Things I Am Loving


Egyptian Magic Face Cream

I bought this stuff from Costco, because that’s how I roll, and it really is magic. My skin is insanely dry, and this stuff is basically pure olive oil with some weird magic bee propolis extract thrown in. It’s all melty and lovely on my skin, and definitely stops the flakiness. Plus the packaging looks cool.

Indoor plants from Aldi

Who knew? I love everything about Aldi (Australian made/grown! No additives! Extremely cheap!) but occasionally they have indoor plants, and the quality is great. I picked up a couple of Magic Bean plants, some indestructible Zanzibar Gems and a philodendron for about $8 each. My house is slowly becoming a jungle.

Aesop Shine Hair Oil

My lovely book club ladies bought me an Aesop set thing for my 30th, plus this magic hair oil stuff. It smells SO GOOD that I keep just sniffing it whenever I go in the bathroom. All cardamom and orange. Yum. Obviously I will be keeping the bottles and refilling them with Pears to keep up the illusion of fanciness.


The library

I go through stages with the library. Because I read mostly on my Kindle, I tend to just buy ebooks, but then I also love reading a bit of non-fiction. Cookbooks, gardening books, books about knights and dragons for Archie, books about dogs and cats for Jed (current obsessions) – the library is so ace for all that. Plus, it’s free! What else in society is there like it? Nothing. Go to your library.

Planning kid’s birthday parties

The boys turn two and four in a couple of months and there has been much discussion about the cake, the invitation, the guests, the food, the decorations… We like to keep it pretty low key and old school (no face painting or magicians here) but the kids both love to study The Book and change their mind every 10 minutes.

How to be a tightass

Because we are currently in this weird no-man's-land where we have purchased one house and paid for it, but haven't settled the old house yet, we are currently paying two mortgages (plus the Brunswick house, but that's cash positive) and holy crap, things are tight. Here's my tips on being super scringy.

Don't go to Kmart or Target. Seriously, I walk into those places looking for a pair of socks or a toddler's singlet and come out with a plant pot, dry shampoo, a new doona cover and some glitter crayons. If you're really serious, basically just avoid them completely. If your weakness is Bunnings (me) or Priceline (also me) or that cute deli with the good cheese, the same thing applies. Don't go there. Or at least make a list of all the stuff you need, then do a big shop at once. You still feel like you get to buy heaps, but it's not crap you don't need.

Track everything. I've heard this advice before and frankly, the thought of putting every expense into a spreadsheet sounds heinous. Luckily, I found Pocketbook, which links to your bank account and categorises all your expenses and incomes. So I can see specifically how much I spent on Xmas gifts last year, how much our utilities are each month and what percentage we are saving (or not).

Do a meal plan. I have a love/hate relationship with meal planning...  I like to think of myself as spontaneous and a fabulous cook who can whip up a delicious and nutritious meal from a can of chickpeas and a carrot, but alas. I'm more of a "Holy crap it's 5pm and I need to go to the supermarket... let's have eggs on toast, guys!" The truth is, meal planning stops you from buying random excess junk (see Kmart and Target, above) and only buying what you need.

Do free or cheap stuff. This is especially good when you have kids. Seriously, my kids are happy with a bit of open space and a stick. Meet your mates at a playground with a cafe, get a coffee then let them go wild (the kids, not your mates).

Don't buy crap. This can pretty much be applied to everything, but it is especially noticeable with clothes. That $10 top? It will fall apart after one wash, pick up a permanent stain and shrink to a size four. Save up until you can find something that is well made and will last a while. I have a Country Road cardigan that I've have for six years and it still looks new, but I can't say the same for anything I've bought from the el cheapo stores.

Join things. We have a family membership to both the Melbourne Zoo and the Melbourne Museum. The memberships were exxy to start with, but we go to the zoo and museum at least monthly, so it works out way cheaper. Memberships like this make good Christmas presents from grandparents too!

While you are joining things, dig out your library card. The library is ace! If you churn through heaps of books (ahem), you can reserve or hold them online, then go and pick them up in person. I always grab heaps of cookbooks when I'm there, cook nothing, then take them all back. Libraries also have heaps of kids stuff on too - story time, author events and homework clubs. Get onto it.




How to handle open for inspections when you have kids

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The auction for our Coburg house is tomorrow. Fingers crossed, y'all, that some megazillionaire comes up and decides to pay a mint for it. Chances are not likely, but I'm staying positive. This is the second house we've sold at auction (we auctioned the Northcote house  and NO ONE BID. Stressful much.), so we have pretty limited experience. We've bought three at auction but they were total dumps - with the exception of Yarra Yarra - so it was a whole other ball game as there were no pretensions about the value of the properties.

That said, I have quite a bit of experience with setting up a house for rental inspections, open for inspections, photoshoots and whatnot. Adding kids to the mix adds a new level of angst to the new process because no potential buyer wants to see a dirty nappy under the couch or unknown smears on the kitchen walls. Also kids = STUFF. There is plenty of other info online about adding value and prepping your house (here, here and here), but here's my top advice cobbled together from the last six weeks of OFIs + watching the Block.

Do one huge clean, then maintain.

We have found it easier to do a humungous deep clean before the first opening, then attempt to maintain that level for the whole campaign. Lee and I both set aside a Saturday morning and did stuff we don't usually do, like clean the skirtings and lights, wipe down walls, wash the windows and sweep the random piles of leaves out from behind the bins. Once that's done, it's much easier to give everything a quick wipe or sweep before each opening.

Get outta the house early.

If you can, try to get out of the house well before the opening. We gave our agent a key so we never have to meet him here before the openings. The main reason is that getting two kids out of the house can be a mission, and you don't want to hold up the opening because someone has lost a shoe or put a cheese stick in the toilet.

Pay attention to the garden and front door.

This a real estate mantra: first impressions count, curb appeal, etc etc. I think it totally makes a difference if you make the entrance and front path area look extra decent, though. Shake out your doormat, yank out the weeds and put a plant next to the front door. Easy.

Don't have a stinky house.

I listened to something the other day about the inventors of Febreze, the cleaning spray that dissolves bad smells. Apparently they thought it would be super-popular but the sales were really low and they didn't know why. They did some more research and realized that people get so used to gross smells that they don't think they have a problem. I have this secret fear that my house smells bad and I am so used to it that I can't tell, so I make sure to take out the bins, clean the toilets and light a magnificent candle before the opening. I sometimes spray lavender oil around, especially if Jed has had a blueberry nappy explosion recently.

Get rid of stuff.

Do a humungous declutter. Pack away anything that is too personal, too weird or too ugly. Make sure your indoor plants don't look too dead, try and hide any annoying cables and leave plenty of open space and clear surfaces. This might mean that your cupboards are bulging, but most people won't open the cupboards. And if they do, they will be punished by the avalanche of random clutter that falls upon them.

Be prepared for random questions.

Things that people have asked our real estate agent about include questions about nearby building developments, the wall colour, whether the deck and pergola have council permits and if the pizza oven is a fixture (because an oven made from 300+ bricks is pretty portable, right?). You will get weird questions. Be prepared for them.


By the time you get to the opening for inspections, it's usually too late to do any big painting or landscaping stuff. The most important thing is that your house looks clean, tidy and appealing. And doesn't smell weird. Good luck!

Apps I've Known and Loved

IMG_7960 I am pretty addicted to my iPhone, but aren't we all? I regularly have freakouts that smartphones are the cigarettes of our generation and we will be looking back in 40 years, after all our brains are turned to mush and all our kids have ADHD and think WHY DIDN"T WE DO SOMETHING but then we will move onto something else, because our attention spans will be 0.05 seconds long (I blame Buzzfeed).

Anyway, I obviously am not too concerned because my phone is basically a lifeline between my and the outside world, not to mention my main way of keeping an eye on the business. I LOVE finding new apps that make my life easier or at least slightly less chaotic, and love peering at other people's home screens to see what they use.

So, onwards to the apps.


This is quite literally my life, in list format. It is a to do list app, and you can divide it by Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming and Someday. The tasks automatically shift forwards, and you can also sort it by folders. The app syncs with a desktop app, a web app and Chrome extension too. The best bit? It calculates how many total items you have completed. I am up to 4,609 *fistpump* I recently got Lee addicted too and it has really helped streamline our work.


I read lots of different things online, and with the Pocket Chrome extension I can save longer articles to my Pocket account to read later. This kind of app is pretty common (instapaper etc) but the BEST part about this particular one is that my Kobo ereader has a Pocket extension so I can read my saved articles on my ereader, offline. Gold.


This is the standard iTunes podcast app. I listen to quite a few podcasts, (*cough* shoutout The New Normal *cough*) as I can pop one on while hanging around the house with the kids, folding washing at night, or driving somewhere. I've also got Stitcher and Podbean on my phone, but I mostly listen via Podcasts.


Lets me do our business bookkeeping from my phone. Amazing and life changing.


Awesome tool for scheduling Instagram posts in advance. I tee up a few at a time for Gratton and for The New Normal, then just post them when I need too. A big time-saver, especially as Instagram won't let you use more than one account at a time.


This is where I read blogs. I only try and keep my list to about 20 blogs at a time, and I usually just whizz through it a couple of times a week and save anything that looks good to Pocket (see above) for reading later on.

Instagram (obvs), Gmail, Pinterest, the Notes app ( I currently have lists of books to read, music to find, things to cook, and a million weird notes to myself that make no sense), the ABC news app and Google Maps, as I am extremely directionally challenged.


Organisation is overrated, AKA how to move house with kids

IMG_7636 We have moved house five times in the past five years, and are due to complete our sixth move this weekend. This will be Archie's fourth move in his short life. I like to think that I have gotten moving house down to a fine art, but that would be like saying I had basic cooking skills, or blowdrying my hair, or parenting, down to a fine art. NO WAY, JOSÉ! Or as Archie says, NO WAY, HOSIE!

I have minimalist tendencies so we don't actually have that much, considering we are a family of four. Since reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, (weirdest/most awesome book ever) I did a huge purge and got rid of heaps of extra crap. I am pretty strict about toy and clothing accumulation, but don't set limits on kid's books, plants, or art, so we have a lot of those. However, when you pile all your stuff into one room, which is what we are in the process of doing, HOLY CRAP there is a lot of stuff.

We hired these plastic moving boxes which are awesome. They all stack up on top of one another, are waterproof, light-weight and hold heaps of stuff. They drop them off a couple of weeks before your move and pick them up from the new house a week after you move in. So much easier than cardboard! I'm recommending them to everyone.

So, my tips for moving with kids...

1. Get rid of the kids. At least for the actual moving day, you want to outsource your kids to someone else. Give them to a doting grandma, friend or random stranger, if that's your jam.

2. Make it a game. After too many games of Let's Empty the Boxes Mummy Just Packed, I gave in and gave them a couple of boxes to make cubbyhouses out of, on the condition that they weren't allowed to unpack anything else or I would tape them to a wall with an industrial-sized tape gun.

3. Make them help you. Once I gave up on the idea of putting everything neatly into the boxes, I just let Archie see how many things he could stuff in each box. Thus, some boxes are labelled "Lego, toaster, Lee's socks, cookbooks" which will make for interesting unpacking at the other end, but at least I got Archie working for me.

4. Let them play with Christmas decorations. You know what kids love? Christmas. And you know what they love even more? Playing with all the stored Christmas stuff when it's July and Mummy is highly-stung, wearing her pyjamas at 3pm and stalking the house with a labelmaker and a tape gun while attempting to dismantle a king-sized bed on her own. It's Christmas in July, kids!

5. Turn your rage into excitement. When you feel a surge of anxiety at the thought of your to-do list (update house insurance! redirect the mail! tell the neighbours! clean the freaking skirting boards!), try and reframe your rage into feeling excited about the move. I am genuinely looking forward to getting into the new house, unpacking all our stuff and making the house feel like ours again. Try to hold onto that feeling when you are daunted by the sheer amount of effort required to move a household.


My arsenal for surviving pregnancy.

Picfx If you'll allow me to indulge for a minute, I am excellent at feeding and birthing large, robust humans. Natural childbirth? Done. Breastfeeding? No dramas. Cruising through pregnancy feeling healthy and sane? Not so much. If there is an obscure pregnancy symptom, I have it. Blood noses, symphysis pubis disfunction (sexy), bleeding gums, peeling fingertips, dry eyes, anxiety, congestion, heartburn? Check, check, check.

I know pregnancy is a blessing and a joy and while there are many times that I have gotten misty-eyed over feeling the baby kick, for the vast majority of the time I am an overheated, sweaty, moaning mess of pain and emotional volatility. Anyway, here is a motley collection of things that I have found helpful, useful or interesting over the past seven months.


As in nip cream. This stuff is made of 100% lanolin (wool fat from sheep) and is made to be smeared on your teats to stop cracking and bleeding. Thankfully I never had major nipple issues but still use this stuff as lip balm, moisturiser for my dry fingers and nails, and as a barrier cream for Archie's drool rash and mozzie bite scabs. I also smear some in my nose to help with the dry, bloody nostril situation (sorry for the grossness, but it helps!).

Maternity crop tops

Due to the fact that my puppies have been full of milk since I was 18 weeks pregnant (!), I have been sleeping in a bra for the past six months or so. Milky boobs with no baby to feed (yet) result in super-sensitive, massive cans that need to be contained and controlled, but I obviously don't want to sleep in a proper bra. I got these extremely daggy and unattractive crop tops from Target when Archie was born and wear them every single night.

Maternity leggings

I was adamant that I wouldn't need any maternity clothes with either pregnancy as they were all either fugly or super-expensive. Oh, bless the ignorant and stubborn first time mother. One day I was shopping with my mum, waddling along in my skinny jeans held up with rubber bands and pins, and she forced me to try on a pair of maternity leggings. I wore them out of the shop, and pretty much haven't taken them off since. Well played, mother.


Things I have bought on eBay for the baby: Two cots, one double pram, one Mountain Buggy tyre, one Ergo Carrier, numerous pairs of toddler shoes, a suede Seed toddler coat for $15  and few pairs of toddler pants. Pretty sure I have saved megabucks this way.

My New Baby by Rachel Fuller

After we found out that we were pregnant, I ordered this book online for bit of a subtle subliminal messaging to Archie. The baby and the toddler in the book are both kind of gender-neutral so we call one Archie and one Baby. The book shows breastfeeding, the baby crying, the toddler on the potty - all things which are relevant to us at the moment.

Calming the f*ck down 

This is probably the most important but most difficult thing. I am prone to a bit of the old anxiety/depression and was on medication for it for eight years until I got pregnant with Archie. I am fine 99% of the time but pregnancy hormones, exhaustion and general overwhelm has resulted in a few epic episodes in the past few months where I totally lost control of my head and my tear ducts. I am a prime contender for post-natal depression (I had a huge 'M' for MENTAL on my file at the midwife clinic last time, so all the midwives/doctors/nurses/orderlies/ladies filling the vending machine/other patients knew that I was MENTAL. Awesome) so am making a big effort to consciously do less, relax more, go to bed early and get help so that I don't get sick.

Saltwater Sandals

My feet are achey, hot and swollen and I have been living in my old trusty Salties since November. The leather is so soft now that my feet can puff up without looking like this, and they look good enough to wear pretty much everywhere. My pregbot uniform this time around has been black maternity leggings (see above), red Salties and a tunic dress/maxi dress/ muu muu. Throw on beads and a scarf  and I am ready to both meet with an architect at work or wrestle a toddler into a trolley at Aldi.


I don't know if I should recommend this website or not as it is both a blessing and a curse. We had a short, simple list of baby names, but then I found Nameberry where you can plug in names you like and they recommend other names for you. Our short, manageable list of names suddenly quadrupled and now I have so many options that the baby is likely to be starting kinder and still be called Baby. Or Joe, which is Archie's chosen baby name option.


I started taking Blackmores Pregnancy Formula once I got the positive pee stick result. I had a blood test recently that showed that I am both anaemic and Vitamin D deficient, so now I take a cocktail of the Blackmores preggo multivitamin, Blackmores Magnesium for the achey muscles, fish oil for the baby's brain, Floradit iron for energy, Ostelin Vitamin D capsules and Normafibe to counteract the iron's constipating tendencies (TMI, sorry). I take some in the morning and some at night, and always take the iron with orange juice to help absorption. The rad nutritionist and blogger Katie180 wrote a great post about preggo vitamins which was super interesting.

Hope this helps any fellow pregheads out there. Got any hot tips for me? Leave 'em in the comments.

Best laid plans.

photo (1) For these upcoming holidays, the boys (ha, I love saying that) and I will be schlepping from my parent's house on Christmas Day to Lee's mum's place on Boxing Day, staying there for a few days, then coming home for New Years, and then heading down to Torquay for a couple of weeks. Ohhhh yeah. Archie is going to have to become reacquainted with the mesh cage/Portacot and sleeping in cupboards and driving long distances while stopping every 20 minutes so his pregnant mother can pee on the side of Eastlink. Poor kid will love it.

Because I have an inability to relax and slow down and do nothing, I have made a list of stuff I want to do on the holidays. All fun, family-friendly stuff that does not tax the pregnant brain or body, but will stop the kid and the husband being driven mad by my angry forced relaxing.

Feel free to steal this list if you want some activities for your staycation/weekends.

  • Go berry picking. I don't know if Archie will be into this, but I do know that he picked and tried to eat two of the four green tomatoes that I lovingly coaxed  out of my fledgling tomato plant.
  • Do touristy stuff in the city. I want to go back to Melbourne Now, have a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, buy all the things on my Christmas list that Santa didn't bring, and visit the Museum again.
  • Turn off my damn phone. Or at least the wi-fi. The amount of time I spend aimlessly scrolling through Facebook/Instagram/random wikipedia shit is approaching addiction, and I think a break would do everyone good.
  • Make some stuff. These holidays I WILL finish the cross quilt that has taken me YEARS. I only have 17 squares to go, then blocking, joining, sewing in ends and I'm done! That will be a good day. I also want to make a few crocheted hanging pot holders with colourful rope to hang over the kitchen in our new place, a really detailed embroidered peacock, some sort of 'Archie's Room' sign thing and these crocheted balls.
  • See a movie outside. Either Moonlight Cinema or Rooftop Cinema. This is a no-toddlers-allowed date night, so might take a bit of planning. But worth it.
  • Eat less shit. I am at risk of giving birth to a raspberry-flavoured Jelly Baby instead of a real life skin and bones baby if I don't ditch the junk soon. I try to eat heaps of protein and veggies, but am still eating way too much crap as well. I am going to make a big effort to make big salads and 'healthy desserts' and snacks and cut out the crap. I am even considering doing this, but that be crazy talk.
  • Go on a big-ish bike ride. I love riding bikes, as does Lee and Archie. Before I get hugely pregnant, I want to fit in a leisurely, flat, slow, flat ride somewhere scenic and green. Also, flat.
  • Go to the beach. All the time. I am lucky to have parents with an awesome beach house literally on the beach at Torquay. I think the baby monitor might even reach to the sand. There will be early morning swims, epic all-day beach sessions, late afternoon sandcastle sessions, evening walks and night beach dinners. Archie is old enough to appreciate it and not need me within arm's reach the whole time, so fun times will be had. Also, I plan on getting very, very, very brown.

Hot tips for toddlers.


Ain't nothing like waking up to this face at the foot of my bed.

Most of the time I have no freaking clue when it comes to parenting. I don't know if anyone does, really. We are all just bumbling along, shell-shocked, exhausted and bewildered. I only have one and a half children, which hardly makes me an expert. But I have gathered some good tips and little things that help when I'm in the trenches with an empty fridge and cranky toddler.

Most of the time, kids are capable of more than you think. On a good day, Archie brings his high chair over to the bench at dinner time, gets his plate and bib from the drawer and carries his water bottle over and puts it on his high chair. He hoovers his dinner, mostly without help from me, then hands me his bowl when he is finished. I give him a cloth and he wipes his face and hands (I  help a bit with this) this wipes the high chair. If he has been really messy we wipe the floor together, while he usually eats the crumbs off the floor (lovely). He puts his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher, and we're done. While it's obviously great for his own independence and confidence that we have taught him to do all that, the best part is LESS WORK FOR ME. Kid doing more = mum doing less. Win win.

Television is your friend. Archie watches Play School religiously at 4.30pm everyday. This is when I either a) get dinner ready, b) do washing or c) sit on the couch with him and mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram. Do not be afraid of the television. It is also a great way to distract them so you can do stuff like cut their nails or secretly eat cake in the pantry.

Toys are overrated. Archie's favourite things to play with include an old vitamin container with a screw-on lid, an old nappy box turned into a car, three big empty buckets and a soup ladle. He spends ages in the bath trying to screw on the vitamin lid, makes a huge show of saying bye to everyone before getting in the cardboard car and going for a drive, can literally spend hours putting dirt and water and leaves into the buckets and rides the soup ladle like a hobby horse. I try to rotate through his proper toys pretty regularly and pack away the ones he isn't interested in, so he doesn't get overwhelmed with several million options. Less is more, my friends.

Chillax about food. I swing between freaking out about how much Archie eats and trying all sorts of things to get him to eat more veggies and less cheese, and just offering him normal food and leaving it at that. Believe me when I say that the latter is easier, more effective and less stressful. Kids are weird. They can go a whole day on a cheesestick and one Cruskit, then eat like a freaking 6-foot teenage boy the next.

When a kid is sick, just do what you've got to do. Watch TV all afternoon while lying on the couch together and drinking juice. Drive around for two hours so the sick kid can sleep in the car. Have really really long, hot, steamy showers together to melt the snot away. Co-sleep. Just do what needs to be done.

Step away from Dr Google. I really need to remember this when the new baby arrives. When Archie was teeny, I would lay awake at 3am frantically reading the entire internet looking for that once piece of advice that would magically make the baby sleep, slow down my ridiculous milk supply, clean my house and allow my just half an hour to not be needed by anyone. This benefits no one. If you need advice, ask someone who is either a) a qualified medical professional who you trust and like, or b) a fellow mother who you trust and like. Do not take parenting advice from anyone with a name like mommylyfe1042 on an internet forum. Actually, don't take parenting advice from anyone on an internet forum.

Get all the help. I honestly reckon that the whole 'it takes a village' thing is spot on. Children are not just the property of the mother and father, but belong to a whole community. The parents owe it to the community to share the kid around, and in turn the community helps out. I really struggled with asking for help (and still do), both emotional help and actual can-you-pick-up-some-dinner-on-your-way-over help, but trying to do everything on your own is a recipe for a meltdown, and at worst, PND-town.

Caitlin Moran's Advice for her Daughter

This is so freaking hilarious, and poignant, and honest, and REAL. I do love Ms Moran.

My posthumous advice for my daughter

Via The Times

‘Nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit’

My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to get out – I’ve thought about writing her one of those “Now I’m Dead, Here’s My Letter Of Advice For You To Consult As You Continue Your Now Motherless Life” letters. Here’s the first draft. Might tweak it a bit later. When I’ve had another fag.

“Dear Lizzie. Hello, it’s Mummy. I’m dead. Sorry about that. I hope the funeral was good – did Daddy play Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen when my coffin went into the cremator? I hope everyone sang along and did air guitar, as I stipulated. And wore the stick-on Freddie Mercury moustaches, as I ordered in the ‘My Funeral Plan’ document that’s been pinned on the fridge since 2008, when I had that extremely self-pitying cold.

“Look – here are a couple of things I’ve learnt on the way that you might find useful in the coming years. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Also, I’ve left you loads of life-insurance money – so go hog wild on eBay on those second-hand vintage dresses you like. You have always looked beautiful in them. You have always looked beautiful.

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.

“Second, always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin.

“Three – always pick up worms off the pavement and put them on the grass. They’re having a bad day, and they’re good for… the earth or something (ask Daddy more about this; am a bit sketchy).

“Four: choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them, because the jokes are easy and you feel like you’re in your best outfit when you’re with them, even though you’re just in a T-shirt. Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls; they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart. The books about vampires are true, baby. Drive a stake through their hearts and run away.

“Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within, the brilliant meat clockwork, as I did when you were inside me and I dreamt of you every night.

“Whenever you can’t think of something to say in a conversation, ask people questions instead. Even if you’re next to a man who collects pre-Seventies screws and bolts, you will probably never have another opportunity to find out so much about pre-Seventies screws and bolts, and you never know when it will be useful.

“This segues into the next tip: life divides into AMAZING ENJOYABLE TIMES and APPALLING EXPERIENCES THAT WILL MAKE FUTURE AMAZING ANECDOTES. However awful, you can get through any experience if you imagine yourself, in the future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’ Even when Jesus was on the cross, I bet He was thinking, ‘When I rise in three days, the disciples aren’t going to believe this when I tell them about it.’

“Babyiest, see as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. Run across roads to smell fat roses. Always believe you can change the world – even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it. Think of yourself as a silver rocket – use loud music as your fuel; books like maps and co-ordinates for how to get there. Host extravagantly, love constantly, dance in comfortable shoes, talk to Daddy and Nancy about me every day and never, ever start smoking. It’s like buying a fun baby dragon that will grow and eventually burn down your f***ing house.

“Love, Mummy.”

Hot tips | Don't let the pursuit of perfect get in the way of good

562_MrPerfect_original So I have been thinking about the things that I wish I had learnt years and years ago. Stuff that would have been great to know when I was at high school, or first leaving home, or even just last year when I was in full-on new baby meltdown. I am going to write a series of Hot Tips that have made things slightly easier, or more relaxed, or simpler, for me. Hopefully you find them helpful too xx

Don't let the pursuit of perfect get in the way of good. (Or something like that).

I can't remember where I first heard this (maybe here? Although I think Voltaire actually said it first), but it was one of those things that must have gotten lodged in my brain because it came back to me as a lightbulb moment the other day.

It is easy to get so caught up in doing everything perfectly, that just doing a good job gets pushed to the wayside. I tend to be a perfectionist, and sometimes if I can't so something perfectly, I don't want to do it at all. Which is kind of ridiculous when I see it written down like that.

For example, I attempted Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation a while ago. I started off well, then fell off the wagon slightly (probably by eating cake) and then gave it up totally because it wasn't going perfectly. When really, just eating well most of the time and exercising when I can is better than doing sweet eff-all, which is what I did once I stopped the diet. This all or nothing attitude isn't doing anybody any favours.

Another example? I really like having green smoothies. They are yum, and healthy, and I can indulge myself in smugly feeling like I've got my shit together. But  I read somewhere that it is best to drink them immediately after you blend them up, because the vitamins start magically disappearing as soon as they are exposed to air or something like that. So I started freaking out and trying to make them fresh everyday. And that didn't work, so I ended up hardly ever making them at all. Stupido!

A three-hour old veggie juice is better than no veggie juice at all. So now I just make a big jugful whenever I can and drink a glass whenever I want. Still yum, still healthy, and I can still be smug.

If there is anything you want to, just freaking do it. You don't need to be a profesh dancer to take dance classes, you don't need to be an amazing cook to have a dinner party and you don't need to be Usain Bolt to take up running.

Go. Get shit done.