Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Want A Sex Change

Over the last 3 weeks I had a taste of what life must be like for a lot of working men.

Each morning, I would awaken bright and early, shower, (then perform female activities such as apply make-up and breastfeed child), dress, and walk into the dining room to be presented with a delightful breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a first course of fruit salad, followed up with muesli and yoghurt, and then chased down with a hearty serve of scrambled eggs and wilted spinach. I would always politely decline offers of tea, as habit dictated I had this once at my desk. Should I attempt to put a single dish in the dishwasher, or start to soak even a single pan, I would be hustled out of the kitchen and told to "get to work, don't worry about any of this, you're far too busy". O-kaaaaay....

And the day would just get better from there. At work, I would engage in adult conversations with colleagues about politics, work and a smattering of sport. I would mention the delicious meal that was cooked for me the night previous, as I heated up the left-overs lovingly packed for me that morning. In the evening, I would return to a happily bathed baby cooing sweetly and blowing raspberries. Dinner would be served and again, there would be no convincing anyone that I should wash up. Ice cream and mango was brought to me some time later with the urging that I needed to keep up my strength, and chamomile tea was delivered with a kindly warning not to stay up too late. Clean clothes appeared magically in my wardrobe. The floors were consistently spotless. My only task, it seemed, was to make a suggestion regarding what I might feel like for dinner.

When someone else does it for you

What parallel universe was this? The universe we all probably experienced to some degree as children. It's the universe where you live with your mother. (In the case of grown men, it's the universe they are also lucky to inhabit once they move out of their slovenly bachelor pad and in with their girlfriend/wife).

And oh how glorious it is to step back in to the mummy cocoon once you're a high functioning adult female with an infant. Life was lovely. I received the unconditional love that only a mum can give. She took my side on pretty much everything. She worried that I worked too hard and didn't get enough rest. She folded things the way I folded them (or really, vice versa, since I'm a product of her techniques). She fussed over me in the way men don't really seem to know how to fuss. Oh God it was marvelous, and how I cried when she left.

I feel like I should say something funny about being reincarnated as a man or having a sex change, but that's kind of depressing because (a) I like being a female; and (b) it signals a lack of hope that things can change. And I know I'm not just trotting out an outdated stereotype: my girlfriends complain about it, and there are entire books written on the topic (in particular the hilarious Annabel Crabb's take on the topic in The Wife Drought). So yeah. I guess for Christmas I should put in an order for a Fairy Godmother who has studied at my mum's school of child rearing, cleaning, caring, fuss-potting and folding of clothes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Travellers to Japan will know that dining out in Japan without Japanese language skills can be a real challenge. Although English is taught to most Japanese from a very young age, this doesn't necessarily translate to a population with excellent English language skills - or maybe they're just really coy about showing off their English. And of course when you're going for the authentic Japanese meal experience, I think it's safe to say most of us steer away from restaurants with the somewhat off-putting plastic toy depiction of menu items sitting in the front window.

At Tokyo's top sushi restaurants, it's typical to take the omakase course, where the chef decides the menu and explains what everything is as it is delivered to the table. In Japanese. To assist travellers who'd like to know with certainty what they're eating, Sushi University recently launched, which enables customers to dine at a sushi counter with a translator by their side. As the website states:

In SushiUniversity, we offer escort interpreting services so that you can not only tease taste buds, but you can gain deeper knowledge of the culture and history associated with sushi, seasonal sushi neta (topping), Sushi Chef’s relentless pursuit of sushi perfection and his bar’s tradition and you can ask questions you feel at that time. Have a memorable time with a feeling the Chef’s passion and dedication contained in each piece of sushi at this Sushi Bar.

Ok, so the English isn't perfect, but the concept is!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy Friday: CRIPES! (Let's Go to New York)

Holy bejesus-bottoms it's December! I'm not sure where the year went, although I believe it flashed by while I lived in remote South Australia, up the duff and unable to really enjoy all the glory that South Australia has to offer (that would be wine). There were a bunch of trips to China in there but, like my current workplace, the location was not remotely glamorous and I was wearing safety clothing and steel capped boots rather than dancing the night away on sparkly, Shanghainese dance floors after eating my fill of dumplings. Admittedly, I have eaten a lot of dumplings this year, but I put that down to pregnancy. Let it be known that a pregnant woman can sniff out dumplings wherever she is.

This year's top Christmas gift award is taken out well and truly by Gilt (purveyor of beautifully curated, highly covetable, heavily discounted designer goods). For a paltry AU$4,500 you and a friend (i.e. me) could be winging your way to NYC to enjoy individualised 2 hour styling sessions at Gilt, a $1,000 Gilt gift card and (best of all) 2 tickets to the Kate Spade new York's Spring 2017 fashion party during New York Fashion Week on 8 February 2017.

There's a bunch of other stuff, including goodie bags, accommodation, tickets to MoMA and a Kate Spade gift bag, but frankly I shouldn't need to go into all that detail:

New York. Best friend. Shopping spree. Kate Spade.

New York, I love you

If they threw in "free babysitter", I'd be there 😉

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Young vs Old

Handsome Hubby and I are celebrating 3 years of marriage today. Over the weekend, we attended a gorgeous wedding and one of the readings really tugged at my heart strings (MUCH easier to do post-baby it turns out).

Can there be anything more beautiful than young love? Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path to marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?

Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.

It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands may be gnarled, but still clasped; their faces wrinkled but still radiant; their hearts may be tired and slow as well as their brain, but still strong and wise with love and devotion to each other. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love.

I think anything can spark that realisation. Initially I thought it was getting engaged (pfffffft! We were SO YOUNG then!). At the time I felt there was nothing that could more solidly indicate that grown up love than an engagement, and the realisation that a team has been formed: by choice, with love and with a mutual goal of commitment to a shared future. But it all became that bit more real when we had a kidlet together.  This little creature - a combination of bits of the both of us and our families - formed a whole lot more of the glue that binds us. While we definitely have our moments, looking into that shiny little face reminds me of the team we've built and how that team came together in the first place. We are in love. Happily so. We stare into our future with joy. And what a glorious feeling that is.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Friday: Perspective

One fine, slightly windy day in August this year, I found myself in hospital in labor and very close to meeting a freshly minted baby girl. Fast forward approximately 11 weeks, and I'm sitting at my work laptop tapping out emails (and procrastinating via this blog), and waiting for the little squawk that signals wake up time for the divine Little Miss.

While I would prefer not to be at work so soon, I am lucky for now in that I get to work from home. While I have ventured into the concrete jungle of the city a number of times for meetings and half days in an office to test out how I'll go working away from Little Miss as well as juggling my laptop, work phone and a breast pump, I am doing the bulk of my work from home. In a few short weeks, I'll be back down south and back on site: donning PPE and full throttle back in to project life. A very large part of me is dreading the return to work.

I adore hanging out with my baby. I think I have totally scored (so far) in that she is calm much of the time, doles out the most gratifying of smiles, and sleeps through the night, meaning my tiredness is not as bad as I had expected. Breastfeeding has been a breeze, and during those hours spent feeding her not only is there the joy of moments spent entirely together as one happy unit, I have been churning through books and TV series with gusto. Those few weeks of not working actually felt like a rather pleasant little holiday (albeit housebound and with good heapings of domestic chores). But the weeks were numbered, and I have been back at work in some capacity for several weeks. This week has marked a fuller return to work, and in a few weeks once I'm back at site, I will be 110% there. As the project ramps up, I know the expectations of the workplace will be high (as it is for everyone in our team).

As I extremely tearfully waved goodbye to my mum this week after she helped me out with trialing me working back in the office, it all felt a bit much. Missing the lovely days spent together with Little Miss, and feeling the pressure of my job and the demands of a stressful workplace, I wondered what the hell I was doing. Just as I asked, the Universe delivered an answer.

Back in September, I wheeled Little Miss in her pram to a Brisbane Writers' Festival event featuring Kirstine Stewart. Kirstine Stewart - VP Media for Twitter and named one of Canadian Business's Power 50 of 2016 - had recently released Our Turn, a book that joins the ranks of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. A  passage that I read last night really resonated with me (thanks, Universe):

...along with the elusive "have-it-all" brass ring we've been primed to capture, the other concept that does a disservice to parents everywhere is the idea that you should strive for work-life balance. You may as well hunt unicorns. The very word "balance" suggests that somehow you can give equal importance and time to all corners of your life at the same time. The person who loses most in that equation is you; if exhaustion doesn't get to you, the guilt will.
The idea of balance doesn't reflect how the world works, or how we truly spend our time. It's not about achieving balance, it's about flow. We swing from one priority to the next, pushing hard at work and then pulling back to be with family. How hard you push and pull depends entirely on the moment. There are high-pressure times on the job when deadlines loom, trips need to be taken, or tough decisions have to be made, and you work flat out for a long stretch without making it home for dinner. But there are other times when a sick child or parent or spouse, say, or simply a much-needed vacation, takes precedence over any job. The key is to aim for a career in which you can earn the freedom to achieve work-life flow.

While the pursuit of freedom can sometimes be a trap in itself, I think we are now in an environment where many workplaces are more flexible than ever. As I work from home, I realise I needn't tie myself up in knots ensuring the green light of "available and working" is blinking on my Outlook profile at all times. As long as my work gets done, I should be taking this window of time and the enormous luxury I have of these remaining weeks of workplace freedom to spend  time with Little Miss. While dealing with perceptions once I'm back in the workplace will be another challenge in itself, it is not the challenge for this moment. For the next few weeks, I have earned the freedom to focus on Little Miss as well as still contributing to my Project team - so I might as well just enjoy it rather than fretting about something that is probably all just in my own head anyway.

Perspective is everything. What do you think of Kirstine's words?

Friday, August 5, 2016

You've Lost That Summer Feelin'

After a loooong week of meetings and playing email catch-up after my glorious week of basking in the sun in northern Queensland, I am looking at my forearms with a great deal of sadness: that summery glow seems to be disappearing faster than a heavily reduced Chanel handbag in a Hong Kong department store.

How to hold on to that summery glow?

Other than the very obvious spray tan (still terrifies me, although I tried out a St Tropez spray tan recently and it wasn't as Clockwork Orange as the early years of fake tans), there are still a number of products on the market that can keep you looking more outdoorsy than you actually are.

First up is St Tropez's new In-Shower Gradual Tan which generally attracts good reviews and - Fun Fact! - has been St Tropez' most successful tanning launch ever. I haven't tried this one myself (I am currently unable to reach past my knees on account of my big preggers belly) however my one reservation is that once you apply it in the shower you need to turn off the water and stand there for 3 minutes. That's fine - you can let your hair conditioner soak in at the same time - but you expect me to stand around for 3 minutes in the freezing cold dripping wet? On the plus side, this product isn't going to have you emerging from the shower stall looking like you've changed ethnic groups - the tan is low-key and of course a gradual build, so you can slow that down by applying the product less if need be.

Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes. A little like the towelettes you get at KFC and Red Rooster when you dive in to foods cooked to reduce your life expectancy, this self-tanner is wiped all over the body after showering, is sealed in with an application of your favourite moisturiser and, following a good night's sleep, you'll wake with a glow. Use these guys once per week.

Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate allows you to turn any facial or body moisturiser into a self-tanner, with the added bonus of enabling you to control how much colour you get by adjusting the amount you mix per use. Personally, I prefer to let the professionals create the formulation, but I really like the idea of this - and also the joy of choosing the fragrance of your self-tan yourself. So many self-tanning products are stinky in their own unique way - whether it be too chemical smelling, or too much floral overcompensation. Added bonus: it's much cheaper than a lot of products on the market.

Then of course there is the stable of celebrity-created tanning products: the JBronze range, created by perma-tanned, ultimate beach babe Jennifer Hawkins...

 and Lara Bingle-Worthington's range, The Base which is - depending on how you like to shop - only available online. Without having tried it myself, I have read that the Instant Tanning Mousse magically smells like doughnuts, is uber-easy to apply and yields a warm golden glow. So on a number of fronts, this product sounds like a winner. There is also a Body Glow Oil in the range which dries non-greasy, doesn't stain your clothes and again reportedly smells like a doughnut.

And to finish, some DIY tanning tips from Lara:


DO exfoliate 24 hours before tanning, use an exfoliator that contains a AHA.
DO rub half a lemon on the area that streaks or splotches appear for two minutes before lightly buffing it with a damp towel.
DO use a tanning mitt when using your self tan.
DO mostiurse the dry areas on your body before tanning, i.e Hands, feet, knees, ankles and any dry areas.
DO make sure your self tan is clear on the skin by rubbing a wet wipe over the skin first. If you want to go darker, apply a second layer an hour later, DON'T apply on the next day.
DO pick a self tanning product that suits your skin tone.
DO use a cold compress on your face before tanning to minimise your pores.
DO build up fine layers when it comes to the face.
DO start from your ankles and work your way up to your shoulders, saving your arms and hands for last.
DO moisturise daily so your tan lasts longer.
DO apply vaseline on your eye brows before tanning your face.
DO exfoliate after 4 days to help your tan fade evenly.


DON'T shave the day after tanning, if you have to, use an electric shaver as this will not remove your tan.
DON'T use a tan that does not suit your skintone, you want it to pop your complexion with colour, not overpower it.
DON'T over-rub your self-tan when applying.
DON'T apply product directly onto hands and feet, work the excess product from the arms onto the hands and the excess tan from the legs onto the feet area.
DON'T wash your hands for at least 8 hours after tanning, otherwise you will get the white hands brown arms look.
DON'T clean your teeth after applying your self tan, do it before, this will stop it looking white around this area.
DON'T exercise for 24 hours after tanning.
DON'T use oils on the skin after tanning, this will strip your self tan and make it look uneven.
DON'T apply more than once every two days when using a gradual tan, otherwise your tan will look unnatural.
Happy (safe) tanning ladies!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Black Out Curtains

With the relentless march towards sleeplessness coming closer to its final destination, I have decided I probably need some kick-arse Anna Wintour style sunglasses to hide the bags under my eyes from the friendly people in my neighbourhood.

Living in a city like Brisbane makes it hard to go anywhere without bumping into people you know. This is a lovely thing, but some days (i.e. the days when you haven't brushed teeth or hair) it's the last thing you want. I also find that the day you're in your least flattering jeans and haven't a scrap of make-up on your face (oh the humiliation of not being in either adorable boots or fabulous heels and sans mascara to add to the horror!) is the day you are guaranteed to see an ex-boyfriend or a frenemy and all you want is to look a bit glamorous and just a touch more put together than that familiar person in your line of sight. Never happens though, ammiright?

I recently came across Thierry Lasry sunglasses while floating around Sydney: described as sunglasses based on the concept of futuristic vintage with an updated, modern and avant garde touch, I think these are pretty much exactly what's needed to evade the Fashion Police over the next few months.

While there's not a whole lot new that can be done with sunglasses, it's nice to have a newer player in the game apart from the usual Gucci, Prada, Tom Ford, D&G. At this stage, I've only seen Thierry Lasry stocked in Brisbane at Scanlan Theodore and boutique opticians.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Friday: Summer Holiday

Holy wow it is finally here - one whole week of holidays. In the SUN. In temperatures exceeding the mid-teens. And I don't have to do anything other than "take it easy" and "eat what I like" and "spoil yourself". All hail the pregnancy card!

My main priorities next week are to: have pedicure; enjoy oily in-room massage; read latest Vogue; read trashy novel; eat delightful breakfasts with sides of croissant; generate slightly olive glow on skin; engage in afternoon napping.

While it would be great to do all of this with a flat stomach, I guess you can't have everything. At least I get to do it all with my handsome hubby taking care of me in his signature gentlemanly style.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shoesday: Feeling Flat

"Oh my god! You really are pregnant - you're wearing flats!!" my friend exclaimed: partly in horror, partly amused and partly in sympathy: there's no way I'd be giving up my beloved heels without a solid fight (and very firm advice from a medical professional, and even then I tend to ignore such advice. Frankly, I gave up the heels because I was scared).

I can narrow it down to the exact moment when I believe my attempts at super-human activity as a pregnant woman lead to the downfall of my pelvis, and marked the end of wearing high heels for the next few months.

Since the beginning of June I have been moving at the pace of a crippled snail thanks to a condition that affects about 2% of pregnant women: pubic symphysis disfunction (PSD). Essentially, the ligaments that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned during pregnancy become too relaxed too soon before birth (it's meant to happen closer to birth - I've had symptoms since the start of June. With a due date at the later part of August this is waaaay too early) . As a result, the pelvic joint (aka the symphysis pubis) becomes unstable and can cause pelvic pain, the most common symptom being difficulty walking and wrenching pain - as though your very being is tearing apart.

Thankfully, the weekend this happened an Occupational Therapist friend of mine was in town, and she quickly told me the symptoms were not normal, that she had heard of it happening, and the best thing to do was to get some help from a physio. I had wrongly assumed this was a normal - horrible - part of pregnancy and that I would just have to slug through it. Admittedly, I am just slugging through it, but I have been getting some assistance from a physio and massage therapist and it has helped somewhat. To be perfectly honest though, the pain is still pretty intense and there are days where I spend most of my afternoon or evening in tears because it is so painful and so frustrating. I am frustrated in the sense that I can't walk without pain, and for a person who extols the virtues of tuck jumps, not being able to move freely is an awful impediment to living what I consider a normal, healthy life.

So there it is: pregnancy since the start of June has been hell on earth, and some days, it is a struggle to remain upbeat. My pity parties can be quite intense (I'm sure exacerbated by pregnant lady hormones). Not even a new visual album from Beyonce is enough to cheer me up some days.

Beyonce: feeling the feels.

For those of you who are pregnant or are planning on getting pregnant, fear not: this isn't a common side effect of pregnancy. My only advice is that if you are feeling any type of pain during pregnancy, do NOT stoically soldier on and go and get some professional help. You may continue to damage yourself or make worse your new condition. For example, don't go to a gym class thinking a nice bit of exercise will tease out the muscular pain you are suddenly and intensely feeling (#iamanidiot).

In case you don't believe me, there are women out there still doing these types of activities at 40 weeks pregnant:

Photo courtesy of YogawithGeorgia 

Shots like that actually make me want to cry tears of frustration, as I know pregnancy is not meant to be 100% nightmare. I am feeling unfairly targeted by the Universe and wondering what I did so wrong for this to happen. Also distressing for me is that the only cure for my malaise is child birth, which seems like such an abstract - and frankly not very reassuring - cure, that I remain fearful that I will never be fixed and this is permanent. No more tuck jumps - ever. *cry*

Enough of my sooking. Next week, hubby and I are off to Palm Cove for a long awaited Babymoon. I can't wait! I am so, so tired (the PSD means rolling over in bed is wretchedly painful, so my sleep is frequently punctuated with trips to the loo and painful attempts at rolling over, plus my workplace commences every day at 7:30am sharp with a site meeting). Having been in a winter climate since March, I am also looking forward to tropical weather, tropical fruits and open toed shoes!


Metallic, bejewelled or adorned with pom-poms, I really don't care. As long as they're pretty and come with a pedicure, I'll be happy.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Friday: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide...

...from the realities of 33 weeks of pregnancy (hello, BUMP!) and - for first time mummas at least - the baby shower. This weekend I'm having the first of 2 baby showers (one of the big positives of living in two different places is twice the number of parties!).

And seriously. Is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with your friends, sipping champagne and eating scones with jam and cream?

Oh wait - there is. All of the above PLUS ribbon sandwiches (made by someone else of course).

I am very lucky to have a mother-in-law who was willing to host and essentially completely cater the baby shower - she has literally been in the kitchen all week experimenting with new recipes for the occasion. I feel pretty bad about this given my tendency to outsource catering activities (especially when the crowd is in excess of 4 people), but I think she's enjoying herself. At least that's what I'm telling myself.  I have taken it upon myself to organise booze for the occasion. I happily have an obstetrician who doesn't wring his hands about basically anything, but especially not a few drinks here and there.

I'm also very lucky to have a husband who wakes up in the middle of night to rub my legs when foot/hip/back cramps set in at inopportune moments #feelingold #getthisthingoutofme.

As I obsess over eating the cake-y, macaron-ish, sandwich-ish treats for tomorrow I am also pondering how social media seems to have done a complete 180 from people posting shots of their kale salads and bliss balls, to doughnuts being on seemingly every street corner and the #snackwave trend (happy snaps - mainly on Instagram - of the young uns hoeing in to basketball sized baked goods and burgers and cheese covered fries).

Pic courtesy of Girls With Gluten

I understand the reaction against the kale (it tastes like shit) and juicing (I need to chew) but the deliberate clogging of arteries I just don't get (unless you're in your first trimester AND HAVE NO CHOICE!). Most of the proponents of the sugary and/or salty snacks (they can be both - contemplate for a moment the popularity of Brisbane doughnut behemoth Doughnut Time's 'The Elvis' which contains jam filling with banana and peanut glaze and lashings of crispy bacon) are attractive females, so I'm wondering if they're actually eating the entire thing - if at all.

Baked to kill.
While I agree the obsession with healthy or clean eating was getting a little out of hand and it has been attributed to the rapid spread of orthorexia (an obsession with healthy eating that borders on eating disorder) particularly amongst females with an Instagram account, so too does the message that chowing down on "snacks" (burgers, ramen, cheesy fries, doughnuts etc) at every meal is something to be celebrated. It's all just a little too black and white - you really don't need to pick a side between the Carb Queens and the Bliss Ball Babes and frankly either way, I think you'd go insane limiting yourself in that way. I guess the healthy eating food pyramid just isn't very Instagram-able.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Happy Wintry Weekend

It is all kinds of cold in my isolated little neck of the woods, so I am attempting to embrace the weather by looking at the goop Summer Reading Guide.  Wait. That doesn't sound right. No matter - there are a bunch of great book recommendations in the guide, so go check it out if you're looking for some bedtime, fireside or beach-side stories to occupy yourself with.

In addition to reading (who am I kidding... I can barely finish the Saturday paper let alone anything else), I'll be sneaking off to Adelaide to hit up the latest go-to dining venue, The Henry Austin, attend some of their gloriously well-stocked farmer's markets and indulge in the best coffees and ham and cheese croissants a pregnant woman in a winter wonderland could possibly ask for.

On account of the rainy-ness of the weather, I'll probably be looking a little like this (with a really big bump under my shirt of course).

No matter what you're eating, drinking or reading... Have a lovely weekend x

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Moving on Swift-ly

Taylor Swift has overnight shown us how best to deal with the fallout of a break-out (and Calvin Harris has perhaps shown the opposite side - but not as dramatic as, say, OJ Simpson).

Photos were released overnight of Tay Tay canoodling with Tom Hiddleston, the man widely tipped to be the next James Bond, and whom she met and famously boogied with at the MET Gala about a month ago.

Kudos for the very clever headline
Apparently post-MET Gala Hiddleston chased her down, charmed her with flowers and now they're an item madly smooching by the sea shore.

Much to the disgust of Calvin Harris who not only recently broke up with Taylor (or DID SHE DUMP HIM?? big questions today) and also after being injured in a car accident just a month ago also. Suffice to say, it's probably not Harris' best couple of weeks.

Swift moved well, swiftly, when the photos broke doing all the things we should do when we break up with someone:

  • Unfollow and unfriend ex on all the social media;
  • Remove all evidence you were ever an item from social media - even though youlooked freakin' amazing in all those pics (NOT an excuse after all);
  • Move on with someone else - preferably James Bond - first;
  • Kept it cool and not respond to comments from the ex.
Comments, you ask? OH YES - Harris, upon seeing the photos, took to Twitter in what we can only imagine was a jealous rage and posted this message to Taylor:

What do the skulls even mean??
... and then of course very quickly deleted it, but not before a whole bunch of screen shots were taken and sent to media outlets (bless). Sorry Calvin, you lost that round of social media break-up sparring.

My only concern here is - and of course I'm really pleased Taylor Swift isn't crying over a break-up - that this is all a little too soon for Taylor to move on. After all, we need her to write another guilty-pleasure album (followed up with a world tour) about break-ups and going crazy over boys. Sure, the happy songs are great but so are the stab-a-cake songs! On the plus side, it might be a vengeful, indignant album which we haven't really seen from Swift (other than We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together). 

Really, we just want to ensure Taylor Swift does not do us out of an album that lyrically dishes on what went wrong with Harris, and how she was wooed by this new man I have never heard of (#outoftheloop). And meanwhile - does this mean T-Swizzle is lining up to be a Bond girl?

Pick me!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Friday: You GO Girl

You take with the good with the bad. This week has been a crap week to be pregnant (for me), but a great week to be a woman (for me, as well as the bunch of us).

I recently received a scholarship to complete an executive women's leadership course, and I started the week off at one of our first face-to-face workshops. It was interesting and inspiring to meet so many women plugging away either with their own businesses or at pushing through that glass ceiling which magically appears just when you think it doesn't exist in your world. As Ita Buttrose said in a keynote speech I attended at a networking breakfast I attended a few years ago:

"If you haven't experienced the glass ceiling, you haven't gone far enough in your organisation yet." 

Quite right.

Sitting beside me at the leadership course was a 36 year old business owner whose husband brought her 5 month old in during the breaks so she could breast feed. I found it very inspiring to see her going about her business and family life in a way that seemed to be working - albeit a constant juggle, and with a huge amount of assistance from a supportive spouse. Amongst a whole bunch of pearls of wisdom that she offered up (top one being: get a lactation consultant), she confessed that she hated her first-born for the first 8 months of his life because she felt like he'd hijacked her life. I think I can understand that... ;o)

But even better news for females everywhere was the news that Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic nomination to run for President in the US elections this November. Overnight Barack Obama officially endorsed Hillary Clinton to be his successor as President of the United States. Here's hoping she wins, because the Trump just seems like a terrifying prospect for the role.

To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want—even president. Tonight is for you. -H

But Hillary's spin at campaigning for President (her second - she ran against Obama in 2008) has shown an ugly side to some of the attitudes that persist on how we treat women and expect them to behave. Some of my male friends and male commentators in the media who say "Bernie would just be better" have no reason for backing up their statements, and I can't help but wonder why.

I came across this Huffington Post article (which discusses more broadly competency bias and impostor syndrome in women) which goes some way to explaining why:

Hillary Clinton’s list of accomplishments puts her in the top echelons of high achieving women. Not only was she the first female partner at a major law firm, but she went on to serve as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. She ran for president in 2008, and now, eight years later, she’s doing it again. ... Hillary Clinton has earned consistently high approval ratings in each of her government positions. In 2013, as Secretary of State, her 69% approval rating made her the most popular politician in the country. But ... the moment Clinton hits the campaign trail for any kind of political office, her approval rating crashes. Why? Writer Sady Doyle sums it up like this:

Campaigning is not succeeding. It’s asking for success, and for power. To campaign is to publicly claim that you are better than the others (usually white men) who want the same job, and that a whole lot of people should work to place you in a more powerful position. In other words, campaigning is a transgressive act for women... Women who put themselves forward in the same assertive, confident style as men are routinely found pushy, “bitchy,” or unlikable, and professionally penalized for that, too. 

This is a paradox. The public has tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton as long as she has her head down and is working hard. But the moment she asks credit, acknowledgment, and a promotion, that admiration turns to vitriol. By confidently asking for what she wants, and stating why she deserves it, Clinton brings her competence into question.

It's equally saddening and frustrating to read those words. Worse, to know that they're probably pretty true. Males (and a stack of females too) can't articulate why "Bernie would be better", so one can only assume the roots of this view lie somewhere in this gender bias. But by pushing forward, gaining the nomination and PLEASE DEAR GOD the presidency, hopefully Clinton's hard work can speak for itself - and in doing so kick start a global discussion around women, their potential and expanding that limited box women so frequently get packed into.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Friday: The Technology Surplus

All too often we can find ourselves swept out to sea by fear-mongerers and people threatened by change. To date, I think we are yet to see anything truly awful come of social disruptors like Uber - even though taxi companies and crusty old politicians would have us believe we'll all be out of pocket from our health insurers as we carve up the hospitals with our whiplash, or that we'll end up dead in the back of an Uber-driver's Prius. I don't think so.

I really love the sentiment outlined by Seth Godin in one of his precious thought bubbles this week:

When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.
Now what?
You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.
Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can't be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.
Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.
Entire professions and industries are disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots. Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them.
Now that we can get what you used to do really quickly and cheaply from someone else, you can either insist that you still get to do that for us at the same fee you used to charge, or you can move up the ladder and do something we can't do without you.
Imagine our world today if we'd never embraced fire... Without wood-fired pizza for a start!
Disruptors and advances in technology stretch us as a species to continue to develop and, hopefully, thrive. While all great change should be at a relatively measured pace (i.e. test that robot's ability to do the dishes without exploding before you put it in your kitchen full time), change should not be stifled due to fear of the redundancy of the human species or a demotion in our talents. We should see it for what it is: a challenge to rise to, a challenge that was, after all, set for us by a fellow human who saw fit to create, innovate and disrupt.

Go forth and be masterful!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Molten Metal

Raf Simons is one of Belgium's greatest exports (other than chocolate). Previously Creative Director at Jil Sanders, he is particularly well known for his (rather brief) star turn as Creative Director at Dior, with his first collection for the iconic fashion house being beautifully and most fascinatingly documented in Dior and I (if you haven't seen it, you really should).

Raf Simons and a gorgeous bunch of peonies, in France. What more could you ask for?

Since resigning from the fashion house (by all accounts on excellent terms) in order to, in his own words, "focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and passions that drive me outside my work".  

In addition to developing his own label (to be shown at Florence Fashion Week), Simons has collaborated a number of times with Adidas. His latest collection, released last week, is spectacularly metallic, and follows on from last year's gorgeous colours in the notorious Stan Smith shoe for Adidas.

Being a narcissist, I believe the "R" is designed specifically for me, however I think it is quite obviously not the case. In any event, I would love a pair, but retailing at a cool $500 a pop I am not entirely sure they will make it in to  my next online shopping cart... So sad.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy Friday: It's Not All Bad

Of course there are some plus sides to this pregnancy caper... Such as a new mode of dressing for a few months. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant myself, but I have noticed a tonne of celebrities getting themselves up the duff or having babies of late. Blake Lively and Chrissy Teigen are the most visible of late, and they have had some great maternity looks...

Not giving up on heels just because she's pregnant
Pregnancy #2 - at Cannes last week

Then of course there is the Duchess of Cambridge, whose Dalmatian print jacket sent me into raptures long before I fell pregnant.

Admittedly, her outfits are generally covered by wintry coats
There's also obviously a plethora of independent bloggers who are nailing maternity looks, with best of the bunch here in Australia being Nadia Bartel of shopping heaven website The Con-nection and WAG and weather girl Rebecca Judd.

As you can see from the looks above, the main thing about maternity dressing is to not try to hide the fact that you have a bump by dressing exclusively in muu-muus. I am sure there will come a time when there is a place for such an item (at home, alone, cramming peanut butter into your hungry mouth) but generally speaking simple, clingy dresses in a block colour are going to get you through. Not wanting to spend a huge amount on a wardrobe that has a short life span, I have been loving the slim-fit dresses (can I call them sausage dresses? that's what I call them in my head) from Cotton On.

While previously I would have thought twice about a skin-tight dress (back when I hallucinated that my flat stomach was sticking out...), nowadays I am loving wearing skin tight dresses. I can eat as much as I like and you can't tell what's baby and what's taco and quesadilla! It is so liberating!

Atmos&Here (stocked by The Iconic) and Witchery also have a bunch of dresses, stretch tees and tight leggings that do the trick, and of course Asos and TopShop have what looks like a pretty great range of maternity gear also (although I'm resisting wearing maternity clothes at this stage, and frankly hoping to put it off for as long as possible!). I have also found that Country Road jeggings - which have always had a larger waist and never fit me previously - are working their magic in the pants department (so far).

Bartel also recommends long line coats and vests, which serve to elongate the body and balance the proportions somewhat of a protruding bump.

Job done.

Finally, as we see from all the ladies (and provided there aren't any health reasons to prevent it) keep wearing your high heels. A little extra height never hurt any baby... ;o)

Ditch the slippers!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Am I Your Mummy?

The strangest thing happened at the end of November 2015.

After over a year of half-hearted attempts at getting pregnant (as in, I didn't really care so didn't obsess or worry, to the point I was - in all honesty - secretly relieved that I wasn't pregnant) ... I fell pregnant. Tomorrow I will clock in at 28 weeks pregnant. In August there will be a kid. That kid will be my responsibility (shared of course with my partner in crime, hubby).

Being pregnant hasn't been what I thought it would be. Things kicked off in earnest in January with round-the-clock morning sickness. I was disillusioned at best to think it was a trifling, highly feminine and delicate illness that really wasn't that bad. I was a barely functioning zombie. When I finally found the energy to get off the couch to walk the dog, I found myself vomiting into bushes. There was a disastrous attempt at going to a gym class, as I struggled to fight against the sickness and resume normal life. Mental note - denial is not a coping mechanism for morning sickness. I could barely make it to the fridge (don't worry, I got there... And to McDonalds) to shovel more carbs into my gob to make the nausea fade away. [NOTE: I found acupuncture of great benefit during this shitty month of my life. Even my needle phobia couldn't keep me away from the joint]. [DOUBLE NOTE: Hot chips also  saved my life - "Could I have a side of fries with my fries please?" It was utterly shameful].

Disgusting. Necessary.

Then, like all the books tell you, at 12/13 weeks it all just faded away.

As a non-Earth mother type, who has not embraced this pregnancy business in the manner of those who exaltedly cup their pregnant bellies in one hand and a chia pudding in the other as she expresses her #mummybliss and #blessed - ness to the world, it has been something of a struggle.

My boobs went bananas almost immediately - sore to touch, an entire bra size larger (accompanied by a frustrating fight with a bra-fitter called Dolly in a department store change room where I fought for my right to wear a lacy, underwire, non-maternity bra for as long as I could before I I would be forcibly transitioned to loathsome, ugly maternity bras. While I won the battle, she won the war when in her parting shot she told me my breast milk wouldn't flow on account of my selfish propensity for lace and underwire - let the mummy judgment begin!).

Then there has been the agony of a stomach expanding to accommodate another being. There are days where I feel like my stomach is being torn, one tendril of muscle and skin at a time, all day long. By the afternoon, my back aches. Sleeping is uncomfortable and disturbed as my unwieldy stomach imposes strict limitations on movement and position. I can't exercise like I used to because I get puffed, I'm carrying about 7 extra kgs (so far), and my stomach just generally gets in the way. I have random pimply break-outs that make me want to hide under the bed. And then there is the insanity of an alien life force kicking, wiggling and hiccupping IN YOUR STOMACH throughout the day and night. It just doesn't seem natural to me.

You've been living where?

The weight gain and the belly have been getting to me. I can't believe I ever had fat days pre-pregnancy. I used to have a flat stomach for goodness' sake - what was I thinking?! I never realised the great joy that freedom of movement actually brought to me. It simply felt natural, obvious and my God given right as a human being to be able to run, jump, skip and dance like Beyoncé in my living room. After spending much of my adult life being bombarded with the message that weight gain is the worst thing that can happen to a woman, the fact that it is happening - and it is to a large extent beyond my control - is distressing and counter-intuitive, despite logic telling me this is a natural process and not to fret. I have had to stop looking at certain Instagram feeds (mainly the ones of women who are in the same stage of pregnancy as me, are teeny tiny and still somehow doing kick boxing). I also worry about the post-natal implications for my figure: Will I ever look the same again? Will I ever physically feel the same again? Will I ever stop eating hot chips??

Then there are the mental gymnastics. The rage at knowing my career will be hampered by impending and actual motherhood (at least for a few years). The resentment and frustration that accompanies the understanding that in the partnership I have with my husband, he simply cannot share the physical burden of the first few years of child bearing, birthing and breast feeding.  The fear that something might be wrong with the child if I continue to have such negative thoughts throughout pregnancy. The guilt I feel for not enjoying pregnancy when I know so many others love it, and - worse - that others would kill to be pregnant and to have a child. And the genuine concern I feel that my ambivalence to pregnancy and motherhood will make me a selfish, dreadful parent.

Thank heavens for trained counsellors
And don't get me started on my inability to travel to far-flung, tropical destinations at a moment's due to fears for Zika virus and the fact that I can't fly internationally after 32 weeks. Having your passport essentially confiscated by someone other than law enforcement authorities is, well... criminal!

This quote in a Business Chicks article today (titled "You Absolutely, Definitely Can't Have it All") resonated with me:

They say that becoming a parent is about sacrifice and compromise – and I guess that’s what I’m getting a lesson in. I interpreted that as sacrificing nights out, sleep, weekly yoga and coffee with girlfriends … what I’m learning is that you have to sacrifice a little piece of yourself and I guess all these tears are me grieving for that part of me. I hate the word juggle, but that’s what it is – a constant compromise between family and work depending on which priority is currently on top, and I don’t think that’s ever ideal. I also feel resentment that my husband isn’t going through this; life has just become richer for him. I just need to soak up the tears and get on with it - letting go of that person who got to the office at 7.30am … and that person who watches her baby sleep. I know that I’ll come out the other side, because so many women have gone before me and I feel great comfort in that.


Logically I know that most women get their figures back; your career ambitions don't necessary stall forever; and while you have the opportunity to eat hot chips without reproach for 9 months, you should seize the moment (and add some chocolate sour cake and ice cream for good measure). So of course it's not all bad, and - like everything in life - it is not forever. But when you're in the thick of it and looking down the barrel of another 12 weeks of discomfort, and on top of that the further altered reality of parenting an infant for the next few years, it can be hard to keep that mantra front of mind.

Eventually, it will all fall into place. Or I will run away with the circus.