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I received this in the mail today, which is kind of cool, on the surface.

Jamie's Garden

Upsides:

It’s filled with notes, recipes and spots for stickers, perfect for a slightly older child, or a strong reader. I think Amy will like it, but struggle to read it at the moment.

It also came with a terracotta pot which Eve promptly smashed. Toddlers. Don’t trust them. Luckily Kim Foale Ceramics has made me some pots which hold up to toddlers and actual growing things much better than crappy terracotta.

Downsides:

The seeds it came with. Tomato. In May. For Tasmania. Even watercress, or mustard would have been a more sensible choice. Or spring onions. Or parsley. Anything you can grow inside on a window ledge really, which isn’t tomatoes. Especially Grosse Lisse Tomatoes, which hate Tasmania.

Even more downside-y – my kid is allergic to tomatoes. I’m not picking at the company, but yeah, I kind of am. No tomatoes for us. Poor choice.

Also had a stuffed toy and a toy spade, which Eve commandeered immediately.

It’s a promotion for Woolworths, obviously, and while I think I like it better than the animal cards, or whatever the last thing was, I find the notion of providing collectable things for children in order to get kids to bug parents about shopping at Woolies, slightly less than ethical.

It causes people to go insane, and we have enough one-upmanship happening with kids as it is, without adding collectable swappable things to the mix.

Am I convinced?

I don’t think so. I like the theme of healthy eating they’ve got happening, but the execution needs work, especially as Woolworths is more invested in selling junk at low prices than providing healthy affordable options.

Unless of course you want to eat rice and beans, which hey, we might all have to in this current climate.

Now if Woolworths had sent better seeds, or better pots, or actual suggestions on growing a garden, coupled with a promise to drop prices on the food I want to eat, I might be more sympathetic. As it is, it feels like a cheap ploy to pretend to be interested in healthy food while promoting coke, chips and junk as the affordable options.

This post is kind of sponsored. I got stuff, and even though I didn’t have to write about it, I had ALL THE FEELS, so I guess I’m still promoting their new campaign and giving it space, even though it didn’t win me over.

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FebFast_Ribbon_RGBThis article is sponsored, but I’m also going to talk about my health, quitting sugar (aka: losing my sanity) and why I agreed to do it and see how I feel.

I’d like if you kept reading, because I’m interested in your thoughts too.

I’d been thinking about quitting sugar for a while, in an abstract “maybe I’ll feel better” kind of way. My health is tenuous at best, and I wondered how my chocolate consumption was impacting on my general feeling of wellness.

Plus, I have rotten skin and I was interested to see if cutting out sugar would help. This tied in well with my “god I need to drink more water” epiphany in December, which saw me doubling my fluid intake and feeling much better for it.

Now, I haven’t been over the top about it all. I’m still eating fruit, and I’ve been adding honey to smoothies. When the sugar cravings got really bad I was also eating honey on bread, much to the passive aggressive disgust of one of my twitter followers. Apparently I can’t complain about quitting sugar because I’m DOIN IT WRONG or something.

Today is day ten of no processed sugar, and I honestly can’t tell you if I feel any better or not. I think I do. Maybe? Detoxing is such a slow process I’m not sure I’d notice the improvements.

I’ve definitely been making better choices with my food, making salads, or sandwiches, or cheese on crackers instead of reaching for another chocolate biscuit. If you tell me cheese isn’t healthy, I will cut you.

I’d like to say that quitting sugar has eased my Ehlers Danlos related nausea but I’m also weaning Evelyn, so I think my periods are returning, and someone pass me a goddamned bucket and a cold compress PLEASE.

It’s been an interesting experience so far. I’m not as ravenously hungry as I was on days one through five, and it’s interesting to me to notice how often I was snacking out of boredom, or oral fixation (who said my quirky kids fell far from the metaphorical quirky tree?), rather than pure hunger.

As for my skin, well it’s been kind of terrible actually. BUT, I noticed with my skin it gets really bad whenever I make a big dietary change, before improving again. Doubling my water intake made me breakout badly, before my skin improved to look clearer than it had in a long time (gestating girl babies messes with my skin horribly – I had lovely skin during my pregnancy with Isaac).

I was also hoping to lose weight quitting sugar, but I think ravenous hunger and ‘oh god I’ve got no energy why am I doing this’ lethargy have been working against me, and ten days is not enough time to lose weight anyway. So that’s still something that might happen.

All in all, I’m really glad I was sponsored to begin this kick. It definitely pushed me over the edge and made me commit, which I’m not sure I would have been able to do without the incentive. At least not without lots of angst and should I shouldn’t I oh help crap.

I’m going to keep it up, definitely for the entirety of January, and then I’ll be joining in properly with Febfast (my lovely sponsors) to stay off sugar for February, and then we’ll reassess and see how I feel. I started early, so that I could write about it for you.

Now for the sponsored part.

FebFast is the original charity movement which challenges Australians to take a 28 day break from alcohol and raise funds for youth addiction. New for 2014, FebFasters will have the choice to take a break from alcohol, sugar, caffeine or digital overload.

For six years, FebFast has been just the tonic to kick-start a healthier year, raising $5.5 million and inspiring nearly 1,000,000 drink-free days in the process. Resisting your cravings is also a tiny insight into the challenges young people face with serious addiction issues each day. It’s time you joined the ultimate pause for the better.

ANYTHING that raises money to help with youth addiction is something I am willing to get behind.

If you’re interested, check out their About page.

JOIN MY TEAM

Currently I’m all lonely in my quitting sugar team, and I’d love if you joined the Sleepless Nights AHOY team. You can also give up digital devices (SACRILEGE), alcohol, or caffeine.

Or you can support us by going here and donating. Your money is used to help young people suffering from addiction.

My advice

My advice if you’re quitting sugar is to start cutting down now. I spent December cutting out sugar in my tea – going down 1/2 teaspoon at a time, and avoiding chocolate biscuits. Of course, then Christmas came and I ate WAY too much pavlova, effectively setting myself back the entire month, but you know. BABY STEPS.

I assume it’s the same for anything you’re quitting. Cutting down to begin with is easier than going cold turkey.

I’m interested to see if I’ve lost weight by the end of February, how I’m feeling, and whether I’ll immediately fall back into my old habits.

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This morning Hobart Mums’ Network asked what we resolved to do this year. I thought about it briefly, and flippantly replied:

Write more, daydream more, take notes for everything, smile lots, laugh, embrace irreverence, be silly often, tell stories every day, love well, live well.

As flippant as I felt, looking back on my comment this is exactly what I plan to do this year.

Christmas Night, when everyone had gone home, Evelyn was asleep, and the light was disappearing from the horizon, Nathan lit the bonfire. We sat there, watching the paper and wood burn, and my brother and I began telling stories.

Amy and Isaac curled up on the grass next to us, blankets around their shoulders, while Nathan listened. We sat there, and I recounted moments from my childhood for them. My brother added things I’d forgotten – although how I’d forgotten sliding down the dry grassy hill on a body board, I don’t know.

My children laughed, and snuggled, and begged for more.

There is power in telling stories to my children, especially stories from my childhood. Snippets they take into themselves, building connections between us as they imagine me as a child, hiding from my parents in an old cupboard, or sliding down a hill on my stomach.

This year, I resolve to tell more stories. Write more, and write often. To laugh. To embrace irreverance, and to not take myself seriously.

We can learn a lot from how our children approach life, and this year, I plan to emulate them.

Of course, bits of adulthood continue to sneak in around the edges, with a credit card disaster fresh in my memory, and a discovery that no matter how stable it feels like we are, it only takes a minor disaster to set off my financial disaster alarm bells.

But it’s all okay. It’s a New Year, all fresh and shiny, with the bubble wrap still caught around the edges.

I plan to take advantage of every second.

Of course, I’m also quitting sugar for January as part of a sponsored campaign that I’ll talk about in detail a little later in the month, so “taking advantage” may also equal “curling up in a ball with tea and a book”. Clearly I am insane as the house is still full of chocolates from Xmas. Twitch. Twitch.

You can read about my credit card disaster on Money Circle. It wasn’t the highlight of my Christmas period, that’s for sure.

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A story of shaving, or not shaving

by Veronica on December 13, 2013

in Sponsored Posts

This post mentions a product I was gifted at the end, so it’s definitely sponsored, but I’m also going to talk about female beauty ideals and my childhood a little, so if you want to stick around for the stories, I’d like that.

And now that I’ve killed anyone clicking through from an excerpt, let us begin.

I was teased in Primary school for having hairy legs. I have black hair, so it was obvious that any hair on my legs was going to be dark as well, and that offended some of the children at my school. Now bear in mind we’re not talking about teenagers here, we’re talking about 7-12yos. I was teased mercilessly. All because I grew hair.

My mother was anti-shaving. Well, no, that’s not even right. My mother was anti-spending time doing things she didn’t enjoy in order to satisfy a cultural demand she didn’t agree with. Or something. So she didn’t shave her legs 99% of the time, and under her arms ever.

I was twelve the first time I picked up a razor while home alone, and shaved my legs. The razor was blunted, and old, and disposable, but it took the hair off my legs and I was silky smooth for the first time ever.

I loved it.

From then on, while I was in highschool,  I shaved my legs once a week, using disposable razors at my grandmother’s house. That in itself is a long story – my parents’ house didn’t have running water and yada yada. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s. Which is why I still miss her so badly, especially after this week in hospital with Evie, but I digress.

At highschool however, nothing was said about leg hair, because we all shaved. But OH, the hair on my arms? OFFENSIVE, on so many levels. One boy went so far as to asking why I didn’t wax my arms and shuddering every time he looked at my naked arm flesh. True story.

Jeremy, you were kind of an arsehole.

Because hair on arms isn’t seen as culturally distasteful though, I never bothered to shave my arms, or wax them. But I didn’t think twice about stripping the hair off other parts of my body, which is even stranger when you think about it. Sacred arm hair of the Gods. Or something.

Eventually, I ditched disposable razors, and the angels sung, and prophets wept and everything was very smooth and easy and lovely. Being fifteen is hard enough, without also being fifteen with body hair. You know how this story goes.

Then I met Nathan, and to cut a long story short, we fell in love. And he didn’t care whether I’d shaved or not. Well, he didn’t tell me if he did. I continued to shave my legs regularly because of summer, and dresses, and fulfilling cultural norms.

Nowadays, after two years of marriage, nine years together and three children, I shave my legs very rarely. When I was pregnant with Evelyn, I went nearly the whole pregnancy without shaving, and I didn’t care. Neither did Nathan. It’s just not a thing I feel I need to do anymore.

But, it is still something I like to do on occasion. Sliding into bed with clean sheets and freshly shaven legs is a pleasure.

Women are told over and over how our bodies need to look in order to fulfil the desires of other people. To have your self-worth as a teenager tied up in how much body hair you have is a miserable experience, and hypocritically, while I truly believe everyone should be able to make their own body hair decisions, I was grateful to see that Amy’s hair is soft and fine and light, sparing her the teasing I experienced.

The other day, Nathan was online and there were a group of men belittling a selfie taken by a woman. He said “it took me forever to realise what they were talking about – she hadn’t shaved under her arms.” I’ve desensitived him to the point that he didn’t even notice her underarm hair. That is kind of awesome.

(This is where the product talk starts, so if you hate this kind of thing, skip to the end and tell me about your shaving stories? I’m interested)

Because I shave rarely, and I shave fast, I love my Schick Intuition razor. It’s a funny thing, I actually spent an hour the other day online looking for cheaper heads for it, before finally giving up and accepting that I’d have to pay the usual amount. Then a press release landed in my inbox, letting me know that they had a new product line out.

I love that they have the guidewires so I don’t cut myself, because I used to do that a lot. And I like that the soap is already in the razor head, because I’m lazy and I want to be able to shave fast.

And the coconut/almond oil in the soap smells nice. Summery. I shaved my legs this morning in the shower . It was easy, I don’t have razor burn, and I didn’t cut my kneecaps to pieces.

10/10, would use again.

Schick Intuition

 

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Emerging again. But not like a butterfly.

by Veronica on December 4, 2013

in Blogging

So, wow. November, hey? What a ride that was. I wrote feverishly, creating giant plot holes that I lost myself in. I threw my hands in the air and shouted at my characters to behave, and rewrote their back stories when they wouldn’t. I’m attached, and finished, and glad to be done.

I’m also suffering from NaNoWriMo hangover. I haven’t written any fiction in five days and it feels strange to not have any pressure, or plot points hanging around in there. If you tap on my head, it’s hollow, written out and written down.

By the end, I was averaging 2k words a day, mostly written in a frenzy after Evelyn fell asleep each night. I lost sleep, tapping away at my laptop until midnight, making the characters dance to my whims.

And now it’s over, it feels like I’m emerging again. Not like a butterfly – more like a mole. Or something that lives underground, creeping around in the dank depths of insanity.

It’s Summer now, and long warm days are the perfect things for writing – or for thinking about writing, while actually playing in the garden.

The benefit of all this concerted effort in November, are the habits I form. Writing doesn’t take as long. Putting words down on the paper is a faster, smoother process.

The other benefit of NaNo are the people you meet. Other writers, who understand the insanity of making up lies to tell people on purpose. Of creating people who are entirely real, and entirely fake.

In a few weeks, I’ll pick up my rough draft again and read it through, red pen in hand. I’ll slash and burn, and rebuild, and write. I’ll beat it into submission, and make something of it. Because that’s what I do. I write. Writers write.

After that, who knows?

I do know I am glad November is over, crazy brilliant fun that it is. My poor brain needs a small holiday, and I am happy to relax into this, the holiday season, with books and notepads and plans for the New Year.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? Did you win?

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