My Happy Heart is almost ONE!! 

My Happy Heart is about to turn ONE!! My little blog!! 

This brings me both joy and sadness.

Joy, because it’s been a pleasure sharing with you all. It has been wonderful progressing through different stages and topics, and it has been a glorious outlet for me to share my recovery and my resilience. It has reminded me of my strength. It has given me a voice. 
And it has given others a voice. So many women, even many that I didn’t know, from all corners of the Earth reached out to me. Reached out to me to thank me for making them feel heard. Or for sharing something so ‘taboo’.

And it brings me sadness, because, well I feel like that would be obvious? Because it has been a year. A year since the future of our family changed. A year since the hope of the baby that was to be born was lost. 

But I am still here. And I’m still writing. And I am stronger each and every day. Except some days when I am not so strong, and that’s ok because I am allowed to have them, and so are you. 

Thank you to all of you who have loyally read each and every single post. 

Thank you to all of you who have read just one post.

Thank you to all of you who have shared my posts far and wide.

For the 3225 people from 25 different countries across the globe, THANK YOU.

Thank you giving me a voice.

Thank you for hearing me. 

Thank you. 

A poem from a friend

I’m so honoured to have some amazing people in my life. 

And the other day, one of those friends sent me a message to check in, and let me know she had been thinking of me. 

She had also written a poem for me. 

How incredibly thoughtful and beautiful. 

With her permission, I am sharing her beautiful words below. ❤️

And friend- thank you again. Thank you so much. 😘😘

Here it is;

Mama, mama, Mama Bear

Has her daughter in her lap

Baby, baby, Baby Bear,

Floats somewhere over there
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

There’s a picture on the wall

Mama, Daddy, sister too

I don’t want to see it fall
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

I know it hurts very much

And if it doesn’t, that’s because

Today, you’re giving so much
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

I know it’s hard to recall

First he or she brought you joy and hope

Before the saddest day
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

You’ve tried so many ways

To turn it around, into something good

Still I fear you’re stuck in the maze
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

I know we thought it was a promise

Baby, baby, Baby Bear

Remind Mama of why you came
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

Your strength, courage, fear and pain never are just your own

Family near, and friendships dear

Hope their love is known
Mama, mama, Mama Bear

I remember your baby too.
❤️️❤️️

One year on…

This time last year, I was reading a beautiful natural birth empowerment book one of my closest friends had gifted me for my birthday. I was excitedly absorbing all of the information and making a list of questions in my head to discuss at my appointment the next day. I was going to be meeting Anna for the first time, to see whether we were the right fit, and hopefully welcome her on board our birth team as our doula. 
She arrived that next morning, and we had a wonderful connection. We talked about positive and inspiring births, and I was so, so excited for what was to come. 
After she left, Izzy and I went for a walk along the creek, and to the library. 
In the afternoon we hit the park, spontaneously, and a friend and her son joined us for a short time. 
It was when I got home that I realised I had started to bleed.
It was then that I had the first inclination that something might be wrong. 
The days to follow were long, terrifying and full of uncertainty, worry, and hope. It felt like they dragged on forever. In some ways, they did. 
So, this night, one year ago, was the last in which I sat blissfully happy, awaiting this exciting new chapter of life. 
And a lot has happened since then.
I have experienced ALL of the feelings.
I have been angry, that this happened.
I have been devastated, that this happened.
I have been terrified that it might happen again. 
Some days, I want nothing more than to be pregnant again, awaiting the arrival of another little person in our lives.
Some days, I do not want to have any more children, because it is just so painful to think it could happen again.
Often, Isabella asks me if she can have a sister- not a brother, or a sibling- a sister. I tell her maybe. Because I do not know. I cannot promise her anything. Because I do not know what the future holds for our family. 
I do know that this last year has been full of life lessons. It has been one of, if not THE most, challenging I have ever had. And at the beginning of that year, I experienced the most traumatic, terrifying and devastating experience of my life. 
So here we come full circle. 
As that weekend falls again for the first time. 
Xx

Boys DO cry.

It seems to me that almost daily I see something on the internet about gender equality, feminism or equal rights. I feel like the world is a changing place. A more accepting place. And then I accidentally start reading the comments, or assume someone I am talking to shares my views and find myself horrified and surprised with the resulting discussion.

So maybe the world is not quite as revolutionary as I once thought. Perhaps I am just lucky to know a very diverse range of passionate people. And just a few ass hats.

But last week, I found myself reeling with frustration after my daughters swimming lesson. During the class, she was involved in a warm up which included two other children. A girl and a boy. Lets call them Daisy and Max. The three children (who are all under three, I might add) were on a mat together kicking around the pool. Max was not kicking. He was in for a cruise around the pool. And Mum said ‘Come on Max, the girls are doing so much better than you’.

At this stage, my inner gender equality activist is already like ‘other children lady, not girls’ but I’m like, chill Stacy its a pretty standard comment.

Max still is not kicking.

‘Gosh Max the girls are way better at this.’

‘Max are you really going to let the girls beat you?’

‘Surely you can do better than them, Max.’

‘Look at Isabella and Daisy, Max, kick harder.’

‘I can’t believe they are letting them beat you’.

By this point, regardless of the gender stereotypes there I also just think it is time to stop heckling the kid. The extent of my feedback to Isabella is ‘kick kick kick kick kick’ in time with her kicking (or excitedly if she isn’t). And statements like ‘the mat won’t move forward if you don’t kick, we need your help to move it’ and the like. I am not like ‘Isabella you suck all the other kids are better then you see?’

And I’m sorry, but why is it so essential that he be better than the girls? Because boys have to be so much better at sports?

I know some of you are still thinking, whats the big deal? But it is a big deal. And I am not finished.

I was taking a shower after class, and Max and his Mum were in the cubicle next to me.

And Max was crying.

And he was told off because of it.

Repeatedly.

By this time I was really trying not to listen to the interactions between him and his Mum, so I don’t have a play by play for you. I can say for sure that the words ‘Boys don’t cry’ did not leave Mum’s lips, or I would have been all over that in a flash. But the sentiment rang loud and clear.

Maybe I am sensitive to it.

Maybe you had to be there.

But the message that I received from Max’s Mum was ‘Boys are supposed to be better at sports, Max, and boys don’t cry’.

Now let me just take a second here to defend Max’s Mum, because I don’t feel like I have done her justice.

She seems like a nice, kind person, from the brief interactions we have had. And I don’t believe that her intention was to make her son feel horrible, or to set unreasonable expectations for him. I believe that in the pool she was trying to motivate him.

As for the crying in the shower, I think its important that we validate our children’s feelings, and allow them to cry. Nurture them. Not tell them to just stop. But that is a whole other blog post right there.

But getting back to my point. I don’t believe she set out to cause a gender divide.

And that is the problem.

It happens to seamlessly.

With little comments.

And small influences.

It starts right from birth

And it doesn’t stop.

And without a change in approach starting right from the beginning, we are going to have another future generation of boys who think that they can’t cry.

Of boys hiding their feelings.

And then these boys grow into men, one in eight of whom will be diagnosed with depression. Do you think that they will talk about it to their mates?

Did you know that 75% of suicides in Australia are men?

I am saddened, but not surprised that there is such a significant difference between the number of women, and the number of men, that devastatingly, take their own lives.

Because we have a generation of men on our hands who have been told to HTFU. Who have been told to get over it. Who have been told to be strong. Who have been told not to cry.

And that is not okay.

Mothers, fathers: Lets raise a generation of humans who have been encouraged to share how they are feeling. Honestly.

Lets stop the future generation of men from living a life of sadness behind closed doors because they are too ashamed, or embarrassed to talk about it and seek help.

Mental health is important to everyone. Men and Women alike.

And we start learning about it right from the very beginning of our lives.

You CAN make a difference.

People cry.

Boys are people.

Boys DO cry.

xx

And if you need help. I promise you it is out there.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My day in the forest 🌲

Welcome friends. I know it had been a little while. 

So here’s the thing- I have been in a rut. It has been a long one. And to be honest, rut probably is not the right word.

Let’s call it a total identity crisis.

I am becoming a different person. That’s a fact. 

I have been changing, for what feels like a really long time now. But I feel like I have been fighting it. Like I have continued to behave the same way and do the same things, even though I feel completely differently. 

Sometimes I hear myself say something, and I think ‘I don’t actually believe that’. But it is what I have always said. It is what I have always believed. But I believe different now. 

People close to me say things and I am like *gasp* ‘how could you think that?’ And they are like- ‘but you used to think that to??’

Like I said. Identity crisis.

So I recently went through a long streak of days where I didn’t feel like I could pull myself from this feeling of being lost.

And then something amazing happened.

I spent the day in the forest. 

It was magical.

It was restorative.

It was just what I needed.

I cannot wait to go back! 

I spent the morning with a wonderful group of Mamma’s- many of whom did not know each other. Most of whom I had never met prior. And it was just amazing. 

Perhaps some of you might think that the transition to parenthood is just those first few months of having a child. I would disagree. 

I am still transitioning. 

I am still learning what it means to be a mother. 

And I am still working on discovering a way to nurture my own identity through this.

I don’t know who I am anymore.

I do know that I will be going back to the forest.

I do know that reaching out and building my village is an essential element in this process.

And I do know, that sooner or later, I need to be brave enough to fully embrace the changes that I am feeling within myself. 

We live in a society where things are normal or they are not. 

Well fuck that. 

I will become who I am. Because my mind has already changed. 

I am just still trying to catch up with it ❤

Let’s set the record straight…

Okay. So, you may know, I am running the My Happy Heart Challenge this January. The goal is to get people thinking about something positive that happened in their lives that day. 

The goal is NOT to represent a series of delightful moments and give the impression that my life is not without hardship or struggle…

I’m saying this, because I had a message from an old friend- and the gist of it was this- ‘you look so happy, life has given you everything you always wanted, it’s just perfect’.

And this made me think two things- the first is this- 

Some people represent their lives on social media with ONLY the good things. Embellished good things even. They share all about their new purchases and their holidays and their happy nights out (and that’s ok!). But they don’t always share the photo of their credit card bill, the story about their crappy night out, and the list of things they aren’t pleased with. 

So my point with this one, is that you can’t make a decision about the position someone is in with their lives based on the posts you see on social media- it’s not an accurate representation of reality. 

The second is this- the My Happy Heart Challenge is not supposed to be about presenting how perfect my life, or anyone else who is participatings life might be. 

It is about finding the silver lining. 

It is about searching for the sun in the storm.

It is about taking a moment each day, to think back and be grateful, for something that made your heart happy. 

For something that enriched your heart.

Because sometimes, when something awful has happened in your day, it clouds your whole memory of it. You think, gosh today was horrible. 

But if you take a moment at the end of the day to really focus on the happy moments, you might realise there was some good in it to.

Further to all of this, I really feel like I DO accurately represent my journey on social media. I share with you all the good, the bad and the ugly. 

I talk about my hardship.  

I share my dark thoughts on cloudy days.

And now to kickstart 2017 I share with you a happy moment each day. 

Adjust your perspectives. Reach deeper into your mind, and see past what’s on the surface.

Welcome. 

S

Xx

Happy Birthday, Dad.

There was a time when every year on the 2nd of January, I would be completely miserable, for the whole day.

I would sit, and go through my memory box until I started to cry.

I would leave all the blinds closed and refuse to speak to anyone.

I would spiral in my dark thoughts and think about all the sad things until I couldn’t bring myself back.

I have said this before- I don’t believe that you can lessen your grief. It is always there. But I do believe that we become stronger and we learn to manage it better.

When I progressed from those dark dark versions of the second of January, it still sucked. Instead of spending the day digging myself into a whole of darkness, I spent them feeling guilty that I wasn’t.

I was still sad- but I punished myself for not being completely miserable. I felt selfish because I had the ability to function more rationally than years gone by. 

And this year it was different again.

I didn’t feel guilty. And I did not let myself fall into despair. 

I felt sad. My husband asked me what was wrong before we had even had breakfast. I just said ‘it is Dad’s birthday today’, and he was like ‘oh ok right’. He understood.

And after feeling sad, I remembered. I remembered my Dad and I thought about what he might be like if he was still with us. I wondered what he would think about how I had turned out. I wondered if he would like our house, our neighbourhood, my husband. And I thought about what he might do to celebrate. 

And I didn’t feel guilty. Because, although I know it’s totally cliche, if there’s one thing he most certainly wouldn’t want for his birthday, it would be his only child punishing herself. He would not want that at all. 

And I realised something else today. How far I’ve come. Not with my grief, because that will always be there. But with my own mental health and strength. 

Perhaps it’s my shift to focusing on positive thinking. Perhaps it’s becoming a mother. But whatever it is, there was a time when I would have clung to the misery and lost myself with it.

And I didn’t.

I am stronger.

Stacy 

Xx

aka Clary ❤️

What makes your heart happy? 

2016 has been a big year.

And if there is one major lesson that I can take with me, it’s that I spend far too much time focusing on the negative.

In a year stained with heartache and challenging events, I have also experienced immense joy. Monumental positive events have occurred. 

And yet still I hear myself say ‘2016 was such a bad year’.

It is time to change the way that I think.

I need to focus on what is positive and amazing. I want to take the opportunity to celebrate something delightful each and every day. I want to relish in those moments.

Positive thoughts = positive actions. 

I want you to join me.

My Happy Heart are launching a positivity campaign. A photo a day challenge for January to celebrate ‘What makes your heart happy?’ 

We will also be collaborating with the True Beauty Project. I know many of us spend a lot of time feeling down about the way we look. Well let’s take the time to celebrate our True Beauty. We will be dedicating our Wednesdays throughout January to do this.

Join us.e

Take the pledge.

And make change.

Kickstart 2017 by shifting gears and focusing on what makes your heart happy. Not on what doesn’t.

Welcome friends.

We can do this ❤️

Stacy 

Xx

One more ‘sleep’ until Moving Day

I just put my daughter to sleep in this house for the last time.

Tomorrow it is a whole new beginning for us.

And the end of an era.

This is the house of so many firsts.

Simon proposed to me in the living room.

This was the house I got ready for our wedding in.

We became a family while we were living here. 

Isabella took her first steps in the lounge room.

She started to talk.

She became a little lady.

And it is time to move.

I have been so distracted and caught up in everything else going on these last few months- working (I am done by the way!!), preparing for Christmas, focusing on the completion of the house and the packing- that I seldom thought about what it really meant.

We are moving.

We are leaving our home.

We are making a new one.

Yes yes. I have moved before. Simon has moved before. In fact I have lived all over the country and lived in many many houses and he has moved across the world. 

But I have never before lived in a house for six years.

This is my home.

And I am so excited that we have built our own, from the ground up. But I just want to take this moment to fully appreciate, that tomorrow we will leave this house.

Isabella will move for the first time.

And we will embark on a new journey, in a new home, in a new community.

It is totally a big deal.

Now I best finish packing. 

S

Xx 

I know what makes my heart happy…

I had an amazing day today. Right amongst a month of feeling completely overwhelmed with everything. I relished in the absolute delight of this one precious day.

I’ve spent most of this month questioning many of my decisions and regretting a lot of choices that I made, because they all led to this month of absolute crazy. However I could not have predicted that it would turn out like this. The timing of a few things changed and then all of a sudden there was a lot of BIG things happening at the same time.

I am at the peak of how many hours I’m working on this temporary Christmas job. The house is finished and now there’s contractor after contractor to coordinate and meet. I’m packing. And it’s almost Christmas. 

I don’t feel like I have stopped for so long. 

Each one of those things on its own would have been a new experience to deal with, and challenging in its own right. But why not throw it all in to the one month? 

I’m used to being a stay at home Mum now. So getting back in to the grind of working has been tough. I went into it thinking that since it was only for such a short time that it would be fine. However I never anticipated that I would find myself trying to pack up the house and prepare the new one all at the same time! 

So today, after working four days in a row, I had an absolutely amazing day. The only thing in the diary for Isabella and I was an appointment at the Chiropractor, which is literally across the road from our house and is always delightful. 

We made homemade pasta sauce. We made bliss balls. We did craft. We played make believe. And we each spent some time on our own. Isabella played with her animals and felt playscape, and I dug into the mountain of washing and cleaning around the place. 

I honestly do not know how working Mammas keep the house in order. Especially the washing. If I don’t do a load a day we fall so behind and catch up sucks! 

I had expected to find all the ‘chores’ frustrating today, because I’ve missed Isabella so much and I just wanted to spend the day being with her and relaxing. 

But somewhere along the way this has become our norm. Washing is part of the daily rhythm, cooking is fun and tidying always makes me feel more at ease. And Isabella loves to help.

She giggled, we danced, we were silly and we had a load of fun.

And I was thinking- wow- I’ve been feeling SO NEGATIVE! Like so negative.

And I was laying it all out and putting it into perspective- 

I’m feeling down, and overwhelmed and stressed- and I get why- there is so much happening all at the same time- 

However- our brand new home is just finished! I’m busy because I’m coordinating things to finish our first ever home- for us to raise our family in. I’m busy preparing for a whole new life, a whole new beginning. I’m busy working so that we can put those finishing touches on that home, and reduce the financial stress of transitioning to a whole new world of home ownership- 

So many amazing things are happening in our life right now. Sometimes it is so hard to see past that overwhelming feeling in front of you to see how wonderful things really are.

It’s time to focus on the positive. Relish in what is coming, and on what is good.

Join me. We all need this. Let’s start 2017 off strongly, bravely, and most importantly with a positive mindset.

If there is one lesson I have learned through all of this, it is that above all else, you must do what makes your heart happy. 

And for me, all the money, all the things, all the new bits and pieces for a new house, don’t even come close to comparing with a day spent at home doing the washing with my daughter by my side. My heart is happiest when I’m with her, and I’m stronger for it.

So join me, as we see in the new year, and accept this challenge for January. 

What makes your heart happy? 

*GUEST BLOG* My path to discovering True Beauty- By Lara, Founder of The True Beauty Project 

Welcome readers, old and new. For the first time, My Happy Heart is hosting a guest blog. What you are about to read has been written by Lara, Founder of The True Beauty Project. I trust that her words will touch and inspire you, as they have done me. ❤️❤️

My Path to discovering True Beauty 

2016 has been a big year for me. I got married in February, and just a couple months after that my new husband and I packed up our lives and moved to Asia. Most recently, I turned 30. I’m not sure if it’s because of all the drastic life changes I’ve experienced this year, all the time I’ve spent on my own in a new country while my husband is at work all day, or just the impending milestone birthday, but in the last few months I’ve been going through something of an existential crisis. 

In truth, it probably built up over time, but it felt as if it came on suddenly. At some point, I became aware of how unhappy I was about myself, and it all started with how I looked. I looked in the mirror every day and saw hair, a face and a body that didn’t look the way they were supposed to. It frustrated and upset me. My hair never behaved, my skin was so hard to keep clear and pimple-free, I had a pot-belly, my breasts weren’t big enough, and on and on the list went. I wanted to look a certain way, but I couldn’t achieve it. Every day I looked in the mirror, saw my shortcomings, and felt worse and worse. I began to feel like a failure, I began to feel ashamed of myself. I started asking questions like if I can’t look right, if my hair doesn’t look like this, if I don’t have makeup on and I don’t have nice new clothes, what’s the point of anything? It sounds ridiculous and overdramatic now, but at the time it was something I was legitimately asking myself, it was all I could think about.

Words like worthless, nothing, unimportant and valueless were circling around in my head. Why was the way I looked so important? At some point it occurred to me that there must be other things about me that are of value. I must have qualities within myself that are beautiful, things that have nothing to do with my appearance. But I couldn’t think of what those things were. This really scared me. I was sure that I was a good person, but I couldn’t find anything within myself to love. I realised that somewhere along the way I had become so concerned about my appearance, that I had lost myself.

This is about when the real tears started. My husband would come home from work to find me in on the couch sobbing. I tried to explain myself to him, but he couldn’t understand. He told me I was beautiful, inside and out. But that didn’t help, because the problem wasn’t about how others saw me, it was about how I saw myself. I had lost myself behind all these superficial things, and I didn’t know who I was anymore.

So what was I to do? I knew that I had to find those great things about myself that I had lost touch with. But how could I do that when I was so worried about how I looked? How could I find things to love about myself when I felt so ugly and worthless? I wanted to be able to look into the mirror and know the woman I was looking at, not see unreached beauty goals. I felt an overwhelming need to let go of all my superficial expectations of myself and of beauty. I felt like I had to take away all the things that really don’t matter, perform a kind of shedding process, and see who was left after all that superficial stuff was removed.

The first thing I thought to do was to cut off all my hair. I have always been somewhat attached to my hair. Most of my life I’ve had it long, and although I rarely styled it, it was important to me. It was as if it were a symbol of my identity, when in reality I knew my hair had nothing to do with who I was. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of pixie cuts, and watching videos of women who had shaved their hair off as an act of freedom. Each one left me in tears. It touched me so deeply and I knew that cutting my hair was something I had to do. But I wasn’t ready for it.

Realising that the shape of my body actually had no bearing on who I was as a person, I felt like I needed to face my insecurities and embrace my body as it is. I found a tight, body hugging dress in my wardrobe, a dress that I hadn’t felt comfortable to wear in the last two years. I put it on, stood in front of my mirror and took a photo. Just this small act made me realise that I was constantly, subconsciously sucking my stomach in. I forced myself to relax, I adjusted and let my stomach sit naturally, and I took another photo. This time it clearly showed my pot belly. I uploaded that photo to Facebook and Instagram, announcing to my friends and family my mission to love myself as I am and to find beauty within myself. I didn’t have to start this journey publicly by sharing that photo on social media, but I felt that doing so made me accountable and committed.

Makeup was another thing that I felt was holding me back from finding beauty within myself. I had reached the point where I was so ashamed of my skin, that even a short trip to the supermarket required a full face of makeup. I felt worthless without it. So I decided to stop wearing so much of it. For a 30 year old who still gets pimples, this was a big deal for me, but I was determined. Now, most days I put on very minimal makeup, if at all. Sometimes it’s just a little mascara, sometimes just a little lipstick. And usually, if I’m only going to the supermarket, it’s none at all. I haven’t given it up completely, sometimes it’s fun to put makeup on, and sometimes I still feel insecure about my skin and put it on to feel better about myself, but every time I put makeup on now I take the time to ask myself why. Is it for myself? Is it for others? Am I feeling insecure? I don’t always like the answer, but it’s important to me that I remain self-aware. I don’t want to sink so far back into that dark place again, so the sooner I can figure out what my insecurities are, the sooner I can work on them.

I once heard the phrase “trade in fashion for style”, and I knew this was a philosophy I had to take up. Previously I would dress for others. I would alter my outfit based on who I would be seeing that day, I needed to buy a new outfit for every special event, and I felt a sense of failure if I wasn’t constantly keeping up with every fashion trend. So I made the conscience decision to stop trying to keep up with outside influences, and instead dress for myself, according to my own sense of style. The first time I did this I felt like I was breaking an unwritten law, and it was much harder to do than I expected. I wanted to wear a comfy band t-shirt, and a flowy, floral skirt. It felt wrong to wear these items together, a grungy t-shirt doesn’t match a feminine skirt, according to the set of rules I had applied to myself. What would people think of me if they saw me dressed that way? How would they look at me? I put them on anyway, and I went about my day. And what happened? Not a lot. No one looked at me funnily, no one said anything, and why should they? I was clean, presentable, and had all the necessary body parts covered. I did feel great though! I was wearing two pieces of clothing I loved, exactly as I wanted to wear them, and by ridding myself of those expectations and rules I had created, I felt liberated. I felt that by dressing how I wanted I was finally being myself, that I was exploring a part of my identity I had previously kept locked away.

After doing all this, I still had my hair on my mind. It continued to be so important to me, I was so attached to it. Even when I couldn’t style it and it wasn’t behaving, I had so much pride in its length, as if it was a symbol of my womanhood, my femininity and my value. With so much importance placed on my hair, it seems counteractive to cut it all off, but the importance and amount of self-worth that I placed on my hair was exactly the reason I knew it had to go. I don’t want all my self-worth and my whole identity to be held in my hair. I want to be able to look in the mirror and not see all these symbols that represent what I am meant to be, but to look in the mirror and just see me, the real me, a blank canvas so I can find who I really am. I spent several weeks browsing through pictures of pixie cuts looking for inspiration and working up the nerve to go through with it. I carefully chose pictures of the most plain and bland styles I could find to take with me to the hairdressers. It was important to me that I was doing this for the right reasons, to strip myself back to just plain old me. I felt that if I chose a style too stylish, that I would be getting this haircut for superficial reasons. There’s nothing wrong with getting a haircut to look good, but that wasn’t my aim this time around, my aim was to find beauty within myself, without getting distracted by the way I look. Calling to make that appointment was far more nerve wracking than I expected it to be, I picked up the phone several times before actually making the call. When I did finally call, they informed me that they had had a cancellation that day, and asked if I could be there within the hour. I took that as a sign.

I expected the act of cutting my hair to be emotional. I honestly thought I would cry, not because of my attachment to my hair, but because it felt like such a monumental step in my journey of self-discovery, the final act of shedding. But sitting in that salon chair I was surprisingly calm and happy. I sat with a huge smile on my face, and as more and more hair fell to the floor I silently said hello to me. Not to a new me, but to the me who has spent so long hidden behind unattainable beauty standards. For the first couple of weeks after getting my hair cut I couldn’t decide what I thought of it. Some days I loved it, other days I hated it. But what I finally realised is that whether I love it or hate my hair, it doesn’t matter. It’s not me, I am not a hairstyle; I’m so much more than that.

So what have I learnt from this? Did I find out who I really am? Well, the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that the way I feel about my appearance doesn’t matter if I don’t learn to love myself as a person. Whether I love my body or hate it, whether I’m comfortable in my own skin or not, none of that matters if I can’t find any beauty within myself. Self-love needs to come from the inside first, before I can come to love my appearance and my body. The truth is that my journey of self-discovery and self-love is not over. I am still searching for those parts of my personality that make me beautiful, I’m still trying to value myself more as a person rather than a spectacle. I don’t think it will ever be over, and that’s okay. Because I know that the day I stop getting to know myself, and the day I stop searching for things to love about myself, is the day I’ve lost myself in superficial expectations once again.

Lara xo 

This morning, we planted a tree to honour the little soul that we never got to meet.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I could do today to help us heal. I reached out to find some inspiration and suggestions on what had helped other women in the past.

And planting a tree felt right. One of the hardest emotions I’ve experienced through this loss was that I will never get to nurture my baby or watch it grow. 

So I will nurture this tree.

We will nurture this tree.

It will be a part of our family. 

And we can see it grow.

Isabella and I went to choose the right one last week, ready for planting today. I am not the most proficient of gardeners, and so asked a lot of questions and did a lot of research before making our selection.

And we chose a Dwarf Washington Navel Orange tree. 

Citrus trees, so I am told, keep leaves and some greenery all year round. And then in the spring, when baby’s due date is, the tree begins to flower. And then in Summer the tree begins to fruit. So we walked over to look at the citrus trees and this one just spoke to me. I lifted it and that was that. 

I suppose throughout this journey I should have learned that having expectations and set ideas about things is not practical and usually leads to disappointment. I had a vision of our little family planting the tree. Of previous words of memory being spoken. A moment taken to acknowledge the representation of the tree. And then I suppose I expected a huge weight to lift and my feelings to suddenly have a huge shift. I expected so much from that moment.

And I did enjoy planting the tree. In fact in the hour I have been at home on my own I have spent about half of that time staring at the tree. And when I look at it I feel a weird range of emotions. And somehow it does make me feel calmer.

But the actually planting itself was over before I knew it. And then before there was an opportunity to delve further into saying something or taking a moment, the family moved on with their day. Isabella started to play in the garden and Simon went off to get ready for work.

Because I suppose life goes on.

So why, if everyone else around me is functioning and continuing on with their lives, am I just so stuck. 

We have so many new beginnings ahead of us, and I’m trying to look towards the future. But I am spending so much time thinking about what might have been. 

Logically, I know it was impractical to have such high expectations that my feelings would so drastically alter simply because of the significance of the day- I know that. But emotionally, I’m still hoping for that magical moment to find me today on my journey, and help me move forward.

S

Xx

There’s a small soul…

There’s a small soul in my family

That I never got to meet

That I’ll never get to teach

To hold my hand to cross the street
There’s a small soul in my life

That I never got to kiss

That I never got to cuddle

But that I’ll forever miss
There’s a small soul somewhere out there

That just couldn’t come earthside

That wasn’t ready to walk the land

Although that soul still tried
There’s a small soul in my heart

That I’ll think of every day

And though my pain will soften

It will never go away
There’s was a small soul in my tummy

And I watched and felt it grow

But who they were and what they looked like

Is something I will never know
 

It’s almost that time…

So baby could have been here by now… and if they weren’t then they certainly wouldn’t have been very far away. I would have been huuuuuge and uncomfortable and excited and nervous and anxious and smitten and all of those BIG feelings! 

I’m in a really conflicted place right now. I’m both dreading AND looking forward to November 24th. 

I feel a cloud of sadness come over me whenever I think about what might have been. 

I also feel some kind of relief. Or hope? Maybe hope is a better word? 

No.

Closure? 

I feel that in some way once that date has passed I will be better equipped to move forward. 

I will no longer be counting ‘I would have beeen 36 weeks today’, ‘the baby would have been the size of a watermelon this week’. 

I suppose it’s possible I could continue to do this instead with ‘my baby would have been xx months old today’. But somehow I feel like that due date of November 24 presents an opportunity for closure. A chance to move forward. 

That’s what I’m hoping. 

And since I’m the one that controls the way I think, hopefully I can make that come true.

I’m working really hard on trying to live in the present, and be mindful of my present day. I’ve spent too much of this year wishing away my days- waiting for the next to start fresh only to wish that one away too.

And you know what? That means I’m wishing away my life! And I don’t want that. Yes, I have had a challenging year. I will never be the same person that I was before. 

That’s not to say that this year has been stripped of joy and positivity. There have been so many wonderful things that have happened in my life. And I have started feeling those positive things more. 

I’ve shared this quote before- ‘Trust the timing of your life’.

I don’t know if I believed it then- I loved it but I probably still needed convincing.

But I’m more on board now.

Perhaps my body knew that I just needed this extra time.

I’ve been given the opportunity to spend more one on one time with my gorgeous little Miss Isabella.

I have been able to experience what it is like returning to work for a short term contract.

I can focus attention on the final decisions with our build.

I won’t have to move house with a newborn AND a toddler.

Of course- I would trade it all in a second to have that baby due earthside any day now.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Not yet. My life has different ideas.

It will all work out. 

I hope.

I do not want to go inside…

So. It is Thursday. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. I should be sitting in a deck chair with a good book, swollen ankles elevated. Having a good old soak up of the sun, gazing at my gigantic 37 weeks pregnant belly, and feeling the glorious movements of my baby in my belly (glorious and also somewhat uncomfortable!). 

Instead, my hands are shaking, and I’m trying not to cry, because in 40 minutes I am scheduled for an ultrasound. 

To look at my empty womb.

Maybe this sounds all dramatic and melancholy, but that is what’s happening. That is how I am feeling. 

Six months on and my body is certainly not back to normal. Not even close. 

So time to do a bit of investigating. 

But that involves checking out my empty womb. 

Gah. 

I spent the morning at work, and had a small window of opportunity to eat and get some things done around the house before my appointment but I totally can’t deal with it. I’m just going to sit here and vent and hopefully make myself feel better by getting it all out there. 

And because as if that all isn’t enough, I’m also experiencing all of the symptoms of pregnancy, just without the baby part… that’s really fun. Not cruel at all. 

Seriously.

I do not want to go. The last time I walked into a Benson Radiology I thought I was still pregnant. 

I left knowing that what was in my belly no longer had a beating heart.

I’m in the car park now and I’m literally trying not to throw up. I will stay in the car for as long as possible, but soon I am going to have to get out and walk through those doors. 

I do not want to go inside. 

I usually try to finish these things up with a lesson I’ve learned or a positive thought or some sort of general happy note to wrap things up.

Not today team. Sorry. I don’t have it in me. 

Until next time.

Xx

‘Émotif’ 

Exactly one week ago, last Sunday. I called an ambulance for the first time in my 28 years on this planet. I can honestly say I had never before experienced anything as scary as watching my two year old child struggling to breathe. Things escalated quickly. One day she was healthy as a bean. The next she had some symptoms of a cold when she woke at 6am. By 8am she could not stop coughing, was wheezing and started to become short of breath. And at 9am when we made the decision to head to the ED and started walking to the car she started heaving and threw up all over the floor. That’s when we called the ambulance. 

Iz had already been in hospital just two weeks earlier, after a similar situation occurred overnight at her grandparents (while Mummy was sleeping off the anaesthetic after having a wisdom tooth pulled!)

On her first admission there was talk of the ‘A’ word, but she is so young with no apparent history that she was discharged with ventolin to use in future cases of such an attack, but no official diagnosis. There was an assumption she had a nasty virus that had caused the respiratory distress.

On our second admission the results from her swab taken the first time had come back. Rhino virus (the common cold). Nothing super nasty. 

So here we were again. A longer stay this time and a much scarier arrival to the hospital. Her heart rate up over 200, well over the normal range for a child her age. It took over 15 hours for it to come back down to a level that didn’t set an alarm off on the machine. 

I felt so incredibly helpless, unable to take away my daughters suffering! 

And then a day later and she is healthy as a bean again. What a scary 72 hours.

I’ll be honest there was a part of me that was like ‘oh my gosh we will never again go out in the cold or expose ourselves to germs or do anything that might make Iz sick’. 

Well that’s ridiculous! We spend SO much time outside. Fresh air is natures medicine! We neeeed it! We want it. We will of course to continue to go outside. And if we get sick well we will conquer that! But I’m pretty sure we will get sick staying cooped up and inactive inside the house 24/7 without contact with the outside world! 

And so it may seem like a topic change, but the stay in hospital. 

Horrid.

I’m sure that no one thinks staying in hospital is amazing- but let me run you through some things.

When Isabella was admitted a few weeks ago (NOT overnight), I barely went there. I know I know horrible mother. Well I ask you to remember that the last time I walked through those doors to the ED I was miscarrying and when I left that hospital I was empty. Something significant had been taken from me, physically and metaphorically. So when I walked through those doors knowing my CHILD was in that hospital, I just wanted to run back out. But I stayed for some time. Then I left (and her father stayed) and then I returned to hear the important things from the doctors. 

This time, I arrived in an ambulance with her, and did not leave for 36 hours. I slept in a hospital bed. And more significantly, I had to use the toilet. 

Hospitals aren’t all thy unique from room to room- and the toilet was much the same. If you’ve read my earlier blogs you know what happened in that toilet. So the first time I went in there I cried. And then I washed my face, pulled my shit together, put a smile on my face and went back out into her room and tried to pretend that I was fine. She needed me to be strong. 

And I slept, there in the hospital where one of my children had left me, and where one struggled to breathe properly on the bed beside me.

And it was horrible.

And I’m not trying to make this about me. I know how awful this would have been for Isabella, and she is my number one priority in this life. First and foremost, everything I do, I do for her and our family. Of course I was going to be strong and stand by her and support her.

But I needed to share how challenging it was to maintain that strength. Because I think that I behaved as though I was strong. But I didn’t feel strong. 

I decided to write this today, because I have been so emotional this week. I’ve felt so detached and so overwhelmed and so lost. On Friday I walked into IKEA and saw the Christmas decorations and burst into tears because they were just so beautiful 😂. Emotions all over the place! 

But this weekend has bought a lot of joy. Whilst not without its challenges, it has been wonderful. We witnessed the union of two young lovebirds! We sat near some incredibly inspiring and amazing people, who shared stories of their life that had me in total awe of their strength and commitment. 

We spent today with beautiful friends, some who have travelled from interstate for the first time with their gorgeous son.

We are so lucky. Our daughter is healthy and home and we are safe, warm and fed and I am so grateful.

I love them all so much. All of you. My favourites. You know who you are. Don’t ever forget it. Thank you for always being there ❤️️

Xx

Today…

In this moment, I feel like I have made one of my worst decisions yet, since becoming a mother. 
I wasn’t rash, or reactive- I took time to think about it, and contemplate the pro’s and con’s of making the decision before I acted upon it. 

But right now I feel like I decided wrong. 

It’s 8.07am on Saturday morning and my husband and daughter are both sleeping peacefully. I got up early to do my hair and makeup, pack my lunch, have my breakfast and prepare for the day ahead- and now I’m sitting on the couch writing this- because by some miracle they are both have an epic sleep in on the day Mummy has to go to work. 

I mean go them! They deserve a nice weekend sleep in- despite the fact it’s completely out of character for Isabella to sleep so late, obviously she needs it today! 

However I won’t get to spend any time with them. In fifty minutes I need to get dressed (if your wondering why I am not getting dressed now, well I may still be required to feed a toddler breakfast and nobody wants to go to work looking like I would after that!) and then leave. And I’ll be gone all day. I will fly through the door at dinner time, and worse yet, my husband will fly out- because he has a function this evening, of all days! 

I feel so anxious and sad about what I will miss today. 

Instead of feeling more relaxed yesterday with the weekend arriving, I felt stressed. 

And it has got me thinking- 

I know that I am among a small handful of parents in this current generation who has been given the opportunity to be a stay at home parent. And I still consider myself that- although I am currently working it is in such a small contract period that I really consider myself to still be a full time stay at home parent. And I love that. I know I am lucky. 

But I’m thinking- how do working parents do it? I feel like they need to be recognised, and given a moment- 

Sometimes it’s hard to be the one at home all day. Often it feels like there’s no connecting with the outside world or feeling like nothing has been achieved- but I still love it. It’s so worth it. I wouldn’t trade it.

But I never used to be able to imagine how hard it was to go to work every day, knowing your partner and child were going on adventures and baking and having cuddles and fun. Or knowing your child was at child care learning new things while you couldn’t be there to see. 

So I’m feeling sad and anxious about leaving today- but I know that my daughter and husband will have a beautiful day out in the sunshine, enjoying each other’s company and having special father daughter moments. 

And I want to say thank you. 

Thank you to my husband for going to work every day, and working hard, so that I can continue to stay at home with our daughter. 

Thank you to all the working parents out there who have found a way to balance both and are setting an example to our children that it is ok to want both, or to need both, or to do both. 

Thank you to all the stay at home parents. I know that we work hard. Society might just see us as ‘non-working’ parents but we all know there is so much more to it than that.

And last of all, yes this was a bit of a vent, and I needed it- but I am so grateful to have this experience to see how returning to work in a more permanent capacity might impact our family. 

Xx 

Me again… so it’s 9.32pm. I actually enjoyed my day at work. I missed Iz like crazy, but I feel like 7 hours of constant adult interaction was beneficial to me today. Iz had a lovely day with her Daddy at the park, and I’ve now had a really special evening with her while Daddy is off at a function. 

I’m not saying it was easy. Or that I want to do it every day. I’m saying that once I got there, knowing she was safe at home under the care of her father, I had a nice day. I worked with a beautiful team of people, and for the most part actually had really amazing customers today- nice! 

And tomorrow, I’ll appreciate every little moment with my gorgeous little lady just that little bit more, because I know I missed them like crazy today 😘

Xx 

Seven weeks 

The sky was beautiful today, and calming. And I needed that. Because today, instead of being hugely pregnant with swollen ankles and a beautiful big belly, I was starting a new job. Starting a new chapter of life that has nothing to do with extending my family, or welcoming this new baby into our lives. 

We would be meeting them next month. It’s almost time. 

And instead of preparing Isabella to meet her new little brother or sister and sneaking in extra Mummy-Daughter snuggles before its time to share all that love around, she was off to Family Day Care and I was off to work. 

This is not where I expected to be in this stage of my life, and I’ve been struggling to adjust my expectations. It’s hard. Some days harder than others. Today was hard. Because it was like a solid marker that signified to me ‘your path has changed’.

I remember reading a quote that spoke to me at the time, and it said 

‘trust the timing of your life’. 

It resonated with me at the time and I found solace in it. So when I feel like this I try to remember that, to think about that. This is where I am supposed to be right now. I need to live now. Not in yesterday or tomorrow or what might have been but isn’t. So it’s easy to say that but putting those thoughts into action is more challenging. 

So I cried on the way there- because I thought- what is going on? I should be preparing to meet my baby and instead I’m preparing to meet my new colleagues. 

And then I cried on the way home. 

Because I actually had a really lovely day. I enjoyed talking to other adults for the day. I enjoyed learning new things. I enjoyed using my skills that have been dormant for some time now. 

And that made me feel guilty. 

It’s like a double edged sword. 

And then I came home and made dinner and took in what I could see outside. The sky was just beautiful and clear and calming and the sun was warm. I spent the evening outside with my husband and daughter feeling the fresh air, and just relished that time that we had together. 

I was really present for it. 

I felt it. 

I needed it. 

And I appreciated it so much more. 

Life doesn’t always go the way that we planned. Actually I don’t think it ever really goes to plan at all. 

So live each day. 

Feel it. 

Be there

Don’t miss it. 

Xx

Mamma Guilt

Okay so yesterday I pledged to make some big changes to how I have been taking care of myself. Then I kicked the day off with a fail basically eating sugar for breakfast. Right then and there I would usually just throw the day under the bus and be like ‘oh I’ve ruined it I’ll start tomorrow’.

That’s not good enough.

Start now!

I got myself back on track. 

I went for a 45 minute walk. I spent some time thinking about my meals. And then by some miracle timing I got an email from ‘energetic mama’ with a delicious recipe for a pumpkin and date loaf. 

Yum. 

I need this in my life! 

Now this email kickstarted some thoughts in my head- because energetic mama is being healthy, raising a family, working AND running a website and blogging about it. That means it’s totally achievable! 

It got me thinking about some of the barriers to exercise that I’ve put in place for myself not only in the last five months but since becoming a mother. I feel guilty when I do anything that isn’t about Isabella. That’s a fact. So when I asked her to sit in her pram so we could go for a walk, I felt guilty. I made the experience fun for her too- I walked along the creek so she could watch the water flow (and got bogged a couple of times too) and along the track between the trees and passed the horses (but they must have been inside the stable because we didn’t see them) and yet I still felt so guilty. Guilty about what? That my daughter enjoyed fresh air and sunshine? Yes, for some ridiculous reason that made me feel guilty.

Let’s talk about mamma guilt. 

I’m not alone right? I’m sure it’s not isolated to just me, right here in Adelaide SA and that other Mammas around the world can relate to what I’m talking about. 

The fact is, I know it’s ok for me to do some things for myself. In fact, it’s totally necessary- I know I need to nurture and take care of myself. I need to be in a good place, physically and emotionally, in order to be at my best for my family. 

However.

When it comes down to a choice between cleaning the house, preparing dinner, getting the groceries, folding the washing, doing another load- which is for the family- or having something to eat, go for a run, or even rest- which is for me- the earlier always wins! (Even though the later will benefit the family too! See I know it- but I don’t!)

Even when I try to sit down and rest I spend the whole time thinking about what I SHOULD be doing (and that’s definitely not resting- because I’m a horrible mother if I sit and rest) BUT ITS NOT TRUE! And I know it’s not true-but I still feel like it’s true.

Gah.

Anyway today I went for a walk. And I felt guilty about it. But I’m glad I did it. Maybe I’ll feel less guilty about it tomorrow. I’ll let you know! 

And I am going to try out baking that loaf! 

Xx

Tomorrow’s Regret

I’ve been wanting to share a song with you for a long time. I started writing the lyrics during a year 12 English lesson when I was 16 years old, and went home to collaborate with my dear friend Jessie. We worked on the lyrics further together, and Jessie put together some music on the guitar. Before we new it we had written another song. Not our first, but for me it was the most powerful one we ever did. The one that spoke to me the most. After some time I adapted the music Jessie had composed to play on the piano, and over the years added some music breaks along the way. 

This song has always spoken to me. 

But this song speaks to me even more now. 

It’s like 16 year old me knew all about the future and sat down and started writing a song that would later describe my feelings almost perfectly. 

Like she knew. 

I wanted to record this and share it with you that way. And I could use the excuse that I just don’t have the right equipment, but the fact remains is that even if I did I just would not let anyone physically hold a camera and record me at the piano whilst I play and sing. Probably because I don’t let anyone stand next to me while I play and sing. 

Well I don’t even let anyone in the same building… 

So this is as far as I can go to share this with you at the moment, but I hope that I’ll soon have the courage to share it with you on a different platform. Because music is so much more than just the words you will read here. 

Before you read the words below, let me once again thank my amazing friend and collaborator, Jessie Healey for not only creating this piece of music with me, but for allowing me to share it here today. 

Tomorrow’s Regret

If only there was a way to say,

The thoughts haunting my mind,

They shall wait for another day,

As my current words are blind.

In my mind I am troubled,

In my heart I cry with pain,

In my eyes you see the sorrow,

In my hands you feel the strain.

Tomorrow I will remember, 

But now I will forget,

My every thought is poisoned,

With sadness and regret.

Life can be such a mystery,

Life can be such a game,

But if we all keep on trying then,

Maybe we can stay sane.

One day we will be gone,

And the memories of us will soon fade,

Releasing our troubled minds,

And maybe our souls will be saved.

For now I only see darkness,

But one day I will see light,

Guiding me through this sadness,

Fear will remain inside.

Tomorrow I will remember,

But now I will forget,

My every thought is poisoned,

With sadness and regret.

Words and Music by Stacy Blair and Jessie Healey. Copyright 2004. 

Watch this space.

I’m back 

Hi.

It’s been awhile.

So like I said back when I started the journey with this blog. I write for me. And I write for you too. But first and foremost I write for me. I write because it’s healing. I write because it’s soothing. I write because I enjoy writing. 

And I’ve still been writing, but what I’ve been writing hasn’t been for sharing. It’s just been for me. And I’ve needed that. 

So am I doing better? Well, I’m still treating my body like absolute crap so that’s not going to help anyone. I can’t really complain about feeling lethargic and unhealthy when, well, I am behaving in a really unhealthy way! 

I’m not exercising, I’m eating poorly, I’m sleeping poorly and I’m really feeling the effects of all of those things. So something got to change. This is not me. I gave myself permission back in May to let myself off the hook for awhile. And that’s ok. But now it’s been five months. Can you believe that? 

Five months. 

And I haven’t broken the cycle. I haven’t begun to hold myself accountable for my actions again. But my grace period is over. I am not going to feel better if I continue to treat myself this way.

So. It’s time to get back on track. I can do this. 

Xx

Father’s Day

For most of my life, Father’s Day has been a sad day, not a day of celebration. It has been a day where I have remembered loss. A day where I have experienced grief and jealousy, and often been overwhelmed with sadness. I am so used to pretending that it doesn’t exist that it really crept up on me this year. It’s now become autopilot for me to move all of those promotional ‘spoil dad…’ Emails to my trash box, with a thought about how rude it is of this business to assume I have a Dad, and then continue scrolling. It’s become standard for me to duck around all the extra Hallmark stands (not that I would spend 7.99 on a card anyway when I’m a perfectly capable crafter… Or Kmart right?).
But this year- it was my husbands second Father’s Day. My daughters Dad. How special. And I nearly totally brushed the event under the table… Now I’ll be honest, the whole consumerism and all the rest of the ugly stuff that comes with these sorts of holidays completely pisses me off- but I do wholeheartedly appreciate the solid reminder to take some time out and appreciate your Dad. Should we do it all the time instead of just because society names a day ‘Father’s Day?’ Absolutely! But do I have a problem with there being a day for it? Well not anymore- embracing it.

As we were walking around the Royal show today, surrounded by many other families, all of different shapes and sizes and make ups, I found myself really thinking about Father’s Day, and Father’s, and my hang up on ‘not having MY Dad’.

And it sucks.

It’s completely shit that I can’t tell my Dad I love him.

But I am not alone.

I’ve spent almost two decades living without my Dad. And now many more without my Poppy and Grandad, both of whom I adored. But I now realise how many Dad’s I actually have in my life. 

I have my husband- and he is not my Dad, but he is an absolutely wonderful father to our daughter Isabella. She is a pretty lucky little lady. 

I have a pretty awesome Step-Dad- who is not a step dad in the traditional sense of being raised by him, because I was totally a grown woman and living out of home when Mum met him. But he is pretty awesome. And not only because of his extensive DVD collection, the fact he would totally give me $20 if I asked, or the awesome discount he gets me on electrical goods, but because he is my daughters Grandfather. Not her step-grandfather. Her grandfather, who she loves wholeheartedly, and who he loves regardless of who’s blood runs in her veins. Because he chooses to. ❣❣

I have an amazing father-in-law. And I’m not just saying that because he bought me Chinese for dinner tonight, even though it’s Fathers Day. I’m saying that because he welcomed me into his family. He looks out for me, offers me advice and treats me like his daughter. Because he chooses to, too. And my daughter is also completely smitten with her Granda. She is a lucky girl surrounded by family who love her. ❤️❤

So there’s three amazing Dads who are a part of my life, but there are many more. My life wouldn’t be what it is today without my Uncles. They have been a huge part of my life, and I’ve shared many moments with them over the years, that I perhaps wouldn’t have if my own father had been here to fill that place. So I lost something big, but I also gained these extra special relationships with these other wonderful men. Some of whom are sadly no longer here. 

And so I wanted to say this- to acknowledge this- that there are people out there hurting today, because seeing the word ‘Father’ plastered all over shop windows for the last month, all over their Facebook news feed today and in everyone conversations this week, was painful for them. And for some of them, the pain is new. It might be the first or only the second year that they have experienced their day without seeing their Father. And it’s hard. Support them. 

But if your reading this, I want to tell you- the pain of your loss might not ever go away, but you will heal. You will manage better. You will learn. And you will love and live more again. It is ok to celebrate. It is ok to be happy. You don’t have to feel guilty.

And to all the Dads- Step, Co, Biological, Adopted, Father figures, Granda’s, Grandad’s, Poppy’s, Uncles-who-played-massive-roles, Mum’s who did it all- Thank you- Happy Fathers Day.

Xx

My review of ‘Harry Potter and the cursed child’

*SPOILER ALERT* this blog post contains content from the recently released ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’. So if you haven’t read it, perhaps save this post to read for later. Because trust me, when your done reading it your going to want to debrief it.
Let us begin.

Ok.

What the actual heck.

What in the name of.

What did I just read? 

Ok.

So I just spent the last six months or so being incredibly excited about the fact that a new Harry Potter book was being released. My friend and j even ‘joked’ (I was completely serious) about booking a hotel room for the weekend. We would have read the book at the same time and stopped at intervals to debrief the storyline. Because we are total HP geeks. 

But we didn’t. Mainly because she is about to have a baby and I jet setter across the world the day the book was released. Priorities right? 

To start with, I was surprised I was able to purchase the book for only $15, and from Kmart of all places. I ran in the Sunday we were leaving to grab a couple of last minute bits and pieces and saw the book as I walked in. Yay! I bought it. 

I examined the cover- it’s a play? It’s not written by J. K Rowling? 

I should have prepared myself better from that moment. 

Somehow in all the hype and the build up, I missed the fact that this was not a full HP story. I was expecting a beautiful 600 page detailed story by one of the greatest authors of all time. This was not that.

I read the first twenty pages or so and really struggled with the format. Obviously it is written like a play. So it’s rather lack lustre and dry and there’s not much detail about the surroundings, there’s not much setting the scene. 

There’s not much of anything really. 

Then there’s the fact that within only a few chapters, we jump through like four years of Albus’ life? 

And who is Albus anyway? 

Yeah yeah, I know he is Harry and Ginny’s son. But who is this kid? Cos he isn’t Harry and Ginny’s kid.

I mean, I get that being the son of Harry Potter is a lot of weight to carry on your shoulders, but I don’t see Harry and Ginny not noticing that and discussing it a little sooner.

Okay so the time turning. Seriously if we could spend more than five pages there each time that would be great. You know, just to add a little bit of detail to the story instead of skimming over everything! 

Oh and we are going to be besties with Draco? Just like that? 

And the trolley lady has claw things? That’s her way to keep student on the train? How about a simple binding spell? Then we could have avoided the whole encounter with the dark world nonsense and carried on happily ever after? 

And something else- so here they all are hiding- and they decide to make polyjuice potion to turn into Voldermort. And the kids are like ‘hey Bathilda Bagshot will probably have all of the ingredients to make that!’. And then next minute Harry is transforming into the dark lord.

What the heck.

At what point did someone go to Bathilda Bagshots place and get the ingredients? 

What part of Voldermort was used to make the potion effective? 

What is going on? 

This story has SO many flaws I cannot even begin to understand how J. K Rowling put her name to the story. 

And as a long time Potter fan I’m completely devastated. Because I have been looking forward to this story for so very long. I have wondered about the future for so very long. And then here it is.

Poorly written.

Poorly executed.

Poorly delivered.

Completely disappointing.

Now maybe I’ll go write my own Harry Potter fan fiction and give the story an ending that it actually deserves. Just for me.

The end.

Gah. 

Let’s talk about jetlag…

“Hello jetlag my old friend

You’ve come to taunt me once again

Because a journey far across the sea

Has left me feeling tired and sleepy

But at 2am, I was wide wide wide awake

For goodness sake,

Because of dreaded jetlag”

Yes- jetlag has hit me in the face so hard that I’m remaking Simon and Garfunkel songs with lyrics about jetlag. You heard it here first 😂

So I’m pretty tired. But this morning at 2am when everyone was sleeping, I was ready for a jog and a feast 😂😂

I made the mistake of going to bed too early- Miss Iz and I turned in at 720pm- I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to get to sleep, because apparently Mr Sun had a rather late bedtime over here in the Northern Hemisphere! However we were both so knackered that it wasn’t an issue.

Isabella and Simon slept on until about 4, but then we were all ready to start the day. Now it’s midday, and Isabella is fast asleep and we are shattered 😂 

We have a later night planned tonight, out to visit with some family, so hopefully getting to bed a little later will help us reset a little.

All things considered we are all doing really well. We may be tired but we are having a great time! And Isabella has really begun to settle in and get comfortable.

I’m beginning to wonder how long it’s going to take us to readjust when we get home. Poor Simon only has one day off before he goes back to work. I think Isabella and I will plan a rather quiet week for ourselves too, and just take a nap as we feel the need (well, when Isabella feels the need!) 

As I type I look over and Simons fallen asleep too 😴😴 oh dear the Blairs are all out of sync with this time zone.


Anyway that’s enough about jetlag! All this talk about being tired isn’t helping me feel less tired 💤💤💤💤💤

Xx

The journey here…

Well hello friends! As I begin to type away we are 10, 972 metres above Germany, with just 1 hour 23 minutes until we are scheduled to land in Dublin! 
I’m very pleased to report that our young lady had taken to travelling like a seasoned professional. We are so very grateful. We had not even completed our ascent departing Adelaide when Miss fell asleep 🙂 She did stir a few times overnight, however slept for a grand total of 7.5 hours, which in my opinion is pretty impressive. Let’s remember that the young lady was sleeping on Mum or Dads chest respectively, so she has done so well! We did a switch about halfway through and each of us tried to get some shut eye. However I think we both only clocked up a couple of hours.

In terms of activities- I am happy to report that we didn’t even crack open the activity bag on the first flight. When Izzy woke (about 5am Adelaide time) she spent the first hour or so simply fascinated by her new surroundings and enjoyed the novelty of the plane. Then some time with breakfast. We spent an hour or so singing lap songs and skin hand movements and bouncing about. Then it was time to socialise with surrounding babies and chase each other up and down the aisles. Before we knew it we were disembarking in Dubai.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t all roses! Several limbs succumbed to pins and needles and I was already feeling pretty stiff by the end of the first leg, but all things considered, I would call it a huge win. 

The stopover in Dubai was over within the blink of an eye, with barely enough time to transfer gates and go to the bathroom before it was time to board again.

And here we are, approaching the end of the second leg. This was an 8 hour flight, considerably shorter than our first which was 13!! However as this wasn’t an overnight flight we were expecting Isabella to need more stimulation then she would find on board. However she has impressed us once again! 

On this flight we have played with some stickers, and some duplo. Nothing else came out of Mummy’s comprehensive activity bag! We have chatted to our neighbours (we didn’t have any on the first flight!), enjoyed our meals, and done more singing and walking. It’s within the last two hours that Isabella has began to reach her limit and been asking to go to the playground. ‘I want to go to Ireland’ she says, ‘on the swings’. We have assured her it won’t be long before we are back outside in the fresh air, and moving our bodies again. So it’s after 21 hours in the air that Isabella is watching a movie. I’m really pleased that we have been able to stand beside our philosophies regarding screen time. I had really been trying to prepare myself for a flight where our adventurous almost two year old did not want to be held by the bounds of our seat and would need entertainment. However Isabella has reminded me once again that simplicity best. 

However the journey is not over yet. As we near our destination it’s coming on bedtime in Adelaide, but it is not quite lunch time in Dublin. So we still have an intense period of transition ahead of us. However my anxiety regarding that is drastically diminished, overridden by my excitement that very soon we will be introducing Isabella to her family from abroad. How exciting! 

We have met some amazing people along the way, and have been incredibly blessed to be surrounded by kind and patient people. In fact Isabella made a friend at the gate in Adelaide who just happened to be headed to Dublin as well. Sadly we aren’t sitting next to each other but Isabella found her as soon as we got to the gate in Dubai and they were the best of friends again. My usually rather shy child has found her confidence these past 24 hours. Perhaps she was prepared for a journey that included meeting new people and making new friends ☺️☺️

I have more to share but I think I’ve capped how long I can get away with typing! More soon! 

Xx 

*brought to you from Dublin airport because I couldn’t figure out how to connect to the wi-fi on the plane 😂* 


In flight entertainment…

Okay. So 23 hours of travel isn’t a delightful proposition for anyone. However, as an adult, there are a few things that get me through.

For a start, I understand the concept of time, and the end is in sight for me. I also know I am embarking on an incredible adventure- in this particular trip ahead of  us, I know that we have our wonderful family waiting at the other side. 

And the flight- well yeah it’s not totally appealing to sit still for a whole day of my life. But last time, I got through by bingeing on all the movies from the in flight entertainment, doing crosswords, reading a book, having strategically times snacks, and napping.

But travelling with a toddler…

That’s going to be different.

Now it’s not Izzy’s first time in a plane- she has done four flights… But the longest was still under three hours. We are talking thirteen, followed by a quick terminal change and a short chance to run around and stretch for two hours, followed by another 8. Not to mention then two hours in the car at the other end! 

Well, this Mamma has been preparing.

I’m an over thinker. And a planner. But if there’s one thing life as a Mamma has taught me for sure, it’s that you can’t always plan. You can rarely plan. You can have an idea! But you can’t have a specific minute by minute itinerary! 

I’ve been doing lots of reading and researching to compile a collection of activities that I feel best suit our family, and our daughter. And I’ve read some really bizzare, really amazing, really surprising, really interesting and really WOW things along the way. 

I read one article via Pinterest (which has really been an amazing tool by the way!) that said it was essential to take one activity per fifteen minutes. For us, that would be 92 activities! Hahahahahaha. I totally get where the advice is coming from, little people don’t often focus on one particular activity for any extended period of time. But I think packing 92 activities might push us over on our luggage allowance for the cabin, and I’ll be honest it’s a little excessive.

Then there’s everyone telling us ‘but there’s movies’. Yeah we know that. But in our general day to day life, screen time is not something that is available to Isabella. It’s rare that she would watch any television. And yes- we are going to let her on the plane- for a little bit! But in small increments and only a few times- not for 23 hours! Despite the fact it might be a ‘secret weapon’, we don’t plan to throw all of our parenting principles out the window. 

And no, despite how many times I’ve read it and amazingly how many people have suggested it, we are NOT going to drug her!

So what ARE we going to do then? Well. I’m glad you asked. With the help of Pintetest, Google, my creative Mamma mind and a few very helpful and insightful friends, I bring to you- 

‘Isabella’s In Flight Entertainment’

1. Felt boards 



I’ve made some felt boards! Now normally we only use high quality natural wool felt for our crafting- I must admit that on this occasion I have used the cheaper synthetic felt from spotlight. For two reasons. If it gets destroyed on the plane, then so be it. And I didn’t want to sacrifice my good felt for this project because my stash is running low! 

I started out only intending to make one felt board. A plate, knife, fork and food collection. And then I thought, why not a garden too? And then I thought- why not just cut up some shapes to go on there too? Isabella helped me to make them and I can already see they are a huge hit! And the options are ongoing! I’ve kept our really basic and simply cut the felt freehand with my fabric scissors, mainly because I only started them yesterday and I am a little pressed for time. But with a few alterations seeing a few bits here and there these could go to the next level. I think I’ll do that when I get home! 

2. Magnetic Fairy Play Board


We bought this one before our flight to Cairns- and have used it a few times when out for a meal. It is a hit! Isabella loves moving all the little fairies and creatures around their play space. We got ours from ‘Tall Poppy’ in Willunga. 

3. Finger Puppets


These little gems were a Christmas present from my wonderful cousin for Miss Izzy. I bring them into our toy rotation from time to time and we always have so much fun creating stories with them. Though Isabella tends to laugh at me a lot- I will have to let you know whether the surrounding passengers are just as fond of my performances! 

4. Popsicle stick stacker


Genius right? I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought- brilliant. It doesn’t take up much space, and it inspires creativity! I simply placed Velcro stickers on the paddle sticks so that they can be attached together in a variety of ways! 

5. Colouring in


I feel like it goes without saying that we will take paper and crayons for the plane. Our Stockmar crayons will be perfect on the plane, because of their shape they won’t roll off the tray table! Amazing! We also got a little clipboard so that even if the tray table ends up in an awkward spot or we have to stow it away, the colouring can continue! And I found this cute mini colouring in book to take along as well. 

6. Spinning top


We borrowed a spinning top from a friend for our flight to Cairns and Isabella just loved it! She had never seen one when we boarded and by the time we arrived at the other end she had the expert flick downpat. The other day I realised I had conveniently forgotten to return it, so I think we will sneak it across the world for a few weeks before we send it back home (sorry Ewa!) hehe. 

7. Stickers


Isabella loves stickers. She loves them. If I allowed her to run free with stickers, she would decorate the world with them. Every. Last. Centimetre. However- I’d like to think that we are a relatively environmentally conscious family, and stickers- well they aren’t so environmentally friendly. So we limit how much we use them generally. But on the plane- have ALL the stickers! Do you know how many different types of stickers you can get? It’s ridiculous. I took Isabella with me to pick out some. We got some great ones of animals and fairies and flowers. But I draw the line at ‘Cat Selfies’. In a sticker? I’m so confused. 

8. Books


I’ll be honest. I haven’t decided which books to take just yet. Isabella loves to read and she enjoys listening to the stories or simply exploring the pictures. But we can only take so many with us. Let’s not forget storytelling. I’ll be able to share stories with Isabella from memory, or make something up along the way, to help her transition to this new experience on the plane. So I will choose the physical books we take along with us wisely! 

I WILL take a collection of short stories of Tip Tap the Gnome, The Very Cranky Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but hopefully I can squeeze in a few more titles! 

9. Baby


Baby will be coming with us on this adventure. Nanna got her as a gift and Isabella would never leave her behind while she travels to the other side of the world! I imagine baby will need several nappy changes, some food and lots of wrapping and snuggles. 

10. Magnetic fishing


What is there to say. A felt mat, things you find in the sea with magnets. LET ME JUST SAY- I am totally not in support of ACTUAL fishing (why you say? Well that’s for another blog post, another time) however I am in support of developing fine motor skills so we play with this. However I’m always reminding Isabella this is the only way we fish in our family.

11. Duplo


One small boards and some fruit and veggies and a sunflower! So we can learn and play garden even though we are stuck in a plane! Miss loves to build towers so it’s a great way for her to keep her little hands busy. 

12. Flash cards


These flash cards were a gift from a lovely friend for us to take on this trip. We haven’t used anything like this before. And we certainly aren’t planning to try and make Isabella memorise them! But what a versatile item to take. We can use them to inspire a story, talk about the animals and colours on the card, AND because they are brand new Isabella will be interested in what they are. 

So there you have it.

One dozen ‘activities’ packed, with far more than a dozen opportunities for play and exploration. 


I’ve packed the activities seperately within a brown paper bag, or in a canvas bag. The reason I have done this is so that when we open up the bag of activities, one can be removed at a time, without the obvious temptation of so much to choose from. This will also help stop Isabella from becoming  too overwhelmed trying to choose what to do next next.


Now I better get back to packing… But I’ll share more with you soon, like what else we think is essential to take on board- like our own healthy snacks! 

Three more sleeps! 

Xx