April 2015Life Love and Hiccups: April 2015
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Wednesday 29 April 2015

I STILL Stand For Mercy

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Bali Executions

Like millions others last night I closed my eyes in bed thinking about Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and my heart ached for both them and their families.

I naively clung to hope for mercy, because as long as someone is still breathing there always remains hope but... when I woke to the news this morning that the executions had been carried out, all hope was gone.

I know those men made possibly one of the dumbest mistakes anyone could make.

I know they knew and we all know the consequences of the crime they committed.

I also know that many hold little pity for drug dealers, and that pity is probably an impossible emotion for anyone who has lost a loved one to drugs to feel.

I get all that, I really do.

What I cannot fathom however is how anyone can think that in this day and age and in light of all the monstrosities that are playing out in the world around us and amid the people’s cries for peace, that an execution of anyone is the answer.

I truly believe that the Indonesian government have fucked this up big time and tragically it can never be fixed now that those lives have gone.

This was a HUGE mistake for a country that relies on empathy and support and even mercy itself from neighbouring countries and it is an even bigger mistake for a country that is unfortunately notorious for corruption among governing officials to carry out an execution on men who they have deemed to have corrupted their laws.

It is the epitome of hypocrisy.

All that said, I am not going to condemn the beautiful people of Bali for the lack of mercy shown by their government.

I am not going to make threats to boycott Bali and their innocent people as my own act of retribution.

No good will come of that.

Surely mercy and forgiveness is a far more powerful message than retribution?

How can we teach our children the lessons in redemption and in righting their wrongs? How can we exemplify that with forgiveness comes peace when clearly that is not the way it really is out there in the world?

People can change.

Ten years is a long long time and during such time those men changed. They made good of the bad and put good out into the world and whether they did that to save themselves is irrelevant really, especially to the people they have actually helped and inspired

They were living proof that rehabilitation works and as long as they were alive they served the purpose of encouraging others on the wrong path to consider changing their ways too.

I do not believe in an eye for an eye.

The executions may have rid the world of a couple of drug smugglers, but it also stole from the world the belief that people can be reformed and that it is better to reform than to continue to live a life of wrongdoing.

It robbed mothers who I have no doubt just like each of us once knelt down in front of their small children and spoke to them gently about forgiveness and mercy, the chance to prove those lessons right.

As a mother of three children, I pray to God with every bit of my being that my children never make such a heartbreaking mistake in a world that will show them no mercy.

I shall forever more stand for mercy.

I stand for mercy

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Which Camp are you In?

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I am just gonna put it out there - I am a phone person through and through.

One hundred percent I prefer to talk in person rather than via messages.

I hate email, I am shit at texting and I literally suck at remembering to check and respond to various messages across all the different platforms.

Call it my weakness, my Achilles heel, or just call it a big fat bunion on a really ugly toe.

You can call it whatever you like really, I won't be offended. It just is what it is and I am who I am.

When I was a teenager I was one of those kids who would drag the phone extension cord all the way down the hallway and into my bedroom and there you would find me gas bagging to a girlfriend or a boy for hours on end.

I like talking on the phone.

I love the way that you can say what you need to say with an instant response.

I love that an over thinker like me can get feedback straight away without spending a night worrying whether the other person has received my message, and how did they read it and what are they thinking?

I hate the way that emails don't always read how the person who wrote it meant it to read. You can't always get the right tone or context in an email.

My email inbox causes me endless stress because I am one of those people who loathes the site of an inbox full of unanswered emails. I am an OCD control freak who likes to be organised and email is the one thing I have yet to gain control over.

I worry that the people who have sent me the emails think I am a gigantic asshole for not responding when the simple fact of the matter is I probably don't even know that their email is there because I have been far too busy procrastinating and avoiding looking at my inbox.

I live in a constant state of denial when it comes to that inbox and don't get me started on text messages or the messaging thingies on my Facebook, Twitter, instagram or instant messenger.

I get them, and I read them and usually when I do, I am right in the middle of something so I tell myself that I will respond as soon as I am finished... and then usually I don't... because I forget.

I remember once a mum at school asking if she could borrow my phone, and when I handed it to her she looked at in shock and said "Sonia, you have 18 unread text messages. What the heck?"

I was ashamed, but it wasn't that I was being rude, it was just my way of dealing with my forgetfulness at responding to those messages...  I simply didn't read them until I had time to respond but then I never actually responded because I forgot they were there.

Of course that landed me in a whole lot of hot water. I missed appointments and deadlines and important messages and people had the shits with me because they weren't getting any response and yada yada yada.

I couldn't blame them for getting shitty with me.. not one bit.

I was shitty with me because clearly that technique of mine wasn't working.

Now I tend to answer a text message with a phone call whenever I can, and the same goes for emails.

I'll call you, or you call me and we'll have a good old fashioned yarn.

It seems however that I might be in the minority with this though as so many people tell me that they prefer the convenience of text and email over having to make a phone call, or that they avoid phone calls because they feel shy talking to someone over the phone.

So I want to put it to you guys - what do you prefer?

Do you prefer to talk on the phone or via text / email?
Which camp are you in?
Is the phone call a thing of the past?

Monday 27 April 2015

Make a Mother's Day Indulgence Pack

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Homemade Salt Body Scrub

Brought to you by Nuffnang and The Reject Shop

Congratulations to Jacqui Yuan

If there is one kind of gift I particularly love, it is something handmade.

Just the idea that someone has gone to the trouble to create something especially for me - the time, the effort and the thought that has gone into the gift, I love it all.

Nothing says Mother’s Day like “indulge yourself”, so I thought I would haul my local The Reject Shop for some bits and bobs to put together a little indulgence kit, for a special mum this Mother’s Day.

Homemade Salt & Coconut Body Scrub
As soon as I spied the rows and rows of glass apothecary jars, the inspiration hit me – a Salt scrub!
What is more indulgent than a long hot soak in the bath?

At $3.00 each, I threw 2 of those glass babies into my basket along with a $2.50 twin pack of bath washers, a cute $6.00 wooden box to store it all in, some tissue paper, ribbon and gift tags and a couple of boxes of scorched almonds for this special mum to munch on when she is relaxing in the bath.

A quick stop on the way home to grab a few other supplies from the local grocery store and we were good to go.

Lemon and Rosemary body scrub

The Salt scrub is so quick and easy to make and the fragrance combinations you can come up with are limitless. Just make sure you use essential oils that are safe on the skin. I brought mine from a health food store, and the sales lady was able to advise me.

The combination I chose was Rosemary, lemon and coconut. The coconut fragrance came naturally from the coconut oil I used, and I added dried Rosemary and lemon essential oils.

Lemon oil is detoxifying in nature and is also very calming so it is perfect to use for reducing fatigue, stress, anxiety and nervousness – all things that kind of come part and parcel with being a mum right?

Rosemary among many other things, is rich in anti aging properties, boosts the memory and the immune system, improved circulation in the body and is also beneficial in reducing stress and improving the mood.

The perfect combo huh!

Homemade Salt Scrub

Ingredients to make one enough to fill a 750ml jar

2 ½ cups of course sea salt
1 cup coconut oil
¼ cup of rosemary
8 drops of lemon citrus essential oil.

Method: Mix all your ingredients together to combine and keep in an air tight container.

Scorched Almonds
The Reject Shop had a whole aisle of yummy goodies, so how could I not fill the spare jar with some kind of special treat?

The Scorched Almonds were perfect because... I mean they just are - because they're chocolate AND nuts for crying out loud.

Pure perfect indulgence!

Homemade Mothers Day Gift Ideas
I packed all the goodies together into the wooden box, and handwrote a little message on one of the gift tags and wa-lah - a handmade gift for Mother’s Day that practically insists the lucky recipient takes a little time to spoil herself.

The Reject Shop has over 330 stores in Australia and offers a HUGE variety of goodies including homewares, cosmetics, kitchenware, personal care products, hardware, snack foods and confectionery, cards and wrap, cleaning products and even basic furniture – all at bargain prices.

You can discover something new every time you visit one of their stores (find your closest store), or you can stay up to date on what’s new by signing up to become a SavvyShopper here.

Win a voucher

To help you give mum something super special this Mother’s Day at a super savvy price, the gang at The Reject Shop has given me a $100 voucher to give away.

All you need to do to enter to win this voucher is leave me a comment telling me;

What Mother’s Day treat you would like to buy yourself or your mum with the $100 Reject Shop voucher?

The competition is open now to Australian Residents only and 
ends 5:00 pm AEDST on Monday 4 May 2015

You can view the full terms and conditionshere.  Good Luck!

Coconut Body Scrub
This post has also been featured on the Local Guide to Mother's Dayso head on over there for more ideas and articles for Mother’s Day!

Friday 24 April 2015

And This is Why I Stay Behind The Camera

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I had a dream the other night that I was cheating on my hubby, which was shocking enough in itself.

But wait, to ramp the shock value up just a notch or two have a go at who I was cheating on my beautiful hubby with..... JUSTIN BIEBER.

First of all... Ewwwwwww

Shortly followed by RUHEALLY???

I mean, I get a shot at a raunchy dream and THAT was the best I could come up with?

There really was no real point of me sharing that with you other than the fact I feel slightly less like a dirty old woman by telling you about it because if I was that keen on Justin I would have kept that to myself right?

Ahhh right.

Besides, it's like I have kneeled down before you and confessed my sin and now I am clean again... or something like that.

How's your April going?

Is it just me or does this month kind of suck?

For me it has been full of extreme highs and moderate lows and to be honest I am a little knackered, somewhat over it and pretty much ready for a fresh new month to show its mug.

Everywhere I turn people are saying how they are exhausted, feeling low, have been unwell or have just had a whole lotta crazy going on lately and so I can't help but wonder - is it just a coincidence so many of us have had a sucky April?

Is it something to do with planets bumping into each other or rising or sinking or whatever it is they astrologically do... or are our moods all just kind of in sync like one big global bout of pms?

I have no idea.

I'll tell you what I do know however, and that is that there is a reason why I am so much more suited to being behind the camera rather than in front of it.

I was doing some work for a client earlier this week and they not so subtlety suggested that it might be nice if I appeared in some of the photos.

I begrudgingly agreed but then soon realised when it came time to do the shoot, that I had no one to actually take the photos of me apart from an eight year old who was in a really bad mood.

And so I was forced to use the self timer on my camera.

That was my first mistake.

Once I figured out how the hell to use that timer function, I set up the space to make it look like someone was photographing me working and then I stepped in front of the camera.

That's pretty much the moment it all went haywire and I started suffering from chronic regretitis.

You see the thing is I just cannot coordinate myself in front of the camera. Not even if my life depended on it.

There are some people who shine on film. It just comes naturally to them and they know how to stand or pose and where to put their body parts.


Well I am just unco, extremely self conscious and TOTALLY awkward and this does not make for a good combination... especially when the dogs go nuts and start acting all looping and running circles through the house and then one of them runs a million miles an hour straight into my private bits.... which really actually hurt... and the cranky eight year old is too busy laughing at me to offer to any help or ask if I am OK and... well it was fair to say the shoot was over and the only thing left to do was laugh at myself and then share some of the disastrous photos with you and let you laugh with me.

Or at me.

Whatever floats your boat.

Needless to say I will not be appearing in the photos.

I will also not be using the self timer function to pretend someone is photographing me anytime again in a hurry.

As for my home renos... well they have been going well.


I have not had a spare minute to scratch myself let alone take to the walls with a paint brush and the hall table I was planning on making two months ago is still sitting in parts at the hardware store.

I have been eyeing off gorgeous homes on the internet this week, trying to inspire myself to somehow MAKE the time to get back stuck into the house.

It's not really working.

But I have stumbled across some insanely good looking houses.

Like this one for example, from here

Are you digging it like I am digging it?

Could you have raunchy dreams about Justin Bieber in that beautiful white space.

Gahhhh NO.

Please tell me you said no... at least to the Justin Bieber part anyway.

OK, it's time to introduce this week's gorgeous Weekend Rewind Guest hostess with the mostess and it is none other than the incredibly inspiring and yet downright humble Lila Wolff.

Image Map

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella Loves), or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic.  It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.

So that's it from me folks. It's over to you...

Have you had any weird dreams lately?
Had a raunchy dream about a celebrity you would like to fess up to us about?
Got any suggestions about how I can take a photo of myself without feeling like a complete dick?

Thursday 23 April 2015

Caravanning In Style

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I have a dream.

Sheesh, I sound like I am trying to be Martin Luther King but without even a hint of the virtuous and honourable traits that great man had.

My dream is far more shallow than his.

Like WORLDS apart!

My dream (just one among many dreams) is to have a caravan that I can makeover. A funky little (or ot so little) van that I can deck out and park in my garden between holidays as a place I can hide out in whenever I feel like running away from home... which just so we are clear is not all THAT frequently, but enough that I would certainly get my return on investment.

Nothing too fancy (ahahaha). 

A little airstream would do me just fine thank you very much. 

My caravan would have a lock on the inside to keep munchkins out and me in, a really clear wifi signal,a super comfy bed and a gin deck.

It would be white and bright and packed to the inch with super cool furnishings.

This particular caravan I stumbled across on the interwebs when I was doing a little time wasting research would work for me. 

No really, it would totally be suffice.

Oh sweet baby cheeses - can you image owning something like this uber cool caravan which was a collaboration between Caravanolic and Viceversa Interior?

I reckon with one of these in my backyard, I could also achieve one of my other dreams of being a calmer more serene kind of individual.

In fact I reckon I could pretty much be one of the most zen mum on this planet if I owned one of these.

Feast your weary eyes upon this baby you guys.

Not too shabby huh?

I'd even be willing to take the family on a little camping trip in my glampervan... if they were super nice to me.

Do you know, despite all my gushing about owning and doing up a caravan, I have never actually camped in a caravan before?

No bull! Never in my whole life!

I think I would be good at it.

No I'm pretty sure I would freaking rock it!.

Of course my happy camper, I'm not a caravan snob or anything. I wouldn't be opposed to a little tent like this in the back yard either. ;)

 Do you have an air stream you need taking off your hands?
I'd be more than willing to help you out.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

A Cruel CRUEL Kind of Storm

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Oh hai!

I cannot tell you how good it is to be back online after that crazy storm we had rip through Sydney these past few days.

Where we are on the Northern Beaches took quite the battering with houses being flooded and cars and property destroyed by falling trees.

We got off SO easy in comparison to others.

The photo above was after the first part of the storm tore through, the next round did quite a bit more damage and the backyard now officially looks like a place where leaves and branches go to die - but no fallen trees in our property thankfully.

We did however cop an almighty blackout.

Two days of on and off power and next to no internet or mobile coverage and I was developing a very unattractive twitch.

The twitching was slightly (read: astronomically) exasperated by the the fact that the storm hit on the day that the kids were supposed to be heading back to school.

Yep SUPPOSED to be heading back but instead of packing them a sambo and waving an enthusiastic bye bye - I had them couped up indoors sending me absolutely FREAKING INSANE!

It was a cruel gag mother nature played on us parents on the first day back to school.

Crueler than any kind of cruel old storm.

Like a you have won a million dollars... no just kidding kind of CRUEL I tell you.

So apart from rocking in the corner with no internet coverage and three children leaning over me like little old crones waving flat iPads and battery drained iPods in my face and moaning "Booooooored. Weeeeee arrrrrrre sooooooo boooooooooored over and over again, I've been doing alright.

Better than alright actually.

I had my date with the camera up the bum people on Monday... not that I would really call it a date.

Actually the use of the word date in itself is probably highly inappropriate given the context of this topic but whatever.

My point is if it were a proper date, a gentleman would have at least bought me a drink first and even if that gentlemen bought me a whole flipping distillery that um area would still normally remain off limits.

Alas, drink or no drink, there was a job to be done and they went there anyway...  but the good news is that the polopy thingy (totally a technical term) looked (in the Doctor's opinion) to be benign looking.

I still need to wait for pathology to come back before I start flinging my bra from the table tops but hey - that Doctor does about 20 of those kinds of procedures a day so I am pretty sure I can trust his opinion.

Good news huh!

Once again I worried myself stupid and panicked before I needed to.

When will I learn???

Have your kids gone back to school?

Did you get walloped by the storm?

Have you ever been left without any internet whilst being caged up for days with kids and no power? 

I'm pretty sure it would rank highly on a list of the most inhumane ways to torture a mum!

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Ten Ways Technology Can Help Your Child Ace It At School

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SchoolPlaces.com.au helps take the pressure off families looking for a private school vacancy for their child. Search real-time vacancies and claim a last-minute place at one of Australia’s leading schools. Get on board and start saving today.

There is no avoiding it these days -technology surrounds us and despite the ongoing debate about whether our kids are too absorbed by the technology, there is no doubt in my mind that in can in fact help our kids in their studies.

iPads, laptops, desktops and the internet have given our kids access to countless ways to help them with their studies, not to mention the world of information that is now at their finger tips. 

Here's just ten of the ways I believe technology can help our kids ace it at school.

1. Remember the days of encyclopedias? 

If you were one of the lucky ones, your family had a shelf full of beautifully bound books full of information you could readily access for use in your assignments and research. Those books probably cost your parents and arm and a leg and if you didn't have them, you would probably have spent countless hours at the local library lining up at the photocopier with a pocket full of ten cent pieces waiting for your turn to photo copy the pages you needed.

These days the most up to date information our kids need is merely a few clicks on Google away - saving time and money and not to mention your arms and legs.

2. iPads are a fabulous tool for kids with special needs or learning disabilities. 

For example - One of my sons suffers from dyspraxia which among other things causes a weakness in his hands when he is writing. Using an iPad in class to type out his work takes away the risk of him falling behind due to difficulties with his handwriting.

Every kids deserves the best chance to learn.

3. Kids as early as two, possibly even younger are learning to count and read via fun apps on tablets that are designed specifically to encourage early learning. Whilst I don't believe this negates the importance of learning under the guidance of a qualified teacher, it sure as hell gives them a good start and makes homework and sight words that much easier.

4. Speaking of games, I have an avid maths lover in my family. I know right, how can a child of mine love maths? Not only does he love it, he chooses to spend a large chunk of his free time playing maths games… on the iPad and computer of course. 

If you had told me this child of mine would actually learn to love maths, I would have laughed at you. 

No really!

He hated it, found it boring and basically struggled to grasp the concepts - until he discovered fun maths games like those on Study ladder (which is also great for literacy too) and Kids Math Fun.

5. I thought that keeping on top of all the homework and assignments our kids have in primary school was hard enough, but when my oldest started high school last year - man that was a whole new ball game. 

Many schools these days have an education portal that both parents and kids can access with individual accounts for each child that list not only their class schedules, test results and exam timetables, but also list the assessments, how many marks they are worth and when they are due. This is invaluable information to arm us parents with - especially when it comes to nagging supporting our kids with their study planning.

6. Speaking of keeping kids organised, there are so many fabulous apps that can help them too. 

Take for example Evernote - it can help your child plan their assessments and study, clip resources for research and bibliographies and you can even send them information to a shared folder. Things like a article you found that you thought might be useful to them or perhaps a memo to give them a virtual kick up the bum. 

Handy huh!

7. You Tube IS DA BOMB when it comes to learning and my kids an I have both learnt so much from simply watching You Tube videos. Science experiments, how to recreate famous artworks and how to solve maths problems. It's all there!

8. Group assignments - Do you remember how you used to have to do the dreaded group assignment and you went from house to house to work on it with your classmates but you ended up doing other stuff and never really got much of the assignment done? 

*ahem* I do.

Now they can do those sessions on Skype with their classmates.

Although I can't guarantee that they will actually get all that much done, it is apparently the new thing, and our kids are being encouraged by teachers to meet up with designated partners on Skype in the evenings after their after school commitments so that they can work on their group assignments.

Hey I'm happy about it - it's one less taxi run to try and fit in.

9. Have you ever been asked a homework question by your kids and then been left red faced because you have no idea of the answer? 

I have countless times. 

Thankfully technology can us to help them and the School A-Z app has been a God send in our house on more times than I care to remember.

10. There is no denying that the use of technology in the school environment helps our kids to adapt to the world that awaits them beyond school. A world that inevitably involves technology and possibly even a career from technology itself. 

The sooner they learn to work with it the better equipped they will be.

Did you know that technology can even help you with choosing and applying for a position in a private school for your child? 

Well it can! 

Traditionally there used to be no other way to enrol your child at the private school of your choice other than to place them on the wait list pretty much as soon as he / she is born and then wait to see if you are offered a spot.

School Places is a website where you can find and claim a discounted place in one of Australia’s leading private schools, when YOU are ready.

It is simply a matter of choosing a year of enrolment, a grade and a suburb and School places will inform you of vacancies at any of their partner schools.

Once you have found the right school at the right price to suit you (discount ranges from 10% to 50% for 1 to 6 years), all you need to do is click to claim that place for your child and complete the application process. 

The service is free for parents and new schools are regularly coming on board with this initiative.

Technology huh! 

Who’d have thought it would ever be like this … you know, ’back in our day’ and all that! 

Have you found Technology has helped your kids with school?
Has it helped YOU help them?

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.

SchoolPlaces.com.au helps take the pressure off families looking for a private school vacancy for their child. Search real-time vacancies and claim a last-minute place at one of Australia’s leading schools. Get on board and start saving today.