Monday, 24 December 2012

12 Days of Christmas - Latte Mum style

Happy Christmas Eve to you all! I hope you're surrounded by friends and family, sipping on something special and enjoying the festive fare in preparation for tomorrow. I couldn't resist one last post for the year, especially for those of you that like a good Christmas sing-a-long!

If you follow me on Facebook here, you'll have seen my 12 Days of Christmas countdown as we near the big day. Here's the final line and full verse for your caroling pleasure!


On the twelfth day of Christmas my little love gave to me...
12 Months then “one”ing {happy almost birthday my gorgeous boy}
11 Attempts at walking
10 Fake horns beeping
9 Moves for dancing
8 Teeth for grinning
7 Stars for wishing
6 Arms-a-waving
5 Heart siiiiings!
4 Maybe words
3 Play pens
2 Baby loves
And a big mid-afternoon sleeeeeeep!

For those traditionalists out there, here's the original verse:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
12 Drummers drumming
11 Pipers piping
10 Lords-a-leaping
9 Ladies dancing
8 Maids-a-milking
7 Swans-a-swimming
6 Geese-a-laying
5 Gold riiiiings!
4 Colly birds
3 French hens
2 Turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. See you in 2013 where I will bring you all the excitement from the 1st birthday party! xxx

Friday, 21 December 2012

Oh the humanity

If the Mayans are right, today is our last day on earth. I'm sure there are many around the globe wondering if we're deserving of "the end". From Jillian Meagher to the Sandy Hook shootings, we have been shown the worst of humanity in 2012. These stories are impossible to ignore.

I really hope the sun rises for us again tomorrow. I've got my baby's first Christmas and birthday to celebrate next week. We have my husband's parents 40th wedding anniversary to celebrate in February. We have our first house to buy, new babies to welcome into the family, new places to explore, our lives to live.

I really hope the sun rises for us on 1 January 2013, and the world wakes up with a new determination to be good, to be kind to people, to be generous, loving, caring and compassionate to one another. I hope we embrace our planet and help put it back together.

We all have a lot to be hopeful for, because humanity has also shone as bright as the sun this year too.

Some of the best good news stories of 2012 (in my humble opinion) include:
  • Britain rocked our socks off with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the incredible London Olympics and then, just to top it all off, the announcement that Kate has a royal bun in the oven
  • We inserted a gallop into our dance move repertoire, after going Gangnam Style - giddy up!
  • The bright sparks at NASA landed a rover on Mars
  • And in keeping with the space cadet theme, Felix Baumgartner (the crazy cat) skydived to earth from space
  • Did you even know that the first person was cured of HIV this year?
  • And Aussie woman Amanda Boxtel turned bionic and walked for the first time in 20 years, after becoming a paraplegic in a horrific skiing accident - the best bit, she says, is hugging people heart to heart (which she couldn't do when sitting down)
And so, it seems, we have a lot to be proud of too this year.

This is my last proper post for 2012 my gorgeous Latte Mums, as I'm leaving on a jet plane bright and early tomorrow morning for our Christmas break. It has been WONDERFUL having you all here - hearing your thoughts, enjoying our chats, knowing you've shared a piece of my most momentous year. I'm so looking forward to sharing more virtual lattes with you in early January when I'm back.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year... jolly holly! x

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevewall/4213550808/

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bridging the gap between mums and not-yet-mums

I fought and won against the frump on Sunday; successfully getting all dolled up for a wonderful girls lunch by the harbour involving fruity wine, fresh seafood, people watching, good conversation and... no baby. The only way to top my happiness would be if the boys had found babysitters for the night, chartered one of those fancy boats bobbing at the pier where we were lunching, and beckoned us on board with bottles of champagne!

I love my beautiful bubba, but it was utter bliss to my soul to have that little break from him.

The girly group was a combo of mums and not-yet-mums, and even though the mums in the group were quick to exclaim how wonderful it was to be childfree, it wasn't long before we were chatting openly about our little ones. It was at this point I noticed a familiar look in the eyes of the not-yet-mums. A look that I hadn't experienced since pre-pregnancy. A look that says it all - "is it really that bad?!"

Were we talking about the endless crying or the sleepless nights or the cheeky personalities that cannot be tamed? I can't remember, but either way, that glum look from the not-yet-mums was probably justified.

This wasn't the first time I've found myself adding to the perceived negativity of parenting more and more lately. Why do I do it? Quite simply, I've come to realise that mums have to laugh at ourselves, laugh at our babies and laugh at life's challenges to get through it all. As a mum, nothing takes our cares away more than hearing how another mum dealt with an explosive nappy in the supermarket, and then sharing a similarly funny story about finding a newly mobile baby about to swallow a piece of sodden cardboard bitten from one of his favourite books.

That being said, it does bother me and here's the reason why.

I remember what it was like to look to the future through rose tinted glasses with many a romantic vision about becoming a mother, and how quickly those happy visions would dissipate when I'd hear those "funny" stories that would, quite frankly, freak me out. I resented some of the mothers that would openly share what could only be described as horror stories. In actual fact, had I not been so intent on having children, some of those stories could have put me off completely. The reality is, more and more young couples are choosing lifestyle over families for this very reason.

After discovering all of the beauty and happiness of being a mum firsthand, Latte Mum was born out of a desire to share more positive and uplifting stories that might tip the scales back into a real and balanced position. I feel very strongly about this and hate to think I'm contributing to feelings of horror in any future parents.

Picture taken from free Google images
So, in an attempt to reclaim some balance on the scales and bridge the gap between us, here's what I want to say to both sides...

To the mums (myself included):
Newsflash - it wasn't socially acceptable to talk in public about bodily fluids, horror medical situations or bedroom antics before you were a mum, and nothing's changed! The couple at the table next to you don't want to hear it, and neither do your pre-parent girlfriends (you know, the ones that saw you for a couple of months post-baby but have mysteriously stopped calling)! I'm a massive fan of Mothers Groups and connecting with other parents as I think it's essential to share ideas, gain advice and support, we just need to be more mindful of who else is in earshot. I'm sure in your sleepy state you're keen to give a reality check to those yet to step into parenthood, but why can't they keep their rose tinted glasses on for a little longer? Anyway, when the time comes they'll no doubt get through their own unique parenting experience in the same way you have - step by step, day by day.

To the not-yet-mums:
Take any parenting horror stories you hear with a grain of salt. The "negative" stories you're hearing are mostly funny to us, and it's unlikely anything is being said to you with the intention of putting you off parenthood. Truth be told, becoming a mum is incredible, life changing, uplifting and joyful - and most mums will agree with me. For every sleepless night, there's a thousand smiles, giggles, hugs and beautiful moments that erase any negativity in a heartbeat - you will find out soon enough.

*Do you have any words of advice or pointers for mums and not-yet-mums to keep in mind?




Sunday, 16 December 2012

Fighting the frump

I have a confession. Lately I've been more Whatever Mum than Latte Mum. I don't know how or when it happened, but I've suddenly realised that I now find it perfectly acceptable to leave the house with vegemite smeared on my pants and the faint smell of old milk on my top.

I swore this would never happen to me.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/s2art/3403915/
So, I made a real effort for Mothers Group this past week. I slathered a face mask on the night before, pulled out a bright polish to pop on my nails and even washed my hair. Do you want to know the results?

- It took longer than usual to get out the door to playgroup (surprise, surprise)
- Bubs was more impatient than ever to get in his pram and outside (surprise, surprise, surprise)
- I got a few random looks from the construction workers down the road (not ideal)
- Everyone in my lovely Mothers Group was busy xmas shopping or back at work, so there was noone to appreciate the fruits of my labour anyway (oh well)
- My bright nails in particular did make me feel a bit happier (small win, I guess?)

It's funny though isn't it? We can be sooooo adamant about how we will act in situations before we've ever experienced it, only to find that the masses were right all along once we're actually there. I mean, I entertained romantic ideas of dressing my baby in pristine white designer outfits every time we went out for coffee and me carrying some kind of new-mother halo / glow wherever I went. Well, I guess I've succeeded if an overwashed-white-onesie-that's-now-beige and concealer-under-tired-eyes counts?!

The thing is... I just love it here. I love having vegemite on my pants. It means I've cuddled my baby without worrying about what mess he has on his fingers. It means I care more about life than what I look like (most of the time). It means I'm a mum, a very proud mum.

*Tell me, is there anything you swore you would or wouldn't do as a parent that you've changed your mind on?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Homemade Christmas Cards

Here are some easy peasy Christmas card designs that you can get the whole family involved with - from toddler to teenager and beyond. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

This Christmas will be my first as a mum. I’ll get to watch my little one unwrap his first present, taste a little bit of Christmas pudding and maybe even pull on a bonbon. I can’t wait. But with his first birthday happening just four days later, it’s more important than ever that I keep this holiday season hassle-free to avoid an anxiety attack.

As such, I’ve been focusing on the special but straightforward touches that will add some extra sparkle to Christmas this year. One of which are these fun, festive and easy peasy homemade Christmas cards that I created with the help of my baby boy. I’ve shared three different design ideas that are ideal for kids of all ages (literally from toddler to teenager) – Rudolph, a pop-out Christmas tree, and a Christmas stocking complete with candy canes. These homemade delights are always a crowd pleaser, so get cracking!

Before you start: Be a safe mum as well as a fun one! Definitely get the kids involved, but make sure an adult is on hand to help and supervise.

Materials:
· Scissors
· Pencil and eraser
· Black marker pen
· Stapler
· Glue stick and glue suited for thicker card (I used UHU Clear Gum)
· Kids craft paint and a sponge roller
· Coloured card (I used red and green)
· Coloured paper for the Rudolph card (I used dark brown, beige and red)
· White transparent paper for the stocking card (but plain white will do)
· Sparkly, fun, decorative stickers or any other embellishments you’d like to use (like glitter and googly eyes for Rudolph)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer:
1. Take a piece of card (I used red), score and fold in half
2. Draw the outline of Rudolph in pencil - I simply drew a small semi-circle on top, connected to a larger semi-circle on bottom, with large circle mouth area, small circle for nose, ears and straight antlers – leave enough space for the hand prints at the top
3. Use roller to roll-on paint to little hands (I used yellow), then stamp hand prints on top of antlers
4. Wait for paint to dry
5. Rip small pieces of coloured paper then use glue stick to stick onto Rudolph – I used dark brown for the face, beige for the mouth area and ears, and red for the nose (of course)!
· Variation –decorate Rudolph using markers, coloured pencils and different materials
6. Wait for glue to dry
7. Use a black marker pen to go over your pencil lines to give Rudolph definition, and then finish off with googly eyes (or simply draw-in eyes) – voila!


3D Christmas Tree:
1. Take a piece of green card, score and fold in half
2. Make a Christmas tree template on a separate piece of card and cut out (I used this one: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Christmas-Tree-Pop-up-Card-(Robert-Sabuda-Method))
3. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the tree template onto your card, allowing enough room at the top for the hand painted star
4. Use roller to roll-on paint to a little hand (I used yellow), then stamp at the top of the tree to make the star
5. Wait for paint to dry
6. Fold card back in half so that the pencil template is on the outside, then use scissors to cut the curvy lines that signify each layer of the tree (don’t cut the sides)
7. Fold each of those layers back and forth on the sides to create a definite fold
8. Push tree inside the card, so that it’s inverted and pops out (when you close the card you should see a gap where the tree once was)
9. Use a piece of coloured paper to stick to the outside of your card (I used red), and add a Christmas message
10. Use stickers and embellishments to decorate the Christmas tree – done!
· Variation – if you’re giving this card to a child, why not include some of the stickers with the card so they can decorate the tree themselves!


Christmas Stocking:
1. Take a piece of red card, score and fold in half
2. Take a piece of white transparent paper (or plain white) and fold in half
3. Use roller to roll-on paint to little hands (I used red), then allow them to stamp and finger paint one side of the transparent paper
· Variation –decorate with glitter, coloured pens and stickers instead
4. Make a simple stocking template on a separate piece of card and cut out
5. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the stocking template on the non-decorated side of the transparent paper
6. Use scissors to cut out stocking to give you two mirror-image stocking shapes
7. Staple the two stocking shapes together, leaving the top of the stocking open and ensuring the decorated side is on the outside
8. Use glue suitable for card to stick the stocking to the front of your red card, ensuring the decorated side faces outwards
9. Allow for glue to dry, and then pop a candy cane or two inside – yum!
· Variation – include cash or vouchers in the stocking if you’re feeling generous


*Are there any other homemade Christmas card designs you particularly love? Feel free to comment or message me with any ideas or questions you have on the above.

Note: This post first appeared on Be A Fun Mum - check it out for many more amazing ideas for the home and family.


Monday, 3 December 2012

What a year

I cannot believe it's December. Later this month my baby will celebrate his first Christmas, turn 1 and then say goodbye to the most eventful of years. It has been, without doubt, the most important year of my life. A year filled with experiences that have forever changed me and sent me spinning down a path that I never imagined existed.

Before the last of 2012 fades, I wanted to remember this momentous year with a single photo that represents it all. What a year it has been.

I watched the New Years fireworks on TV in hospital, with tears in my eyes and a beautiful newborn baby asleep in his cot (the first baby born in Australia in 2012 was just down the hall from us.). I felt like those fireworks were meant for me, and I feel fireworks in my heart every time I look at that wee face.
For all the twists and turns, highs and lows, giggles and cries this year, I will be forever thankful that I got to experience it all.

Here's one more photo with a festive twist. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas. I'll be back very soon with a crafty idea that will get the kids busy for the holiday season, stay tuned!

First Christmas and first birthday coming up!
 *What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

What not to do: 10 ways to de-stress your life

One of the unexpected blessings about becoming a mother is the social network you get inducted into. It seems the community blossoms once you're a parent, and all of these unknown places and wonderful people reveal themselves - from parenting websites bursting with advice and ideas, to local coffee groups, to community-based playcentres, to a host of child-friendly venues teeming with happy families.

One such place I visit frequently is Mouths of Mums, an online community of mums asking and sharing advice for women just like me. It really has been like another friend to me, and I've found solace there time after time.

So, you can imagine my excitement when the opportunity popped up to be one of their blogger contributors. Here's the first article from little ol' Latte Mum (copied below too), and I hope there will be many more. Looking forward to seeing you there and introducing you to my dear friend.

The grass isn't always greener - time to love the life you live, and de-stress!
What not to do: 10 ways to de-stress your life

The world is different to me now. Forever changed for the better, because of this new little person in my life. He has no idea that he has done this to me, but that’s what makes it all the more beautiful.

I feel like I’ve led a stressful life. I’ve been through a lot and haven’t been as kind to my body and mind as I should have over the years. Consequently, I’ve experienced my fair share of heart palpitations, anxiety headaches and borderline OCD urges (anyone else unable to sleep unless all the wardrobe doors and drawers are completely closed?!).

My pregnancy was no exception. I endured the typical 12 hour days in the office (in heels, I might add), a couple of pregnancy exercise classes each week, dinners out with friends, a passionate Rugby World Cup campaign (which ended in an overnight stint in hospital due to contractions at 29 weeks – no joke), and still found time to iron the cot sheets in preparation for baby (what was I thinking?!). I think I managed some sleep here and there, but not 100% sure.

‘If I’m stressed now, think how it will be when the baby’s here’ – I thought.

It didn’t matter how many times my [very stable, rational, calm and loving] husband, parents, sisters, friends or colleagues called for calm, I had to find that peace from within. And that’s what happened, quite literally and unexpectedly, in the form of an innocent and contented child who grew inside me for 9 months and then changed my life forever.

If having a baby seems too drastic a step for minimising stress in your life, you can just learn from my mistakes instead!

What not to do: As I discovered, you’ll be stressed if you live by these rules…
1. Prioritise external influences: work is definitely more important than family

2. Prioritise the housework above all else: the vacuuming is more important than that hot drink you’ve just made

3. Spend, spend, spend on everything and anything: nothing beats a how-are-we-going-to-pay-the-electricity-bill argument

4. Calorie count: cakes and chips are definitely out, water and celery sticks are in

5. Over analyse: if that woman in your office said you look good in black, surely she means you’ve put on weight and need a colour that’s slimming, right?!

6. Obsess about the Joneses: specifically, what they drive, the size of their house, the politeness of their children…

7. Yearn for more: specifically, upgrading your car, adding an extension to your home, getting more “thank-you’s” from your children…

8. Immerse yourself in chaos: if there’s a crowd or traffic jam, you need to be in it

9. Crank up the background noise: turn up the TV, music, YouTube, children to ensure you can’t hear yourself think…

10. Do a status update every minute: your virtual friends in the virtual world need to know when you’re on the toilet or going to sleep

Instead, why not feel heart flutters instead of heart attacks and de-stress your life by doing the following…

1. Family first: always; they’re what makes your world go round

2. Take some time for yourself each day: your soul deserves a hot latte and a Kardashian update when you have 5 minutes to spare – the vacuuming can wait

3. Live within your means: write a budget and stick to it if you have to; you don’t need that extra pair of shoes or three-tiered toy storage solution you saw on Mumgo to be happy

4. Enjoy everything in moderation: a caramel slice and glass of red wine never hurt anyone, particularly when you balance it out with a walk in the sunshine the next day

5. Graciously accept compliments: assume that everything’s said in kindness and sincerity, and if it isn’t, it’s not your problem to worry about anyway

6. Don’t worry about the neighbours: there will always be someone richer, smarter, prettier and more charming than you – so just deal with it and move on

7. Be happy and satisfied with the positives in your life: don’t focus on the trivial things you don’t have, but rather celebrate all the joys in your life

8. Reconnect with nature: escape the crowds every now and then by retreating to a quiet park to read a book

9. Turn it off: I love Gossip Girl as much as the next person, but sometimes you just need to turn the TV off and bask in the silence

10. Make real connections: minimise your time in the virtual world; surprise surprise, it’s your friends and family in the real world that give you a hug when your status update is “exhausted”, not your 413 Twitter followers

What else do you do to minimise stress in your life?

*First posted on Mouths of Mums.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Ingredients for a perfect day

Days like today are the reason why Mondayitis exists. So full of sparkle and happiness, I didn't want it to end. I've had some tough days this year, but today's perfect moments have wiped the slate clean. Today is what life is all about.

I will hold today's warmth in my heart for as long as I can, but I thought it was worth jotting down the day's ingredients in the hope I can recreate it when today's magic runs out.

The description of said ingredients seems to have poured out of me in poetic fashion - so I hope you don't mind reading the rest in a cheesy rhyme!

Ingredients for a perfect day...

An hour's extra sleep before baby wakes up
Freshly brewed coffee in an oversized cup
Each window revealing a blue sparkling sky
Happiness brewing without knowing why
Sweet french toast brunch at a local cafe
Happy kids using the laneway to play
Husband hanging cleaned clothes on the line
While I sit and relax and feel blessed that he's mine
Family swim session at the pool by the harbour
No tears from baby or his self-conscious mother
Entertaining trains choo-chooing into view
Nearby cruise ships, ferries and helicopters too
Laughter, stilt-walkers and clowns at the fair
Melting icecreams the real reason we were there
BBQ smoke in the warm evening air
A welcome reminder that summer is near
A contented baby who'll sleep soundly tonight
Red wine that complements our dinner just right
Today was delicious in every respect
As perfect as a day can get

Poser? Moi?

All smiles for the swim this time Mummy

Enjoying the colours, sounds and atmosphere

*How did you spend your Sunday? What are your "perfect day" ingredients?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Santa Claus is real

When did you stop believing in Santa Claus? I think I was quite prepared to believe in him for the rest of my life, had the truth not been revealed to me in a matter-of-fact way when I was 10.

I've always been a dreamer at heart. As a young girl I would imagine fairies in forests, pretend that exotic lands with lollipop fence posts existed, and I'd often skip to the letterbox expecting to find a card for me from a princess far, far away. Time after time my over-active imagination would come to my rescue by whisking me away from the bitterness of reality. But as I matured, I was forced to live in an adult world where make believe doesn't exist.

It's true for you too, isn't it? We explain away magic in the world every day as just a coincidence, a lucky break or a complete con. We now live our lives with our gaze cast down, our hands firmly in our pockets and our minds closed.

But this year is different. Christmas is about to get its sparkle back.

I've noticed fairy dust in my world again. I see it in the dawn sky once lost to hangovers and the work commute; I see it in the twinkling blue eyes that gaze back at me as from a rosy little face that looks like mine; I see it dancing around the teddy bear that comes to life for a certain someone during afternoon playtime.

This year, there is a new member of the family who is enchanted by the magic of Christmas. A little boy who will happily be my Christmas Elf, and believe in the jolly man who flies in the sky just as much as I did.

Yes, magic is alive and well in our house again.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/4213716609/


*What are you doing to bring the magic of Christmas alive in your house this year?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How to be adored

I have a little pink book in my nappy bag. I spotted it in a boutique the other week, winking at me in all it's fuchsia-with-silver-embossed-letters finery, and I just had to have it.

Titled How to be Adored and covering glamorous topics such as channelling chic and how to descend a staircase movie-star style, it's ideal for flicking through in that moment between latte being delivered and friend arriving.

I do love the word adore. I think the way it sounds when spoken, echoes its meaning: to love with one's entire heart and soul; regard with deep respect and affection.

The book's a bit of fun, but feather boas and Chanel No. 5 aside, it has got me thinking about what one truly has to do in order to reach adoration status.

I keep coming back to a single - dare I say it, simple - trick... Be Yourself.

No need for self help books when you're this cute

The end - I'm off!


Monday, 12 November 2012

Independence

Today my baby was left parentless for the first time ever, and he barely cried. It's official. He doesn't need me as much as I thought he did.

Sure, there was a quick tear when he was first plonked down in the never-before-seen lounge room, but a stash of different toys and one of his favourite baby friends to play with proved to be an immediate balm.

I should be happy that my little boy was happy to play with his gorgeous friend for an hour while Mummy just about killed herself at the gym (regretting Operation Catching Rays already), but part of me was sure that my chillaxed baby would be inconsolable once he realised I was gone.

Walking back from the gym, knowing that I hadn't been called to come and rescue my little monkey early, I wasn't sure whether to feel pride or sadness. Of course I wasn't surprised as he was left in the most capable of hands, but part of me hoped he would miss his Mummy.

I did get an unusually snuggly cuddle from him afterwards, so maybe he did secretly miss me just a little bit.

Before: Looking apprehensive but quite happy to accept the toy offering from Miss T, didn't blink when I waved bye-bye
After: Tears when I got back... what the?!
After: Happy to see you Mum, but I had a great time here!
PS. Here's an idea for those of you out there trying to reclaim some "you time" and get fit - find a friend who wants to do the same, and mind each others bubs while you go to the gym. It's only for an hour or so, which makes it manageable for the mum and little ones. Plus, it gives the babies a chance to play in new surroundings and build relationships with others, and you the chance to invest in yourself. We're only on Day 1 of this little arrangement, but going well so far!

PPS. When I say "he was left parentless for the first time ever", this isn't technically true. His wonderful grandparents have babysat a few times, but the little one has been asleep and unaware - so it really was a test today!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More sunlight

No sooner had I written about sunlight, one of my fav mummy bloggers A Mother Life sent me some sunshine of the virtual kind that warmed my heart just as much.

As you all know, Latte Mum has been quite a journey for me already. I'm writing because it helps me make sense of what's in my heart and head, and it's as much a little love affair as it is a necessity. Still, it's always encouraging to get a pat on the back and I was touched that NYC blogger A Mother Life sent me this Sunshine Blogger Award.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I'm sure there's a few of these sorts of awards going around, but it's a first for me and a good excuse to share some more snippets about myself and give a nod to some of the blogs I'm obsessed with.

What you might not know about me...
  1. I come from a household of women, with 4 sisters and no brothers
  2. I have a son, 4 nephews and just 1 niece - so the balance of power has shifted!
  3. I couldn't live without spaghetti bolognese
  4. My favourite city in the world is Queenstown, New Zealand
  5. Much to the amusement of my friends, I have an irrational fear of dolphins (long story - will tell it to you sometime)
  6. Despite being a colourful person, I have too much black in my wardrobe
  7. My house is usually very organised, but I feel those days are numbered
  8. I think I have a kind, nurturing, caring soul
  9. In the 10 years I've been with my husband he has never cleaned the bathroom (disgraceful I know, but he makes up for it by doing the ironing)
  10. I have about 10 coffee cards in my wallet (perhaps not that surprising)
I would like to pass on the Sunshine Blogger award to the mummy bloggers I've been most obsessed with this week - thank you for inspiring me everyday ladies:
noideamum - funny, cute, heartwarming, relatable
Seven Cherubs - always so inspirational and a wonderful mummy community
Be A Fun Mum - so many great ideas
Green Tea & Toast - beautiful words and photos to match
Metropolitan Mum - one of most stylish new mums ever
(Not) Just a Mummy - best beauty advice for yummy mummys
Matilda's Mum - an Aussie mum's journey
Mummy to Twins - relevant advice, ideas and a mum's opinion on current news

Ladies, I've been told the rules for accepting this award is:
  • Include award logo in blog post and thank the blogger who gave it to you & include link back
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself or list 10 facts about you
  • Nominate approximately 10 bloggers for the award and contact them to inform them

Thank you x

 


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Catching rays

After pouring my heart out to a beautiful friend yesterday, she sent me this story. It struck a chord and I want to tell you why.

I have been floating above the world for the past year, in a parallel universe of less sleep, exponential learning, daytime TV and utter devotion to one little human.

My life has been breastfeeding, trips to the grocer, primary coloured blocks, mashed veges, yellow rubber duckies, coffee dates and baby kisses full of perfect love. It has been the best year of my life.

But I knew I'd have to come back to earth sometime.

It's not that the baby buzz has gone, it's more that my baby is growing up. He doesn't need the constant feeds and reassuring cuddles anymore, he needs an enthusiastic teacher with energy and the confidence to let him independently explore. It comes with a sudden realisation that I need to take better care of myself so I that can be everything he needs me to be.

It's hard even contemplating being a little bit selfish again. Let's face it, my child's needs are paramount and the days of weekend sleep-ins, long impromptu lunches with friends and solo shopping trips belong to an era of my life I've well and truly moved on from. It's time to pursue other pick-me-ups.

Physically, I've started proper exercise again, I'm cutting out cakes (major step right there), I'm trying to go to bed earlier and I'm painting my nails more often. Mentally, I'm going to work on eradicating the self doubt and fear of judgement that sometimes weighs heavy and Dr Phil has been deleted from my Foxtel IQ list in an attempt to minimise the trash I feed my brain.

I'm going to have more lattes with the beautiful people in my life who uplift and reassure my spirit, and try not to take it upon myself to rescue the rest of the world. I can't be everything to everyone, I just need to be someone to my little one.

I'm ready to reposition myself in the sunlight, and this inspirational article from literary heaven was just the anchor I needed.

Is it sunny where you are?



Friday, 2 November 2012

Big news

I resigned this week. I am officially an unemployed stay-at-home mum of one.

I have said goodbye to a job that challenged me, offered lunch breaks (sometimes), annual leave, training opportunities and time for Facebook, for one that's unpredictable and around the clock, with a client that can't articulate what he wants (lucky I've had experience with that one). Am I crazy?!

Many of you may think so as it seems I'm going against the trend here. In a timely coincidence, The Australian reported this week that an increasing number of mothers in two-parent families are back at work before their youngest child turns 1, compared with 3 years of age in the mid-1980's and 5-years in the mid-1970's. Why? Apparently "this generation of women have jobs worth going back to and the typical mortgage requires two incomes to service." You can read the full article here*.

This makes me sad. Sure, some of us can't wait to go back to work. To have some independence again, some adult time and to do a job that's enjoyable and makes us all the more better for it. But some mums (even the most career-driven high flyer types) want to be at home with their children, at least in the early years. Regardless, many women must go back to work to help support the family.

The cost of living is a huge issue, I get it. But I wonder if, in our quest for workplace equality and womanly independence, we've made it harder to be a stay-at-home housewife should we choose. Are we now too scared of what we'll lose by putting our career on hold for however long?

My decision to resign wasn't taken lightly but I feel incredibly fortunate that I at least had the choice. I know that everyone's circumstances are different and the reality of one salary funding the family is daunting, but for us it's a sacrifice we are prepared to take. I think workplace equality and women's rights are worth fighting for, but we should also fight for options - to stay home to care for children if we so choose or to have access to free childcare in order to happily work full-time (and actually get some money in return) or to be offered part-time work so we can have the best of both worlds.

Channel 7's The Morning Show provided a nice summation, here's the clip, and I think Jody Allen from Stay At Home Mum explains the conundrum well.

So there you have it - big news on the home front and of the broadsheet variety. Would love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic...

Upstaged by a baby (understandable) when I went into the office to say 'bye' today
Me (cream jacket) with the girls and Kenzie (fluffy puppy) - will miss you guys!
*If the link takes you to an abbreviated version of the article, type "social revolution at work" into Google News and the top link should take you to the full text.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Colour my world

In an attempt to be crafty last week, I created a stained glass window for my soon-to-be toddler. He has made me see the world differently, so I figured it was time to repay the favour.

It's simply coloured cellophane cut to size and sticky taped to one of our windows, but it has altered an everyday view into something a little more extraordinary. With one row at crawling height (he's sitting, rocking forward, wriggling backwards, but I'm sure a proper crawl is coming soon) and another at standing height, it has been an intriguing addition to our lounge room for this little adventurer.

It has made me wonder even more what he must think of this world. I see a courtyard in need of a sweep, he might see an exotic jungle teeming with birds, twinkling webs and butterflies. I see shrubs and vines, he might see a green kaleidoscope of mint, olive, forest green and lime on every leaf.

Well, now he sees pink leaves too!

 
*Do you have any crafty ideas for toddlers you'd like to share?
 
 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A new focus for Latte Mum

I need to get something off my chest.

When I started writing Latte Mum three months ago, I had every intention of writing post after positive post detailing my time as a mum. I thought it would be interesting to share the fun things I did with my new baby, like endless coffee catch ups, picnics and beachside frolics. I really didn't want this to be a forum for D&M's and airing dirty laundry.

I've changed my mind.

Perhaps it's the pages of posts or the hormones or something about the little guy that's come into my life, but suddenly life is making more sense. As such I've decided I no longer want to talk about "things", because motherhood to me is most definitely not about things. It's about soul, feelings, heartache, inspiration, harmony, joy, love, and piles of dirty laundry (because who wants to do that when there are giggles to exchange, cheeks to kiss, blocks to stack and new food to taste).

Why the change? Well firstly, Latte Mum has reawakened the writer in me. I'd forgotten that writing is one of the few ways I can make everything in my head and heart make sense, and I've really missed it. As you may have picked up through my ever evolving posts, I am on a little journey here. OK, a massive one. And I guess I'm figuring this all out as I go.

Secondly, while I've been living it up in Mummy World I've realised I can't imagine ever going back to a life that's organised, ordered, colour-coded, buttoned up. I'm sure there are perfect mothers out there raising angelic children, but I for one am enjoying life on this side of the fence, where things are a little chaotic, mostly unplanned, and definitely ruled by the heart instead of the head.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/2965035777/

So, selfishly I've decided to indulge myself and change my focus slightly. While I vow to keep the overall tone of this place positive (just because that's who I am), and will still share activity ideas, bits of advice and anything else that's useful, I'm also going to share the words being written on my heart too.

Ultimately I want to write with a purpose, and share the things that matter (however big or small). So if it doesn’t help you, give you an idea, make your life easier, open your mind to new possibilities, make you think or make you smile – I won't post it.

*What is your heart telling you today?


Friday, 19 October 2012

rock a [maternity] frock

It's baby season. Yep, it seems to be that time in our lives when more buns seem to be cooking in more ovens, and I have loved watching my gorgeous girlfriends blossom into yummy mummys.
 
As I've been one of the first to tread this daunting path and I'm not shy in sharing my humble opinion (can't you tell?!), I've been asked for advice on everything from baby monitors to breastfeeding to labour. So I thought I'd share what I tell my friends on one of the more popular topics... clothes that fit that baby bump and work for breastfeeding too.

I'm not a fashion stylist, just an everyday girl that has been known to rock a frock or two over the years, so from one friend to another there may be some tips and ideas here that make sense to you...

Buying for the bump...
Before you go crazy with the credit card you may already own pieces that will fit as you grow, like longer lycra tops, floaty loose fitting camisoles, maxi dresses and cardigans or jackets to add layers.
 
You can then invest in a few key maternity pieces such as: maternity jeans, a tank top or two, a pretty top that you can dress-up and perhaps a dress (instant outfit). If you're in the corporate world, a pair of stretchy black pants and a pretty skirt that you can mix and match with tops will probably be enough to see you through until you go on maternity leave. Leggings and trackies are great for the weekends too. Don't be afraid to wear clothes that hug your gorgeous curves and show off the bump!
 
My top tip: When buying specific "maternity" wear, look for pieces you can easily breastfeed in too so you can get some more mileage out of them. Generally anything that's a crossover top, or has buttons or a low bust line is ideal (basically, if you can pull the top down or across to expose a breast, it will work)!
 
I still wear these maternity numbers: Black casual wrap dress, long maxi dresses with oversized bag and shawl
What to wear when the baby's here...
I've written a bit about this here already. I found I enjoyed my maternity wardrobe for months after the little one arrived (partly because my body was still adjusting and partly because I loved some of the pieces too much to give them up). It's also fun getting reacquainted with old favourites slowly but surely. Note to self for next time around: remember you've just had a baby and your body needs time to recover, so there's no point popping a button and getting disheartened when you can wear your maternity jeans and be comfy for a few more months!
 
Lift your spirits by popping on some bright nail lacquer (news flash - nails are immune to baby weight, and a quick lick of paint gives an instant feel of pampering) and accessories, and feel free to keep your mummy make-up to a minimum. Naomi at [Not] Just a Mummy has some great tips on how to get a fresh and pretty look with minimum fuss here - great for those days when you want to look and feel great but can't be bothered with make-up (which, let's be honest, is most days). 
 
If you haven't already, invest in a couple of maternity bras and also a soft cup strapless that you can wear with maxis. These and breast pads will become your bosom buddies!

My top tip: Raid your bag collection and utilise one of your larger ones as your nappy bag. I found I had a few that worked just as well as the expensive ones in the baby shops. Also, dig out your wraps/shawls to use as automatic privacy shields when breastfeeding in public.

Great for breastfeeding: Stripey maternity tank, cream cardy, Seraphine knit with buttons, with nappy bag and bright accessories

*Please feel free to comment if you have any style tips you'd like to share or maternity shops you can recommend x
 
 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Life Lessons

I thought I knew a bit about life and myself, but it seems that while my baby son has been learning how to clap, crawl and catch, I've been learning a lot too.

I've learnt I'm a worrier and a warrior, but I'm being more of the latter and doing less of the former.
I care more about others than I do myself, but that's not a bad trait for a mother to have.
Writing makes my soul sing, but only when I'm the client.
And there's no point in having a nice car if you don't have a happy family to drive around in it.

I thought life was about survival, but here in Mummy World it's about love.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bfoxphotography/2532556790/

Lately I've been wondering when the bubble will burst and I'll wake up in the real world. Back in a world more complicated, less forgiving, with smaller hearts and not as much light.

But maybe this is the real world, and I've finally arrived. 





Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Surviving the first stages of parenthood

It doesn't matter what you read, who you talk to or how many classes you attend, nothing can truly prepare you for the rollercoaster ride you embark on as a new parent.

I'm only 9-months in but have soared, dipped and loop-the-looped more times than I can count. I've been so joyful I've cried, I've been so exhausted I've wept, I've been so amused I've thrown my head back and laughed so hard my neighbours heard. It has been fun, crazy, rewarding, amazing. And as I near the end of my first year as a mum, I've been thinking about the stages I've survived thus far...

Stage 1 - DISBELIEF
I was thinking: I know I'd be feeling euphoric if I wasn't so tired and overwhelmed, so I better plaster a smile on my face so everyone knows I'm happy. Is that gorgeous little bundle really mine?
I was saying (to the midwives): "What do you mean 'sleep'? How can I when he could stop breathing at any moment?! Are you really going to let me go home with him all by myself, with no midwives to help with feeding in the middle of the night?!"
Survival tip: Learn, love, don't be too hard on yourself and sleep when the baby sleeps. Yep, that old chestnut. I decided I needed to clean, bake cookies and paint my nails when the baby was sleeping, but next time around I'll be favouring the pillow over housewife duties.


Me 200,000 hours old, my baby 1 hour old

Stage 2 - LOOK AT ME!
I was thinking: It's getting easier, and I'm actually doing this! I still have time for showers, cooking, cleaning and book reading in between the feeds and nappy changing - am I missing something?!
I was saying (to everyone via Facebook, 20 times a day): "Look at me, breastfeeding like a pro in public and coordinating my nail polish with the pram to walk my baby round the block. And look at my baby, sleeping through the night at such a young age and reaching all his milestones early."
Survival tip: DON'T. No one likes a show off and now you've attracted an audience to watch while you do a plunging looping corkscrew!


At the races, as you do when you have a 3-month-old and you're in Stage 2

Stage 3 - DREAMING OF DREAMS
I was thinking: OK, so I've had the occasional weekend where I barely slept but I've never neglected myself this badly. Just a couple of hours sleep a day in however many days is really starting to catch up to me.
I was saying (to my husband): "Why can't you do the breastfeeding?" "I don't know how much longer I can do this for" "I just need some me time".
Survival tip: Thankfully this stage went quickly for me, and just when you think you're going to fall asleep standing up, the baby gods smile down upon you and allow you a full nights rest. You'll wake up with dewy skin, clear eyes, no headache and feel like you could conquer the world.

No more weekend sleep-ins

Stage 4 - FEELING THE LOVE
I was thinking: Finally! This is what I had imagined motherhood to be like. The chubby hand reaching up to touch my face, his big blue eyes looking trustingly into mine, the little games he plays with his toys, the uncontrollable giggling. Oh the giggling. The days of picnic playdates and lunch by the beach with my little boy stretch endlessly in front of me. Bliss!
I was saying (to my friends): "Isn't the world amazing, aren't children so precious, don't you just love motherhood!" "When and where shall we meet up?" (I started Latte Mum in this stage, can you tell?!)
Survival tip: Enjoy every moment.



This moment is perfect

Stage 5 -  HEAD SPIN
I am thinking: Whoa, where did my newborn baby go? I've woken up to a toddler standing in the cot, with a mouth full of chompers, a head of hair and a cheeky personality. He's even discovered likes and dislikes, and, his voice.
I am saying (to the bambino): "Be careful with that" "yes, mama and dada" "good boy!" "nooooo, give that to mummy" "what are you getting into over there?" "weeeeeee weeeeeee weeeeeee!"
Survival tip: Please, tell me!


My cheeky little boy (on the right) with his mate Harrison
Stage 6 - to be discovered, and I just can't wait to see what's round the corner!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Anywhere but here

After a day of cooler weather favouring the indoors, I'm feeling a little caged. The walls of our townhouse are closing in and our dark downstairs lounge designed to stay cool in the summer is starting to get me down.

Despite saying this earlier in the week, no amount of positive talking will make me feel better. I need to get out. Thank goodness for this sunny Sunday.

The little one is awake with the birds again, but that's technically an hour later this morning thanks to daylight savings. I feel like we're off to a good start.

After breakfast and a quick shower, I slather myself in the sunscreen we bought when we were in the South of France, the one that smells of holidays. I slap on some make-up, pretending like I have a date with someone important. I pull my favourite maxi dress off its hanger, knowing it's probably too cool to wear it, but I just want to pretend I'm anywhere but here. I grab a warm cardy as an after thought. I pack up the baby, and shove everything else into the pram, before opening the front door and bumping us down the steps.

Freedom.

My oversized sunnies hide my tired eyes, and it really does feel therapeutic to have the sun on my face once again. I flick my iPod to a playlist I made when I was at uni, and march to the beat en route to the leafy park that is my destination.
© Capturednuance | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
The sunscreen scent, old-school tunes and blue skies make a delicious combination, and we reach the park in what feels like lightening speed. After a large skim latte pick-up and quick swing in the playground, I choose a shady spot with a water view and fluff out the picnic rug. I get comfy before reading a chapter or two of Fifty Shades on my kindle, stopping from time to time to help my baby boy get a toy that's out of reach or give him a sip of water. I imagine, just for a second, that I'm reading poolside with a cocktail nearby.

We reach home a couple of hours later after a wonderful morning out and about, and the house doesn't seem as small anymore. It's only when I walk in the front door that I realise I'm not on holiday. A little escapism never hurt anyone, right?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lightbulb moment

Perspective is a wonderful thing.

I haven't always been a glass-half-full person, but after a series of wonderful and disastrous occurrences in my life I decided to live with as much passion, laughter and gusto as I can muster (minus the self-help audio tapes).

Don't get me wrong. I am not about to set forth to conquer Everest or visit Antarctica or even run a marathon. I just want to be a good person; to leave this life feeling like I didn't stuff up too much. And if I know I can influence whether a moment has a negative or positive impact by simply viewing it differently, then I should try and view everything through those positive Prada sunglasses, right?!

This may seem obvious to some of you, but it really has been a lightbulb moment for me.

The rain on our wedding day couldn't dampen my spirits...
These days the challenges are plentiful and sometimes confronting, and with a busy 9-month-old to entertain all day every day, I'm in hot pursuit of positivity like never before...

For example, when the little one is hungry and awake with the birds at 5am, instead of listening to the pounding headache behind my eyes and cursing about how "I'm not a morning person", I try to cherish and look forward to this early-morning breastfeed. It's the first time in hours that I get to walk into the room-that-smells-like-babies and give him a cuddle. I get to see the sun slowly rising in the morning sky, hear the birds calling out to each other, and check if there are blue skies ahead. Us non-morning people never get to do this usually! This morning ritual wakes me almost as much as the coffee that will soon follow.

And as I dodge the pram and highchair to get to the kitchen, I could get frustrated at the lack of space in our shrinking 2 bedder (and sometimes I do). Instead, I think about how it will only take one hour to clean this house from top to bottom which means more time for stories and play. At the end of the day, that house deposit we've been busy saving will be spent on a family home someday soon and then I'll be cursing the extra bathroom and bedroom (and child) I have to clean!

And so on and so forth, you get the idea. At the end of the day, I've realised I would choose this life a million times over because it led me to this partner, this child, this me. So I may as well get on with it, as chipper as I can possibly manage on a few hours sleep! Thank goodness for caffeine.

Tell me, how do you chase your positive mummy vibes?
 
Disclaimer: I have written this post on a good day, when the birds did tweet this morning, I got all the housework done and had time to write before heading to bed (if I was having one of those hideous days when it was hard to get... out... of... bed, I'm sure this post wouldn't have been as rosy) xx




Saturday, 29 September 2012

Letter to my pregnant self

Today marks my son's 9 month birthday. I can't believe he's now been in the world for as long as he was in my tummy; time definitely flies when you're having fun. It has got me thinking though, about how much can change in a month, a week, a day.

It feels like 18 years not 18 months ago that I was worrying and asking myself: 'How hard will my labour be?' 'What if I don't bond with my baby' 'How will I deal with the sleep deprivation?' 'Will my relationship with my husband change?' 'What if I'm a bad mother?' 'Am I ready for this?!' 'What if I'm not ready for this?!'

I wish I had started this journey knowing a few more things. So, what would I have told my pregnant self if I could?

Dear pregnant Mel,

I have some things I want you to know.

Most of what you have worried about in your life will seem
trivial once your baby is born, so you need to stop worrying. NOW. Your perspective on the world is about to change, and that "thing" you've been waiting for your whole life is about to happen.

Labour will not be as bad as you were expecting. Your husband will get cramp in his arm whilst in the delivery room, but you will get through it together! Haha. You will only remember the good bits anyway.
Me and Joshua, taken Sept 2012 by Ted & Li Photography

Don't fantasise about what it will be like when you first see your baby. You will be so tired and overwhelmed, that moment will be a haze. You won't truly fall in love until he smiles at you for the first time several weeks later, after which your heart will never be the same again.

Despite him constantly spinning, kicking and doing aerobics in the womb, he will be a calm, content and laid back baby. Don't tell the other mums when he starts sleeping through the night at seven weeks - no-one wants to hear it and no-one will have sympathy for you when you're trying to figure out why he's waking up every 2 hours again!

You will love your husband even more when you see him as a Dad.

Your baby will have your husband's eyes and your cheeks. Invest in a good lip balm so the thousands of kisses you give those cheeks each day will be soft.

He will suck his thumb, grow chubby rolls on his thighs, sing to himself and have little leaf-like ears that make your heart melt. You will ban him from ever playing rugby the moment you see those ears, and worry about the first time he brings a girlfriend home as soon as you see him charm everyone with that grin. 

Don't bother with baby-exercise, flash cards or memory games. He will learn to sit, babble, wave, stand and clap without them.

You will have time to clean the house, tidy toys, shower, make the bed and keep everything organised. What you will soon realise is the child you love so passionately cannot be organised, nor can you save him from every danger and scenario in his life. While your outside world will remain in order you will have to deal with the chaos in your heart, and let your little one be his own person.

Every stage of his babyhood will come with its own set of challenges and benefits, but he will grow up so quickly you will miss the challenges when they're no longer there. You must enjoy every moment. Trust me, the first 9 months of his life will go a thousand times quicker than the 9 months you're counting now.

You are about to spend more time with yourself, with your thoughts, than you ever have before. So finally, be kind to yourself.

Enjoy the ride!
Love me



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Walk it out

I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant. Much more than I "was supposed to", but it turned out to be a completely healthy level of weight gain for me.

I'm glad I had people around me at the time who encouraged me to put the pregnancy books down (and the scales away) and instead focus on staying healthy, eating a balanced diet and continuing with low-impact exercise.

The last bit was easy actually. I've stepped inside a gym a mere two times in my life, but regularly step one foot in front of the other and that seems to be enough for me. Yup, it's called walking, and it kept me fit through my pregnancy and then helped me lose my baby weight afterwards.

So simple yet so effective, and I'm not the only one that thinks walking is good for the body (read: thighs and bum) and soul. A recent study by Bupa has found that walking an extra 15 minutes each day can help extend life expectancy by up to three years, while reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and increasing mental wellbeing. I'm sold!

I don't know about you, but I love getting outdoors for a dose of Vitamin D by pushing the pram down to the park or down to the deli or somewhere local for a coffee. I also love pounding the pavements with other mummy friends (usually in single file so our SUV-sized prams don't hog the whole walkway) because it's a great opportunity to chat and the babies love watching the world go by.

If you need any more convincing, here are 5 more reasons why walking should be in every yummy mummy's exercise regime:
  1. Feel better: Research shows that people who exercise regularly have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  2. Stay in shape: A brisk 15-minute walk can burn more than 250 extra kilojoules, helping you to feel and look good.
  3. Reduce your cancer risk: According to the Cancer Council, physical activity, such as walking, can greatly reduce your risk of bowel and post-menopausal breast cancers.
  4. Invest in your health: 30 minutes or more of brisk walking on most days of the week can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer.
  5. It’s easy: Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that comes naturally to your body. It’s simple and can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health.
Pounding the pavements while on holiday in South Australia
It's Bupa Walk to Work Day on Friday 28 September here in Australia, and while I don't have an office to walk to I'm still going to get out to mark the occasion. Why not gather some likeminded pram-pushers and do the same?

As always, would love to hear your thoughts - particularly any ideas you can share on healthy ways to lose baby weight.

Disclaimer: Bupa contacted me with some information on Bupa Walk to Work Day along with current research and top tips on walking. I have not been paid for this post, and the content within is based purely on my experience and the areas of the Bupa research that interested me. For more content from Bupa please visit the Bupa Walk to Work Day website. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

iPhone 0.2

I need a new phone. Mine is one of the original iPhone's and is practically an antique, complete with cracks, chips, scratches, baby slobber, curvy edges and no more room for music.

I had a weekend of two halves you might say. Time without bub one day and glorious family time the next. Although, both days have highlighted that the old mobile is not keeping pace.

I enjoyed a gorgeous Latte Mums Ladies lunch on Saturday at the suitably chic Chiswick. The weather gods ensured we had enough sun for the first Rosé of the season, which in turn ensured the conversation and laughs were plentiful. I must say, it made for a refreshing change being able to have a proper girly gossip without the constant interruption of the little one.

However, as I placed my phone on the table - just in case I was needed for some unforeseen emergency back home (unlikely, but better safe than sorry) - I realised I was completely behind the times. A quick glance around the other tables confirmed my worst fears... my iPhone is prehistoric, particularly given the iPhone 5 has just launched. First World Problems, hey?!

Sunday's sun shone even brighter, giving Sydney its first truly summer's day in months. So, we packed up the little family and headed down for a paddle at Balmoral Beach. It was the first time our little boy placed his pudgy feet in the sand and felt the ocean against his bare legs - although a mis-timed wave meant an outfit change was required!

I realised once we got to the beach that I had left the camera at home. Every mother's worst nightmare! So, I was left with my trusty iPhone to take a couple of pic's to remember the day by. Here's one of the better ones... you see what I mean?!

Crappy camera's aside, it was a perfect day. A perfect moment.


Are there any technology failures you've had? I hope I'm not alone!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Latte Mum challenge

Why do we define ourselves by what we do instead of who we are?

It's practically an obligatory question to ask when meeting someone new isn't it, but why? I've thought about this alot since becoming a mum. The last 8 months have offered numerous opportunities to meet new people and I've asked and answered this question more times than I can count.

I should know better. The PR girl I once was, who lost sleep worrying about the wrong shade of tablecloth ordered for an event or a 5 second delay in reaching a journalist, has been replaced by a woman perfectly content with the love of her family and knowing that everything else will work itself out. While proud of all that I've achieved in my career thus far, my job description isn't who I am.

For me, it's a momentous shift in perspective.

Even though I'm interested in finding out a person's profession, by not also asking them about their dreams, the challenges they've overcome, or their views on politics, life and love, I feel like I'm wasting an opportunity to truly bond with them.

So, I'm issuing myself a challenge to dig deeper. To ask an interesting question everytime I have a latte date. To simply enjoy watching my cheeky little monkey's personality develop without stressing about what he is and isn't doing.

Starting today. Join me?


Monday, 17 September 2012

Celebrate life

Life is short.

I've heard this little phrase hundreds of times over the years; taking it simply as a green light to do whatever while smugly assuming I will live forever. But things have changed.

Of all the new parent anxieties I was expecting, I wasn't prepared to feel scared about dying.  I'm sure this fear was created when my body was magically installing other 'mum super powers', you know, like eyes in the back of your head or soft hugs that will soothe away any tears. I mean, if I'm scared about dying then surely I will better protect my little family from danger, right?

I'm sure this is true, but part of me knows that now I've seen such a wonderful and precious side to life, I don't want this bubble to burst. I want to see my children grow up and I want to meet my grandchildren, desperately.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Yes, life is short. It really is. If I'm lucky, I'm expected to live till I'm 82. That's only 52 more summers on the beach, 52 more times that I'll see the blossom burst on the trees, 52 more cakes with candles, 52 more xmas BBQ's with family.

So, I've decided to live my life with another cliche in mind - "live each day as if it were your last". With extra kisses, cuddles, lattes, bubbles and cherries on top. I see no other option!

Is there anything you do to celebrate life each day?