Holler for the weekend!! It’s an extra-special one because, yep, you guessed it – it’s my BIRTHDAY! (Well, yesterday but I’m celebrating all weekend long!). It’s a funny thing about birthdays, that no matter how old we get, there is always that tiny spark of excitement about it. And no amount of being blasé and tyring to act cool that it was “just another day” could stop that feeling.
I WAS meant to have a day off yesterday, but had to go into work which was made slightly better because my manager bought me cupcakes and Evs treated me to lunch. Dinner was low-key with the family at the local Thai restaurant and, OMG, more cake.
We’re hosting a low-key BBQ at our place on Sunday afternoon, perfect summer weather (maybe with a touch of summer thunderstorms) and lots of food, friends and laughter.
But, I’m also taking some time out this weekend for myself. I’m feeling exhausted, more mentally than physically to be honest (although sleeping in this heat has been terrible) and am desperate need of a break. So, in the spirit of me-time, here are some links for you too:
More so than ever, I’m turning into a fan of being ACTIVE, rather than dedicating time to exercise. These days, the ability to just keep moving is enough to satisfy my bones and I enjoy it a lot more. This post from Sarah Wilson explores the idea of the current message of “Exercising making us fat”.
I haven’t been on a huge chocolate bender for a while, but this sugar-free chocolate is tempting me back onto the wild side.
One of my favourite blogs I discovered about six months back was Vienda Maria. In fact, I’ve linked more often than not to her posts here because they resonate so much to me as I try and seek a more simple and authentic life. Part of that is figuring out what I want to do with this blog and sorting through my head to find the answers. As part of my birthday gift to myself, last week I bought her newly-launched ebook – “The Build Your Own Business Blog” (um, only $8! What can I say – I’m a easy person to shop for! ) and am already loving it. Don’t let the word business throw you off, it’s perfect for anyone wanting to grow their blog and perfect for newbies like me that have no clue when it comes to things like SEO haha.
“Success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women,” – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. I am so guilty of this. Especially in the workplace where I have (now looking back, quite embarrassingly) sacrificed myself for likeability. I’ve let people walk all over me and convince me that things were MY FAULT and I’ve agreed with them, because I wanted them to like me. This article explores the truth about women and likeability.
While I can’t confess to fully feeling like this, I have many friends who live the life of an expat. Perhaps, it’s the same when I return to India and things feel nothing has changed and yet everything has. This post about finding the answer to Where Do I belong? is a great read.
Ohhh. I had to agree. I HAD to. Even when 4 out of the 6 shows listed here are some of my favourites – they really need to SHUT IT DOWN (Especially Glee *sob*).
This girl. Where do I start – besides having a banging blog and life (I mean who would NOT want to live on the beaches of Goa??)- she also has another food blog that makes me drool every time I wander over. These garlic-coriander pull apart rolls are something out of this world. You must try them.
Ok, I am off to get the house in some sort of order before people start arriving (I mean I have a DAY, but who can be bothered cleaning in this heat!) and think about the menu.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my sister about a baby shower. She was of the mind that I should just combine my upcoming 30th and Baby shower together. I had what you call a very non-adult reaction (whisper – “tantrum”) and refused to even entertain the thought. I mean, a girl deserves to celebrate both monumental events separately no??
(To be fair – I did combine my 24th birthday and engagement party back in the day as well)
All I knew was that I wanted some kind of theme and for it to be fun. So my sister and I came up with the idea of a carnival/circus theme and she took it from there.
I have to say – it was more than what I had ever expected. She put a lot of hard work and organisation into it and apart from giving her not-so-subtle hints for some things, she did it all on her own.
There was a lot of sugary treats, which I tried to limit because it made the baby go nuts, but I’m not going to lie. Coloured popcorn is THE best invention ever.
I had no idea what to wear and spent a good half and hour throwing everything out of my closet because I wasn’t organised enough to buy a new outfit and nothing fit. I finally found this dress that I bought in Hong Kong when I was working there back in 2011 (oh wow – has it been that long already???) and managed to squeeze my gigantor boobs and massive belly into it. I kinda liked it and felt it went with the carnival theme too.
There were some healthy snacks in there…somewhere. Funny how we didn’t get any pictures of them!
The requisite dodgy baby-related games – I’m clearly so ready for parenthood after these.
A bit of fun after the guests had gone home….I LOVE photobooths.
In fact, I’m planning one at my 30th again.
SO MUCH FUN.
(Haha you can see where I had Happy New Year written on the chalkboard before.)
All in all I had the best day – it was light hearted and fun. I was surrounded by friends and family that I cared for and got many awesome gifts – so many cute onesies! This kid is set.
When I think of traditions, I inadvertently go back to those that made my own childhood. Some I have no idea why I did them, some I relished and looked forward with uncontained glee and others I reviled and have now turned my back on.
In this season of celebration and holidays, it seems like traditions are everywhere. Some families do a big Christmas, some have a casual affair. Some make a traditions of heading to the shops at 2am on the night before Christmas Eve and eat ice-cream as they watch the crowds of shoppers file by. Some sleep through the festivities or head to the mountains to wait till it’s all over.
The thing about them, no matter what they are, is that they create memories. Memories that can be looked upon with fondness in those moments when we feel a little lost.
Sitting here, my hands over my growing belly, feeling the baby kick me once again, I wonder what the traditions are going to be that he/she cherishes. What are going to become those memories?
I didn’t think I had any, but as I remembered the years past I realised that somehow – Evs and I had carved out our own. Things we had done year after year had become our traditions.
Our traditions now include midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Given that we both aren’t massively religious, it’s one of the one times we do go to church. For Evs, being part of the church community on Christmas Eve brings back memories for him from when he was a child. For me, I love the sense of joyfulness and belonging that one night gives him, and in turn, me. Ever since the year when we slipped into the back of the church and stood beside strangers, even while I fumble with the words to respond to, muck up when I’m meant to kneel and say “Amen” or that I accidentally threw out the communion wafer one year – it’s something we do together.
After mass, we pull into our street and sit in the car for a few minutes. The street is dark and quiet, save for the few houses that have put up lights outside. Our own Christmas tree lights up in our window, adorned with the decorations that we bought the first year we moved into our first house. That year, I had wanted Christmas to be special and while we lived surrounded by unopened boxes and mismatched furniture – we had our tree. Over the years, the lights have slowly died leaving only blinking points of orange and blue, reminding me that we need to replace them. Maybe we will. Maybe we won’t and those flickering orange-and-blue lights will become part of our traditions too.
It’s past 1am, but we exchange our gifts to each other. We always do it on Christmas Eve. The others we will open when we meet with family in a few hours. But, that moment, it’s just us.
This year we make gingerbread cookies after giving into my cravings since I had tasted them at a friend’s house a few weeks earlier. I had messaged her for the recipe and she obliged, yielding in soft, spicy cookies that Evs and I ice into the wee hours of the night.
We have a tradition of Christmas lunch with Evs’ parents (this year, lunch was at my sister’s and then a belated Christmas lunch on Boxing Day with Evs’ parents – but it was still the same) – there is always champagne and boxes of chocolates. There is a platter of fine deli meats, cheese and antipasto, prawns with garlic aioli which helps our hungry bellies be prepared for the main dish which is always a buttery, creamy lobster.
Once our stomachs have stopped hurting and heaving for a moment, we go for round two which consists of traditional Christmas pudding with homemade custard.
Tradition also decrees that we have a Christmas barbeque, but we go vegetarian at my sister’s this year and it is not lacking. In fact, I’ve bookmarked one of the recipes for a repeat performance at our traditional New Years Evs barbeque at our house in a few days.
Our traditions also include family. From both sides, where more food prepared with the labour of love appears and is eaten, belts undone, pants loosened and plates saved for later.
Gifts are given – small, thoughtful and just what we needed. The older generation settle down around the couches to snooze and chat, the TV quietly on in the background, while the those who are still able to move head down to the lake where we throw a Frisbee and relive our childhoods again on the swings.
It’s simple and it’s quiet and I think back onto these traditions with a full heart. It blows my mind that this time next year, I’ll have an almost one-year-old. I savour these moments that show they will be the last of of when I am just the parts of me that I have grown to accept – a sister, wife, daughter, friend.
How I’m feeling? Now that I’m on holidays, I’ve been taking advantage of the time I have and spending it resting and taking naps. I have no shame in having breakfast and then heading back up for a snooze. Laaazzzzy summer days are good.
Fitness? Swimming and walking. It’s weird, but I’m finding that my lower “area” is so sore after walking. Like my lower back, inner thighs and butt. I could barely walk after going one particulary “long” walk. I was seriously considering going to a chiro or something to align my spine but finally got into a regular prenatal yoga practice after finding a great video online – man it kicked my ass after not doing it for so long. But it also took away that back pain like magic. So, so good.
Weight? Bigger still. I feel like I’m carrying quite low which makes me push out my stomach a bit more to ease the weight and the waddle has definitely started. I also need help getting off couches now
How I’m changing? Getting clucky. Want this baby now. With Christmas and the holidays here, it blows my mind that this time next year this baby will be on the OUTSIDE. I see all these cute Christmas outfits and wish the bubs was here just so I can dress it up in cute red and white.
What I miss? Can I say wine again?? In the height of the party season, it sucks to be sipping on lemon water.
Symptoms? The back pain – oh my. I’m also slightly concerned I’m eating too many sweets, so am trying to consciously cut that down and not give into my daily ice-cream habit.
This baby likes to move it , move it. Such an active little thing to the point he/she is keeping me up and not letting me sleep in. It doesn’t like whatever position I am in and I end up just staring at the ceiling feeling this volley of kicks and just get up. I GET THE HINT.
Cravings? Cherries still. And fizzy lemonade.
Aversions? Haven’t been a huge seafood person (i.e. salmon etc) throughout.
Highlights this week?
Being on holidays!! Feeling mentally relaxed for the first time in a long time! Looking forward to spending time with friends and family over the next few weeks
Another week flown by and another week closer to Christmas and the end of the year! I’m getting excited for both and then slightly panic as I realise that
a) I still have a shitload of work to do in my last week of work
b) I haven’t done all my Christmas shopping yet.
I drove out to rural Victoria during the week and came back yesterday, buggered as hell after a long day. I was hoping to leave work early as we had our Christmas party on that night and I was still in half-minds about going (not so fun when everyone around you is pleasantly buzzed and you’re way too sober to be making small talk with random colleagues). I went a visited a friend who is also pregnant and due very soon and we had a great catchup, exchanging pregnancy stories and me stuffing my face with her home-baked gingerbread cookies. Delish.
I then went home and promptly collapsed onto the couch. There was no way I was getting up now. So I spent my evening with Evs and a pizza, while listening to the rain outside and feeling glad I wasn’t traipsing the streets of the city in heels and watching in horror as my hair frizzed.
This weekend is about tying things up. I have a number of things I’ve been wanting to get through and my house has also been feeling quite neglected in the cleaning department. I hate cleaning the house (especially bathrooms!) but I always feel better after it is done.
AND, I still am getting through a pile of books, so will make time to read. And perhaps see if I can replicate my friend’s delicious Gingerbread Cookies.
For your reading pleasure this weekend:
“Females are not only missing from popular media, [but] when they are on screen, they seem to be there merely for decoration.” An interesting article with some surprising stats on how women and girls are portrayed in Hollywood.
Gah. As it gets hotter, the inclination to wear makeup gets smaller. That being said, I DO have my routine and it is a bit of a comfort thing for me. However, my goal is to one day be able to NOT wear makeup every day (not just on the weekends when I’m bumming around). If you have been thinking about it as well, here’s 5 reasons and benefits of not wearing makeup.
Michelle Bridges is kind of my hero. She’s the Jillian Michaels of the Australian BiggestLoser, but more than that, she has this no-nonsense style that simultaneously scares me and inspires me. Here are her top 10 tips for healthy eating.
Ever wondered what it would be like if guys and girls switched roles at the gym?? I nearly peed a little when I saw this hilarious video. One thing though – I so don’t check out my own butt in the mirror at the gym. Well, maybe a little.
Um, I still can’t get those gingerbread cookies out of my mind. Until I stumbled across these Gingerbread CUPCAKES. Very tempted to make these. There is nothing better than Christmas baking.
With Christmas around the corner, the insane amount spent of gifts can kinda get of control. I wish I could be the kind of person that could craftily make something special for people, but alas, my crafting skills suck. Never fear though – this post over from Yes and Yes has some super awesome, totally doable DIY gifts that even a crafty noob can get on board with.
We all have that one friend that seems to be perpetually angry with the world. I’ve spent many a frustrating moment trying to help and realised probably I haven’t been. While I was just about at a loss, I came across this post from Vienda Maria on the 4 lessons we learn when dealing with angry friends. It just made so much more sense.