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Back to the start

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The most common question I get asked is, “How did you get started?”.

Now, I know they’re not asking questions regarding how I was conceived because god knows I don’t want to discuss or imagine this. No, generally this question is asked when people see photos like this:

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Undesirable No. 1 

As an aside, people look at me fitting into one leg of my jeans or shorts or in this case, jean shorts, and comment that I’m half the size. In terms of weight loss, no. I’ve now officially lost over a third of my body weight. So I’m not half the size. Or half the person. Maybe that’s my brain being factual, or maybe it is the actual facts in answer to a statement where I have missed the point. Anything is possible. But my money would be on the latter option.

Anyway, how did I get started?

For me, the answer is this: Find a reason.

It needs to be a good one. An overarching reason. A reason that will make you tie your shoe laces and go, even when it’s cold or you’re sad or too busy or too stressed. It has to be a big reason, a reason that resonates with the core of your being and your will.

Nudging obesity related health conditions was not a big enough reason.

Being in constant pain was not a big enough reason.

Slow, unfit, hugely overweight: not big enough reasons, not for me.

Hating my body, and myself for what I’d let it become? Still not there.

Because all of these reasons, which are good reasons, weren’t enough for me to act.

For me, the big enough reason happened 14 years ago. But I didn’t turn it into a reason until July of 2015. Almost two years ago. So it took twelve years to realise the reason was there. It also took a considerable mind shift.

14 years ago, my mum died very suddenly.

She had some health issues, and was overweight.

There are things I won’t ever forget from the night she died.

It’s easy and natural to be stuck in grief.

But the thing is, I knew I was heading down a path to recreate this moment for my people. I was barrelling down the road that was going to put my people through the same thing. And when I looked at them and thought about them, I couldn’t understand why I would put them through that. For some of them, it would be the second time they would have to confront these experiences.

And so that cloak of mourning and grief had to be changed.

It became the hand on my back, pushing me forwards. It became the reminder on to the too cold too tired too hard days. It became the furnace that rose up from the pit of my belly and told me I could do this. It became the momentum behind my walking and running, the power in my weight lifting, the reason to scan my gym card or to sign up for yet another fun run.

When I hit the 50kg gone point, my aunt told me that I had realised mum’s goal.

And as my health improved, as well as my fitness, I had realised my own.

I’ve dodged a bullet, not only for myself but also for my people. And it comes down to that reason.

Essentially, my reason was love.

My reason was about changing the way that most painful moment changed my life. It took 12 years to get there, fortunately that was OK. But I don’t know how much time there was going to be to find that reason. I have no idea where I would have been today if I hadn’t started.

It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s something I know, though:

If you find a reason – and it must be a big one – then you’ve started. From there, it’s about moving. Find something you’ve enjoyed in the past. Walking? Swimming? Skipping? Set those beginning goals low. Walk to the mailbox and back each day. Walk in water if you’re sore. It’s not about speed, because you’re not racing anyone. It’s not about distance, because even marathon runners start small.

It’s just about starting.

And then remembering why you started.

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I won’t ever stop wanting my mum back. But I also know that the last thing she ever gave me was the power to save my life.

Which seems fitting, given she gave me that life in the first place.

 

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Extended

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A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

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And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

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No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

Unspirational

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I hear all the time that what I have done with my weight loss and fitness is inspiring. I’ve watched friends and family make changes because of what they’ve seen me do. And it’s brilliant, and I am so proud of every single step they take towards achieving their own personal goals. And it’s humbling to have played a small part towards spurring them on. I’m so excited for them, cautiously excited not because I don’t believe in them but because I know the hard yards they’re about to undertake. I know the ache in the thighs, the pain in the feet, the confrontation of exercise, the way food that fuels you better at first doesn’t taste as good as the foods that you love. I know the power of chocolate on sale and the lure of daytime television. These are hard choices. Your head game has to be strong to do this, and there they are, doing it, and I couldn’t be prouder. To T, P, K and several others who have messaged me to say thanks for motivating them to get on this path: you girls are true heroes, and I believe in each and every one of you wholeheartedly.

The title of this post might have you thinking my own wheels have fallen off regarding this stuff. They have not. I spent Sunday boxing for 8 hours. I’ve just signed up to walk ten kilometres a day for ten days in April. Every day choices, friends. Just like last night we chose to have pizza for dinner.

This isn’t about good food versus bad food. This isn’t about changing directions.

This is about when the inspirer feels totally and utterly unspirational.

I hit struggle street a couple of weeks ago. Time management has gotten the better of me. I’m in the last week of my Certificate 3 in fitness, assessments have been raining down on me and I think it’s time to build an ark and take two of everything that has ever given me hope and sail away while the tide comes crashing down. Except the dogs, I’ll take three of those. I think I’ve caught up with most of my study load now, but the under-riding panic is still there.

I think this was sparked by probably the most exciting thing that has happened on this journey.

I saw a plastic surgeon, regarding the excess skin I have. Now, in Australia, there are several hoops to jump through to have the removal of this skin deemed medically necessary. If you successfully get through those hoops, you then are given an item number for the surgery. This item number means that part of the surgery is covered by Medicare, reducing the cost of the surgery significantly. Then you have the option of doing it privately, with the surgeon of your choice, or going on an extensive waiting list (at least several years) to have the surgery done publicly.

I cleared every single one of the hoops. The surgeon asked me how I had done it and I told him the truth: through bloody hard work. He clarified that I hadn’t had any form of weight loss surgery. I told him no, I’ve just worked really really hard. He threw down his pen and gave me a high five, and said, “We just don’t see that anymore!”. He was amazed. He then checked out my skin and my body, what would need to be done. I don’t have a frame that is petite and dainty. I’ve worked hard to build muscle mass. I have big hands, big feet. On my tummy alone he’s estimated 6-7kg of skin will come off. And by the time all the excess skin is gone?

I’ll be at the goal weight for my frame.

After being a fat baby, a fat kid, a fat teen, and an adult so overweight that I didn’t even register on the BMI scale when I first started, I had been told for the first time in my entire life that I am now at a point where I just have to maintain my current weight and muscle mass. He said I could try to lose another 5kg or so before surgery if I wanted to, but it’s not necessary.

Stunned. Overwhelmed.

I sat waiting to see his secretary to talk costs, and I became really teary. I’d done it. I’d bloody done it.

And then I found out the cost and just like that, reality hit. Even with private health cover, the out of pocket cost for just stage one of the surgery would buy an excellent car, or be a substantial start for a deposit on a house.

So there I was.

So close to my goal weight, after almost two years of solid grit and determination. On the cusp of finishing my first fitness qualification, the first step towards working with clients like myself who felt like it just couldn’t be done. Now faced with a financial challenge that looks totally and utterly unattainable. Don’t worry, I’m working on solutions for this.

But I think that’s where the wheels started to wobble.

At the boxing course on Sunday, when I did a roundhouse kick, the skin on my thighs followed through with an audible clap. When I was jab-cross-jabbing, the skin on my arms would wave at the focus mitts almost as an apology, and I’d catch sight of it in the corner of my eye. Lifting my legs for the forward kicks was difficult because of that damn apron of skin. But no, that’s not the point, the point is that in doing that course I can now use boxing with clients, and the point is that I kept up with every single one of the people doing the course, and the point is that this body, my body boxed for 8 hours with minimal breaks. The other stuff is aesthetics.

But when I think about why this stuff has thrown me so much, I begin to wonder if I’m being totally superficial. I wonder if I am every actually going to be happy with my body. I wonder if I am ever going to feel enough: fit enough; strong enough; healthy enough. Because these things aren’t aesthetics. These things are internal.

Something you don’t get told about losing a huge amount of weight is that it takes a long time for your head to catch up. That you will have demons to conquer – not food vices, but thought patterns.

There are non-scale victories that the average person wouldn’t even consider.

The moment a beach towel, and then a bath towel wraps around you for the first time. The moment you no longer have to have the car seat back as far as it can go in order to drive. The moment you don’t have to turn side on to get through doors. The moment you can walk between cars in a parking lot. The moment you can stand up and look down and see your feet, or when you can be lying down in bed and see your feet.

I can see my feet.

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I’m not sure what the point of this particularly long post is. I have a hunch it’s about being transparent, being honest with the people who follow this blog. Or maybe it’s just about getting thoughts out of my head. Or maybe it’s about giving myself a chance to catch up on where I am at the moment.

I was messaging someone who has become a treasured mate yesterday, explaining that my head had imploded. And I said this:

“Still going along the forwards path. Just need to make sure my head is where my feet are on that path”.

What I have done has changed my life.

It’s time to let it start changing my view of myself, too.

 

The Measure

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I wanted to write a quick post mainly because The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight on Australian screens. If you’re not familiar with the show, a quick introduction: people apply/audition to be on the show based on their weight and wanting to change their lifestyle. Contestants are picked from the applications, and are then designated a group and a trainer for the group. The trainer generally yells and motivates the contestants through a variety of means. Contestants vomit, work hard, lose weight. Each week they weigh in and their weight loss is recorded. At first this is done either topless (men) or just in a sports bra (women). As they lose weight they start to wear singlets to the weigh ins. Then there’s a finale, and the person who has lost the greatest percent of their body weight wins.

The reason I want to write a blog in response to this is several-fold.

The Biggest Loser tends to encourage people to work on their fitness and lose weight. But you need to realise a couple of things.

1. You will not get the extraordinary weekly results that the contestants on The Biggest Loser get. There are several reasons why. The first is that the weigh ins are not actually weekly. I have read differing amounts of time between weigh ins, but in general they seem to be every ten days or even fortnightly. Not weekly. The second reason you will not get those same results is because the contestants are taking part in an extreme and gruelling exercise regime. We’re talking many hours in the gym per day. This is not sustainable in real life, because we have things like jobs and kids and partners and pets and washing.

2. If you are particularly well endowed in the chesticle region, you will struggle to find a sports bra that offers the required scaffolding to support the girls. Do your research, they are out there but you do need to work hard to find them. I got my first few online. They’re expensive but they are absolutely necessary.

3. Most importantly, is this: If The Biggest Loser inspires you to get moving, or even to jump on the scales and assess where things are at, remember this. There is no number on earth that will ever be an accurate measure of who you are as a human being. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on your clothing. Not even the number that represents your chronological age. You’re more than a number. You’re worth more than numerical digits that attempt to sum up your worth. I am worth no more at my weight now than I was before I started my weight loss adventure. I will always be thankful to who I was when I started, because she did the hard yards: walking into a gym for the first time. God, even just walking. You are more than a number. You are.

The Biggest Loser isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

But it always helps to remember the reality behind reality television.

 

 

Change the World

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Yes, but change your undies first.

Wait, hang in there with me on this one. This morning as beloved left for work, I wished her an amazing day, asked her to be safe, and finally, called out to her back as she walked out the door with her lunch in one hand and keys in the other, “Change the world!”. As the door closed I had a little giggle to myself and added, purely for the dog’s benefit, “But change your undies first”. This was not because beloved has a tendency towards wearing substandard underpants. It was more because as I turned, I saw the washing hanging on the clothes horse and spotted her superhero undies. So yes. Change your undies first.

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Not beloved’s actual undies. Image from reelgirl.com

But as I bustled about putting groceries away, I had a little think about the phrase I had uttered so flippantly, and it wouldn’t go away. Change the world, but change your undies first. It’s a giggle at first but then it takes on a different weight.

For me, life can be very black and white.

Big public actions of love or justice rarely impress me. Maybe I’m turning cynical or maybe I miss the point (a very good chance of this one, actually) – but for me, your public acts of love or justice mean nothing if you are an arsehole at home. This is where I am not talking about beloved anymore, by the way – she’s not an arsehole at home.

I hate talking about politics, mainly because of this arsehole analogy. Sure, sign the public papers and make your public speeches, but are you honest? Could someone ring you, directly, if they were in the middle of a crisis and needed help? Would you return an email or a phone call? Do you treat the people who you interact with on a day to day basis with the utmost respect? No? Then put the pen away and step back from the microphone, go and change your undies.

I think this little theory comes down to being who you say you are. Being who you want people to think you are. Being your public persona when you’re at home doing the dishes.

 

I’ve always been the kind of person who wonders if they’re good enough, nice enough, caring enough. One of the things I’ve learned in the last 12 months has been that actually, yes I am. I am good and nice and caring. But in the interests of changing my undies, I need to treat myself with goodness and niceness and caring-ness. And I’m doing it, kind of. Certainly better than I used to.

Because I think it comes down to, essentially, how you are behaving towards yourself. I think that’s the absolute core of changing your undies.

It’s been a peculiar thing, the learning and unlearning that has gone hand in hand with reclaiming my own fitness and health. But it’s not that I suddenly became worthy of these new outlooks as I lost weight, not at all: it’s more that to even kick off the process, I had to do things that were scary and hard for me. I had to take on challenges. I had to continually readjust the parameters I had fenced myself in with. I guess the more you engage with life, the more life engages with you. And to be in that reciprocal relationship with life, you have to be OK with the boundaries you have in place – enough to be able to be confident, but also enough to have to be brave.

That’s when I think you can actually change the world. But yes. Change your undies first.

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sparkpeople.com

 

Mental Health Month: Ivy Pearl Roses

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Beloved and I drive past the local cemetery several times a week.

I often try to catch a glimpse of the rabbits that swarm to the cemetery for some vampire-like zombie reasons, I’m sure. But this week, just yesterday, I caught a glimpse of a name on a tombstone.

Ivy Pearl Roses

The name made me smile. I disappeared into an imaginary world where dear Ivy Pearl had parents who were early onset hippies, deciding that they would bestow upon their daughter the name of living things, natural things, in the hope that as she grew up she would value the natural world and the beauty that is in it, the restorative nature of life and the like. That Ivy Pearl grew into a woman who spearheaded the equal education of women and girls, a woman who had several dogs and a garden and spent her days writing stern letters to the editor and toddling to the local postbox, licking the stamp and shoving it into place with a thumb that had a nail full of dirt from her garden.

Ivy Pearl Roses.

Not just one rose, but plural. I’ve heard the surname Rose many times, and went to primary school with a beautiful local family of that name. But I’d never heard the surname Roses before. Ivy Pearl was a woman born into an abundance of beauty and buds and growth and fragrance. Her name alone was a three stage reminder of the important things in life: To grow in all circumstances; to remember that even a grain of sand can make a difference; to encourage boundaries and respect, lest you feel the pinch of thorns.

The thing is that Ivy Pearl Roses was transcribed upon an old tombstone. She didn’t appear in the cemetery recently. In reality, I’ve probably driven straight past her a million times, unable to see her name because I’d been trying desperately to spot the zombie rabbits.

There’s this irony that exists in mental health, and being as it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m going to share it with you.

You can be going great guns for days. Inspirational as all fuck. You can be fighting and working steadily in your wellness, strong, brave, bold, consistent. And then, life. And then, people. And then, change. And then disappointment. It doesn’t matter what your Achilles heel might be when it comes to your mental health. For a while it literally was my Achilles (which has recovered beautifully, by the way). But eventually, things can start to get harder to navigate. Your world might crumble a little bit. Your brain kicks into overdrive. Tears. Tiredness. It gets hard to form sentences. Hard to concentrate. Hard to wake up. Hard to sleep.

What gets me is that it is unreasonable to expect that life is always going to be a course of sheer inspiration and joy. You don’t get told this when you are trying to recover from mental illness. Instead you learn to measure your wellness by how you feel, instead of how you manage. The reality is that you are going to feel sad if bad stuff happens – and happen, it will. But that doesn’t mean your recovery is over, or regressing. It a side effect of engaging in life. And in my mind, engaging in life is the goal of recovery.

What does this have to do with Ivy Pearl Roses?

That’s easy. Her name is a beautiful reminder of life.

Grow in all circumstances. Remember that even a grain of sand can make a difference. Encourage boundaries and respect, lest you feel the pinch of thorns.

Dinner Conversation

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So when I met my beloved, I found out that I had been the subject of conversation at the weekly dinner she attended with her bunch of lady friends, who had hung out together for years. They dined together every Wednesday night, and it was at these dinners that they found out that my beloved and I were “courting”.

Fast forward three and a half years, and the weekly dinner has become a bit more impromptu and less of a weekly occurrence. And to mess with the system even more, we hosted a Wednesday night dinner tonight. Which is Tuesday, and not Wednesday at all. Not. At. All.

Last night I was totally overtired and to be fair I can’t tell you this story without telling you about what happened just before bed. My beloved and I were chatting earlier in the evening about what we’d serve at dinner, and I suggested I make my special home made ice cream sandwiches. Now normally you’d cue drooling and just shout YES!, right? Well apparently not. Not if you think that ice cream sandwiches involve ACTUAL BREAD.

This made me laugh like a goon for much longer than would be acceptable if I wasn’t so very exhausted.

When I went to take my painkillers before bed I had my mouth full of water and pills when it happened.

I remembered the ice cream sandwich.

I remembered the bread.

And I laughed.

Laughed my stupid head off.

Sprayed water across the floorboards, followed by soggy pills. I laughed until I fell off the bed. Sat on the floor, performing a variety of seal-like noises, coughing, burping, farting and micro-vomiting my way through the hysteria that had seized me. All the while I was marvelling at the quantity of water that had come out of my mouth, that I was currently slipping around in on my hands and knees. And I was stuck on the floor, I was totally fucking stuck, because my ankle still isn’t strong enough to push off with to get back onto the bed. I had water all over my jarmies, so I performed a movement akin to “the worm” and slid my way onto the bed, with a handful of melted pills slowly adhering themselves to my fingers.

So I decided not to make the ice cream sandwiches, and instead I made ice cream slice and served it with blueberries and it was the BEST EVER.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Want to be sophisticated and grown up like me? Here’s how you make ICE CREAM SLICE:

Crush a packet of Choc Ripple biscuits, and combine with a bit of melted butter (around 50g). Press it into the bottom of a slice tray. Whip 300 ml of cream til it has soft peaks, stir through a tin of condensed milk. Pour it over the biscuit base and cover with cling film. Chuck it in the freezer then cut it into servings. We could have served 8 with it.

Don’t say I never teach you anything!

What’s your go-to dessert when you’re entertaining?

Celebrate People.

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My beloved and I went to a celebration of people on the weekend that was cleverly disguised as a wedding. The wedding was for two of the kindest and most beautiful people you could ever hope to meet, but all the way through the wedding was this total theme of valuing others, and it was one of the best things I have ever seen in my life.

There aren’t words that are rich enough to describe these people. Not just the bride and groom, but their family and the people who were there. The bride told us to try to get to know each other, because we deserve to meet great people. And she was right. There were some top shelf people there. And every single one of the people I spoke to sung the never-ending praises of the couple in question.

It was one of those nights when you know you’re not just witnessing, but a part of something amazing.

Things like hay bales, with “Thank You” gifts nestled at the base:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And these weren’t just any thank you gifts. These were made with total love and dedication by Granny, who is (by all accounts and observations) one amazing woman. Can’t wait to break into our jar, Granny.

Things like a party area that looked like a fairyland. In fact, one little tiny fairy tiptoed past me carefully, then suddenly paused. I asked her if she was OK and she said, “I’ve just got a little bindy”.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Things like this pink stuff that made me feel hugely hungover a little bit ill the morning after. To be fair, the pink stuff partied in my tummy with several other drinks, so I cannot solely blame the pink stuff:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And things like the photobooth, that gave us the chance to leave a message for the pair, and also to take home a strip of pics to remind us of the friendship, the celebration, the love, the joy, the sincerity and the amazing priveledge it was to be a part of a day that existed to note love, but reminded me of so much more.

I’ve been reminded to see myself the way other people see me. I’ve been reminded that every person that we meet has an entire story and life and heart full of love behind their eyes. I’ve been reminded to celebrate people, for as long as I have them, to celebrate them.

And I’ve been reminded that life really, really is pretty damn good.

To A and M – may your happily ever after rise up to greet you, to embrace you, and to lead you on journeys that will arm you with stories and experiences that help the world get to know you more and more every day.

We need more like you.

Photoboothing it with my beloved.

Photoboothing it with my beloved.

The Liebsters!

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Imagine the grin on my head when I found ouit I’d been awarded a Liebster. For those wondering if this is a good thing, it is. From what I can tell, it’s a peer to peer award, and I was bestowed the honour from the ever delightful Cate from A Travelling Cook.

Here is what I like about blogging: There is a community. We all write, we all try to do the best we can, and for the most part we all do it for free. You read our words, you like them or share them or comment on them or just back away slowly. Cate, who gave me this Liebster, has put in the time and effort to comment and like a heap of my posts. And as awesome as it is that people are reading, I reckon most bloggers will agree that the comments and real feedback really give you a whopping big boost.

If you’re a commenter or a liker, thanks. You remind me I’m not writing into a vast nothingness.

So! On with the Liebster show!

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As a part of this award, Cate has asked me to answer ten questions. And I, in turn, will nominate some other bloggers to sport the Liebster badge and answer my own queries. And so the cycle will continue, recognising one blog at a time.

1. What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading a sign on the bookshelves that says DREAMS COME TRUE. Do they? I think they might. But really, would we be thrilled if they did? I have a habit of entertaining nightmares while I sleep, and I wouldn’t be stoked if they came true. I’m hoping it’s the good dreams that come true.

2. What was the last meal you cooked?

Grilled foccacia sambos for my beloved and I.

3. What country have you always wanted to visit?

I want to go to the UK one day, but to be honest I bloody love Australia. I’d also like to go to New Zealand. My family is from England, so there’s the obligation to go and check out my roots.

4. Recommend a TV show or box set.

OK. I’m watching a couple of series at the moment: Orange is the New Black, and an Aussie drama called Devil’s Playground. They’re very different but both make a powerful statement about the prisons we live in. Ooooh how insightful was that! One is set in a women’s prison, the other is set against the backdrop of the Catholic church.

5. Your favourite way to relax?

Guitaring. Playing with the fur babies. Drumming. Repeat.

6. What is your favourite dish to cook?

Probably a soup that has become known as Special Soup. It’s comforting, warm, filling and easy. For those not in the know, it’s lamb shank and barley soup with a shitload of veges. The besty’s mum makes it, she taught me, now I make it. Everyone loves it. Here’s a pic:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

7. Early bird or night owl?

Both. I love mornings and I seem to have a fondness for late nights. It’s a bit of a lose-lose situation, now I think of it.

8. What is your favourite fruit?

After years of saying “mango”, the time has come to be realistic: My favourite fruit is actually the mandarin, with a good red apple coming in a close second. Either a Gala or a Sundowner, though I am quite fond of Jonathans and Eves.

9. What’s your drink of choice?

I fear I am becoming a bore. I honestly like water. But it must be cold and preferably have ice in it or be partially frozen. I have recently developed a taste for Vodka, sadly. Slurpees (frozen coke) have also been known to rock my world.

10. What would you choose for your last meal?

Something that gives me shocking intestinal worms and explosive wind so that my final act is indeed the trump card to end all trump cards.

And now! The nominees are (apparently you can nominate up to 8)…

1. A Little Bit Purry

2. Cupcakes, Shoes and Other Things

3. Great Snaps, Good Times and Me

Here are your questions!

1. What are you wearing on your feet, and please prove it via a photo.

2. Why do you blog?

3. Complete this sentence: “If __________ read my blog I would be totally stunned and I would love to ask them _____________”

4. What was the last mess you made and did you clean it up or just pretend it never happened?

5. If you could only write about one topic for a month, what would you want that topic to be?

6. And what topic would you hate to write about for a month?

7. If blogging was done via pen and paper, would you still do it? How important is technology to blogging?

8. Have you ever unpublished a post? If so, why? If not, what would make you do so?

9. Who is your blogging hero?

10. Write a limerick about blogging.

Rub a dub dub

Standard

We’ve decided that during the school term, the WiFi gets turned off at 10pm.

This is good, for many reasons, most of all because it encourages us to go to bed without faces full of screens.

But there is a definite downside: I tend to blog at night, which means that I’m having to get my head around reorganising my writing routines. This bit me on the bottom last night, as I had a Naughty Corner full of people waiting to find out who had won the massage that is currently on offer on the Facebook page for this blog!

Here’s how it happened.

Last week, after telling you about my crappy experience trying to park a truck, getting stuck in a storm and generally losing my shit, I received a message from Mel at Hunter Massage. She offered my beloved and I a free massage. I was blown away by her generosity but also by her care. Stunned. The glorious thing about poor self esteem is that you’re never really sure if you are worth much. Well, the delightful Mel showed me that indeed I am. She also showed me that I’m not just writing into nothingness, which is so affirming.

We went along for our massages and walked along Newcastle Beach to get there. Hunter Massage operates out of the Surf Life Saving Club, three days a week. So it was stunning, to soak up some sun and that sea air, knowing that relaxation is well on the way.

Which reminds me of the time when I was at university, and writing a linguistics essay. With no time for spell check, I submitted an essay that suggested that communication was the sharing of massages. Massages. Not messages, massages.

I went first, and got my beloved to take this photo:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

I spent the massage in my happy place, and it got me wondering: What is YOUR happy place? I had a chat to Mel and she agreed to gift one lucky Naughty Corner fan with a massage. So I put out the call: Show me your happy place!

After the entries were tallied, the selection process commenced:

After waking up the impartial judge, the winner of a massage at Newcastle Beach with Mel from Hunter Massage was clearly selected, being the first stick that Scouty licked the cheese off:

Michelle! Image by The Naughty Corner

Michelle! Image by The Naughty Corner

And here is Michelle’s happy place:

Congratulations, Michelle!

Congratulations, Michelle!

Have you ever won anything? Are you local to Newcastle? Check out Hunter Massage!