Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Post Natal Depression: My Story

I suffered with Post Natal Depression (PND) after the birth of my first child back in 2006.

I had no previous history of depression and I had a very easy and happy pregnancy.  We knew we were having a little boy (Mr D said there was 'No doubt about that!" after we saw him for the second time during my 20 week scan), and we were both so excited about welcoming this new little dude into our family.  I read every book that was available during those 9 months and followed every tiny, daily detail of his development and I just couldn't wait to meet him.  I thought I had every angle covered and it didn't for a minute occur to me that I might get PND.  I knew almost nothing about it and I even naively judged people for having it.  "How can you not love your baby when you first meet it????"  I thought, appalled!  "What kind of a mother would do that???"..... and of course the classic "It'll never happen to me!" were among some of the things I thought on the topic.  Well guess what...........IT DID!!

I went into spontaneous labour just shy of 36 weeks which took us all by surprise (you can read about that here).  Once the contractions started to fully take hold of my body I remember going into a complete state of shock.  Nothing like the cool, calm and collected self that I thought I would be during labour.  It all went on for hours and when he was eventually born I was so exhausted that I literally passed out!  Master J's arrival was very stressful as he didn't breath straight away and an army of medics had to come rushing in to assist.  I don't remember any of this - only what Mr D has told me.

I first met my little boy about a couple of hours after he was born when Mr D woke me up to give him his first feed.  I remember being very groggy and not quite 'with it' and neither of us had a single clue of what to do.  I was trying to give him my boob, but he couldn't latch.  I couldn't seem to help him and we both ended up in tears.  So back to Mr D he went, where he instantly settled (apart from being hungry).  And so it began.........  (I wish I knew then what I know now).

I have to be totally honest and say that there are large parts of Master J's first 6 months that I barely remember, but I do know that we didn't have the best of starts and things slowly and steadily spiraled out of control.  The only thing I was any good at was keeping up appearances with the outside world.  

It didn't occur to me for weeks or even months that I had had PND.  All I thought was that I was the most useless mother in the world and I was too ashamed to admit it.  What would people think of me?????  "How could she not love her baby??"  I used to read blog forums over and over again where all these mothers described their overwhelming love for their babies the minute they were born.  A connection or bond that they shared instantaneously, which was so amazing wonderful it was hard to put into words.  Why didn't I feel that??  I tried - god I tried, and it just wasn't there!! I didn't even seem to be able to produce enough milk to feed him never mind anything else.  Did that make me a monster??  I certainly felt like it.  I asked Mr D if he felt an instant bond with Master J when he first saw him, and he said, "Yes!!" without a moments hesitation.  I could see it in his eyes every time he held him and it tore at my heart.  He had it and I didn't - and I carried him for 9 months.  What was wrong with me??

I still couldn't admit that I had these feelings, so I stared to blame the baby.  I convinced myself that he didn't love me.  That was why he screamed whenever I went near him.  He just didn't like me.  He loved Mr D, that was obvious, as his little face lit up every time he entered the room and that screaming - the uncontrollable screaming, would just stop as soon as Mr D picked him up. Just like that.  It stared to become a vicious cycle, the more I backed away, the more Mr D embraced fatherhood and the more useless, hopeless and angry I felt.  These feeling were building up like a thick black cloud inside my mind, pushing out any available oxygen so that eventually it felt like my sanity was slowly slipping away.  Yet still, I put a smile on my face and embraced the outside world just like any other new mother would (or so I thought).

During some of my darkest days I would feel like I was at the bottom of the a well and that I was just too deep to climb out.  I was so convinced that Master J didn't love me that I used to plan how I would leave him and just disappear one day to a completely new place and start again under a new name.  I knew he would be ok because Mr D loved him and they had each other.  I had it planned down to the final dotted 'i' and crossed 't'.  I would leave and not tell a living soul where I had gone.  SO convinced was I that this was my only solution that I was perfectly prepared to leave my mum, dad, brother, sister and friends behind too.  NO ONE could find me and that was the ONLY way that that I was ever going to make my way back to the surface.  I had so completely lost myself that I truly believed this plan made perfect sense.

I think that one of the biggest casualty in all of this was Mr D.  He had to lie in bed most nights listening to me literally sob my heart out and I would not let him in - even for a second!! Fortunately Master J doesn't remember anything as he was such a little thing, and we really have the most wonderful and loving relationship now.  I believe now that he will never be affected (although knowing this doesn't always stop the guilt).  Mr D realised long before I did that I was suffering from PND and tried so hard to show me all of his research, but I just refused to even listen.  He eventually went to my parents for help which was the best thing he ever could have done, but at the time I felt like he had totally betrayed me.  The only thing that I was capable of doing was gripping on to my secret and he just went and gave it all away without my permission. To me, at the time, it was the ultimate betrayal and I was so angry with him.

I don't remember what made me eventually google 'Post Natal Depression' - maybe it was Mr D, but I remember so vividly reading the first page that came up and being genuinely stunned that what I was feeling actually had a name!  That it was real!  That other people suffered too!  That there was a distinct possibly that I wasn't crazy!  Like I said, I really don't know what made me open my eyes (and ears) to sense, but it couldn't have come soon enough.  I think I was seriously dancing on the edge of a complete breakdown.

It wasn't over yet though, but at least there was a glimmer of hope!  I stumbled across a website (I wish I could remember what it was) but there was a lady who had a similar story to me and was offering help to take the next step.  I emailed her that night and laid bare my most rawest emotions.  It felt easier to talk to someone who I couldn't physically see, and who didn't know me previously.  She responded within minutes and literally saved my life.  I know that may sound dramatic but I honestly don't think I could have hit a lower point.  She emailed me a letter which explained briefly how I was feeling and that I had PND, and she encouraged me to print it and take it with me to my GP.  That way I wouldn't have to talk.

I made and appointment and clutched that piece of paper so tightly between my sweaty hands. My heart was racing and my legs felt like they might give way beneath me.  I walked into his office and the minute he said "How can I help you?" I broke .... and just sobbed like a baby. Completely unable to even utter a word I handed him my letter.  He read it, looked at me and said "I'm going to help you and you will get better."  He was right.

It took several adjustments to my medication and several months before I started to feel like me again.  With each day I got better I could feel my mind, and my sanity slowly returning and could could at last see the situation for what it was.  I also started to realise that Mr D wasn't the enemy. My confidence grew and grew and so did my love for my little boy.  I may not have been aware of it at the start of our journey as mother and son, but I believe that it was always there.  It just took me a little while to see it.

I came off my medication by myself after 12 months and have not looked back.  I now have three beautiful children and fortunately for me I have never suffered from PND again.  I had a brief spell of Post Natal Anxiety after my third baby but we recognised the signs immediately and it fortunately never developed into anything.  My approach to my second and third births were very different to the first and both Mr D and I were ready to tackle whatever came head on.

I now know that PND does not effect every person, nor does it effect every pregnancy and birth, but it does affect a LOT more women than you realise and it is something that is completely out of your control.  The best advice I can offer is to seek help!  Do not suffer alone.

My story has a very happy ending which I will be eternally grateful for, but I would love to offer my 'ear' to anyone out there who would like to talk.  The first step is always the hardest.

I can't end without thanking Mr D and my family for their never failing support.  I love you all. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Philips PerfectCare Aqua Review. Ironing has never been this easy!!

Image credit 
I know this may sound a little mad to some, but I like ironing.  I find it quite therapeutic and it's probably one of the few times I can watch some trashy show on TV without feeling guilty.  My first memory of ironing (and yes, I realise that sounds very sad!!) is when I was about 16 years old.  My mum had gone back to South Africa for a couple of weeks to visit her parents, leaving my dad to look after my brother and I.  It was the summer holidays and I was just at the age when all I wanted to do was 'hang out' with my friends, but limited funds was causing a problem!  So dad suggested that I could iron all his work shirts for some extra cash. Win Win, I think!!  Maybe that's why I still like ironing today - it was my first ticket towards freedom (or just some extra cash to blow and teenage girl 'stuff').

Now I did say that I liked ironing, but I don't Love it!  There is a difference, really there is!!  The thing I hate about ironing is that it's never a quick job.  It's not something you can do at the same time as making dinner or changing a nappy or building a mermaid palace, and you really don't want to set up in front of the telly while the kids are around because then you will most probably have to endure an hour of Dora the explorer!!  And then there's the whole faff of sorting the clothes into different sections because you can't iron cotton on a low heat as the creases won't come out, but if you have anything delicate, then a high heat will burn it.  Oh and not to mention the number of times you have to fill the iron up with water to get through a single pile of ironing!!!  I think these are the reasons that so many of my friends think I'm mad doing any ironing at all!!

A couple of weeks ago (on a Tuesday - which is my dedicated ironing and catch up TV morning), I had everything set up and was going full steam ahead when my phone beeped with an incoming email. I picked it up and read the first line "Hi Robyn, how would you like to trial our new Philips PerfectCare Aqua steam iron........."  I had to laugh out loud.  How did they know?????  I quickly googled it and thought "Fantastic, yes please!"  A couple of days later it arrived!!

I have to admit that I was pretty excited to try it out.  I set up that evening and honestly (hand on heart) I finished the whole pile in roughly half the time than it usually takes me!!!  Even Mr D commented oh now quick I was.  He even had a sneaky go with it and was very impressed.  (Not that he irons very often, but he is partial to helping me out every now and then by ironing some of his work shirts).  I was genuinely impressed with it - and it's definitely by far the best iron I have ever used!
He's used it more than once in the last week!!
So what is so great about the Philips PerfectCare Aqua?

  1. It has an OptimalTemp feature which means that that there is NO temperate dial.  Once it's on you can iron absolutely anything (that is ironable) without having to change the temperature setting and then wait for it to actually adjust!!
  2. It is so easy to use and with it's SteamGlide soleplate it just glides so beautifully across the clothes.
  3. It has a 2.2L water tank which just lasts and lasts.  I have done three loads of ironing since I filled it up and have not had to re-fill yet.  Awesome!
  4. You can rest the iron on it's soleplate and it will not burn!!
  5. Although it is quite big, it's very easy to carry and store as well as change the water.
  6. It's tested and approved by independent textiles experts and it's environmentally friendly.
  7. At $399.99 it is on the expensive side but I have to say, it's totally worth it!

As some of you will have read I said that I was going to try and reduce the amount of ironing that I did this year as part of my 2013 New Year's Resolutions, and so far I've been pretty good. However since getting the Philips PerfectCare Aqua I might have to confess to ironing a few pillow cases and a duvet cover and even a few tea towels!!!!  It's so easy now.......so why not??

If you have a minute watch this video, it gives a great demo of just how fabulous this iron is.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid to write this post however I was gifted the PerfectCare Aqua to trial in order to write this review.  All opinions and pictures are my own, unless otherwise stated.  I ALWAYS give my honest opinions on everything I review.

Monday, 22 July 2013

A yummy kids meal that you could serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner

My kids call this dish ' healthy eggy bread' but really it's a just good old egg frittata cooked in a loaf tin. It couldn't be easier to make and takes about 20 mins.  It's also packed full of yummy veggies and could quite easily pass as breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner...... and everyone loves it!!  Win win win!  (Although I used my thermomix, you really don't need one for this recipe)

80g cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock
100g carrot (peeled)
100g sweet potatoes
1 medium zucchini
1/2 red pepper (capsicum)
2 spring onions
1 tbs olive oil
1tbs plain four
6 eggs

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare a loaf tin.  I just sprayed mine with a baking spray.

2.  Place the cheese in the thermomix bowl and grate for 5 seconds on speed 5/6 - or just use a good old fashioned cheese grater.  Set aside.

3.  Place the veggies into the bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 5 - or until you have reached your desired consistency.  If you're not using a thermomix then just chop or grate all the veggies into fairly fine pieces.
Finely chopped and brightly coloured veg
4.  Add the oil and saute for 3 minutes and 30 seconds on 100 degrees and reverse speed soft.  Or just lightly fry over a medium heat until the the colours become slightly translucent.

5.  Add all the remaining ingredients and mix for 10 seconds on reverse plus speed 3.
6.   Pour into your loaf tin and bake for 15 minutes until it has completely set and is golden brown.  Check it the same way you would a cake by inserting a knife or skewer and if it comes out clean, it's good to go!!
7.  Serve up (on a Mr Messy plate) with some tomato sauce and some extra salady bits on the side.

I know I've said this is a kids meal but truth be told I often have it for lunch and then keep the left overs for the kids dinner - or even their 'after school' snack!
ENJOY xxxx

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The day I met Brad Pitt...........in my pyjamas

(Image credit) Even if he's not your 'thing' you have to admit he's smokin' HOT
Before I had kids I used to have the best job in the world!! (Not that being mummy isn't the best, but this was FAR more glamorous).  I was an IFBT or Inflight Beauty Therapist for Richard Branson's uber trendy airline, Virgin Atlantic.  I used to love getting dressed up into my glamourous white uniform, donning the red lipstick and heading off on my next adventure.

On this particular trip I was headed to Johannesburg in South Africa, which is a 10 hour night flight from London.  I had not long been dating Mr D and had only met his parents once before, when he took me back to Johannesburg for his 30th birthday party.  This was my first trip back since then, and I had promised that I would call them as soon as I got to my hotel, so that they could take me out for dinner.

Night flights are always long when you are working, and if we were lucky we'd get two or three hours of crew rest before landing.  After a spritz of perfume, a fresh coat of red lipstick, some obligatory under-eye concealer and a big smile, I was ready for landing.  The flight was scheduled to land at 6am local time, and once all the passengers had disembarked, we'd got our luggage and made the hour long bus trip to our hotel, I was EXHAUSTED!!!  The first thing I always did when I got to my room was remove all my make-up, take off my uniform and get straight into my comfy pj's.  I couldn't sleep all day (even though my body desperately wanted to) otherwise I'd be awake all night and I had to fit in a visit to Mr D's parents.  I decided I'd give them a call to make arrangements for later that afternoon or evening and then get some much needed sleep for a few hours.  I found the number and dialed it ..........nothing!!  The phone didn't seem to be working!  I checked the number and tried again........still nothing.  Feeling slightly irritated, I txted Mr D to check that he had given me the correct number, convinced that he hadn't, but he had!  I tried again and still nothing!!  The phone was obviously not working so I called down to reception to report it and the damn phone wouldn't call them either!!!  I just wanted to give up and go to sleep but knew that if I didn't call them now it would be too late.  So I shoved my feet into the hotel slippers and set off down to reception.  I was so annoyed and so tired that I didn't care that I was in my pyjamas, in public, in the middle of the day (with no make-up on)!

I stood in the queue at reception in my own little world, trying to remind myself that it was not the poor receptionists fault that I 'm tired and my phone didn't work.  When it was my turn I took a deep breath, put my smile back on and said "Hi there, I've just come down because the phone in my room doesn't seem to be working and I really need to make a phone call".  She didn't even seem to hear me and for some reason kept looking over to her left and not at me.  "How rude!!" I thought. "You REALLY don't want to me messing with me right now - I could be in bed!!!"  "EXCUSE ME!" I said, quite a bit louder.  "Oh. sorry" she replied and then flashed her colleague a smile and looked over at her left again.  "What the hell was going on?" I though, turning around to see what was so interesting.............and there HE was!  Brad Pitt!  The REAL Brad Pitt.  Just standing there.  Like, right next to me!! As I had just raised my voice he turned (obviously to see which idiot was making such a fuss) and we locked eyes.  He smiled and just casually said "Hey" and all I could do was stare (my jaw might even have hit the floor too) ....... and then I started muttering something.......I can't even remember what - probably "Hi or sorry" or some other random rubbish.  After probably only a couple of seconds he turned back and finished checking out (which I later found out from the receptionist who was very keen to fill me on the gossip).

It was only once I got back into the lift that it dawned on me that I was wearing my pyjamas!!  If only he has been there just an hour before when I was all glammed up in my whites - I probably would have remembered how to speak then too!!

Have you even had a moment where you have looked like a complete idiot without even realising??

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

My top 5 Iphone Apps

A few people have asked me recently what phone Apps I use to edit my photos.  There are so many awesome ones out there, but I have a few old favourites that I just love.  I'm actually a bit of an App hoarder and have far too many on my phone at the moment.  It's just shoes - I don't wear half of what I have in my wardrobe but I just can't bear to throw any of them away.  My iphone home screen is FULL of Apps, and even though I only probably use a quarter of them I just can't bring myself to delete the others, as you never know when I might need an "App for that!!".

There are a handful of Apps on my phone that I use over and over again and so I though I would share with you. Apart from my social media Apps (Facebook, twitter, instagram, Pinterest and google+) which I use everyday, several times a day, here are my top 5:

1. A Beautiful Mess
I love this App.  You can just have so much fun with it.  Once you're either taken or chosen a photo on your phone you then have the option to add doodles, ready-made quotes or a even pick your own font.  I use it to add a little 'fun' to my photos as well as to send cute b'day txt images (which is much cheaper and quicker than sending cards!!).  I think it's a total steal at just $0.99 to download.  The initial download contains loads of doodles to choose from but you also have the option to buy more if you want to (which of course I did).  Here is a whole bunch of creative ideas you could use this app for and it really couldn't be easier.

2. Insta Pic Frame Pro
This is a great App for quickly putting a collection of photos together into a collage.  There are so many different options to choose from and it's so easy to use.  You can easily upload your pictures to any of your social media sites with just the click of a button or you could save it to your camera roll and then use "A beautiful Mess" to scribble all over it.  The great thing is that this App is FREE.

3. Afterlight

This really is a cool App and at just $0.99 to download it's a must have if you love photography. It is again super easy to use and with just a couple of taps of your finger you can instantly change any photo into something really eye catching and fabulous.  There are a huge range of different filters to choose as well as great set of instant editing tools.  You can also change the shape of your photo, add a boarder or lettering and then instantly upload it to your social media sites.  One of the best features of this App is that you can have your photos printed and sent as a postcard to anywhere in the world with your own personal message on it.

4. Jango Radio
Jango is just an internet radio which I use ALL the time!!  It's free to download, but it will eat into your internet quota unless you stream it through wifi or bluetooth as it uses the internet.  I love having music playing when I'm at home but I hate all the adverts that come with normal radio stations.  I also get bored with the music on my ipod, which is why Jango is perfect!!  You just select an artist or genre of music you like and it will play that artist along with others that are similar - continuously, with NO interruptions.  You can create your own stations by adding in the artists that you like, and the more you listen to it the more it remembers what you like.  If a song or artist comes on that you don't like then you just tap the 'thumbs down' and it will remember not to play it again.  I've created a whole list of different stations that I listen to depending on what mood I'm in.  You can also download Jango to your computer so you can have your favourite music playing while you work.  Give it a try!!

5. Snap Recipes
Do you have that problem where you see recipes online or floating around facebook and you think "ooh I must try that" and then when it comes around to - you can't find the recipe!!!  Well that's me, and it's soo annoying!!  Until I found the Snap Recipe App.  It's a bit like a personalised cook book where you can store all your favourite recipes in one place.  If you see a great recipe you can either just take a quick photo of it or take a screen shot and then follow the simple instructions to save and file it.  I've got so many filed now that I need to actually start making some of them!!

6. Pocket

I've added in a sneaky number 6 as this App is just awesome.  It used to be called 'read it later' so you may have heard of it by that name.  I am so busy during the day that I hardly ever have time to sit down and read the articles that I see come up on my facebook and twitter news feeds.  I used to make mental notes to go back and find them - or 'like' them as a way of reminding me to go back and read them - but do you think I ever did??  Nope!!  Besides my lack of time I am convinced my memory has holes in it!!  I discovered pocket and am now totally addicted to it.  It's a bit like having a kindle or news reader on your phone or tablet or even your computer.  You can store and file any article that you want to keep or read later - be it a blog, a news article, a recipe or some research you're been doing on a family holiday.  You can tag everything under handy little labels like 'recipes' or 'finances' or 'parenting', making them really easy to find when you're ready to read them (hopefully with your feet up and a glass of wine, or a good cuppa).  It's so easy to save them too.  Once you have installed pocket, a little icon will appear where you would usually save something to 'favourites', but instead you just tap 'save to pocket'.  It's great if you don't always have the internet as once they're downloaded and saved you no longer need the internet to read them.  Genius!!

So those are my top 6.  What Apps do you have on your phone that you couldn't live without??  I sure I could be persuaded to add a few more to my ever growing list!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A fabulous weekend spent exploring the best of Melbourne

Last weekend I took a very long-overdue trip to Melbourne to visit my cousin LCJ (who also just happens to be the only other member of my family living in Australia).  It was not only my first ever trip to Melbourne, but also the first time I have been away without the kids for over two years.  To say I was eXiTeD could have been just a tiny understatement!!!  LCJ bought me my tickets for my birthday back in January and it's taken me until now to actually use them.  I think she was starting to doubt that I would never make it...............BEST birthday present ever!!
Waiting to board at Sydney airport.  I know it looks like I'm reading a recipe book but it's actually Lorraine Elliot's "Not Quite Nigella".  Either way - it's a book! and I'm actually reading it!
As I stood in the check-in queue at Sydney airport - still marvelling in the fact that I only had check-in luggage and an actual handbag (not a nappy bag, a pushchair and the kitchen sink), I overheard the check-in staff saying that the flight was delayed by 3 hours!!!!  'Are you kidding me???' I thought.  However having worked on an airline for many years, I know full well that the worst possible thing you can do is take it out on the staff!  It's very rarely their fault and having a go at them will only make  your day worse.  I waited in line patiently listening to passenger after passenger demand an explanation for the delay and get nowhere.  Hey, I only had check-in luggage - how could I possibly be in a bad mood anyway??    I eventually got to the front of the queue and my polite attitude must have worked as I ended up in a business class seat on the next flight (only half an hour later than my original flight) while everyone else waited out the delay.  It ALWAYS pays to be polite :)
Ended the night with a Martini cocktail in the funkiest little bar (which reminded me of how the Feather Boa used to be in Hong Kong - if any of you have ever been there?)
I managed to get a bus, train, plane and another bus all without a hitch (or me getting myself into a lost state of panic) and met LCJ in the city of Melbourne, ready for a night on the town.  Well, a posh dinner and a few drinks anyway - we're not as young as we used to be!!  I had a night time tour of the city (luckily I was wearing comfy boots) and we had the most AMAZING dinner at Red Spice Road.  It was Asian food at it's finest and I highly recommend you try the Goat.

I really thought I would automatically wake up at some ridiculously early hour the next morning because of some cruel built-in baby clock.  However when I first leaned over and looked at my phone it was 9:55am!!!!!!!!!  I CAN NOT tell you the last time I slept in that late.  I gave Mr D a quick call to check that they were all surviving, only to discover that Master J had a head full of nits!!!  NOT AGAIN!!  I have no idea whether or not I had them too, but seeing as I had given him a cuddle before leaving for the airport there was a chance.............and one that I was not risking!!  You can take mummy away from the chaos but you can't take the chaos away from mummy!!!  Not only that, but I developed a sudden case of 'itchy head' - which was more than likely psychological but I needed to find a chemist for that magic shampoo ASAP!
Once the hair was fixed we were able to get on with the real fun!  Firstly we went out for brunch to a place called Hardware Société.  It was apparently highly rated and LCJ hadn't had a chance to try it yet either, so it was a must.  It was down the cutest little lane and when we arrived I could not get over the queue of people waiting patiently outside for a table!  I did feel a bit sorry for the surrounding cafe's who obviously weren't quite as popular.  We put our names on the wait list and went for a walk to pass the time.  Luckily it was only a 40 minute wait as the smells of freshly baked bread and bacon was wafting around every street in Melbourne - it was torture!! But the breakfast was worth it and we were all smiles again.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the city.  I haven't been a proper tourist somewhere for so long that I really enjoyed stopping and taking photos of everything.  Melbourne has a totally different atmosphere to Sydney.  It's not quite as pretty as Sydney (sorry Melbourne people) but it definitely has a much more relaxed and chilled out vibe too it.  It is also really cultural and I loved all the different sections.  There was the Parisian/European part with the beautiful old buildings and the river cafe's, the uber trendy streets with the coolest graffiti art I've ever seen.  The busy shopping district with the trams running through it and of course the really sporty section, which had these hugely impressive stadiums as far as the eye can see.  The whole city was full of lots of tiny little, almost secret lanes, with so many cute and trendy cafes, bars and shops that only people in the 'know' would be able to find.  I loved that!!
A quirky little French cake shop.  I would definitely would have tried something if the queue wasn't around the block!
LCJ doesn't have any kids (yet) but she does have two of the most adorable little dogs who were desperate to go out for a walk when we got home that afternoon.  Even though the clouds were threatening rain we decided to take them to the beach.  Thank heavens we took jackets as the wind was FREEZING!!!!
How cute do they look - posing for me (with the city in the background)
Brighton Beach.
Apparently Melbourne is not rated for it's city beaches but I thought they were gorgeous!!  They are obviously not the same as the turquoise waters and white sands of other parts of the country - but for me, the ocean is the ocean!!  No matter where I am, it has the same mystical calming effect on me.  I think I might have been a mermaid in a former life.
What kind of tourist would I be if I didn't take a 'selfie'??
View of 'The Bay'.  Well one section of it anyway.  I had no idea just how HUGE it actually is.
That night we got dressed up and hit the town again.  Well actually we started off at a house party to watch the Lions Final (which I won't say too much about as it's probably a bit of a controversial topic for me being a Brit living in Aus).  It was a highly amusing, slightly drunken and VERY funny night!!  It deserves a blog all of it's own - so watch this space.

The next morning, with rather large hangovers in tow, we decided to drive to the Mornington Peninsular to do a spot of wine tasting!!  Hair of the dog and all that.  Luckily LCJ's very patient boyfriend offered to be our chauffeur.

We stopped for lunch at the Paringa Estate and had the most delicious and uber posh food.  (One of those kinds of meals that have to enjoyed without children in tow).  We of course HAD to taste all the wines too, which was a bit tricky with that hangover still insisting on staying with us - but we soldiered on, much to our chauffer's amusement!!  He was placing bets on which wine we would like the most and was convinced it would be the most expensive!! He was right :))

We drove around the area and (and tasted a few more wines) before heading back home for a movie and an early night.  The whole area was just breathtakingly beautiful with views to die for.  I would love to go back with Mr and D and the kids to spend some time on the gorgeous, almost Mediterranean like, Mornington Peninsular Bay.
Even with the low clouds and the setting sun the view was incredible.
I arrived home on Monday morning feeling relaxed and happy, to three little faces who had genuinely missed me.

Thanks Mr D for doing such a great job holding the fort while I was away and an especially huge thanks to LCJ and MT for such a fabulous weekend.  I love you all 


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Two little girls and a sunset over Manly Beach - For Wordless Wednesday

One afternoon last week I popped down to Manly Beach to meet my eighteen year old cousin, who was passing through Sydney on a backpacking trip with his friends.  I haven't seen him for a very long time, so it was great to catch up and hear all about his adventures.  I had the two girls with me, so we decided to take a walk down to Shelley Beach so that Miss H could ride her scooter and we could chat.  As we got there she found one of her best friends, who had also gone out for a walk with her mummy,  and the two of them spent the next couple of hours playing in the shallow waves........jumping, screaming, chasing, giggling and absolutely totally oblivious to just how beautiful the beach was that afternoon.  What lucky little girls!

Linking up this Wednesday with the lovely Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 


June in pictures. Love Instagram (and A Beautiful Mess)!

Well another month has come and gone in a blink and flash.  Here are a few photos of what we've been up to in June.
I've lost my spot in the bed AGAIN??
We've had a lot of bed swapping going on this month. I'm hoping it's down to all the winter sickness bugs that have barged their way into our house, because quite frankly, I don't like sharing!!  Does that make me mean??  I do love a good snuggly cuddle from any of my babies but once I'm asleep I like to stay that way.
Poorly little bub x
Not only have we had horrible sicky bugs but we've also had our first every case of hair nits!!!  EEEWWWW!!

She just LOVES her big brother x
I still can't get over just how beautiful the winters in Sydney are!
Is there something on my face??
Scored his first try of the season - so proud of himself!! x
Batman and spiderman in my kitchen.  I'll be sad when they're too 'grown up' to love dressing up.
First jelly snake
My favourite walkway

A winter rainbow

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