When Opportunity Comes Knocking

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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!

 

 

 

 

Top Reads on the Net- Fast Five Friday

For Fast Five Friday I’m sharing with you five awesome things I’ve read on the internet this week:

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After carrying out this little experiment in tracking how much I use my phone on a daily basis, this post really resonated with me. I think the Japanese people are really on to something here! Doing just one thing at a time…I so need to start doing that.

And on that same topic, I loved this post by Pip on the art of slowing down.

I’m loving the Conversations with Carlo series on Veggie Mama. You can read part two here. I’m hoping there will be many more conversations with Carlo to come. Can’t you just picture him?

If you’re a blogger you probably heard all about a certain post written by a “former mommy blogger” that basically told all other mummy bloggers out there to just give the whole thing up immediately. I’m not going to link to that post here because frankly I thought it was just plain nasty but what I will link to is a fantastic reply by Kelly Exteter in which she gave us all 10 reason’s we should keep right on mommy blogging.

My sister recently introduced me to Little Eco Footprints. This amazing family built a gorgeous tiny home out of shipping container. Their vision is inspiring; It’s simple living to the max!

Have you read anything awesome or interesting on the net this week? Do share!

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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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Top Photography Apps- Fast Five Friday

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I love a good app and especially an app that can help me make my photos look better or easier to share. Here’s my top five photography apps:

Instagram: Of course the top photography app just has to be Instagram! It allows you to share your pics with friends and family (and the wider world if you want to) and follow other accounts. Are you on instagram? Let’s find each other here.

Little Moments: Created by Fat Mum Slim who also created the Photo a Day Challenge. If you join in the challenge on instagram then this app is a must- it gives you the monthly ‘Photo a Day’ prompts and shows the ‘fab four’ (the top four photos) for everyday. But even if you don’t do the challenge it’s still a great app for editing pics, with a bunch of filters and fun add ons like text and icons.

Afterlight: I use this app to edit the majority of my photos. It’s easy to use and allows you to play with things like the brightness, exposure and contrast of your pics.

Pic Collage:  A free and simple app that allows you to make collages using the photos on your phone. There are heaps of different layouts depending on the amount of photos you want to use in your collage.

Smug Mug: My sister recently introduced me to the Smug Mug site which also has an app to make it easily accessible on your phone. Smug Mug allows you to share all of your photos with friends and family but is totally different to instagram. You can upload entire albums and then those you to choose to share with are able to download, view and print the pics. How clever is that! Great for sharing pics from family events, birthdays, holidays etc.

What photography apps do you use?

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Singin In The Rain- Melbourne

Please note: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Nuffnang. As always, all words and opinions are my own. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t tell you did!

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview screening of the musical stage production Singin In The Rain which is currently showing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. A night out without any kids? Count me in! I hadn’t been to the theatre in years so gratefully accepted and invited along a good friend of mine who I knew was also in need of a fun night out.

We dolled up (any excuse to put on a pretty dress) and headed into town excited to see the show. After a discussion over dinner we realised that we both knew the song ‘Singin In The Rain’ (who doesn’t) but didn’t actually know the story behind the show. Some quick research on our phones told us that it tells the story of the first Hollywood musical movie in a time when it was all about silent films. It promised to be charming, romantic and funny. The show has received great praise from both critics and audiences and honestly, it did not disappoint….

singing in the rain melbourne, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Adam Garcia is fantastic in the lead role of Don Lockwood and he is joined on stage by some equally amazing co-stars; Gretel Scarlett, Jack Chambers and Erika Heynatz just to name a few. They all make it look so easy; the dancing, the singing, the acting. I found myself really drawn into the story and the characters. There was quite a bit of laughing and lots of clapping; even a standing ovation from the audience at the end. My favourite part of the performance was definitely the rain scenes. There is 12,000 litres of water used throughout the show to create the rain scenes and it’s pretty spectacular. We had to giggle at the people sitting in the front three rows (aka- the splash zone) who were provided with waterproof ponchos to protect them from getting wet as the performers danced and splashed on stage. Fun!

singing in the rain melbourne, www.sarahdipity.com.au

 The sets and the costumes were pretty amazing too…

singing in the rain melbourne, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the show. If you’re thinking about going or get the chance to, I highly recommend it. Singin In The Rain is now showing in Melbourne until early July when it will move on to Sydney, followed by shows in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. To find out more about the show, performance dates and to purchase tickets head here.

Have you been to the theatre lately? Do you love a good musical? Do you now have the song ‘Singin In The Rain’ stuck in your head like I do?

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Reading Lately

Reading Lately, www.sarahdipity.com.au

I really enjoy reading and have been making more time to do it lately, even if it’s only a few pages before bedtime. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop: Set in 1963 this is the fictional story of Charlotte and Henry,  a married couple who move from their home in England to the other side of the world; Australia. Charlotte struggles with settling in her new home, with being a mother and the daily repetition it brings. I can’t go too much into it without giving the ending away but I have to say this book left me which a great feeling of unease. Sometimes I could relate to Charlotte but other times she seemed so foreign to me that I just couldn’t connect. Either way, the book was very well written and kept me interested until the end.

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon: If you’ve  never read a Paige Toon book I can sum them up for you in two words ‘chick lit’ and I don’t mind a bit of chick lit every now and then. The Sun in Her Eyes is told from the point of view of Amber, a woman in her early thirties who has left her husband behind in London to come to Australia and help care for her Father after he suffered a recent stroke. An old flame is rekindled leaving Amber questioning her marriage and her future. It’s an easy read, has a few little twists and overall I enjoyed it as a book I didn’t have to think too hard about.

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan: I loved this one! I actually read the whole thing in one day because I literally couldn’t put it down. The blurb grabbed me from the beginning: ‘To everyone who knows her now Zoe Maisey- child genius, musical sensation- is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free. Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life. By midnight, her mother is dead.’ This book has lots of little twists and turns and has you guessing until the end.

What have you been reading lately? Any good book recommendations?

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