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♥ Loving a girl, a journey, a Lark

Oh, okay, fair enough - 'girl' is probably stretching things a little. But 'a woman, a journey' sounded way too important for my little lark down south.

Daylesford is a wonderful place to visit, no doubt about it. It's like being tucked in all safe and warm by an elegant, artistic mother after a busy day wandering and wondering. It just oozes relaxation and reflection and contemplation.

Or perhaps that was just because I was travelling alone?

Regardless, I felt a little reborn by the end of my stay there. That town has such a creative, welcoming spirit - a spirit truly embodied by Allison at Lark.

I instantly adored her - a wonderfully generous, smart and funny soul. I could have stood drinking tea and nattering away in her cheerful store all afternoon.

Not to mention that I could have purchased her entire product range whilst nattering, every single piece is just so desirable and ownable. I do have a problem with needing to buy things just to know they are there... some things just make a girl (!) happy.

Luckily the lightness of my mood as I left Allison was not matched by a lightness of pocket. I managed to restrain myself nicely, however I should confess that I have long been an online Lark shopper and I was busy creating a list for future purchases.

There is no escape.

What's your favourite online store? Do you know the owner personally?


This week I'm grateful for... advice

Time away to just ponder is so necessary, don't you think? When I set out on my big truckin' adventure (honk, honk) the rain was bucketing down, I got stuck in gnarly traffic jam 15 minutes from home and I did find myself thinking "what the farm am I doing?" But then as soon as I left the city the rain lifted and the most magnificent rainbow was suddenly before me - arched across the road such that I had to drive right through it to be on my way. A sign, surely a brilliant sign.

I did a lot (a lot) of thinking while travelling solo. Many of the ideas and directions I came up with were good ones, some were not.

So, this week I'm grateful for...

157. Advice - a caring, careful sounding board is a blessing indeed.

158. Pondering - what a great, meaty word that is. What great, meaty ideas come as a result.

159. Riding solo - turns out I'm actually pretty easy to get along with.

So, what's making you smile today? Add your Grateful post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is one about being grateful, not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.

[Image by Ahndraya Parlato]

Maxabellaland: a further reality check

Magdalena over at The Craft Revival has revived my love of letting it all hang out on my blog. She's put the word out that today is the day to take a snap of our 'unworthy-of-a-magazine-shoot life' and show the world that the over-styled life is just an impossible dream / nightmare (depending on your fancy).

Last time I showed up that Cappers and her propensity to paint the carpet. This time Maxi-Taxi is exposed in all his boy-mess glory. Oh, okay, he's seven, she's five. It's really me that's getting exposed...

Exhibit A is above.
This is as made as the bed ever gets. I even have a tendency to pull back the covers after putting on fresh sheets so it's 'ready'.

Exhibit B
'The, um, bookshelf' 

Exhibit C
 This mess of awful looking brand merchandising is in fact Maxi's 'crash mat' area for his OT and it hangs around on the floor permanently like an extra unmade bed.  I would just like to point out that I have never in my life purchased an item of branded merchandise... so why do we have so much of it lurking distastefully around?

Exhibit C
 'Random paperwork (such that you have when you are seven).'

Exhibit D
 Cushion A: 'Hey Cushion B and C, I'll get back into position if you will' Cushion B: 'Nah, I can't even remember where I go.' Cushion C: 'Are you crazy, where's the fun in that?'

Ah, housework. I love you so.

What's your place looking like right now? Do you want to join in?
Pop over the Magdalena's. You just have to write a post or paste up some pickies. Be brave.

PS - This is my first time using Instagram and I kinda like it but I think I should have kept the images a bit smaller... can you even see them? If you can't, that's good news for me!

PPS - I will be adding some less obscure posts about my truckin' adventure after my Grateful moment this weekend. Missed you all very much (seriously, how wrong is that!?) x


Caught in a moment

The spot-lit road dances ahead of me, her skirt rising and falling, rising and falling. Red lights by the roadside are her audience; passive, disinterested, fixed. Behind me the horizon sparks amber as the day burns away. Ahead the night swallows life.

The rush of my face, the hum of my feet. Emptiness tugs at my eyes. Tick, tick, tick as the centre line marks time; hypnotic, dancing road.

The idea of my husband sits beside me; lit eyes, warm chuckle, melting hands. Glowing against my solitude.

And I am lonely, but whole.

[Image by Travellers Auto]


Pause: zen

I'm so optimistic I'd go after Moby Dick in a row boat and take the tartar sauce with me.

Zig Ziglar 

[Image by Tonya Joy]


Pause: nine

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.  

Stacia Tauscher

[Image by Sandra Freij]


Pause: otto

If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. 

Malcolm X

[Image by Amanda Perkins via Style Me Pretty]


Pause: seven

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Image is of dear Mayalu's inspiration board. Maya*Made is inspiration herself! One of my absolute favourite bloggers.]


Pause: six

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? 
I thought I was the only one. 

C.S. Lewis


Pause: grateful

This week, I'm grateful for 154. exploring and 155. wondering and 156. solitude.

And I'm grateful to my friend Beth at BabyMac for hosting us this week. 

Click here to visit Beth and join in the linky.

Enjoy your week!


[Image via westoleit]


Pause: four

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde

[Image by Steven Lippman]


Pause: trio

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those 
who matter don't mind.

Dr Seuss

[Image via wedontcreditit]


Pause: two

Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, laughed in the sun and kissed the lovely grass.

Rupert Brooke

[Image via weheartit]


Pause: one

Drink and dance and laugh and lie, love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we shall die 
(but alas we never do)!

Dorothy Parker in The Portable Dorothy Parker

[Image via weheartit and then pinterest and, really, I would hate to be a good photographer at the end of the day!]


Pause: zero

So I'm off on my annual road trip mid-next week and I thought I'd have a little blog pause while I'm at it. It's always nice to give yourself some space to do all those important re moments - refresh, review, rewind, reinvigorate... re, re, re.

Maxabella loves... won't be dormant, however, as I have loads of beautiful images and quotations that I've been stockpiling because, well, I just love them a lot. I thought I'd post ten of them while I'm off galivanting and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Before I go today, here are six new things I'm loving lately:

1. Blogger blogs have lots of dynamic viewing options. For instance, check out Maxabella loves... in Mosaic mode. Pretty snazzy, huh?

2. Google's What do you love? helps you keep track of the things you love. You just type in a topic and it captures all sorts of stuff for you. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what you'd use it for, but I'm kinda clueless like that.

3. If you're into vintage images, you can't go past The Graphics Fairy.

4. Never one to want to feel left out, I started a Facebook page for my blog. Again, clueless, but let's see what I do with it when I get back from my sparky blarky session, no?

5. Did my image today give you a little 'what tha?' moment? Cinemagraphs are both extremely beautiful and yet somehow a little creepy. Thee Blog has a great wrap up on how it all works. You can see more of Jamie Beck's work on his tumblr blog.

6. My blogging buddy Brenda is having a week of fab giveaways on her darling blog (today's giveaway is a $100 Myer gift card - you can't go wrong!). Do pop over and pay her a visit. She is a chocolate-sweet gal with a gooey-delicious centre.

Enjoy the next week and a bit. 
Stay out of trouble. Be kind to others. 
Don't fret about things you can't control. 
Don't pat strange dogs. Do remember to sing.

[Image by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg]


This week I'm grateful for... books

Aunty Al and her two junior burgers have been up to stay with us this week. What a laugh we all had - especially the children as the five of them tore through the homestead, breaking everything in their path. Yep, that was pretty funny indeed. Aw, what does it matter when both the destruction and  noise levels are so high that you just know your children are writing the story of their childhood. When I was young, our cousins would come to stay and we would...

So, this week I'm grateful for...

151. Visitors - I make no secret of the fact that I'm not a big fan of routine. What better way to spice up the week than have fun (and funny) people to stay?

152. Books - Even better when my guests love books as much as I do. Al, Aunty Coo and I decided that what we needed more than a night on the tiles (sorry Woogsy) was a night perusing cheap books at the local Lifeline book fair (as you do). Open until 9pm, by the time we settled the kids, ate some dinner and found the darn place we had all of 27 minutes to snap up approximate 53 children's books each. It was a book buying frenzy, let me tell you. And I'm still recovering from the bizarreness of the Lifeline staff... but that's another post entirely.

153. Little gems - And would you believe that among my 53 snapped-up-in-seconds books was a little gem of a children's book called The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit written by Sylvia Plath and published posthumously in 1996. Sylvia Plath does children' books! How random! I do love a book fair!

So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 

[Image by note.worthy found on Flickr]

And the latest party-ready gal about town is...

Lucky duck Jodi from The Scribble Den has won the Leona Edmiston Ruby dress, the $220 voucher at Shoes of Prey and the gorgeous Silver Birds earrings from Elk Accessories.

Jodie's comment was number 24 on my list and Random.Org told me that that was the number to pick. Woot!

Just a quick thanks to Jodie, Prue and Ziba for their wonderful help organising the giveaway. They were absolutely fab.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Aaah, please don't worry if you're not Jodi (and it goes without saying that most of us are not), I had so much fun planning the prize that I'm already cooking up another fantabulousness giveaway... but you'll just have to wait for the details. I'm super suspenseful like that...

Oh, and while I've got you here... have a happy rest-of-day, won't you. It is FriYAY after all... what are you doing tonight? Me? I'm doing what I always do on Friyay night these days - two hours to get ready followed by a major drinking session followed by grope with a stranger out the back of the pub... oh, wait, that was DECADES ago.

Tonight, I'm in.

Just like all Friyay nights these days.

I say that without a trace of regret.

Bring on the contented homelife, I say! x


They drive a white van

I had this post scheduled to go up tonight, but I thought I'd post it earlier because there's lots going on over at Mama Mia about Stranger Danger today. I didn't edit the post, just hit 'publish' early. It may or may not be relevant to the discussion at MM.


It always amuses me when Maxi-Taxi begins a sentence with "I can't go to sleep because..." What's he cooking up now? I think to myself. This better be good. And invariably it is.

The other night he told me that he couldn't go to sleep because he needed to run around the house ('do laps'). I said, "It's sleep time now, Max. Not time for laps." He said, "But how am I supposed to sleep in all this energy?"

The kid has a point.

Another night he couldn't sleep because his heart was too soggy. "I'm scared and when you won't sit with me, my heart gets soggy," he said. I sat with him. I'm weak like that.

He's a sensitive soul, so you have to tread carefully when issues of monsters, robbers, spiders, the moon and anything else likely to go bump in the night come up. One false move and it's matchsticks for the rest of the night. Which is why I found myself on eggshells when the issue of Stranger Danger was raised.

"They come and get you in a white van," he said. "They snatch you off the side of the road when you're waiting to cross at the lights. Even when you're good, they get you."

What are they telling them at that school? I wondered, crunching away on my eggshells. We've always had a relaxed approach to 'Strangers'. You can talk to anyone you like as long as Mum or Dad or another grown-up you know is with you. We didn't want our children growing up thinking it's okay to be unfriendly or, worse, fearful, just because they don't know someone. It's not okay to live your life in fear that a random tragedy is going to happen to you. Strangers aren't to be feared at our place, rather they often offer a lovely exchange in the middle of an otherwise frenetic day.

Of course, when you're by yourself, you aren't allowed to even notice them.

I raised the white van kidnappers at the P + C Meeting the next night. "What are you telling the kids about kidnappers in white vans?" I asked.

Mirthful looks were exchanged between teachers. "It's always a white van," one said in amazement. "We give them a thoughtful, educative chat about coming to the front office if they are not collected on time after school, they discuss it amongst themselves and the next thing you know the story about the stranger in the white van is doing the rounds again. That white van has been circling the school for decades."

Hmmm... needless to say, that bit of schoolyard folklore meant that Maxi-Taxi couldn't sleep and was threatening to boycott school the next day. I had to turn him around quicksmart by asking him why anyone would want to take a kid? Especially one that doesn't sleep, doesn't listen and doesn't eat their vegies?  He couldn't come up with a single reason.

So, the next day he goes to school and all was well. When I saw him that evening his eyes were wide and he was leaping out of himself with excitement. "Mum, Mum! MUM! A Stranger approached me today."

"Really, an actual Stranger? Where were you? What did they say?"

"I was in the playground and a lady came up and asked me where the Mandarin classes were held," he said breathlessly.

"And what did you say to her?"

"Well... I said to her 'Do you drive a white van?' and she said 'no', so I told her they were in the library."

Oh, Maxi.

How do you approach 'the Stranger thing' with your children?
Do you think they listen?

[Image via weheartit - yes, I know it's a red van and this post is about a white van, but I couldn't find a pic of a white van that didn't look like... well, a pic of a white van. It's that simple.]


Giveaway going, going... still going... just

My fantabuliffic Leona / Elk / Prey giveaway ends at 5pm tomorrow (Thursday).

Have you entered?
Click to join in.
Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves...

Winner announced Friday night.



A spoonful of something

With a blocked head, runny nose and voice like a rasp, I ducked out from work to buy a box of Codral. I haven’t bought Codral in years, but it occurred to me that if I was going to do the socially expected thing and ‘punch through’ this cold and infect the entire office in the process, I may as well be comfortable while I’m doing it.

After the Pharmacist and I got through the multitude of questions that all purchases require these days (Name or generic brand? Small or large box? Day and night or just day or night?) he said, “What photo ID have you got?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You need photo ID with your address on it to buy Codral in Australia,” he explained. “It contains xezqxreanolex.*”

I don’t know why it bothered me as much as it did. Well, I didn’t actually have any ID with me – so that’s a start – and my head was pounding like a mutha so I will say I was not my (ordinarily very nice but sometimes really not) self at the time. I may or may not have muttered something about Australia becoming governed by Mary Poppins and something else about whether the Pharmacist was happy being Door Bitch and stomped out of the pharmacy. I can assure you that knocking over the toothpaste stand by the front door was entirely unintentional and very inconvenient as it meant I had to help the Pharmacist slash Door Bitch pick up all the cartons.

“It’s a dangerous drug if not taken correctly,” he murmured, avoiding eye contact.

“Yes, I understand that. I’m sorry about the toothpaste.”

“I’m sorry you don’t have ID,” he returned, generously.

What it all boils down to for me (and I write this through the fog of my unmedicated head cold so I absolutely reserve the right to retract the lot), is that I’m really just a little bit tired of all the rules we have in our fair country. I’ve travelled the world extensively and I can say with certainty that I never came across a country that had as little faith in its people as Australia. We are so babied here that it makes me want to chuck a tanty in aisle five.

We seem to assume the worst in people and govern for the lowest possible denominator. It’s almost like as a country we are trying to actively raze to the ground all trace of common sense and build a rule on top of it. Rule after rule after rule is being made and accepted and we aren't asking for so much as a spoonful of sugar to help them go down.

Teachers can't give children a hug in the playground when they skin their knee. You can't buy firecrackers. A speed camera is standing by just waiting to catch you paying more attention to the traffic around you than your speedometre. It's not your choice to wear a seat belt to save your own life. Forget the wind in your hair, you'll get fined if you don't wear a helmet when you ride your bike (I would say 'why not make us wear helmets in cars?' but I am scared it will happen). They'll fine you for swearing in Victoria. We're even fined if we don't vote for the right to exercise our democratic right to freedom of speech.

I’m not sorry I didn’t think to take ID to the Pharmacy to buy medication for the common cold. I’m just sorry that I was supposed to.

Do you agree the Australia babies its citizens?
If you’re not from around here, how’s the ratio of rules in country?
What rule does your society have that irks you the most?**

* Or maybe it was Phenylephrine.
** Mine is not this. I’ll save my erkiest Aussie rule for another post!

[Image found here]


Me interviewing Me

If I had to offer three pieces of advice to a girl just reaching adulthood, what would I tell them?*

This question kept me awake last night. Me interviewing Me often keeps me up and busy in the middle of the night. Do you do that too? Ask yourself questions as if you were being interviewed and the masses were hanging on your every word over their morning cuppa? Hmmmm, perhaps that's just me...

In particular, I used to be at my most witty and charming when being questioned for the 'Upfront' section of the Good Weekend and was gutted when they removed that section during one of their thoughtless makeovers. They've replaced it with 'You Do What?', which examines all the fascinating jobs lucky ducks get to do (like run Lord Howe Island) while the rest of us get to answer "yeah, I sit around on my fat arse all day typing acronyms into a computer and wondering why my life has no meaning." Hmmmm, perhaps that's also just me...

Anyway, in the spirit of Me interviewing Me, I like to revisit that old Upfront column from time to time and thought I'd share my latest (most witty and charming) answers with you. Look away now if you have a low tolerance for boredom.

My earliest memory is... driving from the Territory to Far North Queensland for Christmas. My little sister is still a baby in her moses basket on the seat between Mum and Dad upfront. My older sister and I are sitting in the back of the station wagon on a mattress, watching the brown land whizz by.

My school report usually said... "Easily distracted". Probably due to the fact that I was interviewing myself in class constantly.

My first relationship... was all in my head. Thank god.

I don't like talking about... people's dreams. If you think this is boring, imagine if I'd started this post with 'last night I dreamed I was a...'

My most treasured possession is... my creativity. Is that a possession? Probably not. Okay, I'd say my children's early artworks.

My father always told me... that Maths was logical. Such lies.

In the movie of my life, I'd be played by... some poor B-list smuck who thought the gig would be more interesting than waitering. How wrong she was.

I wish I had... the ability to hear through walls without using a glass. Not that I'd know if the glass trick works, of course. 

I wish I hadn't... eaten approximately 10,000 kilos of chocolate over my lifetime. As soon as it's swallowed, the memory is gone. It's like getting fat for nothing.**

My most humiliating moment was... probably unfolding as soon as I hit 'Publish' on this post.

My guiltiest pleasure is... see 'I wish I hadn't' above.

My last meal would be... savoured. Or probably just wolfed down like a starving mongrel dog like all my other meals, old habits and all that. Regardless, I'd be eating anything that I didn't have to cook myself.

Can you believe we're only half-way down the Upfront list? I think I'll save the other half for another post, but in the meantime, dare you to answer the same questions! Copy and paste these questions in the comment box:

My earliest memory is... 
My school report usually said...
My first relationship...
I don't like talking about... 
My most treasured possession is... 
My father always told me... 
In the movie of my life, I'd be played by... 
I wish I had...
I wish I hadn't...
My most humiliating moment was...
My guiltiest pleasure is...
My last meal would be... 

And answer away! Or do your own post and pop the URL into the comments so I can go and check out your interview.

Me interviewing Me is really rather fun! Promise!

* Today I would say: being alone is different to being lonely, get to know yourself; Marry the man who makes you feel single; Be grateful for the little things because that's where happiness can be found. But tomorrow... well, I'll have to think about that tonight!

** With kudos to my Mum, for this is her favourite expression. She rates many things as 'getting fat for nothing' - dark chocolate, blue cheese and pasta carbonara among them.

[Image found here]


Caught in a moment

The other night after work I was walking from the bus stop to my in-laws for dinner.

They live in a quiet neighbourhood which seems to favour obese topiary balls and rose bushes with claws. Row after row of houses sit shyly on neat square blocks, almost holding hands with their neighbour, but not quite. They look out at the world through lazy half-shuttered windows and glow smugly from within.

It was a cold night and no one was about. The hum of distant traffic ebbing and flowing sounded almost like the sea while newly parked cars ticked gently. The sudden lurch of a bus on the main road silenced birds I hadn't noticed were there.

A rich waft of sweet Daphne gave me pause outside a brown-brick Federation, renovated to within an inch of its life. A large glass and steel structure had been bolted on - no doubt sold to the Council as a tasteful addition that enhanced the classic lines of the old place. But the quaint, picketed verandah was having none of that and seemed to frown at the huge modern structure above it. I used to be enough, the old house seemed to sigh.

My footsteps tapped lightly on the footpath and the cold air slapped my face. Hurry up, the cold admonished. But I didn't want to hurry.

I wanted to savour the moment. Just a moment. Nothing special.


This week I'm grateful for... my mental health

It's not my story to tell, but a situation has erupted for a family dear to me this week, and it's meant that my gratefuls this week are a lot darker than they usually are. Sometimes the things we are grateful for carry so much weight that you can barely shoulder them and that's me this week.

Again and again all week I have been thinking that I am ever so grateful for...

148. My mental health - my mind is rational, clear and disease free. I think straight, I act when I need to act, I make well-thought out decisions that are balanced and true. I'm not depressed, I'm not anxious, I'm not psychotic. I am healthy and shedding tears as I write for those who are not.

149. Safety - I tuck my children in every night with a little rhyme that says "Safe and warm in your bed, peaceful dreams my sleepy head". And there they are, snug and safe until morning.

150. Action - sometimes all the talk in the world does nothing. Sometimes you need to abandon all the maybes and just get in there and act. Stand up and scream about it; even when everyone else is seated, when everyone else is silent.

So, what's making you pause today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little gratitude.

[Image found on weheartit]


Dummy parenting

Yeah, so The Badoo still has a "dummer". The only thing dummer than the dummer in this house is the parents for letting their three year old continue the habit. The rule is that it's for bedtime only, but the reality is that the bloody thing is hanging out of her mouth more often than not. She really, really loves it.

She asked for dummers for her birthday. Aside from nail polish and shoes and world peace, that's all she wanted. Who could resist?

Well, probably 99% of the good parents out there, but secretly I can't really see the harm. There's the teeth thing, of course, but she already has an overbite on her that could rival Freddie Mercury's, so I think the dental damage is done. Really, unless you're going to wean your very young baby off the dummy (or, of course, never give it to them in the first place - heelllllo first baby!), it's just a fact of life that you're going to be buying them braces at some point.

Maxi-Taxi never took a dummy. This was mainly because back before I knew what I was getting myself into with this whole parenting gig, I was adamant that no child of mine was going to have a dummy. I'm not exactly sure why, but I just knew dummies were 'bad' and parenting without them was 'good'. By the time I woke up to myself he was six weeks old and not having a bar of it. I spent ridiculous amounts of time popping the dummy in and watching it instantly pop back out - he was like the world's kindest poker machine. For the record, the kid took three months to learn how to breastfeed and then wouldn't ever take a bottle, so maybe he was just annoying in general.

Needless to say, Cappers was plugged before we even left the delivery room. "What're you lookin' at," I recall growling at the disapproving midwife (I later blamed my rudeness on the post-birth drugs, but we all know that was a lie). Cappers, who is of course the self-raising baby, spat the dummy out at about 4 months old and that was the end of that.

And then along came The Badoo. Grumpy. Third Born. Addict.

The only time it really drives me crazy is when she talks with it in.

"Urg wruf moo gun," she says.

"I love you too, don't talk with your dummy in!"

She has this trick where she twists the dummy around and around using her tongue. You'd swear you can hear the faint sounds of carnival music while she does it. Da da dah dah dah dah da da dah dah. Roll up, roll up and see the fantastical, the magical, the amaaaaaaazing three year old Freddie Mercury lookalike!

Cracks me up every time.


I know it's bad, but we're not even close to working our way free of this dummy vice. She likes it, it gives her comfort... where's the harm I say. Should I feel guilty about that?

[Image of the Pacifier Tree - where kids go to hang their dummies when they've finished with them (unfortunately all the way over in Sweden which seems a little far for The Badoo to travel) -  by Camilla Engman - cool blog by the way!]

Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves...


Aqua and red and pink

The Tsunamis are all moving bedrooms in a month or so (whenever we get around to putting lockable doors upstairs). They are moving upstairs and we are coming downstairs. The girls will share a room together (just as my sister and I did all our young lives) and Maxi-T will be just across the hall. Downstairs will be us and a new playroom slash study (yippee!)

I am having such fun planning how things might look (MORE aqua and red and pink on my pinterest board), but I am curiously in no hurry to make the move. It means The Badoo comes out of a cot and into a big bed... a move that has never gone down well at our place. Our children just love spending time with us too much and unless we cage them in, they are up and down like yo-yos.

Cappers' fave colour is blue and The Badoo's is pink. Just awful together - I can't think of a worse combination except maybe for green and yellow (sorry Australia). So I figured I'd make Cappers' blue more of an aqua, add my favourite red/ white and highlight the lot with a bit of Badoo pink.

You like?


For crafty inspiration, I'm linking this up with Our Creative Space today... click on the link to see what those amazing clever clogs are up to this week! x

Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves...

[Image credits can all be found here]


Smoking not

I've been craving cigarettes like crazy all day. This wouldn't be unusual if it was August 2004 which is the month - almost SEVEN YEARS AGO - that I gave up my almost-pack-a-day habit.

You never really give up.

From time to time over that seven year period I have had a cigarette. Never while sober, always after a drink or four. The last time I smoked was after Woogsy and I trudged up Oxford Street on a Monday night after several wines and many more whines to buy a pack from the bottle-o. But that was months ago.

But today I am craving cigarettes like crazy.

I'll never understand it. It can't be a nicotine or a psychological or even a habit thing - surely not after almost seven years? Why would I just wake up today and think I'm a smoker all over again? What blip in my brain forgot that I hated it, felt trapped by it, was begging to give up? What tiny synapse has failed to fire and remind me of the wretched cravings endured and outlasted for months and months? How could I forget that the reason I gave up was pregnancy, but the reason I stayed given-up was parenting?

I didn't want to be 'that smoking mum'. That mum who snuck away at odd times of the day and night and returned smelling of guilt. That mum who swore she'd never smoke in front of her kids but wasn't strong enough to resist. Not because she's a bad mother, but because there was something controlling her that seemed bigger than her gigantic love for her kids. Bigger even than that.

My own mum smoked, back in the day when everyone did. Many of us have memories of a smoky eighties-bright kitchen and waves of laughter as coffee was poured and cigarettes lit. I recall the thick haze of the room almost as effortlessly as I recall my mum's sagging disappointment when I revealed at twenty that I was a smoker too (because eventually, you can't hide it any more, you just can't wait). My choice; her guilt.

Mum gave up smoking before I did. After an almost thirty year habit, she just quit one day for good. Her strength and resolve was inspiring, but never once did she say to me 'when are you giving up? When will you stop?' She knew that choice had to be mine. She knew how frustrating it was to have other people try to make that choice for you. It had to be me.

In the end it was Maxi-Taxi and how grateful I have always been to my little man for that. There was no 'final cigarette', no endless goodbye. The double line just meant that the cigarettes went and that was the end of that. I missed the way cigarettes focus you in the present, make you stop and just 'be' for a moment. I missed the easy banter as I shared one of those moments with colleagues, party goers, the girl on the train platform. "All the fun people smoke," I remember a non-smoker friend complaining at one party or another. I agree with her - the smokers conversations are always fab and delicious. Even if the cigarettes are not.

Easy enough to walk away from in the end, when it stops being about you and starts to be about something bigger. The relief at not imposing my unhealthy, unattractive, untenable habit on other people was enormous. Despite that, I think I will always be the kind of person who has one or two during a night out, but that's okay. I don't go out enough to worry about such matters and I've long made my peace with it. 

But today. Today I am craving cigarettes like crazy and it reminds me, once again, that you never really give up.

Have you ever been a smoker? How do you stay given-up?


Edited 11/7: Just wanted to amend the dates! It was actually August 2003 that I stopped smoking so it's been EIGHT years. Given that Maxi was born in May 2004, I thought it best to clarify that otherwise I don't look like such a fab mother, do I? x

PS - No, I didn't give in to the cravings. Never do. That's the secret. x

I'm obsessed with giveaways galore right now...

My own...
Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves...

... My sister's...
...and Down that Little Lane's.

Have fun! x