Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 44)

The Shoe Tree 

“Mum, I think that is a shoe tree there.” Noah pipes up from the back seat in the car as we idle at the local IGA, waiting for Phoenix to do her belt up. 

“I think you’re right Noah, I wonder how it grew its own shoe?” I ask

“From a seed!” Phoenix chirps in

“I think it’s ready for picking,” Noah comments “should we leave it there or pick it?”

“Hmmm, I wonder what it would taste like?” I ponder 

“Like poo!” Phoenix’s favourite topic can be added to anything at the moment 

“Maybe like dirt?” I suggest “or like tyres? Or like the road?”

“Yuck. Let’s just leave it there then Mum,” Noah decides 

“Let’s leave it to ripen more maybe,” says Phoenix 

“Good idea you guys,” 

17 Things to do in 2017

The year has started and we’re off and running already. Can you believe that’s it’s four days into 2017 already? What do you have planned for this year? What are your goals? If you don’t have any, here is my list of 17 Things you can do in 2017:

  • Be Grateful – Start a Gratitude Journal, write things in your diary, save it as your phone background, write it on your bathroom mirror. Have an attitude of gratitude. 
  • Go Somewhere New – It doesn’t have to be far, holiday at home! We’ve only been on the Sunshine Coast for a couple of months now and I’m always grabbing any brochures for local attractions, there’s heaps to do in our backyard! Is there a ‘Big’ something near you? Something people flock to see yet you haven’t visited for months, maybe years? We used to live in Bundaberg and it took me 3 years before I visited the iconic Bundaberg Rum factory! Next on my list (today!!) is the local Buderim Ginger Factory. 
  • Cook a New Meal – Of course anything to do with food is always going to be on a list of mine! Cook something you’ve been eyeing off. Sick of your weekly staples – cook a new dinner once a week. Be adventurous!
  • Menu Plan! – Along with cooking something new, you need to be prepared. Menu Planning is one of the best things every household can do, it’s the easiest way to save money (you only buy what you need), waste less food and eat healthier! Do it for a month and see how much money you save, then do it for three months, then six and before you know it, it’s Christmas again and you’ve saved enough to buy that Thermomix. 
  • Read a Book – Now I know not everyone is as much a fan of reading that I am, so read something that suits you. I love Fantasy so I always reach for them but there’s so much to chose from. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic for unleashing your creative side without fear, The Fault in our Stars by John Green for a tear jerker or laugh at Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. If you’re a fan of fantasy like I am check out the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, loved them! 
  • Challenge Yourself – My word for 2017 is Grow, and for me the best way to grow is to set goals and work towards them. They don’t have to be massive goals like ‘I will hike Mount Everest this year…’, but something that you can’t do easily that you have to work towards is ideal. Do a 1000 piece puzzle (and get the family involved for some bonding time), finish writing that book you started three years ago (note to self…), learn a new instrument, download DuoLingo and start learning a new language. Set yourself a goal, write it down and take small steps to work towards it. 
  • Drink More Water – Do you really drink enough? Water is so important to our overall health, it flushes out the nasties better than any detox cleanse superfood tablet shake bullshit will do. There are so many ways to remind yourself to drink more, countless apps that will beep at you. But the best way I’ve found is to simply have a water bottle, fill it up and take it with you everywhere. Helps you drink more of the good stuff and saves you $$ on buying sugary drinks while you’re out. 
  • Learn a New Skill – Last year I pulled out the Rubix cube I’d bought half a dozen years earlier. It’s always been on my Life List to do so I sat down, Googled how to solve it and did it. Then I did it again and again and again till I didn’t need Google anymore. I did the same a few years earlier with crochet and all our family this year received a homemade gift. Lately I’ve been looking at free online courses through Open2Study and am going to enrol in something I have no idea about, just to learn something new. What have you always wanted to learn? Or more importantly, what’s stopping you? 
  • Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones – Go out for dinner without your phone, or if you really need to have it with you, keep it away and in your bag. Pull out the board games and put away the iPad. Spend time with your loved ones actually looking at them. 
  • Exercise – Nothing will get those endorphins flowing better than exercise. If you’re aiming for a weightloss goal then diarise your exercise and make it happen. Exercise is a stress release of me; it stabilises my mood and helps me focus for the day. You don’t have to go to a gym and bust out a class, instead go for a walk, play in the park with your kids or go for a swim. Use a cheap pedometer to make sure you reach your 10,000 steps a day and get your body moving. 
  • Be mindful – Spending even just one minute a day breathing purposefully, to sit and take the time for yourself can reset your mood and attitude better than any chocolate or coffee fix. 
  • Take more Photos – The best camera is the one you have with you and in this day we usually all have our phones within arms reach. Take more snaps of your family and friends and make sure you’re in them, not just on the other side of the camera! 
  • De-Clutter – I’ve always believed that for me, a messy house = a messy mind. I know that I can’t focus on anything if there’s crapola everywhere. Throw out what you don’t really need and find a permanent spot (not just a ‘for right now’ spot) for everything else and put your things away. 
  • Let Go – This one can be a hard one but so essential to everyday happiness. Someone cut in front of you? Let it go. On hold to Centerlink for an hour and a half? Let it go. Kids driving you nuts all afternoon? Have a wine. No, wait. Let it go. (note: wine and letting it go may be the same thing….)
  • Have fun! – It’s been proven that people who laugh often live longer. Start the day with a smile on your face, watch a funny movie over a thriller, play games with your family and don’t take it all too seriously! 
  • Love Yourself – worts and all. Hair or no hair. Love yourself. 

What are you looking forward to doing in 2017? 

Dear Noah

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Dear Noah, 

You turned 7 last month and I’m scared to blink incase when my lids open you’re already 17.

You’re amazing, you know that? Just such an amazing little man. The way you pick flowers for your Mum on the way back to the car after school, how you still love to cuddle up to me at the end of the day on the couch {thank you Shaun the Sheep}, how much you care just makes my heart glow. 

We’ve had a bit of a challenging year, with so much change. I’m so proud of how well you’ve adjusted to your new school, how well you’ve made friends. It seems like the best thing we could have done for you. You’re so much more settled here. Happier. Calmer. 

Don’t get me wrong. You can still throw a good tantrum or 10 {and that’s just before school starts} when you feel up to it. The socks don’t quite fit right. You don’t like your {new!} shoes. You wanted to take that toy plane and I said no. The difference is now, instead of blind tantrums, you’re open to reasoning. You’re understanding the ‘why’ of life a little more. 

We celebrated your birthday at the park, surrounded by your new friends. It was such a wonderful afternoon, watching you play with them and your sister. 

Thank you for your infinity hugs. Thank you for your kisses. Thank you for choosing me to be your Mum. 

All my heart.

Your Mum.

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Weekend Getaways

Since moving to the coast we’ve been trying to go somewhere new (to us) every weekend. We’ve gone on long Sunday drives, chilled on beaches, visited Maleny {one of my favourite places in Queensland!}, dropped into a dam for a fish and checked out markets on markets on markets.

Last weekend was no exception, even though I started it feeling not-so-great, with an invitation from some friends to join them camping on a local beach.

Can I just say, I’m not an adventurer 4WD enthusiast, in any capacity. I’m not a fan of going over the bumps and dips of sand dunes with the constant worry that we’d become stuck {we didn’t}. I don’t mind, however, the view….

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We arrived, had a drink to celebrate then unpacked, then Hubby’s keen fisherman’s eyes spied some frolicking in the water….

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WHALES!!!!  I’ve lived in Queensland my whole life and this is honesty the first time I’ve seen whales!! I was JUST A LITTLE BIT EXCITED. Just quietly. Twice last weekend they played and tossed and leaped out of the water. It was just magical.

Pity I didn’t get a better photo than that one.

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I took some of the #hiddenorchard drinks that I received recently to cool off with. Adding some blueberries and mint just freshened up the drinks for a sunny afternoon.

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I saw this trick on Facebook recently and thought it couldn’t hurt to give it a try, now that we live near the beach and all. Use Baby Powder to help get the sand off your feet.

Well, I think it works. I found that it helps make everything smoother and the sand wipes off easier than it would before. Plus – I smell nice after too!

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What’s camping without a fire and marshmallows? For me, it is still unbelievably cool for October but I suppose I’m comparing that to the 42 degree heat 9 months of the year that we’ve just moved from. I sit here typing this with the laptop on the couch, snuggling under a blanket. It’s still so cool. I’m loving it.

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The kids spent the weekend collecting Ghost Crabs in cups of sand. Phoenix loved to chase them in the sand exclaiming ‘No Mum, you pick it up!!’

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We’re enjoying living somewhere thats so close to so much, it’s such a change from the more rural life of Moranbah. It was a great weekend until a stomach bug decided to turn my breakfast inside out so we made a hasty getaway before anyone else caught it. Not fun. Thankfully it was just a 24hr bug!

I wonder what adventures this weekend will bring!

Alopecia Areata Awareness Month – or just Be Your own Beautiful Month.

 

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Phoenix dragged me over to a gems and crystals stall the other week, fascinated by all the shiny things that were within her reach. While reminding her not to touch anything I was approached by the stall owner.

“Good Afternoon,” she says while eyeing my head scarf. “She’s welcome to have a look, she can’t break anything.” talking about Phoenix and her wandering hands.

“Don’t bet on it,” I replied with a smile.

“Would you like more information on what I’m offering?” the stall owner asks with a pamphlet, “I do readings and healing with the crystals. Something you might be interested in?”

“Thanks, but we’re heading to lunch,” I reply honestly.

“I know how you’re feeling,” she suddenly presses upon me, still eyeing the scarf “I was in your position five years ago. Your hair will all come back.”

Oh. “Please don’t assume,” I request with a kind smile. “Thankfully I’m not sick. But I do have Alopecia. And no, my hair may not come back, ever. But that’s okay.”

Twice that day I had someone assume I’m going through something more than Alopecia, so with September being Alopecia Areata Awareness month what better time to share my story and raise more awareness.

Every year the awareness day/week/month comes around and every year I want to post something. For the past few years I’ve considered taking pictures of the patches I was battling with and sharing them, to help raise awareness. And every year it gets to the end of the day/week/month and I’ve talked myself out of doing it.

But this year is different.

It’s my 9th year with Alopecia and once again, I’m bald. Not just a little, but completely and utterly bald. And I want to share it. I feel like I need to share it this time. Because it might start growing back tomorrow and while that would be amazing, I might have lost this opportunity.

I want to encourage others, you, to live within the skin you have. To feel confident within your own body, with your own beauty. Because everyone is beautiful, hair or no hair.

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So here I am. In all my baldness glory. Pretty cool, hey? Somedays, I will answer that with a resounding NO. Not cool, it’s hard. But today I’m okay. Today it is cool. Today I’m feeling like this is who I am and if I don’t accept it now, then when? When I’m old and still bald and wishing I’d accepted it years ago. Well, that time is now and today I’m okay. Today I’m being myself, and I’m feeling beautiful.

Did you know that 2 percent of people have some type of Alopecia? It can range from smaller coin sized ‘patches’ of hair loss on the scalp (called Alopecia Areata) to complete scalp hair loss (Alopecia Areata Totalis) to total body hair loss (Alopecia Areata Universalis). At the moment mine is flitting between Totalis and Universalis with all my scalp, eyebrows and most of my eyelashes gone but every couple of months I still have to shave my legs. #notfair

I’ve talked about it before. I’ve written many posts about my Alopecia, how liberated I felt shaving the last few strands off and how I went about getting my eyebrows tattoo’d on. If you’re a regular reader of my little blog, you know all about my Alopecia.

But I bet you also know someone else with it. Maybe they haven’t spoken up like I have. They might feel reserved, shy and even ashamed of what it’s doing to them. Yes, ashamed. Ashamed that they don’t look like who they feel they are. After writing about my Alopecia I’ve had more than one friend message me about their own battle. I bet you have friends who are battling too. I battle, often, with how I look. But the acceptance is starting to win more often.

All I ask is that you be aware. Don’t assume. Be kind. Be beautiful. Be yourself.

 

How I got my eyebrows back.

Unfortunately for me, my Alopecia isn’t restricted to my head. While I’ve already lost my scalp hair, I’ve also lost my eyebrows, top eyelashes and lots of other body hair.

Except for under my arms for some reason, I still have to shave there… #rippedoff

A couple of weeks ago Hubby dropped me off at the gym and as we pulled up he noticed I had a fleck of something on my eyelid. Reaching over he wiped it off, as well as half my eyebrow.

At the time, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So much was happening in our lives that I felt I was hanging on by a thread, and he just unknowingly wiped that thread away. I cried. I cried big ugly tears in the car as Hubby raced us home to try and fix my eyebrow like that would fix everything. While I could redraw it back on and pull myself together enough for a gym class (that I absolutely smashed) it didn’t fix the issue. I don’t have eyebrows.

I think I’d been coping pretty well with this round of Alopecia up until then. I bravely shaved my head, felt empowered, owned it. I wear scarves mostly now, with the wig coming out when I’m over the looks the scarves get me. I’ve even learnt how to do liquid eyeliner – that in itself deserves an olympic sized gold medal! But the one thing I just couldn’t get my head around was having to draw my eyebrows on everyday. It became a constant daily reminder of what I’d lost.

So, after much research, I fixed that too.

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I visited the absolutely wonderful Deb from The Beauty Spot at the Gold Coast and after a lovely chat, she cosmetically tattoo’d my eyebrows back on. It’s the only tattoo I have that my Mum approves of!

I have to say, the experience was amazing. I felt relaxed the whole time and in her very capable hands. The procedure didn’t hurt at all, the only feeling was the weird scraping of the micro blade as she drew the lines. Deb has a specially made numbing cream from a compound chemist and that took away any pain.

She also took away the anxiety, the stress and the constant morning reminder of what I’ve lost, in giving my eyebrows back. Again, I was leaving  place in tears over my eyebrows, but this time big, happy, tears.

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If you’re considering any kind of cosmetic permanent makeup, definitely visit Deb at The Beauty Spot on the Gold Coast first. If you have Alopecia and are needing your eyebrows back as well, message me and I’ll happily tell you more about what Deb did for me.

*not sponsored, just amazing.

Boxes on boxes on boxes

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I started this little blog over 6 years ago now. Noah was a baby and I was a stay at home Mum. Initially I wanted to share my cooking adventures with the world. {Nothing much has changed there!} Then we moved to Central Queensland. My view of my blog changed, it became a way for me to keep my family in touch with Noah. Then Phoenix too when she came along.

I’ve posted about funny things the kids have done. I’ve posted about hard days I’ve had. I’ve shared recipes and recipes and cooking adventures.

Now things are changing. Next week we’re moving away from Central Queensland and landing ourselves at the Sunshine Coast with new opportunity and new challenges. Ever since we moved out here Hubby and I have talked about taking our next step toward the Sunshine Coast, and now it’s actually happening.

It’s a lot to wrap my head around.

This week has been full on crazy. Noah’s finished his last week of schooling out here. Phoenix has been at home all week to save us some money and she’s so bored she’s climbing the walls. We’ve packed up our whole house, thrown out and sold almost as much stuff as we’ve packed and managed to find a new home to move into at the same time. It’s a good thing I’m already bald. I haven’t felt so stressed in years.

But it’s knowing that it’s temporary that’s getting me through. Life isn’t like this, moving is. It’s sharing dinner with good friends and taking a moment to listen to their advice that clears my head. It’s knowing that when we get there, we need to replace the majority of our furniture = Ikea anyone?

It’s looking at the opportunities that lay ahead that’s bringing me back to normal. The kids will be able to do so much more than we ever could out here. Just being able to go to the beach and breathe the sea air, it’s something we’ve longed for ever since we move out here.

My little blog will still be here. I’ll share wins and doubts and whatever is going through my mind. The possibilities are endless with new beginnings.

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A clearer way to travel

One thing I love about School Holidays is the excuse to get away. Living in a remote town in Central Queensland, I’ll take any excuse to pack up and explore somewhere new.

Being somewhere new and learning all it has to off I love, it’s just the commuting there I don’t much enjoy.

If you know one thing about me, its that I love to read. I’ll happily stick my nose in a book the whole car ride there to escape the monotony of the drive. Hubby can’t understand it, ‘Look at all the scenery you’re missing out on,’ he’ll exclaim. Meh. I’ve seen one Gum tree, I’ve seen them all. Give me a good book anyday.

I’m sure our kids have inherited my lack of enthusiasm for the commute as well, preferring to play an iPad, read or sleep than to stare out the window for hours at a time. I think Hubby prefers to drive so he can keep an eye out for hidden creeks and bridges he’ll stop and flick a lure in.

I think travelling always brings out the bugs in people. Sitting for hours makes my nose stuffy. After reading for hours my eyes are tired. Then I nap and wake with dunes of sleep sand on my face right when we stop for lunch. Not a pretty look. 

Recently FESS sent me a little Travel Pack that included their Frequent Flyer Nasal Spray. I stuck it at my feet our last trip so I could grab it when I woke for the lunch time break. I used the Nasal Spray to clear the dust out of my sinuses and the Eye Mist to revive myself so I didn’t look like I just woke up. Which I had. But no one really needs to look like that, right?

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I loved the light Tea Tree scent that the nasal spray has, just enough to clear my head without sending it off like a rocket. I’ve also noticed that more dust gets into my sinuses lately, I’ve realised that I must be loosing those protective hairs there as well and giving everything clear path. The FESS Frequent Flyer spray worked so well to clear everything out, it’s now planted in my handbag!

Now that we’re home, I’ll be keeping the rest of this pack close to the front door for our next trip away.

How do you enjoy pass the time commuting for your getaways? 

Ladies wear Lipstick

Me and nanny

This is my Nanny and I. She was amazing.

For the last 10 or so years she lived close to my parents in a quiet little seaside town. Before Hubby and I moved out to the middle of nowhere, we lived there too. The years around our wedding, Hubby was working out here away from home while I was working two jobs, to keep me distracted from his absence mostly. It was hard, having him away so much.

On Tuesdays Mum and I would go shopping at Aldi. On Saturdays Mum would make me French Toast for Breakfast. The rest of my spare hours were spent at Nanny’s.

She’d perm my hair, when I had it. Make lunch. Coffee’s upon coffee’s would be had before we broke out and indulged in a Magic Milo, just for a change. Sometimes I’d take her out for a Macca’s coffee or a KFC burger. An ultimate indulgence for her. Before we’d leave the house she’d totter about wearing her trademark runners and maxi skirt and she’d slap on some lippy.

“Ladies wear lipstick,” she reminded me, more than once.

I learnt many things from Nanny. I learn to never put up with crap from anyone, especially not someone who loved you. She’d learnt that the hard way. I learnt various sex tips that I won’t mention here, because no matter how old you are, sex is important for a healthy relationship. Also, the ability to say ‘Fuck’.

When my Alopecia first started Nanny told me to always put my best face forward, even if it doesn’t look like I want it to. Sadly, I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I know she made my heart feel better. I learnt to hold my head up, no matter what may come my way.

Every year for Christmas I’d make her a calendar complete with photos of our family scattered throughout it. At the end of each day she’d write the days’ events in it’s little box, taking a moment to thank God for the blessing of the day. From Nanny, I learnt to be grateful.

My family and I learnt a lot from Nanny. She was strong, witty and loving and now she is missed dearly. She called me the week before she passed, just to chat. To see how the kids are. I told her about the trip we’d planned and were taking the next week. I was standing in the hair salon, watching Phoenix get her 2nd ever hair cut. Nanny, who at one point in her life used to cut hair, liked that very much.

It still doesn’t seem like she’s gone. I suppose because I’m so far away from her home and have been for some time now. I feel like can still pick up the phone and have a chat. Talk about how much the kids are driving me nuts lately. Ask for a good recipe for dinner, or how her garden is going. I once read that when you see row’s of number is time – like 11:11 or 3:33 – it’s someone watching over you. It’s uncanny how often I see that lately, especially on hard days. I know she’s still here, somehow. That’s probably she feels so close.

Her last few years were a struggle (Fuck You Cancer) and knowing she’s finally peaceful is comforting.

‘To be absent from your body is to be with the Lord’

Love you Nanny.

I’m starting today again.

I am in a mood today.

I actually have a really busy day and seem to have pulled 5 minutes out of nowhere to sit and write but if I don’t I know my mood won’t improve.

I said to my kids this morning ‘I might as well talk to a wall,’ then realised I sound exactly like my mother. And for the next five minutes Noah mocked me, mimicking what I said, but to a wall. “Put your socks on, Wall.” “Put your shoes on, Wall.” “Grab your school bag, Wall”

*bangs head here*

It might seem cute but when I’m in the middle of my terrible mood, it’s not cute. Even in the slightest. Not even a little bit.

The bank calls. Phoenix ignores my 10,000 requests to get out of the car. I have a delivery to get ready for. I need to hang washing out. I call my husband and take my mood out on him.

I need more coffee.

Can someone, anyone, come and pluck this terrible mood that seems to have rooted itself into my spine out of me please? I’m in the thick of it and can’t think enough to do it myself.

Or just send wine. I’m sure that’ll do the trick. I feel like I need to write today off and start again. Where’s the snooze button?

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