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2019, indeed

2019, indeed

It is almost unbelievable to me that we are all now in the year that my son is to be born. I know that that is making the new year all about me, but for the moment, the imminent arrival of our little man is […]

It’s summer alright

It’s summer alright

So, today I learned another thing about pregnancy: doing the Bay Walk in thirty degree heat will, in fact, lead to pretty severe heat stroke. Let me back up a bit – after swimming at Balmoral Beach the other day, although using those muscles I […]

42 days until due date

42 days until due date

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave

Tomorrow is my last day of work before I not only finish up for the year, but also before I head off on maternity leave. It is a weird feeling. I mean, I think that finishing work for the end of the year always feels […]

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

I was insanely excited to read this book; as soon as I learned of its existence, I was intrigued. Non-fiction, autobiographies and memoirs are not something that I read often, nor are they what I enjoy reading (which sometimes I think is a bit strange […]

53 days until due date

53 days until due date

I was doing a little bit of recon work on the back-end of my website – looking at stats, etc. – and it seems as though people connect a lot more with my regular content than with my Christmas content! This is neither here nor there, however it did get me thinking that perhaps it would be better for me and for my audience if I were to just speak from the heart and post whatever I feel inspired to post as opposed to keeping to my content calendar.

Today is a good day for me to share some raw and honest content that doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas. I had my second last hospital appointment last week and I was asked by the midwife, “How is your mental health? I only ask this because it is around this stage of pregnancy that you get another big surge of hormones.” I responded that I felt fine, that I felt happier and more stable than I have ever felt.Apparently, my appointment was a week too early because yesterday, I completely fell apart in what turns out to be the best way possible.

I am a co-dependent partner. In life, in my work and in my hobbies I am independent; from a very young age I assured my mum that, “I can do it myself” and you will rarely hear my asking for help. I don’t like to go out all that much, I enjoy spending time by myself and my hobbies of writing and reading are very much solo ventures. When it comes to relationships however, I am needy and have pretty bad separation anxiety.

At the heart and soul of the issue,I have a deep-seeded fear of abandonment and being forgotten, particularly when it comes to men. My biological father didn’t meet me until I was nineteen –something that I initiated and fought for and made into a reality when I flew to the north of England to meet him. Even after getting to know me, he didn’t have it in him to be any kind of father to me, abandoning me once more. I have had a similar experience with my step-father who, when separating with my mother reminded her that I am not his child nor his responsibility (financially or otherwise) even though he is who I have called dad since I was eleven months old.

Put simply, I have been of the belief that I am not worth much when it comes to father figures or men in general for that matter. My thinking very quickly became, “Even after getting to know you, they still chose to have nothing to do with you.” I took that belief into every single relationship I have ever had. Initially, it didn’t affect my relationships too much. Sure I was a bit needy, but it was nothing really to get into a fight over but slowly, as my relationships ended and I jumped into new ones trying to find the love or validation I ever had from the men in my life growing up, I became dependent on them to make me feel whole. If ever they were to go out, or want to spend a night at their place or with their mates instead of me, I took that as, “They don’t want to be with you.” So for as long as I can remember, I have made sure that whoever I am with has me around as often as possible.

Great idea, Leah.

I have always been sensitive and always a little bit anxious in places and around people that I am not familiar with, but it wasn’t until one particular relationship that my mental health depleted almost to the point where I didn’t want to go on anymore. I chose to be with someone who was emotionally manipulative, condescending and cruel. He starved me of affection and love often, but when he did show it, he showered me with praise and presents before taking it back again. I’m not sure how it happened because he did it so slowly, but I completely lost myself in him and his misery. He was incredibly confident in himself and preyed on the fact that I wasn’t, often keeping me in the dark with where he was or whether he was coming home at all. He would often leave in the middle of the night without explanation, and I, not knowing where he was or why he left was made to feel like it was my fault upon his return. He was dominating and instilled fear in me, but I thought that that is all that I deserved. My family and friends all saw my light and my entire person completely fade away. I was a shell.

It took a lot of my strength to leave that relationship, and I am still picking up the pieces of myself that are lying around, shattered. For the most part, I have moved through and dealt with a lot of the grief I feel around my father/s, as well as the shame I feel at allowing myself to be treated so poorly by so many men for as long as I was.I have been abused both physically and mentally and yet I am the one that carries the guilt and the blame. I am proud of how much I have grown this year,both within myself and as a part of a relationship. What I am yet to deal with however, is that attachment I have to my partner. My co-dependency is the last thing that I need to shed to be the woman, the partner and the mother that I want to be. I came to the realisation yesterday that I see my life through the lens of my past. I still rarely believe men who say that they can’t wait to be dads because for me, that is not something that is real. I feel like I am constantly waiting and expecting to be let down by my partner because that is all I have known. I am absolutely petrified to trust someone so completely forfear that if they do make a mistake (like all humans do) my heart will bebroken and everything will fall apart.

I am irrational and I make mountains out of mole-hills. Whenever a partner of mine goes out with friends,I make it as hard as possible on them no matter how hard I try to be okay and calm and loving and supportive. My fear taints everything and it is the one thing about me that I truly dislike and I don’t want to be that person anymore.Yesterday was the first time that my actions have been shown to me in a way that I can actually acknowledge and, instead of defending my behaviour, have been able to look at it from so many different angles and come up with ways of moving far, far beyond it. Like a lot of people, I have always sought advice from those that I knew would either agree with my point of view or coddle me and however I was feeling. But now, for the first time in my life I am surrounded by people, friends, work colleagues and family who challenge me and who call me out on my behaviour, and do so with love, respect, understanding and patience. I don’t need people to agree with me anymore, I need to be questioned and be open to the opinions of those close to me because that is how I know I will grow. I am getting more and more comfortable in exposing myself to new experiences and people, as well as learning more and more about my emotional triggers and where they are coming from.

The challenge for me moving forward is learning how to separate what is real and what isn’t, what is logical and what is emotional. And, for the first time, I feel that I can actually achieve that. I have such a beautiful support system around me, and whether I acknowledge it or not, I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for and this last year is proof of that. Another thing that I need to learn to strengthen is my own self-love and self-care. When I am in a relationship, I completely lose myself to the other. I spend every waking moment worrying about them, wondering what they are up to, wanting to know what they are thinking. I have always struggled letting my partner simply be. Again, not a great quality.

I often find myself admiring characters in books, characters in television shows and movies, and other real-life personalities, peers and sometimes (ever so rarely) celebrities who are strong, outspoken, fierce, independent women. I admire women who are everything I’m not. I am petrified of everything. I am scared to call out someone’s behaviour for fear of how they will react. I rarely speak up when I don’t agree with something or someone. I don’t think I am strong or fierce or independent – and I want to be.

I have seven weeks until I deliver my son into this world, and I am determined to be the woman and the mother that he deserves. I want to be able to look up to myself. I would love, one day, to be someone that others look up to.

Pregnancy is hard. I did not expect it to be this challenging, I really didn’t. Pregnancy has thrown things at me that have seriously challenged me and I have had to admit things to myself and come to terms with a lot of things that I have kept hidden and ignored for a very long time. I have found myself being much more negative than I ever want to be and it has forced me to make decisions and changes that I have been too scared to make previously. I am hot from the inside out and feel so NOT myself that I cannot put words to it. I miss being able to wear my clothes and to getup off the lounge without groaning like a beached whale. I only have seven more weeks of being pregnant though, and why the hell should I spend it feeling sad and annoyed? This is my first pregnancy and I will never get this time back.

I have been victim to these feelings and this co-dependency for too long now and you cannot imagine how excited I am to NOT be this person any more. I know that this post has probably come from left-field for most of you, but that’s how this kind of stuff works, right? You learn things about yourself when you least expect it. More often than not it is painful and it hurts to look (and I mean REALLY look) at who you are and who you have been, but it is so worth it.

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

When I think of Christmas morning, what tends to come to mind first are the smells that come with it. The smell of the real Christmas tree, the smell of fresh coffee grinds and steamed milk, the smell of bacon and slightly burnt toast and […]

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Last week on my lunch break I was craving my usual chicken and salad banh mi with extra salad and no onion. This particular craving has lasted about six weeks so far with no end in sight. My friend and colleague Mika, on this particular […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes.

Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes.

Do you love food? Yes.

THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU.

Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking at some really incredible (and easy to achieve) Christmas Table Setting Ideas to make your get together just that little bit special this year! Though I am partial to a grazing table with people milling about the house happily, I also love sit down meals where there is just masses of food lining the table and there are arms and limbs going everywhere passing the potato bake and the chicken and the salad and the prawns amongst one another.

With everyone coming to our place for Christmas this year (because I will be huge and tired and probably pass out halfway during the day), I get to decorate our house once again and make cookies and make the place as Christmas-y as possible. We have a beautiful dining table which is the main hub of our home and I am so excited to deck it out with Christmas treats, beautiful napkins and little decorations here and there. There is nothing more rewarding to me than people’s first reactions when it comes to decor – and there is no one more important to me than my family and my extended family – so I have trawled the web for inspiration for Christmas Table Settings and I am going to share them with you here, today, RIGHT NOW.

Probably my favourite table setting decor that I came across was from Eclectic Creative whose owner and creator, Jess, has an Australian background. Her Australian-inspired Christmas table is absolutely stunning AND she has included personalised cookies for each table place which is totally up my alley. I definitely plan on using a lot of the elements that feature below for my own Christmas table this year (in just thirteen days!). Instead of my usual vanilla biscuits that I make, for the big day I will be making spiced ginger biscuits with fondant icing – some of the cookies I will press with Christmas messages like the ones from Eclectic Creative, while others I will decorate with Christmas sprinkles that I have bought specially for the occasion. I also love the accents of the baubles that are scattered on the table and, knowing my mum, she will bring big bunches of flowers that we will place on the table as well!

 

From Homes to Love I loved the Christmas cracker on each table place as well as the small plates of nibbles and sweets (especially nougat, always nougat). The simplicity of this table setting, with a bit of a 60s feel with the light mint green plates and funky cutlery, is gorgeous and the simple lace tablecloth is a little bit pretty, a little bit elegant and a little bit festive. Yes, yes and more yes.

 

For something very simple to make that is still super pretty, The Stylist Splash created these really sweet mini rosemary wreaths that are held together with twine. By now you should all know (and probably be totally sick of hearing about it) that I am a big fan of the natural, rustic, country, homemade aesthetic. CANNOT GET EOUGH OF IT. This ticks that box and they are adorable. TINY WREATHS. Love.

I found this image on Pinterest but I wasn’t able to source where it was from – but I love this idea for cutlery. I didn’t realise how festive and versatile rosemary was as a decoration! I’m obsessed now! I love the twine/rosemary/hand-drawn swing tag combo of this and again, it is such a simple idea to execute and so beautiful. I also want this cutlery set, but I guess that isn’t really the point of all this..

 

My mum has so many decorative things in her house. She loves a floor vase or any kind of ceramic pot of jug. She love stones and pebbles and bowls. And for some reason she has a wicker basket that is full of pine cones. I have never understood where she got the pine cones from as I have never seen her collecting them, but she has had them for years through NUMEROUS moves. NOW though, I have a use for them! From A Piece of Rainbow is this DIY snowy wintery themed table decoration that features, you guessed it, PINE CONES!

 

And finally, for all of you with little ones, from Brit + Co is this Christmas Table Setting Idea should inspire the hell out of you! LOOK HOW CUTE THIS IS. Make the kids feel special by creating placeholders for them as well as fun activities to tick off, craft, colouring-in sheets and some Christmas treats to satisfy their sweet tooth! I cannot tell you how excited I am for our little man to be old enough that I can do this! Ahhh. Yes. (Also, every single idea on that Brit + Co hyperlink is AMAZING and I want to – and will – do all of them!)

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Who doesn’t love a decent pun? Or a well-timed pop culture reference? Or the odd insult every now and then (all in good faith, of course)? Greeting cards, more often than not, are so impersonal, each of them similar to the next feigning well wishes […]