I know I am not the only mother who tussles with the notion that she is not as calm as she would like to be. Frustrations arise and sleep is hard to come by. So are a few minutes alone to shower let alone meditate on our mental state. Meditate?! When? When there is laundry to put away or when our children need to be fed or when when when. Meanwhile it feels like the world keeps spinning for everyone else, off they go to the gym or to the shops or for a poo. Lucky.
Envy. Worry. Anger. It’s a yuck feeling to have come over you. And it hurts if you have always felt you are a naturally positive and strong person. Suddenly you feel weak and quite low. A few months ago I bought a book called Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. I don’t have a lot of time to read it in one sitting but I keep it nearby and when The Child is happy to we dip into it and have a ponder together. I read a little more when TC sleeps.
(by the way I am not sponsored and anyway I bought my copy off Booktopia for the Qantas FF points)
More than anything I am searching for a way to navigate evolving into a Mother whilst still maintaining everything else that I am and can be. At the same time I want to be PRESENT, and here for my child. I discover every night how important it is to be present with my child. We have a more loving, peaceful and happy evening if the day was spent in a calm manner than not. Duh. On days I look at a page or two I seem to be able to maintain a sense of insight over my feelings and practice some semblance of mindfulness.
I felt the surge of jealousy the other day. It’s not a feeling I experience very often anymore but this time, oooooooh, I was so envious. I was jealous of a woman walking down the street hugging a yoga mat because she was off to a yoga class, I’m guessing. I managed to add a “Enjoy!” to the “Ahhhhh so lucky!” but there is no getting away from the fact I was jealous.
I haven’t been to a class since having my baby. I’ve done some home practice and teaching but I haven’t been to a class and felt that sensation of being surrounded with other people breathing, moving, sun saluting, chanting and so on in such a long time. The excitement of clutching your mat and padding over to the studio, flip flops slapping at the ground as you walked. Being tapped on the shoulder to be stronger in a posture. Being adjusted. I miss it a lot. Especially an adjustment. That would be so nice!
I’ve been teaching yoga for a few years but I still love going to class as a student. I think it’s really important.
I’m sure I am not the only parent who has missed something from before life changed for a long time. For the most part, I am fine with keeping up my yoga studies on my own but once in a while I feel off. Full moon, new moon, teething (the baby, not me), mercury retrograde, sleep schedule changes (everyone), jet-lag, any of the above could come into play and suddenly I find myself feeling out of sorts.
I think The Child sensed this because whenever we have been playing with our crystals I keep winding up with them being planted all over me hahaha.
Mama, check yo chakras.
Yoga, Pilates and meditation are what I always rely on to maintain myself and I loved attending a class when I needed an extra boost of encouragement so it’s tricky when I haven’t got the chance to go to a class. Most of the year we live overseas and there isn’t any kind of creche at the gym. Unless the gym has changed, I don’t know, I haven’t seen the inside of that place since having my baby hahaha.
BUT. This week I’m back in Sydney and my mum sweetly said she would take the baby whilst I ducked into class, tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED. And nervous. ???? Hahaha. Does it count as an opportunity I created? Well, I thought so hard about wanting to go experience being in a class that mum heard my brain. She’s a huge mind reader and the creator this time around. But I think the next opportunity will be created by my ASKING FOR HELP. I know I am not the only parent who has to practice that move more. Not everyone is a mind reader like my mum. We need to speak up!
I hope you give yourself the opportunity to realign when you need to. xx
How incredible is this? Ben Folds was given a key and told to make a new song in 10 minutes. I love the humour in the approach as he sang, “These new spaces are all designed to be…flexible.” And as the song progresses in its growth all the musicians watching and just absorbing the idea. Isn’t this synchronicity?
I hope you are having a great day and find yourself creating something to enjoy today.
So what is a good meditator? The one who meditates.” – Allan Lokos
Just start! Even one minute of meditation is better than nothing. If even one minute seems like forever start slow, try counting to ten, next time to twenty, slowly increasing the time you spend in meditation. You are a good meditator the moment you start to meditate!
The Child and I are both really digging this song at the moment. I was even more into this song after seeing all these wonderful women featured in the video. I like the original (do you?) but THIS VERSION IS SOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. Definitely on repeat.
I think it even makes a good accompaniment to some of my Pilates videos. (Do you?)
My original title for this article was going to be, “How to Quickly Look Put Together, Even Expensive, but Without Feeling Really Awkward and Uncomfortable“.
Words of wisdom I told myself and my mother whilst shopping one day, “If you got a pair of pants in a print or colour in a particular fabric and there is a matching top GET IT.” Straight up this could sound like a recipe for basically buying ridiculous head to toe outfits that one will never wear because one looks like one is in one’s pyjamas but not the fabulous striking pyjama look a la Gucci or Pucci or Celine but more like I haven’t got my crap together today and just left my house in my pyjamas because I am telling myself they totally look like a throwback to when velour tracksuits were so IN. No, not what I mean. Also, someone please bring back velour tracksuits. Sometimes, you get a pair of pants and they are FABULOUS and you just cannot wait to wear them, until, oh no, the heck do I wear with them up top. Get the set.When you wear head to toe of one print, fabric, colour, it is nearly always flattering. But sometimes sets can end up looking bulky because there is just too much fabric or they break the body up. When you get a jumpsuit that is all one colour, fabric, print the eye travels easily down the line and you end up looking elongated and better yet, you look put together.
I haven’t always worn jumpsuits, they can look quite overally and also depending on how they’re made, SUCH A PAIN to go to the loo. And then I remember I found this really slinky jersey jumpsuit in a deep dark navy. Two years ago (?) I wore that to a friend’s wedding with a pale blush blazer, 5 months pregnant. Soooooo comfortable and I peed twice easily, nobody guessed I was pregnant, it was THAT FLATTERING. I think depending on how it is cut and put together, the fabric finds your natural waist and then falls gently over your curves, swishing over everything. Last month I was in Singapore and I saw a girl wearing a crisp white jumpsuit that had embroidery all over the torso, it looked AMAZING on her. So crisp, breezy and fresh! The legs were almost like culottes. After that is when I turned to my mum and said, “I think jumpsuits are the way to go.” Hours after that we came across this Mango jumpsuit and it was love at first sight.
I was in desperate need for some quality sleep when I took this photo (I’ll get it when the baby goes to college, I know, it’s fine, momlife blah blah, I get it!) and I hadn’t done my hair or makeup but I felt sooooooooo comfy and happy. If only cameras could capture FEELINGS. We were rushing out to dinner in 15 minutes and I knew exactly what I would wear. If I really wanted to I could slick on some red lipstick. But I was pretty much DONE. For less than $100 I’m really happy with my Mango jumpsuit. The buttons don’t button anything but the fabric has a beautiful crepe like texture that is super comfortable and has enough give to make it breastfeeding friendly. I’m having a really silly issue at the moment though because it is over in Sydney and I’m in Jakarta. I have lost count the number of times I’ve considered getting another one so I can wear it NOW. Hahaha ugh. Is that stupid? Yes, ok, I know.
I have a lot of love to give when it comes to finding an easy to wear outfit so I found a few more options to love but they had to meet my list of requirements.
These are my requirements:
they need to be a comfortable fabric that is low maintenance (no steam cleaning or ironing)
they need to be good quality but reasonably priced (I went with nothing over $200 – there is a splurgey one but it’s SO AUDREY, but we will tell each other it is only to look at. I’m over buying something cheap that looks cheap after one wash cycle. It’s got to have staying power.)
wide straps and a clean neckline (you can wear a normal bra for better support if you want, but my main reason is this gives a cleaner look, easy to style and is universally flattering)
comfortable (NO CATSUITS! I basically want to be able to go to lunch and not feel like a button is going to pop . They also need to be easy to put on and off, you know, to pee or to breastfeed, hopefully not at the same time!)
easy style that won’t date (I do not want to come back to it next season and think “yikes, no thank youuuuuu!“. I’m after classic, everlasting, wardrobe staple type stuff which is why it can be a print but not a really crazy print.)
This is EXPENSIVEEEEEE. Very Audrey Hepburn though! I think if you were doing a total overhaul of your closet and sticking to a very modest number of outfits only (for the rest of your life haha) then this is one to consider. If it’s good quality and you’ll wear it often for a long time, then I think it’s alright. (Do not quote me) A good quality bag, shoes, maybe a scarf and that’s it. Oh and the big black sunglasses, of course. Not convenient for breastfeeding but not everyone has that as a consideration! I’ve worn something similar recently but it was a two piece. I felt comfortable and elegant, really! I’m including this jumpsuit but we’ll probably just leave it as a look not buy for now.
I’m having a lovely morning and thought I would share! Baby is napping and I discovered this loungey bossa nova jazz music channel on Youtube. It is so upbeat but also relaxing at the same time. It’s so good to have a soundtrack for going around home getting things done. I’ve made a batch of porridge for our lunch and a great big pot of barley water for us to sip on throughout the day. And the dishes are done, hurray. A small thing but I love it when the kitchen sink is empty and gleaming. I remember the last time I made a batch of barley water and felt this productive, only, I forgot to scoop out the pearl barley afterwards and they soaked up all the water so there was about 10 ml of water and I swear, a KILO of barley hahaha. I felt so sheepish after offering barley water to B so loudly. Well fool me once and all that. Today I am prepared and now I can kick back and enjoy my hour or so of jazz.
My great pleasure during naptime for The Child is to watch videos on Youtube, in addition to quickly taking a shower, a stretch and also squeezing in a nap. I just came across this in my recommended page and the house in this video looks so organic and earthy.
I love the idea of a place designed around movement to encourage being active.
One of my dream goals is to have a space dedicated to Yoga and Pilates and Ballet. As the video progresses this house looks more like a jungle gym, fun!
I think my space would be a little more sparse but you know, different people find different things comforting. Who knows though? Perhaps by the time I came around to creating my space it would be just rainbow coloured everything!
In the meantime I’m happy with my little nooks of space here in our apartment. We got a carpet for our bedroom which I feel helps to mark out a space and then out in our living room we got rid of the very bulky (and sharp cornered!) coffee table. It was incredible how open the place felt after that table left. We lay down mats and wriggle around there as well. Ideally we’d have a little more greenery but I am very happy with my flowers.
The main thing is that you feel at ease wherever you have your movement practice and that you move a little everyday. I’m off now to quickly shower and then do a little stretching AND a nap. Going for the trilogy!
Coming off the back of the first day of my birthday weekend, read about the super low key day here.
I was so excited for my first birthday as a mother last year.
This is my second year as a mummy and the excitement hasn’t worn off at all. The bit when B told me how old I was turning was less exciting.
I had a semi sleep in (7:45am!) we woke up because I set the alarm thinking I would teach only to find I had a cancellation. All the more time for some anti ageing skincare so I applied a face mask.
Face masks are not my best look but it amuses The Child and I feel like I’m doing something nice for myself. I always yell out whenever I’m walking around to let B know I’m coming because truly it is a bit rough on the morale when you walk into the kitchen and your spouse leaps into the air with a start at the sight of you. So I like to make sure no one is surprised by my entrance.
I did a little yoga with TC. B then said he should do some yoga sometime and I asked him why not now? So the three of us did a little yoga together. That may be my favourite thing ever when my loves yoga with me.
We headed off for a fancy pants brunch and I wore my fancy pants. I had to unpop the button of my fancy pants because of the brunch by the end, more like the button gave up. TC obligingly helped cover this by demanding to be carried.
This message on the cake though, so sweet. But I asked B to take the rest of it into the office to share around or else I was going to do the old “cake for breakfast? great idea!“, “hey, how about another two slices of cake after lunch as a snack” etc for the next week or two days because sometimes I do things like that.
Keep the flowers and pass around the cake. Took my own advice for once, ahem.
Trousers Emporio Armani, sold out but these are cute. Or these or thesefor something plainer but still a pretty colour. I have no issues with clashing prints (clearly) so I might have also chosen something like this pair in a check print. Wait, hold the phone OMG THESE or HELLO! Could have used this pair with the elasticated waistband, amirite.
(these are my own opinions and it would be nice if I got paid or something for my support or mention but no, I do not)
Oooh, if you know what that purple pom pom flower is called let me know! It’s just this round globe of tiny flowers. So so cute. TC was fascinated by it and kept reaching out to try to give it a squish every now and then for the TWO WEEKS that thing stayed blooming.
And that was the rest of my birthday weekend! Next year I will be wearing the elasticated pants because I will be that much wiser.
In the spirit of keeping the smoothie bowls coming, I chopped up loads of bananas, mango, papaya and red dragonfruit (even though I prefer the white flesh ones, the red ones give you this amazing pink colour so eh fine! and it is important to eat the rainbow so…. make mine a pink orange and yellow rainbow). Everything is sitting in my freezer ready to go into the blender with water and any supplements I feel like adding for an extra zing in my step. The Child keeps diving into these bowls and making squishy motions. It gets so messy but it’s a delicious mess and afterwards we just head to the bathtub and hose ourselves off, lol.
That’s what I told myself as I put away baskets and baskets of folded laundry that had been piled up on and around our sofa. There was so much of it that when I facetimed my mum, my brother caught a glimpse of it and said he wanted to cry.
I hear you brother. Everytime I looked at that ever growing pile I was overwhelmed with where to start.
Well now I was overwhelmed and constantly reminded of my brother.
So I pulled it together after teaching today’s yoga class and started putting away pile after pile. I winced a little at how things were not quite colour coordinated and exactly as I wanted but today, they just needed to be away.
Now we have the rest of our weekend to relax on our sofa!
What have you been putting off? Is there any way you can get it done quickly?
I love reading what this app tells me I am. Focussed! Alright! Yes! I’m ready! But also practical! I like that. Ambitious. Yes. Yup. I’m with you.
(I love that anyone anywhere in the world would likely read this description and think, yes this is soooooo me.)
Speaking of ambitious, are you a big list writer? I have huge lists of things I want to get done and buy and posts I would like to write. I have an embarrassingly long list of partially done drafts I need want to get through to finally post them. But as can happen wife gets in the way. That’s right, I get in my own way – I’m working on my follow through. One of my biggest stumbling blocks is those darn danging lists! They get longer and longer until I just feel totally overwhelmed. On other days I get in the “that’s it! today is the day I tackle everything I wanted done” mood and tadaaah 9.3/10 times* that is the very same day that nothing goes according to plan. Time to just breathe and go with the flow. Easier said than done when you’ve been looking forward to crossing things off a list.
As if I needed any more lists, I made a new list called My Contingency List. When it turns out nothing is going to plan I pull this out.
My Contingency List
Yoga – any kind, any duration
Meditation – any kind, any duration, with intention to remove obstacles and blocks
That is the list. I can add anything else to it but the only things I MUST MUST MUSTTTTTTT do is these two. Once I do the first two items I find I’m not so attached to anything else I previously thought had to be done. Life feels a whole lot easier and happier after that.
Even just thinking about a yoga posture can have a calming effect.
Something interesting often happens too – what I thought was stopping me from getting to whatever else I wanted to do suddenly dissolves. I end up getting more things done. For example, The Child (TC) usually has a nap around midday and I think of that time as my run around in a frenzy trying to tidy things away, shower, shave my legs, prepare lunch, prep dinner, read, relax and a million other things to be squeezed in if possible. All this requires the nap be LONGISH. But on a day like today I was out running errands and the nap was 30 minutes. Our window of time had closed for the day. Not the end of the world, I can do some things just not all the things and not to the extent I would if I were on my own. I think a lot of mums understand.
I was talking to my mum about this whole trying to let go of expectations business and THE LIST. What am I even doing? Living in the shadow of these things I need to get done or else I can’t be happy?! Again I totally think a lot of mums and just everyone in general understands this idea.
Out came the contingency list. I did some yoga for spine health with TC doing downward facing dogs that turned into roly-polys (I know, WHAT A SHOWOFF). I like this yoga set because I can do it seated haha. How quickly I go from a productive mood to lazy mood! If you have never done this set of exercises be warned, you can get a little sore afterwards!
Kundalini Yoga: Guidelines for Sadhana (Pomona, California: Kundalini Research Institute, 1974), p.45-6.
After that I did a short meditation to clear subconscious blocks. To do this, I pick a happy song, set my intention to clear any obstacles and infuse everything with positivity, and then I sit, smiling and clapping my hands to the song. The hand clapping is partly to keep TC engaged but also it feels hard not to be cheerful when you are clapping away. I also played this track I really like for humming Om to.
After this I just felt really good about going where the day took me.
The day took me on a walk to brunch.
And later it turned out TC wanted an afternoon nap so I even got to chop loads of veggies to stir fry when TC woke up. We make our dinner together as part of our evening routine. It is just as well because one evening I was so flat out trying to do everything that after washing the rice I was about to walk off without pushing the lever to start the rice cooker. If TC hadn’t been gesturing at the rice cooker we would have been riceless. Riceless! *shudder*
I tried out my Joseph Joseph noodle maker thingy again and again it was a just the most disappointing thing ever. Totally does not work for me. It’s just a really expensive container now.
I’ve been really into eating as many colour vegetables as possible. I keep calling my veggie stir fries “chakra stir fries”. Technically they are.
I’m pretty happy with how the day turned out.
* Not a real statistic but golly it feels that way
** Also: I did not get paid for my opinion on the Full Moon App or Joseph Joseph. I bought that noodle maker thingy with my own money and I downloaded the free version of the Full Moon App for my own use.
It’s Haute Couture week in Paris and I used to love buying magazines to ooh and aah over way back when. Then the internet happened so it became so much more instant. And now there’s Instagram. Soon I’ll be able to time travel and see the shows before they happen. Only a matter of time before someone makes an app for that.
I miss the pleasure of buying magazines! I’ll always have a soft spot for print.
Firstly, that colour. Or. La Couleur. Ooh la la. Me anytime I see a vibrantly coloured anything in silk: take my purse, help yourself. Once, and I’m not proud of it, I spent so much money on a pair of saffron coloured silk genie trousers from Scanlan & Theodore that I walked home in a daze and I don’t know what I ate that week. Lettuce, probably. I don’t regret getting them but I felt so silly afterwards for being so crazy with my money. It was a case of almost buyer’s remorse. More like spender’s folly. I was working really hard and suddenly all my cash was spent in seconds and I had to figure out how to get through the week. Love the trousers (I still have them!) but I learnt my lesson after that.
“Pay” your savings first before you go shopping!
Come to think of it, Scanlan & Theodore got alot of my money any season when they seemed to make the whole line out of silk. Or chiffon. Or cotton. I learned that lesson about savings coming first a bit slow. Or I’d forget the minute I walked in there.
I’ve stopped walking in there. See no silk, buy no silk. Back to this Haute Couture gown I’m eyeballing.
I love that colour so much.
Secondly, those puffy sleeves! So flattering on everyone.
Does it have pockets? I can’t tell from this angle but it looks like it might. I love gowns with pockets.
And that neckline and that train! Perfect for breastfeeding and swanning around the house feeling very glamorous. Or for trailing along the edge of the ocean on a beach somewhere far far away as the sun sets. Or just wearing it anywhere. Brunch, I suppose. Is brunching still cool? Let me know.
Also very enamoured with how well behaved that child is sitting there on her mother’s lap. Although she is probably what, ten? – I’m terrible at guessing ages. I only know how old my baby is because I pushed (more like squeezed) my baby out myself. You remember days like that. – Still. So well behaved!
Filing this under: logical choices / daydream
Heh, funny story. Remember how I got those mules? Well…… I also got a pair of ‘mom jeans’ to go with them or with other things. I could wear them everywhere.
Great idea right?
Although…. I can’t fit into them. I, a MOM, cannot fit into my MOM JEANS.
From the side, they don’t look that bad, right? A bit of a squeeze but totally fine.
“Can you get back into your jeans yet?“
“Sure. Just can’t do them up yet.“
I’m only posting this to share the humour and also to show that I am not a bounce right back after baby girl. It’s been three months. There is no bouncing. I lost weight after the birth and also from breastfeeding but I’m really, really soft in the middle, and even softer after a meal haha. But I’m not that worried because I know that with a little exercise, a decent amount of Pilates, continuing to eat healthfully and I’ll be in my jeans soon.
So here are the goals I have for myself:
30 min walk everyday
15-20 min Pilates everyday
Drinking 3 litres of water a day
Incidental exercise like squatting whilst carrying the baby (who finds the up down motion extremely amusing)
Mostly these goals are just to make myself feel good. It feels amazing to move and any toning is a bonus! It’s important to me not to make the goal getting into a certain size otherwise I can get disappointed by how long things take whereas if my goal is just exercise for the pleasure of it, I find the process so much more enjoyable.
Oh, and the jeans are from Mink Pink, the material is super thick which I love and I got them for 15% off.
If you had a baby, tell me, did you fit back in your jeans right away? Or are you taking a while like me? What goals have you set for yourself? Let me know down below! xx
It’s been a while! I take it you know I recently had a baby? So we’re pretty much all caught up! I spend most of my time breastfeeding, then shoehorning into what remains of my time my yoga practice and trying to solve the mystery of why nappies leak sometimes – is it at all related to the phase the moon is in? Mercury? No?
Anyway, the other thing I do alot is look at what everybody is wearing. I’ve always loved people watching. One night I came across an image of Selena Gomez (she seems nice! I only know one song but man it is soooooo catchy!) in a pair of orange mules and mom jeans. And I was so taken by the look. I’ve always thought of mules as tricky because they can kind of look a bit ageing but she looked great IMHO.
I love that the heel is still low enough that you don’t end up wobbling around whenever the wind changes direction but you still get a little lift. And that colour is so vibrant.
Do you know how much those shoes are? $600. Ish.
I have $600 shoes. I love them. But I also have super cheapie shoes which I love too. It’s fun to mix and match things, instead of being head to toe designer. I had a browse around that bordered on obsessive and finally settled on some vegan suede ones from Therapy. I got two pairs for way, way less than a fraction so I could (in theory) pick up a pair of jeans if I wanted. I wanted! (I have a funny story about that)
These are the $600 ones from Mansur Gavriel. Mmmm, gorgeous aren’t they?
Here is what I ended up getting:
The black ones are a little higher than the red so I’ll wear those when I feel like I’d like a boost haha. They feel really comfy and I’m looking forward to getting out of this cold so I can put these babies to good use. Loving the sweater weather but I’m ready to emerge for some sunshine!
A few days after I got these I tried on a pair of boots I got last winter aaaaaaand they’re too small! Because pregnancy, oh my goodness. So I feel really justified about getting my new shoes.
What do you think of mules? Love ’em or leave ’em?
If you see any other cute ones, let me know!
P.S. Ohhhhhh the Mansur Gavriel ones come in the sweetest blush pink too. Soooooo pretty!
It’s true, all you need IS a light jacket in Sydney right now. Miss Rhode Island is right.
Also my perfect date involves food. Some conversation is fine but the food component is crucial. Probably Japanese. With gelato afterwards (hazelnut and pistachio!). How about you? x
A few weeks ago I went to this really cute cafe that was essentially a WALKING VIDEO AD for a wholesome lifestyle. By this I mean every single person that hung out there was clear-skinned, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was grabbing a coffee for my mum and I wanted something nice to drink for myself, but not coffee since I’ve been off that since my 40 day practice which was, gosh, ages ago!
Anyway, my beady eye spied the iced cacao drink on their menu and it turned out to taste exactly like Milo! I’m not going to lie, I have a soft spot for Milo where my childhood memories are. We don’t keep it in the house because we don’t keep sweets or snacks or any type of processed food. My Dad has a separate storage area for his snacks but that’s a different story. My Mum was always really strict about what I was allowed to eat when I was growing up and despite my Grandma’s best efforts to sneak junk food into me (like Swenson’s ice cream after ballet class!!!!!!!!!!) those habits are locked in. I’ll have the occasional sweet treat or fried food but I feel better when I’m eating nourishing foods. But MILO, yas, I remember the taste of Milo so when I had a sip of this cacao drink it blew my mind. BUT I was kind of weirded out by JUST HOW MUCH it tasted like Milo… how did it get to taste so sweet? Have you ever tried pure cacao? It’s BITTER. It does not tasteth like chocolate milk. Probably all those antioxidants in it. Methinks there was some form of sugar in it. I couldn’t tell from the menu. It’s like those chai lattes you get from some cafes. They’re made from a concentrate and have milk poured on top. So nice and easy to drink but I wasn’t going to regularly order something that was sweetened beyond my control.
Plus it cost a lot you guys! $5!!!
I did some mulling over and turns out, this is super easy to make and you can totally save your pennies. Buy me flowers to say thanks or something with the money you save haha.
And even though I didn’t use sugar or dairy, it kind of tastes like chocolate milk! Success!
Tip: This is a great go to if you’re trying to replace your coffee habits with something else. Just don’t go crazy and have 3 – 5 glasses a day ok! One a day is plenty!!
Almond Milk – half a glass
Cacao Powder – 2 tablespoons
Honey – 1 tablespoon
Ice Cubes (unless you prefer a hot drink)
*If it’s possible, use organic ingredients. Make sure the almond milk is UNSWEETENED, that’s kind of the whole point of doing this, right? If you don’t like to use honey, try maple syrup.
All you need to do is heap in the cacao powder into a heat proof glass with the honey. Once you add in a splash of boiling water and mix, you have your concentrate. Super easy! I don’t like to heat up honey but I make an exception in this case.
Top up with ice cubes, or if you want your drink to be hot then fill the glass up 3/4 with hot water – you’ll want to have warm almond milk to fill the glass the rest of the way up.
Pour almond milk over the ice and stir.
DONE!!! (Keep the change!)
P.S. I also like to add in supplements like magnesium oil. Since I’m drinking, right? Just do a quick scan of your supplements to see if they can be mixed beforehand, usually they just don’t mix well with dairy.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed that, if you tried it out, let me know what you think! x
Don’t you kinda wish you had somewhere to go so you could walk around with this kind of magicalness on your face? People might initially stare but then they’d say, “Oh yeah, she’s half unicorn,” and then everyone else would nod like, “I get it.”
Remember when I said I thought I could come up with my own version of a watermelon dessert? I did! I figured out how to make a watermelon sorbet. And it was really quite easy, just a bit of scooping, freezing and then blending with just 3 ingredients. And you don’t have to use an ice cream churner or put it in the freezer, take it out of the freezer, scrape, put it back in the freezer, scrape etc etc. ARGH. No, none of that. You blitz it once in a blender and you’re DONE.
SO EASY! And it was so tasty! Really great for hot hot hot days like today. I ended up scrolling through the 4 month weather forecast to count how many more hot days like today I have to get through, hahaha. Apparently next week will be the last week with crazy hot temperatures and then things will be normal-ish. Phew. I can handle that. Especially now I have my watermelon dessert bowl that I didn’t fork out $20 for!
Are you ready?
Easy 3 Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet
Juice of 1 Lemon
Half a watermelon (sliced or chopped into chunks), frozen
Put the watermelon chunks into a blender with the lemon juice and one table spoon of honey. You can have more or less honey to taste (or none!) if you like. I didn’t use any water to make this so that the sorbet can be as watermelon-y as possible. The lemon juice does a good job of helping the blender blades move through the watermelon and as the watermelon gets blitzed you get some more liquid that way anyway.
In the beginning you might need to blitz, then stop to scrape the contents around to help the blades but after a while it gets really easy and it won’t be long until you get your sorbet.
This is probably even easier with a food processor but use what you have!
To make it into a fancy looking Watermelon Dessert, just keep the halves of the melon after you have scooped out all the flesh. Freeze half the flesh to make sorbet and make watermelon balls with the other half. I froze my halves but that isn’t necessary.
Scoop the sorbet into the watermelon bowl.
If you made a lot of sorbet you could probably fill the entire half up with sorbet but I wanted a mix of fresh watermelon and sorbet.
That’s all there is to it!
I think this is easily enough for at least 4 people. If you have a lot of sorbet hanging around you can pack it up and keep it in the freezer (but you’ll have to re-blend it again when you want to have it). Or it makes for a good addition to making frappes or smoothies.
I hope you enjoyed that! It’s SO SOOOOOO good and really worth trying out! Let me know if you gave it a go! x
We were walking past a cute dessert joint one night and noticed a huge poster of a watermelon desert looking thingy stuck outside. Basically it looked like half a watermelon with a few melon balls on top, a scoop of ice cream and a flag. Ours for the taking for just $20.
It looked really good, especially for summer time. When I got home though, I started thinking about that price tag. Maybe I could just make it myself? It’s not like I never have a few watermelons at home. I can’t even really have that much dairy or added sugar because they trigger me so that just leaves me with a $20 watermelon? I could save the money for something else, like a class or put it towards a pair of shoes or even better, just save it.
I looked it up online for some further inspiration after my meditation this morning. Honestly though, it entered my thoughts a lot during my meditation too. I hope I told you this before that it’s ok to have thoughts during meditation? It’s just a symptom of being alive! Just do your best to let them keep going as you get back to focusing on meditating. Sometimes these thoughts come out of nowhere and are even inspiring or creative!
Anyway I looked it up online and it didn’t even look like the melon bowl had been scooped so you’d have to work away at scraping the flesh out if you wanted to eat the whole thing. At least that’s what it looked like.
And the rest of it was just some watermelon balls, watermelon flavoured ice and ice cream.
I figured I could try making watermelon sorbet? I’ll see how I go. I was already quite happy with my watermelon bowl this morning. I have some watermelon freezing to experiment on later so I’ll let you know how that goes!
This affirmation is perfect to start the week with! Here is a snippet of what my Monday morning ritual looks like.
Firstly I meditate. I do this immediately when I wake up and have had half a glass of water to drink. I keep a bottle of water next to my bed to refill my glass from so I don’t even need to move! I prefer to not leave my bedroom (my sanctuary!) until I have meditated so I can set my vibes for the day.
I write a little in my journal about anything interesting that popped up in my dreams and in my meditation. I always keep a few crystals nearby. They’re beautiful and uplifting to look at.
I keep my favourite affirmation cards in my diary so I can pull them out to look over in the morning after meditating. These small square cards are the Empower Yourself Affirmation Cards by Miranda Kerr. I have other affirmations that I note down in my journal too. I keep this particular card in my diary because it seems so appropriate!
It’s so hot at the moment here in Sydney that I have to have a cool shower to refresh. This might sound a bit odd but it’s also a great way for me to fit in a little exercise every single day without fail. Right after my shower, I do 30 push ups against the wall. Just like that, I’ve done some exercise! A word of warning: do not do your wall push ups in the shower where the floor might be wet – you wouldn’t want to slip and hurt yourself.
A new habit I have now is to moisturise my whole body after showering. I use either coconut oil or an oil blend that I make myself. At the moment I’m also using this lotion from Garnier, it smells quite fresh but isn’t too overpowering. I’m trying to get through it so I don’t have a whole row of bottles on my bedside counter like some kind of crazy lotion obsessed person but it’s taking me a while! Usually this would have been finished in a week if B was around because he prefers moisturisers to oils and he always loves using what I get for skin care since he knows how fussy I am about products I didn’t make. But I’m here and he’s still overseas so here I am with oodles of lotion to myself.
This jade bangle is from my mum. I need the moisturiser to help with getting it on. It’s a bit of a struggle but nothing like the kind I went through in Delhi when a very sweet bracelet maker rammed a handful of tiny bangles up my palm. I swear I felt my bones crack that time haha. They were SO beautiful but I nearly cried when I took them off.
After that, one of my favourite parts of the morning: TEA AND BREAKFAST! I like all the morning but that first cup of tea is lovely. I put ice in my tea because it is so hot, is that weird for you? I don’t know how normal that is in a lot of countries but in South East Asia this is extremely common. If Sydney insists on having tropical weather than I have no choice but to crack out the ice cubes.
Although you can get bubble milk tea all over town so I guess you’re probably used to the idea of ice in tea by now.
Mum and I bought these delicious date and walnut scones at the markets yesterday so as an extra special treat I’m having one for breakfast with organic butter. When scones are so fresh I don’t feel like I need jam or cream. That and a big tumbler of water makes the perfect meal to nibble on as I get on with business.
If it isn’t too crazy hot yet then I’ll duck out for a quick walk otherwise I’ll stay in the shade and head out later on in the day when things cool down. I used to be fine in the heat but now that I’m pregnant I just feel the effects so quickly and worse I know that however hot I feel the baby feels even warmer so it’s important that I don’t get dehydrated and stay cool. Another reason to avoid getting too much sun when you’re pregnant is you can get dark patches of skin because of pregnancy hormones. It’s called ‘the mask of pregnancy’ and usually fades after you give birth but personally it’s best to just avoid getting to that point. It’s important to get some sun every day but not too much. Moderation is the key, as usual!
2017 diary planner from Kmart
Watermelon tumbler (comes with lid and straw) from Kmart
I hope you have a lovely week ahead filled with little things that make you happy!
Let me know what your getting Monday morning ritual looks like! x
I met up with a girlfriend for lunch a few weeks ago and was struck by all the prams being pushed around us. Each pram was loaded down with a ginormous diaper bag and pushed by a mum hauling her own handbag.
I had already made up my mind that instead of a diaper bag I’d just use one of my existing bags. Seeing those women just made me more convinced of this plan. And then I thought, I know! I’ll do that and GET A NEW HANDBAG instead. Bahahahaha. Stay with me: if we’re pushing baby around in a pram, there’s that little basket thing underneath where the baby goes that you could always store equipment in and if I’m breastfeeding (hopefully that works, if it doesn’t I want to know why did I go up three bust sizes for) then I don’t need to pack any bottles of formula. So what do I really need to bring?
A few diapers.
Ziplock bags for dirty diapers.
A change of clothes. Maybe a top for me too just in case I get spit up on.
Nursing pads for me.
A cloth I can lay the baby on for changing.
Another cloth to use for breastfeeding time.
I feel like in my normal day to day I carry around way more than that LOL. So it wouldn’t be as though I can’t fit things into my bag. And I really don’t love the look of diaper bags. NO THANKS!
And that’s the story of how I decided I’d rather get a bag. I don’t take buying bags lightly, mind you. It takes me MONTHS to decide. Unlike my shoe purchases. But this time, I’ve decided that I’ll get something classic that I can pass on to my daughter. With that weird justification (in my mind I make very good sense) let’s get on with THE PROWL, eeeeeee, excited!
In no particular order:
Saint Laurent Classic Monogramme Bag in Large
This is pretty classic. I like the mixed quilting on this YSL bag and the silver hardware. Most of my bags have gold hardware.
Saint Laurent Classic Large Collège Monogram Shoulder bag
A slightly different look with the handle but maybe this is too “schoolbag” looking? Hmm.
Saint Laurent Classic Medium Collège Monogram with Embellished Leather
Whack a few stars on it though and I’m digging it. Typical me! But then I feel like this wouldn’t be so much a classic as a one-off trend thing. Maybe if I were on the lookout for a baby sized handbag then I would get something like this in a small size.
Saint Laurent Large Monogram Matelassé Suede Shoulder Bag in Coffee
I love a fuzzy bag and I have this thing for suede. What do you think of the brown? Very autumn?
Saint Laurent Medium Tri-Quilt Slouchy Leather Shoulder Bag
Oooooh, grey looks good.
Saint Laurent Monogram Blogger Leather Shoulder Bag
“Blogger” bags. TEMPTING! And with the hearts on it, so cute! Maybe next purchase (in a few years haha)!
Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Baby Shoulder Bag
And then I saw these Sac De Jour totes by YSL. So many colours!!! And shades of grey and black! And textures!
How do people decide on just one colour? I managed to almost eliminate navy bags because I have a navy Balenciaga that I’m very happy with. I said almost – pretty sure this one here is some shade of blue.
They don’t close up the top though, do they? I was pretty set on getting this style in the ‘baby’ size but thought I’d juuuuuuuuuust look a little longer.
Saint Laurent Classic Small Monogramme Downtown Cabas Bag in Rose Antic
How cute are these? And I love the colours!
Saint Laurent Classic Small Monogramme Downtown Cabas Bag in Oyster Grey
Mulberry Small New Bayswater in Candy
This Mulberry bag was the first bag I came across and considered getting. Such a happy colour!
Saint Laurent Medium Monogramme Sunset Bag in Indian Pink
This sugary pink bag caught my eye too. Less bright but very sweet all the same.
Mulberry Small New Bayswater in Canary
And then I went back to the Mulberrys and saw this canary yellow one. Also a happy colour!
Céline Small Trapeze
I do like Céline bags though and this has some colour to it but isn’t over the top.
Chloé Drew Crossbody 23cm in Royal Navy
Hmm, this is nice too. Aaaaaaannnnndddddd we’re back to blue.
Miu Miu Soft Calf Shoulder Bag
VERY ladylike with Miu Miu.
Saint Laurent Classic Small Sac De Jour in Blush
Since I’m looking at colourful bags, may as well go look at some more Sac De Jour totes. Like this one in blush.
Saint Laurent Small Downtown Cabas Tote
I feel like I already posted this one but let’s look at it again, shall we?
Saint Laurent Mini ‘Love’ Heart Chain Bag
Oh my goodness, a heart shaped bag WITH stars on it? If I were getting 2 handbags, or more like 1.2 handbags (for the same price as 2 bags though, hmmph) this might be one of them! But I’m not. So.
Another Small Sac De Jour from Saint Laurent
Meanwhile, in Sac De Jour land… EVERYONE could use a red handbag, couldn’t they?
And Another Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Tote
But this shade of pink though. This one really tugs at my heart strings.
Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Baby Tote
Although black is always good. ARGH. Except this is blue isn’t it? *Squints* I can’t tell anymore!
What do you think of my choices? Some of these are too small to be practical but I had such an enjoyable time oohing and aahing over everything that I thought you might like to take a look at them too!
Do you have any of these bags? I’d love to hear your experiences with them if you do!
Mercury Retrograde has been tough, more so for some than others. This was taken just a few days ago. You know, January.
Gosh! Majorly glad that Mercury has returned to direct. Did you notice how strange things got? For us, it was drivers on the road being erratic. We saw a lot of car accidents happen. Talk about holiday madness! Another thing that happened quite a bit was people complaining about miscommunications. So we just kept things simple and didn’t make any big plans. I’m thinking the local coffee shop here thought they’d just come back after the craziness. In October.
It’s not procrastination when you’re trying to mitigate for a Mercury Retrograde cycle. Speaking of, I came across this song today. It’s so soothing, I love it! It will be on repeat whilst I go DO stuff. What’s the opposite of procrastinate? Activate? Right, I’m off to go activate, starting by visiting the cafe to see if they’re open yet. What are your plans for today?
I love pink. Always have! It’s just such a pretty uplifting colour, don’t you think so? And those YSL bags! Those HEELS!
But I also love all the other colours. All of ’em.
Including all these dancing colours on my ceiling. I came back to my room after a shower to this little light show this morning, excuse my messy hair, but how could I not be in the best mood after this gorgeousness?
I hope you had something happen to you to make you smile this morning! x
Here is a short video of my FAVOURITE (and coincidentally my clients’ LEAST FAVE) moves to tone the legs and shape the booty. After a few reps, I can always feel my bum and outer thighs getting warmish. Haha, SO GOOD!
All you need is a flat surface and 5 minutes MAXIMUM. That’s 2 minutes per leg and 1 minute to pat yourself on the bum afterwards. Do this 3 times a week and you’re gonna be very pleased with yourself.
I am 29 weeks pregnant in this video. If you are pregnant, you should have already gotten an ok from your doctor to exercise.
Pregnant or not, if something doesn’t feel right, stop and check.
So last night I was up late and HUNGRY and decided a good idea was to think about how to make vegan waffles. It made the hunger worse but that’s probably why I was up extra early and stuffing around with making different batches of waffle batter.
A few hurdles in the beginning:
Locating our waffle maker (haven’t used this thing in at least 5 years)
Blowing the dust off the darn thing and giving it a good scrub.
Plugging it in and having the entire circuit to kitchen blow out. WOOPSIES.
But we got our waffle maker working in the end! A lot of people in the house were highly motivated to make this experiment a success because that would translate to waffles for them. The carrot works better than a stick when it comes to adventures in waffle making.
Then came figuring out this batter situation. I came across a recipe that said any flour. Okkkkk…….. let me just tell you that COCONUT FLOUR WILL NOT WORK. Batch 1 was a total letdown. Coconut flour just sucks up any liquid and you just get this crumbly situation no matter how much liquid you add.
No good. Smelled great but hopeless.
So I decided to go with self-raising flour instead. I don’t go for gluten free flours because they sometimes contain random substitute flours that I’m not keen on. I’d rather just use regular flour but that’s ok for me because I can have moderate amounts of gluten without any issue. My main goal was to make waffles that didn’t contain eggs or dairy. I’ve had a few conversations with bakers of some prominent bakeries around Sydney who have said to just stick to the normal stuff rather than go gluten free unless I were a coeliac or otherwise gluten intolerant. One baker was saying he didn’t like the gluten free stuff but he had no choice but to bake it because that was what people were requesting.
Obviously if you need a gluten free waffle then PLEASE use your gluten free flour of choice. Just be warned about the coconut flour! Yeesh.
I make it sound like I went through multiple batches, don’t I?! Haha, I got lucky and batch 2 worked just fine. PHEW!
So heeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s the recipe:
The Great Vegan Waffle
1 cup flour (NOT coconut flour) – I used self-raising flour, plain will be fine too since there is baking soda and salt in the batter but I just used what I had. You shouldn’t need to rush out to buy any ingredients.
2 tsp sugar – I used 1 tsp of coconut sugar, use even less or none if you like! You can always add any sweetener of your choice after your waffles are cooked, you can’t remove sugar from a batter. Less is MORE when it comes to sugar.
2 tsp baking soda – also called sodium bicarbonate
1 tsp sea salt – I use Himalayan pink sea salt
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk – I initially wanted to use almond milk but that got used up in batch 1 (looking at you, Coconut Flour) so I ended up using just under a cup of coconut milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp coconut oil
(Options: 1 tsp vanilla extract, sprinkle of ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon) – I used ground nutmeg
Mix the dry ingredients first – flour, sugar if using, baking soda, salt, nutmeg or cinnamon if using.
Add the wet ingredients – milk, apple cider vinegar, oil and the vanilla extract (if using).
The batter should look like a gloopy fluid. Don’t worry about lumps. It should NOT look crumbly and dry (glares at batch 1).
Heat up your waffle iron.
Spoon the batter onto your iron, say half a cup.
Cook waffle blah blah.
Alternatively you can make this as a pancake instead. Don’t go running out to buy yourself a waffle maker, unless that was something that you’ve been planning to do. Just work with what you’ve got going on at home, ok?
I had mine with berries and maple syrup.
These waffles tasted amazing, however after I took photos, I cut into my waffles whilst I updated my VSCO app, figuring I’d do whatever cropping I needed whilst I munched. As soon as the app was updated, I launched in and found my photos got wiped.
By the time I realised this the maple syrup had already absorbed into my waffles Noooooooooooo, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy is this happening……..insert much overreacting. I had to dash back to where the light was good and pour even more maple syrup over my waffles to get a few more pictures. I love maple syrup though so I wasn’t even really all that mad. But STILL. A little heads up would have been nice VSCO guy! Sheesh.
They are super filling so even though based on the size of my iron, I got just two waffles out of that batch, I found one waffle was plenty for me.
Overall a success in my household. If you tried it, I hope you enjoy! And if you use a different flour, PLEASE let me know what you used and how it went!
I’m celebrating the New Year with breakfast in bed and icy pops in total silence.
How was your New Year’s?
It’s been a really hot couple of days over here. Unbearably hot! I may have mentioned that I hardly sleep due to the pregnancy, did I? Well, I don’t sleep much, which is ok! But when the thermostat hit the high 30s the last few days and refused to drop back down during the evenings, I got so uncomfortable. Honestly I spent all night and early morning of New Year’s Eve Eve staring at the weather app on my phone haha. I’ve always run a little warmish, in Traditional Chinese Medicine this is known as having excessive internal heat, and that last night definitely finished me off.
I woke up on New Year’s Eve voiceless which was terrible timing since we had a whole bunch of people coming over. I figured I’d spend the day just listening but it seems that some days the more you want to listen to people, the more they want to hear you speak. This was even after B had gone around to everyone stating firmly that I had completely lost my voice and couldn’t speak. Oh well. The people want what the people want. I stuck everything drinkable in the chiller to keep my voice croaking on. I was so miserably tired from not sleeping, feeling so horrible with my painful throat and just completely under the weather that I felt like I might weep. That’s when I excused myself for 11 minutes to go meditate. I say to people all the time that meditation helps. Sometimes I forget that I should add, “But you need to keep at it.” So even though I had meditated at 3:30 am when the weather app said it was 34degrees (celsius so people who live in farenheit countries aren’t like, “What is your problem?” haha) I obviously needed to give myself some kind of boost. And it did the trick! My throat was still a little sore but my voice felt stronger and I had enough energy to get me through the afternoon until everyone went home happy with full bellies. Awwwww…..
In the evening time B and I just hung around at home nibbling on leftovers, watching the last bit of Home Alone. And staring at the baby bump. I don’t know if other parents are like this but we’re obsessed with staring at it. We watch it the way people watch movies. Also, is it Christmas if you don’t watch Home Alone?! B and I are the same age so even though we didn’t know each other back then we both remember watching Home Alone as kids thinking, “I’d so do that.” The weather was starting to cool down and even get windy so just before the midnight fireworks we drove down to the beach to hang out for a while. On the way home we picked up some icy pops which I had BIG NEW YEAR’S DAY PLANS FOR.
The oatmeal I didn’t even have to cook. Well, I cooked it the day before and because I never get the portions right, I just stored what was left in the fridge to have with fresh strawberries in the morning, cold. SO GOOD.
I’ve been asked a few times how to cook oatmeal. ??? Usually the packages that the oats come in will say something like cook for 5 minutes. There isn’t much to it but I know that a lot of people really have no confidence when it comes to anything beyond boiling water for tea. No worries!
Basic Oatmeal My Way:
Whole rolled oats – these days you can even get organic. Let’s say a handful per person.
Enough water to cover the oats in a small saucepan.
I like to add a good shake of ground nutmeg and cinnamon when I’m cooking the oats.
Bring the oats in the water to a gentle boil, keep it on a low heat – oatmeal tends to bubble up really quickly and then spill over all over your stove when you turn your back on it. So keep the heat low so you don’t miss it. When the oatmeal starts to bubble, keep stirring so it doesn’t stick, you might add a little more water if you feel like it looks dry. Once you can’t see the water separate from the oats, that’s it. It should look like flaky mush. Makes sense? Let’s say it should be done in around 3-5 minutes. You can’t OVERCOOK oatmeal although it could dry out.
To serve you can add honey or maple syrup and a splash of your choice of milk. You could cook the oatmeal in milk instead of water to make the oatmeal extra creamy.
Like I said, if you made too much, it’s fine! Just put your leftovers in the fridge. Easy.
Do you have any resolutions for this year? I wrote something last year about having a Peaceful New Year’s Eve . I was thinking to myself yesterday that even though I’m bringing in the New Year not feeling 100% that everytime my baby kicks, it makes me smile and I have no complaints. There have been some moments in 2016 that were really, really tough and horrible but there have also been many moments of joy. Isn’t that just life though? I think overall I faced things as peacefully as I could and I’ll try harder again this year. Every year I get a little calmer and at ease with peace, I hope! I think if I had just one resolution to make this year it would be to just focus on being the kind of person that I look forward to spending time with.
And that person would conveniently have messy hair and eat icy pops in bed hehehe.
White Cotton Knit Dress from Kmart;
Nail Polish from Essie in Pink Diamond
Make that REALLY messy hair. I’m wearing a cheap cotton knit dress that I found in KMART for $6. So comfy for sleeping! Although as my bump gets bigger, the dress gets shorter. It’ll be a singlet by the time the baby is due.
Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful end to 2016 and that 2017 will bring you lots of peace.
Most of June and a lot of July had been spent attempting to sleep my way out of the thing. Shortly after I had recovered, it was time to bundle up for a flight back home for a few weeks.
Some women have wonderfully regular cycles, mine is sort of “flexible”. Travel is one of those activities which impacts on my cycle so it didn’t seem strange that there was a delay. I was a little softer around my edges which also seemed normal, being a combination of having not been very active lately due to the flu, just getting off a long flight and also because of the particular point in my cycle I thought I was at. As my cycle length stretched onwards towards infinity, a girlfriend urged me to test.
But I was starting to cramp, so I decided to leave it.
A week of cramping went by.
And that’s when I started to suspect something was going ON.
SLOW ON THE UPTAKE, right?
For those who don’t already know, a lot of the symptoms of pregnancy resemble the symptoms women experience prior to menstruation. But CRAMPING, seriously?! Why on earth would I have cramps and think, “Yup, I’m definitely pregnant.“
Of course I’m going to go pick up some tampons.
So symptoms are not always that helpful unless you own a “I just know” radar. Myself, I “just know” when women around me are pregnant, but apparently my radar only works on other networks not on my own. I remember being a little girl and walking towards my piano teacher one afternoon. As I walked towards her, I said to my mother, “She’s pregnant.“She totally was. The words just fell right out of my mouth. And then I proceeded to tell her it was a boy. It totally was a boy. Kids, huh.
Cut to me now.
I worried that this meant I wasn’t CONNECTING to my baby. Where was my awareness? Were we not bonding? After trying to take care of myself so that I would be as healthy for birthing a baby as possible, here I was, fluey and clueless. I remember hearing that from the moment a person has a child, they worry about that child until.. forever. My worrying had started from conception. Actually no, it started as soon as I peed on a stick.
And then I shook myself mentally. I realised I was completely missing the point! Here we were so so so lucky to find ourselves in this happy position, waiting on a baby. Was this how I wanted to spend my pregnancy?! I had always wanted a calm pregnancy and now it seemed that was exactly what I had on my hands. A calm and easy pregnancy.
Pregnancy is so synonymous with morning sickness. People constantly asked me, “Any nausea?“
A host of websites informed me that nausea was positively correlated with a healthy pregnancy. Crap! Where was my nausea?! I had aversions to a few things but when it came to nausea I had about two weeks of morning sickness, at most. And all in the afternoon and evening time. And it mostly felt like indigestion.
People with good intentions trying or genuinely interested in my pregnancy continued to ask me about morning sickness, not realising it would remind me that I didn’t have any of this thing that was associated with a strong pregnancy. I thought calm thoughts as best as I could and reassured myself that I was LUCKY. Much later, I was informed that in all likelihood, I wasn’t experiencing much nausea because of the type of food choices I made and because I was drinking so much water.
Other than that, I felt kind of ordinary although very sleepy.
VERY sleepy. I was constantly tired in the first few months. I’d wake up super early (to pee) and then I’d go back to bed, toss for a while, feeling RAVENOUS, and finally haul myself out in search of food. After that, I’d manage to stay up for a few hours before I took a really long nap (anywhere between one hour to five hours). I’d gone from being someone who struggled to nap to a total Nap Queen. I started thinking I might just sleep through the pregnancy.
“Someone wake me up when my water breaks.” I’d say.
I’d wake up and manage one or two conversations before I’d yawn. Oh, eight o’clock! Time to pee and get into bed.
Going to bed was a major operation. Before getting into bed I would go pee, so that I wouldn’t need to get back up again. I’d settle down in my nest of pillows and close my eyes with a happy sigh once I found the perfect position. A few seconds later I’d realise I needed to go pee again. FINE. So off I went. And then I would come back, have my sip of water, lie back down. Hmm. Was that it though? Better go back. FINE. Etc.
I probably walked a kilometre each night going between my bed and my bathroom all those times.
B was very kind and offered to get me anything I craved no matter what time.
“Just wake me up honey if you get hungry and you want something.” His friends had warned him their wives wanted KFC and nutella pancakes at all hours of the night.
“I’ll get back to you.” The thought of chicken made me feel green but I decided to keep the food delivery option open.
I never ended up using that wild card. Around three in the morning, B would wake up to a crunching sound. Turning on the light on his side he’d realise it was me and not some giant crunching on bones in his dreams.
“Are you… eating?!“
“I’m just crushing apples with my jaws to make cider. Nothing to see here, go back to sleep.“
A lot of women suggested keeping a box of crackers beside the bed. I disliked the idea of crumbs flying everywhere so I would chop up two apples and keep them in the fridge. When it was that time of the morning I’d go get them and munch happily away. After two or three pieces, I’d rinse my teeth and roll over for another snooze until it was time to pee again.
It’s the first time where I’ve truly felt hunger pains. Not pangs but true pain. It physically HURTS not to eat when I feel hungry. Just like it physically HURTS LIKE MAD if I don’t pee when I need to.
My body changed shape quite quickly in my eyes. I looked like I’d had breast implants and they entered the room a full half hour before the rest of me followed. Every top was a cleavage loving top. My rib cage became wider very early on and my belly which was usually a little firmer became rounded so I couldn’t zip up a certain dress that highlighted my waist. The first week I realised I was pregnant, I had two pimples on my face where I never got pimples and a small patch of dry skin on my face, eczema-ish in appearance. I have never had eczema. They all cleared after a week and I peered at my reflection wondering if I was glowing. Looked pretty ordinary to me. Aside from the cleavage. I mean, whoa. Welcome, sisters.
Oh, let’s see, what else?
Cravings! I had just two cravings. One was fresh orange juice WITH THE PULP. The pulp was very important.And the other was chilled watermelon. To be perfectly honest these are things I like to eat even pre-pregnancy but for various reasons I don’t usually indulge in them very often. I figured compared to all the other people with cravings for clay or tacos or fried chicken that at least I would get some nutritional value. Later I discovered that I may as well cut out the middle man and just eat oranges fresh. Worked just as well! As a bonus, when I went through my two minutes of nausea I discovered that the chilled watermelon really helped. You might like to try that and let me know if it helped!
Exercise wise I was too tired most days. I took a break from my regular yoga routine which a lot of senior yoga teachers suggest practitioners do in the first trimester. Just the thought of being up and MOVING for 45 – 90 minutes made me want to lie down. Instead, I did small 10 – 15 minute intervals of very gentle yoga and Pilates exercises to keep my body feeling mobile and my core strong so that I wouldn’t get too much back pain. That seems to have paid off so far. When I had the energy and the weather permitted I would go down to the pool for a short swim. A little walking. A lot of meditation.
I think meditation has been one of the best tools I’ve had for adjusting to pregnancy and hopefully towards parenthood.
Due to some combination of meditation, yoga, a user-friendly batch of pregnancy hormones and loads of naps, I haven’t had any mood swings. I remember one day I was really tired. B had snored ALL NIGHT and I couldn’t sleep through the noise. By the afternoon I was so exhausted I felt really grumpy and I told B how I was feeling really short tempered due to my frustration. We got through the day without anyone getting hurt hahaha. Slept like a baby that night and we went back to being happy pregnant people. Aside from that day, my mood has been really stable. Phew! Friends would meet up with us and later message B to say,
“Gosh, she seems really happy.“
Towards the end of my first trimester my energy levels improved and I went back to practising slightly more active yoga. Initially I sought the guidance of my first yoga teacher who guided me with making adjustments and modifications. She is an Iyengar teacher and Iyengar Yoga felt like the best way for me to return to a safe and supportive practice. With the information I learned from her and a few other senior teachers, I returned to my regular home practice. I’m almost in my third trimester now and have been doing this modified version of my regular practice for a few weeks now. It feels so good to be back to it!
By the second trimester the nocturnal toilet visits reduced, thank goodness, and my cravings which had gradually reduced over time went away. I’m still pretty interested in orange juice but it’s not a big deal if I don’t get any for days or weeks at a stretch. Also I stopped waking up at all hours of the morning needing food so the apple chopping operation has ceased. Now I just find that when I wake up in the morning, I want to have something for breakfast before I can meditate.
Pregnancy has turned me into a breakfast person!
I’m now at the stage where I can balance my plate (albeit a smallish one) on my belly. Brilliant! Goodbye tables, I have my own built in, hehe.
That’s all I can think of to say for now about the first trimester. Hopefully that helps! If there’s anything else you wanted to know, just ask and I’ll share what I’ve experienced!
A few years ago, B went to some outlet in LA and came back with three, maybe four, pairs of sneakers for himself and one pair of Converse kicks for the baby. We didn’t have a baby and I wasn’t pregnant.
*exchanges meaningful look with you*
THIS year, I found out I was pregnant. In her excitement my mum promptly went out and bought three pairs of shoes for the baby. During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year, I saw the cutest dinkiest sweetest pair of baby shoes by Burberry on GILT. And instantly I understood why people keep buying shoes for babies. They’re just so darn cute! I hmm’d and ha’d over them for the longest time.
I showed my laptop screen to B.
“OMG THEY’RE SO ADORABLE, GET THEM ALREADY.”
“Ok, ok. Well, whilst I’m here, let’s have a look-see what else these babies purchase.”
And that’s how I ended up with a cart containing one pair of baby shoes, three pairs of organic pants, two sets of swaddle cloths, four rompers, one hat and a partridge in a pear tree. You get the drift. I lost my mind over all the cuteness. Ugh.
I mulled over the cart for a few more days, telling myself that if the shoes were still available online then ok, fine, I’ll get them. But NO MORE SHOES AFTER THAT. Newborns don’t even walk so why do they even need all that footwear for?
I checked back in a few days later, and the shoes sat there in my cart, patiently waiting for me. So I got them and along with them I picked up a few organic clothes for the baby. I culled most of the items I saved to my cart, keeping just the organic clothing that was reasonably priced and generously discounted. Who doesn’t add a ton of stuff to their cart and later laugh at the idea of actually buying everything? I’ve never heard of the brands aside from Burberry, I’ve never heard of most baby brands since my clients are always fully grown humans but I thought you might like to see what I ended up getting after several days of mulling.
Update: After I made my order I said to B, “OK! No more shoes for the baby for a while!” Minutes later we walked past a clothing boutique for children and he dashed in. Guess what he bought? More shoes.
I’ve never been THIS excited to see a box full of items that aren’t for me delivered. NEVER.
Genius sticker placement. Well done whoever did that.
Those of you who, like me, love pretty containers and boxes, will probably heave a sigh of relief when I tell you that the sticker peeled off easily. But still, who puts a label on the TOP of a box instead of the side? So weird.
Oh my goodness. I can’t stand how ridiculously cute these are. I showed them to mum and jokingly suggested I could turn these into key chains when the baby grows out of them. She immediately said, yeah, one for you and one for me. She sure took to that idea real quick.
Have you heard of Nui Organics? I’ve never heard of it but I like the pattern and the soft pastel colour. Texture wise it doesn’t feel majorly soft but it’s organic and I’ve found when clothes are super soft they get holes in them from washing quite quickly.
This is from The Bonnie Mob and also says it is organic. I just love the bright colours and the happy print! Who knows, baby might want to be an astronaut! The clip buttons down near the diaper area will make logistics easy to navigate.
Another organic romper but with short sleeves in case things get too warm. I came across an old interview of Tom Ford and he was saying how he told his son that children don’t look good in black. “Ok, then I’ll wear grey” was the response he got. Kids are hysterical aren’t they?
So, that was my first experience shopping for tiny humans! What do you think of my choices? And do you know anything about these labels? Any good? Please let me know down below!
*This isn’t a sponsored post, I’m not connected to any of these labels or to GILT.
I’m trying to post ten things at once, so me being me, my update that I’m pregnant will probably upload LAST. But yes, I’m pregnant! Ta-daaah! I know, I disappear a few months and show up with news like this. Doesn’t it keep our conversations exciting though? No one can ever say my replies to “what’s new” are dull anymore.
Back to one of my favourite movements ever. Whilst I sleep A LOT, it also feels great to keep the body moving so I’ve been trying to work on strengthening my body to keep myself well for the remainder of my pregnancy, labour and then beyoooooond (LOTS OF BABY LUGGING). Cue a lot of Pilates exercises. Let’s get to it.
Triceps extension (top to match resistance band not needed!)
Baby bump not required – you don’t HAVE TO be pregnant to do this. Duh!
If you are pregnant, you should have already gotten an ok from your doctor to exercise.
Grip one end of your resistance band in each fist. Rest on fist down by your side and take your other arm up overhead to cradle your ear and messy top bun. (See vid below)
Breathing steadily the entire time, slowly extend the top arm straight without letting the elbow shift.
Bend the arm to return to start and repeat.
☄️I do 10 – 20 repetitions of each side, 10 normal speed and then 10 verrrrrry slowly. You can start by doing 5 at a normal speed and then 5 a little slower, gradually building up.
☄️If you don’t have a resistance band, you could hold a can or a small water bottle in your top hand. Nothing too heavy! The point is to focus on engaging your arm muscles for both directions of the movement, especially pay attention to resisting the return motion. You’ll get loads of strength benefits just from creating your own resistance.
☄️Be safe! Keep the working side shoulder down and the side of the body long. Avoid twisting in the torso. Keep the belly gently drawing inwards to protect the back. Pregnant ladies can visualise “hugging the baby”. At no point should you have any pain in your back or feel tension in your shoulder-neck region.
Let me know if you try this out and enjoy the rest of your day! xx
“perhaps just get more kind to yourself and those around you”
— apt words from my June horoscope
Once in a while I’ll stumble upon a horoscope, article, instagram and marvel at how perfectly these small happenings are timed to lessons and themes I am currently working on. For instance, the last few months have been really focused on the concept of kindness and softness. They’re NOT easy! It has taken so long for me to break down my need to never show softness and never backdown to really embrace how being soft can be a different kind of strength. Life isn’t just about how good a smackdown you can give or how feisty you can be. It’s terrifying and exhilarating to find that within all that being gentle, deep down there is a reservoir of true strength to withstand all outside forces as well as all the inner crazy. The best defence may be a good offence in sports but in life the best defence is inner strength.
Continuously working on the ability to stay perfectly gracefully still despite everything going on will build up your strength reserves mentally as well as physically. You’ll only get stronger this way and you’ll always feel centered, because your center is strong! Today’s drill is the perfect physical illustration of that wonderful kooky circular logic. You’re staying as still as you can, whilst working on strengthening your core and you won’t need to do a single crunch, hurray! It works for me and I hope it will for you too. Try it and let me know!
Enough chit-chat from me, let’s do this.
THE STAY STILL [Working title I’m sticking with this – besides aren’t we over ‘labels’ already?]
Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times, several times a week and you’ll definitely feel stronger physically and hopefully get closer to experiencing grace under pressure, even if it’s merely during the course of a yoga class. It will be worth it – eventually that grace will translate to beyond your physical class!
Start in a kneeling position
Place your hands either side of your knees
Lean your weight into your hands and press strongly into the ground as you exhale
Breathe your belly button in and up towards your spine
On your next exhalation squeeze your knees towards your chest
Hold as you breathe in and out for 5 rounds of breathing (something like the picture above)
Inhale and squeeze your knees in a little more then
Lower down on your next exhalation. (Finally!)
Advance this by squeezing one heel off the floor and hold.
Super advance this by squeezing both heels off the floor. You’re basically ready to levitate.
If it feels horrible for the front of your feet then you can start off kneeling with your toes tucked under. As you press up you will come high up onto your toes. When you’re stronger you can try again with your feet flat.
Your back will naturally round — go with that instinct.
Use your midsection to pull your knees into the curve of your body. Squeezing your inner thighs together will help activate your core just that extra more. As much of your weight is off the floor, not just dangling into the fronts of your feet.
Even though your back is rounded, don’t hunch your shoulders into your ears! And don’t scrunch your face! All the work is deep, deep down in your core. The rest of you is to resemble the surface of still water.
What it do?
I’m glad you asked. This will work your entire core as well as your ability to maintain your straight-arm strength. With your knees sucked in as close to your body as you can you’ll notice how hard your belly is working to keep that knees to chest connection going. The back gets a great stretch too.
Alternatives for wrist issues
Just do the same thing but laying on your back and imagine your pressing your hands into the ceiling and pushing it away. You’ll still get all the benefits and you’ll have a great time curling your body away from the floor. NOT EASY. You’ll know you’re doing it right because you’ll just know.
You can build up as you get stronger by doing the alternative in addition. Make the two versions part of your regular strength exercise.
B and I started a 40 day practice this month. Usually we have our own activities we like to do in order to feel good: mine would be yoga, Pilates, watching old TV shows, and his would be basketball (REAL and XBOX). This month we decided that the New Moon would be the perfect time to start a shared daily practice for 40 days to boost our energy and spirit levels.
We are STILL doing our favourite activities, naturally!
Everyday we practice a set sequence of yoga postures, followed by mantra meditation and we drink a green drink that I labelled our ‘Elixir’. This last part is major because B has never been on board with drinking anything green although I feel like that’s being very picky since he is slightly colour blind anyway? For all he knows it could be pink? SUDDENLY he can tell it’s green. I mean.
The mantra we chant is personal to each of us but I’ll share mine with you below. We chant out loud and with confidence, 11 times and then we sit quietly and let things marinate.
Somedays we do our practice in the evening like last night when we came home from a wedding party. We showered, changed and stepped on our mats. Then we had our green drink. We slept like babies even with both of us recovering from the flu.
It feels wonderful!
To go along with our 40 day practice we also cut out coffee. I typically drink a lot of coffee, alarming amounts even, but I’ve never had any issue with stopping. I never even get headaches if I go without coffee but it’s that comfort factor that I like. I love comfort! So when I want a warm drink I’ll make myself a Coconut Maca drink. I’m having one righttttttt now.
I’m very lucky I’ve never enjoyed soft drinks and I drink a lot of room temperature water. Even warm water in a mug can be comforting. I make a ritual out of heating the water up, choosing a favourite mug (B and I both like to hog the same mugs) and then enjoying the steam puff up. It’s all about the ritual and process! Aren’t humans funny?
We started out as a very small community of just two, but in just over a week a few of our friends have started to join in. One of my girlfriends asked for a shopping list so she could run out and grab all the ingredients for the ‘elixir’ the very next morning.
Which is great! The more the merrier, and slowly little by little we generate more good vibes. If you would like to join us (we’d love to have you!) feel free to come up with your own mantra, or use mine:
“These are amazing. What did you put in here?” he mumbled through a mouthful.
“My childhood memories.“
There are certain things that you can’t get at Chinese restaurants. You gotta go to someone’s home, sit in their kitchen and watch as wheat noodles are boiled, drained, tossed in sesame oil and then stir fried with some simple vegetables.
I don’t even like noodles! So go figure. Ok that is a huge generalisation – I like rice noodles, spaghetti and those glass noodles made of green beans. But when my mum cooks noodles this way, I can’t get enough.
超级简单清炒面 | Ultra Simple Stir Fried Noodles
超级 (chāo jí) Super/Ultra
简单 (jiǎn dān) Simple
清炒 (qīng chǎo) Stir Fry
面 (miàn) Noodles! (the character doesn’t include the exclamation point but I just get really excited talking about food)
Doesn’t matter how many times I read the instructions on the back of the packet, I’ll always cook noodles for a small group of 10. Come over for dinner?
Or do it yourself:
1. Cook appropriate amount of noodles (ahem)
2. Drain noodles and toss with sesame oil and let cool, lift the noodles to let the steam escape. You don’t want the noodles to stick together. THIS TAKES AGES. Alternate arms and repeat. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
3. Stir fry veggies – heat the oil, then add in your crunchy veg, the less crunch stuff and then your flavourings.
(OIL, CRUNCHY, LEAFY, SAUCEY or OCLS which is not helpful at all, sounds like some kind of college and actually makes things worse?)
I like using coconut oil and then for flavouring I add chilli, white pepper, sea salt. I like my food light but you can add soy sauce of course. Also, I can’t eat too much soy products. IF you were to use soy sauce, get yourself a good quality ‘Light Soy Sauce’. Don’t just grab that bottle of soy sauce with the red pouring cap thingy, there is an entire world of soy sauce out there. I used to take people on tours of Asian supermarkets and we stood in the sauce aisle for ages discussing all the different flavours you can make. A world of soy sauce.
Tip: When stir frying veg, you want the pan to be HOT and you want to move FAST so the veg still says crunchy and the colours stay vibrant. Leafy greens can be thrown in last as they will cook so quickly.
I love when I get a bit of char on my veg. Just a little, not too much. It’s either a sign of a good hot wok OR a wok that needs washing. Let’s all agree it’s the first thing, ok?
Another tip: When adding your liquid flavourings, such as soy sauce, pour AROUND the sides not onto the stuff. And don’t go crazy, you can check later when the noodles go in if you need to add more to adjust the flavour. You want to be able to taste the strands of noodles that you just spent forever tossing with sesame oil. Not a mouthful of light soy sauce. The noodles are THE MAIN EVENT.
Oh, my mouth just filled up with saliva. Man, I love food!
4. Hurl everything together in the pan and toss somehow. You may want to add more sesame oil. The sesame oil just makes the noodles SO fragrant and helps with movement.
Oh, remember that sauce aisle? Get yourself a good quality sesame oil too. You should be able to SMELL the fragrance wafting from a sealed bottle. And it should smell like nothing on earth compared to the regular cheapo version.
I’m not asking you to sit down in the middle of the supermarket and taste test all the different varieties of sesame oil. Just have a sniff, don’t get the bottle too close to your snoz because that grosses people out. Once you get yourself one that smells amazing you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and you will look back at the cheapo one you used to own and laugh and move on to bigger and better and brighter things.
Confession: My noodles were still a tad clumpy, I was too slow to get them out of the boiling water and I needed to let them cool a little longer but I was HUNGRY and my arms were bored with tossing. So it was go time! Hahaha. They were still AMAZINGLY tasty. This is meant to be an easy fool-proof recipe for hungry/lazy anyway, and turns out, IT IS! Trust! You WILL be triumphant, no matter what!
5. Eat and eat and eat (ABOUT TIME!)
If you have leftovers, they taste so good chilled!
Here’s another version that my mum did whilst she was in town to visit me. She used shredded omelette with shredded carrot and a little bit of spring onion. Again all done with the above steps and it was AMAZING. I want my Mommy now. And I want those noodles back in my life right now. Excuse me whilst my heart and stomach have a quick weep. Pretty much the best meal of my life. (I know, could I BE more dramatic?)
Those prawns were the size of my plate and they were so good and also they were about $10 each. I’ve never spent that much money on something that came wrapped up in A LEAF. But they were SO GOOD. Saving up my pennies to one day buy one more.
Look how shiny.
*DROOLS ALL OVER KEYBOARD AND SHORT CIRCUITS LAPTOP*
Ok, if you think shredded omelette is a great idea but who can be bothered, just fry an egg and slide it on top. I love when the yolk is still a little gooey and it MINGLES with the noodles.
Or just you know, whatever. They’re good any which way.
Plainish; with shredded chicken (or really just one shard because I got really lazy and really hungry); or with a fried egg.
It’s 9:30 in the morning and I must go get myself some noodles for breakfast. According to TCM it’s great to have warm meals.
Don’t quote me, I WILL manipulate random pieces of information to suit my wants. (I call these my convenient theories, of which I have many)
And right now noodles: I WANTS IT.
Enjoy and chat later! If you tried making these, lemme know! xx
To get straight into Compass Pose (after an appropriate warm up), head on over to the the middle bit, we’ll catch up with you!
One of the most helpful lessons I learned in Yoga was how sometimes all I need to do is take another look. Different postures are often the same but placed differently in space. Rather than trying to learn each posture on its own and find comfort on that island, I realised that many of these postures could be grouped together. If I could only find the thread that connected all of them.
A lot of mixed metaphors! Forgive me!
Compass Pose is usually done seated. With the back thigh lifting off this becomes a modified version of the arm balance posture often referred to as ‘Flying Compass Pose’. In the flying version, the back leg is outstretched in the manner of a side plank. Keeping the back knee down makes the posture more accessible as the balance requirement is reduced.
I have also come across the flying version being referred to as Visvamitrasana, Pose dedicated to the Sage Visvamitra. From what I understand, in Visvamitrasana, the top arm reaches up to the ceiling. The posture is advanced by reaching the top arm to catch hold of the floating foot.
Ok, let’s go back to this idea of finding comfort. Asana refers to being comfortable and steady in a posture. But, but, BUT.How does one get comfortable in a posture that is simply not comfortable? You know what would be comfortable in Chair Pose? An actual chair to sit on. Not a pretend chair made of the steam that rose up from my burning thighs. How does one find steadiness when balanced upside down on two hands? Aside from taking the variation of face-planting, which is steady but distinctly uncomfortable, ow my nose.
Different people will have different ways to seek out comfort and steadiness.
A good rule of thumb to check how you’re doing is to ask yourself if you are breathing – slowly, steadily, with awareness or if you are holding your breath.
Another one is to check on your level of attention – are you focused, gazing steadily, or frowning hard at the current task.
You can also check how you are holding yourself – soft, relaxed but actively engaging your muscles, or tensing, hunching the shoulders around your ears, biting your lips and so on.
That last one will give you an idea of how okay you feel with the outcome of your practice. Ask: Do you have to nail this posture today?
Be calm and trust the unknown. For me, finding comfort means being okay with what is going on and feeling comfortable with my body and believing in the ability of it to support me wherever I end up. If I hold my breath I know I am fearful and tense. Knowing that being ‘successful’ in any posture won’t make me a better person, and ‘failing’ a posture won’t mean I am a bad person allows me to practice with detachment. I feel OKAY with the possibility that today may not be the day I get my leg behind my head or fly my compass, or leap like Hanuman into the splits. And I am then free to practice.
Understand the difference between challenge and strain. There may be awareness of some intense stretching sensations or a serious amount of strength being demanded or that, “Do you smell smoke? Because I KNOW my quads are on fire” feeling but through all of that I understand the individual actions I am performing and I am BREATHING calmly. Maintaining a steady and calm breath means I am less likely to exceed my limitations for the day and end up hurting myself, physically and emotionally. It’s so important to practice with compassion! Yoga practice is not a torture practice. If I get my breathing under control, my thought patterns change from scattered, critical, irrelevant, tense to focused, precise, quiet and steady. And I feel okay, fine, maybe even peaceful. Despite the smoke signals.
Learning New Poses, like Compass Pose
I’ve noticed that people learning a sequence like the Sun Salutations would try to hurry through the current posture to get into the next and become breathless. If they are asked to focus on breathwork, they report feeling less frazzled, especially if instructed to allow the breathing to slow down. It’s the same for learning a new pose. This was my personal experience as well.
The first time I saw someone in the full flying version of Compass Pose, I remember thinking, “HOW did you get there?”
The first time I experienced being taught the full flying version of Compass Pose with the body in an extended side plank position, I had forgotten about that person and was thinking to myself, “Where is this going?”
Anyway, once we were there* in the posture (as close to ‘there’ as a first attempt could feel, accompanied by me calling out, “Um, something like this?!”) I didn’t feel great, I just felt awkward, weird, gangly, tired, sore, confused, frustrated, and EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE. All my limbs were crying, “ARGH we don’t belong in this configuration.” My breath was erratic just like my thoughts. I didn’t recognise where I was and I was freaked. I had also forgotten about the idea of comfort and steadiness in my posture. I didn’t fall out of the posture but crashed, backwards on my bum.
You know how sometimes people learn a new posture and they seem so elated? That was not me. I was just bewildered. I couldn’t wait for naptime Savasana and then also lunch.
At the time of that class, I was familiar with side plank and had developed a healthy dislike of it. (I won’t pretend I like it much these days but I see the value in it and I appreciate it.) I had also experienced the seated compass pose. And although I knew how to add I wasn’t connecting the dots between the two postures and my current extremely uncomfortable mess of tangled limbs. I was so suspended in this huge reaction of being uncomfortable that there was just so much disconnect between my body and my mind.
But could I really claim to have learnt that posture that day?
Later on after a day or a week or let’s be honest, more like a month had gone by, I took a closer look at what went down. Ohhhhhhhhh heyyyyy…. that kind of looks like if I did that stretchy side thing with my top arm whilst balancing in a sideways plank.But how the heck do I get into it again? What leg goes with what hand? What does this foot back here do? If I go into side plank, I can’t get the front foot off the floor. If I lift the front foot off the floor, I can’t get into side plank. UGHHHHH.
Over time as I played around with the different shapes, I sort of made friends with this posture. I wouldn’t call us bosom buddies or the kind of friends that need to be together all the time, more like a long distance good friendship. We’re happy to see each other when we can but if we don’t, that’s okay too, maybe another time, we’ll catch up and see what the other is up to.
THE MIDDLE BIT: Finding Compass Pose
Let’s see if we can’t get you two acquainted:
To enter (hover over each photo for detailed instructions):
From here: Gaze upwards, or if that is uncomfortable simply look ahead. In this instance I just gazed directly forwards rather than up as my torso wasn’t revolving as far as usual. What I would go on to do is go back to opening my hips a little more and do you see how that back thigh may want to press forward a little more? I’d work on those and then revisit the posture again and see if anything has changed.
Keep the front leg bent
Float the front foot off the floor and keep the top arm flat against your side or reaching upwards
Feeling really steady? Try again with your back leg stretched out in one line with the rest of your body
Practice the seated version of the posture, back leg bent or stretched out directly in front or half crossed
Stop at whichever step is most appropriate to you and stay there
Whatever variation you take, keep breathing and stay calm!
Inhale, release the foot; exhale, take a moment. Switch sides. Let me know how you went!
Note: I cannot stress how important it is to practice with awareness. The most important tool for me has been to learn to understand my body. Learn about your body, become aware of what conditions it thrives under and what conditions it does not. Do not force. Find a teacher you can trust to guide you.
Take care and be well! x
*what does ‘there’ mean anyway? In the beginning of practice I would think of ‘there’ as the place where I matched the picture in Light on Yoga. I currently think of ‘there’ as where I can go based on who I am on a given day but I don’t know until I start moving where I will get to.
B goes through these phases of having a current word that he loves to use. His current one is ’empower’. Not a bad one to have. He uses it in a work context, empowering this associate, that manager, this director, etc.
We all know that I love myself some weheartit action. Whaddya know, there is an inspiration gallery on weheartit called ‘Empowerment’! Hello, this is Synchronicity calling. Oh, it’s for us! So, this gallery on weheartit is girl-power focused but there’s some stuff in there to support all genders as well. The images that caught my eye the most were the ones that remind me that girls need to support other girls. You know the ones:
One of my favourite comedians is Dylan Moran and he made an observation about women in one of his standups saying we will never have the rights we keep demanding because we keep bitching about each other. You could hear the sucked in breath of the audience, the outright guffaws of everyone, all the head nodding and people going, “Haha! So true!”.
I laughed too but on the inside, I was all, “Dammit, Team!”
A very good friend of mine once told me something when I expressed hurt feelings after discovering that someone I thought of as a very close friend had been talking about me behind my back. He said, “Dom, one of these days you’ll learn that not everyone likes everyone and not everyone will like you.”
Stranger things, hey. What are you gunna do.
I was like “Waaaaaaahhhh I don’t wanna learn” (The sound of me experiencing history repeating.)
Flashback to trying to introduce my different best friends in junior school to each other which felt like walking face on into a brick wall. Very painful. They all hated each other. For no reason that I could see. I liked them, we seemed to like similar things hence the bff-ness, so why didn’t they like each other? At least one of them explicitly stated, “If she’s coming, I’m not coming.” Tea parties and movie outings got very tricky.
My squads were more like Noah’s ark passengers and only came in sets of two. No chance of starting a girl band which is a shame because one of my bffs and I had this great dance routine down ahahahaha cue my #squadgoals gallery.
It was actually a killer routine, ok.
“This could have been us but you hatin’.“
Another odd thing that I observed over time was the refusal of women to accept each other.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Yes but she’s ugly.” as a means to downplay that person’s competence or worth? Or if someone is being praised for an accomplishment, another person says, “Too bad she’s fat.” Or about someone who has the figure of someone who works out alot, “She’s probably bulimic.” Or about someone who is beautifully dressed, “She’s a bimbo.” Or about someone who is just generally a lovely person, well off, doing well in her chosen field, beautiful inside and out, you might hear, “But she’s still single hey.”
This hating thing seems to be something that has really picked up over the last couple of years. I’ve been the subject of some hate too: I have been fat-shamed AND thin-shamed, but then hello, who hasn’t had a little shade thrown at them by this point? There’s so much of it to go around.
I don’t know if it has always been this way and I can’t speak to what guys talk about amongst themselves because I’m not a guy. But it feels horrible to me. This should not be the norm. Where have the compliments gone? I’m not interested in lip service and saying nice things that we don’t mean. But the more I see this sort of behaviour — and I know other people must be seeing this hence all the “Women empower each other” inspiration images — the more I think there seems to be this mindset that there is only a limited amount of beauty, brains, health, wealth, best friends, compliments, success, and other great things and it’s every woman for herself. We need to clear this misunderstanding up. There may be underlying issues like a feeling of lack (self-esteem, worth, value) and we need to deal with that too. Not that having issues is an excuse. We may not even be aware of any underlying issues. Although what kind of perfectly happy issue-free person walks around espousing hate? Happy people don’t kill people as Elle Woods puts it.
Hey girl, what lies beneath?
Dunno, but that won’t stop me from hating on other people.
And “she started it” is definitely not a valid reason, either.
The idea that a person may be deeply unhappy without even knowing suggests a general lack of awareness or cloudiness of mind. One of the Yoga Sutras talks about how to attain clarity of mind. It says, “Clarity of mind is produced by meditating on friendliness towards the happy, compassion toward the miserable, joy toward the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” [1.33]
I think of this as one of several keys to ultimate freedom.
What better freedom can there be than to have total peace of mind? To not experience jealousy when one witnesses the success of another but to feel happy? Rather than tearing each other down and belittling the hard work of another we can feel inspired to do more and be more. No, we don’t need to do the old “Girls rule, boys suck” chant either. There is no need for us to put down another gender to feel better about our own. We don’t need to belittle someone else’s life to feel better about our own. True strength doesn’t depend on highlighting the weaknesses of others and we need to be stronger.
True strength NOT brute strength.
All of us are in this together and we have our own challenges to get through. My approach? Well, basically:
For those of us who have been bullied and pushed around: hey, you need to know that you’re a valuable person.
For those of us who have not made the best choice, let’s stop being so shady. I think kindness is a nicer shade on you.
So, if we really want world peace and universal love, let’s give ourselves permission to show each other kindness and find some peace. There are really important things happening out there, tearing each other down simply cannot be the way forward. This behaviour has become a bad habit but habits can be unlearned. It’s never too late to learn new tricks and bring about change. Change your thoughts, change your life.
Is there anything better than waking up to rain against the window pane at the end of a busy week? Not only a rainy day but a rest day for me. I still woke up hella early as usual but gosh, it felt like luxury to have all those hours. Today is a Moon Day and I am looking forward to taking rest from my usual morning yoga practice.
The constantly changing weather seems to be wreaking havoc on my body and after croaking my way through teaching this week, I could feel my voice leaving me for a well-earned vacation. Somewhere warm, I imagine. There was an ad years ago that showed a couple discussing where they would go for a holiday. The woman decided she would go to Phuket or somewhere like that and then the man promptly said he would go to Bali. Kind of reminded of that right now. Plenty of warm water and an early night seem to have done me the world of good today. Rest is always the crucial thing for me. If I don’t get enough of it, my body reminds me soon enough and then it will MAKE me have to take rest. I made some goals for myself this year and my body seems to have come up with a goal of its own for me – to take more time to rest.
What do you do when you get the day off?
I like to shower and get into my comfy home clothes, make a simple brekkie, perhaps apply a face mask, laze around reading books, think about a late lunch, more lazing, perhaps even take a nap?! Already I feel so much better than I have in days! It is so important to find time to rest. Later on I will do a little light stretching, some Pilates exercises. It’s still important to get the body moving! If it is to be a rest day like today, then I won’t do much in the way of chores, but I will wash any dishes and the towels. It feels better to know that the kitchen is clean and tidy. And later on I will be glad when we have fresh towels. Food will be the really simple kind. That seems to suit me best. Here’s what I ate so far:
Breakfast: Avocado on multi grain bread. I like to smear what is left in the shell on my face which as it dries seems to tighten my skin. Such an easy face mask, and afterwards when I finally remember to rinse it off my skin feels incredibly silky. I walked around with a green face for an hour before I remembered to go splash the avocado off. But not before I took the rubbish out and said hi to my neighbours. Nice.
Lunch: I’m avoiding anything oily or too salty so as not to upset my throat. And I am just crazy about turmeric in all my food so I steamed some rice with turmeric and garlic. After the rice was perfectly cooked, I lifted up the lid, threw in some green vegetables, cracked an egg, and tossed in some white mushrooms. I’m so chill right now I can’t recall what they are called exactly, possibly oyster mushrooms? Anyway, I close the lid so the steam doesn’t billow out and instead stays inside and perfectly cooks all those toppings. This is one of my favourite ways to make a meal and I’m glad my body seems to love this type of food too.
A few years ago I was working as a lawyer for a construction company, and all of us, and I truly mean the entire legal department, went through a phase of being obsessed with the hot chips from the cafe downstairs. They were so delicious we couldn’t get enough! Of course we completely overdid it one afternoon and I went home with the most terrible headache. I was so thirsty and all I wanted was steamed broccoli. When I went back the next day I found out I wasn’t the only one with a hot chip hangover. Yikes!
Back to my lunch. So, after a few minutes of gentle steaming the white of the egg is glossy and opaque, that’s when I know it is perfect. You may like your egg a little more firm but I like the yolk to be slightly oozy. My grandma used to make me gooey eggs like this and she would tell me it was my mum’s favourite way to eat eggs, and she called it “suo suo dan“; “dan” being the word for egg and “suo suo” being the action you make when you try to slurp up the goo. I still describe my eggs like that to this day. As to flavour, I just dash a very small amount of light soy sauce and sesame oil over the top. You can add white pepper, chopped chillies, coriander, but I’m happy with this and so is my tummy. Can there be anything better than having a warm feeling in the belly when it’s raining outside?
What nice things will you make for yourself to eat this weekend? xx
How was your weekend? We took it really easy, it’s my first weekend back in town so naturally we had loads of laundry and chores to catch up on. The last thing I want is to then have to drag myself out for dinner but I also don’t want to expend my remaining energy on making dinner but I want home food.
It’s all too “I know what I don’t want but I don’t know what I want but I know I want it now.” I KNOW! TIRESOME!
This Spicy Vegetarian Cous Cous Goreng has been a breakthrough over here. I always have a few random odds and ends hanging out in the veggie drawer of the fridge. When I make cous cous I can never make just the right amount there’s always an extra container of it. I keep a few spare packets of spice paste so all I do is just grab everything and throw it together and dinner is done! It’s so satisfying and warming, best of all you can just make it in the one pot and that’s as good as it gets, washing up wise.
So so easy! It’s my new favourite way to have cous cous. And you can sneak in all those vegetables.
Your choice of cooked grains: rice, cous cous, quinoa, oats, barley etc
A packet of spice paste (don’t be afraid to try other flavours too! Great ones to use are green/red/yellow curry paste)
Chopped veg (the softer the vegetable, like leaves, the less time it needs to cook)
Bit of oil, I like coconut oil, but use whatever you like
Options: fried egg, shredded meat, or leave out to keep it vegetarian
And yes, I am using my rice cooker to cook dinner. There’s no gas for my stove but I will always find a way hahaha.
“Your strength is how calmly, quietly and peacefully you face life.”~ Yogi Bhajan
This year has blessed me with a rich bounty of joy, health, love, wealth, success, mistakes, pain, grief, change, challenges and many lessons; somethings I asked for and plenty that I did not. I learned a few things, promptly forgot my lessons, relearned them, forgot some, remembered some. Some challenges I faced calmly and many ungracefully. Some change I accepted and some I resented. This year has been like every other year but I turned to meditation more than ever to learn acceptance. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not at all. I learned just how highly I value peace. I am learning how to be strong enough to always remain at peace within myself and brave enough to trust what I cannot yet know. I am the only one truly responsible for my happiness. So much to learn! I will try harder next year to do better. I could not have wished for a better year.
And you, friend? How was your year? I hope you have a marvellous year in which you meet with unlimited joy.
So legend has it that when you can’t sleep at night it is because you are awake in someone else’s dream.
Please stop dreaming about me whoever you are.
Aaaaaaaahahahahaha allow me to cackle away merrily whilst you take the time to roll your eyes.
I’ve been struggling to sleep properly and it seems to be some sort of excess nervous energy from prepping to go home for the holidays. This time next week I will be back home and ohmigoshonlyafewmoresleepstogoooooooooooooosomanythingstodosolittletimetodoitin.
You know those jitters?
Verrrrrry similar to the kind a kid gets the night before Christmas. Who could possibly sleep?! It’s just all too exciting. TOO being the keyword. Too much going on. Around us and inside our heads. Without an outlet to channel all the excitement into, those sensations spill over everywhere and amplify existing feelings.
There is a lot happening during holiday season and all that change can be stressful on a body.
Resisting the change causes friction which leaves me restless and kinda twitchy. Then as I lose sleep I become tired and cranky. The cycle continues on a loop. When I was younger I couldn’t figure out how to settle myself down and found myself buffeted along by the things that kept happening TO me no matter how hard I tried to avoid them or take full control. I felt so resentful and frustrated. Did I have a target on my back?
Now I kind of understand it is up to me to decide if I want to struggle and kick my way along or flow through change. But the way is always THROUGH the obstacles or the change. And whilst I can control some aspects there are many others that I can’t. Discerning what I can and can’t change, much like the serenity prayer, are key to giving me the space I need to regain a sense of calm.
Try reading the next two paragraphs out loud slowly and with intent:
I remember that I can control my breathing. I can inhale fully and exhale completely. I can move my body as I breath slowly and deeply. I can give complete attention to moving my body with my breath.
And with that I feel my heart rate calm down, my stomach ceases to twist into knots, my eyebrows unfurrow and my mind quietens and I move into stillness. Then I can sleep soundly and deeply. I wake up feeling joyful and excited about my days. I will nourish my body with fuel so I have energy to go about my day. I will move my body because it feels good to be active. I look forward to anything that comes my way. I feel content with the present moment because it is perfect.
I hope following along to this short video helps equip you with a sense of calm as you go about preparing yourself for this holiday season. Please practice safely and take good care of yourself.