Friday, April 27, 2012

Disney Delights


Its no secret blogging has brought me some very cool opportunities and experiences. Last week however, it became Master H's turn to revel in the fun that comes with being the son of a blogging mum!

Invited by the fab team at Disney Junior we found ourselves traisping through the beautiful Botanic Gardens in Sydney to help celebrate the launch their 4 new titles on DVD (Mickey's Big Band Concert, Handy Manny's Green Team, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and I Heart Minnie).

As long time Disney devotees it was always going to be a treat for us both to attend this very special occasion. And it was also no surprise that Disney Junior do kids events superbly - a little bit of Walt's magic was sprinkled in every corner! We could make ourselves Pirate Hats and pretend we were joining Jake and his Neverland gang (by far my Jake obsessed son's fave!), jam along with Mickey's big band and play along with musical instruments, turn our thumb green with some Handy Manny potting, dress up as some of the kids most treasured Disney characters, colour in, or chill out in front of the not-as-yet released Disney Junior DVD's.

And as we left, (my son whooping in excitement at now being in possession of the 4 new Disney Junior DVD's!) there was no mistaking now what we'd always suspected to be true: just as they proclaim, Disney Junior IS where the magic begins...













Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest We Should Ever Dare To Forget

I've shared my very personal tribute to our brave ANZACS over at The Hoopla Website today - I would love if you could pop over and read it here and let me know your thoughts.

Til then, here are some of my treasured photo's from that most memorable pilgrimage to Gallipoli
The Entrance To Lone Pine Cemetary
Ataturk Memorial

Trying to keep warm for the long wait for the Dawn Ceremony


A sea of sleeping bags on ANZAC Cove

The loud and proud crowd at Lone Pine
LEST WE FORGET

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why does no one warn you about the 3’s?

.
Perhaps it’s my failing memory, perhaps I was just ignorant and didn’t listen, but damned if I remember anyone telling me how tough the 3’s could be!

It’s the anger that gets me. Full on, unabated rage that bursts out the minute my son does not get his own way – so much so if he were a cartoon you’d see the metaphorical steam coming out of his ears. The deeply etched scowl on his face, complete with evil glare that he’ll toss my way without an ounce of regard for my authority. The instant dismissal of my instructions, or sudden absence of manners in public situations (like Friday’s Disney event) that not only leave me shaking with embarrassment but with fury.

This is not how I want my son to be. I’ve tried every form of discipline I can think of to combat it yet it without success. I don’t want to be the mum with the bratty, badly behaved child who refuses to listen. And right about now, I don’t really want to be anywhere in public with him.

Perhaps I am too tough on him and have too high expectations for a child his age. All I know is that somewhere along the way my happy boy morphed into a moody child. And that I am tired, oh so tired, of these antics. As the parent on the front line of bearing the brunt of them it is wearing very thin indeed.

Part of me is scared to ask for suggestions and solutions as there is a good chance they also come with a liberal sprinkling of criticism of my parenting skills. I’m sure some of the blame is to be laid at my feet as my parents will be the first to tell you I was a stroppy child and are probably quietly laughing at fact this cycle has come full circle. Karma's a bitch right?

But then there are moment's, like 2 minutes ago as I prepared to press publish, that give me some hope. "Mummy, you look beautiful, can I cuddle you?" came the request from the suddenly angelic child before me. Perhaps I am not doing it all entirely wrong... (or he is simply buttering me up - he's certainly perfected the art of sucking up when required!)

In any case please believe me when I say am doing the best job I know how. And that one day I hope I'll be ready to brave another public event with my son in tow...

Special thanks to Megan from Writing Out Loud who has inspired this post (you can read it here), who is going through a similar issue. And if any of the comments she has received on her post are anything to do go, its heartening to know at least I am not alone.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Here's how to save time shopping at Stockland's (plus giveaway!)


Shopping – so much to do, so little time seems to be the theme in this house. And I don’t know about you, but any form of a retail expedition with a toddler in tow ought to be one to rival a military operation. You get in, get your goods, and get out.

Imagine then if your local shopping centre had an app that could enable you to even further pre-plan this precisely premeditated procedure?

Thankfully, your local Stocklands Shopping Centres has just joined in the app fun, launching the “My Stockland”.

Under the guise of "legitimate work research" I was more than happy to put my hand up to head off to my local Stockland Shopping Centre to road test the app.

And I must say that before I'd even left the comfort of my own home, I was hooked.  Being someone who has a habit of hand writing a list and leaving it lying on the kitchen bench means that the "Shopping List" functionality of the My Stock land App is a GODSEND!

I’m also a fan of the Discount calculator as well – punching in the relevant information instead of standing there screwing up my face as I try and work out how much I’ll save at 35% off an item for this unmathematical mind saves not only time but also the public having to put up with aforementioned scary face.

Some of the other key features include:

  •  GPS positioning map to find your local Stockland Centre
  • Centre Maps with telephone numbers
  • Centre information
  • Centre news

This handy little helper has been designed to make your shopping experience at Stockland easier than ever before. Available free for iPhone, the app is packed with great features and helpful information. It can be downloaded for free from the app store here –( http://bit.ly/HOHxiW )

And because the people at Stockland want you to enjoy your shopping experience as much as I they are offering a $100 Stockland Gift Card to one lucky NappyDaze reader!  All you need to do is ensure you are follwing my blog and leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite shop is in your local Stockland.  

Entry is open to Australian residents only and will close at 12pm Tuesday 1st May 2012. Winner will be drawn via random.org and announced on this blog.

Disclaimer: While I was not paid to do this review I  was kindly offered a Stockland Gift Card to help me on my road test.  All opinions remain my own..

*****CONGRATULATIONS TO LILLY WHO WAS RANDOMLY SELECTED AS THE WINNER OF THE STOCKLAND GIFTCARD! HAPPY SHOPPING LILLY!*****

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kismet and Karaoke Queens

"Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want
So tell me what you want, what you really really want

I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ha"


And thus began my spectacular re-entry into the world of Karaoke, a little duet with my big Sister, bopping and singing along to the Spice Girls, as if we'd never left behind our teenage dreams.

Not bad for someone who had no intention of being anywhere at all in the vicinity of a Karaoke bar last Saturday night.

Life is funny that way. My Sister and I were enjoying the spoils of generosity of my brother in law, living it up in the City for our "Peace and Pampering" weekend. We’d shopped, enjoyed a massage, done a movie and a spot of dinner before crossing paths randomly with our old flatmate from London, someone we rarely see but whenever we do it is with the guarantee there will be both laughter (and booze) in ample supply. He’d booked a Karaoke booth for his wife and friends at a bar directly across from the Cinema and insisted we join in the festivities. I was nervous - I rarely drink these days and the thought of singing in front of strangers made my stomach churn. Yet, succumbing to his pleas was easy - we never saw one another anymore and fate would have it that it was the 10 year anniversary that weekend of a particularly rowdy house party we'd thrown in honour of my 23rd birthday. It had to be kismet.

Beers thrust in hand, I nervously agreed to the one drink, all the while thinking about how the hell I could escape without having to subject anyone to a song.

3.5 hours and about 5 songs later we bundled out of the bar. Turns out that once you get that first song under your belt it becomes a tad addictive! (Or you just get a little to drunk to care!)

Blessed hindsight should have made me remember that once I start Karaoke I apparently unleash a lyrical loving demon from within that is usually dormant.

9 years prior, which was likely the last time I sang in front of people I did not know, for pure entertainment value (not including We Sing or Sing Star) was at one of my bestie’s Hen’s night (also known as the infamous night Russell Crowe told me to fuck off when I dared ask him for an autograph - whole other story!). And if I recall correctly (through the blurry eyes of someone who’d had far too much to drink) I was trundled off the karaoke stage more than once. Not due so much to my off-key signing – though it was a contributing factor, I suspect - but for the fact I was a microphone hog.

Perhaps in a former life, just like the very first song sung on Saturday night, I was a "wannabe". Whatever the case, those that were exposed to my tuneless tunes this weekend gone you can rest assured I wont be appearing on The Voice (hello favourite show of 2012!) anytime soon.

But I will be cranking out the We Sing on the home-front. Husband and neighbours, consider yourselves warned...
My former London flatties and fellow Karaoke Kings, Minolski and Shezza!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A toast to turning "Tirty-Tree" today...

Call me Peter Pan, but oh how I love birthdays. What’s so wrong with having one special day that is yours to revel in? To have just one day that sees you immersed in love, affection and attention, connecting with friends old and new, as well as having your lovely family dote on you? Oh yes, I am ALL ABOUT the birth-day!

Of course, I do realise that they also equate to getting another year older but I am down with that as well. Clearly I am also blasé about revealing my age. It honestly is just a number to me. I don’t feel ancient yet – not even close. Granted, I am tired, I don’t have as much energy as this time about ten years ago (but I was footloose and living a carefree life in London) and only just found out who the hell One Direction is, but still, I don’t feel technically old.  That's got to be a good thing, right?

The thing I love about birthdays too is you get to clean the slate and set yourself more goals for the year ahead. And while I am happy with the progress I’ve made along way in the last 12 months, the best is still yet to come this year. It’s been tough in many ways, character building for sure, but I’m making plans. My confidence is slowly starting to blossom, even in the face of the obstacles in my path.

So here's a toast I'm making to myself on my 33rd birthday: dont be afraid to reach for those stars - perhaps they are closer than you think...

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to save a life...

A little girl, all of about five months old, with big brown soulful eyes, lays defenseless on the tiny makeshift hospital bed in Dhaka Shishu. Her arm is stroked lovingly by her mother, who is forced to watch on helplessly as her precious baby struggles to stay in this world.

And all because she is suffering from a dieases that is oh so treatable in the Western world, yet oh so deadly in Bangladesh.

Pneumonia.

But as I was to find out late last month, it has never been easier to help combat the unnecessary childhood deaths at the hands of this treatable disease.

The good people at Vicks, in conjunction with the Australian branch of Save the Children have launched a new campaign to wage a war against untimely deaths from preventable illness, with the goal of treating 75,000 children this winter in Bangladesh - a country which sees a child die from pneumonia every 20 seconds.

You can support this worthy cause either by purchasing your favourite Vicks product from your local supermarket or chemist, or (and this is so easy there is honestly NO EXCUSE not to comply) click on the link here and "Like" the "Vicks Australia Breathe For Life Project" facebook page. In doing either of these acts you are ensuring that one more child does not suffer unnecessarily from a preventable, treatable disease.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte - who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting during the campaign launch - is the worthy ambassador leading the fight to not only reduce the death rate but also train health care workers and doctors in Bangladesh, so that many more parents will have access to vital medical aide when they need it most.

Natalie was clearly moved as she recounted her recent visit to Bangladesh, especially the moment in which she met the little lady in the Dhaka Shishu Children's Hospital.  As her eyes welled with tears (meaning so did mine!) she implored us to help spread the word.

“In my role as ambassador for the Vicks Breathe for Life Project, I am passionate about encouraging Australians to join the fight against childhood pneumonia. In our own small way, this is an opportunity for mums, like me here in Australia, to help others. The great thing about this campaign is it’s so easy for Australians to contribute to – you can buy any Vicks product or ‘like’ the Vicks Australia Facebook page,” she adds.

If you want to watch a snippet of Natalie's pilgrimage to Bangladesh, you can do so below.  I trust that you will then see for yourself why we need to fight this plight and save a child's life.

video



Friday, April 6, 2012

I have a dream...

“So Mummy, what’s your story?” comes the daily question from my ever-inquisitive preschooler. It is always tacked on to the end of a tale that he’s just plucked from complete obscurity, a result of an over active imagination. 

My son, you see, is a storyteller in the making. And not only is he eager to share his own unusual anecdotes but also be regaled by ours. And I love, love, these little exchanges we share because to me it is the beginning of fostering a mutual love of all things literary that he will share with both his Daddy and I.

And what better time is there to cultivate story-telling and imagination that when you are a child? This part of your mind is likely as fertile as it will ever be. It hasn’t had time to be thwarted by the pressures daily life of or ground down by reality. Idealism is found everywhere, and the possibilities of weaving together quirky tales are endless. It’s a thing of pure beauty, a child’s make believe universe. If only it was not so fleeting a feeling and this whimsy would stay with us as we transitioned into adult life…

As an 8 year old, I had bright, shiny dreams that twinkled like stars in the sky. I desired nothing more in the world than to be an author. And I still remember the day that dream was shattered by my Grandfather who, while only wanting the best for me, scoffed at the very suggestion. “You don’t want to be broke you’re entire life, do you?” he demanded – speaking no doubt from experience what it was like to start with nothing and have to work damn hard for every penny. And suddenly, my bubble burst. I packed that little treasured heart’s desire away into the furthest recess of my mind. And while I couldn’t bear to see it slip away all together, there it has lingered, ever since. Like a butterfly with a broken wing, not quite able to fly, but nowhere near ready to give in.

So for my son, I wholeheartedly vow, I shall support each and every dream that he cares to conjure. If he has an aspiration that mirrors my own as a young child, I will be doing everything in my power to nurture it. And if it something so completely foreign to me, but is his true heart’s desire, I’ll be doing whatever I can to understand and support it.

He’s already dreaming big, my boy. Already I couldn’t be more proud of him…

You can also read this post over at I-AM Magazine by clicking here

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wake up call for one at DPCON12



It is amazing to think that something as big and bold as the Digital Parents Conference already feels like it was a lifetime ago. Coming home to a child on antibiotics, and having your home targeted in a random act of violence will do that I suppose...

As such, I’ve struggled to not only find the time to write a wrap up of the event but one that is the perfect compliment to the perfect event. There are too many people to list who made the day a personal success for me that it would just result in looking like one big blogging shopping list, so I shall just share with you two powerful, poignant moments that ultimately shaped my DPCON12 experience.

It was these wise words, short & sweet, and issued with the right mix of authority and experience that saw a very sudden, very overdue shift in my thoughts when it comes to all things writing: “You’ve just got to get over it”.

It was Valerie Khoo, a woman who’s writing, journalistic and public speaking prowess is a thing to be revered who issued this stern ultimatum to me.  I was drinking in her experience while she hosted the DP Writing Workshop and had expressed my fears about not feeling worthy of approaching editors and potential case studies in my quest to secure more paid gigs. And her advice was simple – get over it and get on with it or deal with the fact you wont achieve any success. 

I've never known why I feel like I don’t measure up – however I do know its a belief system that has spent far too long taking up room inside my mind and is on the brink of eviction.  And I have Ms Khoo to thank for that!  

The other turning point of the day came during the heart warming and heart breaking “My Blog, My Story” session. What a privilege it was to be privy to extremely personal blogger tales. In particular, the beautiful Kristie, from Hespera’s Garden who so very bravely shared her excruciating tale of love and loss (please, if you dont know her story, read a transcript of her speech here) whose words engulfed the entire audience into stunned silence. As I curled around my son's sleeping body last night, for an impromptu hug, I vowed to stop agonising over the silly little things that I see fit to complain about of late during motherhood. This woman endured what might possibly be my worst nightmare, yet she was still fighting.  Her loss will forever haunt me but her bravery will forever inspire me. 

So now that my 36 hours in Melbourne is over - (one more shout out of thanks to the awesome Kelloggs for making it all possible!) I suppose it remains to be seen if I will be a better blogger or more social media savvy. However what I do know for sure is this: the Conference brought me so much more than tips on how to be a super success in the blogosphere. It strengthened friendships, it built new connections, it made me laugh, made me cry and most certainly made me inspired to be not only a better writer, but also an enhanced wife, mother and friend. Who could ask for more in one single Conference than that? 

Were you a DPCon12 attendee? Care to share your personal highs from this fab event?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To the f***wit who hurled a fence pailing through our bedroom window at11.30pm last night,



To state the freaking obvious - whoever the hell you are - your regard for people’s property or safety obviously went missing during your little (allegedly) drunken temper tantrum last night.

So let me tell you what its like to experienced the surreal feeling of being woken from a deep sleep because you feel the pressure of something foreign on your chest and that somehow you and your husband now find yourself lying directly in a shower of shattered glass.

You wonder, groggily, why the hell there suddenly there are sharp little bits of something sprayed all over your body, and all through your sheets? That every time you try to move, to inch towards turning on our bedside light, you encounter more sharp offshoots of glass meeting skin.

When light finally illuminates the room, this is what you see: A discarded white picket fence post lays horizontally across your bed. A massive pool of splintered glass, big and small, douses both the inside and out of your sheets and doona. And all through the carpet that surrounds your bedroom floor, stretching right through your walk in robe and beyond to the ensuite, is peppered with splinters of glass.

Did you see the glass that completely shattered, all over my husband and I as we slept in bed or had you cowardly fleed the scene by then? Did you imagine the tiny knicks and cuts we now have over the places of skin we had bared? Did you know I could possibly have had my 3 year old in bed with me? Who would have been in such a panic he’d have writhed around and slashed himself all over, had it been one of the nights he’s slept in there?

I don’t care so much about the now smashed window, now broken fence, now dilapidated blinds hanging from the frame I CARE YOU COULD HAVE HURT MY FAMILY. I care that a big shard of glass could have landed on directly on either of our faces, or severed an artery. I care that the fence piling, (ironically shaped like a javelin) might have landed smack into one of our heads as the distance it was thrown and the force in which it was ripped from the fence means you were obviously in a fit of rage at the time. I care you could have come into my home, my precious, precious haven where I am meant to be safe and the people I love are meant to be safe. The place we worked hard for, the place we continue to work hard for. What right do you have to undermine, to threaten ANY of this?

And a big fuck off gaping hole now looms large in the window near where my husband lays his head down to bed.

I’m a scaredy cat as it is. I hear noises and I’m the type to assume the worse. I’ve no doubt that I have a nice long stretch of insomnia looming in my immediate future, which will translate in to some unneeded extra stress, and the semi permanent state of tired crankiness my husband and son will then have to endure.

I know it could have been so much worse. But I’m pissed that you will get away with it.

You better catch up with this fucker universe; I’m counting on you.


(PS forgive the profanities people but this was written at 1am while waiting for the police and I was extremely tired and cranky. Plus I’d say swearing is allowed in situations such as these, right?)

(PPS And no, sadly its not an April fool joke either)