• The Evolution of My iPhone Addiction


    I consider myself to be a reasonably well balanced person on the whole. I like to exercise a few times a week because it makes me feel good about eating more pasta. I try and have a few, well three, ok maybe two wine free nights a week, and I try and balance my actual clothes shopping purchases with virtual online store wishlists (try it, it’s quite therapeutic).

    But, it was a different type of store purchase that caused me the most sleepless nights, and for a while there consumed nearly my every waking thought- and that would be ‘free’ online games downloaded through the iTunes App Store.

    It all started innocently enough. I was late to the smart phone revolution, and was skeptical that I would use my phone for anything but as a phone and camera (oh, sweet naive soul). Before long, I was lured into my addiction by peer pressure- and not surprisingly that would be via my computer savvy kids. After purchasing a few ‘educational games’ (because that makes us feel better about all the time they spend on idevices, right?) I saw a review on the App store for a fun little game called Tiny Tower.  In this game you build floors and move ‘bitizens’ into apartments and businesses to live and work (sounds riveting doesn’t it).  After a few mildly obsessed weeks, I found myself seriously contemplating buying 500 Tower Bux for the bargain price of $24.99, so that I could buy the ‘Ultra Lift 3000 Extreme Elevator’ (yes, really) in order to move between floors quicker. What the bux was I thinking? Luckily, I was able to come to my senses, and firmly deleted the app, never to be seen again (with the odd twinge of regret- how awesome would that Extreme lift have been?)

    But like any addict, I was always on the lookout for something shiny and new to try- and boy did I hit the motherload, thanks to a load of mothers all busy playing with their phones at school pick up: Candy Crush Saga. Now, at this point you are probably either nodding your head with sympathy, have no idea what I’m talking about, or are huddled in a corner, eyes glazed and fingers trembling as you try yet again to get past level 270 before you lose all your lives. Many articles have been written about the vice like grip this innocent looking game can have on your life, and I was no exception. Children went hungry, the dog went unwalked, my husband looked at me with sad disappointed eyes every night in bed, as I would say without looking up, “just one more level and then I’ll stop” (which of course was a blatant lie- I mean they obviously invented spinning chocolate wheels just to torture me).

    A few months into my addiction, my husband “accidentally” deleted Candy Crush from my phone (he swears he thought he was deleting it from his phone, but I have my serious doubts). My immediate thought was ‘divorce’, swiftly followed by incredulous disbelief- I was nearly up to level 178, and all that ‘hard work’ had vanished without a trace.  Then, as I reflected on the amount of time I had actually spent playing this game, I eventually felt a sense of relief that I would no longer spend all my spare moments as a slave to colour bombs and striped/wrapped lolly combos. I was finally free from Candy Kingdom!

    So to any of my fellow app addicts out there, I can only offer the following words of advice: stay strong, delete that App, and make sure you remove it from the Cloud (you may need to pay a trained technician $385 to do that part- no one knows how that thing works). Then, just like me you can regain the joyous carefree life you once had, full of screaming kids, demanding pets, and complaining husbands.

    Yes, it feels so good to no longer be addicted to silly games on my phone. Now, excuse me as it’s been a few minutes since I last checked my Facebook feed, and I really must see if anyone liked my photos on Instagram!


    I know I’m not the only one who has an iPhone addiction- I just swapped from games to social media- any tips or tricks to help me out?



  • Ten things I say to my kids and (almost) never mean…


    1. I’ll think about it… (usually said when I mean no, but can’t be bothered with the ensuing argument)
    2. I’m not going to ask you again…(oh, yes I will!)
    3. I’ll be there in just a minute… (more likely 10 minutes, unless I forget to come at all)
    4. Get off that iPad, you have been on it for ages…(it kept you quiet while I was on Facebook and Instagram, but I’m finished now)
    5. Maybe…(see number 1)
    6. There is going to be a serious consequence if you don’t do what I say… (um,  I just have to think of it first)
    7. I am going to turn this car around if you don’t behave… (and go where? I’m trying to get you out of the house!)
    8. You are going to be in big trouble when your father gets home…(but we probably will have all moved on to the next drama by then, and forgotten all about it)
    9. If you don’t clean this room, I’m throwing all your stuff in the bin! (no I won’t- then I’d have to buy you more stuff)
    10. Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?  (Why won’t you all stop fighting/playing on the iPad/jumping on the dog, and look at me with adoring expectant eyes ready to hang off my every word!)

    It’s funny how we often say one thing, and mean another- and I am definitely more guilty of this in my role as a parent, than I am in any of my other relationships.  This week, I am going to make a conscious effort to remove most of these sayings from my parenting repertoire, and be more honest with my responses.  After all our children are like sponges-absorbing how to behave from our actions more than our words (and besides, half the time they never listen anyway!)

    Do you ever say one thing, and mean another? Leave your comments below- I’d love to hear from you.


  • The dying art of the handwritten note


    The other day, I received some mail in my post box. It wasn’t a postcard from my friendly real estate agent telling me how my house is worth much more than I think. Nor was it a letter from my local council member telling me how she is spending my massively inflated rates, based on how much friendly real estate agents think my house is worth. It wasn’t an electricity bill (they just hit me online now), or a catalogue from Vintage Cellars (although I do like those).  This was a hand written envelope addressed to me, and I must admit I felt a small thrill upon seeing it (yes, it is possible that I need to get out more!) I was even more thrilled when I opened it, and found a beautiful note from a dear friend whom I shall call Caylie (because that’s her name) congratulating me on my new blog and website. Now, many friends have told me how they love what I’m doing, and it really does warm the cockles of my heart (does anyone actually know what cockles are?) But to know that someone actually took the time in this day and age to find a nice card, write some heartfelt words on it, put it in an envelope, and take it to the post office to buy a stamp (because nobody keeps stamps at home anymore- do they?) and then post it. Wow- I am exhausted just thinking about it, in these digitised times of automatically clicking send or post.

    It made me think back to all the precious letters I have kept over the years- beautiful long heartfelt love letters from my long distance boyfriend (now long time husband), funny and descriptive postcards from friends backpacking overseas, and treasured handwritten cards from much missed relatives that are sadly no longer with me.  In a way these missives are all relics of another era, but I am so glad I still have them in my possession.  I may not look at them often, if at all, but it is certainly a comfort to know that they are safely sitting in a special box in the top of my cupboard, ready to be reread if I need to be reminded of how loved I am and how loved I have been throughout my life.  Yet, I feel sad that my children will not have these memories to cherish.  Sure there are a few birthday cards with some special words written on them- but heartfelt letters that someone has really taken time to consider their words over?  I don’t think so.  So, I have decided to once a year write (not type) a letter to each of my three children telling them the things I have loved about them and loved doing with them in that year.  I will give it to them on Christmas day (not during present time- I’m not completely naive!) and tell them how much I love them, and that I want them to keep these letters in a special spot to read whenever they want to.

    I am perfectly ok with the fact that they may not be that interested in what I have to say at this point in time.  But it is my hope that maybe one day a grumpy teenager who is having a hard time expressing themselves, will be sitting listening to terrible music in their room, and feeling like the world is against them might think to read some words from me that they would never listen to spoken out loud.  They would remember that no matter what, I am in their corner and I love them unconditionally.  Or if God forbid, something happened to me, and I was no longer here for them, there would be tangible written evidence of my all-encompassing love for my children that survives long past texts and Facebook updates.   If (there doesn’t seem to be a guaranteed ‘when’ in this day and age) they leave home, they may well leave these letters behind, along with long forgotten kinder drawings, soccer medallions, and written stories about magical kingdoms.  But thats ok, because I shall keep them, ready to be the custodian of their memories until one day, they too need to remember how much they are loved and have been loved throughout their life.


    Do you still write letters to people? Or do you write special notes for your children? I would love to hear from you…

  • How a failed business idea led me to exactly where I am supposed to be.


    When I turned 40, as part of my Festival of Mel celebrations, I decided I wanted to do something a bit out of the ordinary with my four best girlfriends.  Something that would be exciting and thrilling, without the inherent danger of say, jumping out of a plane (after all, we had 13 small children between us!)  We ended up going ziplining in the Otway State Forest- it was great fun if you ever get the chance to do it, and we came away feeling happy and exhilarated. Later that week, once I had recovered from all my festivities,  I was thinking to myself that it would be great if there was a website that sold gift vouchers for experiences for women, as this would be a fantastic 40th birthday present.  When I started looking online, it seemed that a lot of the websites selling experiences were geared towards men e.g. hot laps in a V8 (I know this might be some women’s idea of a good time, but it ain’t mine). However, anything targeted towards women tended to be along the lines of spa treatments and massages (now I love a good massage as much as the next person, but it hardly gets the heart pumping- unless of course it’s by Ryan Gosling).

    With that, an inkling of an idea began to form- maybe I could start a business that sold gift vouchers to women for experiences rather than products- things like cooking classes, dance lessons, jewellery making, and swimming with dolphins (I still think it’s a good idea by the way, feel free to steal it if you want to!)  I talked to my best friend about it, and we both agreed it was a fabulous idea, bound to be super successful, make us a motza of money, and would eventually be bought out by a large corporation so that we could spend our twilight years travelling the world together in style (did I mention that I’m a glass half full type of gal?) So we decided to go into business together, and diligently started our planning.  We chose a name (Your Time Off), registered it, got a logo designed, did a business plan, researched potential suppliers, started getting a website built, and……..

    Nothing, we really didn’t do anything.  The above took us two years to come up with.  Yes, for two whole years we would meet once a week, catch up with each others news, complain about our children, complain about our husbands, laugh about life in general, have a cup of tea, have some lunch, oh, and maybe spend an hour or two on the computer (while easily getting sidetracked by Between Two Ferns– you can thank me later if you’ve never watched it before!) So what happened? We both thought it was a great idea, but neither of us had any motivation to do any work on it outside of the few hours we caught up once a week- basically we didn’t have any passion for our business.  What we did enjoy was spending regular time together, and having the excuse of our start up business meant we made consistent time for each other in our busy lives.  Now you would think that two girls who met whilst studying psychology, would have realised sooner that running an online gift voucher business would not be their strong suit, but no, we kept going as neither of us was willing to disappoint the other by pulling out.

    It was only earlier this year, when a friend convinced me to attend the Big Hearted Business (un)Conference and I heard Danielle LaPorte speak, that I started to question what I was doing. I really started listening to my inner desires, and pushed my fears aside and enrolled in a life coaching course that deeply resonated with me.  I knew that helping women like me live their best life on the other side of forty was where my true passion lay. I finally felt I could let Your Time Off go without feeling like a failure. My friendship is still rock solid (and lets face it, it may not have stayed that way if we went into business together).  Not surprisingly, I have achieved more in the last few months, than I did in the last two years, because I believe so much in myself and what I want to achieve.  I built this website myself, I have rediscovered my long lost love of writing, I have embraced social media, and I am loving my life coaching course.  I can’t wait until I start taking clients on next year, and I’m already thinking ahead about publishing e-books and running retreats in the future.  Yes, I am thinking big, because I am believing in myself  and what I have to offer the world. I may have gotten here via the long route, but I wouldn’t trade those days with my best friend for anything either- they helped get me to exactly where I am supposed to be.