Being 42 (What I Know Now)

It was my birthday this week.  I turned the big 4-2.  Forty Two years old.  Eeks! How did that happen?  I don’t know where the last four decades went.  I sometimes think I will wake up one day and it has all been a dream and I am still only ten or twelve (about the age my emotional maturity peaked).  So much has happened, and yet I still feel like I have no idea what in the heck is going on most of the time.

 I know some stuff.  But I feel that I know only a portion of the things I should know by now.  I just hope I get at least another 42 years to figure it all out.  Otherwise I am going to feel pretty dumb at the Pearly Gates if they ask me any questions about life.  Or geography. Or algebra.  Or anything to do with vocation – figuring that stuff out is really tricky.

What I Know Now (as of this minute)

  1. Facebook is not real life.
  2. It doesn’t matter if there is a God or Heaven or any of that stuff.  What matters is whether or not YOU believe it.  It’s nobody else’s business.  Believe if you like, if it makes you feel better.  If you’re wrong, you’re not going to find out anyway, so believe all you want now.  I personally choose to believe in an afterlife because I have grandparents and friends and furry family members I want to see again.  It’s that simple, and it gives me comfort.  But I’m not going to shove my ideas down anyone else’s throat.  If I want to believe that God looks like Jimmy Stewart or Emma Thompson – that’s my business.
  3. You can always make a fool of yourself at any age – you’re not immune just because you’ve stacked on a few years.
  4. It is far, far better to be alone than with someone who makes you feel crummy.
  5. You will never, ever understand boys.  Stop trying.
  6. Diets DO always begin tomorrow.  It’s a fact.
  7. If you don’t understand how to style your hair by the time you’re 20, you should give up.  I’m serious.  The hair has won.
  8. There is no substitute for chocolate.
  9. Or cheese.
  10. Dogs are better at living than we are.
  11. Cats have it pretty down-pat too.
  12. Beetroot juice is like wine for people who can’t have/don’t like wine.  It is amazeballs. And so pretty.IMG_2414
  13. Your family may be nuts, but they’re YOURS.
  14. The internet is not your friend.
  15. No matter how old you are, you will occasionally benefit from a good, swift kick in the pants.
  16. You will eventually get over the whole shaving-your-legs-every-day thing.
  17. You don’t have to have children of your own to know what maternal/paternal love is.
  18. Sometimes people just suck.  Most of the time they’re pretty nice though.
  19. Cynicism is a waste of everyone’s time.
  20. You shouldn’t let anyone tell you how big or small your dreams and ambitions should be. Only you know what you need and what you want to share with the world.
  21. Reality TV is anything but.
  22. You should never be ashamed of your emotions.  They are the only true thing we own.
  23. Your heart will get broken.  The cracks won’t ever heal, but they will be filled with better, sweeter stuff like forgiveness, compassion, knowledge and personal evolution. The hurt will be like your own private work of art.  Your Kintsugi.
  24. Books will expand your mind and your spirit, and will be amongst the greatest friends you will ever have.
  25. Love is all that matters.  Always.


So, I know some stuff.  That’s enough for now 🙂



Little Peeps & Helpers

Little Peeps & Helpers

A busy couple of days for me on the weekend.  My car window decided to die (ie wouldn’t go up or down) on Friday night, meaning I had to get it fixed somehow on Saturday.  Which, in turn, meant a very expensive call-out fee for a mobile mechanic and an equally expensive part that I’m sure was worth much less than what I was quoted.  But it was a Saturday and I couldn’t leave my car unsecured all weekend, plus we were due for a thunderstorm that night, so I had to pay the big bucks and get it fixed then and there.  I hate dealing with car stuff – it stresses me out.  How do you know if you’re being ripped off and, even if you are, what can you do about it when you need the thing fixed right away on a weekend?  I even looked up on Youtube how to repair a car window regulator cable yourself, but decided that was fraught with danger and the possibility of me having a tantrum and ending up with a broken door panel as well as a broken window cable.

Waiting around for the mechanic and the repairs took up half of my day.  I then had to go and get my groceries (I had NO food in the house, literally) and do some laundry.  I really wanted to get some crafting done, so I got stuck in to my little Christmas people that I had started last weekend.  I made a handful of them, ready to assemble on to cards.


I managed to get one card finished, with this little lady in blue :


On Sunday, it was my niece’s 2nd birthday, so we attended her birthday party in the park.  It was a lovely morning – there was a gorgeous cool breeze (a relief after the heat of the day before when it was RIDICULOUSLY hot for Spring, reaching 40 degrees) and plenty of shade.  Lots of kids running around, having fun with sack races, water-balloon fights and a piñata.  Miss Two was rather bemused by it all, but very well-behaved.  I sat with her while she ate her piece of delicious birthday cake, very lady-like with her little fork and paper plate.  Adorable.  I spent most of the morning carrying her around and, although she is a tiny little thing, she weighs a ton ha ha.  My arm today is about to drop off.  But there were lots of ant nests and I couldn’t really let her just toddle around on the ground, in case she got bitten.

Afterwards, I had to take my Mum grocery shopping.  It just so happens that her local shops are close to an amazing papercraft shop, Scrapbook Secrets, so I took the opportunity to buy a few bits and pieces from there.  Not too many, as I had just shelled out for my car repairs, but enough pretty papers and embellishments to help me finish off some more cards for Christmas.

I made one more card last night – not sure if I am happy with it, but I guess it is quite cute.  I do rather like my little Christmas people – and I am pleased I have been able to use something that is my own design, for the most part.  I must have drawn a hundred little faces and hands by now, but colouring them in and cutting them out is quite therapeutic, if not fiddly and hand-ache-making!  I wish I could do eyes properly, but for now they will all have to have closed eyes.  It makes them look peaceful, anyway, and I suppose that’s what you want at Christmas time!


Such a dreadful week, internationally, with the bombings and terror attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Syria, as well as other disasters like earthquakes, fires and floods.  Such scary times we are living in – so many people living in terror and fear for their lives, and the lives of their loved ones.  The Paris attacks this weekend got the most attention, and indeed I found myself tearing up over the lives lost and the horrific actions of the perpetrators.  It is impossible to make sense of these things, or to understand what is going through someone’s head when they decide to commit these crimes.  I’m not going to go into the politics of it all – I’m not qualified to do so – I just know it is human beings hurting other human beings.

There’s a quote from Fred Rogers circulating at the moment which encourages us to remember that there is still good in the world, still people who want to help and do the right thing.  I am trying to take some comfort in it and know that, for the most part, human beings are good and kind-hearted, with no desire to hurt anyone.  I like to think that’s true, anyway.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

I have gone from hardly posting at all to posting A LOT this week.  It won’t last, I’m sure.  Get it while it’s hot!

Potted up this little ceramic box with a bunch of Echeveria pups I had propagated.  One of my colleagues at work is turning the big 7-0 this week and I wanted to get her a little something for her office.  I had planned on buying an orchid, but the shops only seemed to have enormous ones that were out of my price range, so I decided to pot up a few succulents for her in a nice pot.  Found these weeny square ceramic pots at Bunnings for less than $4.  I was going to put in a few different varieties of succulent, but then I decided to just use the echeverias, although there are several different colours.  They will eventually grow to big for the pot but for a little while they will be happy enough.  It annoys me when plant pots are made with no hole in them for drainage.  I realise the do this so that water doesn’t leak out all over your precious heirloom tablecloth or whatever, but still… I just put a load of gravel or other free-draining material in the bottom to prevent any root-rot.

It’s cute – I hope she likes it.  Everything makes her sneeze and cough, so I had to get something that wouldn’t flower heaps or have lots of pollen.  I figure I am pretty safe with these little guys.


I’m also making some chocolate oat cookies (these) to take to work for everyone to share.  I hate to admit it, but I ate half of the batter before it even made it to the oven.  Because I am an idiot.  Who shouldn’t eat chocolate. Le Sigh.  Sometimes, my brain switches off.  Actually, more truthfully, most days it doesn’t switch on in the first place.  I have been trying to be good lately and not eat bad stuff but it is a losing battle.  I didn’t go for a walk today so can’t even say “at least I exercised”. I wanted to have lost a couple of kilos by the time my annual renal appointment came up at the end of the month, but it looks like I will have to wear the same sheepish, guilty expression I always have when I see my specialist.

Well, I am heading into boring “I am fat” territory and don’t want to subject you to that yawn-fest, so I shall go.

Hope your day has been happy and guilt-free.  Or FULL of guilty pleasures.  Yeah, that sounds much more fun!


Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

I like buying presents.  Truly, I am one of those people who actually likes to give more than receive.  It’s not even a non-selfish thing.  I LOVE buying presents.  It’s fun and you get to make someone else happy and let them know you’re important to you.  What can be better than that?  Plus, it usually means you get to go shopping.  Which is always a good thing.  And it’s GUILT-FREE shopping because you’re not spending the money on yourself.  So it doesn’t actually count as spending!  Woo!

But some people have everything.  And you think “Ugh, what can I get this person who has everything and doesn’t need another mug/vase/notebook/photo frame?”  It’s quite the conundrum.

Never fear, I am here to help you.  After many years researching (ie shopping) I have found that the best things to get people are the things are actually kind of mundane.  But they’re the things that we all need and use from time to time and often don’t have, right when we need them.  There’s also lots of stuff we need but can’t be bothered buying for ourselves because we’d rather buy shoes or cupcakes or something.

So, here are some handy ideas for the next time you’re stumped for a gift.
Put some thought into it and a little bit of heart too.

  • Greeting Cards – Nearly everybody needs these at some time or another.  Buy a selection of birthday, thank you, thinking-of-you etc cards and bundle them up in a nice box or basket.  You can get really nice cards for $1 or $2 or, better still, make some yourself.  It will save the recipient time and money, which is never a bad thing.  Remember to buy cards for each gender as well, or more uni-sex ones if you can find them.
  • Wrapping paper – Same deal as greeting cards.  Find some inexpensive sheets of paper and bundle them up in a pretty package with some accompanying ribbons, stickers, or other trim so they can gussy up their gifts.  Wrapping paper is always the thing you forget to buy when you have to give someone a gift.  Save them the trouble.  Again, it’s a good idea to go with designs that will suit any gender.  Stripes are good, as are spots and geometric shapes.
  • Tea Towels – Yes, it sounds dull, but how often do any of us treat ourselves to a nice new tea-towel?  I don’t know about you, but I have a drawer full of grotty old tea-towels that really should be made into dusters now.  I never get myself new ones.  In fact, I “save” any really pretty ones I have because I don’t want to get them dirty.  Duh.  But if I had more decent ones, maybe I would use the ones I have.  Buy a set of pretty-but-practical towels in cheerful colours or in tones that match the gift recipient’s kitchen.  You can tie them up with a ribbon and pop a wooden spoon or other utensil in as well, just to add to the theme.
  • Cruelty-Free – OK, stay with me on this one.  Finding cruelty-free products can be tricky.  If you’re someone who, like me, will NOT use products you know are tested on animals or brands you just aren’t sure about because they never display it on their packaging, having a trusty list to go buy is VERY handy.  Do some research, look at websites such as Choose Cruelty Free (Australia) or PETA and compile a list of suitable brands (write them in a nice notebook or type them up and laminate in a purse-sized format) for a vegan or animal-loving friend.  Add a couple of items from the companies you’ve listed.  If your intended recipient isn’t in to makeup or hair, you can do the same sort of concept with cleaning products, skin care etc.  It’s a thoughtful, helpful gift that will save them time in the shops, especially if they’re new to the whole cruelty-free world.  It will show that you validate and support their beliefs and that you care about them enough to take the time to make a truly unique and heartfelt gift.
  • Donate on Their Behalf – I know some people think this is a crappy gift, but it really can be a nice thought if you choose your charity wisely.  Some people really want to give, but don’t have the funds to do so.  You can purchase gift  donations to everything from charities that support women’s rights, to organisations that provide sporting goods to children in poorer countries.  Give the gift of clean water or employment opportunities, educational supplies, mosquito nets, livestock or just a good old cash donation.  Make your gift count.  What do you give someone who has everything?  You give them a gift that will help someone who has next to nothing.
  • Recipe & Baked Goods – So you make the world’s best brownies? (well, I think mine are pretty good as it happens…) and your friend loves them?  Whip up a batch and while you’re at it, type up the recipe and have it laminated. The recipient gets the yummy goodies AND your secret recipe, which is pretty awesome.  Present the goods in a nice container and it’s win-win all round.
  • Mix CD – Now, I have talked about my fondness and sentimentality over the good old mix tape, so it’s no secret I love this somewhat daggy gift.  There is nothing more personal than sharing your favourite music with someone.  It’s like letting them in to the inner sanctum of your life.  Maybe.  But this can be a really neat gift.  I actually made one for my brother a couple of years ago, with a bunch of songs that we loved as kids, mostly one-hit wonders that don’t get played much nowadays.  He thought it was the best gift ever.  Bringing back memories is as important as making new ones.  It’s important to make the song-list one that the recipient would like, not just a selection of tunes you’re crazy about.  Make it personal to them – maybe songs from the year they were born or the year they graduated high school.  You get extra points for giving it a cool, handmade cover.  Make it old school, baby!

So, there you are.  Just a few suggestions that might help you out next time in you’re in a quandary about what to get someone.  I think the secret is always to make the gift very personal, very individual to the person you’re giving it to. Make it look like you put some thought into it – not just grabbed the first thing you saw on the sales rack or next to the counter when you were buying your groceries.  It’s not hard to do and doesn’t need to be expensive.  You can buy a box of chocolates for someone, but arranging them in a pretty jar tied with ribbon and a lovely handmade tag makes it special.  It’s all in the presentation, people!

Now, go buy me something! And make it awesome! (Kidding).

Have a lovely week everybody 🙂

Getting My Craft On (and trying to avoid a cold)

Getting My Craft On (and trying to avoid a cold)

Ugh.  Feeling slightly icky today.  Am hoping it’s just a 24-hour type of thing as I have plans to enjoy my weekend and do a bit of crafting as well as enjoying the Australia Day fireworks tomorrow.  I haven’t been ill in ages (and have jinxed myself by saying exactly that, out loud, today) so I really don’t want to spoil my run of good health.  Just very tired and slightly feverish, headachey and blah.  My Mum is staying for the weekend and she always makes me feel better, plus I’ve dosed myself up on vitamin C, garlic and horseradish, so hopefully I will perk up tomorrow. Being sick on a public holiday just will not do!

Spent some time with my brother and his brood today.  Master M was turning six and so we had a little family gathering to celebrate.  Much fun was had.  The children are so well behaved and such a delight to be with.  My heart swells-to-bursting with ridiculous love for them.  They’re just such NICE little people.  Master M got so “awesome” presents (lots of lego, art supplies and an amazing Minecraft-themed bean bag) and had a lovely time building his new lego creations and playing with his siblings.  He had requested a “fox” birthday cake so his Mum made a delightfully orange one (which was enjoyed by all) and she also had decorated the room in various fox-themed party favours and decorations.





In the afternoon, I attempted to start making some cards (as a lady at work has requested some from me and I have absolutely nothing in my stash).  I completed one, but as I was not feeling the best, gave up for the rest of the evening.  I’m happy to have made one – it’s a starting point and I didn’t have too much trouble making it, despite feeling under the weather and rather uninspired in general.  I went with my stand-by theme of egg-and-wings.  I just love the combination.


Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  For those of you here in Oz, happy Australia Day for tomorrow – hope you enjoy your day!  I’ll be watching the fireworks from the foreshore, just at the end of my street.  I am ethically opposed to fireworks – the environment suffers as do any poor animals and birds in the area – but as they will happen regardless, I might as well enjoy them too.  Especially as my beloved nieces and nephews, brother, sister-in-law, and Mum will come and watch them with me this year 🙂

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

I have been eating a lot lately.  Bingeing, you might say.  Whether it is to fill an emotional void or just because I am a pig with no self control, I can’t say.  I don’t generally keep “bad” food in the house because I will just eat it.  Rapidly. With no thought to the size of my thighs or any other part of my expanding body.

Today I had my niece’s 1st birthday party to go to.  I was severely hungover (not from alcohol, I don’t drink – it was from some medication I take to ease neck pain and headaches and last night I took a big dose because I just wanted to sleep) and very dopey and unmotivated.  Last night, I had predicted my inevitable last-minute dash to the party, so I had baked some cookies. Easy cookies which take no brain power whatsoever to make.  I added chocolate to the recipe because I am currently also going through some sort of brain fog, whereby I forget that I’m not supposed to eat chocolate (because of my kidneys).  Besides, the cookies were for the party, not strictly for me alone, so I could cheat and eat some batter and pretend it was ok.

The cookies are yummy and turn out really well, even if your oven is rubbish like mine.  The wholegrain porridge oats mean they are super healthy (you can lie to yourself like I did) and should be eaten with abandon.


Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

150g Self Raising Floour
150g Wholegrain Quick Oats
150g Dark Brown Sugar
150g Butter
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
100g chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a saucepan, melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in dry ingredients until all combine. Chocolate will probably melt into mixture but that’s ok!

Spoon mixture onto baking tray and form into rounds.

Bake for approx 20 minutes.  Let cool on trays.  Store in airtight container.

Voila!  Eat and go on a diet tomorrow!


You know you’re getting old when…

You know you’re getting old when…

I am feeling my age today.  Or, at least, feeling the age that 40 used to be.  You know when you were a kid and 40 seemed so OLD.  Like, way past over the hill.  Old.  Well, that is how I am feeling today.  I haven’t been 100% well-feeling for the last week or so and am just feeling fat and fed up and forty.  Which, I reiterate, is not old.  But today it feels it.  Wow, that’s a lot of “feels” all in one paragraph…

Someone mentioned a song in the charts today and I had no idea what they were talking about.  Hadn’t even heard of the singer.  I used to be all up in the music scene.  I knew who was who and what was what.  Now, I’d be lucky to be able to name half of the artists in the top 40.  Which makes me feel old.  Because I swore blind I would never be one of those old fuddy-duddies who dissed new music and only listened to music from their own era.  But I am becoming that way.  I cling to the fact that I like and appreciate Lady Gaga – as soon as I start not understanding or liking her, I am in trouble and may as well order myself a Zimmer Frame.

Signs I am one step away from the old people’s home

As I was having physio this week, I looked up at my very attractive-but-far-too-young-for-me physiotherapist, noticing he had a couple of days’ worth of stubble on his face.  I almost reached up to stroke his face and comment that he looked handsome.  Which would have been inappropriate and weird.  Worse still was the fact that the action was almost like maternal  affection, rather than a romantic / flirtatious gesture.

I am in bed before 10.30 most nights.

I prefer staying in than going out.

I have started to remark (a lot) that music on the radio “these days” is “rubbish”.

I have trouble understanding advertising.

The other night, at my cousin’s rowdy 40th Birthday party, I was standing in a corner drinking a cup of tea, wishing someone would turn the music down.

I have started calling people in their twenties “kids”.

I don’t know half of the celebrities that appear in magazines.

I have the beginnings of a bunion.

The cold weather makes me ache.

I have a fine collection of hot water bottles.  And use them.

I am doing a lot of squinting when trying to read things.  My arms are no longer long enough to hold objects far enough from my face to read them accurately.

When my nephews and nieces ask me how old I am and I tell them “Old”, they believe me.

I don’t know the names of any of the One Direction dudes or what they sing.

I think Miley Cyrus has lost the plot and needs a good talking to. And some clothes.

I am fighting a losing battle with the strands of grey in my hair.

I wonder where manners and good grammar have disappeared to.

*     *     *

At the end of the day, I am NOT old.  And if I am, well then, I am lucky to be so.  Not everyone gets the chance.  But today, I would like to feel just a little younger, a little less creaky and be able to sing along with at least half of the top ten songs in the charts.  And not turn the volume down.

Hope you are all feeling young and spritely today.  If not, join me in a cup of tea and quick Nanna-nap and start again tomorrow.