Eight days.

by Veronica Foale on January 26, 2015

in Children, Family, Me

We have eight days left in the school holidays and I am counting the hours. onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightdays. Everyone is bored, sick of each other. The screaming starts again and I clench my hands, breathe deep and remind my eldest child yet again how to speak nicely, kindly, like you might actually get what you want. Over and over, around and around.

I cannot wait for quiet hours with only the two year old at home. I’d like to say I’ll miss them, but I won’t.

I love my children, and their being away from me merely increases the energy I have for them. It’s a win/win situation.

I teach myself a new skill: lotion making. My refusal to use palm oil or its derivatives means I get to craft my own recipe rather than using a tried and true beginner example. Carefully I measure everything to the nth degree, weighing, pouring, heating, holding.

All the build up and when the time is right I pour the jugs together. One quick blend and it’s magic, thick and creamy, whiter than white. Easier than an orgasm, easier than soap. All the work is in the waiting, the build up.

I clean up, exhausted suddenly. My hands are covered in cream and I am looking forward to doing this again.

A little like good sex.

My middle child, my son, my adventurous intelligent gorgeous boy had a birthday and I realised in my exhaustion and attempts to make it the Best Day Ever, I completely forgot to mention him on my blogs. And I wonder, later, will he read my archives and feel the lack? The inevitable middle child syndrome, even as we strove to make everything amazing for him. Will he read the archives and instead of remembering how present I was on the day he turned six, will he merely notice I didn’t celebrate him online?

I don’t know if I feel guilty or not.

Bedtime was two hours ago and that is obviously why I have a two year old draped over my legs while I type. Her cries of Paper Me! and PEN ME! are demands which are easily met as sleep fails to come. Holidays are meant to be healing, soothing, but instead we’re all tired from being on top of one another. I fight my claustrophobia in a house which is too small, and summer weather too awful to escape outside.

We sit on top of each other, music and electronics and fights clashing against the background of playing and laughter and two dogs trying to play under all our feet. It’s beautiful destructive gorgeous chaos and I am stuck in the middle of it, surrounded by children like they’re waves and I’m an island and they’re slowly eating away at my shores.

I work and work and work, sinking myself into anything to distract myself from the stress, the chaos, the exhaustion. If I can just ignore everything for a little while longer, we might be able to make some money and extend the house, add more space, set up a caravan based studio for soaping in.

Pipe dreams, but still I work work work. It helps that I love what I do, the working with my hands and brain tied together in a beautiful intricate dance of science and art.

Cosmetic chemistry, man, it’s beautiful.

And there’s chocolate hidden in my desk drawers, so it will all be okay in the end.


Buy our luxury soap here. You know you want to.

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Death and dying

by Veronica Foale on April 5, 2013

in Children, Family, Life

I am standing in the greenhouse with a pair of scissors in my hand, snipping away at pumpkin vines. The backs of my hands bleed, a myriad of scratches and tiny pumpkin thistles resisting their inevitable death. A snail slides across the roof beam, leaving a trail of silver behind her. I pluck her off and throw her to the eagerly awaiting chickens, before resuming my cutting.

The pile of vines outside my door grows, twists, morphs into my failures. The pumpkin vines are infected with powdery mildew and dying slowly, covering everything else in their plague. I cut them back (everything ruined forever), before the pile of victims grow.

My pea plants; dead already. The lettuces; bolted to seed. The tomatoes; surviving and thriving. Nature, nurture, luck.

My children play around my legs. Hide and seek, games of dirt. Messy hair and faces.

The grass is long, green and verdant. Our change of seasons has been kind, and the colour is returning to our little corner of the world. Earwigs hide in the corners, their tail pincers snapping maliciously when I move too close, before their nerve breaks and they run run run away.

My baby wakes up and I can hear her, inside, crying for me. I carefully place the scissors down, abandoning the dead and dying.

It’s evening when my husband mentions that he hasn’t seen our daughter’s cat. Our favourite, she is the first in for dinner and the last to disappear afterwards. I get dressed, coat and shoes, and walk outside to check the highway for a small body. The light is fading fast, muted grey and dull.

I always pray when I do this that I’ll find nothing – that my missing animal is merely holed up for the night somewhere else, not interested in having anything to do with me. I have been disappointed too many times before to find any comfort in my denial. Our highway is brutal, fast and unforgiving.

The air catches in the back of my throat, the hint of frosts coming. Icy tendrils snake down my neck and I clutch my collar tighter to myself. A quick glance shows nothing, but I know better and I cross the road quickly to check the long grass, up and down.

I’m not out there for long before my options are exhausted. She’s not here. Not dead on the road.

Relief is a powerful thing.

I jump my fence and come back into the property in the opposite direction, before stopping and looking.


Her eyes are open, just slightly and she is cold, so very cold. Dead a day at least, I wonder how we missed noticing that she wasn’t around hours earlier. She’d run, after being hit – or maybe she dragged herself. We won’t know. The fur skinned from her leg speaks of impossible speed across a bitumen road. She’s collapsed in the corner of our paddock, a puff of grey fur loose on her back.

The blood has soaked deep into the ground.

I hold my daughter as she sobs, my husband outside digging the perpetual holes that need digging when you live in the country and you share your life both with animals and predators.

I am cutting back the pumpkin vines. There is blood on my wrists and death in my heart.



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The break in our transmission continues

by Veronica Foale on November 19, 2011

in Family

I slept for four hours this afternoon and I still feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. When my brain is not dripping out of my nose, I’m busy hovering around my very unwell son, who has a double ear infection, with a possible chest infection and is spending all of his time sleeping and refusing food/liquids.

I’m sure I’ll be back Internet, just not right now.

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I guess I was lucky after all.

by Veronica Foale on November 16, 2011

in Family

I was awoken this morning by the screeching of Elmo coming from the other room. Somewhere around 1am, my son had climbed into bed with me, leaving Nathan to sleep on the couch and my daughter alone in her room.

Considering Nathan doesn’t watch Elmo and my son still had his toenails jammed firmly into my stomach, I only had one suspect. A certain five year old girl.

Of course, knowing that my daughter was awake, I panicked that my alarm hadn’t gone off because my phone was plugged into the charger. She never wakes up before me on a school morning. Of a weekend, yes, but a school morning? Never.

A quick glance at my alarm fixed my panic, but by then Elmo had woken my son, who climbed out of bed and promptly overflowed his nappy, leaking urine all down his legs and the floor. Despite being an hour before get up time, it appeared that we were all awake.

This is the problem with small children. They are unpredictable and make you panic over missed alarms.

I suppose I should be thankful, for the urine and the demands that dragged me out of bed, because I’m sitting here now, realising that my alarm never did go off.


I guess that was lucky afterall.

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On the issues of food

by Veronica Foale on November 14, 2011

in Family

It’s not that we’ve run out of food – we haven’t. It’s that we’ve run out of easy food. No bread, no ham, no sandwich meat. No tortillas, no tomatoes, or cucumbers, or carrots.

This is what I tell myself as I wander around the house aimlessly, looking for something for breakfast. My stomach is flip flopping between hungry and don’t you dare eat or you’ll vomit (again) and all I can think about is avocado on toast, or tomato salad – neither of which I can currently make.

Obviously this would all be easier if the supermarket wasn’t so far away and if I could actually be bothered to go food shopping today.

Which I can’t.


This is real life. Not prettied up for public consumption, with sparkling skirting boards and perfectly dressed children. My daughter has wildly tangled hair and dirt under her fingernails and my son refuses to eat anything. My fridge is empty looking and the mayonaise is past its use by date. I just found a dead tomato, weeping liquid into a drip tray.


There is a pantry full of things to make and eat. Beans, pasta, noodles, rice, canned tomatoes. Staples that we never run low on. There is a freezer containing meat and I have two kilos of chicken feet, that I keep forgetting to make into stock.

I count my blessings every time I complain that we’ve run out of ham, or there is no swiss cheese left.

I am so lucky, to be able to complain about this.

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