Things I love

  • The dying art of the handwritten note

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    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.

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

  • On the Other Side of Forty I love…a Mumcation

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    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:

    YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

    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!)

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    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…

  • On The Other Side of Forty…I love to Dance

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    ‘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!

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    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…