Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prioritising Myself

I had a check weigh and measure at the gym this moment of truth!  As I said in my twitter post, I was quietly confident about my impending results.  As it turns out, I had every right to be!  I had lost centimetres off everywhere and 1.5kg of body fat. I didn't think that sounded like much (not when there are a few more kilograms to go!) but the trainer at the gym all but did a back flip with excitement with the timeframe in which this 1.5kg had removed itself.  She even got the rubbery fat chunk examples out to show me how much 'fat' I had lost!  So pretty chuffed was I as well.

Where I am thrilled with my results so far, it has been the other added benefits that I am finding have (re) entered my life that get me all happy as well.

Whilst I have chosen to put less on my food plate, I have also put less on my 'to do' plate. I have found that week after week, I have achieved all that I had on my daily list of things to do.  I have not overwhelmed myself with grandiose ideas of thinking I had all the time in the world on my days off to achieve a grocery list of 'to do' items.

I have widened my wardrobe selection and the feeling is so exciting.  I would previously - and by that I mean only a few weeks ago - scan my clothing selection for what didn't need ironing and what would fit.  I am now finding that I am standing looking at my clothes wondering what I feel like wearing.  There are still items that are in the 'don't fit into' section that I am working towards adding to my repertoire of fashion, but having more choice has been very uplifting for my spirits.  

I have begun to take more time with my makeup before leaving the house.  I usually, and still will on occasion, do it in the car at a red light.  I am talking eyeliner, mascara and lipstick.  That's it.  It can pretty much be all done by the time the light turns green!  Now however, I have found that I am adding in a few other bits and pieces whilst I am getting ready and again find myself feeling really happy at the seemingly less effort of putting in a little more effort.

I am still mindful of my food choices and really loving it.  I can very clearly see the effects on my body with my energy or how I feel physically if I slip in a food group at the wrong time of the day.  Mainly a sugar or a carbohydrate.  It hasn't happened often, but stands out like the proverbial when it has.

Speaking of energy, my energy levels have increased hugely.  Just yesterday I was amazed at how 'alive' I felt for the whole day.  Not an afternoon slump in sight!

So what is it that has changed?  What has really changed is that I have prioritised myself. I have pushed me up the list of what is important in my life and the pay off has been nothing short of wonderful. A shift in attitude about me, and Newport Skinny Tea, was all it took.

This is how good I feel
Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Snack Time - Super Healthy Cookies

One of the things I always find the most difficult when it comes to healthy eating, is snacks.  It's the whole 'grab and go' thing.  In the past, if I have had to prepare a snack, that's when I have tended to become unstuck.  I just haven't allowed myself the time.

Whilst doing the Newport Skinny Tea Teatox program, I promised myself, and all of you, that I would be going in to this knowing that planning and deliberate decisions about my food would be a big part of my success.  Whilst these are still true, I also had no idea at the time how easy the tea makes it.  This is honestly the easiest lifestyle change towards a healthier me that I have ever done!  No word of a lie.  This is one secret soooo worth sharing!  In my past attempts, I try to eat healthy but my biggest thing has been that sugar craving in the afternoon.  I just haven't been able to escape it....until now. Drinking the Newport Skinny Tea in the morning before breakfast and again just before lunch has worked wonders.  The even easier part?  It is delicious!  How easy is that?

Going back to snack time, I still wanted to be prepared and this week got back to baking on Tuesday so that I had a 'grab and go' healthy snack.  I found a recipe and after improvising on some of the ingredients that I either don't like or didn't have, this is what I came up with:-

2 cups self raising flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup psyllium husk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup protein powder (I used chocolate flavoured)
1 cup LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sultanas
1 cup dried apricots diced
125g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup boiling water

Pre-heat your oven to 150 deg C.  Line your baking trays (you'll need 2-3).

Pour all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter in a saucepan (or microwave).  Add the golden syrup, mix and then add the boiling water and mix again.  Pour this into the dry ingredients.  Mix together.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little more of the boiling water.  You can either mix with a spoon or get your hands in and give it a good go.

Scoop out about a dessert spoon size of the mixture and mould into a ball.  Flatten it out a little on the baking tray.  Keep each cookie about 5 cm apart on the tray.

Pop the trays in the oven for about 20 - 25 mins or until the cookies are golden on top. Allow the cookies to sit on the tray for 5 minutes once you take them out of the oven before transferring them to a cooling wire rack. The cookies will continue to harden as they cool.

This mixture made 24 for me.

I have had one of these with a cup of green tea as one of my snacks this week.  Delicious. I highly recommend them!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Turning Over A New (Tea) Leaf

For those of you who have been following my posts the last couple of weeks and who also follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you may be interested to know how I have been going on my journey drinking Newport Skinny Tea and eating more healthily.  Who knows? You may have also been inspired to do this along with me!  

When I chose to re-set my sails and send myself into a healthier direction, I decided that if I did it, I would blog about it to track my progress.  Everything from what I ate, to how I felt, to numbers and photos.  One, it helps me remain accountable but secondly, and true to the theme of my whole blog is that nothing about this should be a secret.  Why keep it to myself?

I have been very mindful.  That is probably the biggest stand out for me.  I have been very deliberate in food choice.  I think about everything from what sort of food group it is, the time of day I am eating it and therefore the impact it will have on my body to portion size and being aware of how I am feeling.  I have cut right back on processed foods, I have not had any carbs at night with our evening meal, really switched up my snacks and drank more green tea and water than I ever have before.

When exploring healthy eating plans, I am always interested in snacks.  And by that I mean snacks I will like.  So for my snacks I have been choosing from any of the following:
  • Edamame Beans - not quite a handful (say, 3/4 cup)
  • Green Tea
  • Protein Shake
  • Smoothie
  • Juice
  • Nuts
  • Carrot
These don't sound like a lot of options but I am only one and a half weeks in to my 3 week program and so far these have worked for me.  

I have been trying to cut back on my daily coffee intake for quite some time now, having allowed it to increase over the last few years on an 'as needs' basis.  As needs being dependant upon the night's sleep I had had, with small children in the house!  I prefer my daily limit to be two but it had crept to (more often than not) three.  On this program, I am easily keeping it at two, no problems at all.

At the evening meal times, I have tended to replace any carbohydrate (pasta or potato) with greens.  My choices have been grated zucchini lightly stir fried (though I don't use any oil, just some pepper), rocket, kale or baby spinach.  Yes they are healthy options, but I think the mental impact it has is big too.  I just feel so much better mentally as well as physically.  I don't feel as weighed down.

What I can say so far about Newport Skinny Tea - Daytime Tea in particular - is it is an amazing appetite suppressant.  Of everything, this is the part that I am amazed at the most.  It is not a false appetite suppressant, such that I am ravenous by the time it is my next meal, but a true feeling of satisfaction.  I truly am stunned and in love with this product.  It is a natural tea and really damn delicious.  So it is not something I am taking that is just confusing my body into thinking it is not hungry.  I have not craved anything sweet - and for anyone who knows me, they know I love my lollies and don't mind the odd bit of chocolate either.  I haven't craved chips or biscuits.  I have honestly (and amazingly) been satisfied with the healthy food choices I have made.

I haven't weighed myself or taken my measurements this week.  I want to wait until the end of the program to do this.  I can say however that I can feel a gradual change physically.  My stomach is beginning to feel flatter.  My skin is looking a whole lot better in just a week!  I have been sleeping pretty good but to be honest, that is more to do with the kids not waking than anything else.  If they sleep, so do I.  As for energy, I have felt pretty good.  Normally I have that lag at about 3pm when I would have a sugar pick-me-up of some sort but I have not had the lag, or therefore needed the pick-me-up.

All in all, progress is going well.  I can certainly give the thumbs up to Newport Skinny Tea and a big thumbs up to my personal efforts that have aligned with that.  I'm pretty proud of how the two of us are going as travelling partners!

Stay tuned.  I'll be keeping you posted on how we're going over the next week.  

(I would like to just say that this is not a paid sponsored post.)


Friday, August 22, 2014

Hello Customer Service? Are You There?

Dare I say that I am old enough, but I can remember twenty years ago when good customer service was a regular occurrence.  Great customer service stood out, which would always prompt me to either mention it at the time or write a letter complimenting the staff member or company on their excellent standard of service. Likewise if service was appalling, I have a tendency to enlighten, shall we say, the business in question.

These days, I honestly don't know how to feel when I receive good customer service.  Am I happy to have received it? Or disappointed that it was noticeable?  And that is just good service, not great!

What is going on in society that customer service has deteriorated to almost nothing? What has happened to the notion of 'the customer is always right?'

Of course the customer isn't always right and so often we would love to tell them so.  The notion behind that saying though is that 'the customer is important enough to our business that they are worth doing the right thing by'.  After all, word of mouth can be a VERY powerful tool.  Isn't it what I am doing now?

Just this week, I (the customer) followed up on an issue that has stretched on for the past two months.  The issue has been addressed entirely on email.  With some of the content, I would have thought that the vendor in this instance would have tripped over themselves trying to work the issue out.  But, a big, fat no!  No-one was willing to take responsibility for resolving the issue.  Instead it got passed from one person to the next until finally yesterday I received an email that said:
"this department is not authorised to make decisions" (on my matter)
I pulled up just short of seeing complete red.  They mean to say I have wasted time liaising with them instead of being referred on to the correct party?  They have got to be kidding me.  The email I returned however highlighting their lack of customer service, customer importance and how appalled I was at their lack of action seemed to ring a bell with someone of note because within the next hour the matter, for the greater part, was resolved.  

Why do things need to escalate to such a level before anything is done?

Customer service is not a hard concept to understand nor is it a difficult skill to execute. It comes down to knowing, and respecting, who at the end of the day pays your wage (if you wish to get that technical) and plain old common decency towards your fellow citizens.

In this day and age of technology where so many transactions are faceless, it is easy to see why customer service levels have dropped. Why should it though? What needs to be remembered is that also in this day and age of technology, many similar companies are popping up and bad customer service will just make the consumer move on. And usually with a few words to others about their experience.  There is always another company willing to take your money and some of those will even treat their customers with respect, ensuring return business.  So whilst companies may not put the focus on customer service these days, they should also remind themselves that they too are disposable.

Where to from here?  Well, I can't change the world in one blog post...or can I?  However you have clearly seen how important it is to me.  Yes, I am a customer service based person to the core.  I can, and am, raising my boys to be respectful of others and will continue to instill in them the importance of extending that respect to their customers, obviously dependant upon their line of work.  They are both 4 at the moment, so we have a way to go!

Customer service should be 'not so secret' and I would dearly love to see a comeback of it. Even as the world advances, it is sometimes the good old fashioned things we miss the most.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it is time customer service made a comeback?

Image credit:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Upgrading My 'Normal'

The day of reckoning has arrived.  

I gave myself a gradual grace period up until my Newport Skinny Tea arrived, to eeeeease myself into my new self.

Now my Newport Skinny Tea has arrived along with my moment of truth.  I am super excited.

Tea Diffuser - check
Commitment - check
Discipline - check
"Before" measurements done - check
"Before" weight done - check
"Before" photo done - check

It will also take a consistent and conscious thought process in my food choices which will also mean regular planning.

It is so easy to fall back into old patterns.  Timely as it is, I re-read recently, a saying that was first said to me years ago:

You can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Seems logical doesn't it?  But I suffer from blindness to the obvious at times.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.  Funnily enough, my Newport Skinny Tea supplies happen to be in an amount that will last me for 3 weeks.  Coincidence?  I think not!

I am looking forward to having more energy, to having clearer skin, better nutrient absorption, less brittle nails and fitting into the loads of clothes that I have waiting for me.                                                                Exhibit A here ->
(and they don't include the ones I have hanging!)

I have to create a 'new normal' for me.  Creating a 'new normal' has been a term that I have used several times, as required, over the past 7 years. It would have been relevant earlier than that, I just became aware of and coined the term then.  I wasn't thrilled with my 'new normal' at the time.  However, it is better if I am in control and create my 'new normal', than it be created for me.  It is when it is created for you that you tend to be less happy with it.  In the instance of living healthier, I would rather create a 'new normal' of health, than my health deteriorate and subsequently dictate a 'new normal' to me.  After all, my organs have been working for me for 44 years now and for them to last the distance, I need to do the right thing by them.  I am very aware that I am in the age bracket when 'things' can start to go wrong.  And no, I am not being paid for how many times I can mention 'new normal' in one paragraph!  But thank you for your tolerance anyway.  7 times.  It will save you going back and counting.  

The buck(wheat) stops with me.  Thankfully though I have all of you to help keep me on track and accounted for during this transition to my (say it with me) 'new normal'.

If you are doing your own journey towards a healthier you this summer, or fall for our northern hemisphere friends, feel free to share your progress, tips and stories with us in the comments below.  And good luck!  Let's re-define our "normal's" together.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Complete Hones-tea

Have you ever bought clothes in the size you would like to be with the plan that you will one day fit into them?  Or is it only me that has done that?

If I'm completely honest with myself though, and carrying on from last week's goal update, the whole "I'll do it later" theme has spilled over from my paperwork into my well-being.

On the one hand, life is short, why not treat myself?  On the other hand, life is short, I have two children I would like to be healthily here for and treating myself as often as I do has pitfalls now that I am in my 40's and the extra calories don't seem to remove themselves as easily as in my 20's.  So my whole thought process along the lines of "I'll train harder at the gym tomorrow", "tomorrow I will eat better", "I'll start on Monday", "I'll start on the 1st" etc etc, just aren't cutting it for me anymore.  

Really, what am I waiting for?

The truth is, I gave myself two years grace after baby number two was born.  I had been pregnant for two years consecutively so figured that I would take the same amount of time to undo the baby weight as it took to get it there.  Baby number two just turned 4!  

I actually think I did lose the baby weight to a large degree what with pushing a double pram and running around like a mad chook after two babies.  I burnt a lot of calories and often ate on the run.  Since I've stopped pushing a pram and walking everywhere with the kids, the kilos have crept on.  I could add in a thousand excuses as to why and how this has occurred but I would only be kidding myself.

It is time!  Time to sort myself out!

And speaking of timing, two things.  Fate really is a funny little character! The gym I was attending closed, so I have joined a new gym. This in itself gives the body a bit of a much needed wake up call and I am loving it so far - 4 workouts in, my fifth in forty minutes! 

Secondly, the fun and wonders of Instagram have lead me to discover Newport Skinny Tea.  As you now know, I love natural remedies. I am constantly intrigued at how the body works and how particular foods, herbs, oils and natural therapies will assist the body back on track.

The tea at Newport Skinny Tea is all natural so I am really looking forward to receiving my package of tea, eating a whole lot more healthily than I have been and preparing for summer!  It is fast approaching and so is my brother's wedding in December! 

I want to feel like I can approach my wardrobe and choose what I want to wear rather than what I currently do: what doesn't need ironing, what will fit and what hides the multitude of sins?  I want to feel happy within myself and within my skin.  I want to feel proud of myself for what I have achieved.  I want to feel energized.  Every year one of my goals is to tone up.  I have no idea why I keep it as an elusive goal and why I don't just achieve it? I guess it is something to do with having a 'to do' list, but it is time to switch up the items on that list and tick 'tone up' as done.

My reward goes without saying.  How I feel in all aspects will be my number one reward. But I will mention two others.  I have a pair of jeans that I just love. They're sitting patiently on my shelf waiting for me and I plan to rock those champs before the end of the year.  I also saw a leather wrist wrap bracelet about two years ago at one of those pop-up stands in a shopping centre.  It was stunning and a unique piece that in hindsight, I should have bought there and then.  So I am presently looking for another piece just like it and when I find it, I'm going to reward myself with that purchase when I have achieved my goal!

To keep myself accountable, I plan to track my progress here, so stay tuned.  Or join me? After all, summer is approaching for everyone, not just me!

Photo credit

Friday, August 1, 2014

Goal Update - Something's Missing...

August!  We are now fairly well entrenched into the second half of the year.

Whilst I must say I am proud of my goal-awareness efforts this year (I have continually thought of and about them which is more than I can say for prior years) I have fallen a little off the bandwagon of having my finger on my goal-pulse.

I pride myself on being organised.  I am sure I appear it mostly!  But behind the scenes, in fact, just in our back room where my office is, would tell a completely different story.  I am hoping that by later this afternoon, it will tell a different story again.

I am a putter-offerer.  Someone who often says or thinks "I'll do that later."  

There, I have said it.  Out loud.  Ok, it's on paper, but it is the same thing really.  It's out there!

But where is 'later'?  You can see from the photo, 'later' failed to turn up.

I am someone who will deal with what must be done because I naturally gravitate towards deadlines.  

I plan, sometimes.  I wish it were more often.  In fact, daily. And that I worked towards it, daily.  I admire organised and planned people.  Oh to be so disciplined.

I on the other hand, am someone with a free spirit when it comes to planning and schedules.  I love the idea of it, but I fail to stick to it.  My naturally "oh that would be fun" trait tends to kick in.  It wouldn't be such a problem if I wasn't trying to achieve anything, but I have lots on my 'to do' list that I would like to tick off, and quite a few big goals I would like to achieve.  I'm also busy with kids, working, household duties etc, the list goes on and tend to fall prey to dancing to the beat of other people's drums.  

At the end of the day, I realise it all comes down to planning.  And discipline.  Cue Chicago's song, Something's Missing, In My Life, Maybe It's You (planning and discipline).

As I said in my last post, honed skills of the successful include planning and discipline. I have also learned that I tend to find goals easier to get my head around when I think about other smaller tasks, backwards.  It sounds weird to me too, however, to give you an example:-

This weekend we have two birthday parties for my son who just turned 4 - a family one and a friends from kindy one.

My usual way: float through the week aware that it is on, doing what I usually busy myself doing and then freak out at what I need to buy and prepare on each of the weekend's mornings.

My backwards way: think about the parties on the weekend and what times they are on, make a list of what needs to happen for them, and what other commitments we have on as well all week.  Work out when each item can happen and what its deadline is. 

In doing this, it allows me to plan in the best time to do the things that need to be done, in a timeframe that keeps things orderly and stress free.

To sum up my goal update, when I think of years gone by, I have achieved more this year than previously purely because of the thought processes I have had.  I've previously listed the goal early in the year and then hoped for the best.  This year I have deliberately thought about my demeanour towards goals.  What I find challenging and why, and how to turn that around. I have ticked a few things on the list but business-wise I am not as far as I would liked to have been by now.  Still, I have 4 months of the year left.  With discipline and planning, my end of year goal update should be an interesting one!

What are your secrets for achieving your goals?  Details please....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just an "I'm Back" Ramble Really!

Wowzer!  Nearly two months since my last post!  That's crazy.  And not in a good way.

We were away up in Cairns in early June for my husband to compete in the Ironman with the Shining4Sharn team.  If you have not seen Sharn's ahhh-mazing story, you can watch it here.  Despite the relentless rain, I would live that day again and again a million times over, it was so inspirational and SO emotional to see Sharn and the team fulfill her dream to become an Ironman.

I have read a lot of late that planning and organisation are two very well honed skills of 'successful' people.  I put that in inverted commas because I understand success is different things to different people.  It is even many different things just to me.  My point being that I can say I have been busy over the last couple of months, hence my absence, but it is really just a lame excuse.  Yes I have been busy.  However, I could have planned time into my schedule to blog, and just haven't.  Even though I have missed blogging terribly and wanted to.  Go figure.  I know, my mind amazes me as well!  I really do feel like a slow learner at times, but at least I am getting there...I think.

I find I can plan and feel oh so organised when I do and even prouder of myself when my days go according to said plan.  Like yesterday.  Bliss.

Then comes the goals.  Of course, successful people also set goals.  Mine?  I am still working on the execution.  I am going to do a separate post offering an update on my goal setting (now that we have reached the halfway mark of the year) and the challenges I am finding, so stay tuned for that one!

Just a short and sweet post today.  I'm happy to let you know I haven't dropped off the perch, I'm still loitering about the place.

It is time to head off however, my schedule for today says so!

Have a great day y'all!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Hospitality Establishment - Tapas Dancing

It is little wonder that some things escape me.  I live in an ordinarily positive world, only capturing pieces of the news here and there.  My world would be different and more negatively impacted if the headlines ran across the bottom of the Tom and Jerry show, but thankfully, they don't.  And reading the newspaper is a thing of the past, at present!

Likewise when driving, I am watching the road or adjudicating the 'discussion' in the back with my 3 and 4 year old or (and usually the case) answering 50 gazillion questions. Most often the one that goes:-

Jai (4): "Mum, what did that sign say?"

Me: "Which sign?"

Jai: "The one back there?"

Or like on the weekend:-

Jai: "Mum, what does that one, one, zero sign mean?"

Me: "It means I can do 110 kms per hour."

Cruz (3): "Mum, do 120."

So to have driven down President Avenue at Caringbah in the Sutherland Shire numerous times and have not noticed The Hospitality Establishment does not surprise me at all.  I was however pleasantly surprised it existed when my sister suggested we do one of their cooking classes as our birthday gift. 

We are Taureans and LOVE food - cooking and eating it!  And we love a cooking class!

The Hospitality Establishment runs all sorts of cooking classes.  And, they are BYO!  

Does it get any better?  

From Rustic Italian to Superfoods to Mexican Street Food and many more delectable enticements in between.  What to choose, what to choose! You can see their assortment of classes here.  They even have ones for kids in the school holidays!

My two sisters, three sister-in-laws and myself graced The Hospitality Establishment with our presence.  

That's a lot of BYO.  


The class we chose to do was Tapas. In total there were around 15 or so doing the class - on a Friday night!  Garth and Tash ran the show.  Garth is the chef, Tash the cook. Tash came to be Garth's trusty assistant after doing numerous cooking classes, and clearly loving them. 

The class is informative, educational, hands on if you want it to be, relaxed and a whole lot of fun.  Participation is encouraged but not pressured.  You can partake in as much or as little of the cooking as you would like.  Hand-washing is mandatory.  So is the laid-back atmosphere.  My most enjoyable cooking class to date!
My sister in law, Kim,
preparing the Blue Cheese Tarts

In our Tapas class, we made...huh! The royal 'we'!  Okay okay, Garth and Tash (and a little bit of the rest of us) made Duck Spring Rolls (I'm now pretty good at rolling up these little tackers), Prawn Miang (divine), Blue Cheese Tarts (even if you don't like blue cheese, you'll luuuurve these), Lamb and Minted Pea Bruschetta (yummo), Albondigas (sounds like a country but these meatballs were delish) and Churros (please, who doesn't like Churros dipped in chocolate?)  

The top two are Prawn Miang,
the bottom is the start of the
Churros (looks like mashed potato!)

What a fun (and delicious) night!  It is such a friendly         atmosphere.  Everyone, including our chef and cook, 
were there for a great time.  It is a night that can, depending upon the cuisine and your experience, walk you a little sideways out of your comfort zone, teach you a thing or two and allow you to realise that making some of these tasty morsels isn't actually as difficult as one may think.  And chopping like a pro is not required! 

 All in all, I can highly recommend a night of Tapas dancing  at The Hospitality Establishment.  We had more than enough to eat, shared some great laughs, were given a handout of the recipes 'we' made and indulged in restaurant quality dishes - in taste and presentation.

What's not to love about a night like that?  

If you love cooking or the idea of doing a cooking class, then you will love what 
The Hospitality Establishment has to offer.

I wonder what class will take our fancy next time?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mother's Groups - To Join Or Not To Join? That Is The Question.

When I was pregnant with my first son, I pondered this exact question: should I join a mother's group?  

I thought that if you did the ante-natal classes, the women in those classes became your mother's group.  I am still unsure on this point.  However, being a planned caesar, and therefore believing I wouldn't need to know how to breathe my way through a labour I wouldn't have (yeah right, if you have read my previous posts....!!) I didn't sign up for those classes, just the 'what to do with your newborn' class.

I enquired as to the benefit of joining a mother's group.  My cousin was pregnant with her second at the same time I was pregnant with my first.  So I asked if she had joined a mum's group and what she thought.  I have never forgotten what she said because it rang so true when I did eventually join my own mother's group.

She said:-

It is a group of women who you may not have otherwise met.  Yet you will share the bond of having your first born's roughly at the same time and therefore going through the same things - give or take - so you connect.  To this day, they are a group of women that I would always give the time of day to, even if I have not seen them for months or years, because we share something that I don't share with anyone else.

That sold me.

The idea of a sisterhood at a time I would be embarking on something TOTALLY foreign to me sounded like what I would want and need.  I had a zillion nieces and nephews before I became a mum, but nothing is like having your own child twenty four hours a day, seven days a week!

Within the first week or two of coming home from hospital, the midwife visited our home to check on the baby and I.  We signed up for her mother's groups meetings.  We would meet for 4 consecutive weeks with her (the midwife) and after that, should we choose to still meet, we were on our own.  

On our own!  What?  No guidance?  

We met on our designated day.  I remember looking around the room at all the new mum's and the even newer babies.  There were 11 of us from memory, with a total of 12 bubs. Yes, one woman had twins, just a few weeks old.  Not only did she show up, but she was pretty much there on time, and looked completely comfortable shuffling the two babies around to hold and cradle them.  I am still in awe of this woman.  It was all I could do to get myself dressed in somewhat co-ordination, run a brush through my hair, and three point turn my pram successfully, let alone get the 'morning rush out the door' routine down pat with two kids!!  I decided that some people are just quite literally, incredible.  

On week two one of the girls turned up with morning tea to boot!  Home made.  Oh please!  How come I was the only one who seemed to be thrown for six in finding my new 'normal'?

Fast forward to the end of week four.  It was going to be time for us to be on our own, if we chose to continue our gatherings.  The following week would be Melbourne Cup.  Well, it is just plain un-Australian not to celebrate it in some way, shape or form.  A conveniently located pub that could accommodate space for prams was thrown into the ring as a suggestion.  Okay, so it was the only suggestion.  Why look for others when the first idea made sense?

We continued our weekly catch ups at various venues.  Coffees, lunches, park visits, whatever worked.  There were about 9 of us at this stage (plus bubs).  We would discuss anything and everything.  Nothing was off limits and judgement never entered the equation.  I think that is why the topics were so open.  We could be ourselves - good and bad - and just be accepted and more importantly, supported.

I remember my husband commenting after we had attended one of the kids' 3rd birthday parties just how apparent the bond is between us mum's in the mum's group.  It made me proud and it made me smile.  Because what he said is true.  We look out for each other. And we look out for each other's kids too.

Our catch-ups became less frequent as we all either went back to work, moved, or had second babies.  Lunches turned to dinners.  With alcohol.  And no kids.  

We caught up just last Saturday night.  It was brilliant.  We are all so genuinely excited to be in each other's company.  We share something special.  Even down to stories that will be shared with us and no-one else.  Because we get it and we get each other.  We do share something unique.  We experienced our first borns together.  For most of us, our paths wouldn't have crossed otherwise.  Our babies are our common denominator.  Our babies who are all nearly 5 and heading to school next year!

So if you are pregnant right now and wondering whether or not to join a mother's group, the decision is entirely yours.  But this has been my take on the immeasurable value that my mother's group has meant and still means, to me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

What's Your Favourite....Mum Moment?

I could write a post on how special Mother's are, on what it takes to be a Mum (or Mummy as I still am at this stage) and the qualities only a Mother could have.  But if you are a Mum or have/had one, you know exactly what I am talking about anyway!

Instead, let's chat about our favourite moment of being a Mum or with our Mum.

Many moons ago, that many in fact I can't remember if it was a nephew or a niece, a First Holy Communion or a Confirmation that we were attending at our parish Church.  It was one of those occasions though where seats were being taken up quickly so an early arrival to the Church was warranted. The Bishop was coming!

There we were, in our pew, with seats rapidly filling around us.  I was seated next to my Mum.  With about 5 minutes to go before the service began, Mum leaned across to me and asked "Love, did I put mascara on both eyes?"

Without even looking I knew the answer. Still, I checked just to be sure.

She hadn't.

It really didn't matter for the one eye that did have mascara because by the time we managed to compose ourselves again, that eye's mascara had run all over the place anyway!

How on earth does that happen?  How do you get distracted mid application and never get back to it?

And of all places to ask? Church. 

We couldn't laugh out loud. That would be inappropriate! Rather we sat there with shoulders jumping up and down with our muffled laughter, tears rolling down our foundation streaked cheeks, and continued to do the pretend cough throughout the service when the thought popped back into our heads and we started all over again. 

In hindsight, through two mascara'd eyes please, we shouldn't have continued to sit beside one another that day! 
Happy Mother's Day!

Ah, I still laugh.

What has been your favourite Mum moment?

To all the Mum's out there, to those who will be remembering their Mum's this Sunday, for those who will be experiencing their first Mother's Day or their first Mother's Day without their Mum, to those Mum's who have lost their child, I wish you all a very special Mother's Day.  May Sunday be a day for you.  A day of memories made or memories cherished.

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