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The Strands Of Me Posts

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? 

Just brows-ing around….

All in all, I’m kinda okay with my Alopecia this time. It’s all happened before, the major hair loss, wearing scarves and wigs for months on end, drawing on my eyebrows and lashes. It’s odd how normal it feels now.

Recently my hair has all fallen out again. I don’t share this as much as I feel I could, as I find it personal and confronting a lot of the time, overwhelming. For me Alopecia doesn’t stop on my head, that’s just where it starts. At the moment I’ve also lost the majority of my eyebrows and lashes.

But still have to shave under my arms #rippedoff eyebrows

I’ve had to start drawing my eyebrows on each day, and am considering and looking into a cosmetic tattoo, mainly so I don’t scare the bejeesus out of the parcel lady in the morning if she gets to me before I get to drawing.

Out of all the hair loss I find the loss of my eyebrows the most confronting. My scalp hair can be dealt with, a wig or a scarf and I feel okay. Most of the time. It’s the eyebrows that do my head in. Probably because I can’t just cover them and get on with my day. I now have to wear makeup everyday – which is something I never really did unless I was working. How I look, how anyone looks for that matter, without eyebrows is more confronting than a bald head, to me.

So I try to find the good in the picture. I can shape them how I want. I don’t have to worry about over or under plucking. Or waxing. Or tinting. I love any way I can save money.

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YouTube is my friend at the moment. I bet you don’t realise how many tutorials there are on drawing on eyebrows!

So mostly I’m okay with my Alopecia. I’m aware that I may never get my hair or my eyebrows back again, but there’s a possibility. A little light. And where there’s light, there’s hope.

Translating Barks

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Dachshund’s are a popular breed of dog where we live. It seems as though every second home I visit has at least two of them. I can understand why, they’re pretty adorable, a little funny looking, and from what I’ve seen of my Aunt’s Dachshund Eddie, very loving.

With the cooler weather I’ve started walking the kids to school a couple of times a week. It’s nice to get out early and stretch our legs and we’re so close to the school it’s a bit ridiculous that we haven’t done it more sooner. But you know, 40C weather doesn’t make you want to walk home.

One of the homes we pass has a fence, and two Dachshund’s. They come out to inspect us then bark their little heads off until we’re away from their yard.

At first, it caused a bit of a fright with the kids. Until I translated their barks for them.

‘GOOD MORNING!!!’ I’d mimic. ‘I HOPE YOU HAD A GOOD SLEEP!!!’

Giggling, my two stepped up onto the curb of the garden and balanced their way across. Barking on the return home again the dogs decided to change up their chatter.

‘HELLO!!! DID YOU KNOW THIS IS OUR HOUSE?! WE REALLY LIKE IT HERE!!!’

Noah and Phoenix we equally pleased when I told them they were ‘Sausage Dogs’. What a hoot on the way to school!

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.

That is Poetry

Did you know my little blog here has been going to 6 years….? It used to be fuller, recipes in abundance with thoughts and memories of my two as babies, product reviews, heaps more. Then I went and wiped it. Somehow. I don’t even know what I did, but it erased a lot of the content.

Apologies if you ever came across a pic on Pinterest and it’s not there anymore. My fault.

Luckily, my Mum is pretty clever and one year for Christmas she got that whole year’s worth of posts condensed into a book. Totally felt like a published author! I recently found it and have been going through it. Any recipes will be posted over on my dedicated food blog Mix Taste Eat now (and some need a bit of tweaking!) and some fun things I loved I’ll re-share with you here.

Like this poem. I remember a lecturer handing it out at Uni one day. I loved it from the moment I read it. Unfortunately I’m unsure of the author, at the bottom of the typed page is a handwritten ‘Edwin M’. If you know more, feel free to enlighten me!

Opening the Cage:

14 Variations on 14 words: ‘I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry.’ John Cage.

I have to say poetry and is that nothing and am I saying it
I am and I have poetry to say and is that nothing saying it
I am nothing and I have poetry to say and that is saying it
I that am saying poetry have nothing and it is I and to say
And I say that I am to have poetry and saying it is nothing
I am poetry and nothing and saying it is to say that I have
To have nothing is poetry and I am saying that and I say it
Poetry is saying I have nothing and I am to say that and it
Saying nothing I am poetry and I have to say that and it is
It is and I am and I have poetry saying say that to nothing
It is saying poetry to nothing and I say I have and am that
Poetry is saying I have it and I am nothing and to say that
And that nothing is poetry I am saying and I have to say it
Saying poetry is nothing and to that I say I am and have it