1000 words

Back to where it all began.

We’ve been in Melbourne for less than 48 hours and it feels like we never left. How is that possible? Since leaving the city almost six years ago, we have moved house seven times and had three kids. That’s a lot of life changes by anyone’s standards.

Maybe I just want to feel like I never left. This is a week of freedom for Hubs and I; to live it up and do whatever we please. We’ve been reminiscing like crazy and going to all our favourite places. Just like old times.

Moving to Melbourne was a real turning point in my life, and so much has happened because of that decision to move. Hubs broached the subject of him wanting to study down here when we first got together and I’m pretty sure my thoughts were “noooooooo! I don’t want to leave Brisbane! Nanny will be devastated!” Outwardly I would have been much cooler I’m sure.

Five months later, in May 2007, we took a trip down here “just to check it out”. Oh and Frith had his interview with Melbourne uni. After spending some time in the city, and meeting his gorgeous family down here, I was sold. I was also thinking a certain question might be popped during our visit, but he had other plans for that the following month.

A bit over a year later, at the end of a long, cold, amazingly fun trip down in the kombi, we arrived as husband and wife. And a few days later I started this blog. All of our highs and lows and in-betweens have been documented here. I never thought I would keep it up for so long but blogging is just a part of my life now. I had talked about starting a blog for months, but it wasn’t until we moved that I actually felt the urge to begin.

Melbourne changed me, and for the better I believe. It was time for me to get out on my own, with my new husband; my new family, by my side. We were a unit the two if us; in love, invincible; and in Melbourne.

The first six months were hard. I went from having social engagements every night in Brisbane, to no friends and nothing to do in Melbourne. Frith made friends easily through medicine, and while they knocked off at midday on a Friday and headed to the pub, I was working full time to support us. Resentment crept in. Jealousy tapped me on the shoulder. Feelings I never thought possible towards my shiny new, perfect husband surfaced.

For the most part I ignored those feelings; pushed them deep down and put on a smiling face. But a few too many wines would bring it all bubbling to the surface and everything would come pouring out. Once the booze wore off, and we were able to communicate like adults, Hubs would make me spill my guts. Everything. All my insecurities, my suspicions were all heard out and all reassured. We were still new at this thing called marriage. We had to work out our own path and figure out what worked for us.

Reality had set in and not all was perfect. But that’s what marriage is all about. Being perfect for each other, and doing the very best you can. Being your own person and not trying to be someone you’re not, just to please your spouse. I was trying to be everything Hubs wanted me to be, when all I had to do was to be myself. That’s who he fell in love with. The cat was well and truly out of the bag before we got married – he knew I wasn’t perfect and he loved me for it.

I just had to learn to love myself a little more. I had to figure out who I was without my family and friends around to define me. This took some time, and it turns out I’m still a work in progress. But I’ve learnt to love the process and the journey, and not just try and skip to the end result.

So as I walk around Melbourne now, dropping in on familiar places that feel like old friends, I remember Renae from 2008 and I reassure her that things are working out pretty well. I tell her that she and Hubs will never stop disagreeing on things, but that we always sort things out and get stronger. I tell her that even though she has to move around a lot, the adventures that follow make it worthwhile. I tell her to enjoy her sleep-ins and hot coffees, because once the kids come, they are the first things to go.

I tell her about the friends she will meet and the people who she will stay in touch with; it will surprise her who makes the effort to keep in contact. I tell her that she might want to stop at three children and not have four or five like they always talk about, but I know she’ll never believe me. I tell her how Hubs is a wonderful father but she already knows that.

I tell her that Nanny will never get to meet her great-granddaughter and that will upset her. A lot. Especially when her middle name is Maria, and she reminds her of Nanny everyday.

I tell her not to worry so much about what is to come; to trust Hubs more, as he always comes through with the goods. I remind her to tell Hubs everyday how much he is loved. He puts on a tough exterior, but, just like her, he needs to know.

So as I sit here staring at the bottom of another cup of coffee, waiting for Hubs to finish his GSSE, and wondering where life will take us next, I am grateful that we started our journey here in this beautiful city, full of incredible people and memories.

We’ll always have Melbourne.


6 to go

Man I’m only just going to be scraping in with my 1000 posts before the end of February! And I’m kind of hoping I get them all out by Monday so I can celebrate on Tuesday. You see, we are having a little Aussie Day BBQ at our place on Tuesday, and I’d love to make a huge cake of some sort to mark the occasion, but there’s no point in just making it for us as I would surely eat it all. Or at least, far too much of it.

So, 6 posts to go. Are there any requests? Anything you’re dying to know about me, or would love to hear my take on?! Probably not, but I thought I would ask anyway.

I’ll try not to cop out too much and just post photos. Though, we’ll have to see how we are going for time. I’ll also have a look at any posts that I might have begun over the years and never completed.

And as I type this, I’m also over at Blurb.com putting together my old blog into a book! So super excited about that! Also trying to tick off a few more things on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

Now I have 5 to go 🙂

2015: The year of the unwritten blog posts

There have been heaps. Okay, at least a dozen blog posts that I’ve written in my head but never gotten around to posting here this year. Of course there have been a few in years gone by as well, but there has definitely been less activity around here than I was hoping for for the year.

But I digress. It’s been an interesting year. After being miserable in Mount Isa and being diagnosed with depression half way through 2014, I figured 2015 could only be an improvement. And I was right.

We started the year with a bang, by buying our first house and then getting caught in Rockhampton’s first cyclone in 50 odd years.

We headed to Victoria for 2 weddings, one in Feb and a family affair in March. I had been looking forward to that week for 6 months and it did not disappoint!

Our very dear friends visited in April and had a baby girl while staying with us. I know, right? A lot happened in April, actually.

May brought a lot of self-awareness and in turn, the start of some serious self-love. It paved the way for quite an overhaul of body and soul, and it’s also when I started my twice-weekly fit mums class.

We had Darby-doo’s Baptism in June (that I blogged about in September!) and then visitors stayed with us afterwards. It also saw me write this blog post about my dear Hubs.

In July, I joined facebook. It’s been interesting. We also had our nieces stay with us for a week, and I never got around to blogging about it, even though I’ve written the post “I love how they love him” in my head a hundred times. Stay tuned.

We really got into outdoor cooking this year and entertained the neighbours with various delicacies.

I wrote this post in September about being busy that seemed to resonate with a few of you. It also saw me coming out of a bit of a foggy haze. I feel like there were a lot of these posts, both published and not, this year. I’m hoping there will be more action around this in the new year.

In October I shared some “after/current” pics of this year’s hard work so far.

November was a bit light on around here. I started a new monthly post of 10 things on the 10th as well.

And then it was December, and we were in full birthday party swing.

And yeah, it’s now the last day of December, and this is my view for the afternoon.


Unfortunately my poor 101 in 1001 has been very badly neglected this year, and with only 2 months to go until the challenge is over, I’ve gone through the list and picked out the following things I aim to achieve:

011 – Go to a driving range and hit some balls

026 – Do something kind for Hubs every day for a month

033 – Write 20 letters to people (15 to go!)

038 – Go to a Roller Derby

060 – Make pierogi 5 times – 1 more to go!

066 – grow some herbs!

074 – Have my old blog turned into a book

086 – Celebrate my 1000th blog post – 12 posts to go

095 – send a secret to Post Secret

I’ll be updating my 101 in 1001 page in the next few days as it is so horrendously outdated, and I do want to go over my successfully completed items.

So that was the year. It was a bit light on in some areas, but full on in others. I’ve decided to write some ideas for how I want 2016 to look for me, and I look forward to smashing some more goals around my health and fitness.

Won’t you join me?


The West Wing

As per #097 of my 101 in 1001, I wanted to finish watching The West Wing. I know. The series ended almost 10 year ago. What can I say? The day I went into hospital to have Darby, I had a mere 7 episodes to go for the whole series. I batted my eyelids and asked Hubs very nicely if he would copy them over onto my phone so I could watch them in hospital while I was playing the waiting game. Hubs obliged (he always does.)

It was totally worth the wait. I loved the series so so much and never got bored of it to the very end. And am I the only woman who has a huge crush on Josh? Surely not. He’s just too adorable. There were a few things that happened in the final episodes that tied everything together nicely that left me feeling completely satisfied.

So, another item to cross off the list!


Another day, another morning spent sitting in the outpatients waiting room. I’m a regular there these days. They are taking very good care of me which is lovely, but I’m kind of over it now. Very very ready to meet this little baby of ours. Unfortunately there are still no signs of me going into labour on my own, so there might be some more intentional prods and pokes coming up this weekend, to see if they can help move things along.

I am trying to make my way through the last season of The West Wing (as per #097 on my list of 101 in 1001) and have “only” 17 episodes to go! That’s still a lot of hours, but I’m loving it. There won’t be much time for viewing in the coming weeks, so just trying to get in while I can.

Other than that, I’m just enjoying having Mum here, and enjoying sitting in front of whatever air conditioner I can get near. I’m not fussy.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock….

The last day

Yibbeda yibbeda. That’s all folks. It’s been a fun month, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing every day. Some days I’ve really looked forward to sitting down and writing, other days it’s been a bit hard, but it’s been good being accountable to you folk out there, waiting every day for a post to be published 🙂

So what have I achieved in my month of “recharge and reset”?

I did a lot of walking. Even though the frequency dropped off a bit in the last week or so, whenever there was a choice between staying home on the couch, or heading outdoors, I was almost always able to get myself moving.

I got a lot of sleep. Like, a sleep-in til almost 9am almost every day. Thanks Mum.

I crossed off 2 things on my 101 in 1001 days – this Nablopomo, and not chewing my nails for a month. They look totally amazing and I’m not going back. Hubs and I had a weekend away together and I also started a few as well, like painting my nails and getting a lot done towards my new blog. I didn’t do so well on the stretching, but it’s more of a priority now as my pregnancy advances.

I wrote every day for a month. Woo! And I don’t think I whinged too much. I hope.

I have been nourished and fulfilled by my wonderful family and beautiful supportive friends. I feel motivated and energised for our return to Mount Isa, and can’t wait to just be with Hubs again. I’ve really missed him.

So. One more sleep-in, an early morning for our flight back Sunday, and it’s back to reality and full-time parenting. And it’s going to be great 🙂

#056 – Make every recipe out of one recipe book

This is part of my 101 things in 1001 days challenge.

No, I haven’t quite finished this one as yet, but I’ve sure started well. To date I have made 17 recipes out of over 100 in this book, and have been very pleased with most of the dishes so far. Some I have absolutely loved, some I wouldn’t cook again, some I’ve tweaked to my liking, and some I’m either extremely excited about trying, or not at all looking forward to. (But there’s only 2 or 3 of those, that’s why I chose this particular recipe book out of my collection.) I was flicking through it today, and even though I know I’ve read the intro blurb before, the last couple of lines finally stood out to me today:

I will try everything at least once! And I have already repeated some of them! I haven’t taken photos of all of them, but here’s a snapshot.

So far, I have made; (in order they appear in the book… mostly…)

~ Bechamel sauce (I usually just make this flying by the seat of my pants, so it was nice to follow a recipe for once!)

~ Pesto (a bit too much lemon juice in this recipe for my liking)

~ Slow-cooked Sticky Lamb Shanks with Parsnips (not a huge fan of this one, as I make pretty damn good lamb shanks with my own recipe, but you know, slow cooked lamb shanks are always pretty damn good.)

~ Shortbread (yum – I’ll be making this again)

~ Bad bad brownies (these are ridiculously rich – only for a very special occasion!)

~ French Toast (I’ve made this one twice already – so delish!)

~ Chicken Enchiladas (Oh man this was really really good. I cooked it for friends and got rave reviews)

~ Sopillos (these are almond-meal meringues and they were a bit of a disaster. They tasted amazing but weren’t pretty. I’d like to try them again and make them smaller)

~ Houseboat pie (this one says “serves 6” but that would only apply if that’s all they were eating for the whole day! There is 1.2 kg of various cheese in this one and it made 2 pies! It was so yummy!)

~ Julian’s French Green Beans (adding breadcrumbs and butter to beans – how can you go wrong??)

~ Chocolate mousse (hard to go wrong with a good mousse, and this is no exception)

~ Roasted roma tomatoes (simple and yummy)

~ Fresh Pea and Chorizo Risotto (not enough chorizo for my liking, so I would add more next time. It also required cooking chicken stock from scratch which I’d never done. It took a long time and to be honest, wasn’t that flavorsome, so I’m not sure I would bother next time!)

~ One-Pot Pasta (I just made this over the weekend and damn it was SO good. I’d use less pasta and finish it off with chopped, roasted pine nuts next time. There will definitely be a next time!)

~ Jungle Jaffa Cake (I had made this a few times before the challenge and have made it twice since. It’s a great gluten free go-to cake that everyone loves.)

~ Ginger nuts (an excellent recipe. I made 2 batches in 2 weeks, and Hubs has just requested more.)

I then, as the recipe book suggested, re-purposed them into a ginger log, just like Mum used to make. Oh so good…

~ Steamed asparagus (simple. Done.)

So that’s where I’m at so far with challenge #56. It really is a gorgeous recipe book and would make such a lovely gift for someone about to embark on the world. Or, you know, turn 30 🙂

Looking forward to sharing more reviews with you soon!

My first 5km fun run

I did it! It was hard going, but I ran (jogged) the whole way and didn’t stop til I got to the end! It felt really amazing, even though I was in a world of pain by the end of it. My sciatica wasn’t too bad during the run, but my hip was sore pretty much the whole time. And it was when I stopped that the sciatica pain flared up. But that doesn’t matter!!! I did it!

Here we are before the run, at the starting line:

And here we are at the end:

As you can see, Beth hardly broke out in a sweat, but you would come to expect that of a personal trainer who completes triathlons and trains every day 🙂 It was so good having Beth there to cheer me on the whole way. Once I got to the half way mark, I knew I could do the whole thing. It was slow going (45min total) but I didn’t stop. And I’m feeling really proud of myself right now. And even though I’m pretty sore still, I’m already looking forward to the next one in a month! Bridge to Brisbane, here I come!

Staying positive

Well it was bound to happen. It’s what I do. I was attempting my first 5k run last Sunday in the lead up to this Sunday’s fun run, and at 3km, sciatica pain hit. At 4km I had to stop. I was quite sad and couldn’t help being a little (very) frustrated. I came home, took some pain killers and have been hoping for the best ever since. I’ve been doing what all the articles are telling me to do – stretch, heat, cold, rest, pain killers. Today is the first day I’ve noticed a small improvement. I really have my heart set on running this Sunday, and I’m just trying to stay positive that it will happen.

I’ve never stuck to a plan like this before, and there’s still a part of me that can’t believe I actually made it (almost!) this far. I feel like, if I can do this, there are so many other things I can believe I’m capable of.

I just have to get through Sunday. Wish me luck!!!!!

I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m still on a high. Yesterday I completed Week 5, day 3 of the couch 2 5k program. I know I know. I started the program 11 weeks ago, but I had a few setbacks that slowed me down a bit. So I restarted 7 weeks ago, and have been working my way through the 9 week program a little slower, so I can do it right.

And last night it paid off. The summary for last night’s run was: (From RunDouble)

“Day 3 follows (the warm-up walk) with a single 3.2km run.”

and then it says:

“Don’t be put off, you’ve been preparing for this for 5 weeks, just keep a steady pace, and keep going.”

Oh I was put off. I mean, the last few weeks of my training have been going so well. I’ve really been enjoying the runs, and haven’t stopped during any of them. My pace has been anywhere between 7min 45sec to 9min per km, but that doesn’t worry me. The running feels good. My feet feel good. My knees, hips, ankles are fine.

But 3.2km?? The furthest interval I’d run was 1.2km the day before. But since the running had been going so well, I decided that I could do it. Even before I put my shoes and running gear on, I knew I could do it.

And I did it. It was so awesome. I have NEVER run/jogged that far in my adult life and it just felt so amazing. I’m really proud of myself (can you tell??) and I’m 100% sure that I’ll be running the 5k by the 4th of August – less than 5 weeks away.