The year ahead…

…actually we might just start with this week.

I find that if I start looking too far ahead (like more than a day or two) I fall into the trap of wishing things away, planning and/or worrying about stuff that probably won’t happen and not appreciating the here and the now. Yes there are lots of things that I am hoping for 2016, but they don’t all have to appear right now.

As a new year dawns, I am feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. It’s normally at this time of the year that I start to plan (code for ‘dread’) going back to school. That has pretty much been the pattern of my whole entire life – going to school, going to uni, and then going and teaching at schools. I haven’t dreaded it each time, but I have definitely had a heavy feeling as most Januarys come to a close. So it’s no wonder that I am tickled pink to be kicking off this year with a new purpose. My new job is looking after our brand spanking small person, so I am thinking of just one child instead of many, and the only other staff member is Bill. I wonder what our playground duty roster will look like!!

So I am excited and yet a tad apprehensive. The year ahead of looking after someone who gives us so much joy is something I can’t really describe. Lenny was a long time coming so I think it is still kicking in that he is actually here. And yet there is a funny feeling, that will no doubt flare up as I see the school buses motoring past our place in a couple of weeks (actually a stack of school buses – their depot is at the end of our street so they’re hard to miss) of thinking ‘So, is this it?’

I have had a few chats with new mothers about this feeling – I’m now a mother, so what does that look like? It is funny to think that I won’t be contributing financially to our household, my diary is pretty much empty (not even sure why I bought one) and my workplace will be our house. I don’t think it hurts to air these feelings. It doesn’t mean I’m not happy – just wondering how it will all pan out. One day at a time is how it will pan out.

So to the year ahead. I have a few different levels of hopes for the year and some are pie in the sky, while others are a bit more realistic…

Big picture:

Why not: Go on a holiday somewhere that involves a passport.

Why not: Get my meditation practice down pat.

On the whole:

 

I think I can manage to: Keep Lenny alive

I think I can manage to: Be more loving towards the people I love.

Day to day:

 

It’d be really nice if: I can eat more fruit and veggies than I do processed foods.

It’d be really nice if: I walk every day…at least to the clothesline.

 

If I could sum up my hopes for 2016 in one word, it’d be ‘HOWEXCITING’

Cherie

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8 Ways to survive a damp holiday

It’s been therapeutic. I feel proud of myself to know that it has been awfully wet out there, yet I don’t feel ripped off or like this is the worst holiday ever. It might even go down as one of the best.

It wouldn’t have been too long ago, that if this same fate had befallen me – ie non stop rain for 3 and a bit days – I may have gone a little crazy (and taken everyone down with me) But now that I am older and wiser, I am taking it for what it is. And that’s nature. I can’t change it, so I might as well learn to love it.

So what have I done to get through the days:

  1. Use my husband’s ‘Personal hotspot’ (that sounds a lot sexier that I anticipated) to tap into his wifi data. While the rest of the world seems to be taking on a New Year’s resolution of a social media hiatus, I have upped the anti. What a treat!
  2. Cook. Every meal has been a labour of love. Usually I might insist of eating out every meal while on hols, but not this time. It’s breakfast for kings and a few of these frozen banana and peanut butter bad boys in between.
  3. Read and read and read. And while I thought I would be flying through the books, I am taking it easy and reading slowly – just one page at a time suits me fine. I used this list as my inspiration, and so far have ticked off…one of them.
  4. Cuddle and snuggle the boys.
  5. Not wash my hair. I’m leaving it to its own devices and letting it sort itself out. I hate showering and seeing as it’s bucketing down outside, I am having my own little private protest and not adding any more water to the system. And the result? It’s a fair old grease ball. But we’re not going anywhere so who really cares?!
  6. Watch a truckload of daytime television. Who knew that you could start watching Bold and the Beautiful again – after not seeing it for over 12 months – and still pick up exactly where you left off? Amazing that show. Amazing in so many ways.
  7. Give the ping pong table a serious workout. I wanted this one to read ‘Give my husband a good old fashioned whipping in ping pong’ but sadly that’s still a work in progress. I am seriously considering getting a coach. Actually I might you tube some tips. I am a bad loser so I am also working on my ability to handle defeat.
  8. Get in touch with old friends & family. I have had a chance to think about lots of different folk, with all of my free time, and have even sent out the odd text. I am hopeless at keeping in touch with people so this down time has given me a chance to rekindle a few old friendships. I might not check back in with them until the next rainy day but at least it’s a start.

(I’m looking out the window now and the sun is doing its darnedest to poke through. So this means I might, just might, have to readjust my holiday strategy. That’ll at least buy me some time for more data)

Now where was I?

Goodness me. There goes another 6 months, and another 6 months of not posting a damn thing on this blog. I just lied down for a nana nap – which is an actual thing for me – and couldn’t nod off due to the pure excitement of putting pen to paper (aka fingertips to keyboard).

I know this blog started off as a recount of my sister’s house being built, but that started to feel a little bit showy and a little dull. Who actually cares about wall colours and the width of floorboards? I think I thought I cared, but it turns out I was just looking for an excuse to start a blog.

And now I realise that it’s not so much the content that matters, but just the sheer enjoyment of having a chance to write. So I am going to give this blog another crack. And this time because I hope to be more authentic – and write about things that shake my world – I’m hoping there’ll be a bit more regularity and something even readable (ooh, wouldn’t that be a thrill!)

I’m on our annual January summer holiday and this one is affecting me like no other. For one, I am here with not just one loved one but two. So that’s three all together. (If you’re like me, maths might not be your strongpoint so I like to help out when I can) Baby Lenny is the snooziest by far – although it’s a toss up for 2nd.

Secondly, we have had our holiday interrupted by rain…like truckloads of the stuff…and it’s taken me a while to come to terms with it. You see, when you live in Central Western NSW, relentless rain for days is just not really a thing. I don’t think I have ever – in my whole 40 years – experienced this much precipitation for consecutive days. And it’s thrown me a bit to be truthful.

On the first day it was a novelty (gee, the farmers will be happy) the 2nd day was a bit tedious (code for bloody frustrating) but now on day 3 I finally feel at one with the rain. It’s forced me out of my January holiday comfort zone. We haven’t touched the togs for days, the beach umbrella has been traded up for a proper brolly and the book reading is so strong that I have even picked up ‘Eat Pray Love’ again (and this time I actually like it!) I know…confronting stuff.

So instead of the beach holiday that I had become accustomed to – which entailed hours on the sand, a fair dose of retail therapy, and a good deal of sun loving – I have been forced to take a good hard look at myself. It’s kind of like solitary confinement I guess. Except there is tea, bread and a whopping 40 inch television.

And it is now that I am pondering my next move. Where do I want this blog to go? And where, more importantly, do I want myself to go? Because I want this blog to reflect where I am at. And let’s face it, no one wants to read about nana naps.

See you soon!

Cherie

 

Time for change…

Blogs are a funny concept. And the one thing I have noticed lately is that if it’s not happening, then it’s just not happening. I have lost my little spark, where I felt motivated to write and comment on progress of ‘Northcote’. And sure, it served a purpose for a while – I was able to keep family in the loop of the happenings, and it was fun to keep checking in with progress.

But like many things, there comes a time for change. The fact that I haven’t been able to tie myself to the keyboard in months, to try and belt out a new blog post, is a sure sign that it had run its course.

But I really love the ‘idea’ of blogging – just not the practicalities. Like typing. Or writing words. I much prefer to talk. In person preferably.

And I have had a couple of opportunities to talk about blogs lately – once in Bathurst and then again this week on ABC radio. And I think it’s the medium for me. So I’m going to re-jig this little baby, and there’ll be a few ‘sweeping changes’ in the wind.

Oh and there is a small person expected in the next two weeks (don’t worry, this isn’t going to metamorphosis into a mummy blog) but I think the timing is right to mix things up a little.

As they say in the business ‘Stay Tuned’

On the radio this week, I spoke about some cracking blogs that have me hooked. And I actually think they could be life changing (I saw that eye roll) especially the ‘Slow Your Home‘ beauty.

If you want to listen to the rather brief radio segment, then here’s the link to Soundcloud HERE so you can listen online.

Or, if you want to just cut straight to the blogs themselves, then be my guest:

1. Deliciously Ella: This UK dynamo really is delicious. She is a foodie who documents – via text and videos – her lifestyle changes that were implemented when her health took a dive. Her recipes are simple, her (short) videos are easy to watch and she has a great outlook on life – I’d call it confident but not a love job. I would have killed for this kind of inspiration when I was in my 20s.

Deliciously Ella
2. Slow your Home: Oh so much to talk about here. Blogger Brooke is based in the Blue Mountains (so many ‘b’s) and she speaks of a slower paced life that brings so many benefits. Her podcasts have me hooked, and I seem to be making up excuses to drive everywhere just so I can listen to another instalment. I am convinced this slow paced business is the way forward for me…

Slow your home

3. The Squawkin’ Galah: The gorgeous Tracy Sorrenson lives in Bathurst and we met a couple of weeks ago at a blogging panel thingy-me-bob as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival. Her blog is calm (I sense a theme) and beautifully written – firstly about her fight against cancer, and more recently about her life and musings post cancer.

Tracy SorrensonSo it’s a bit of a ‘chick-fest’ this time around. I just can’t believe how so many great things can be found and learned via blogs. Cheaper than therapy.

Let’s hope this blog in particular manages to keep up with that philosophy. See you soon with a change of pace.

Cherie

 

 

Back to school…

I think it’s great that we have access to so many online courses these days. No? Yes? Well I think it’s pretty great. Sure, it’s always fun to do something face to face, but when you live in the sticks, you have to do what works.

I have been doing a little blogging course called Blog with Pip and it’s been really useful and fun. Like, really useful. It costs money, and you have to try and keep up to date with the course (because you will eventually be unable to access the content) but it’s self paced and pretty non stressful. Win Win.

We have assignments – ooh, sounds just like school – and this week’s requires us to get a bit reflective.

It’s called ‘taking stock’ You should try it. It’s kind of like therapy…but cheaper and a lot less squirmy. I just have to write the first thing that pops into my head when I read the prompts.

Here goes…

Making : Choc Cashew Bliss Balls
Cooking : Farm chops
Drinking : Relaxing Tea from Tea Tonic
Reading: ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ for book club
Wanting: To meet the new baby
Looking: At my belly button popping out
Playing: Cafe tunes on Spotify
Deciding: On whether I should post this or not
Wishing: For life to keep poking along like this
Enjoying: ‘Girls’ on iTunes
Waiting: For the end of June
Liking: My friends (well kind of loving)
Wondering: Why the 2 Australian drug traffickers were murdered
Loving: My friends
Pondering: Deepak Chopras ‘Perfect Health’ messages
Considering: Not spending any money in May (except for groceries & essentials)
Watching: The leaves turning on our liquid amber
Hoping: 
My family is happy
Marvelling: At the size of my tummy
Needing: Another log on the fire
Smelling: Our compost heap
Wearing: Tracksuit pants
Following: About 30 blogs…at once
Noticing: How much better I feel if I meditate
Knowing: I need to drink more water
Thinking: How lucky am I?
Feeling: Content
Admiring: Mothers
Sorting: Socks & undies. Same old, same old.
Buying: See ‘considering’ above
Getting: A bit sick of using the dancing girl as my ‘go to’ emoji
Bookmarking: Everything ‘Deliciously Ella’ cooks
Disliking: Gravy
Opening: The back door because the fire is too hot
Giggling: At my two nephews playing bucking broncos & riding each other
Feeling: Content
Snacking: On carrots
Coveting: I can never remember what this word means…
Wishing: For nothing
Helping: My ‘usband with his books
Hearing: The toilet flushing

My favourite of all of these prompts is ‘Feeling’ and I hope you too are feeling content.

Cherie

In a bid to be authentic…

I’m not quite sure where March went, but let’s just say it might have been taken up with school teaching, turning the big 40 (yikes) and getting amongst this pregnancy thing. Yep, it’s happening and there’s a small person growing inside…which makes pretty much everything (except eating) pretty hard to concentrate on. I am still pinching myself.

Here’s how the March instalment of Bits and Blogs on the ABC radio went…

We chatted about authenticity and the influence that bloggers can have on their followers. This is a theme that has reared its head just in the last couple of months – that of bloggers being in a powerful position to influence people. The die hards amongst the world of journalism still can’t believe that bloggers can have so much clout… considering they don’t have a degree in writing or some such skill.

Jess Ainscough aka The Wellness Warrior (website now taken down) blogged about her battle with a rare form of cancer, whereby she undertook a relatively radical approach – known as the Gerson Therapy – seeking to use food and alternative therapies to treat her condition.

Jess Ainscough

Jess Ainscough

Sadly Jess passed away only two weeks ago and her blog has been put under the microscope. The concern is that many readers may have pinned their hopes on Jess’ experiences and advice, to help them recover from similar life threatening illnesses.

Healing Belle (who has now gone removed herself from Instagram and Facebook) is one such blogger and social media sensation that has recently come under criticism for apparently making false claims via her social media accounts that she has cured cancer via her diet. All sorts of gossip surrounds this young lady, but the crux is that many of her claims to actually have cancer in the first instance are believed to be untrue. Still, she has apparently made a lot of money via an App called ‘The Whole Pantry’ that was developed as a result of her experiences with cancer.

According to an article by ‘The Age’ some online media celebrities could be doing more harm than good “Dr Bartone says the Internet has made people into online sensations and pseudo-experts.”

Read more about it HERE

The bottom line…make informed decisions, and by all means read blogs for interest, but also do your own homework.

3 of my favourite blogs at the moment:

Food & Craft: Meet Me at Mikes

Pip Lincoln aka Meet me at Mikes

Pip Lincoln aka Meet me at Mikes

In keeping with the above theme of authenticity, author Pip Lincoln makes a lot of sense in a recent blog, and the problems associated with social media and the need to feel ‘liked’. She refers to this recent phenomenon as the ‘like-cycle’ and how some ‘wanna be’ celebs will do whatever it takes to gain likes and followers. Apart from that, she does amazing online courses – one of which is an online blogging course that I have just taken up – and has published several books.

Life: Sarah Wilson

The Sarah Wilson

The Sarah Wilson. Image via www.viva.co.nz

I can’t believe it has taken me until March to talk about my favourite blogger Sarah Wilson! I have a healthy woman-crush on this lady, which began in about 2009 when I started firstly following her articles in a weekend magazine, and then on her blog. She has gone on to create the online business ‘I Quit Sugar’ but her own personal blog goes into many topics about life and living authentically and happily. I could go on for hours about this one!

And yes, she weighs in on the debate about what to believe, and what not to believe, on the internet.

Regional: The Central Nest

Screenshot 2015-04-19 16.39.10

Kayana is based in Bathurst – so nice and close – and as a result, her blog is very relevant (except the owing a Thermomix part!!) She is honest and humorous and this is a great lifestyle blog to have in your feed.

She has practical tips (the parent mode on an i-phone so you can lock your child on just one screen and they can’t get out of it!) My girlfriends are going to love this!

Best of all, this girl does not claim to know it all. Authentic and real.

As for my take on the whole shebang, you can listen to my take on authenticity and blogging right HERE

Feel free to let me know of any brilliant blogs that you are following.

Cherie

A bit more radio action

I might as well keep updating this blog with the little radio stints that I do in Orange. I head over to the ABC studio once a month and have a lovely chat with Angela Owens about the best blogs I have found. They tend to have a pretty strong food theme, but I must admit that I am broadening my taste (sorry) as I search for a variety of stimulating blogs.

This session dates back to February. You can listen to it down the bottom – I would rather die than listen back on myself.

How do I find out about new and fabulous blogs?

Friends are a great source – I always seem to be having conversations with girlfriends about something they saw recently on a blog. Once upon a time it might have been about a magazine I had purchased, but now it’s online stimulus!

The other place is from bloggers themselves; they often provide links to new blogs that they are fond of – a personal recommendation that usually leads you to more like minded people with similar interests.

How do I keep up to date with blogs?

I don’t subscribe to any blogs to come through to my email – it is not used for that.

I use ‘Feedly’ which is an online filing cabinet for blogs! They come in automatically and I have categorized them according to their content. It is a fantastic organizational and time saving tool.

3 of my favourite blogs for February:

Food: Stonesoup

Jules Clancy who is based in Cooma NSW created this informative blog. She is a nutritionist and apart from providing amazing recipes each week, she also offers an online cooking school and meal planning course – so you learn to cook healthy and simple meals virtually!

The meals take 15 mins or less, all of the ingredients (5 or less) can be sourced locally and they are so nutritious. It’s a winner.

5 Ingredients or Less

Sweet Potato Hummus + Lamb Cutlets

Life: The Slow Poke

A stunning lifestyle blog, curated by a lady based in Sydney, who has an eye for life in the slow lane. It encompasses all things that go into making a more simple and authentic life.

One of my fave posts is about the benefits of walking around barefoot – feeling the dirt and grass under your feet. Read it here

theslowpoke_barefootearthing1

 Regional: Red Agape

Amanda lives has a guest house in Milthorpe and her blog is inspired by all things crafty. And while I’m not that crafty myself, I can live vicariously through her blog. She has created a community on social media that uses craft as therapy and it has created a real buzz amongst people who have turned to craft as a way of coping with stress, illness or hardship.

A clever crafty 'Olives and Pickles' created this masterpiece as part of #craftastherapy

A clever crafty ‘Olives and Pickles’ created this masterpiece as part of #craftastherapy

So see if any of these blogs tickle your fancy. And if you have come across a blogger that needs some light shone upon them, then let me know in the comments section and I’ll check them out.

February Bits and Blogs: Listen HERE


Action Jackson

Yes, it’s all happening in the final stages of the putting together of Northcote.

And yes, I am about 2 months behind on blog posts.

So how about we just pretend time has stood still, and the Bakers haven’t actually moved in yet. And the painting isn’t done and the floors haven’t been finished, and that moving is still to come.

It’s been a flurry of tradies over the past few weeks (at least that part is true.) The main things to finish off have been carpeting of two bedrooms, hooking up of the solar, building the front steps and the amazing deck – complete with water views – and the sanding, polishing & staining of the floorboards.

Oh and boy the floorboards are delicious! So delicious you could eat (off) them. Well, some of our friends pretty much did. And you know how the first meal in a new house is often an occasion to celebrate… well look closely friends.

Classy.

Yes, leftover pizza. Classy.

It’s been a flurry of packing, and the following image says it all. At least someone was smiling.

Packing

Siddy Boy was lucky to make it out of the laundry alive.

Oh, and we’re running another competition and all you need to do is name one of the hobbies represented in this picture…I’ll start; netball, welding, holepunching (soon to be recognised as an Olympic sport) lantern hanging…

Just leave your contributions in the comments section.

Talk soon

Cherie

You, my friend, have a face for radio…

Yes, I think I might indeed have found my favourite medium of media.

I have loved local ABC radio since the beginning of time. Some of my fondest memories are of driving around the paddocks with Grandfather in the Suzuki with the radio on full blast (mainly because he had farmer’s deafness.) Oh those were the days.

I don’t really recall many particular radio segments, however I did know when it was time to stay quiet – namely the top of every hour when the infamous theme music to the news came on, as well as approximately 10 minutes to 1pm for the all important market report. I had no idea what all of the numbers & figures meant, but I did know that Grandfather’s and Dad’s reaction meant whether or not things were hunky dory in the world of fat lambs.

So I guess when I had a chance to have a crack at a few interviews on radio – with the Trundle Tree Change experience as well as Trundle Bush Tucker Day, I felt right at home speaking to an audience that I already felt a part of.

It was during this time that I met Angela Owens who hosts the Morning program out of the Orange station. Here’s a pic of her…don’t you always have a picture in your mind of a radio presenter and then it turns out in real life that they look completely different?

Angela

Angela Owens. You know, we could be friends.

Angela has a genuine interest in the Central West and she came out to Trundle during the filming of Country Town Rescue and did an Outside Broadcast on the Trundle Hotel verandah. She was very easy to speak with – the sign of a true professional in the radio game – and we have kept in touch since.

So it turns out there was an opening for a segment and Angela thought I might fit the brief. The brief, mind you, was for someone who spends many an hour on the internet reading blogs and forming half baked opinions about what makes good reading. That was me to a tee.

So every few weeks I am going to be giving my thoughts on blogs, what I love about the world of blogging and also a run down of my top three. This time I picked some rippers, namely:

Local is Lovely – a taste of the Orange district, produce and recipes.

Local is lovely

A recent camping trip from Local is Lovely

The Shady Baker – written by a lady of the land in western NSW, who also takes the most amazing pics.

dusty road

This dusty road pic taken by The Shady Baker is a familiar site for many of us…

The Positivity Blog – for when I could do with a reminder of how to be happy.

You can hear the first instalment of my radio segment here.

My initial thoughts after my first foray into the world of radio were:

1. How do I re-jig my voice so that it isn’t so nasally?

2. What should I wear next time?

3. Does any one actually listen to the radio at 9.35am on a Wednesday morning (apart from my Mum, Dad and Uncle Tom?)

Talk soon

Cherie

PS The Baker family are in the process of moving in…which is precisely why I am at home, under the air con, writing this bit of nonsense.

Guys, we need a plan

It’s all well and good to say ‘we’ll just work out the furniture when we move in’ but in the case of most houses, there needs to be a bit of a plan. Where does the TV go – without becoming the centre of attention? We do have one sibling whose family doesn’t actually own a television – there are only three of us, so I’ll let you do the maths – so let’s just say that a TV is never going to be a dominant feature.

But still, everything needs a plug or a powerpoint so you do need to give these things some thought.

These decisions – where the fire will go, the power points, the light switches, the lounges, seats, rugs etc – need to be done pretty early on. Well before the house looks anything like completed. WB called on her social media expertise (we knew those hours of googling would eventually pay off) and gathered as much inspiration as she could before launching into the plan. And a shopping list.

But like many new home owners find, the pennies to spend on pretties just don’t seem to be as forthcoming as when the whole project began. So Uncle Mike’s green lounge might still make the move out to Northcote. Although I am pretty sure CB will chain himself to the couch rather than seeing it at a new location. That lounge has served its purpose.

The practical aspect of pulling these ideas together meant going out to Northcote and laying a few plans in place. This was in the form of a paper tablecloth roll – cut up into the sizes of a lounge, a rug, a coffee table – as well as a beer, a bin and a baby and lots of imagination.

Planning

I think the island bench will be ‘this wide’

One of my fave ideas from the interweb experts was to bring in a couple of arm chairs for the bay window in the open plan living room, rather than building an actual seat – which could reduce the feeling of space and make the window seem a bit ‘boxy.’

DSC_0185

Nothing a tape measure can’t solve…

 

DSC_0196

Oh these chairs are SO comfortable.

Move in date is looking a lot like the end of Jan. Yikes! That’s only two weeks away. We can time it for the Australia Day public holiday, if that suits the majority. We will have a sign up form, where you can put your name down for a shift that suits you best, in an upcoming post.

And how could we resist another pic of this little fella. Siddy Boy is growing up. He’s on solids, sleeping through (in a fashion) blows bubbles with his dribble and is starting to form words, that sound a lot like animal noises. His parents are so proud.

Siddy Boy

Despite his parents being on the move, Siddy Boy still finds time to moonlight as a model.

Our friends at Woolerina are launching their new range for 2015 so called on a few friends to show off their wares.

Siddy and the kids

…and doesn’t mind sharing the limelight with his cute little friends.

Too cute.

Cherie