One Little Word 2019

This is the seventh year that I have chosen a word to be my guiding force for the year ahead.

In all honesty I have not had an awful lot of success with my ‘One Little Word’, because in reality it takes a lot more than picking a word and magically having your circumstances and your life take a huge leap forward.

Since becoming a single mum almost 8 years ago, I feel as though my life has been in a holding pattern. Stuck in not such a nice place and even though I have had many goals and plans I have struggled to see them come to fruition in a major way.

I really don’t want 2019 to be a replay of the last 8, so I have had a good hard look at what patterns and habits have been my constant companion over these years and what needs to change so I can move forward in a super positive way.

scraptherapy

 So my word for this year is RELEASE and my focus will be on letting go of some of my not so great habits, beliefs that don’t serve me, and finding better ways to do things to yield better results.

I have not made a huge list of resolutions that I won’t keep like the majority of people out there, but a list of things that I know are not good for me and to help me work my though these things I have created a #scraptherapy book to fill with ideas, inspiration, quotes and make it all look pretty as that is one thing that really does get me into my happy zone.

The first big thing I am tackling is my addiction to sugar. I am not going to go cold turkey as that is not a Nikki I would like to live with. My love for chocolate and sweet things has been my go to whether I am happy or sad and I know that sugar is one thing the body really does not like. As I am getting older inflammation is causing me discomfort and I damn well know that sugar is playing a big part in this.

So for now I am adding in more fresh food, fruit to give me that sweet treat, dinners that are high in protein but low in carbs and only having mini sized treats occasionally. Small steps are better than no steps!

I have a long list of other things I will tackle, but strengthening my discipline muscles a little at a time is already helping me to feel more positive and I know that I can do it.

Have you chosen ‘One Little Word’ for 2019?

Do you have an action plan to make it work for you?

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Taking Stock – 2018 Year In Review


Year In Review 2018

 

As another year is about to come to an end at a very rapid rate, and I am truly grateful its over.

This year has not been much fun, but seems to be a collection of many days of hard slog for little reward and very little spare time so my blog has been severely neglected.

So instead of a monthly ‘Taking Stock’, this post is an annual edition and it gave me the opportunity to reflect and remember what 2018 dished out, both good and bad.

Goodbye 2018, and I am looking forward to 2019 and doing things differently because as the saying goes ‘you can’t get different results, if you keep doing the same thing’!

MAKING – The most of being on holidays for two glorious weeks…..the first lot of annual leave I have had since last Christmas.

COOKING – Getting creative with festive food leftovers….last night was turkey breast slices, cranberry sauce, garlic aioli, onion slices, capsicum slices and grated cheese all rolled up in Lebanese bread and toasted in the flat toaster….yum!

DRINKING – Lots of coffee and my newest favourite thing, Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic water with gin, for the best G&T you can get.

LISTENING TO – Cultivate Your Life with Lara Casey podcast.

READING – Re-reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

NEXT READ – ‘Attitude Goddess’ by Lea Gay……cause its time to give mine a big shake up.

WANTING – A month or ten in a high rise apartment overlooking Waikiki Beach! After all my years as a travel consultant I never got to go to Hawaii and its still on my wish list.

LOOKING – For a missing person, the fifth member of our old school group for a reunion in January. Its very hard when you don’t know their married name, you have all moved from the area that you used to live in and she seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

PLAYING – In my studio, surrounded by all my crafty goodies is the best method of stress relief I know.

DECIDING – If its time to get a new pet.

WISHING – For a gigantic lotto win….except I never remember to buy a ticket.

ENJOYING – An awesome reunion with two friends from way back, the next one is in January and a fourth friend has been found and coming along for the fun…..now if we could just find number five!

 

WAITING – To see how many days it will be before we have ANOTHER new Prime Minister, probs not too many!

LIKING – Those Twinings In’fuse cold water tea bags, they making water drinking so much more fun.

WONDERING – How many different types and colours of craft paint does one really need?

LOVING – Planner girls meet-ups and weekends away, we all get our addiction to pretty papery things.

PONDERING – When will I be able to move to the beach, its just a matter of time until my last birdie flies the coup and I can head to my happy place.

CONSIDERING – Going down the no sugar road…….but can I truly live without chocolate???????

BUYING – Thongs that have diamante’s embedded around the edge of the sole……because its bling and I can’t say no to sparkly things.

WATCHING – Took myself to the movies on my own for the very first time in 53 years to see Bohemian Rhapsody, and so glad I did it was amazing.

NEXT WATCH – Aquaman……for the eye candy.

HOPING – Another season of ‘Harlot’s is made. This is one of the best find of the year on SBS on demand, apart from a ‘Handmaids Tale’ of course.

MARVELLING – That after 22 years this little cross stitch deco I made when my first daughter was born still looks as good as they day it first hung on our tree.

 

CRINGING – Every time I remember how hard it was to move house earlier this year, with a crushed meniscus in my knee that had me barely able to walk let alone deal with the hell that is moving!

NEEDING – Some genius to invent a really amazing strapless bra that will keep the girls where they should be instead of having to be hauled up every time I move as I am really missing out on all the off the shoulder thing that is so in right now.

QUESTIONING – Why did our gorgeous cat Miss Tiger literally disappear one day and never came home, its been 6 months now.

SMELLING – The beautiful fragrance oil  ‘Noel’ by Crabtree and Evelyn, that has been discontinued and my bottle is almost empty, and I want to cry. It is truly the most beautiful Christmas scent I have ever had and its in my burner everyday during December.

WEARING – All the metals, as I just can’t pick a favourite, so why not wear them all together?

FOLLOWING – The horrible joke that is Donald Trump. Its such a mess that you can’t help but wait for the next instalment in the saga.

WORRYING – At all hours of the night, as that is when my body is so physically tired from work, but mind has all those glorious hours of darkness to play in.

NOTICING – How negative thoughts have dominated my thinking this year.

KNOWING – That summer is much more fun than winter and I truly hate the cold.

THINKING – Do way to much of that and will constantly grow my list of things to do to reign that in.

ADMIRING – How Miss WW has followed her passion and even though she works full time, she has managed to open not one but two physie clubs in two years and the culture she has created together with her bestie is like one huge happy family.

Ipswich City Physie

 

SORTING – Through my huge collection of craft supplies and selling some off or throwing out things that I simply will never use.

GETTING – Ready to take ALL the Christmas deco’s down….I like them gone before the New Year.

BOOKMARKING – New recipes to try, the currant repertoire is on repeat a little too often at the moment.

COVETING – A little more zen.

DISLIKING – Setting my alarm for 4am every work day.

OPENING – A bottle of Sav Blanc, as long as its from Marlborough…..ahhhh the joy!

GIGGLING – At how much mess a little jar of glitter can make, I even had to have a shower to get rid of the last little bits that were stuck to me.

FEELING – Ready for some big changes!

SNACKING – That is one thing I am an expert at and something I need to seriously tackle head on in the New Year.

HEARING – The Kookaburras singing their song every morning, just one of the things that I love about living in Australia.

Thanks to Pip from Meet Me At Mikes for this great list.

No matter what life has thrown at you this year, hopefully its lots of good things, a new year is brings with it hope and the chance for a fresh start.

Cheers to a good one for you all.

xxx Nikki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Things To Sip For Your Health!

There is one thing I have noticed since I reached the half century mark and that is the never ending little and not so little aches and pains that seem to be part of everyday life, and quite honestly I don’t like it.

So I have been spending a lot of time researching how I can help ease these annoying niggles by making changes to what I eat and drink without becoming a full on caffeine free, vegan and no more chocolate ever kind of girl, cause that does not appeal to me. I applaud anyone who has given up tasty vices for the sake of your health, and whilst I am prepared to cut down on the not so good for you yumminess, I am not going cold turkey.

Inflammation is often a cause for many of these aches and pains and years of exposure to chemicals, sugar consumption and foods that increase the acidity in our body will trigger a painful response from our body. In the interest of being kinder to my body and thanking it for all the years of hard work, some gentle changes are taking place here rather than a full blown detox at this stage.

Healthy things to drink

 

Here are a few of the things I have been trying and why I am including them in my diet regularly.

WATER

We all know that we need to drink plenty of water everyday. When the weather is hot I guzzle gallons of it with ease, but as the temperature drops I have to make an ‘effort’ to ensure I drink enough. I will often add a slice of lemon and a slice of lime (that I keep sliced up in the freezer in a zip lock bag) to make it a little more palatable, but I have also been making some fruit water and it really tastes good so I get through more with ease.

Green tea, lime and mint – I would prefer to use lime and mint to make a Mojito…..but in the interest of better health, make a cup of tea with a tea bag and allow to cool then place into a large water bottle, with a couple of slices of lime and a few fresh mint leaves that have been torn to help release their goodness. This blend is good for digestion, headaches and congestion.

Strawberry and Kiwi fruit – This one is very easy and just needs a few slices of each fruit placed in a large water bottle and allow to steep for 30 minutes before drinking. This one is good for boosting immunity and blood sugar regulation.

Pineapple, lemon and pomegranate – This is one of my favourites and it is the prettiest colour too which makes it more inviting. Chop up a full slice of pineapple, 2 slices of lemon and a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds. This one is great for helping the lymph system to flush out toxins and pineapple is great for reducing acidity.

Boost your magnesium

Another great way to guarantee another bottle of water is downed each day is to add a magnesium dissolvable tablet. A few months ago I started taking this Swisse supplement to help with aching shoulders that are partly contributed to my job. Magnesium deficiency is incredibly common these days as a lot of our produce is grown in soils that are overworked and depleted of this vital nutrient. Magnesium can also help with calming the nerves, assisting better sleep and increasing energy and I will have all of those please! They say if you crave chocolate that can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, better make sure I don’t forget my dose today.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is one of the most talked about herbs at the moment when you look for ways to reduce inflammation. This distinctively flavoured and bright coloured powder is an easy add to stir fry’s but unless you want everything to taste like curry, it is easier to drink it.

Pukka tea have a blend called ‘turmeric gold’. It makes consuming turmeric more palatable with the addition of lemon, cardamom and green tea. It makes your mouth tingle a little bit but it is not nearly as overpowering as I thought it might be.

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH

When the Bondi Beach Tea Co. reached out to me and asked if I would like to sample some of their wares, I put my hand up straight away and said yes. You only have to take a peak at their website and see that their blends are perfect for those that want to tackle inflammation and detoxing head on and lose some kilo’s along the way.

They also have beautiful blends for helping you sleep or unwind after a tough day. In my pack I did receive the Heartburn blend which is one ailment that I do not suffer from but it does contain Spearmint (great for heart health and is high in iron for energy), Lemon Balm (can help with anxiety and insomnia) and Chamomile (which is soothing and calming) plus a few other goodies that tastes beautiful and is a great drink for this stressed out mumma, who is currently packing all the boxes for a house move.

Bondi Beach Tea Co tea strainer

Loose leaf tea requires a tea strainer and how cute is this silicone one that bends over and hugs your mug whilst the tea is brewing.

When all this moving is out of the way I just might have to try a detox program together with their easy meal plan as its all about fresh starts for me at the moment. You can find all their goodies here.

SIP ON SOUP

One of the few things I like about cold weather is making soup. Its an easy way to eat a warming healthy meal.

I have spent plenty of time scrolling through Pinterest searching for some new soups to try this season.

This is my favourite find so far. Pop everything in the crockpot and a few hours later dinner is ready and there is some left over to stash in the freezer.

warming vegetable soup

Thanks to a Pinch Of Yum for this fabulous recipe.

Every little thing we do to improve our health can have big benefits down the track, I hope you find some of these ideas easy to incorporate into your everyday.

What is your favourite healthy habit that you have discovered this year?

Discover what other bloggers are loving this week #LLL at Write Of The Middle

 

Disclaimer – I am not medically trained and only offer these suggestions for your consideration. Before undertaking any alterations to your diet, including the addition of any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your doctor to ensure that they will not have negative effects on any medication you may currently be taking.

 

 

 

 

Why Don’t ‘Wee’ Put Ourselves First?

(This post is in collaboration with The Continence Foundation)

Ladies, we need to talk!

There is a ‘wee’ matter that needs to be discussed right now, and there is a very good chance that you are one of the 4.8 million Australians that suffer every single day with incontinence. If you are one of the lucky ones that do not have an issue with bladder leakage it is more than likely that someone near and dear to you does.

Is that information you share with others, or do you keep it to yourself?

Have you made a joke of your condition to hide your embarrassment?

It’s no laughing matter, but an actual medical condition that you do not have to put up with for the rest of your life. There are plenty of women who have all but given up on exercise and even hesitate to accept social invitations due to bladder leakage concerns.

I was quite lucky that both of my two daughters decided to escape the oven and join the world 5 weeks prematurely so they were not very big and no damage was done. The only time I noticed that I did not have full control over my bladder was if I coughed or sneezed first thing in the morning. So many years ago I started doing pelvic floor exercises, not quite as regularly as I should, but never the less, I am fortunate that now in my early 50’s I have no issues with bladder leakage.

The same can’t be said for my little run in with a fibroid the size of a tennis ball that caused an enormous amount of grief including almost going in to renal failure from excessive blood loss. All because I would not book myself in for a hysterectomy as I was worried about how the girls would get to school, who would cook dinner and clean the house. Such trivial excuses for putting off an operation that I really needed. My stupidity could have had dire consequences, but thankfully did not and surprise, surprise the girls got to school everyday, we ate dinner every night and even the sheets got changed thanks to friends and family that were happy to help out.

Whilst bladder leakage is not life threatening, 72% of women will not seek help to overcome this issue as they are always putting others before themselves. We are so good at making sure everyone around is well cared for, but why is it that our needs get put on the backburner?

Around 85% of women who live with incontinence everyday believe that it is simply the price we pay for getting older or for having children. You simply have to walk into the supermarket today and see that an ever expanding range of products is now available to help with catching the flow and reducing the risk of odour release. Every female spends a large amount of money on sanitary products every year and then add a selection of incontinence pads to the mix and we are doing a really good job of boosting the profit margins of the producers of these items.

How to get help with incontinence

The really good news is that there are treatments for bladder leakage that are very successful and don’t require surgery. With a few easy to manage life style changes and pelvic floor exercises done very regularly, so many women could throw those incontinence pads into the bin for good. You can start doing your exercises today and if you don’t know how, here is a handy guide to help you.

Today marks the start of World Continence Week, why not make this the week you start taking care of yourself for a change. There are plenty of ways to start the ball rolling. Make a call to the National Continence Hotline on 1800 330066, visit the Continence Foundation Of Australia website or make an appointment with your GP.

Please make this week that you take action and get this ‘wee’ issue under control!

Be honest, do you have a ‘wee’ problem?

5 Ways To Use A Notebook To Change Your Life!

journalling to change your life

If you are anything like me, you just might have a pretty notebook or two ten that you have not written a single word in yet.

If you don’t have a stash of prettiness, now might be the perfect time to invest in one or two, but really any notebook will do. One of the most powerful ways to invoke change is to write things down and make a plan. With the new year only two months old, why not try some of these ideas to help make 2017 really awesome.

A word after a word after a word is power” – Margaret Atwood

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AWESOME AFFIRMATIONS

The stories we run on repeat in our brains, reflect how our outer world appears. If we continually put ourselves down we cannot thrive. When we continually tell ourselves I can’t do this or I don’t have that we create negative feelings towards that subject and the energy you project out is what you keep getting in return. Positive affirmations repeated over and over again, gently retrain the brain to think about things in a positive way.

For affirmations to be effective, they must be written in a way that declares you already have that thing, or feel that way. Using words like when I or if I etc. will keep fuelling the negative belief because you are affirming that you don’t have it.

Think about all the things you would love to have, be or do and how you would feel when they are reality and frame your affirmations as a statement that its already happened.

Starting affirmations with ‘I am’ is very powerful as you are declaring it is so, with no room for maybe’s.

Write down every positive affirmation you can come up with, or a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram for inspiration or google positive quotes/affirmations and start filling your book. When you need a lift or are having a tough day with a flurry of negative thoughts, read through your affirmations and feel your focus change and energy lift.

WEIGHT LOSS DIARY

The path to losing weight it one of those journey’s that can be long and arduous. Everywhere you turn their is another chocolate bar or vanilla slice waiting to be consumed. I have never been thin a day in my life and there have been a few times I have felt positively huge, so I totally get how hard it can be. So much emphasis is placed on what you CAN’T have when you want to shift some weight, but you can use a journal to focus on the things you can have and do to make it a more positive experience.

Obviously tracking your weight loss is a good place to start, but sometimes focusing on reduced measurements can be more rewarding. Use gold stars or cute stickers when you see the numbers go down for added incentive.

Make lots of lists such as exercise you actually enjoy, healthy meals that are easy to make, snacks that are good for you, clothes you would like to buy when you reach your next target and rewards such as a beauty treatment.

Adding photo’s of your success is a great motivator. You could also add pictures from magazines of how you would like to look and the clothes you would like in your wardrobe works a treat too.

Tracking everything you eat for a week or more can be confronting, but an honest list can be very powerful in helping you not eat that family size block of chocolate out of sheer terror of writing that shizz down!

BURN BOOK

This might not be the perfect choice for your prettiest notebook as some of things you use it for will be going up in smoke…literally!

Writing down your problems can be therapeutic in itself. Dumping your anger down on a page can help to release built up stress and rage.

When you have finished writing down everything that needs to go, tear the pages out and take them outside. You will also need some matches and a bowl or bucket. Set the pages alight and ask for all to released to the universe to deal with. Let it burn while you take a big deep breath or two and then place it in the bowl until it is only ashes.

If you are struggling for answers to a problem, take the time to write out what is concerning you, and then place the pen in your non-dominant hand and start writing whatever comes up. Don’t judge or analyse but let the words flow. By letting your other hand do the writing you are turning off the logical process of the brain and allowing the creative area to flow and this could be a way for you to tap into solutions that your logical thinking may not have thought of.

COMMONPLACE BOOK

This form of note keeping has been around for centuries and was developed as way of keeping handy information in one place long before the invention of computes, smart phones and tablets.

Rather than relying on memory, a common place book is an ideal way to keep track of things so that all the information remains in one place. Use it record scraps of information that you know you will want to remember them in the future.

Fill it full of quotes, ideas, cooking hints, reading suggestions, poems, movies to watch, quotes from articles or books, websites you want to check out, measurements and any other bits of information you don’t want to forget.

You can add photo’s, magazine clippings, paint chips or any other visual reminder.

This handy tool has eliminated all those little scraps of paper that I would continually jot things down on and then could never find them when I actually needed them. I leave mine on my desk but have a mini notepad in my handbag incase I need to jot something down whilst I am out and then I just add it in when I get home.

My middle aged brain is enjoying this one stop information shop!

GRATITUDE JOURNAL

We all have good days and bad days, but one of the worst things you can do for your emotional and physical well being is to go to bed angry.

Gratitude is a very powerful emotion that can open the doors to wonderful things. Giving thanks even when things are tough can really help to calm fear and frustration.

No matter how tough your day has been, going to sleep with your last thoughts being one of thanks and love will help you get a better nights sleep and will fill you with the energy of positive attraction.

Before you turn off the light, find one thing that you are grateful for that day. Even if it is just that this day is over and you have a bed to sleep in will be a good start. Write it down in a notebook that you keep beside your bed.

If you have had an awesome day, then write down more things. Flip through the book at the end of each month and bask in the feeling of all the great things that did happen. It is a surefire way to feeling good and inviting more of that into your life.

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Do you love pen and paper, or have you gone the techno way to keep things sorted?

Sharing for the #Lovin’ Life Linky with Write Of The Middle.com

17 Things To Do In 2017 To Make It A Great Year!

How to make 2017 great

Hello 2017! What wonderful things will you bring?

The new year is now in its second week, how are those resolutions going?

If you made some the odds are pretty good that you have not stuck to them. If you have, YAY! You deserve a glass of bubbles tonight.

One of the best ways to start off a fresh new year and have it go pear shaped is to make plans and promises that require major changes to habits that you have been used to living with possibly for years now. If you have not stuck to your resolutions you already feel like a failure.

Change takes time unless you have willpower made of steel. I sure as hell don’t but I also do not want to keep living the same ‘stories’ that have dominated over the last few years.

2017 is a ‘1’ year which in numerology is the start of a new cycle, so it is the perfect year to start making the changes you want to see for your future. Small steps taken daily will help you form new habits and by the end of the year you will see some real changes.

Here are some things worth giving a try, they might be a good fit for you, or may help trigger ideas so that you can make your own list.

ONEA WORD

Choose a word to guide you through 2017 rather than a resolution. What is the one thing you really crave or the part of your life you would love to change the most? Choose a word that will constantly remind you of the direction you want to head towards. This year my one word is RELAX, as it is one of the hardest things for me to do, but I know it is something I truly need to master. I feel guilty when I made time to play with art supplies or read a few pages of a book as there is always so many things that need doing and being a single mumma means everything has to be done by me, there is no partner to help with the work load. I made this little reminder with some scrapbooking supplies and I see it every time I sit down t my desk.

one word 2017

TWO – CHANGE IT UP

Change can be scary. Our ego would be much happier if we just keep doing the same old things as it is comfortable there and feels safe. So often fear stops us from trying new things incase we fail, but trying new things is the only way to realise dreams. Sometimes just trying to decide on what steps to take can stop us from even starting. Try this little Feng Shui tip for inviting in change. Move 27 things around your home. Keeping everything in the same place allows stagnant energy to build up. At the change of every season move 27 things into different spots and allow fresh energy and ideas to flow.

THREE – CHUCK IT OUT

Decluttering is a buzz word right now and for good reason. You need to get rid of old things to make room for new things to come in to your life. Just start with one drawer and then move on to the next and throw out everything that you really don’t love. I have so many things that I hang on to because I ‘might’ need it, but late last year I started tossing and will keep going until every room in the house is done.

FOUR – DRINK IT

This coffee addicted mumma would rather sip on a skinny cino than a glass of water, but we all know that hydration is vital for good health. Keep some lemon and lime slices in a snap lock bag in the freezer and put a fresh slice of each in a big glass or water bottle and keep sipping the water during the day. I drink coffee because I love the taste and it does not have much effect in boosting my energy when I am running out of oomph. When I do need a pick-me-up, an extra big glass of water makes a huge difference.

FIVE – SNACK SMART

Whilst a total diet overhaul would be a very good way to knock off the weight and improve how we feel, it takes super strong willpower to see it through. One easier way to start moving in the right direction is to watch what you snack on. Yummy treats are calorie laden and can make a huge impact on total daily consumption. Choosing healthy snacks will add boosts of goodness to your diet and help ease the guilty feeling you often get from stuffing a few biscuits or a bar of chocolate down your throat. Here is some easy suggestions.

snacks for clean eating

Image credit

SIX – CREATE A LITTLE SOMETHING

If you have a hobby, awesome, just make sure you find time to do a little every day. If you don’t, get one! If you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, an adult colouring book and pencils is the perfect way to start. Engaging the right side of the brain, will give the left side a break from all the plotting and planning that it loves to do. Its all about balance. The to-do list will still be there when you have finished spending a little time playing with colours but the world won’t fall into a big heap just because you took a little time for yourself.

SEVEN – 10 MINUTES A DAY

Big goals don’t get achieved in a day. Write down the biggest goal you would like to achieve this year. Does it scare you because you have no idea how on earth you can make it reality? Below that big goal, write down all the things that will have to happen to make it real. Then everyday pick one small thing you can do to get the ball rolling. Even if you just start off researching, spend 10 minutes a day learning what you need to do or get to move you towards your goal.

EIGHT – FRESH IS BEST

I don’t have a special someone to buy me flowers anymore, so I buy my own. Nothing lifts your spirit quicker than glancing at a fresh bunch of blooms. Bring them in from the garden if you are lucky enough to have them or buy a bunch each week or so. I always get great value blooms from the supermarket, and as I work there I know what has come in that day so always get the best. Just make sure you throw them out as soon as they start to wilt or they will have a negative effect on the energy in your home.

i love fresh flowers especially lillies

NINE – SAVE THE POINTS FOR THE SILLY SEASON

Woolworths have upgraded their rewards programme and you can now select to collect your points and have them released in time for that big Christmas shop. You just have to let them know via the website that you would like to choose that option. You can also do the same thing with Coles and have your Flybuys points credited to your card whenever you like. If you buy groceries you might as well get something in return, so swipe the card each time you go shopping.

TEN – GIFT CARD CLUB

If your bank does not offer a Christmas Club style account, you can make your own. Each month buy a gift card and hide them away at home. When its time to start Christmas shopping you can take the cards to use for purchases. This is a much easier way to deal with Christmas without putting your credit card through its paces and then having to deal with repayment pain in the new year.

ELEVEN – START SMALL

Investing in shares can be risky and volatile, but can also be a rewarding way to expand your net worth. It is possible to start the journey into the share market for literally pennies until your confidence grows and results are seen. I don’t have time to spend hours studying the market and making the choices to buy and sell. At the same time one of my goals was to find a way to invest in something that can grow over time.  Thanks to one of the Facebook groups I am in, everyone was raving about Acorns and I presumed it was an American only initiative. A quick app search lead me to discover the Australian version and I am starting small to test the water and see how it all works. A big oak tree starts as an acorn, so I am seeing how big this can grow.

TWELVE – BURN IT

We all have issues that take up valuable real estate in our brain. Stories that keep popping in and cause us to feel stressed or upset. One way that can help release the grip these memories hold is to right them down in vivid detail as though you were explaining the situation to a best friend. Just the exercise of writing it down can bring calm and clarity, but tear those pages off the pad and roll them into a cigar shape, take them outside and set them alight. As they are burning, ask that your issue release its hold on you and let the universe disperse the pressure. (Please make sure you have a safe vessel such as a BBQ or bucket of water to place them in once you have set them alight so you don’t burn yourself)

THIRTEEN – ONE GOOD THING

Gratitude is a powerfully positive magnet. When you are thankful for what you do have it draws more good your way. BUT we all have days where nothing seems to go right and it is very easy to stay wallowing in a negative state. Everyday this year, I am going to right down one thing that I am grateful for. Even when the going gets tough I can still be grateful that the day is over and tomorrow is a new one. At the end of the year it is going to be fun looking back over a whole year of good things.

FOURTEEN – GO OUTSIDE

No matter what the weather is like, make time to go outside, connect with the glory of nature and breathe in some fresh air. Direct exposure to sunlight (not for too long) is vital for Vitamin D production and serotonin levels, the hormone that helps us feel happy. It is so easy to stay locked up inside, especially when it is cold and this can directly influence how we feel very quickly.

two of my favourite things the beach and coffee

FIFTEEN – SCENTUAL

If you have never experienced the power of Pure Essential Oils, make this year the one that you change. At the most simple level all you need is an aromatherapy burner, a tea light candle, a little water to put in the dish and some citrus based Pure Essential Oils. Don’t buy the fragrance oils from the cheap shop as not a single plant goes into making those and they have zero ability to make a difference. Choose from Lemon, Orange, Neroli, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Tangerine or Mandarin. All of the citrus oils are not only anti-bacterial so great for killing off airborne bugs, but they are all powerful mood enhancers. They will make your home smell fresh and will help lift your spirits. Please ensure you place the burner high enough that little fingers cannot get close to the naked flame and only start with one or two drops to ensure no one in the household reacts to them.

SIXTEEN – NEW

Let this year be one of discovery. Try new food, a different restaurant, a different brand or cocktail. Find a new fragrance, new shade of lippie or try out a different hair colour. Visit a new destination, fly with a different airline or play tourist in your local hood.  Join a group, take a class or have a go at a sport you have never tried before. The list of possibilities is endless, just give it a go.

SEVENTEEN – HUG THEM TODAY

Every day is a blessing, let the ones you love know how you feel, as tomorrow is not guaranteed. Share the kisses around, send a text or make that call. Enjoy every moment that you can. Love is truly the highest power we can attain and the most powerful healer of past hurt. xxx

****

What wonderful things do you want to experience this year?

Sharing for Lovin’ Life at Write Of The Middle.com

You Are Never Too Old To Try Something New!

Physie begginer ladies

For the past decade I have been your typical dance mum, ferrying my girls to Physie classes, waiting around during class time and getting home quite late and having dinner planned that was quick and easy.

As the competition time of the year arrived, I donned the red, white and black club colours and sat all day at a school hall bored out of my mind for most of it.

A couple of times I entertained the thought of actually doing Physie myself, but always came up with a myriad of excuses….I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, I am too old to start something new like this….etc.

At the end of the year break-up party last year, one of the mums said ‘we should be doing this too’.

She sewed the seed that stuck with me all Christmas break and on sign-up day, I put my name on the list.

OMG….what have I done?????

How can a 51 year old start something new like this?

BJP Physical Culture has classes from Tiny Tots all the way through to Beginner Ladies, so no matter what your age, you can join in.

At our club ladies classes are on Monday night, the one day of the week I usually work for about 10 hours on my feed all day and come home totally exhausted. Dragging myself to class has been difficult some weeks and my brain has felt like mush so learning the work has not been the easiest thing I have ever done.

BUT I have stuck with it, stretching and practicing the syllabus at home and finally last Saturday the first competition of the year arrived.

This required me to –

Make sure my  hair colour was done to cover the regrowth.

Exfoliate from top to toe.

Apply 3 coats of tan for a golden glow.

Redo my gel nails as bright red with gold glitter is not a good choice as it draws attention to your hands, so pastel pink with a hint of sparkle did the trick.

Pack a days worth of food.

Make sure I had my water bottle and energy drink chilling in the fridge.

Find all my red and white gear and pack a bag with thongs and active wear.

Go to sleep acknowledging the fact that I would have to display my far from perfect body in only a leotard and fishnet stockings in front of a packed school hall the next day.

And there is more..

physie hair

My hair had to be teased beyond recognition as I have such fine hair but it needed to look as though I did.

Physie hair poof and bun

At least I look as though I actually have a decent amount of hair.

Miss WW applied enough makeup to last through the day and beyond.

Waiting though more than half the day until it was my turn to be marshalled with all the other beginner ladies and trying to keep the nerves in check.

But miracles do happen, I actually managed to get through all the work without making a mistake and was rewarded with –

winning

2nd Place……..hell yeah!!!!!

The tears pouring down my daughters face with joy as I left the floor was worth more than anything!

The next competition is next week, guess I will be doing it all over again.

If there is something you would love to do, but you keep stopping yourself because you think you are to old, just do it!

What would you love to do?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

School Holiday Activities In Sydney The Whole Family Will Love!

What to do in Sydney during the school holidays

 

 

Sydney is such an amazing city to spend time in with your family. There are so many exciting things to do; the hardest part will be deciding how much you can actually fit in. Together with Accor Hotels we have compiled a fabulous list of school holiday activities in Sydney that will help you create wonderful memories that your family will talk about for years to come.

ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS ON A SUNNY DAY IN SYDNEY

If the weather forecast is for blue sky then make the most of it and get out and about and enjoy it. Don’t forget to wear really comfortable walking shoes, a hat and slap on plenty of sunscreen.

One of the easiest ways to get around Sydney is to use the fabulous ferry service. Traffic in Sydney can be really bad and you don’t want to spend too much of your day just getting to your destination. You will be treated to the most magnificent views of Sydney Harbour on the way and it is a really affordable way to get from the CBD to outer suburb attractions.

Taronga Zoo is home to over 4000 animals and is located in Mosman just 12 minutes by ferry.   Fill your day wandering around the beautiful enclosures or participate in a variety of interactive opportunities to get up close to awesome wildlife. There will be plenty of beautiful photo opportunities with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as a back drop. Kids of all ages who love going on rides will have the best day at Luna Park which is just across the harbor at Milsons Point. Roller coasters, the Ferris wheel and even a haunted house will keep them busy for the day.

No visit to Sydney would be complete without spending some time at one of the most famous beaches in the world, Bondi! Just 8 km from the CBD, there are bus services that run every 15 minutes from the city.  There is a huge variety of restaurants and café’s to choose from when the kids get hungry. How could you beat eating fish and chips sitting on the sand at one of the most photographed beaches in Australia?

RAINY DAY SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN IN SYDNEY

Don’t let grey clouds and rain stop your family from having a wonderful day. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is centrally located at Darling Harbour. Learn all about aquatic animals and even enjoy a glass bottom boat ride.  If the kids really want to swim, the Aquatic Centre at Sydney Olympic Park has a fun water playground and pool that is heated all year-round.

Inquisitive young minds will enjoy the Experimentation exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo. This hands-on display is a great way to learn about science and how things work. There are other fun exhibits that change a regularly. At the moment enjoy a life size Lego display of super heroes and little ones will be captivated by the Wiggles display plus so much more.

For a unique shopping experience, a visit to Paddy’s Market in Haymarket is just a short walk from Central Station. It is the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs, clothing, handbags, makeup, jewellery and toys in a large market atmosphere. Open on Wednesdays through to Sundays the upper levels have become home to many brand name outlet stores, so there really is something for everyone.

Have a look at this great list that has some more suggestions including some free activities so the budget can have a break for the day.

 School holiday activities Sydney by Accorhotels.com

Get all the details about these Great School Holiday Activities in Sydney here.

When you are planning which school holiday activities you will enjoy in Sydney, make sure you leave one day free to enjoy a big long walk on along the harbour’s edge to soak in the stunning views and maybe even watch a cruise ship or two sail on in.

What is your favourite way to keep the kids happy during the holidays?

When The Dance Mum Decides To Dance!

Physie dance

Like most mums, I have spent years and years chauffeuring my girls from after school activity to another.

They tried gymnastics, karate, jazz, cheer leading, yoga and goodness knows what else.

Nine years ago, a friend of Miss WW said she was going to do ‘Physie’ and she thought she might enjoy it too.

So off we went to another Tuesday and Wednesday night activity.

The only difference is that this one stuck.

Physie is an Australian only dance club that has been going for over 125 years.

We had never heard of this before and little did we know it would take over a big portion of our life.

Classes two nights a week, club competitions, inter club competitions, state finals, national qualifying in Sydney and nationals…at the Opera House, not for me but Miss WW’s finals are in the big white house.

Yep, the life of a physie mum is hard work.

There is tanning, hair pieces, make up, leotards and fishnets.

BUT there is one thing that sets Physie apart from other dance sports.

Ladies of all ages can participate.

Yes, there is a beginner ladies section that dance mums of any age can join.

This 51 year old dance mum is going to actually take to the floor too!

OMG, I must be nuts.

For the last few years I have said I would join, but came up with every excuse under the sun to not start.

Sign-on is on Tuesday night and I am going to sign on the dotted line and start.

Exercising on my own is usually a short lived affair, a group arrangement will make me get up off my butt and go to class.

I will have to wear a leotard.

I will have to tan.

I will have to get a hair piece.

I will have to stretch.

I will have to wear horribly uncomfortable fishnets.

At least you only need all this ‘fun’ stuff for competition time.

Then there is which leotard style to pick and what colour, oh boy!

Right now though, I am off to research super spectacular cellulite treatments, as the dimples need toning down stat!

Have you ever taken up a sport your child participates in?

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess.com

One Small Word – 2016

As the New Year approaches, spend any time on the internet and you will probably see a barrage of posts about ‘One Word’.

In case you don’t know what this is all about, quite simply you pick a single word as a point of focus for the year ahead.

I have played along with this for the last couple of years, but like many things you start off all hyped about a New Year and then you fall back into the same old habits by about the 15th of January…..if you even make it that far.

I am tired of playing the same old game, year in, year out.

As the saying goes “Nothing changes unless you do”.

I am long overdue for change, I don’t want another year like I just had.

I don’t want another year of not feeling good, of being my own worst enemy, of allowing the negative committee to have control in my brain, of feeling stuck, of procrastinating over everything for so long because I am such a perfectionist.

I want change.

I want things to be different.

I do not want to get to New Years Eve at the end of this year and feel as though I have achieved practically nothing.

So I thought long and hard about one word that I could focus on, that I could use when I had to make choices and that could help steer me in a better feeling direction.

I got one!

Nourish vision board

I have made myself a mini vision board that now stares at me every time I sit at my desk.

NOURISH

Reminds me to make better food choices and eat less sugar.

Reminds to drink more water.

Reminds me to take my vitamins everyday.

Reminds me to make time for what I love doing without feeling guilty.

Reminds me to focus on what will be best for me.

Reminds me to take some big deep breaths, often.

Reminds me to drink champagne regularly. 🙂

Reminds me to make time to actually sit and enjoy my coffee, instead of practically inhaling it whilst planning what to do next.

Reminds me to make time to catch up on the pile of books I want to read.

Reminds me to make time for fun.

Reminds me to spend more time at the beach (my happy place).

Just one word, encompasses everything I need to do to feel good in mind, body & spirit.

Have you got ‘One Word’ to guide you through 2016?

Successful Mirizzi Syndrome Gallbladder Surgery!

Living with an angry gallbladder is no fun.

It can be incredibly painful and surgery to remove it is the best solution.

It looks as though I have been living with a dud gallbladder for a very long time.

Thankfully the universe gave me the mega nudge I needed to discover this and take action to having it fixed when I turned a lovely shade of yellow due to my bile duct being blocked by my gallbladder.

After 5 days of continual tests in hospital, I discovered that I probably had Mirizzi Syndrome and it meant that my gallbladder had attached itself to my liver. Even an MRI was unable to 100% confirm this. It did mean that a normal, straightforward gallbladder removal was probably not on the cards.

A date was booked to have my removal surgery, but I was warned it was almost inevitable that I would not be able to have this procedure via keyhole surgery and would require a full cut to have it done.

But miracles do happen.

Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane

Thanks to three surgeons they not only managed to remove almost all my gallbladder, find a solution to a completely collapsed gallbladder duct, clean away years of built up gunk and remove a massive stone, they did it all via keyhole.

That was 8 days ago.

I am totally amazed at how good I feel only a week post surgery.

I am virtually pain free, I can move around freely and only have a couple of bandaids left as evidence.

I was expecting a much tougher recovery as I remembered only too well how uncomfortable I was after my hysterectomy that could not be done via keyhole surgery.

Totally blown away at the difference.

It looks as though I will be able to go back to work a lot sooner than I anticipated and will not burn such a big hole in my built up leave entitlements.

After my post op check-up next week, I will be able to plan my return.

I am deeply grateful to all the surgeons and staff at the Prince Charles hospital who did such a great job looking after me. I am also soooo grateful I don’t have to eat another one of their low fat dinners again. The rest of the food was great, but those dinners……no!

All those years of ‘back pain’ that I put down to my job are now a distant memory. My symptoms did not match the traditional gallbladder ones, but in hindsight I now know why I was often so uncomfortable.

Just before I left hospital they asked me to sign a permission form to allow the film of my successful surgery be made available as a teaching tool, so now my ducky gallbladder even gets to be famous!

Moving on upward and forward from here on in!

Do you still have your gallbladder?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

Two Easy Ways To Protect Your WordPress Blog!

For over four years I have been blogging away merrily, adding posts not quite as frequently as I would like sometimes and just really enjoying having my own little home on the internet.

A little while ago some prominent Australian bloggers endured our worst nightmare, they were hacked.

One of them, possibly more lost EVERYTHING and had to start again.

Protect your blog from hackers

I honestly don’t think I would have it in me to create all my content over again.

I would probably walk away and hang up my bloggy hat for good!

BUT I did not take action to secure my blog as I really didn’t know where to start.

Thanks universe for sending me reminders in my Facebook newsfeed quite regularly.

It was time to take the blinkers off and find some solutions for my peace of mind.

STEP 1 – INSTALL WORDFENCE PLUG IN

This was really easy to do and I am still using the free version rather than the payable upgrade option.

I now get sent an email when anyone tries to login to my site. I cringe and smile at the same time, as they were unsuccessful.

The default setting for login attempts is 20 and after that you are blocked from trying again.

I changed this setting to blocking after 3 attempts. I am mean like that 🙂

If I forget my login details well I kind of screwed, but thankfully I have never forgotten them yet.

STEP 2 – BACK UP

Hands up if you have never actually created a back up copy of your blog?

For a very long time I had not either.

There are plenty of ways you can back up a blog and I spent quite a bit of time researching an option that would work from me.

I am a set and forget kind of gal, I did not want to have to remember to regularly perform a back up myself. Nor did I want the data stored on my computer.

My solution that works perfectly for me is VAULTPRESS.

Every single day, Vaultpress backs up a copy of my blog and stores it externally for me.

It costs $5.00 per month and is worth every cent for ease and peace of mind.

If some wicked hacker can login after only 3 attempts and turn my blog to mush, I will have a complete copy to start again with.

Apparently it is very easy to do if necessary.

I am hoping I never have to find out.

Just this week I read about another blogger who had her site hacked, and this time it didn’t make me feel uneasy, just damn angry that people can do this to another person.

What steps have you taken to protect your precious piece of internet real estate?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

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