Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A lesson in Aussie English

So here in Australia right now we are celebrating Australia Day. This is a day that is steeped in controversial history, and the current topic of a hot fight around the country as some argue to change its name, others fight to change the date of this celebration, and some say we can do away with it altogether. But I'm not here to talk about any of that today. While Australia's history is rich with colourful (and sometimes shameful) stories I would gladly talk about another day, today I am here to give you guys a lesson in linguistics. Aussie linguistics to be exact.

After my Fly on the Wall post on Friday where I wrote about Miss K wanting a glass of cordial, a lot of my American friends were notably confused about what cordial is. This comes up occasionally, and this time I forgot to include a translation for those of you who don't call Australia home. So today I have decided to give you a list of some of the words you may hear come out of the words of a typical Aussie person, and exactly what they mean. Please note the words G'day mate will not appear on this list, mainly because it's been covered to death elsewhere.

Hopefully this post will help you guys understand exactly what the hell I'm talking about when I write stuff down here. It should also help you stand out less as a tourist if you decide to visit our fine country, because if you don't see what you think is a popular word or phrase here (like crikey, or put another shrimp on the barbie) it means we don't use it, so you shouldn't too unless you want to look like an idiot.

Arvo - Afternoon. This is just a classic example of Aussies taking words that have too many syllables and contracting them.
Bench - Counter top or kitchen counter. These things take too long to say so of course we're going to go with the shorter word people. If someone asks you to put something on the bench, please put it on the closest counter-like surface you can find. If you put it somewhere we plan on sitting later you will get weird looks. The only time we call a chair a bench is if it is in a park, and then we call it a park bench.
Bikkie - biscuit/cookie. We call all biscuits and cookies bikkies, there is no stuffing around with checking if they are chewy or crunchy before we name it around here.
Bloke - Man. We usually use the word bloke in complimentary situations, like "he's a good bloke".
Blowies - blowfly. If someone walks in complaining about "those bloody blowies" this usually just means it is summer and the flies are out in force. Just smile sympathetically and offer them some fly spray.
Boot - Trunk of a car.
Brekkie - Breakfast.
Bottle-o - A bottle shop, or a drive through alcohol store. Another example of our unwillingness to use full words.
Bundy and coke - A classic alcoholic beverage (which I can't stand) of rum and coke. Bundaberg is just the local brand of dark rum. It is brewed in Bundaberg, Queensland.
Chuck a sickie - To take a sick day off work.
Chuck a uey - To make a u-turn
Ciggies - Cigarettes
Cordial - A sweet syrup concentrate you add to water to make it taste less like crap and more like sugar. The best brand is Cottees, no matter what anyone tells you. I know this one is really foreign to Americans, and the closest you guys have is Kool Aid, which is totally different.
Dickhead - A derogatory but not incredibly offensive way of calling someone an idiot. Dickhead is a pretty tame curse down here, but no one is safe from being called one, including the Prime Minister.
Footy - Australian rules football. This is different to English football or American football. What you guys call football we call soccer, because we found a better use for the word football.
Heaps - A lot. I didn't realise this was an Australian thing until I started doing research for this article, but apparently no one else says heaps when they mean an excess of something. A classic example of this will be if someone says "thanks heaps", this just means thanks a lot.
Howyagoin - How are you going? This is just one of those times where our habit of running our words together has created a new word out of three existing words. If you try to say howyagoin like the locals do, we will laugh at you, but just because no one can replicate our accent as lazily as we do, so don't feel bad.
Goon sack - Cask of wine. These are a cheap way to get drunk for young Australians everywhere.
Maccas - McDonalds (Side note, that is actually what the stores are called in Australia now, so if you see the golden arches next to a sign that says Maccas, don't think we've just ripped off the logo and made our own restaurant, it is still a McDonalds, we're just too lazy to say the full name.)
Milk bar - Convenience store/corner store. These aren't as common as they were in my youth, and are slowly being replaced by independent grocers, but you can still see them in rural areas. They are more expensive places to shop than supermarkets, so we only ever go there when we are desperate.
Mozzies - Mosquitoes. These are the bane of every Australian in summer, the same as blow flies.
Nah, yeah - This means you are wrong, and I am right. Nah, yeah is a very gentle way to say your argument is moot and I refuse to change my mind right now. There are stronger ways, but considering this is still a family friendly blog I probably won't mention them here.
No worries - This can mean no problem or it's all good, or yes I will follow through with your request, since you asked so nicely.
Petrol - The fuel we put in our car. Some cars run on LPG gas or diesel, but the most common fuel for now is unleaded petrol or ethanol petrol.
Petrol station - The place where we buy fuel for our car. All three kinds of fuel are sold at petrol stations, but we just call them petrol stations.
Rego - Car registration.
See you later - This just means goodbye. Apparently this one confuses Americans because they think we mean we'll be back, but we just don't like the permanence of goodbye, so we say see you later to keep the possibilities open.
Servo - Another word for gas station. Again we're lazy, so if someone says they're going to duck to the servo, they are just going to put fuel in their car (or buy an over priced pack of cigarettes)
Smoko - Cigarette break.
Stubby holder - A foam insulator for a bottle of beer. We don't just use stubby holders for beer though, I know I'm at a nice house if they offer me a stubby holder for my can of coke. It's called a stubby holder though, because once upon a time (and probably still for some people) bottles of beer were called stubbies. This is different from cans of beer which were called tinnies, but you could put a tinny in a stubby holder. A tinny these days is an aluminium boat.
Sunnies - Sunglasses.
Thongs - Flip flops. If we start talking about thongs, look at the feet and not the butt. If we mean the underwear we call that a g-string (or a g-banger if the person is weird).
Trakky daks/trakkies - Sweatsuit pants. These are one of the main staples of my wardrobe, but that's because I rarely leave the house except to go to the supermarket, so who do I need to dress up for?
Yeah, nah - I know this just sounds like I'm messing with you right now, but yeah, nah is different to nah, yeah. This means I see what you mean, but I disagree with you, or it could also mean I agree with what you are saying, but the situation as a whole is ridiculous. I know those two meanings are totally opposite to each other, so it is important that you listen to the rest of the sentence to understand which one they mean.

So this is by no means not a complete list, there are plenty more words out there, some which are unique to certain states, and others that are only said by people younger or older than I am. If anyone wants to add to the list, please leave them in the comments below. And to all my Aussie friends, enjoy your barbies, or your trip to the beach, or sitting at home listening to the Triple J Hottest 100, but most of all, enjoy the day off (unless you work for a hospital, the police, the supermarkets, or anyone else sacrilegious enough to make people work on Australia Day.


Monday, 25 January 2016

Guest Post - 5 Things That Did Not Surprise Me About Single Parenting

Hello again my lovely readers, I have another guest writer visiting today, a fellow single mum Regina, who wanted to share her experiences of becoming a single mum. Please make her feel welcomed.

As a newly single parent, taking care of two very young children, every day comes with something new that I have to face because I am in this situation. From the challenges of finding the right childcare to the challenge of maintaining consistent discipline with the father not living at home, I am anxious to find out what other surprising things this new chapter in my life will bring.
Fears and negativity aside, there are some issues which came with single parenting that I knew long before I signed those divorce papers and so today I thought I would share the five things I knew would be prominent issues, so that you will have one less surprise to deal with in this new phase of your life.
  1. Forget work-life balance
As a mother, I have always felt guilty – of not spending enough time with my babies, of not being efficient enough or organized enough despite having a partner to help me with the children. So when it came to me being a single parent, I knew that I would face more issues that would make me feel guilty, like depriving my children of growing up in a‘normal setting’ and depriving them of their father on a daily basis. "Single parents tend to be helicopter parents because we feel guilty," says Stacie Martin, a Dallas-based, single parent advocate, "we tend to take care of everything, to make up for our family structure, rather than finding balance."
  1. I will miss some things my children do
Even as a married mother with a full time job I have missed some of my childrens milestones and I knew going into divorce that I would miss some things my children do when they are with their father. Sadness is often my go to sentiment on these things but rather than seeing it as missing out on some things, we can choose to turn the situation around and see it as the memory our children are sharing with their father. We will have our moments, which we must savor.
  1. Being everything to them
Regardless of whether your partner is very present in raising your kids or you are doing most of the work, you will go into the single parent world knowing that you must be everything to them when you are with them. Like any other mother, I know my kids need that sense of security and when I am with them I feel the need to ensure my kids feel safe by them knowing I can protect them as much as their father can − I can be their nurse, their confidant, their entertainer, the person they can cuddle with and anything else they wish and need.
  1. Lack of support
No matter how many friends and family I was surrounded with, I knew that I would not have an ally to help me deal with certain issues − like not having someone to turn to when my child had a pea stuck in his nose. I went from mornings spent walking barefoot in my cozy maternity clothes, during my maternity leave, to having to deal with chaotic mornings with throw up and tantrums, work duties and no one to blame.
  1. Dealing with new girlfriends/wives
Having my kids away from me so they can spend time with their father is hard enough, especially since I am a control freak who needs to oversee everything. This in mind, I can only imagine the challenges of dealing with a new girlfriend or possibly a new wife my ex-husband will marry − one who will be a part of my childrens life.
Then again, this is something that hasnt happened yet, so I will have to deal with it if and when it happens, just as I will deal in the best possible way, keeping in mind my children’s needs and happiness, with the surprises that are still to come!
Author Bio: A parenting writer, Regina empowers women through her writing and modern parenting tips. If shes not writing, you can catch her surfing the web for whats new at Fertile Mind

Saturday, 23 January 2016

January Fly on the Wall

Welcome yet again to another Fly on the Wall. I missed out on December's offering, mainly because I was going crazy enough getting Miss K ready for her kindergarten orientation and trying to do Christmas on a shoestring, I figured the fly girls would have to just miss me for one month. But if it makes you feel better I missed you guys too. And my family did as well. So without further ado, lets get into it.


Fly on the Wall

It's the same deal as always guys, each month a group of bloggers get together and share the madness that you would witness if you happened to be a fly on their wall. Below is a list of all the people participating, I'm sure you'll visit them all like you do every month and share the love so I don't even need to tell you guys to do it any more.


http://www.BakingInATornado.com                         Baking In A Tornado
http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                            Juicebox Confession
http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                  Spatulas on Parade
http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                      Searching for Sanity
http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                         Never Ever Give Up Hope
http://www.gomamao.com                                    Go Mama O
http://dinoheromommy.com/                     Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com          Not That Sarah Michelle
http://www.southernbellecharm.com                   Southern Belle Charm
http://mybrainonkids.net                                     My Brain on Kids

So the first big thing that happened this month was my mum's birthday. She's 21 now (for about the thirtieth time I think) but with money being so tight, I couldn't afford to buy her something to commemorate the milestone. Luckily for me she made it very clear she didn't want gifts this year, which gave me an easy out, but I still thought it would be a good idea for Miss K to make her something. We decided on a paper machè bowl (mainly because the two things we have the most of in this house is paper and spare bowls). Miss K and I spent a good half hour pasting little squares of coloured paper onto a cling film covered bowl before she lost interest and I lost the will to live, so it ended up being a very thin bowl. When mum opened it she made all the appropriate noises and asked Miss K if she enjoyed making the bowl, to which Miss K replied "no, it was boring." 

I was bored, I had a front facing camera and Snapchat. You do the maths.

Miss K didn't seem to get the memo that Christmas ended on December 25, as she kept singing the songs for a good week or so after. Her favourite one was "Santa Claus is going on the town" 

Mum and Miss K were playing "I Spy" one afternoon to kill time.
Miss K: I spy with my little eye, something that has a beard.
Mum: Is it me?
Miss K: Yes!


My little sister finally has a boyfriend

Things I never thought I'd say to my child, the bumper edition

These are all things I have had to say this month, none of which I ever thought would pass my lips as a parent. Live and learn...

Miss K: Be careful.
Me: I know, I know. You think I've never cut a dinosaurs nails before?

Could you get the knitting needle out of your butt crack please?

Don't put your underpants on your head, put them on your legs for God's sake!

Number one, you did wee on my bed. Number two, you got chocolate all over my sheets, which annoys me more than the wee does.



How my family copes with death...

Miss K and I were visiting my big sister Sam when Miss K came into the kitchen where we were chatting.

Miss K: Can I have a drink?
Me: Yes, you can have water.
Miss K then walks over to my sister
Miss K: Mum is being silly, can I have a cordial please?

We were both laughing too hard to say anything.

I had to go to a funeral two days after Boxing Day, as my uncle's brother died right before Christmas. After everything was done and people were getting ready to head to the pub for the wake I went to my aunt and uncle to say goodbye. They thanked me for coming, at which point I thanked them for inviting me... I am the reason we need etiquette books people! Please tell me I'm not the only one stupid enough to do this at a funeral. 

Miss K has slowly been learning her alphabet, and that each letter has its own sound. She's now trying to nut out different words that start with the same letters. It's not always spot on.

Miss K: O, o, donut!
Me: Not quite, but nice try.

Mum and I were watching a cooking show together one night.
Me: Ugh I hate when cooks use nut butter, it just sounds like a euphemism.
Mum: Oh god, you're right.

While watching my nephew play Minecraft
Me: Why is he juggling arrows while jumping on a trampoline?

My favourite memory of the month would have to be the weekend Miss K and I went shopping with her dad. She recently learned that saying certain four letter words out of the blue will always make me laugh, so she decided that the perfect time to show this was in the middle of a packed shopping mall car park. Needless to say her father wasn't impressed with either of us, her because she kept shouting f-bombs, and me because I couldn't yell at her from my position on the ground laughing. We've since had a conversation about appropriate language to use in car parks. 

Well that's it for me, it's been a fun month, and I'm sure I'll have tons more crazy stuff to share with you guys next month. Be sure to visit everyone else and see that I'm not the only mad one here, we're all a little mad sometimes. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The week I wrote a book

I know, I know, I disappeared again. I keep doing this to you guys, but I promise I have a good excuse this week, I wrote a book. Don't start jumping up and down just yet, you won't see my name on the New York Times bestsellers list just yet, because my name isn't on this book. I don't know whose name is going to be on this book because I didn't write it for me.

I mentioned in a post at the very end of last year that I was unemployed now, and we are currently struggling to find ways to stretch a very limited income. Well one of the ways I have found is freelance writing. As I'm sure you guys are all aware, I love writing. It has always been one of my favourite hobbies (right after sleeping) ever since I was a kid. So when I found a website that gave freelance writers a place to apply for work, I signed right up. This was back in October of last  year, and while I got employed almost straight away writing articles for various blogs and websites, my new boss (or as we freelancers call them, clients) was shady as all get up, and I ended up doing a months worth of work for free, because he never paid me for any of the writing I did for him.

Fast forward to this year, and my current empty money bag. I decided that I don't want to write SEO articles for other people, if SEO was important to me, I'd be using it here for goodness sake and driving traffic to my own awesome corner of the interwebs. I decided what I really want to do is what I dreamed of doing back when I was young and optimistic, and that was write books. Of course I have a huge problem standing in the way of being an author, and that is the fact that I have nothing to say on any subject until you tell me to start talking. So in comes my freelance hiring website, and my best use of the biggest words I know, trying to impress e-book publishers and convince them to hire me to be one of their typing monkeys. And wouldn't you know it, someone took the bait.

Unfortunately for me, being a freelance writer means you have to write on whatever subject your client wants you to write about, and this client wanted a how-to book written up for a very popular computer game. Now I'm well aware of this computer game, I've even tried playing it once or twice, but I'm what gamers call "a total noob" so I'm probably the last person you want writing anything about games. Of course I can't admit this to my new client, so I had to panic quietly, and then I did the smartest thing I have ever done, I called my big sister, who plays this game with her son religiously. They watch YouTube videos, they go on public servers, they've even run their own server. They spent the next week schooling me on this game, and helped make sure I wrote something that was not only coherent, but also correct. I even had to learn the language these gamers speak. This was a crash course in nerd like I've never had before.

So now, I can proudly say I am a struggling artiste, as I sit around coffee shops stroking my neckbeard (what female hipsters can't have neckbeards? tell that to my European genes.) instead of simply a stay at home mum who relies on rice to pad out way too many meals. And just because there's nothing better than unwarranted advice on a personal blog to help you guys out, here is the perfect process for writing a book for someone else on a subject you know nothing about.

Step 1: Stare at the screen dumbly while you try to process exactly what you just agreed to.
Step 2: Have a brief moment of optimism as you ask yourself exactly how hard it could be to write a book about computer games/eliminating bedbugs using steam cleaners/whatever other crazy subject people apparently want to read about.
Step 3: Run around the room in a blind panic as you realise you're about to reveal yourself as an absolute fraud.
Step 4: Find an expert on the topic you need to write about, bribe them with chocolate (or alcohol, or even Pokemon cards if they're young enough).
Step 5: Begin writing, realise this is going to be harder than you originally thought.
Step 6: Spend a week hunched over your computer day and night pouring over wiki articles, YouTube videos and Google as you find difficulty after difficulty after difficulty in your way.
Step 7: Begin dreaming about the video game/topic you're currently writing about. (I'm not even kidding about this one.)
Step 8: Write the book, proof read the book, get someone else to proof read the book, proof read the book for a second, third and fourth time, Check it once more just to make sure you absolutely haven't left anything out.
Step 9: Submit your book and pray your client is gentle with their criticisms.
Step 10: Read the email telling you the client loved your book, and wants you to do another one on the exact same subject.
Step 11: Crawl into a bottle of wine and never crawl out again.

So that's it. I am now trying to find a nice way to tell my new client that I never want to write another computer game based book as long as I live, but I think I'm just going to take the chicken's way out and tell him I've now moved on to other projects. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play a computer game, because thanks to this stupid book, I'm officially addicted to this game. If you're interested to learn more, all my tips and tricks are yours for the low, low price of a bottle of Jack Daniels. (or $0.99) if you can wait for the book to come out on Kindle.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

When your angel returns from custody visits a devil

You know what they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. 2016 was meant to be MY year. I started off with such grand plans, of how I wasn't going to let anything get in my way, and then I hit my first roadblock; my first full day of the year with my child at home.

Miss K spent from Boxing Day to New Years Day with her dad in Melbourne. I spoke to her every single day and she was cheerful and happy and excited. I don't know where that girl ended up, I think she got left behind in Melbourne, because the little person that was returned to me at the end of her holiday was neither cheerful nor excited. She was rude, she was stubborn, and she was destructive. I have a name for this little person, Grumpus. You see this isn't the first time my darling daughter got left behind in Melbourne after an access visit with her dad, so I know Grumpus well.

Grumpus does things Miss K would never dream of doing, like telling my mum she refuses to speak to her when mum tells her off for being a brat, or complaining when I ask her to do a chore. Grumpus is quick to get frustrated or angry, and slept a lot her first few days here. Once the exhaustion wore off and she felt alert enough to raise hell, she started with her antics. It started with refusing to go to the toilet on her own, a skill Miss K mastered some time ago, then she decided she couldn't go anywhere in the house unless I followed exactly a metre behind her at all times. I don't know why she needed an audience to pour herself a drink, but then preschooler logic has never been my strong point. Grumpus decided that 3am was a perfectly acceptable time to start the day, regardless of anyone who felt otherwise, and one morning when I refused to get up at 3am to entertain her, I woke up at a more respectable hour to discover Grumpus had destroyed a 30cm block of Styrofoam, and scattered little balls of foam from one end of the house to the other while I was asleep. I looked like a yeti who was moulting that morning, because of course she decided my bedroom was the perfect place to discover what the inside of a Styrofoam block looks like (little hint, exactly like the outside, just bumpier.) so my bed, walls and floor wore the brunt of the foam, as did I. For the first ten minutes of my day I looked like I had a severe case of gigantic dandruff as I shook the balls from out of my hair. I have never wanted to spike my own coffee more than I did that day. My only salvation that day was that now that Miss K/Grumpus is a little bit older, I could make her clean up her gigantic mess as punishment, and I sat down for half an hour and watched her struggle to work a vacuum cleaner that is nearly as tall as her, barking orders every now and again when she missed a spot, or got distracted by vacuuming her own hair.

The final straw came the next day (yes, I managed to keep my head from exploding after waking up in my own foam cloud) when I tried to send Miss K to her room as punishment for fighting with her cousin. Grumpus appeared and defiantly told me that SHE would not be going to her room, because SHE was a big girl. In the interests of keeping things real around here, I will confess that I did not handle this like Mike Brady, where we all sit around and discuss our feelings like rational human beings while muzak plays in the background. I lost my temper so quickly I actually surprised mum, and made my opinion of my daughter and her attitude very well known. Well Grumpus/Miss K ended up running to her room in tears after I had finished, and to be honest, I haven't really seen much of Grumpus since. Any time she tries to show up, all it takes is my meanest glare (trust me, I have a scary face when I want) and things get done without complaint, and without a single hint of attitude.

I know that what I have been experiencing this fortnight is far from unusual when kids split time between two houses. I was actually expecting this behaviour, and possibly worse because the last time Miss K spent a week at her father's house she came home displaying signs of regression, as well as an increase in night terrors and bet wetting, so I was expecting something, I just wasn't sure what. From my time working for a family lawyer, I knew that this was actually a pretty typical reaction from kids after being shuttled from one house to another, from one routine to another, and from one set of rules and restrictions to another. One of the most common complaints I heard from our clients was that their ex always returned their children home exhausted and feral. But expecting it and coping with it are two entirely different things. Unfortunately for me, my preferred method of coping with it which was to hand Grumpus back to her father and tell him to return her when she wasn't such a pain in the rear didn't go over well, especially after he revealed that she had behaved the same way with him all week, (his exact words were "You're the primary parent, it's your problem.") so as usual it was up to me to remove Grumpus from my home. If I could now transfer my methods of extermination to other kinds of pests I could be a very rich woman.

So for now peace has returned to my house, and we're even beginning to see glimpses of a new and slightly more mature little girl running around. I'm certain this isn't the last time I see Grumpus, but with perseverance, I know I can send her running the next time, and the next time, and the next time, until she's at an age where the shift from one house to the other isn't such a shock to the system. In the meantime, for any of you out there who are so inclined, I would not say no to donations of bottles of whiskey to help me keep from ending up in a straight jacket the next time Miss K comes home from a visit to Melbourne.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

New Year New Goals


Happy New Year everyone! I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I have spent the last four days trying to make some big decisions, and I wanted to have all my ducks in a row before I came here to talk about it. The start of a new year is always a good time to set new goals for the  year and decide where you want to go for the coming months. I've never been really good at resolutions, I either set unreasonable goals, or I don't plan properly, and things fall apart really fast. So as I was lying in bed the other night, wondering if my 2 hour nap earlier in the day was the reason I couldn't sleep, I decided to spend my time wisely and write down what I wanted to happen this year.

I knew that in order to be successful, I would need to be as specific as possible in what I want to achieve, I would also need to be realistic. I can't be a millionaire by the end of the year, but I may be better equipped to handle running a household on a limited budget. I won't be able to fit into a bikini, but maybe I can have a healthier lifestyle. It is these distinctions that I hope will lead to success. For more tips on setting goals check out this awesome post by the Empress of Dirt

My goals for 2016
Below are the big goals I decided on initially

  • Become more organised
  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Manage my money better
  • Grow my blog
Now those goals are too broad on their own, so I needed to refine them further and make them more achievable. Below is the more specific list of goals.

  • Learn to manage my house like a pro, and become better at time management
  • Be a non-smoker by the middle of the year
  • Learn to love exercise and healthy living
  • Find a budgeting system that works for me, and be closer to being debt free by the end of the year
  • Increase my page views to 500 per week, and start writing more regularly
Now all of these things appear to be achievable. They are clearly outlined, and there are definite destinations to reach. Now all I needed to do is break all of these goals down into even smaller chunks, to make them less daunting and easier to implement. Below are just some of the smaller goals involved in the bigger goals.

Manage the house like a pro & time management
  • Set up a manageable cleaning schedule and stick to it
  • Implement a one in, one out system to reduce clutter
  • Aim to send at least one bag per week to the charity stores
  • Create a personal planner system and use it
  • Write to do lists, shopping lists, cleaning lists, list lists, anything to make objectives clear.
Become a non-smoker
  • Try patches
  • Try gum again if I have to (I really hate the gum)
  • Discuss my desire to quit with my doctor, get help
  • Find a quit app that helps
  • Learn different ways to distract myself when the urges hit
  • Talk to other people who have quit, and see what worked for them.
  • If I slip up, keep trying, don't give up giving up until I get there
Love exercise and healthy living
  • Cut down on the junk food (notice I didn't say stop entirely, even I realise that's an impossible task)
  • Start exercising regularly
  • Get outside and run around with Miss K
  • Start snacking on healthy options
  • Use the fitness app on my phone
Find a budgeting system and be closer to being debt free by the end of the year
  • Research budgeting systems, and find or make one that works 
  • Find different ways to bring extra income into the house
  • Quitting smoking will save $6,700 per year (woo hoo)
  • Organise payment plans for all outstanding debts

Increase my page views and write regularly
  • Create a bank of writing ideas for when inspiration is lacking
  • Start writing posts in advance when I am feeling creative to help fill in the blanks if I'm having a slow week
  • Set aside time for writing every day/every other day
So that's how all of my goals have been broken down so far. I am already implementing some of my ideas, and I hope to share my progress here with you guys over the coming weeks. Of course a lot of the time I'm not going to be reinventing the wheels, so I'll be including links to resources if ever I come up with something that works. If you check out my Pinterest boards, I've already started pinning a heap of stuff which I plan to use regularly. 

Have any of you set any goals to achieve this year? Do you have any tips to share on how to make this journey happen? Please leave a comment below and let me know.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The year that was 2015

I figured I should probably do a post where I discuss everything that was 2015. Unfortunately for me my memory is based purely on what I can find on my Facebook news feed (thank's mummy brain) so that's actually a tricky thing to do.

A lot happened this year that I just didn't bring up here, parts because it was too hard (or against the law) to discuss on such a public medium, and others I simply didn't know if it was even worth mentioning. I'll talk about some of it here now, simply because these things made up such a large part of me during the year, and because you're all such wonderful friends I feel I should share them with you.

The first and best thing I did all year was start writing again after taking 12 months away from blogging. I had gotten to the point in February of last year where I really didn't know what I wanted this place to be. I'd spent a lot of time crawling around a frightening website called Get Off My Internet, where readers would spend all their time slamming bloggers from around the world, including some that I absolutely loved. A lot of their vitriol was aimed at "mommy bloggers" which terrified me at the time because that was what I identified as, and the thought of being the target of their disgust paralysed me whenever I tried to write. I spoke to some of them, to try to understand what made mommy bloggers so hated, and thankfully I seemed to be avoiding the biggest pitfalls of the genre, but that didn't really make me want to write any more. So I walked away for a while, spent some time not writing at all, deciding whether I was really prepared to be such a large target, and also questioning what I wanted this place to be. It was a chance conversation with the wonderful Tamara over at Confessions of a Part-Time Working Mom that got me to dust off my keyboard and come back here. She was so encouraging at the time, and I consider her a great friend, despite the fact that there are several thousand kilometres separating us.

The other friendship I got to rekindle once I came back to blogging was my friendship with the indefatigable Karen over at Baking in a Tornado. She is a huge tube of glue for a large group of us bloggers, and she has managed to create a wonderful community full of welcoming and supporting people, all of whom I love.  I am actually going to be doing a guest post over at Karen's website early next year, so you need to keep an eye out for me over there, where I attempt to be a food blogger for the day. You won't be disappointed, I promise. Karen has had her own struggles this year, but through it all she has supported me through everything I am about to discuss, we have had lots of late night email conversations where we commiserate the state of our respective lives and try to prop each other up. She is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the privilege to know.

But it wasn't all rainbows and smiles this past year. There were lots of hard moments, times when I wondered the point of continuing anything, and times I even broke for a little while. I quit my job at the beginning of October, and have been living an incredibly hobo-esque life ever since. I found it became too hard to balance a job and my life as a parent, and my health began to suffer. Although life has become slightly harder to afford since I gave up work, I still don't regret my decision, and feel it may have been the best thing I could have done. At this stage I have no plans to work until Miss K starts school in 2017

 I had several significant fights with Miss K's dad, we attempted mediation, and nearly ended up suing the pants off each other for custody of Miss K. Luckily we managed to get past all of the horrible fights and hurt feelings, and we've even managed to draw up joint consent orders without having to spend $40,000 on lawyers fees. We come to the end of the year at an albeit slightly tenuous position, but reunited in our attempts to parent Miss K the best way we both can.  It hasn't been a smooth road for my little family, and we're still trying to paper over all the cracks we've created this year, but I have hope for us. I may discuss the process we went through next year, just to share with any of you who are dealing with your own custody battles, because whatever you're going through, you're never alone.

But through all the tears, the smiles, the fights, the boredom and the frustration I have felt incredibly blessed. I can't say this was the best year of my life, because that can only mean it's all down hill from here, but despite all the crap, it was a good year. I feel stronger than ever before, and I have faith that I can cope with whatever 2016 has to throw at me.

So I will definitely be back next year, I promise no more holidays for me, and hopefully there will even be some growth around here in the new year. This website has already become more than I ever thought it could be when I first started it three years ago, and I thank every company that gave me an opportunity to speak for them this year. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to come, so stick around and see where we end up.

Happy New Year.
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