Things I love

  • Life Lessons from Anne of Green Gables

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    If you are a woman of a certain age that can remember a time growing up when reading was your main option for boredom busting on a rainy day, then firstly congratulations- you are my type of person! Secondly, it is quite likely that as a 10 or 11 year old girl (there was no such thing as a tween back then) you read Anne of Green Gables. If you were more into Nancy Drew than L.M. Montgomery, and have never read about Anne with an ‘e’ Shirley, then you missed out on a delightful series of books about a spirited and imaginative young orphan who sees the good in every situation, and warms the hearts of everyone she meets.

    Now, if you were to classify fans of Anne of Green Gables into levels of devotion- I would probably be up there with the more hard core fans.  As a girl, I avidly read all eight books in the series many times over, and still own my original beautifully illustrated hardcover books to this very day (hmm, they might be worth something on eBay- I must check that out*)   Actually, after a quick Google search I found many fan groups in existence such as OAOGGLS- Online Anne Of Green Gables Lovers Society (how’s that for a catchy acronym) so maybe I am not that hard core after all!  But, I do love my books, and have many happy memories of spending my childhood days with Anne, Matthew, Marilla, and of course Gilbert Blythe: my original boy crush (with sincere apologies to Ryan Gosling!)

    Recently, I decided to re-read AOGG (I decided to use a snazzy acronym as well, because basically I am a lazy typer). Not surprisingly, I still love it. Re-reading a treasured book is like snuggling into a favourite dressing gown- warm, cozy and predictable.  In fact, just looking at these books takes me to a safe and happy place in my heart.  But this time around, I was struck by the fantastic life lessons that are contained within this story. Anne has had a pretty hard and miserable life in her 11 short years, before arriving at Green Gables, yet she truly does seem to see the best in everybody who comes across her path.  But she is no meek pushover either, quite willing to stand up for herself and her loved ones against the bullies of the world.

    I have made a list of some of my favourite AOGG quotes below, why don’t you have a read (keep in mind that this  book was first published in 1908) and see how they relate to you in this fast paced modern world that we live in.

    • Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?
    • Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it
    • True friends are always together in spirit
    • Kindred spirits are not as scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world
    • It’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it.
    • I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls, I just want you.
    • Dear old world, you are lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.
    • And you know one can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things.
    • But the best of it all was coming home

    Pretty awesome, hey? It is near impossible for me to pick an absolute favourite Anne quote, but I think the following one comes pretty close, now that I am on the other side of forty with a family of my own.

    • I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.

    Nothing much else to say is there- Anne Shirley says it perfectly.

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    *Sell my Anne books- have you read this post at all? Never in a million years!

    Are you an Anne of Green Gables fan? If so, what do her books mean to you? Or do you have another book that takes you back to that warm safe space in your heart?

  • The truth behind those perfect family holiday photos

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    Every so often my Facebook feed becomes home to family photos from someone’s overseas holiday. Sunset drinks on the beach in Bali, ice creams on the street of Paris, tapas on a Spanish terrace…I don’t know about you, but these photos can have the simultaneous effect of inducing feelings of jealousy and happiness within me all at once. The photo above is a favourite of mine, a beautiful (albeit highly unrealistic) representation of our time in the French countryside.  But as we know a holiday photo only tells a minute part of the story, as I was reminded the other day when my kids were reminiscing about our family holiday to France and Italy that we went on just under 2 years ago.

    “Remember the farmhouse with the orchard that we stayed at in the Italian countryside?”, said Miss 9 wistfully.

    “Oh, yeah!”, said Master 12, “and the little shop we walked to that had the most delicious pizza bread in the world.”

    “I remember that!” exclaimed Miss 6, “we all had nits, and you had to buy the special Italian shampoo!”

    Oh yes- holidaying with kids: glamorous for a millisecond and then reality comes crashing down!

    Now, I wasn’t on Facebook two years ago (whatever did I used to do with my spare time!?) therefore I was unable to bore excite you all with my exotic holiday snaps, so I have decided to pull out a couple from the iPhoto vault and give you the truth behind those perfect holiday photos.

     Let’s start with a little multiple choice test for you:

    When you think about visiting Paris what is at the top of your list to visit?

    1. The main tourist attractions, e.g. Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre.
    2. The wonderful restaurants, patisseries, and cafes.
    3. Every single park and playground you walk past every time you venture out of your apartment.

    Yes, congratulations, if you chose number 3, you too have travelled overseas with small children, and know that the main tourist attractions are somewhat optional, compared to the lure of a French playground that is in all ways identical to an Australian playground (except for the addition of le French dog poo).  Patience is very much at the top of the list of any parent with hopes of getting in some cultural immersion whilst on holidays (not to mention a never ending supply of Euros to buy ice creams, crepes, etc. to bribe the little darlings to move away from the playground and into the art gallery!)

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    Here is my youngest looking much more like the cheeky miss she is, than in the ethereal photo at the top of this post. It was taken in yet another Parisian playground. Do you see how it is different from an Australian playground? No, I can’t either!

     

     

    After France, we drove to Italy. Long driving holidays with kids, that could really be another whole post in itself. It was guaranteed that our kids would start bickering and fighting just as the dulcet tones of Lady GPS would tell us to take the next exit off the toll-way.  Naturally, we would miss it and have to drive another 20km before we could exit and retrace our steps- ah, good times…let’s just be thankful there are no photos of my head exploding at the sound of the 300th ‘Are we there yet?’

    When we finally got there, we discovered that the 100 year old Italian farmhouse we stayed in for 10 days was charming in a rustic way.  For example, the master bedroom had an ornately carved wooden bedhead (specially made for the twin beds that were in it- also original I would hazard a guess). It was situated in a picturesque valley in Northern Italy just outside a small delightful old village. It came complete with a fantastic veggie garden that we used to top our hand made pizzas, along with the delicious salami and vino rosso from the little alimentari down the road (do you like my casual use of Italian words to give you the authentico experience?). Oh, and it had a hazelnut orchard that supplied nuts to the local factory that makes Nutella. I mean come on, you are pretty jealous aren’t you?  If you saw the photo below on Facebook you would be hitting ‘like’, right? Except for one small detail that I have as of yet failed to mention: at the bottom of that picturesque valley was a piggery. Yep, a dirty, smelly, grunty factory of pigs (no doubt helping to supply the delicious salami from our local alimentari!) At least, 3-4 times a day when the wind changed, the smell that wafted up the valley and through our windows was truly eye watering. Think of a strong mixture of pig, rotten cabbage, and manure, and you will get the not so molto bene picture! We still loved our time here, but the kids became very adept at running for cover as we scrambled to shut every window in the house before the smell was trapped in with us, only to sit it out until the wind changed!

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    This is the idyllic view from our farmhouse. Ten minutes after this photo we were inside with all the doors and windows shut trying to keep the stench out!

    Now don’t get me wrong, I know we were extremely fortunate to be able to have had such a wonderful holiday, and I do appreciate that everyone who travels has good and bad moments. But, next time you’re feeling jealous of that glamorous holiday photo as you are scrolling through your newsfeed, please remember that you are seeing a carefully edited version of a holiday.  After all, no one want to see photos of me buying lice shampoo at the local Italian farmacia!

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    I know I’m not the only one with some good holidaying with kids stories…let me know in the comments below if you can top mine!

     

     

     

  • Um, What exactly is a Life Coach?

    ‘Coaching is about making an action plan that moves you forward from where you are to where you want to be’

    Not that long ago, I would have been one of those people who had very little idea of what a life coach actually was. If I had ever heard the term, I vaguely (and I admit, judgementally) thought of someone that a certain type of woman might visit in between appointments with her personal Pilates conditioning expert and her feng-shui colour consultant. Yes, you could surmise that a life coach wasn’t something I thought ‘normal’ everyday women would utilise and gain benefit from. Well how wrong could I be? Life coaching is taking off in a big way (according to Australia’s Life Coaching Institute, it’s the second fastest growing industry in the world), and thanks to Skype, Facebook groups, and email support, being coached is something that is now feasible for many busy women, no matter where they live or how time poor they are.

    “But why would you see a life coach, isn’t it a bit indulgent?” I hear you ask (well, I don’t really hear you, I am not a spiritual life coach!) To which, I answer: Is wanting to be a better version of yourself indulgent? A better mother? A better partner? A better friend? Since training to be a life coach, and being coached by some great coaches myself, I can honestly say that this is a service that EVERY woman I know could benefit from. This is because of one simple reason. No one, and I mean no one has got all of their shit together all of the time- despite what some people’s Facebook and Instagram feeds try and show us!

    We all feel like we are juggling balls in the air at times, and sometimes it is inevitable that one or more of those balls will fall. In today’s society, there can be an expectation on many forty something women to be loving mothers, amazing housekeepers and chefs, wonderful wives, fun loving friends, diligent workers, carers to elderly parents, and not to mention to still be able to comfortably fit into your pre-children skinny jeans and keep the grey hair at bay (phew!) We may feel some or all of these expectations, and we might face pressure that we put on ourselves, or that we receive from other people. Either way, the burden of these expectations can add up to a feeling of overwhelm and frustration pretty damn quickly.

    I believe that each and every one of us has unfulfilled dreams, desires, and goals we want to accomplish, that can easily get stifled and squashed down by our busy everyday lives (I know mine did for many years). This doesn’t have to mean that you are necessarily leading an unhappy or unsatisfying life. What it does mean, is that our non-stop day to day routines do not allow for regular opportunities to pause and reflect, and to acknowledge how certain situations make you feel, and whether there are areas in your life that you could improve.

    This is where a good life coach like me (insert shameless plug!) can come to the rescue. Someone who asks you those probing questions, and gets you to think about what it is you truly want in your one precious life.  In other words, how you want to FEEL. Can you think of the last time someone truly asked you how you feel (and no I’m not talking about the text from your girlfriend after the bottle of champagne you shared last weekend!) A life coach can help you discover or rediscover the things that light you up inside, that give you energy, vitality and add richness to your life. Because, I truly believe that no matter how many kids you have, or how demanding your job is, there is still a way to live your life in alignment with how you truly want to feel. It’s just that we don’t stop and think about this stuff too often (if at all).  Having someone who listens to you, really hears you, and acts as an advocate for you can be incredibly empowering, and you can certainly find out a lot about the type of person you are and who you want to become (oh, and by the way, it’s never too late…)

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    Perhaps you would like a more calm and connected household, or to create a business that you love, or to feel more joy and vitality in your everyday…life coaching with me can help you get there. Just click HERE and set up you time for an obligation free ‘Time for You’ session: I would love to hear from you x

     

     

  • It’s Giveaway Time!

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    Yes, just like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I am giving it away now, it being some fabulous prizes to thank YOU for supporting my blog ‘The Other Side of Forty’ and to celebrate the upcoming launch of my life coaching business.  I truly cannot wait to start connecting with women who are ready to delve into rediscovering what makes their heart sing, and help them create and achieve their goals.

    But in the meanwhile, what really I want is for you to win some beautiful things!  These are all products that I personally use in order to help look after my self, and I would love to share them with you.

    Reignite Your Spark Giveaway!

    One lucky subscriber will win all of the following:

    • Goal writing journal from migoals.com
    • Artisan writing journal from thelittlesage.com
    • A pack of Scatterlove cards by Fat Mum Slim & Emma Kate Co.
    • Little Bird organic tangerine paw paw lip balm
    • Tisserand De-stress Aromatherapy rollerball
    • 3 A4 sized quality photo prints of the inspirational images taken by Natalie Jeffcott Photography exclusively for my subscribers.
    • A FREE 90 minute Skype or telephone “Kickstart Your Spark” Clarity Coaching Call with me, to help you become super clear on your dreams and goals, and set you on the road with some actionable steps to help making them a reality.

    Total value of this amazing giveaway is over $340!

    In order to win, here’s what you have to do:

    • If you haven’t already, sign up to become a member of The Other Side of Forty tribe in the green box at the top of the page.
    • Leave a comment below telling me something you do, in order to take some time out for yourself. You must be subscribed AND make a short comment below, to go into the draw for your chance to win.
    • For a bonus entry like my Facebook page The Other Side of Forty, (if you haven’t already) AND share the competition post.
    • For another bonus entry follow me on Instagram, (if you haven’t already) AND regram the competition image, along with the hashtag #theothersideofforty so I can find you.

    All up that is THREE entries that you can have!

    This competition will run for one week, with the winner being randomly drawn next Wednesday 18th March at 12.00 midday (which also happens to be my birthday- I love to give even more than I love to receive!).  I will notify the lucky winner via my newsletter, on this blog post, and on social media, so if you win, you should hear about it!  It is open to subscribers worldwide, not just Australia (so if you are reading this from the Antarctic Base Station- that’s a win for you!)

    So what are you waiting for? Hop to it- you’ve gotta be in it to win it! Good Luck!

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