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On the Other Side of Forty- Nothing Good Ever Happens After Midnight

When you are a kid, midnight seems an elusive and magical time- impossible to stay awake for, but so full of promise (did anyone else dream of midnight feasts with ‘scrumptious tea cakes and lashings of ginger beer‘ or was that just me and my Enid Blyton obsession?)

In my late teens and early twenties, I often didn’t even consider going out until after 10.00pm, so most of my night out occurred after midnight, and usually included lots of dancing, drinking, and fun times. Seeing the sun come up after a dance party was not unusual, and my body seemed to function pretty well on a small amount of sleep and an egg & bacon McMuffin or two (this was an unfortunately small period of my life when my body reacted so well to alcohol, lack of sleep, and fast food- those days are looooong gone!)

In my thirties, I wanted nothing to do with midnight, I was all about sleep and how to get more of it. Throughout the night there was often a baby wanting to be breastfed, a toddlers wet bed to deal with, or a young child’s nightmares to soothe. My husband and I often enjoyed the fun bonding game of “I’m going to pretend I’m still asleep, so the other person gets up first.” The only thing I learned about midnight during this period is that there is nothing good on TV when you have to feed a baby in the middle of the night, and never ever purchase anything on a late night shopping channel, even if it is going to revolutionise your life (unless it’s one of those rotating hot iron hair straighteners- you should buy that and tell me if it really will smooth my frizzy locks!)

These days, midnight is no longer something to be feared, as all my children sleep through the night. If they get up early (as they invariably do) they all know how to make themselves a bowl of cereal and keep themselves amused until I come down the stairs to see the kitchen in a complete shambles (they never get tired of delighting me with that vista). However, I am speaking from experience when I say that on the other side of forty nothing good ever happens after midnight. Let me give you two hypothetical scenarios to prove my hypothesis (ok, so they both might have happened to me!)

Example one: You have paid for a babysitter to look after your children, while you and your partner go to a real life actual grown up party in your local neighbourhood- yippee! You confidently tell the delightful young babysitter that you’ll be home just before midnight. So off you go wearing grown up high heels, and soon you are talking to real life grown ups, having a real life grown up great time, when you suddenly notice that it is 11.58pm (when you last checked the time it was 9.30pm- how did that happen?) Somehow you have to remove your husband from his life or death conversation about sport, say good bye to everyone, have a fight about who’s going to drive, look for where you left your jacket, and then as neither of you can safely drive, you walk home in bare feet with your uncomfortable shoes in hand. When you finally arrive home, you end up giving the babysitter a big tip because you are so late, and see a note from your son on the kitchen bench informing you he has an away game of soccer at 8.30 in the morning, he can’t find his soccer boots, and you are on orange and lolly duty…

Still not convinced?

Example 2: The girls night out. You and your besties have all cleared your schedules, left plans and dinner with your significant others, and have managed to put on an outfit that makes you feel somewhat young and with it (or at the very least not too old and without it). You are going out for a nice dinner in the city, and decide to have a glass of champagne at a friends house before you catch the train. Two glasses later, you are feeling on fire, and head into town, where the hip new restaurant that doesn’t take bookings informs you that the next table of 6 will be available at 9.45pm. You decide to go to a bar because tonight you are young and wild and free- a few more drinks are had and the conversation and laughter is flowing. By the time you are seated for dinner it is past 10.00pm, and you would eat the coasters you are so tipsy and starving. When the food finally arrives you wolf it down, and end up eating a number of kimchi tacos and mini sliders at $12 a pop, that you barely tasted. Someone decides that an espresso martini is a good idea for dessert, and you miss the last train home and have to get a taxi. You finally get home at 1.30am, tired, starving, quite possibly drunk, and have spent a small nations GDP on your night out. Oh, and your husband has left you a note reminding you that you are on canteen duty for soccer in the morning…


Do you have any great stories about the other side of midnight? Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me (more or less!)

On the Other Side of Forty I love…a Mumcation


As those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram will know, I recently spent 5 nights on beautiful Hamilton Island with 5 lovely mums from my kid’s primary school.  This the third year we have done a girl’s trip, with an extra mum and and an extra night being added on each year (I think we’ll be up to a planeload of women flying around the world for a month in a few years!) Now, before you all roll your eyes and think there is no way that could be me, let me tell you I was the same initially.  The thought of a trip away without my husband and kids sounded as fanciful to me as getting a massage from a shirtless Ryan Gosling (but enough about my dreams…)  However, after a couple of Friday night planning (drinking champagne) sessions we discovered the secret to making your desires for some me time a reality.  Now listen closely my friends, for I am about to unlock the key to your dream getaway- seven little words that may just change your life:


Yes I’m sorry to break it to you, but your husband isn’t about to turn to you one night as you are emptying the dishwasher for the third time that day, and whisper lovingly in your ear, “Darling you look exhausted, why don’t you hop onto Trip Advisor and find a nice spot for you and the girls to go and sip espresso martini’s for a few nights.”  That ain’t happening, it’s more likely Ryan Gosling will come knocking at your door with a portable massage table.  Your darling offspring aren’t going to lift their precious heads from their iDevices and say, “Mum you do such a great job of getting us to school, soccer, ballet, playdates, and into the shower on occasion, you should have some fun with your friends, please don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine.”  Likewise your employer isn’t about to acknowledge all your dedicated hard work and suggest that you take some well deserved time for yourself while they pick up the slack.  No, all these things are unlikely to occur (and if they do occur for you, can we please swap lives?)

Going on a mumcation is akin to planning a secret reconnaisance mission in wartime- it require tactics, logistical manoeuvring and determination. For us, the date is set months in advance, and once you have all agreed on the date, and how long you’ll go for, the next important step is to choose a destination and just book it Danno! For me and my friends, we like sun, a bit of shopping, some good restaurants, and somewhere scenic to walk it all off the next day. A bonus of it being booked so far in advance, is that you can save money that you might normally spend on yourself and put it towards your mumcation, so as you don’t go into credit card shock at the end of it (I may have forgotten to take my own advice on this last point!)

Once the actual holiday details are locked in, then the real intensive planning begins. Yes, it is likely you will have to ask some people for help- the majority of dads cannot do both drop off and pick ups for school or kinder, as well as all the other activities most kids are involved with.  But guess what?  Most people are more than happy to help you out if you just ask them, and every parent likes having a favour or two up their sleeve to call on when required (I know I do).  In my case, my wonderful mother in law comes to stay- her only stipulations are a detailed running sheet of where everyone needs to be and at what time, and a fridge full of cold NZ Sauvignon Blanc (done and done!)

But that all sounds like a lot of hard work, I hear some of you ask, is it really worth it? My answer to you is a resounding Hell Yes!  On my recent trip, I felt younger, relaxed, joyful, in the moment, and free to be ME.  I laughed until I cried at least once every day (I might need to work on my pelvic floor muscles before the next trip!) Yes my liver took a bit of a pounding, but with no one to get up for in the morning- who cares?  This stuff is important in our lives, we are all much better mums, wives, daughters, employees, and friends if we get to manifest some much deserved self care and self love every now and then. Besides which, as my husband likes to say, “A happy wife means a happy life” (he can be remarkably smart on occasion!)

So there you have it, on the other side of forty it is possible to have a fantastic mumcation- it just requires ditching the mother guilt, getting some good friends together, a bit of logistical planning, and a suitcase filled with champagne (man, those Island alcohol prices are a killer!)


Are you a fan of the girl’s trip?  If so, how do you make it happen and where do you go- I’d love to hear from you…

A crazy afternoon at my place


Let me give you a rundown of my afternoon the other day. My oldest came through the door after school tired and emotional because he felt he was being unfairly picked on, and proclaimed it to be ‘the worst day ever’. Then, when I told him we were having roast chicken for dinner, he put on an Academy award winning performance of such abject despair that it would have made Hugh Jackman in Le Miserables proud (I mean I could have understood it if it was cauliflower soup, but it’s roast chicken!) Miss 9 promptly burst into tears when I had the audacity to suggest to her that she didn’t need to buy a present for the student teacher that had been in her classroom for a whole two weeks- what a crazy mother I was for thinking that a nice home made card would suffice. Then my youngest, confronted with the two other sad sacks, joined in and started crying when she realised that I had forgotten to go to assembly and watch her sing the national anthem with the rest of her prep class- yes, my mother guilt was well and truly activated.

Trying to be the caring earth mother that I like to pretend I am on occasion, I quickly pulled out the dairy free, sugar free, gluten free “ANZAC” biscuits that I had sourced from a wellness blog on the strength of a a good Facebook photo for afternoon tea. Not surprisingly, these were were thoroughly rejected by all (myself included) as taste free (why did I think a recipe by a 22 year old skinny yoga goddess would taste good?) But really, the piece de resistance of the whole afternoon, was when one of the kids yelled out “Mum, Otto’s just pooed out my sock!” Now, I’m sorry if you just spat out your delicious Arnotts ANZAC biscuit, but yes it’s true, our rather large and crazy puppy Otto does have a sock eating problem. Before you ask, we do try not to leave socks lying around, but this dog hunts them down like Kim Kardashian hunts down a photo opportunity!

All in all, it was quite a crazy afternoon at my place, and at the time I really couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry or do both. It was only after I called my sister to vent, that I could really laugh at the ridiculousness of it all- I mean what do you do with a dog like that! Which in turn made me think, that when times are a bit crazy or if everyone in the family seems to be having a bad day, sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, have a laugh with someone, and put it in perspective (maybe with a large glass of wine thrown in for good measure!) So often in these Facebook times we often focus on maintaining a perfect outlook to the rest of the world, and I for one always feel a tiny sense of relief when I know that other peoples kids behave as poorly as mine do sometimes, or that not every healthy snack tastes good or is worthy of posting to social media.

So in conclusion, if you need to feel better about your own family today, please feel free to compare yours to mine, but whatever you do, don’t come around to my house and leave your socks lying on the floor!



I know I’m not the only one- How do you cope with a crazy afternoon at your place?

On The Other Side of Forty…I love to Dance

‘Dancing enables you to find yourself and lose yourself all at the same time’

DANCING This is a word that can strike fear into your heart, or it can make your heart want to sing. Thinking back to when you were a child, or watching your own young children, it is clear that moving to music is something that our bodies want to do innately. A catchy beat comes on the radio, and little bodies can’t help but to move and spin- present in the moment, and in the joy of the music.
But along the way, we sometimes become more self conscious about who is watching us, or maybe we feel that our bodies don’t move with enough rhythm and grace, so we stop moving our bodies to the beat, and maybe just a tap of our hands or feet is all that shows we still enjoy the music within us.

For me, I discovered how much I loved to dance when I started going to nightclubs in my late teens. Like most people I enjoyed going out with my friends and having a few drinks and a laugh, but it was when the music was loud and the beat was pounding that I loved to let myself go and surrender into the moment.

Dancing was (and still is) a real time to switch off from the cares of the world and to feel a sense of connectedness to my body. I never cared about what I looked like to other people, because I was experiencing joy, and this seemed to be reflected in the people dancing around me, no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a dancer they were.

Many years later, about 10 months after my first child was born, I remember hearing a song on the radio (A Little Less Conversation) and I just got up out off the couch and danced like I hadn’t for years…and it felt GOOD. I experienced an incredible sense of release, and was truly connected to my self, like I hadn’t been for a long time.  Once my children were all old enough to move and groove, I regularly began to enjoy the sensation of losing myself in the music, this time in my living room- with the added bonus of three little faces thinking that every move I made was awesome!

On the other side of forty, I still love to dance, and I’ve often found that switching on a fun song (we like Live Louder at the moment) can instantly alter the dynamic in our busy stressed household.  Busting out a few moves with the kids helps everyone feel connected and in the moment (even if your teenager is rolling their eyes at you- I choose to believe that all kids like having a mum who knows how to have fun!)

So don’t let dancing be another thing that you used to do back in the day, or that you never did for fear of what you looked like- whether you’re doing housework by yourself, having a drink with your friends, or cooking with the kids- put on a classic dance hit and shake your groove thing along the way!


Do you still love to dance? What songs are guaranteed to get you up and moving- either on the dance floor or the living room floor? I’d love to know…

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