Every now and then I have these 'moments' that make me stop and realise how lucky I am. 

I can say that now with confidence cause I'm no longer feeling sorry for myself, but last year, 2016, or as I have nicknamed it.. #projectbaby2016 felt like my worst (and best) year yet.

Unfortunately, I was not one of those women who blinked and fell pregnant quickly. I spent the most part of 2016 prepping myself for IVF. And despite what you think you might know about IVF, for me, this was NOT an overnight process. 

I waited to see doctors, I waited for results, I waited to fall naturally, I waited for a period, I waited to start IVF which then lead to even more waiting.

I waited for my eggs to be retrieved, I waited for my embryos to be fertilised, I waited for them to be biopsied for genetic testing, then to be stored and frozen for two and half months until I waited for a natural cycle to occur so they could then be transferred, which of course leads to the infamous 'two week wait'. 

I remember at one point feeling like I should have written a book and called it "What to Expect When You Are Still Not Expecting", or " What to Expect When You Are Expecting To Be Expecting." The wait was destroying me.

During this time, one of those defining 'moments' struck one particular evening whilst flicking through channels. My husband quickly alerted me to switch to Nat Geo as March of the Penguins was just starting. 

Yes, the documentary.

Reluctantly (and with eyes rolling) I watched on as he insisted it was a touching documentary about penguins. (My enthusiasm lowering by the second).

Until I watched on and realized, it was more than that.

This heartwarming documentary unfolded the story of one year in the life of a flock of penguins as they trek across the freezing Antarctic on a year long journey that has them facing just about every major life experience: from birth to death, from dating to mating, from comedy to tragedy, and from finding love to fighting for survival in the harshest conditions on Earth.

As I watched in awe as the tears rolled down my face, it showed me that it is not only the human who sometimes have to overcome daunting obstacles to create human life but the poor penguin who have to hustle to pro-create also.

So I eventually stopped the pity party and embraced the mammoth IVF task and enjoyed my journey from infertility to pregnancy. 

I'm sorry to my nearest and dearest, who had to hear about my anticipated specialist appointments, my husbands sperm, my fibroids and uterus, my polycystic ovaries, the ovulation tests, negative pregnancy results, the surprise periods, the many blood tests and the gory details of my egg collection and frozen embryo transfer.

But fast forward to today:

I am 38 weeks pregnant, am bracing myself for the challenges of motherhood, I'm farewelling the past, welcoming the new future and taking another conscious 'moment' (before I am sleep deprived and covered in vom) to document my gratitude for the miracle of creating human life...

And for the new found respect I have for the humble penguin.


The Great Escape.

Have you ever had a burning desire to want to learn more about taking photos of your food? Yeh well neither did I.

But my husband did. So late last year, he typed into google, 'Food Photography Courses'. After abit of searching, he came across a gorgeous blog called 'Local is Lovely' which showcased an option of workshops on offer. This one read:

Join Marta Greber, (photographer, food stylist and blogger at ‘What should I eat for Breakfast today’), Simone Hawlisch, (freelance photographer, visual storyteller and gifted teacher), Sydney-based photographer and all-round beautiful human Luisa Brimble and myself, food writer and blogger Sophie Hansen, for 2 1/2 days learning, sharing and telling stories together at Kimbri farm (just 2 1/2 hours west of Sydney) – which, I have to say, is especially beautiful in early Autumn! Hosted on March 16-18, 2016. 

He called to me immediately and asked me if i would be keen. Happy to just have plans for my birthday (18th March) and escape the norm, i was SOLD!

I'm not going to lie, I had been so busy leading up to these dates that I really hadn't put a lot of thought into whether or not I was well suited to this sort of workshop. Turns out I wasn't. I was the only person (out of 20) without a Canon, Nikon or Leica. However, i was determined to not be defeated by my lack of technical camera knowledge, so i gripped my iPhone firmly in the palm of my hands ready to snap away. 

I can't begin to tell you how inspiring this experience was for me. Did i really just spend the morning of my 31st birthday watching the sunrise amongst the morning fog in a paddock, sharing breakfast and creating magical memories with people who were only strangers to me just over a day ago? The entire two and a half days were filled with 'pinch me' moments.

I felt like i was on the set of a Country Style magazine every single minute of the day, eating from Martha Stewart's kitchen, mingling with some seriously unforgettable, incredibly inspiring women. Everyone from different ages, backgrounds, cities, countries, upbringings, states and job descriptions, all brought together for different reasons but by the same common interests.

It truly also made me realise that none of this becomes possible without a little bit of passion and a whole lot of Instagram. yep, Social Media. Whether you love it or hate it, I'm sticking with it. (you've just gotta stop following those damn Kardashians and find some real women to be in awe of).

Sophie Hansen - @locallovely

Luisa Brimble - @luisabrimble 

Marta Greber - @whatforbreakfast

Simone Hawlisch - @fraeuleinsonntag

Find them on instagram or stalk their websites, and hopefully you will see the beauty in what they do.

Photo taken by the talented Justine Kajtar @justinekajtar 

Photo taken by the talented Justine Kajtar @justinekajtar 

Photo by Justine Kajtar @justinekajtar

Photo by Justine Kajtar @justinekajtar

Afternoon refreshments in the olive grove

Afternoon refreshments in the olive grove

an afternoon stroll through the olive groves

an afternoon stroll through the olive groves

our humble abode for the duration of our stay

our humble abode for the duration of our stay

AND thats a wrap.

AND thats a wrap.

A note to my loved ones

Clients often ask me about my loved ones, and with Valentines Day approaching, I have seized the opportunity to share with you the love letters to my top five most LOVED hair products.

Dear Dry Shampoo,

Aaah, you are the quintessential modern-day must-have for co-operative hair. You help my clean hair feel dirty and my dirty, flat hair feel clean. How do you DO that?? It surprises me how many people don't realise you exist or who have bought you but don't know HOW to use you. (Remember ladies, keep it at a distance when spraying or you run the risk of looking older and greyer.)

Dear Final Net Hair Spray,

You have literally changed my life. You are my everything when it comes my profession and my personal life. You do the trick when taming the fly aways or spraying my eyebrows into place when i was in my teens. I have inhaled your fumes since the 80's when i was just a small girl watching my Mum abuse the hell out of you on her perm and i continue to secretly enjoy your slightly toxic scent. You are never too sticky or too wet so i pray to the universe you never get discontinued!

Dear GHD,

What did I do before you? Whether it be straight, curled or loosely waved, you've helped me through it. You stood by me on my wedding day and continue to support me through thick hair and thin. Even though you damage my ends, i still continue to come back for more. You are the solution to every bad hair day and have taught me to love myself again after all those years with my head on the ironing board. (as if you don't remember that!)  Cloud 9, Silver Bullet, Miracurl. Pfft. No matter who tries to be you...They will never come close! GHD, I love you.

Dear Comb/s, 

Wide tooth, cutting comb, teasing comb, foiling comb. From my wallet, to the shower, in my travel cases and the bottom of the handbag, I make sure you exist. You come in all different shape and sizes and are all essential in your own little way. Wide tooth comb, you serve me well in the shower where i use you to distribute the conditioner evenly throughout my ends. Teasing comb, you offer me the right amount of boof I need in all the right places but it's the cutting comb i need to apologise to. Since the husband has a new hairstyle, he has discovered your ability to tame and part his hair and often never puts you back where you belong. Soz.

Dear Bobby Pins, 

Bobbies, you little buggers. I know you travel in packs of hundreds, but just as well, as i seem to lose you at a rapid rate! It doesnt help that i give away a shitload. Come to think of it, I probably don't treat you right at all. I do hold you in between my teeth before i stick you in a nest of hair sprayed hair on special occasions and give a tonne of you away at weddings and school formals. I must confess, that sometimes i would even rather vacuum you up then bend down to rescue you from the floor. Sorry. You've been good to me, besides the splitting headache or two after a long day, i really need you.



Hair like this only made possible with my top 5 essential products

Hair like this only made possible with my top 5 essential products

Crazy for Christmas

As a hairdresser, the Christmas rush begins early November, when clients start getting race-day ready, booking in their work christmas party blowdries, girls start school formal prepping and the usual grey victims ramp up the frequency of their appointments. The result for me? Lots of long days, late nights and leaving my own self pampering, to last. I whinge the entire month of the Christmas build up, but I must admit, deep down, it all excites me.

Besides the crazy gift buying rush and wanting to ram every person infront of you at the shops, it is known to be a time for giving. I know there are still many thousands of selfless people who still believe that it is far better to give than to receive. But I am NOT yet convinced. 

I give greatly, but i receive whole heartedly. No matter my age, I still get a buzz out of opening gifts. I love everything about gifts, from the card to the wrapping, to the thought of whats inside. Here are a few of my favourites this Christmas.

the exciting build up..

the exciting build up..

the aftermath. a few of my favourite gifts..

the aftermath. a few of my favourite gifts..

beautiful words exchanged by loved ones.

beautiful words exchanged by loved ones.

Diamond studs from hubby.

Diamond studs from hubby.

And just like that, its over. 

I still love the time between Christmas and New Years Eve. I have no concept of the date and couldn't tell you what day it is. I spend these days being lazy, reading, watching movies and de-cluttering old stuff to prepare for the 'new'.  And even the thought of a brand new year excites me.

Thankyou to all my loyal and lovely clients for your support and generosity thought the year.

2016, bring it. New Year, New Desires, New Dreams. xx

Creativity takes courage

This year, in early July, I felt an itch. This happens to me every now and then. I started to feel like I needed a refreshing change of 'normal'. So I decided to satisfy my craving...

After being immersed in the hairdressing world for 14 years, I felt it was time to explore a new creative path in a different industry. One that allowed me to escape my comfort zone, to grow, to learn and to challenge myself. (I know what you are thinking and NO i have not quit hairdressing and YES, I have gone mad!)

A friend referred me to do a Fast Track (15 week) Certificate IV Course in Interior Design at International School of Colour and Design (ISCD) in North Sydney and boy was it fast! (Another crazy stunt).

But I cannot thank her enough. (Thanks Peri) :) WHAT A JOURNEY!

One of the first lessons in class I remember our beautiful teacher Katie saying “after you have finished this course, you might never look at the world the same”. At first i didn’t understand what she meant, but it wasn’t long before i realised, it was true.

Not only did I learn the basic elements and principles of colour and design, I learnt to appreciate more around me in my day to day life. I remember going grocery shopping after a few weeks into the course and being totally mesmerized by the shapes and colours of fruit and vegetables! (Yes, I am insane.)

This fast and furious course had me in a creative frenzy from the start to the end. I made some amazing friends, the genuine kind. You know those creative type that have you in awe of everything they are capable of. I will miss them but forever cherish this short lived experience I had with them.

They were a constant motivation for me through this journey and want to wish them all a successful future doing whatever it is that makes them happy. xx

image via pinterest

image via pinterest

from left to right: Jane, Danielle, Gabby, Florine, Dee, Jess, Janelle, KATIE (Teach), Francis, Belinda, Abbey, Naomi, Myself, Bronny and Bec xx   image taken at  www.iscd.edu.au

from left to right: Jane, Danielle, Gabby, Florine, Dee, Jess, Janelle, KATIE (Teach), Francis, Belinda, Abbey, Naomi, Myself, Bronny and Bec xx 

image taken at www.iscd.edu.au