A Recipe For Relationship Success

We all want to have our cake and eat it too and, as the old adage goes, if you’re going to bake a cake then you’re going to need to break some eggs.  You may be happy with a Coles-brand sponge or maybe you’re the kind of person that dreams of a multi-layered rainbow cake romance. Perhaps you’re a new-age paleo/vegan/ gluten-free  romantic and you need some kind of flourless carrot cake love. Whatever your hungry heart desires, like cake, a good relationship requires some methodical mixing of ingredients and a good pinch of patience.

We’ve all sat back and wondered why such a promising love was such a flop. You started out with a picture of a Women’s Weekly birthday cake and before you know it you’re elbows deep in a singe-crusted, oozy topping, food dyed disaster. You’re weeping on the floor of the kitchen, covered of course, in the main ingredient: flour. No relationship, no love, no cake. Just a big bloody mess and a torn up photo of a multi-layered, dinosaur cake with green butter icing and peppermint leaf spikes.  The white dust settled on every surface quietly transforms into gelatinous papier mache glue as it mingles with your cascading tears.

Such life events show us that it’s not a matter of following a simple recipe. Being human – all too human – we rush into things. We miss crucial steps, skip ahead, think we know best, ignore the oven timer and become completely distracted watching Family Feud, delivering a half-baked, lackluster love, droopy and distinctly lacking some key ingredient. So what are the essentials?

Obviously there’s got to be flour, you are trying to bake a cake after all.  I’ll call the flour (or almond meal if you’re that way inclined) love. . All you need is love, right? Love is all you need. That’s what I was told. Wrong. Whatever it is your heart desires from love, you’re going to need more than just flour. You’re also going to need a raising agent, a spark, a chemical reaction, something to turn a bowl of beige stodge into a fluffly delight. Without baking powder, you’ll end up making friendship crepes. Now, if you have flour and baking powder then you can have a crack at damper – you might even magic up some play-dough or a scone – but you’re still only half way to a relationship.

Holding the cake together is the eggs, the milk, the butter or the mashed bananas for my vegan friends. Key binders in a love cake might seem critically obvious, but they are often the most neglected component. Your eggless cake is the relationship your peers turn their nose up at. The foray that causes you to fall out with old friends. It’s trust, respect, communication, equality, understanding, acceptance, openness. Without a minimum of three of these components the partnerships skews towards ownership. Old eggs in your love meringue ruin your chances at that soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, delivering instead a disappointing dish that really should go straight in the bin.

A cake should be sweet and it needs measures of kindness, caring, thoughtfulness; all that vom-worthy couple stuff. But there’s no level of garnish that can can uncook a catastrophy. No extravagant couple holiday, kissing selfie profile pic, overtly affectionate post or tacky couple tatt that can overcome a blundered base. There is no measure of silver cashews that can convincingly bedazzle a bland bundt cake. Some of us think we want a hot partner, nice dinners, holidays, presents. While a thick layer of icing can mask a dry cake, remember that the best chocolate brownie needs no extra decoration.

In truth, you can’t make a cake without flour. You also cannot call a bag of flour a cake. It’s not enough to fight for a relationship because you’re in love. If you are missing trust, respect, dignity, honesty and communication, it’s going to be a shitshow,  not a souffle . Too many times I hear vile, unhealthy and downright repulsive behaviour condoned and defended by love. So babe, what you’re telling me Neanderthal Neil can be excused for crushing you confidence, destroying your friendships and ruining your life? “…but, but you don’t understand, we’re in love.”

Mmm. Cool story. Neil is not a masterpiece, he’s got less personality of a bag of sugar and is not a healthy or balanced addition to your diet. You may as well throw fistfuls of flour at each other to show your love, it’s roughly the same result as your dysfunctional relationship. He makes everyone around you sick, most of all you, whilst you trip-out on some kind of delusional sugar high. “Ohhhh doctor I know I have type two diabetes…. But, but you don’t understand, Neil and I are in love. Neil doesn’t mean to destroy my health. I couldn’t possibly end it with Neil, Neil, love, Sugar, love blah blah blah”

*Self-destructs in a puff of sprinkles*

In the past we’ve all hoped for a bombe alaska and instead landed a cream pie to the face. In hindsight it’s generally safe to say the measurements were a bit off. Next time if you’re thinking of baking a cake with someone check your shopping basket first before you hit the check out.

The proof is in the pudding.

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Five Things That Are Making You Unhappy

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Nothing sends us fruity like trying to settle into a daily routine after returning from a vacation. After escaping from reality for a while you might come back and notice that the things you once blindly accepted start to seem a little bizarre and the values that motivated you have change. Or maybe some of you will come back and cry, simply because your suntan is fading, solariums are banned and you’re still shallow A.F. Having just returned from a short vacation I’m feeling uncharacteristically zen and wondering why so many people are so habitually unhappy? Why am I paying $400 for a juice cleanse? Why do I care who J.Lo is dating? Why do I have to wear shoes? Holidays can’t last forever but they are a good reminder of the things we do almost instinctively to suck out the enjoyment of the other 49 weeks of the year. Here’s my quick pick of serial happiness threats: please be alert, not alarmed.

1. Caring more about fashion than friendship.
Throw out your insecurities: I’ve never once judged my friend for a repeat outfit or rocking a bit of 2008 wardrobe vintage. If I ever fall in with people who are vain enough banish me for not being in new season Alice McCall then push me in front of a bus call me Regina George. Not wanting to go out with the girls because you’re embarrassed about your out of date wardrobe means you either need to rethink your priorities or your friends.

2. Letting people that don’t care about you control your happiness.
Six words: He’s just not that into you. He may be nice as pie when you see him but if that is only ever on his schedule, if either of you are drunk or you’re both naked then chances are you’re not the Bey to his Jay-Z. It’s disappointing if your affections aren’t returned, even more confusing when they try to keep you on standby. But instead of trying to play the player move on. These hoes ain’t loyal? Why the eff would we be when you can’t even write back to a text message in a timely fashion.

3. Complicating the uncomplicated.
If you don’t like where you live, move. If you don’t like where you work, find a new job. If you don’t like who you’re dating then break up. Don’t all stand up and heckle me screaming “It’s not that easy!”, because often it is. In a modern, affluent society we are lucky enough to actually have choice and control over these things. You can always make more money but you can’t make more time. Live life simply by prioritising your happiness and quality of life over BS problems like housemates that steal your food or corporations that suck joy out of you for 50+ hours per week. You’re not a turtle: move out and quit your job. You could probably use a holiday.

4. Comparing yourself to others.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I was happy as Larry playing Uno with my imaginary friend until Jo Bloggs next door throws in a wild card with his new Tamagotchi. Suddenly all of my unembittered joy turned into sadness and longing because an imaginary Tamagotchi with imaginary digital poos just wouldn’t cut it. As we get older we get better and better breeding inadequacy and self-doubt. Treasuring items is not a crime but when obsessing about what you don’t have steals enjoyment away from what you do have and that’s where the problem lies. Rest assured, kids across the world with no clue of what they are missing are still screaming with delight and hitting each other with sticks like the good old days.

5. Wanting more stuff than you need.
The desire to accumulate possessions is strong but for most of us sitting on a big pile of shiny junk doesn’t make you feel like queen magpie. Vast piles of pointless, obsolete and out of season but “too good to throw away items” start to clog your living space like cholesterol in arteries. Accumulating lots of unnecessary stuff is not just bad for the environment but it will also mess up your Feng Shui and take away the peace and sanctity of you home. Like a questionable boyfriend, if in doubt, chuck it out. Re-gift it, recycle it or sell it and move on. You don’t need that useless crap in your life.

Running around shoeless in the sunshine maybe is one of the simplest joys there is, along with sharing good food and good company. The key is simplicity and enjoying what you have instead of pining for what you don’t have. You don’t need to take a holiday to escape from negativity, squash it at first sight like ants in your kitchen. Don’t covet thy neighbour’s wife, no use crying over spilt milk and mo’ money, mo’ problems, am I right?

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Five Sure Signs You’ve Settled into Singledom

Single and ready to mingle is a thing of the past. Single and ready to get comfortable in my own company, pay for my own meals and by-pass the dating dilemmas is in for the foreseeable future. If you’ve found yourself using your time to pursue interests and activities instead of decoding pseudo-cryptic text messages or worrying more about the quality of your coffee than the cuteness of your barista then there’s a chance you’ve transcended into the comfort zone. This is a magical world where you’ve overcome the stigma of being “alone” and stopped searching for a Twilight-esque fictitious love, only ever uncovering creeps and never Edward Cullens. If you’ve put up a no vacancy sign in the window whilst you revel in your independence (and polar fleece track pants), there’s a good chance you have settled into singledom. Here are a few more signs you might be there or well on your way:

  1. Not taming the hairy beast:

Shaving your legs is a weekly or bi- weekly event. Often you inadvertently flash your yoga class your hairy armpits and are reminded to shave because of supportive pro-feminist remarks from the androgynous hippie up the back that smells like weed and incense. Who can blame you? It’s the middle of winter, razors don’t grow on trees and in all fairness a little extra insulation can’t be a bad thing.

  1. Sleeping like a (sloth) queen:

You do not think of your bed as a love haven or a work bench. It is a hibernation-zone-meets-pillow-fort designed to encapsulate you in complete isolation while you binge-watch Game of Thrones. These days, the most compelling reason you have to wash your sheets regularly is the smearing of fake tan that have turned them orangey brown; that and the crusty drool on your pillow case that accumulates when sprawling out like a starfish in an attempt to cover as much surface area as possible on your queen-sized bed. Bliss.

  1. Underwear? Just don’t care:

Your prime reason for choosing underwear is their function. Your colour co-ordinated, frilly, skimpy, bedazzled underwear is shoved to the back of you intimates drawer and is not likely to see the light of day any time soon. Your go to underwear are your mismatching, comfy boy-legs and that 3-year old bra with a tear in the lace because they are the most comfortable ones you own. Let’s face it, no-one’s going to see them anyway. Where’s the reward in wearing unsupportive shoe string straps, bralettes with sparse nipple coverage and enduring lacey g-strings riding up your butt all day? Bridget Jonesin’ it erry day. No regrets.

  1. (Unat)tending nest:

You used to clean your room every time you had a cute boy coming over, now you just clean your room when you’ve lost something of major importance like your Girls boxed set or your buy-10-get one-free ice-cream coupon. Your complex filing system has outgrown the designated storage areas in your room and evolved into a meticulously managed floordrobe. No pressure to overstuff cupboards to bursting point three times a week when boyfie comes around to maintain the illusion of orderliness. Your room is perfectly chaotic and free, just like you, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

  1. Sorry, I’m busy:

Your Tinder profile is gathering dust. Your Facebook inbox: crickets. Those “Hey how’ve you been?” texts are going unanswered and you’ve stopped searching through your Instagram likes for regular offenders. Long gone are the days that every half decent guy you meet sparks your imagination “(I wonder what suburb we would live in, I love that he’s passionate about his career. I wonder what kind of dog we should get? I think he would be great with children. Oh and he’s so tall.” Puke.) Far from the doe-eyed day dreamer you might have once been, you now use a strict allocation system where new males are automatically filtered into one of two buckets: f-wit or friend zone. Dating is fine for people who like that sort of thing but if you’re going to drink wine on a week night you’re going to miss Masterchef and spending your Saturday mornings at brunch is a non-neg girl bff commitment so there just really isn’t a convenient time, ever. Sorry.

If this sounds like you and the thought of having to regularly shave, dig out uncomfortable underwear and disassemble your pillow fort sounds like waaaaaaaaaay more effort than it’s worth then you’ve reached the ultimate comfort zone. Congratulations on being successfully single. Not everyone can do it. If your single status is making you feel uneasy, just remember the new Magic Mike movie is about to be released and Channing has enough love (and abs) for all of us to enjoy.

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