your family.
- only let yourself get to being a little bit hungry before meals. If you misjudge and don't eat enough at the previous meal and find yourself feeling ravenous, have a healthy snack (e.g. cheese, healthy-ish crackers, nuts, fruit, raw vegetables).
- a habitual after-dinner hot drink - perhaps hot chocolate - with a couple of gingernuts is a great way to fend off evening cravings for chocolate.
- don't have unhealthy treat foods in the house. Have healthy treats, though. It's good to feel spoilt!

These recommendations keep us satisfied so that it's easier to stick to healthy options. There's no point relying on willpower to keep yourself deprived of food energy (trust me, I tried for years), because if people we feel ravenous, our inbuilt drive to eat will prevail (sorry about the George Bush-ism). And because in nature feeling ravenous goes hand in hand with scanty food supplies, when we do eat, it's usually as much as possible. It's the inner animal thinking "It's been such a rough patch that's it's likely I'm going to be starved for the rest of the week, so I'm going to eat the whole icecream tub now in order to survive the famine." Very destructive, unhealthy and disheartening.

Best wishes to my friends. Remember you are already lovely!

20 July 2012

Crazy spelling words


These are my 8 (nearly 9!) year old's school spelling words for this week. He chose them himself out of the dictionary and is thrilled by them. He went to the Zs because they're really interesting, he said. He told me what the words meant.

He's got his spelling 100% correct every week so far this year.

He's generally a normal little boy, though. Just one lucky enough to have a good brain, especially for language.

His Daddy made him the toy gun. I'm not sure which one of them has had the most fun out of it!

19 July 2012

The darling little girl relaxation method

Sometimes I think fate plays jokes on us! Yesterday it definitely did.

Before we committed to buy the ventilation system that was being installed yesterday, we were concerned (paranoid!) about nasty chemicals (e.g. phthalates) that the plastics in the system might introduce into the air in our house. So we asked the suppliers, who had to check with their supplier in Norway. We were the first people ever to ask about this.

So imagine our horror when the system was switched on late yesterday and our house filled with a terrible smell that was something like melted plastic crossed with old fish! The installers had never smelt it with previous installations, and found the motors in the roof to be running super-hot, probably melting something. They are going to get new components and try again.

I reckon I have been forgetting to 'dance with the dinner lady'. This is a concept described by the Barefoot Doctor in one of his many awesome books. What he means by this is that if there is a dinner lady in the sky dishing out what is going to happen to us all, be gentle, subtle and happy when you interact with her. Dance with her. In fact, see the inspiring top article on his website on the same topic this very day! Just what I needed. Instead of dancing, I think I've been binding her with ropes and throttling her!

Fate's little trick on us came hot on the heels of another tradesman mishap: check out what the installers did to the rubber seals on our windows on Tuesday morning when they were installing some enerlogic film (which is supposed to reflect heat back into the room, and have the same room-warming effect as double glazing):

Happily, an assessor came out to look at it this morning and agreed that the way they'd trimmed the rubber seals resembled a fairly rugged mountain range. It sounds like he will sort it out for us. He got scones, too!

So with these little troubles going on (and I realise there are many people in the world who would give anything to have such trifling problems) it was a breath of fresh air to gaze at my daughter's creations:

"Not a windmill, Mama - it's a turbine."

One of her many frequent declarations of love.  (Sigh of happiness from Mama.)

Dance, Mama, dance!

18 July 2012

It's great being a Nana

I'm not yet 40 but in some ways I've always been a bit of a Nana. I love baking for people and making hot water bottles. And as my dear Austrian friend points out, it's kind of unusual to travel with a shower cap.

I used to wish that cooking and baking wasn't my 'thing' because the results disappear so quickly. But now I have come to understand what a rewarding and soul-nourishing it is for both the baker and the eaters.

I have two lots of people to 'treat' today, apart from my own family, with two children always needing morning and afternoon teas. Crawling around in our cramped ceiling space today are electricians installing a ventilation and heat exchange system (Smartvent synergy, if you're interested) that will distribute heat down to our bedrooms and remove the moisture that ends up as condensation all over our windows on winter mornings. At least, I hope it will. The tradesmen have been great so far - don't you love it when they turn up exactly on time, remove their boots and consult you when they have to make decisions?

Secondly, a neighbour is having a tough time - her husband is in hospital after a massive cancer operation and she's nursing him there, getting about two hours of sleep each night if she's lucky. They have 8 year old twins at home. She'll receive a container of scones to take as hospital fuel for her.

So it feels like a compassionate thing to do. In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama (via his co-author) explains how when we have suffering of our own, it drains us, but that being compassionate to others has the opposite effect: it energises and enriches us. He's right. It feels good.

They smelt delicious as I mixed the milk into the cold, buttery flour.

So on this beautifully sunny winter's morning I was able to serve a decent tray to the electricians. They were chuffed!

These are date scones and plain scones from - where else? - the Edmond's Cookbook. 

(p.s. I just asked the electrician to do something a little bit tricky instead of the standard approach. "You've made us scones - you can have anything you like now," he said.)

17 July 2012

A gorgeous upcycled kitchen

We had a lovely Sunday morning scone session with friends who have recently put a new 'old' kitchen into their house. It's gorgeous! They bought the kitchen on TradeMe and drove up to Remuera, Auckland to remove it from the house themselves.

Not only do I think it looks fab - I can't get enough of light blue, which was the original colour, and that oven is an artwork! - but it is so nice not to be using nasty MDF coated with plastic (which is what our kitchen cabinetry is .... I have really changed my ideas in the last few years). Most new kitchens gobble resources, and there's the transport and the packaging. Plus the coated MDF doors are hardly built to last for decades.

Occasionally I see articles about local man Scott Woolston's Remnant cabinetry and I have been in one of the solid wood kitchens he's made. I reckon Kevin McLoud from Grand Designs would thoroughly approve of him. Anyone who's spent any time with me recently is certainly sick of me going on about 'Kevin'!  I am very taken by the ideas in his book, Principles of Home. Suddenly it made me realise that buying the kind of stuff I love and doing the kind of thing I do seem totally right from an environmental perspective.

He recommends buying second hand, or local, high quality and built to last a long time. NOT shopping for made-in-China, out-of-fashion-next-year and probably polluting cheap stuff.

But the best bit about visiting our friends with the new old kitchen was the catching up. Sitting with a cuppa, admiring growing children, talking about old times and new plans. Lovely.

16 July 2012

Cooking mindfully and roast goat

Children don't need to practice being 'in the moment' like I do. Their play takes them there easily. This was the result of a satisfyingly old-fashioned war game between cousins and friends in which the missiles were scrunched up newspaper. (They picked them all up at the end!)

A couple of big chunks of my days away were spent cooking for special dinners. I was determined to enjoy the process rather than think about other ways I could have filled the hours: I had great recipes, all the ingredients I needed, and time to do it while the children played. I thought of the pleasure of eating it with friends and family.

My first cooking session included a wonderful Moroccan-flavoured lamb leg. The recipe (below) was kindly emailed by my sister-in-law. I have no photo - which is fortunate or you may drool - and it was the most succulent, flavour-filled lamb you can imagine, requiring only forks to 'carve' it.

The second cooking session featured a tripled batch of chocolate self-saucing pudding, which easily filled a roasting dish! The recipe is here (scroll down a short way to find it) and it was rich and wonderful, and even better the day after. It was shared with a group of old friends and the gorgeous children we've all produced in the last few years.

One of the friends is renowned for hassling people, very wittily and - in the past at least - extremely frequently. So it was kind of fun to 'reassure' him as he went to serve his pudding that he needn't worry about his already-full belly: this one is low-fat, I said. "Good, I can have even more," said he. Afterwards, as he sat there groaning, I knew I'd duped him. I didn't dare tell him about the king-sized bars of chocolate in the dish.

This isn't his tummy but we all felt like this:

And the roast goat? Our hosts decided to follow Al Brown's recipe from his book 'Stoked'. It wasn't exactly tender, but it tasted respectably like meat and was fun to try. I reckon it would go well in place of lamb in the recipe below.

Baked Tagine of Lamb with Apricots and Honey

1.5-2kg lamb leg (although I used one that was bigger)

4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 T of ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli flakes (I missed this out)
1 tsp each sweet smoked paprika and cumin
1 Tbs honey and olive oil

Trim the lamb of as much fat as you can be bothered, then cut deep slashes in the meat. Combine marinade ingredients and push it into cuts and rub all over. Marinate for 6-24 hours, covered, in fridge. (I was short of time so just left it for one hour out of the fridge.)

Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat oven to 160oC.

Gather together:
2 T olive oil
2 red onions, quartered
4 carrots, quartered
2 cloves of garlic,
1 tsp each turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
2 bay leaves
21/2 cups beef stock (I just used boiling water because I know that when lamb is cooked this way it produces its own rich stock)
zest and juice of an orange
100g dried apricots, diced
1 T honey to glaze (I missed this out)
salt and pepper (I forgot about these)

In a frypan, heat oil and add onions, carrots, garlic, spices and bay leaves and fry for 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if the pan is too dry.

Add the stock, orange juice and zest. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Tip into a baking/roasting dish. Place the lamb on top, and cover tightly with foil to trap all the steam.

Bake for 3-31/2 hours. Then uncover and drizzle with honey and stir in apricots. Cook uncovered for 30 min or until the top is nicely browned. (My version: I left it in the oven for 4 1/2 hours - having turned the joint over half way through - and when I went to uncover it I saw it was already brown on top, so I just stirred the apricots into the liquid, replaced the foil on top and put it in the warming drawer for another 90 minutes or so while I roasted the potatoes, kumera, parsnips etc.) LATER NOTE: I made this again and this time I followed the recipe and uncovered it towards the end. Mistake! It dried out on top! Next time I'm leaving it covered.

A lovely sauce gathers at the bottom of the lamb which I definitely recommend using as a gravy-like accompaniment. LATER NOTE: I realised that not everyone likes the sweetness of the dried apricots in the sauce. Me, I can never get enough apricots. But next time I'll probably leave those out too, and just thicken the juice into a gravy. 

15 July 2012

Really living

A few months ago a friend sent me this in an email. I gasped when I read it.
The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him the most; he said, "Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."
During a few days away recently we definitely had some moments which were 'really living'. A cluster of them came walking around Mount Maunganui, which must be one of the world's most beautiful walks. We set off, brother, sister, cousins, grandmother. We came across two seals, one basking and one lolling lazily in the water. I only photographed the swimming one, because it was definitely the most interesting!

Then a couple of minutes later I was gaping at more of nature's offerings:

We rounded another corner and came across three divine little boys with a stall at the camping ground. The lemon juice was a mixture of freshly squeezed juice, which the boys had squeezed, plus sugar and water. It was incredibly delicious! We downed a few cups, and I came away with about 20 wonderful oranges also. The fruit came from their garden, they said. 

We followed it up with a swim in the salt water hotpools as night fell and the stars came out. Beautiful.

Not too bad for a mid-winter walk!

10 July 2012


When cousins visit it's always a good time to show off new skills - even if you haven't learnt them yet but can pretend you have!

It makes me appreciate the changes in the two little people I have watched grow since they were babies. I look forward to seeing the changes the coming years bring.

9 July 2012

The hole left by the TV

Our children have never had a television. I haven't lived with a television for about 15 years! Around then I visited a couple with young children who had no TV and I was amazed - this family had something I wanted for my children, whenever they arrived.

And so it is. What on earth do they do when they wake up early in the morning? Well, they don't wake me anymore. The 8 year old puts his nose in a book for as long as he can - an hour or two is nothing to him. The 5 year old creates, and I never know what to expect when I emerge:

8 July 2012

Music the old fashioned way

Sometimes I wonder what recorded music has done to us. Today we had the most pleasurable honour of visiting friends whose children seem to have music at the centre of their lives. Banjo, mandolin, violin, guitar, ukelele.... they play them, together, probably every day.

Our children joined them, even though only Jack learns the violin. Anna stood there and bowed up and down, though, looking like a natural! My husband joined in also, strumming a guitar.

I loved it. It made a part of my brain tingle with pleasure - a part that doesn't get enough activity. I love bluegrass! This is a good thing that there definitely needs to be more of in our house.

This was lunch with two home-schooled families. The walls were covered with brain-stimulating stuff. The children were lovely. If I were a more devoted mother I might do the same for my children instead of just making sure the teachers do a decent job (which they do). Except both children like going to school and being with friends all day! I know they have the capacity and drive to be more extended, however, and a personal tutor (like Mama) gets far more chance to do it than a teacher who has to deal with at least 20 other children.

7 July 2012

The curious tale of the chicken and the cat

These brown shaver hens of ours lay well. We don't get three eggs every day in winter - often only one or two - but we did yesterday. Omelette for lunch! I've only bought 6 eggs this year.

We have three brown shavers and a huge, luxurious black Orpington. (The latter hasn't laid for months but I think she'll be back online in spring.) They share our 650m2 urban section with no problem at all and only take up a fraction of it.

Probably half the people who find out we have chickens say "I'd love to have chickens!" Many of them worry that their cat would bother the fowl. Oh, no, I say. The fowl will be in control.

This is a photo of a cat who has been thoroughly put in his place. He's very interested in their feathery bodies, and they make a clucky alarm call when they spot him stalking them. But as this photo reveals, the showdown has been had and the hens won. It culminated in an avian beak making a resounding clunk on a feline skull. Friends with chooks tell me they've had the same experience. Dogs don't seem to be a problem either.

Chickens, I think, were virtually made to co exist with humans in domestic situation. At least they've been bred to it for the last few thousand years. They eat lots of our food scraps and any stray cockroaches, slugs or snails that come their way. And, obviously, they give us eggs in return. They eat pellets that cost about $40 for 6 months' worth. They provide good fertiliser for the garden. Their noises are charming and they are extremely interesting! People love their chooks. Apparently it's even better with a rooster, but the crowing would be a problem in town.

This was their original habitat: they were jungle fowl, and they still love being under trees. Ours ran straight under our (laden) lime tree when I let them out:

This is the well-feathered rear end of the Orpington. I'm sure you'll see more of her soon - she's magnificent.

6 July 2012

Washing day

Today after four days of cold, wind, rain and fog - but not all at the same time - the sun shone. Mothers (and some fathers) everywhere delighted - there were loads of school holiday washing to deal with. It was possibly slightly better than normal washing because there was no sports gear.

Sorry about the blurry patch in the middle. The camera lens has spots in it.

I had two full washing lines plus the 'Chinese laundry', which held my new favourite clothing. Can you spot my thundies basking in the sun?
These are the genuine Thunderpants, made in NZ from organic cotton. They are the most comfortable and flattering undies I've ever worn, not to mention funky, colourful and stylish. The organic bit's important: apparently about 20% of normal cotton is not cotton but insecticides and other nasties! I read that, or something like it, in Kevin McLoud's book 'Principles of Home', which I can highly recommend.

The thundies are a bit pricey - $69 for three pairs, plus postage - but worth it I think. I won't bother buying any others from now on. You can get them at www.thunderpants.co.nz.

We played in the sun too - it wasn't all washing today! But I thought you'd like to know about the thunderpants.
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