Things I love

  • On the Other Side of Forty I love…to Blog

    o3nq0fC7rBMO24mT8Ys8ovvR0QEw-fDCg0YWO8w2dH4

    One of my earliest memories is around 6 or 7 years old, and being asked to take a piece of writing I had done to the school principal’s office. It was about some magpies, and I used some sweet descriptive words like swooping and swiftly, thereby becoming the toast of the Grade One literati (population: me).  I received Principal’s highly coveted blue Excellent stamp bordered with stuck on gold stars- a double whammy of awesomeness in my brain.  I was then asked to go class to class and read my work out to all the other grades, something that appealed to my already developing extrovert ego whilst simultaneously scaring the pants off my shy introverted exterior.

    From then on in my mind, writing was something that was inextricably linked to being good and getting attention, and throughout my childhood and teenage years I loved to put pen to paper.  Funny stories, heartfelt tales, murder mysteries, and historical drama were all part of my repertoire (not to be confused with the hysterical drama that made up my teenage journal). There was no doubting that writing was a part of the essence of what made me feel complete and unique.

    But sadly as I entered into the adult world, I left this important part of myself behind, along with my handy skills with a basketball, and the ability to eat whatever I pleased without gaining weight. I’m not sure why, but I think I just got caught up in the doing (aka partying, studying, working, repeat) rather than the reflecting and processing. As time went by, and overseas travel entered my realm, writing briefly came back to me, as in those days there was no internet to tell everyone your exact whereabouts at all times.  In fact if I didn’t utilise Post Restante (look in up in the antique section of Wikipedia kids) then my friends and family may never have known I was alive for months on end.

    Like many women, my thirties were taken up with child rearing, wrangling, and the never ending balance between trying to keep my study/career in the picture, be there for my kids, and occasionally go to the toilet uninterupted.  Now, this is a time where many women start a blog, and realise much to their relief that there are lots of mums who feel the same way they do.  But to be honest, I really had very little idea about blogs or that I could actually write a blog up until a about year ago (never look to me to be at the start of a trend- I was trying to bring back flares and peace signs in the 90’s!)

    In an effort to rediscover my writing mojo, I joined an online blogging course (Bright-eyed & Blog-hearted) last year, and with the continual support and enthusiasm of the related Facebook group, I nervously pressed publish on my first post.  That was nearly five months ago now, and I have to say that it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  Even if no one had read a single thing I wrote, the very act of putting pen to paper again (fingers to keyboard just doesn’t sound as romantic) has been truly liberating for me.  But, in a very gratefully received added bonus, some people have enjoyed my writing and I have to say that makes me feel very happy.

    So if you are on the other side of forty and think blogging is just for twenty something long legged green smoothie toting yoga goddesses, or wine guzzling toddler taming sleep deprived mamas in their thirties, think again (and yes I know I just stereotyped 2 decades of bloggers in one sentence- hey, I’m a writer, call it creative licence!) I think being over forty is the perfect time to start a blog (if you haven’t already) and here are a few reasons why.

    You know yourself better.  In your forties you tend to be more sure of who you are, what you like and what makes you happy.  Therefore, you can write from your point of view of the world with a sense of authenticity and uniqueness (and lets face it, that is what makes a good blogger stand out from the crowd).

    There is a demographic out there waiting to hear from you.  There don’t actually seem to be many women blogging about life in their forties, which is a shame because I think it’s a great time of life.  Generally speaking, your kids (if you have them) are a bit older, and you have a bit more time to stop and think about what it is you truly want out of the rest of your life.  Many women I know of this age, seem to be entering a transformative period, where they are questioning and reflecting on different facets of their lives, such as their relationships, career, and self.  Reading about other women going through similar things, can certainly make it easier for someone to feel supported and more ready to step outside their own comfort zone.

    You don’t tend to care about what people think as much as you used to.  What I have noticed in my blogging group, is the absolute fear some younger women have of putting themselves out there.  As I have mentioned in many of my posts before, I truly believe that most people don’t care about what you do nearly so much as you think they will.  I look at it like this, you either like my style of writing, enjoy reading it, have a chuckle to yourself, make a comment if you feel inclined, and then go on your merry way hopefully to return in a weeks time to read the next post.  That all makes me feel very happy. Or, you take a look at my blog, think no thanks, that’s not for me and move on.  That doesn’t really bother me too much. When you look at it like that, it isn’t actually so scary to press publish and put yourself out there.

    So, there you have it, I may not be everyones cup of tea, but I’m speaking my own truth and feeling good about it. Writing and blogging have given me a new lease of life on the other side of forty- so who wants to join me?

    snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

     

    I’d love to hear what you think. If you’re a blogger yourself- what do you get out of it? Or have you thought about starting one- what’s holding you back?

  • The Other Side of Forty’s (un)official guide to Instagram

     

    waikiki4mel

    As we all know, the over 40’s are the demographic that has taken over Facebook. No longer cool with teens, Facebook is the place where middle-aged women brag about their overseas holidays, take ‘toefies’* and feel some quiet satisfaction at how much better we look than our ex-boyfriends.

    So safe to say we are all over Facebook like an 8 year old is all over Minecraft. But, my social media loving friends, are you insane about Instagram, pining over Pinterest, googling Google Plus…ok- no one is doing that last one (are they?)

    Well fear not, I am here to give you my (un)official guide to starting an Instagram account on the other side of forty (as told by someone who barely knows what she’s doing but acts like she does!)

    Firstly, you need a profile photo and a punchy tagline- I suggest a blurry black and white selfie, with something along the lines of “mumma, green smoothie lover, wellness warrior and chain smoker” because a certain aura of mystery will make more people want to follow you.  You will also need a cool name that will attract people to your account (@iloveryangosling was already taken, so I just went with @meljeffcott #boring).

    Then you need to add some ‘interesting’ and ‘inspiring’ photos to make it look as if your life is healthier, more spiritual, and all round better than all of your friends (in this regard it is quite similar to Facebook). For example the beautiful photo above may make you feel simultaneously jealous and impressed at my superior photo skills, #missionaccomplished. Oh sorry, did I fail to mention that it was taken by my photographer sister Natalie on her holiday to Hawaii that had nothing to do with me? #mybad.

    If you are having trouble thinking of what to post, never fear, here are some fail safe ideas-feel free to plagiarise and watch the likes come rolling in:

    • A close up photo of your healthy breakfast bowl of acai, buckinis, chia seeds, raw cacao, lucuma, bee pollen, and hemp seeds (just no goji berries- they are so 2014).
    • A photo of a beautiful beach at sunrise- with a comment such as ‘Beautiful way to start the day- feeling blessed’, which translates to your followers as,“You are such a lazy cow, still lying in bed scrolling through your Instagram feed” (bonus points for a yoga pose).
    • An inspirational quote such as ‘You were born awesome…here’s your reminder’, ‘Never let fear decide your fate’, or ‘I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am’.

    Once you have your awesome photo, you need to make it look even more awesome with an awesomely named filter…Amaro, Valencia, Sierra, Willow- no these are not stripper names, but ways for your selfie to look younger and fresher (and we all want that: amiright ladies-nudge nudge wink wink).  That is unless you hashtag the photo #nofilter, which shows everyone your photo was so awesome that it didn’t even need a filter (personally, I think that’s just showing off).
    Which leads me to #hashtags, which started as a way that people with similar interests can find each other, e.g. #style, #yoga, #beardporn (yes this is really a thing, and you know you want to check it out). However, more often than not they are used to describe a state of emotion, e.g. #livingthedream, #feelingblessed, or #imacoolparentandivetotallygotthishashtagthingdown.

    Don’t forget to like and comment on other peoples photos as well, because as we all know, if you don’t get likes then it means nothing. Which leads me to these words of wisdom, “Being famous on Instagram is like being rich at Monopoly.” Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I still get a thrill when that little head pops up showing me I’ve got a new follower (unless it’s a sexy Russian lady wanting to show me a good time on her webcam- what’s that all about?)

    So there you go peeps, a totes amazeballs way to be a swag mama living life to the full on the other side of forty with Instagram (or just sitting on your couch with your iPhone and a cup of tea-whatevs). #yolo

    snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

    *A toefie is the middle aged equivalent of a ‘selfie’. When on an exotic holiday lounging by the pool or beach, an over 40 lady takes a photo of her perfectly pedicured ‘ageless’ toes (just don’t get anything above the knee in the frame or you’ll give the game away!)

    Oh, and don’t forget to come and say hi, now I have convinced you to join Instagram!
    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

  • Twelve reasons why 12 year olds rock

    boy-351821_1280

    There is no doubt that there are some things about having a 12 year old that absolutely drive me crazy.  The iDevice addiction; the complete and overwhelming sense of injustice when they are not allowed to do something they want to; the inability to EVER hang a towel up after they have used it.  But, I have to say, there are plenty of reasons why having a 12 year old in the house is pretty ace as well. Here are my twelve reasons why I think 12 year olds rock:

    1. Music tastes are evolving.  While I enjoy Uptown Funk as much as the next person, lets face it there are some pretty abysmal lyrics lurking in Top 40 pop music.  But what I am loving at the moment, is when my son excitedly tells me, “Mum, you have to hear this great song, you will love it!”  He presses play and ‘Take me out’ by Franz Ferdinand or ‘Smells like teen spirit’ by Nirvana comes booming loudly through the speakers.  I am loving how he is finding and discovering the music I have loved throughout my life without me helping him to discover it (thanks Spotify!)

    2. The holiday period between finishing Primary school and starting High school is quite a magical time.  Free from the constraints of your childhood education, and yet to be hit with the expectations of secondary school.  It is a time, in the heat of Summer in Australia, to swim, play, and find a bit of independence without the looming school year bearing down on you.

    3. At the age of 12, children are starting to move a little bit out of their ego, and are often keen to better understand the world we live in.  Although it can be hard to explain why bad things happen in the world (it’s not like I have all the answers), it’s also great to explore and share the amazing things that human beings do every single day on this amazing planet of ours (YouTube can be used for good not evil in this regard).

    4. On a selfish note, we live very close to a shopping strip, and my son loves to go down the street by himself.  This means if I have a sudden urge for sushi, I have my own personal ordering and delivery service.  Not sure how long it will last (probably not too long I suspect) but I am sure as hell making the most of it while I can!

    5. Cuddles on their terms when you least expect it.  Ask my son for a cuddle?  Forget about it. Lie on the couch watching the tennis, and allow him to snuggle up to you? Priceless.

    6. With two younger sisters, my boy has his work cut out for him on occasion.  I’ve no doubt watching your sisters sing ‘Let It Go’ for the fifty gazillionth time can wear pretty thin (in fact I know it can!) However, on occasion I see him participating in a game that I know is not really his thing, but he does it to make his sisters happy, and that makes me happy, until it all usually escalates into some form of an argument (reality bites!)

    7. Relationships are deepening.  NO, I am not talking about the opposite sex, we are not there yet- thank goodness! Over the past few months I have enjoyed watching the relationship between my husband and son is develop into a true mateship with mutual respect.  They cycle together regularly, and recently went camping for a couple of nights in the High country, after which my son commented that it was the experience of a lifetime.  These are the sort of memories he will keep for ever, and will hopefully help him to be a good father one day in the future.

    8. You can watch more interesting movies.  Now I liked Frozen, but if I ever see another Barbie movie in my lifetime, God help me.  There are some fantastic movies that I had forgotten all about that are perfect for this age. The Princess Bride; Stand By Me; The Goonies; Ferris Bueller; The Three Amigos. It’s great revisiting an old favourite with a fresh set of eyes on the couch next to you laughing their head off.

    9. He can walk the dog by himself. Good for him, good for me, good for Otto, the crazy bane of my life!

    10. The energy- so, so much energy. Although it can be exhausting at time, it can also be infectious to see such joie de vivre (although I could do without the heart stopping tree climbing addiction!)

    11. No longer a child, not yet a teenager.  I know it is just around the corner, but as of yet the ‘delights’ of puberty are yet to hit our household.  I am enjoying this sweet time while I can, before the air becomes clogged with the fetid stink of teenage boy!

    12. I am starting to see glimpses of the adult my child will one day become.  I know we have a long way to go, and I am sure there will be some challenging times ahead.  But I also know within my heart, that my son will turn out ok. I hope and believe he will be a kind, caring and compassionate man with a great sense of fun and some awesome dance moves, and lets face it it, the world needs more men like that!

    snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

    Do you or have you had a 12 year old in your house?  Or can you remember what life was like when you were 12? Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

  • On the Other Side of Forty I love… to read

    xRIThRFmneYMuYbnzja-JscHhePCxci44gtTHq5FEQ8

    January is the perfect time to get stuck into some new reading matter.  If you’re anything like me, you will have had a pile of books on your bedside table slowly gathering dust (thanks iPhone addiction) not to mention the new books I tend to receive for Christmas (last year my husband got me a book called Mating in Captivity- he is lucky he is still called my husband after that one!)

    When I was a young girl, I loved nothing more than retreating to my room with a bowl of sultanas & plastic cheese slices (I know, the less said about that the better!) and delving into one of my books and escaping the reality of my suburban existence. The Famous Five, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, just seeing the covers of these books now is enough to transport me back in time to lying on my Holly Hobbie bedspread and wishing I was out solving mysteries with my best friend, or getting my pigtails pulled by Gilbert Blythe (sigh!)

    With an amount of (unusual for me) foresight, I actually kept all these books in a box at my grandparents house. About a decade ago, I retrieved them, dusted them off and stored them until my own children were old enough to share in the delights held behind the slightly musty old covers.  Not so long ago I lovingly placed some of my collection on my 9 year old daughter’s bookshelf, and the fact that she loves the Famous Five is almost enough for me to get over the poster of Ariana Grande on her wall (if you don’t know who I’m talking about- lucky you!)

    Anyway, I still love the idea of escaping from the world (aka my kids, husband and dog) to my bedroom with a good book and a cup of tea, and being transported to a different place and time. I have pretty diverse tastes, so I thought that if I shared a few books from my current reading pile, there may be something there that piques your interest.  So without further ado, here are my  Top 6 January reads for 2015:

    FullSizeRender

    High- A Party Girl’s Guide to Peace by Tara Bliss I came across this book through reading Tara’s blog, and I have to say that a lot of what she said resonated with me.  If you were ever a party girl back in the day, or sometimes still forget that the bottle of champagne you drank the night before will hurt like hell the day after (I may be guilty of that one on occasion) then Tara’s no bullshit guide to living courageously from your heart may speak to you like it did to me. 

    Daring & Disruptive by Lisa Messenger Lisa is an amazing entrepreneur who started a successful magazine (renegade Collective) with no prior magazine experience in an industry that many considered was on the way out. She believes in dreaming big and making your dreams come true, and that the only person standing in your way is you. If you are looking at starting a business or moving out of your comfort zone in some way this year, this is an inspiring read.

    The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty This is one of those books (like Gone Girl) that you can almost see the movie of in your mind.  It is set in Melbourne and Sydney, and has a very intriguing premise that has you asking yourself- what would I do in that situation? An easy page turner, that keeps you hooked until the end. A great read for lying by the pool or at the beach.

    The Young Desire It by Kenneth Mackenzie I had never heard of this book before I received it as as gift (it was written in 1937) but I have to say it was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.  This story of a boys first love in country Australia, is so exquisitely written and it transports you back in time to the intense and confusing feelings of young love. It is not a book filled with action, but it is a must for lovers of original literature. Highly recommended.

    Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and the pulse of history by Rhonda K. Garelick I received this book for Christmas from my husband (no marital advice this year thank goodness!) and although I am no Chanel fashionista, it sounds like a really interesting read about a poor orphaned girl who went on to transform forever the way women dressed. I’m looking forward to learning more about this fascinating woman in history.

    Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein If you have read my previous blog post, it will come as no surprise that this is at the top of my reading pile at the moment.  I love how it is broken down into 101 simple bite sized tips for less stress, more flow, and finding your life’s true purpose (perfect for those of us who like to fall asleep once a book is under our nose!)

    Happy Reading!

    snZbGJDOiMAUnWkBQk3XzQR1C7ihM5K3OU8WDdlUFEM

    What are you reading these Summer holidays? Anyhthing I shouldn’t miss?