Musings

Drained

www.sarahdipity.com.au

Wow, last week was a big one for me and I have to say I’m feeling a bit emotionally drained after it.  I published a lot of writing last week and it felt a bit like an emotionally purging of sorts.  I shared the epic story of my scoliosis diagnosis; if you missed my posts you can find the whole story here: Part One, Part Two and Part Three. I also had a very personal article My Black Dog published on Her Collective. I wanted to say a big thank you to each an every person who took the time to read my stories. They were hard to write and brought up a lot of feelings but I found the whole process rather cathardic too. Writing has always been a type of therapy for me and getting everything down in words was something I felt I needed to do for some time now. It’s always a bit scary when you put such personal writing into the big wide world; it sort of feels like you’re standing naked in front of a crowd of strangers! But I was overwhelmed by the response and all of the comments, messages and emails I received. They ranged from ‘I’m sorry you went through that’ to ‘I’ve been there too and I understand’ and that’s exactly what I needed hear. I write these things not only for myself but for others who may be going through the same thing. I often think if only one person reads this and feels less alone then it makes it all worthwhile.

I’ve also started writing a series of posts for The Organic Place exposing the truth behind pesticide use in Australia and let me tell you what I discovered is pretty scary! I encourage you all to read this post which shares just five of the shocking facts I found out about pesticide use in Australia.

So yeah, lots of heavy stuff and it’s made me glad the school holidays are here. We’ve got lots of fun things planned. We’re heading to the Big Freeze Festival and Disney on Ice this weekend and hoping to spend some family time at our caravan down the coast when hubby has holidays next week (yay!) But yesterday, we kicked off the break with a nice slow day; the morning spent in our pjs baking and the afternoon spent crafting and watching movies. Just what I needed.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in today for a quick hello and thankyou and to say if things are a bit quiet around here for the next two weeks it’s because I have a four year old permanently attached to my side!

What have you got planned for the school holidays?

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Outlandish Little White Lies

Outlander, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Have you ever told a little white lie? One that started off small but then spiralled out of control? Gather around friends, grab yourself a cuppa, settle in and let me tell you cautionary tale about why you should never tell lies…even little ones.

I’ve always been an avid reader and enjoy all types of books. A few years ago one of the ladies at my work loaned me a book to read. It was called ‘Cross Stitch’ (some of you might know it by it’s other name, Outlander). She had raved about the book and was really excited to have me read it. I took the book home and read the first few chapters but just couldn’t get into it. A couple of weeks later I took the book back and when I handed it to her I lied. I don’t know why I lied, it was just one of those things, a little white lie told in the moment because this lady was so sweet and so when she asked me if I enjoyed it, I lied and said I did. “Oh great, I’ll bring you in the next one then”. Oh crap, it was series! Surely there couldn’t be anymore than two or three books in the series right? Wrong! The series had a total of eight books! So, over the next several months this gorgeous lady would bring me in a book, I would take it home, read the blurb, flip through a few pages and return it.

The lie grew. Turns out there was a whole Cross Stitch Fan Club at work. They would come to me, “I hear you’re reading Cross Stitch, isn’t it great?” and then a lengthy conversation would ensue. I came to know all the basics of the storyline and all of the characters names. I came to learn that we all loved Jamie, oh how these women loved Jamie! I felt like I was part of some secret Jamie loving women’s club! I bluffed my way through conversations and debates; should Claire have gone back, what did she do that, who should she choose, Frank or Jamie? These women were really invested in the story and I went along for the ride. I know, I’m horrible, but it felt nice to be part of the club, and besides, I was in too deep.

Eventually, the conversation died down and I thought I was done with Cross Stitch and then my Mum brought me a copy for my birthday and another friend recommended I read it. What was with this book? It was like it was haunting me. So, I forced myself to sit down and give it another go. I got much further in that time round but still, I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

One day, I found myself confessing to the girl who sat next to me that I had never actually read Cross Stitch or the rest of the books in the series. She thought it was hilarious and was actually pretty impressed with my ability to lie; she’d heard me in these Cross Stitch conversations and was totally convinced! Word soon got out and I had some fessing up to do. Lots of  laugher and ‘oh my gods!’ but thankfully no one was angry, they could all see the funny side. Again, I thought I was done with the whole saga and then the TV series came out.  The workplace was all a buzz last year when it was announced the book series was becoming a TV show, none more so though me. I saw it as my opportunity to finally see the whole story without having to read the long, boring books. Finally I could truly be part of the club, winning!

So I set Foxtel to record the first episode. That was my first mistake. Apparently one does not simply record Outlander, one waits in eager anticipation all day, banishes their husbands and kids from the TV, turns off their phone and watches the whole episode live and interrupted. Then of course you spend the whole next day at work talking with your fellow Outlander Fan Club friends about said episode. Man, I was feeling left out! So I tried to catch up and keep pace. I watched each episode, joined in the conversations, and helped to dissect everything- the characters, the costumes and of course Jamie. But, I have to be honest, I still just wasn’t feeling it. I still didn’t get it. I was still bluffing, And so, it was finally time to admit defeat. I’m not a fan of Outlander. There I said it. Gasp!

So last week when I saw my blogging hero Pip Lincolne repeatedly confess her love for Outlander on social media I was tempted to comment…I knew all about Outlander, we could totally bond! But no, I didn’t comment, I reminded myself instead that I don’t actually like Outlander and it’s just not nice to lie.

And so the moral of this rather long story is this…

  1. Don’t lie. Just don’t. It really does cause more trouble than good.
  2. It’s ok not to like something even if everyone else is the world seems to. Have your own opinion, even if it’s different.

And to Pip and all the other Outlander lovers out there, I hope we can still be friends.

Are you an Outlander fan? Have you read the book series? Ever found yourself telling a little white lie to fit in?

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The Organic Place

Remember the other day how I was talking about opportunities? I’ve had some great ones presented to me lately and none more so than the opportunity to work with this awesome lady….

Meet Brooke. I’m sure she’s going to kill me for putting up that photo of her but isn’t she lovely? Brooke and her partner Ben own and run The Organic Place, a company that delivers fresh organic fruit, vegetables and produce to straight to the doors of families living all over Melbourne and the west.

I originally met Brooke through our children (she’s got three!). They went to the same family day carer and now her daughter and my son attend the same kinder. A few weeks ago we got to talking; about my blog, her business, our passions….it soon turned into a long conversation which turned into a brainstorming session which quickly turned into me starting to work for The Organic Place! It all happened rather organically (pardon the pun- you see what I did there?) We’ve been kicking around ideas (we have lots of them!) and putting some plans into place for the future and let me tell you, it’s all very exciting!

When I talked about opportunity last week I talked about being at that special point in my life where I have the space and time to explore doing the things I love and this right here is one such thing. I love Brooke’s story, I love her vision, I love what she is trying to do for not only Australian families but for Australian farmers. And I’m proud that I now get to play a part in that, even if it is only a small part. And the added bonus is that I’m also learning so much about healthy eating and living which comes at a perfect time for me as I embark on my ‘a healthier me’ journey. We now get a big haul of fresh, organic produce delivered to our door every week and it’s inspiring us to try new things and eat more fruit and veg every day.

So this is just a little thankyou to Brooke, for taking a chance on me and welcoming me into your business and a big shout out to The Organic Place (check them out people- you won’t regret it!)

Have you ever been part of something exciting? Ever met someone you’ve just clicked with straight away? Are you an organic food lover? I’m a total convert!

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When Opportunity Comes Knocking

when opportunity comes knocking, www.sarahdipity.com.au

A few months ago I wrote this post about learning to let go of expectation, especially when it came to my creativity and career. I wanted to let go of the idea that I had to be making from my writing or other creative pursuits in order for it to be worth something. It didn’t mean I was giving up on my dreams it just meant that I wanted to get back to doing things I enjoy just for the pure love of it. And I’ve been doing just that. I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve been reading and visiting new places and meeting new people and it’s been so great. And isn’t it funny that when you put yourself out there and learn to let go of expectation that’s exactly the time when opportunity comes knocking. And it has, quite a few times recently. In fact I had one crazy day the other week where I had four different creative job opportunities offered to me…yes all in one day. Some were just little opportunities, one quite big. Each of them was exciting and appealing in their own way. But of course I couldn’t say yes to them all could I? And that’s where learning to say no comes in.

Saying no has never come easily to me. I’m a people pleaser and often suffer from the dreaded FOMO. Too many times I’ve found myself in the position where I’ve said yes to something that I really didn’t want to do. So for each and every opportunity that has presented itself to me recently I have forced myself to stop and really think about it. I’ve asked myself is this something that I really want to do? Is this going to help me achieve my dreams? It’s so very easy to be lead astray by the lure of money but I just remind myself that money can’t buy happiness. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new job but I just remind myself what my priorities are. So, I’ve learnt to say no and by saying no it has left me with the space and the time to be able to say yes to the things that I really want to do and that is an awesome position to be in!

It’s as simple as this; you need to know what you want out of life so that when opportunity comes knocking you’ll know if the opportunity is the right one for you.

Have you had any great opportunities presented to you lately? Do you find it a struggle to say no?

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A Healthier Me: An Update and Free Printable

Several weeks ago I wrote this post about my plans to become a healthier me. I’ve had a few people ask me how I’m going and so I thought I would update you all.

I got off to an awesome start (as one always does). For two weeks I ate healthy and exercised every day; usually a 40 minute walk. Then we went away for the long weekend and I fell off the wagon a little. I ate crap and stopped exercising. For some reason in my brain I think that if I start the week off on a bad foot then the whole week is a write off and so then I had to wait until the following Monday start ‘being good’ again. Why do I do that? Does anyone else do that?

So anyway, another new week came and I made another fresh start. The thing I’ve always struggled with is finding information on healthy eating that isn’t about losing weight. Seriously, all the websites, books and information out there all seems to be geared towards losing weight and I don’t want (nor need) to do that. And there is so much mixed information out there too, so many fads and diets; quit sugar, stop eating meat, cut out carbs…and the list goes on. But personally, I think it’s all about balance. A dietician gave me a useful little checklist last year and I’ve been using that to track what I’m eating and see the gaps; what it is that I need to be eating more or less of in order to have a well balanced diet. I was pleasantly surprised to find my eating is not actually as bad as I thought it was. Overall I need to increase my daily veggie and dairy intake. Unfortunately chocolate doesn’t count as dairy otherwise I’d be killing it. But for fruit, breads/cereals, healthy fats and oils; I’m kicking goals!

Because I’ve found the checklist so helpful I thought others might too, so I’ve added it here as a free download below:

healthy eating checklist, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Just click here to print your free copy. Each little check box stands for one serve of that particular type of food. The idea is that you should be ticking off each check box and having little to no items in your ‘extra’s box’ on a daily basis. If you’re unsure what constitutes a serving size you can find that information here.

With eating, I know my downfall has always been going for the convenient option (i.e: whatever I can quickly grabbed from the cupboard) and the way to combat that is through planning. I have always planned our dinners on a weekly basis and I’ve now started to do the same with my lunches. With snacks, I’ve been setting some time aside every Sunday to prepare some healthy snacks for the week; things I can easily grab as I head out the door or start to feel hungry. Another really good tip I’ve been using is to always stop and think ‘what can I add?’ this is especially handy for my daily vegetable intake. For every meal or snack I look at it and think ‘what can I add to make this better?’ maybe it means mixing in some grated veggies, adding a side salad or sprinkling some cheese (there’s that dairy intake folks). I’m finding the more I do it, the easier it gets.

What about exercise? Well, umm, cough, that’s something I’m still working on. Perhaps starting right at the time when daylight savings stopped and the weather is getting colder wasn’t the best idea. Finding the motivation to go outside for a walk when it’s cold and dark is hard! But hubby is currently in the process of setting up a home gym (complete with a cross trainer for me) so I’m hoping when that’s ready to go I’ll be making good use of it.

So that’s where I am at the moment. Working my way through, getting there slowly.

How are you doing? Are you kicking goals when it comes to healthy eating and exercise? Or, like me, do you need to lift your game a little?

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Cyber Bullies and Trolls- The Day I was Attacked

After years of being part of the blogging community I’ve heard and seen some pretty nasty comments and online situations. Bloggers attacking other bloggers, readers leaving mean comments and trolls, oh the trolls. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid it ever happening to me. I knew someday it would, it’s was just inevitable and last week it finally happened but not in the way I thought it would or who I thought it would come from. Teenage boys. Yes, you heard it right, I was attacked by teenage boy trolls! Here’s what happened…

My four year old son is into scooters big time. You’ll find him most afternoons at the skate park with his Dad practicing his moves and tricks. He watches you tube clips on scooting, it’s his thing and he just loves it. A couple of weeks ago he’d worn out the grip on his scooter so hubby ordered him a new one from Scooter Hut. When it arrived in the mail there was a leaflet to enter a competition to win $500 to spend at Scooter Hut. My son really wanted to enter and we were happy for him to (because let me tell you, scooter stuff can get expensive). It involved taking a pic of his purchase in an ‘inventive way’ and sharing it on Instagram. So we came up with an idea, the little man helped me design it and we snapped the pic. Then early Saturday morning this happened….

Scooter Hut, winner, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We totally won! I told my son the good news. He was quite literally jumping up and down with excitement. “We won, we won mummy!” You could not wipe the smile of his kids. It was all happy, happy, joy, joy until…the trolls came out in force. By the end of the day I’d lost count of how many teenage boys had followed my account and left nasty comments. Here’s just a little snapshot:

“Dude, it’s like a Mum’s page, you should give it to someone else. She’s probably never gonna use it”

“Her son is like 2 years old, this is bullshit”

“Why would you pick some little ass kid who doesn’t even know how to scoot”

“What a wank”

“Such a fuckin joke”

And it went on and on. At first, I was legitimately shocked. Then I laughed, because honestly, it was laughable. And then I was just plain annoyed. I was annoyed that for the next twenty four hours I had to continually check my account to block the little buggers and delete their comments. I was annoyed by their nastiness, their sense of entitlement and their lack of sportsmanship. I mean seriously we entered a competition, we won fair and square and here they were beating up on an innocent four year old boy!

Luckily my son isn’t old enough to read or understand what went on but it does make me scared for the future- when he will be old enough and he will have to deal something like this, probably worse. Because just as sure as I was that I would one day face the trolls, I’m just as sure that he is growing up in a world where the use of social media for cyber bullying has become the norm. And that’s really sad and damn scary. So it’s got me thinking about how I will prepare and manage that in the future. The fact that all of these kids were so young (some not even teenagers yet) and they already have instagram accounts that clearly aren’t being monitored by their parents; well it just shows the kind of tech savvy world my son will be growing up in. My instinct of course will always be to protect him but more than that I need to teach him to protect himself, because the thing about these trolls is that they can follow you everywhere, into your own home, and your own bedroom without anyone even knowing, unless you speak out.

I do have to add that amongst all the hate there were some nice words; some kids that congratulated us on winning the prize and said we did a great job. Man I hope my son grows up to be like those kids. Those kids were great!

Parents of older children I’d love to hear how you manage this? What do you do to ensure your kids are protected from cyber bullies and trolls? Would love to hear your advice!

blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.auA big thank you to Scooter Hut for our amazing prize! The competition runs every month and if you have a scooter loving child I encourage you to enter- haters are always gonna hate but winners will always be grinners!

 

 

 

 

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Habit, Addiction and The Challenge

Hands up if you’re one of those people that spends way too much time on their phone; checking emails, scrolling through social media, posting pics online? Yep, me too. When your four year old son tells you to “put down your phone mummy and look at me” you know there’s a problem. Granted, showing me the giant booger in his nose probably could’ve waited until I sent that email, but still.

So last week, interested to see just how much time I actually am spending on my phone, I decided to install the ‘moment’ app on my phone. Moment is a free app which will track how many minutes a day you spend on your phone as well as how many times you actually pick up your phone. Then it breaks it all down into a daily timeline that looks something like this…

Moment App, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And let me say, it is damn interesting and a real eye opener! I discovered that on average, I’m spending about two hours per day on my phone. I wasn’t really surprised and honestly, I know it’s not as bad as what it could be (compared to others I know!) But two hours out of a twelve hour day…well I guess that is a lot. That’s a whole two hours that could be spent doing other more important things. That’s two hours that I could be doing all of that other stuff, like exercising or ticking things off my to do list, that I feel I just don’t ever get the time for.

But the thing that did shock me was how many times I actually pick my phone up; an average of sixty times a day! The majority of those times I spent less than a minute on my phone; so basically I was picking it up, looking at it and putting it straight back down again. That my friends is called habit. Something I learnt about myself by doing this little exercise was that I am addicted to multitasking. I don’t just watch TV; I watch TV whilst scrolling through my phone, whilst replying to an email, whilst playing with my son, whilst reading a magazine. I don’t just cook dinner; I cook dinner, whilst watching TV, whilst posting a pic on instagram, whilst paying my bills online and emptying the dishwasher. I am actually incapable of doing just one thing at a time! So when I find myself on the couch, or sitting in traffic, or waiting at kinder pick up, my immediate reaction is to pick up my phone. It’s a habit. But when does habit become addiction? Well I guess I’m about to find out because this week I’m setting myself a challenge. A limit of one hour per day on my phone. That’s it. I think that’s reasonable, do you? Considering that I am a blogger and part of being a blogger means spending time online engaging with my readers, I know it’s just unreasonable to set myself a limit of any less than that. And really, I don’t want to, because I enjoy being online, just not at the detriment of my family, relationships and work in real life.

You can upgrade the ‘moment’ app and use it to set daily limits, block out screen free time or send yourself reminders but for now I’m going to try going it alone and see how that works. So that’s the challenge I’m setting myself and I would really love you all to join in; install the moment app on your phone this week and let me know what you discover; how long are you spending on your phone each day? How many times are you picking it up? Were you surprised? Would you say you’re addicted to your phone? I’d love to be able to compare and discuss with everyone what you think is a reasonable daily limit. Head on over to my Facebook page where I’ll be keeping you updated with my progress and will be asking about yours too!

Will you accept the challenge?

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Happy Sunday! We’re currently away for the weekend, celebrating my Mum’s 60th Birthday (she’s probably going to slap me if I keep telling everyone she’s 60). I’m so very lucky to have such an amazing Mum; she’s forever helping us out, spoiling our kids and always worrying about us (stop worrying Mum!) So we’re treating her to some much needed sunshine and family time in Echuca.

As always, it’s been a busy few weeks. My bestie had a baby (her third child) on the same night that I headed into the city to Singin In The Rain.  I pulled Mum duty last week and headed to my son’s kinder to help out for the day which was lots of fun. We also took our first tour of a primary school which made me stop and reflect on how quickly our boy is growing up! On that note, thank you also to everyone who gave me some great advice after I wrote this post, turns out I really just need to trust myself and my instincts and let things happen naturally.

In other exciting news I’ve recently joined the team at The Organic Place working behind the scenes, doing some writing and other bits and pieces. I’m loving being part of a small family business that’s doing such great things. You can read their story here.

Notice that new little badge on my sidebar? I was so excited this week to receive an email to say I’ve been nominated for the 2016 Bupa Blog Awards. Finalists will be announced in July with the overall Winner being announced in September. I have no doubt the competition will be fierce, there are some extremely talented bloggers out there but I’m just happy to have received a nomination.

So that’s it from me for now. What’s new with you lately?

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

Not long after our son turned one I bundled up all of his baby clothes and gave them to a friend who was having a baby boy. In my mind we no longer needed them as we weren’t planning on having another baby, so it just made sense to give them to someone who could make use of them. I told her to just donate them to an op shop when she was done with them. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realised I had made a terrible mistake. I’d given away all of my son’s baby clothes! I hadn’t even kept one outfit. I felt like a terrible mother, I felt sick. I had no reminder of how small he was when he came into this world. Of course I have photos and I have memories but that’s just the problem. I struggle to remember. I look at newborns now and I just don’t remember our son ever being that small. Was he ever that small?

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When our son was a baby I think I spent so much time looking forward and waiting. Waiting for him to go to sleep, for him to wake up, for hubby to get home from work, always waiting. Waiting for the next milestone; looking forward to when he would start walking or talking or sleeping through the night. I spent so much time looking forward that I forgot to be present, to just enjoy the moment. People told me of course, all the time, friends and family and even complete strangers would look at my baby and say “enjoy it while it lasts, they grow so fast” and I’d smile and nod but I don’t think I really go it. Not until now.

Now, you’re a walking talking little human being and I can’t remember what it was like before. When you had no words, when your tiny little body fit inside my belly. Of course I know all of these things happened but it seems like a lifetime ago, a whole other world away. I spent so much time then looking forward and now all I can do is look back.

And for anyone out there who thinks I’m sounding clucky (yes Kat I’m looking at you) no, I don’t want another baby but I do wish I had my time with my baby again. There are a lot of things I would do differently, now that I know

You are one thousand, six hundred and forty nine days old….but that’s only four years. It’s so true what they say, the days are long but the years are short. Embrace every day.

If you’re a parent can you relate? Have you ever felt any of these feelings? Did you keep all your child’s baby clothes? Do you ever struggle to remember?

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Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons, www.sarahdipity.com.au

I am a mother of a boy. I absolutely love being a mother of a boy. I know we’re not supposed to stereotype but the fact is boys and girls are different (clearly). My son is your typical boy; he loves cars, ninja turtles, motorbikes and getting dirty. He thinks farts are hilarious and loves nothing more than a tickle fight. I always pictured myself with a boy just like this. But he also has this really sweet side, he’s a mummy’s boy and loves to snuggle, it’s the best.

Parenting a child of the opposite sex has its challenges. You’re dealing with the unknown; I don’t know about penises because I don’t have one. Lucky I have hubby for that stuff! But there are a few things I wonder about when it comes to my boy, like:

  • At what point does it become unacceptable for him to come into female public toilets with me? At what point does it become safe for him to go into male public toilets on his own?
  • At what age does it stop being ok for us to see each other naked?
  • Will there come a point when he stops being a mummy’s boy? How will I cope with that?
  • Will I automatically hate every girlfriend he ever has? Will I become ‘that type’ of mother in law? Eeek I hope not!

I’m hoping that these things will just happen naturally, that it will know when the time is right and what to do when that times comes. I know that things will change as he gets older but I just really hope that we always keep talking.

Mum’s of boys- any golden pieces of advice?

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