Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Thread that, angels of beauty...


Now that I am getting old, my top lip is a thing that needs to be dealt with, with alarming regularity.
And summer is here - I get a tan, my hair goes blonder and my top lip is like an out of control caterpillar that's been bleached. Movember? Yep. Me. (Over sharing? Much?)

Anyway, for the past few years I have had the fine ladies of Paradise (my superb local beauty one stop shop) deal with my top lip via waxing. One second of excruciating pain, like ripping a band aid off, and we are done. A swift wipe of metho across my top lip to stop any potential breakouts, $5 later, and I am all shiny, hairfree and happy. Thanks for coming. I get it done every month without fail.

Anyway, for some reason, I decided I needed a pedicure. Random. Like you do. And the lovely ladies at Paradise were all fully booked. So I decided to be "unfaithful" and go somewhere else. A quickie. There is a beauty salon near the kids school called "Beauty Angels" which looked convenient and not too grubby, who could fit me in there and then, so in I go.

Pleasant coffee, nice little bit of chit chat, all whilst the girl attended to my feet. I had my footsies scraped and soaked and exfoliated and scrubbed and all dealt with. Bright red toe nail polish applied, which I was admiring, when I realised I had ten minutes spare before I had to pick the kids up - "could you do my top lip whilst I am here....?"

No problem, and she lead me through to the beauty room - it was all soft lighting, aromatherapy candles, dolphin music and crystals. Very spa. Thank you.

I leaned back as I lay on the beauty bed, and she moved in behind me. Which did feel kind of odd, but whatever.

As I laid back, she kind of held my face in her hands and inspected me and my top lip in a kind of over analysing way - all cross eyed and technical. Weird.

And then instead of smearing on the hot wax stuff with the oversized paddle pop stick, she starts going at my face with some snapping stretched rubber band elastic thread thingo. She was playing some complicated cats cradle game with my entire face for fucks sake?!



She must have seen the utter terror and confusion in my eyes as I cried out in a demented fashion from shock and bizarre pain.

What the hell?? I actually raised myself up, and no word of a lie, she pushed me back on the bed to carry on, the sadistic bitch.

I squeaked and she said "you need to relax". RELAX? You are kidding me?  And I blew my stack. I literally had to elbow her out of my face as I got up and screeched asked her "sorry lady, but what the hell are you doing to my face? I just want a top lip wax?!"

I then acted totally like one of my kids and burst into tears, hopped off the bed grabbed my bag and ran out of "Beauty Angels" (angels, my arse) and fled.

I am not joking when I tell you my heart was beating a million times faster than it should - from pain and from the adrenalin from my bizarre fight or flight situation.

Threading.

I tell you, I do not care who tells me it is hygenic and better for my face or restricts re-growth or whatever. That it is better for sensitive skin and does not use chemicals? I could not give a rats clacker. This threading method of hair removal may be the all new trend in depilation - I do not give a shit. It is scary and it bloody hurts. It may be a respected tradional method originating from ancient Prussia, a sign of wealth and luxury -  whatever- I couldn't care less - it's undignified and terrifying.

I tell you, I am just gonna grow it all and turn into an aging hippy.

I realised, after I calmed down and after my heart rate returned to normal, that I hadn't actually paid for the torture, or indeed for my quite nice pedicure.  So I sent Charlie in later with $50 to slap onto the counter, and he dripped chocolate Paddle Pop all over their shiny floors. Thread that, angels of beauty.

Do you wax? Thread? Pluck? Shave? Am I being an utter baby?



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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Finding time to exercise...


Today I have one of my blogging besties guest posting for me. She is my blogging hero - for all the right reasons - her blog and her energy is inspiring. She runs her own race, and runs it brilliantly. Please welcome Kelly from Be a Fun Mum...

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It’s challenging: finding time to exercise now that I’m a parent. Gone are the days when I can take off for a spontaneous run. It’s taken me a while to work out what sort of exercise routine works for me, and that fits around my life situation. I’ve tackled some personal issues too, that have hindered my pursuit of fitness.

1. The first step was to make the conscious decision to do something about my health. I wrote about it here: Feeling Fat and Ugly.

2. Secondly, I had to embrace who I was and the changes in my body. I wrote about it here: Weight Gain and Post Baby Body Issues.

3. I jumped those hurdles, and now I have the freedom to work out what fitness/health routine works for me.

When working out a fitness routine, it’s a good idea to know the activities you enjoy (and don’t). Here is my list:

What I don’t enjoy:

• Exercising by myself at home

• Exercise videos

• Wii Fit

• Doing weights at the Gym

• Swimming laps

What I do enjoy:

• Running

• Team sport

• Walking/Bushwalking by myself (and with others)

• Group exercise sessions

• Bike riding

• Aerobics Classes

• Being out and about with my kids

Once I worked out the types of activities I enjoyed, I looked to see where I could fit some of these into my life. I’m rarely without children at this stage, so this makes finding time to exercise a little more challenging. The key for me was to find ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life so it’s sustainable (and achievable).

My exercise routine:

Most days – I walk the kids to and from school most days. We are fortunate enough to live only 7 minutes walking distance from the school so it’s easy to sustain.




Monday – All About You Personal Training Mums and Bubs Group. Kate, my personal trainer, runs the class from her home in a child-friendly environment. It works for me because I can bring my son and I enjoy exercising with others in a group (and it keeps me accountable too!)



Wednesday – Rhee Tae Kwon Do night class (without the kids). I can only make it if my husband is home from work in time so I don’t do this class every week.

Friday – Rhee Tae Kwon Do early evening class (with the kids)




Weekend – Walk/Family Activity




You may read this and think: well she has it all sorted! However, it’s taken me a very long time to get to this point: where I feel like I’m getting some level of fitness back after becoming a mum. It’s been very much of a process for me. If I could go back, and give myself a list to help me get my head around how health and fitness fits into life once becoming a mum, I would encourage myself to look at these questions:

1. Is there something mental hindering your health? For example, how you feel about your post baby body?

2. Have you come to the point where you believe health IS an important part of your life?

3. Have you embraced the role of a parent and the subsequence limits in time and resources? This is reality, and once you embrace your circumstances Kelly, you can work around them, not against them.

4. Have you experimented with different forms of exercises to work out what activity you enjoy? (Don’t give up Kelly; there are things you can do (and enjoy!) around caring for the children).

5. How can you fit activity into your everyday life? Kelly, 10 minute here and there can be effective. Make it normal and weave it into your everyday life.

Do you struggle with finding time for a fitness routine?  

About Kelly

Kelly lives in Queensland with her husband and four children. You’ll find her loving the moment with her kids on her blog Be A Fun Mum. The Be A Fun Mum Blog is all about reclaiming the joy of motherhood in a fast-paced world. It’s about loving the little moments which are like pieces of a puzzle, together creating a beautiful masterpiece. You can follow Kelly on Facebook and Twitter too!

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Monday, 28 November 2011

Oh Mrs...(Mrs Fields Double Choc-Chip Cookies)

One of my lovely Twittery friends, Vanessa, kindly sent me a recipe the other day - via photo, from a recipe book of hers.

It's another "freezer cookie" -  meaning the dough can be frozen and then sliced off and baked whenever you need to whip up a batch.

And let me tell you, you are probably best off not making too many of these at a time - they are as rich and as indulgent as the name and the recipe indicates...

Mrs Fields Double Choc-Chip Cookies

(This recipe makes 48 large cookies - I have kept these quantities as when I made them yesterday I wanted a stash of the dough in my freezer for future use.)


1 cup soft brown sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar
250g butter or margarine
3 large eggs
2 tspn vanilla essence
2.5 cups of self raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups (375g!) choc chips

1. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) mix the sugars together and add the butter. Cream together until the mixture changes colour and goes all creamy.
2. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well, until the mixture looks light and fully.
3. Sift in the flour and cocoa and add the choc chips. Mix until combined.
4. Divide the mixture into four and roll each portion into a roll and wrap in baking paper to freeze.
5. When you want to bake, remove the dough from the freezer, and slice off however many cookies you need. (Each roll will yield approx 12 large cookies)
6. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and cook at 1601c for about 18 minutes.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool


They are, quite simply, the richest, most luxurious cookie I have ever baked...and I feel a little smug warmth knowing that I have a huge stash of the dough ready to be baked at a moments notice, whenever required.
(My children have the best lunchbox treats ever!)

Enjoy!

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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bedtime stories...


My children are getting older.

It's only just recently that I realise I don't actually need to read them bedtime stories any more.

Olivia is voracious in reading her own material.

Charlie is well on his way, devouring all manner of "information" books. He is a non-fiction aficionado.

And Lexie still loves a picture book. But insists on reading it herself. She works through a pile of ten by herself, and drops them all from the bed onto the floor as she falls asleep.

The days of timing baths and bedtimes to enable each child the opportunity for us to read them a long story are slipping away.

Unless, of course, they are tired. Then they resort to a little more cuddly behavior.

I offered, the other night, for them all to get into my bed instead of theirs. And I offered story reading. There was much bickering over which stories and who secured which position in the bed next to me  - three children - one mummy, someone, apparently, always "misses out"...

We read, together, several times, a range of beautiful books called "Little Treasures" by Peter Carnavas.



Oh, how lovely it was! Snuggled up, it reminded me of when my three were a lot smaller. But in this current era of grown-up-ness, they could of course appreciate the stories so much more. The tales and the message. And the stories were as appealing to me as they were to them.

Jessica's Box explores friendship and self worth - so pertinent considering Lexie has just this term started at school.

Sarah's Heavy Heart is heart meltingly lovely. The illustrations in all of Peter's books are simply sensational, but I especially love the big red heart depicted in this little tale. We can all identify, I hope, with the idea of a heart getting carried away, particularly with a friend..?

The Important Things, quite frankly, had me in tears. It's centred around a little boy whose father has faded from his life. I sobbed at the tales sweetness and of course this evoked some really vital conversations with the kids, which gave us all an opportunity for gratefulness and awareness. Charlie, who is very family aware, and sensitive to the changing nature of relationships, kept patting me. It was adorable.

All three of my children were fascinated by the story of the Last Tree in the City. Touching on the environment, the story was sad, but I was amazed at how quickly my kids began talking to me about their own perceptions of the story and indeed of their own natural world in relation to local environmental issues.

Olivia, Charlie and Lexie have requested these books to be read to them every single night for a week. High praise.

The illustrations are as magical as the stories are satisfying to read. The tales are wonderful for evoking lovely interesting conversations.

If you find yourself needing a little snuggle with your kids, and an opportunity to just chat with them, these books are actually ideal for a really broad age range. I would totally recommend them. At this time of year, these small books are perfect too, for stocking presents for Christmas.

The Little Treasures range of books by Peter Carnavas are available in all good bookshops, and online.

I have two sets of these Little Treasures, to give away.

To enter, all you need to do is make sure you are following my blog, and then leave me a comment, telling me your favourite bedtime story memory. (If you'd like to share via Twitter and Facebook too, that would be wonderful!)

Open to everyone and all my readers worldwide, - I am happy to post these internationally. Winners will be picked via Random.Org and announced this time next week...

Good luck!


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Online Competitions

Friday, 25 November 2011

Church...


I have been working hard it the city this week. Adelaide is a city in spring bloom. It's beautiful.

I drive in - and I have a blissful half hour or so in traffic through the Adelaide CDB (Up North Terrace, left into Frome, right onto Flinders, across Victoria Square and into Franklin Street, for my local readers!)

I pass a church - it is quite beautiful. It celebrates its 150th birthday this year. Imagine. It's like the rest of Adelaide - old and gracious and I love it. At the moment, it has a magnificent Jacaranda tree in full and amazing bloom, which seems to curl around its old walls.

So I am grateful for Adelaide. I am grateful for the signs of summer, and Jacaranda trees and their purple snow. We are on the cusp of change and I say bring it on.

I am grateful for my journeys into the city with my podcasts filling the car. What a glorious multi task that is - podcasts via itunes onto my iPhone with a little jack coming through my car stereo. And I use the red lights to slap my face on.

And here we are at the weekend. We have some unavoidable family chores to attend - I shall bite my lip and thank my lucky stars. By Sunday, all will be bliss.

I'm a happy grateful girl at the moment.

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Linking up, as I go, with Maxabella...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I am my best friend and my worst enemy...

Today's post is from a fellow Adelaide Lady Blogger, Bianca, of BigWords Blog. Bianca is, in her own words, an Adelaide writer, who blogs lush tales of life and love, living in chaos with her three beautiful children and gorgeous husband. She is writing her first novel. She drinks a lot of gin.



In my words, she is a warm, incredibly funny and honest chick who lights up my world when we get together. You can laugh with her on Twitter, follow her goings on on Facebook, and read her blog here.

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Image from here


Losing weight is a learning experience. The biggest thing I’ve learned is I am my best friend and my worst enemy.
You see I am the only person who can motivate me to lose to weight. I am the only person who can cheer me on, who can stop me eating donuts and reach for a carrot instead of a block of chocolate. I am the only person who can make me go for a walk or refrain from late night snaking. I can make goals and stick to them. I am blinkered when I want to be, dogged. I don’t lose sight of my personal aims.

I am also the only person who can break my goals - the only person who can self-sabotage with reckless abandon. Simple statements roll off my tongue like butter: “You look ugly”, “You’ll always be fat” and “Just have a day off from the diet, it won’t hurt”. All these statements start off quietly in my head and then get louder as the self-doubt grows. In a matter of moments, I can wipe out weeks of hard work. In a matter of moments, I can go from feeling invincible and proud of myself, to feeling like a loser unworthy of looking and feeling great.

After having my third child I decided it was time I got serious. Time to get my body back. But instead of losing weight, I was putting it on with gusto. At 84.5 kilos, I decided I needed a motivator so I signed up to the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program. It was the best $200 I’ve spent in a long time. It gave me the boost I needed to kick-start my weight loss.

My husband and I followed the program together, but about half way through we started doing our own thing. We didn’t fail, we just felt like we’d got we needed out of it. We’d both lost about 7 kilos each and were ready to go it alone. What we were left with was a new way of living. We now eat smaller portions, exercise regularly, don’t snack, drink less and eat much healthier.

The problem is I keep talking myself out of achieving my medium-term goal of losing 10 kilos. I’m so close I can taste it. I can get into size 14 jeans again and can see size 12 within reach. But as I start to reap the benefits, my negative voices get louder. At present, I am having an internal struggle to stop the self-sabotaging. I’ve plateaued.

I have 7 more kilos I want to lose. I need to get serious with myself and get back into a strict routine. Head down, bum up. Hopefully, in a few months that head of mine will be filled with only positive thoughts and my bum will be a lot smaller.

How do you fight the self-sabotage?

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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mad for it...



You know that feeling you get when you close a book on characters that you have fallen in love with? Characters that you know intimately? Real characters with flaws but you adore them anyway? Characters that have developed, traits that have emerged, histories that have unfurled, personalities that have evolved?

That is how I occasionally feel about some TV shows too. (I cried when The West Wing ended.)

The lovely husband and I have just finished watching, again, all four series of Mad Men. A drama about one of New York's most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm's most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives. (Don Draper, you are my creative hero...)

The series, aside from being brilliant drama about the advertising world it's infancy, is also an enlightening snapshot of all sorts of social issues from our recent history. Smoking, the role of women in the home and in the office, homosexuality, race...all depicted wonderfully.

Last night was the final episode of season four of Mad Men for us. Until I get the next series in my hand, I almost feel as if I am grieving. (Season five is currently in production. It feels like a long long time between drinks.)



I know that, based on my Twitter stream that I am not alone in my adoration of all things Maddison Avenue, Jonn Hamm and Christina Hendricks.

So for the next few months I shall wait, until the next series is released. I shall work my inner Joan Holloway.

Tell me, are there any other brilliant dramas out there? If I love Mad Men and West Wing, what else would you recommend?


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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The "greedy" child...

Today's guest post is from an anonymous poster. She approached me a few weeks ago with a draft. It resonated so much with me: I knew I could not refuse.

I suspect her words, and her experiences and her fears will resonate with many of you. I would like to thank her for her honesty. She asks a lot of questions in her post, so if any of you have wise words to share on this complex issue, I would love it if could comment and share.



When I was four and at Kinder I remember having a check up where my mum asked the nurse about my weight. The nurse said something along the lines that I was fine and would grow out of it. I look at photos of myself at that age and although I wasn't slender, I certainly wasn't fat. My next memory of my weight issue is about four years later when my dad took me for a walk and discussed my weight with me. He said that I was a lot prettier than my best friend, but that she was slim and if I was slim I would be even prettier than I already was. Over the next 10 years, my mum ignored my weight while my dad obsessed over it, varying his approach from taking me to the gym with him at 6am before school, family early morning exercise sessions at home, criticising me, telling me not to eat certain things, bribing and embarrassing me. I actually feel guilty describing my dad in this way, because it sounds so harsh and he is a great dad and I know he had my best interests at heart but oh my goodness, I really think his tactic "shaped" my life!


My weight went up and down, up and down over the years, and still is. I know that now, at 30-something, this is something completely within my control and is not my parents fault. But, as a mum of two, I don't want to relive the mistakes my parents made and I am really struggling with how to raise my kids with a healthy attitude to food and exercise. For the last few months I've been slowly and healthily losing weight and my oldest has been watching me exercise and joining in. At the age of three, he is extremely active and although solid, he is definitely slim and has no weight issues at all.

However, he does have a funny relationship with "naughty" food already and I'm scared that I've "done this" to him! When we go to a party, he will dive in the junk food and if he sees me approaching, he'll grab a handful of something and run away! While this is slightly amusing, I have to be honest that it's a bit terrifying too for me. I did a lot of my eating in secret, and was sneaky about it and I don't want my kids to have the same problems I had. My three year old can now also open his bedroom door on his own and twice this week he has gone to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning and helped himself to food - chocolate, lollies and biscuits. I too used to do this in the middle of the night. A lot. Part of me thinks I should throw out all of the "naughty" food, but the other part thinks maybe I'm already depriving him of too much and that is what's making him greedy?

My friend has a theory with her kids: she doesn't want them to be greedy, so she lets them eat whatever they want, whenever they want, including chips and chocolate most days. This doesn't sit right with me. Although they certainly don't gorge themselves at any opportunity? I cook most of my kids meals and although they are healthy, they are not extreme. Pasta, meat, veggies, cheese, yogurt, eggs, oven baked home made "chips" and most of their snacks are either fruit or wholemeal vegetable baked "treats" but I also do bake sweet things for them occasionally too. The only reason the items my son took from the pantry were even there was because they were for baking or things friends had brought over: it's not food he's ever allowed to just eat freely at home.

I love food and I love cooking and baking and my three year old loves food too. We never eat take away fast food and the food he eats 90% of the time is very healthy. I know I can easily stop the baking of sweet things and have no treats in the house, but I don't know if that's the right to do either? I have really been trying to model and teach moderation, but after this week's early morning pantry raid, I feel like I've failed and am a bit unsure of where to go from here.

How do you regulate what your kids eat? Do you think you can make them greedy by depriving them of treats? If we restrict "sometimes" foods and junk foods, does that send them into a binge mentality early? Or do we let them eat whatever they want and hope for the best?



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Monday, 21 November 2011

Expresso Cheesecake


Espresso Cheesecake

This recipe came from a girl I met in Darwin, who was a part of my original mothers group. She loved to bake. I have kept the recipe for over seven years. It's a sensational cheesecake. Not too sickly. Ideal for desert, or to serve with the coffee it takes it's flavour from.

The lovely husband, who is generally not much of a fan of deserts, is partial to a slice of cheesecake. And he is a coffee lover. He has asked me to make him a cheesecake on more than one occasion, so yesterday I indulged him. I dug this recipe out and it came out as perfectly as I remember eating it before.


Filling

675g Philadelphia Cream Cheese ( I used the extra light one)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
225g caster sugar
1 strong short black (or two teaspoons of instant coffee disolved into 2 tablespoons of hot water, cooled.)
250ml light thickened cream, whipped

Base

250g Marie or Granita biscuits, crushed finely in a food processor
115g butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 150`c

2. Mix together crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press mixture firmly onto base and sides of a lightly greased 20cm spring-form tin or loose bottom tin. Refrigerate until required

3. Blend the cream cheese in a food processor or stand mixer until smooth

4. Add the eggs one by one, until combined

5. Keeping the processor/mixer on low, add the cornflour, the vanilla and the sugar

6. Add the coffee

7. Remove the mixture from the processor and tip into a large bowl & set aside.

8. Whip the cream. Then, ssing a whisk, combine the whipped cream with the cheese mixture.
7. Tip all this into the cheesecake base and bake for 25 minutes

8. Leave to cool, then refrigerate to chill.

If you do try this, let me know how you go?

And if you have any other sensational cheesecake recipes, I'd love you to share...

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Scars remind me that the past is real...♫♫


Well, actually, stretch marks remind me that my past pregnancies and my past jelly belly were real...

And scars too.

I have scars, wrinkles and stretch marks, as well as dehydrated skin .
I was going to get all brave and take snaps of my stretch marks, but to be honest, who needs to look at that as they read my blog over their morning coffee?

But I do have a scar on my leg which I hate.

We are coming up to summer and I live in shorts.

And my scar annoys me. It is red, but does not tan, so in summer when my legs go brown, it stays pale but red and, well, just...noticiable. (The scar is from a fall from July 2009 - over two years ago, that became infected. Nice. Not.)

So I decided to complete my own 28 day trial of the "clinically proven"  Busby Pure Tissue Oil.

I was sent some Busby Pure Tissue Oil to trial. I could think of no better use for it, for me, for my leg scar. (I am cheerfully resigned to the stretch marks and the wrinkles...)

Cheaper than a dermatologist appointment or plastic surgery Busby Natural Oil retails at only $17.95 for 100ml. Available at most pharmacies nationwide - just call 1800 655 841 for stockists.

It smells divine - so I have used it as a body lotion on my legs, rather than a medicinal style cream or oil. It doesn't feel greasy and it comes in a pump pack. It contains only naturally derived oils, and no petrochemicals. It's actually really lovely to use, on my legs and on my arms.

And the results?

See for yourselves - here are the before and after shots:



It's a bit tricky to really see the massive difference - taking a snap of my own leg at the best angle is hard enough! But there has been more improvement in appearnace in one month than there has been in the previous two years. I have used another brand of oil before - it did nothing. The Busby oil has most definately made a dramatic improvement. More than enough evidence for me to continue using it.

I have another five 100ml bottles of Busby Pure Tissue Oil to give away. All you need to do is make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment telling me why you need to try this liquid gold. Winner will be chosen this time next week.

Open to Australian residents only, and the winner will be picked by random.org

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Online Competitions

Saturday, 19 November 2011

100

Me & Peggy in about 2000. She was pretty, I was so fat.

My granny would have been 100 today.

She was born on the 19th November 1911. 19.11.1911

It's her birthday. I wish she was here to get a telegram from the Queen.

I wish she were here so I could pop in and have a chat.

I still think of her every single day. She was so pretty. She had the softest peachiest skin.

She was a nag, in a way that I realise annoyed me intensely because she was often so right.

She peppers my thoughts in such a good way.

Granny, I miss you.

I hope you look down on us and smile.


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* Fiona - if you are reading, I know you miss her too. xxx

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I burned 600 calories and what I got was my brain...

Today I have Suz guest posting for me. Suz is a blogger and Twitterer who I met at a blogging conference last year. We clicked. We had dinner with one another and I suspect I fell a little in love with her. She is brave and she is very cool. She is beautiful and she is getting really healthy - mentally and physically she is a strong strong woman, and I am very glad to know her...please welcome her and leave her come comment love?



Since I began to lose weight, I have thought lots about the process of doing it, the benefits, the challenges, all of it. It’s a narrative that plays in my mind pretty constantly. It’s not like it’s become an obsession but I am most certainly much more mindful about my nutrition, my exercise, my well being.

And the work and thought is paying a dividend. Almost 15 kilograms has come off my frame since April this year. I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel.

Yesterday though, I got the message of the greatest impact this big change of life and looking after me has had.
I woke up at 7am, tired, flat, with “Mondayitis” in the extreme. I felt crotchety, teary, cranky and ready to pick an argument with whoever crossed my path (Sorry to my beloved Captain). It was an ugly way to begin the week. I would even go so far as to say I was feeling a bit depressed. Ahead of me was a day filled with my son’s autism therapy, visiting grandparents, a busy and active two year old and much more.

What I had up my sleeve was my regular Monday morning gym circuit class (with child care included). I’m not quite sure how I did, but somehow I got my gym clothes on and I got myself and the kids there. And I did this:



I spent the rest of the day feeling more peaceful, more patient and more able to be in the moment with my two boys. The day was still hectic. There were annoyances and road blocks. But my mind was calm, the anxious, jittery creature of the morning banished. It was the exercise that did it.

It’s a simple equation. Exercise = feel good.

Simple.

I am not saying it is easy to do, oh no, sometimes as mums of young children creating time to exercise can be so very hard. The equation itself though is simple. I burned 600 calories and what I got was my brain, at peace.

A simple equation. The impact, immeasurable.

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Segovia Dreams

I am finding my way through life, motherhood and the strange world we live in. I’m most often looking for dreams, reality and inspiration along the everyday footpath. I’m the partner of the loveliest of men and mama of two gorgeous boys.

I blog about my dreams, reality and inspiration at Segovia. I also blogs about our family adventure with autism at The I Love You Song. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook here

I am also currently involved in a fundraising initiative for Learning for Life Autism Centre. Each year we raise funds through a big Ball. It is held at Leonda in Melbourne. Leonda have just agreed to donate $1 for every Facebook liker, Twitter follower and LinkedIn connection they get until the end of November. Generous! So, Lucy and I would adore you forever if you clicked over and showed Leonda some follow like connect love! THANK YOU!




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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

So far, so good...


How is it that when I work from home, I get little done? When I have all three children at school, and those hours are mine, I laibour slowly. Dull chores are always put off until tomorrow and I procrastinate over everything?

And how is it when I am studying full time, we are all eating better and having more fun and things get done more efficiently?

I do not get it.

I am glad though.

I once worked for a wise gentleman - he owned a beautiful hotel that I worked in as a teen - he told me that the more we do, the busier we get, the more energy we get. The momentum gathers, and the more we do, the more we want to do.
I think he was right.

I was terrified that I would not cope with house, kids, husband and work as well as study. Scared and nervous for myself and for the kids. The state of the house and the laundry has a direct and usually detrimental impact upon my mood. I was nervous.

But instead it is all working. Working well. Time seems to expand to allow us to get it all done. We are all happy. I am happy.

So far, so good...


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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Instant gratification versus the waistline


Today I have one of my very favourite blogging buddies here for a visit. She is a clever clever blogger and enchants all of her readers with her style and conversation. Despite having "known" one another for a few years via blogging; despite sending one another gifts as well as virtual love and support, we have never met. No matter - I feel that I know her well - which is utterly delightful.

So please welcome my friend Maxabella, who is guest posting for me today. I sense she will be right at home here...


Image by Tim Coulson

So, I’ve been on a diet for about 22 years now... maybe even longer, although I barely count the angst ridden teens when skipping lunch made me feel self-righteous enough to eat two dinners.

Anyway.

Twenty two years is a long time to be doing anything, let alone something you’re clearly not very good at. It’s certainly true that I have not been traditionally successful at weight loss, but my Twenty Two Year Diet (snappy book title, right?) has at least been successful at keeping me marginally smaller than a house. So, that’s got to count for something, right?

I like to think I’ve learned something along the way. Something more interesting than ‘If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got‘ (so true) and ‘No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch’ (probably true) and ‘nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels’ (so not true).

I’ve learned that my struggle is with delaying gratification, not with being fat.

I’ve learned that my struggle is with denial, not with being fat.

I’ve learned that my struggle is with rebellion, not with being fat.

I guess my (very big) bottom line is that somewhere deep inside me I don’t really mind being ‘the big girl’. I’ve always wanted to believe that you can still be attractive, healthy and important, even if you’re bigger. You can do everything you need to do and be anything you want to be. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to spend your whole life wishing you were different.

I guess I’ve learned that I don’t want it to matter. I don’t want to spend the next 22 years wishing I was different; I want to be healthy and be okay, just as I am. I’m just not sure how I’m going to do that...


Maxabella loves her three kiddos with all her might, especially as they have provided her with a fantastic excuse for being fat. "Oh, I just packed on the weight after having three children in four years" she says earnestly to sympathetic nods and murmers. She mentions neither the fact that she was perfectly capable of packing on the weight prior to having children nor the fact that her youngest is now three and a half. Last week she had a dream that she told someone she was still trying to lose the baby weight. "Oh, how old is your baby," they asked. "Twenty seven," Maxabella replied.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bottom of the Box Biscuits (Breakfast Biscuits!)

Bottom of the Box Biscuits (Breakfast Biscuits!)

I aspire to be an organised and efficient Mummy. Sometimes I am just rubbish though. And I read blogs and mess about on Pinterest whislt I should be feeding my children breakfast before school. And so this biscuit is brilliant - it's a mobile breakfast! I made a batch yesterday morning - perfect for dolong out all week...)




1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons orange juice ( I used the juice and pulp of one whole orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour (or wholemeal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups of cereal (Sultana Bran, Buds, Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles, Just Right – whatever you have…all the leftover bits from the bottom of the cereal boxes…)

Preheat oven to 200`c.
Cream together sugar and butter.
Beat in egg, orange juice, and vanilla.
Sift in the flour and the baking powder, stir well to combine
Stir in your cereals to combine
Drop onto ungreased baking tray and bake at 200`c for about 10 minutes
Allow to cool a little and then transfer to cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and dish them out for breakfast if you are running around late....or for morning tea. Or for lunchbox treats...

Last week I was lucky enough to attend another brunch with Kelloggs and Brand Meets Blog. I was given all sorts of boxes of cereal to try. Hence I had to find a recipe to use up all of our old faves! I ♥ Kelloggs, I really do. They are a class act. It was a wonderful opportunity to stretch my marketing and Mum brain, and sensational to get together with a charismatic bunch of Adelaide and Perth bloggers. They did not ask me to write any of this. I just like to.

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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Toothy pegs...(a review and giveaway!)

Sadly not my teeth. I aim for mine to look this good eventually...

I wrote, some months ago now, about the state of my teeth. A great many visits to the dentist later, and my mouth is healthier. (Still not much prettier, but a whole lot healthier and for that I am relieved.)

And of course, I am determined to keep them healthy. (Just like when I gave up smoking and when I lose weight, I have turned obsessively very a little evangelical when it comes to teeth brushing.)

For me and the kids and for lovely husband, it's a twice a day obsession. We have all become adept and keen. Olivia, Charlie and Lexie are all lucky recipients of strong teeth, and so far, healthy teeth too. Wobbles and gaps aside, they have lovely toothy pegs.



They still leave blobs of toothpaste foam on the hand towels and they leave globs of toothpaste all over the bathroom vanity, which also bugs me. They never rinse the basin properly and teeth tooth brushing evidence all over the place. They squeeze the toothpaste tube all wrong - they push from the middle: how wrong, how annoying!

But I cannot complain. The teeth brushing thing, for them, has become ingrained, and as automatic as breathing. I pray for superb dental histories for them all. I never want them to experience the pain  that an unhealthy mouthful of rotten teeth can bring. Or the price! My mouth has costs me thousands of dollars. I do not want my kids to incur that expense!

We, as a family, recently undertook the Philips Sonicare 28 Day Family Challenge

All five of us have used the Philips Sonicare for just over a month now. Sensational!

At first I was a little worried about the electronic nature of all these tooth brushes - we only have one power point in our bathrooms. BUT, once charged, the toothbrushes hold the charge for WEEKS! So you really only need to charge them once every three weeks or so? No dangling cords in the bathroom.

The Sonicare for Kids, which has interchangeable different coloured handles, features:



  • Kid Timer helps to increase brushing time (perfect for Lexie, who tends to be a little too slapdash at times!)
  • 2 Kid-friendly power modes deliver a gentle, effective clean (Charlie and Olivia operate at a more powerful level than little Lexie, for example.)
  • Age-appropriate brush heads to protect kid's teeth
  • Kid Pacer delivers fun and engaging musical tones - this is the BEST! The toothbrush plays a little tune to remind the kids to swap sides. The whole thing takes 2 minutes - meaning they are encourages to brush for 30 seconds top and bottom, right and left.

In terms of my teeth, I have used the Philips FlexCare+.
I actually asked my dentist's advice about it, and she was, initially, slightly ambivalent. I have a regular "date" with my dentist - I go every fortnight for work to continue. So we decided between us to do an honest review after a month. I promised to used the Philips FlexCare+ twice a day for a month, and she promised to give me her expert thoughts afterwards. And her opinion? She was actually genuinely impressed! She indicated that my gums particularly are in much better condition (plumper, with a much paler pink colour.) She actually admitted to being surprised at the definite improvement.
Plus, I like using it. It feels really gentle whilst I am brushing, but afterwards, my teeth feel a lot shinier and a lot squeaky cleaner! 
So there you have it. My kids love their Philips toothbrushes, so do I, and so does my dentist.
I have a Sonicare FlexCare + to giveaway, thanks to Philips.
To enter, just make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment telling your worst dental habit?!
Open to Australian Residents only. Winner will be drawn this time next week, via Random.Org, and informed by email. If you would like to share this giveaway via Twitter or Facebook, I will love you forever.

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Online Competitions

Friday, 11 November 2011

More than kisses, letters mingle souls...


I received a letter in the post yesterday.

In a white envelope, with the most beautiful hand writing ever.

I grinned at the postmark, and tucked it into my bag.

Eventually, after hauling three children and their school bags and some groceries into the house; after dishing up some dinner, I retrieved the letter.

It had a satisfying weight and fullness to it, that envelope.

With a cup of tea, I kicked off my shoes, and settled down to open my letter and read it.

It was a delight. What a wonderful thing is a letter, capable of conveying across immense distance, a warm human hand.

From a friend who knows me well. From a girl I know well. We met nearly ten years ago and became close straight away. She has a very special place in my heart and a wonderful and amazing connection to my eldest daughter. She is one of the gentlest souls I have ever met. Just seeing her name, or a photo of her, and certainly reading a letter from her - her aura and her sense of peace shines through and makes me calm. And she is funny too. Craploads funny, with the language, at times of a navvy, which makes me laugh with comfort.

And she wrote me a letter. It made me cry, because it made me feel close to her. It made me miss her, it made me appreciate her and it made me remember her: really remember. That letter made me feel like she was in my kitchen with me for a little while. Email does not have that ability. It was lovely.

So this evening I am grateful for handwritten letters. Pages of scrawl, of news, of love and hopes.

And now I am off to write one back.

Do you send or receive handwritten letters these days?

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Linking up, as I do, with Maxabella