Covid and the accidental author

Charlie Golding is a mum on a mission to help children better understand the world we are living in right now. When The World Went Inside is a beautifully written children’s book, perfect for starting conversations with our little ones about life inside a pandemic. Charlie shares her story here xx


It was an ordinary bike ride in an extraordinary time.

At least that was what I was aiming for. If I could get out of the house.My 3 year old clung to the door frame, crying and refusing to leave; as I wrapped him in my arms and felt his heaving wracking sobs against my chest it dawned on me that this was no ordinary tantrum. This kid was frightened. As I held and shushed him, he finally started to talk. As the mumbles became more coherent it dawned on me what was going on. And with that realisation came a bolt of ice through my heart.IMG_2239

He was scared of COVID-19. 

At just 3 years old he was unable to discern between a virus which he could manage and control, and a monster which was hiding behind the bushes, just waiting to leap out and grab him!

This was March 2020, and COVID was just starting to get real in Victoria.

I had missed the memo about Doomsday prepping. In February I was living my best life as a working Mumma to three glorious dirtbags. I simply popped my proverbial fingers in my ears every time someone mentioned the dirty C-Word. Whilst I definitely enjoyed the virus memes and toilet paper jokes, all of that was safely contained within the internet. I was living in the real world – and it wasn’t going to affect me. 

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And then one day I walked into the supermarket and came eye ball to eye ball with a terrifying figure in a full HAZMAT suit and gas mask. I looked around me and the aisles were empty. My core chilled and I wanted to cry. Except I couldn’t, some bastard had just made off with the last box of tissues.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t handle the start to COVID well. However, as I sat in my hallway holding my sobbing baby boy, I realised that whatever I did next – I had to aim higher for the kids. 

At this stage of the crisis very little existed to help children understand COVID-19. Hell, there was very little out there for the adults. But I dug deep and came up with a Tumble Science podcast. The kids reacted enthusiastically and we listened to it again and again. They loved the science behind it – learning how the virus had mutated and where it came from meant something to them.

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But you can’t cuddle up with a Podcast. In our family we use bedtime stories as a springboard to deeper conversations; I’ve used fictional books to cover topics on history, sex, gender, race and equality. The story never covers everything there is to talk about but provides a baseline that propels the conversation forward. Naturally, my first instinct had been to go looking for a friendly family text; but being so early in the pandemic one didn’t yet exist.

Believe me, my immediate reaction was not to put my hand up to write one! I had a job, and a family and a crisis to deal with, after all! However, COVID-19 was dominating our conversations. I realised that the more we spoke about it, the more reassured we all felt. I communicate openly, it comes as second nature to engage children in honest yet challenging conversations. However, my locked-down friends were telling me that they weren’t sure how to have these talks. How much information to provide and what to withhold? After all, what information do little brains need? Can we damage inherent innocence by laying it all out too honestly?Microscope

My experience tells me that children will only absorb what they are ready to hear. If you talk confidently and provide facts reassuringly then you can trust kids to take from that conversation what they need. 

When The World Went Inside is our lockdown story.

It’s an illustrated book for children that emerged from our lived experience. It’s a powerful story told simply, written with the hope that children would see their own experiences mirrored within the pages and feel less alone. 

Hot on the heels of this global health crisis, is a mental one. There’s a lot that 2020 has asked of our little ones – from stopping and starting school, to living life as never before. Thankfully, they’re resilient little critters. 

Every time I hear from a parent or teacher about their child’s reaction to the book, my heart soars. Parents we’ve got this!!!

The creative world has stepped up and there’s now a toolkit of resources out there to help guide your conversations with your children; maybe my book will be one of them. However, my purpose for writing this is to plead with you to prioritise your mental health, whatever that looks like. Our children need us happy, healthy and whole. With us standing strong by their side they’ll continue to thrive, no matter what the world has in store.

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About When The World Went Inside

Learn how to stay safe and keep having fun in a world with COVID-19. This fun and beautifully illustrated book is best for kids aged 3-10 years old. If you’re parenting in a pandemic then join in the chatter in the socials!

www.whentheworldwentinsidebook.com

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Tumble Science link: https://www.sciencepodcastforkids.com/blog

 

What I would have given for this – EveryHuman Adaptive Fashion

What I would have given for this when I really needed it!!

When I was 24 I woke up completely numb from the neck down. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t use the bathroom without help, I couldn’t wash or even hold anything. I could barely move. I was rushed into hospital and diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. It took me about 8 years to regain any sense of my old life, I was one of the lucky ones. Honestly, I had never given disability much thought, but since that fateful day, I have become acutely aware of the struggles many people are living with every single day. I vividly remember how utterly vulnerable I felt as I sat there, unable to do anything for myself.  For many people living with chronic illness and disability, getting dressed is one of the many tasks that can seem like a colossal mountain climb. I cried tears of sheer frustration trying to do buttons up, and remember screaming out loud because I couldn’t grasp a zipper or put shoes on my feet. I would fall asleep from the exhaustion of even trying.

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Poppy always kept me going

In fact, I gave up on all my ‘nice clothes’ in the end and lived in pj’s and trackies. When I heard Matthew Skerrit the founder of EveryHuman had created an incredible range of adaptive fashion giving independence to millions of Australians and New Zealanders living with chronic illness & disability, I just had to tell you about it. What I would have given for this when I really needed it!!


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More than 4 million Australians live with a disability, however to date, the disabled community has been largely ignored by the fashion industry. EveryHuman is here to change the world of adaptive fashion as AU/NZ’s first curated online platform for adaptive lifestyle-driven clothing and footwear.Everyhuman SS -1507_RGB_300

EveryHuman has been created with the mission to empower people to independently create their identity and allow every human access to high-quality, stylish, and easy-to-use clothing. Featuring ten of the best global brands that are leading the charge on adaptive fashion, EveryHuman makes it easier than ever before to find adaptive clothing that is both wearable and stylish. 

 “Imagine a wheelchair user who can now wear a pair of jeans or a trendy pair of high-top sneakers they love, rather than having to wear a pair of ‘trackies’ because it’s easy and comfortable.”

Everyhuman SS -1722_RGB_300The desire to effect social change is built into the DNA of EveryHuman. As part of their ‘Social Impact’ initiative, EveryHuman has partnered with three causes aligned to the brand that aim to break down down the barriers in the disability space. Consumers can purchase one of three t-shirt designs with 100% of profits benefiting their chosen cause. Further to this, EveryHuman is committed to employing those with disabilities to fulfil 100% of orders in 2020. 

The initiative embodies everything that is EveryHuman – bold, thoughtful, and actively creating positive social change through business. 

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Identifying the unmet demand for styles that are fashion-forward as well as functional, EveryHuman Founder Matthew Skerrit and his team searched far and wide to curate the best adaptive fashion to ensure that the 1 in 5 Australians with disabilities have the same access to high-quality, long-lasting, and stylish adaptive clothing. 

Our clothes are designed by people who have also faced the challenge of finding, using and loving clothing that works for them. This is the first AU/NZ site that offers fashion forward adaptive clothing… Getting changed should be a happy and stress-free process. Our mission is to allow people with disabilities to feel and look amazing in stylish clothes just like every other human.” – Matthew Skerrit

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With a strong team of bold and inspiring brand ambassadors, EveryHuman has already begun to make an impact in the lives of Australians and New Zealanders affected by disability, empowering individuals to create their own identity, own their independence and express themselves in ways they could never before. 


 

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Join EveryHuman in their mission to get the fashion industry to adopt a “universal” mindset when designing and producing their clothes and footwear. 

Australians and New Zealanders can already shop at www.everyhuman.com.au– the home of adaptive fashions including; AFO friendly shoes, clothing with magnetic closures, clothing designed for the seated position, adaptive intimates, and post-surgery clothing. Check out their brand new Lip Readers Face Masks here!

By following the EveryHuman socials, sharing their pages, and talking about disability with your family, you will help make a difference to people living with chronic illness & disability. 

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Love & Lee – caring for families, the earth & its people

I am so excited to introduce you all to Eve from Love & Lee. Eve began her business with love in her heart and you can tell! Love shines through every glorious product. This wonderful collection of baby products is organic, natural, and ethical, in fact, they’re so lovely I’m almost tempted to have another baby just to get my hands on them.


Eve Cammel – Mother and Managing Director of Love and Lee Ltd.

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It’s so good to meet you Eve, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?LOGO WITH TAG LINE 1-01

Originally from The Netherlands, I immigrated to countryside New Zealand at age 9. I learnt English at the local primary school and had a great childhood on the farm where we were often working with mum and dad in the field.

After spending a fantastic early 20’s in Queenstown, NZ, I moved to Australia with my now husband at 25.  I now live in Noosa, Sunshine Coast with my 2 young children aged 8 and 4.

Arctic_ocean_organic_gots_cotton_swaddle_muslin_wraps_2_Love_and_LeeI love spending time with my friends & family, and I also love a glass of wine and a good book.  When I immerse myself in a topic I really like to learn as much as I can about it, whether it be business, astrophysics or good gut health – my interests vary greatly depending on what floats my boat at the time.

What inspired you to create Love & Lee?

I’ve always had big dreams and have always pushed myself in my career.  After having my girls, I wanted to create a beautiful career, something I could be proud of.  I wanted to build a business in order to provide employment opportunities for other women who had children, who would want to work flexible and part time hours whilst also having the opportunity to shine in their own expertise.

The catalyst to starting Love & Lee was after I had my youngest child. I knew it didn’t feel right to go back to my old job, which I loved. I was searching for something I could put 100% brain power into, without limits and something to completely take my focus.

Grey_bamboo_baby_blanket_2_Love_and_LeeDuring that time, I was becoming much more aware of our health and how many chemicals were normalised in our society. Although our family had a great diet and a natural lifestyle we furthered this by concentrating on gut health, plus eliminating as many nasties as possible from our clothing, food, home and environment.  It was from here that I wished there had been a better selection of organic, eco-friendly, certified and plastic free baby products available.

Once the idea was born, it came time to design the packaging. I really wanted to create something which included the older sibling in the gift giving process.  I’d been to so many baby showers and watched on as the older sibling started to feel left out. ‘All the presents are for the baby, what about me?’ Becoming a big sister or big brother should be celebrated, they also deserve to feel special.  As part of my environmental journey, I wanted to create packaging which was not only plastic free but could also be reused, repurposed and recycled.  This is when the idea of turning the packaging into toys came from.

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The first 12 months of business have been a crazy ride, I lost money by trusting manufacturing contacts who didn’t deliver, I won awards including the recent ‘Most Innovative Start Up of the Year Asia Pacific Stevie Award’ and having staff meetings by myself sometimes took its toll. But I love it!! I absolutely love the freedom to think of, design and create beautiful plastic free, organic and eco-friendly products.

How have you found combining business & motherhood?

I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be able to combine both and dictate my own hours. I work early mornings, late nights and weekends, and can often be found on my phone in the car while waiting at school pick up.Grey_bamboo_baby_blanket_4_Love_and_Lee

It’s not always easy but I can be there when my girls need me. I can juggle for the time being.  When they are sick, we move between watching Frozen 2 on the couch to sitting on my lap whilst I type emails.

I think every working mother has the same challenges but I feel lucky to be working for my own business. Despite never really switching off from work or having a finishing time, I’m able to prioritise my girls when they need it.

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What challenges have you faced if any due to the global pandemic?

Remote learning and work – geez!  That was hectic!

At one point I had my 8 year old doing her school work on my desk and my 4 year old on my lap listening to Cinderella audio books whilst writing emails to stockists & manufacturers whilst packing orders and trying to get to the Post Office before it closed! You know how it is!! Fortunately my business grew quickly during that time because everyone was online shopping. As a new business I was incredibly grateful for this growth and at the same time was feeling very lucky to still be working when so many people around me were losing jobs.

What have I learned?

Never give up!! Believe you can do it and surround yourself with people who also believe in you and support you.  There will always be people who say you can’t, but I’m a firm believer in just going for it and supporting each other.

Women in business are so powerful, insightful, thoughtful and supportive.  Individually we are just a drop in the ocean but together we ARE the ocean.  This is what I love about my job the most. I work with incredible people every day, I’ve gathered a great crew of legends for which I am forever grateful.

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Thank you so much Eve for sharing your story and your business with us xxx 

 

Love & Lee deliver worldwide, so if there’s someone you know who deserves the very best when it comes to baby, make sure you browse this awesome collection of organic, natural & ethical baby products. 

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Follow this link to get a 10% discount added to your cart when you purchase from Love & Lee 

2020 has taught me I’m only nice when I can go out!

Ugh! Day 45,765,024 of lockdown and now we’re under curfew here in Melbourne. A State of Disaster is currently underway! For most of us who have been doing the right thing, this is just another smack in the face from the assholes that seem completely unable to think about anyone but themselves. Yes I’m looking at you, the party people and the 25% of people with a positive covid test who didn’t stay at home and isolate! IMG_8161

As I now have even more time to sit at home, #thankyou, I thought it was probably a good time to find a space that isn’t covered with pencils, umpteen Apple devices and crumbs, open my lap top and write about what this whole covid-19 disaster has taught me and what, if anything, I have learnt.

 


Liv’s Lockdown Learnings

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From very early on in this whole debacle, I came to the conclusion that in order to be a great teacher you must have oodles of patience, you must be kind all of the time, and you must be gently accepting of handwriting refusal. I can confirm I am not a great or even a good teacher. I have found the whole remote learning thing intolerable, unrelenting and downright cruel. I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed a minute of it. Remote learning has left me even more in awe of what teachers do every day, and when this is over I will be making a placard and marching for better pay, even longer holidays, and regular expensive gifts for all teachers!!

Staying Home, Staying Safe

The novelty of “staying home & staying safe” very quickly wore thin in our house!! There are only so many movie afternoons, and sweet little family games of scrabble you can play before you start turning on each other and throwing monumental tantrums. Being Super Mum, arranging all sorts of wonderfully educational activities, very quickly IMG_4472turned into 9 hour stints on the x-box and days without even seeing the children leave their rooms. I have battled with the screen time thing, I have gained about 20kg from insisting we all bake together, and I have vacuumed the bedroom carpets so often I think they need replacing.  I understand we need to do this for the sake of humanity but staying home for this length of time is brutal… Let me out!!

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Working from home

Is there even such a thing anymore? How can anyone work from home, whilst the dog whines for another fucking walk, the children need help with their work, and snacks need to be made every 18.2 seconds?

I work from home even when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic and I’ve always been great at organising myself and my time, not anymore! The thought of actually having to get work done within any sort of time frame, has become a gargantuan task that feels like walking with my eyes closed, through treacle with splinters in every one of my toes. Yes, it’s that bad!IMG_3839

Meal times

Where do I even start? How can anyone even…….

Being nice

This far into lockdown, I have almost given up even attempting to be nice if I don’t feel like it. It’s all I can do to grunt at my family when I get up in the morning. The thought of what lies ahead each day literally mutes me from the instant my eyes peel themselves open through the mascara I’ve slept in. *Hey, don’t judge me, I’m living through a pandemic…  I appreciate we’re blessed to have a roof over our heads, to have food and warmth, but god, everyone is annoying me!! The way they speak, ask for food, drop stuff, trip over things, breathe, chew their food, change the channel on the tv, ASK ME QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME….. I’m a grenade right now and my pin has been pulled!IMG_4976

So, what have I learnt?

2020 has taught me I really, really like going out!! I like going out to eat, for walks, to socialise, to drink, to dance, to visit places, to travel, to sightsee, to explore, to meet new people, to work, to exercise, to shop; and if I can’t go out, I’m not a very nice human…….. So, for the sake of my family, please, please stay home, stay well and do the right thing. Our sanity is relying on you all!!!

 

 

Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s called integrity!

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A cuppa with Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life

I spent a little piece of my week chatting to the gorgeous Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life. I met Molly a while back, and immediately I knew she was a lovely person. She’s one of those people who gives off a good vibe and you know instantly that you’re going to get along!  If you want to follow someone on Instagram who is ‘doing life’ with a passion Molly’s ya gal!


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Hey Molly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years now, and I am a mummy to my 9 year old daughter Audrey, my 5 year old son Marquez and my son Christopher who was stillborn 7 years ago. I moved to Melbourne 11 years ago from New South Wales and I now live in the outer Western suburbs of Melbourne. I love it!

Our family loves to travel, explore different places and DSC_0754create memories together. My favourite thing in the world is to spend quality time with my family and that’s how I make the most out of life. Of course, I also love shopping too!!!

So what inspired you to create The Kirks Crazy Life?

I originally started posting on Instagram when my youngest was born as a way to share photos with friends and shop small business. Fairly early on the children started repping for small businesses and helping to bring awareness of their products. After a while it evolved again to photos featuring the whole family, our adventures and all the products that I love and use. The inspiration really came from my love of fashion, travel and photography which I am really passionate about.

How are you coping with not being able to go far right now? I know you’re a big travel fan.

Staying home has definitely taken some getting used to. We are so used to getting away, so to not be able to do that has definitely been tricky for us. We, like lots of others, had the disappointment of having to cancel all our trips DSC_0812this year due to Covid, including a long awaited trip to Greece and Italy in May.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little cry when I had to cancel everything. But having to stay at home is the best option for us right now and we’re definitely looking forward to getting away as soon as we’re able.

In the meantime I have started paying more attention to my indoor plant collection and keeping myself busy to avoid going stir crazy. Current restrictions have made creating the content I love to create difficult, but we all need to do the right thing and get through this together.

When you look back on 2020 what do you think you’ll say it taught you?

I have really embraced a quieter life for the time being. It’s nice to stop and be bored sometimes, it gives you time to think. Spending simple days at home or in the backyard reminds me of parts of my own childhood and the things I did with my family growing up. Most importantly I have learnt that it’s ok to have quiet weekends at home and we don’t always need to be on the go to make memories as a family.

I do love the fast life and fear it will probably come back with a vengeance once I have more freedom to travel safely – Molly

Since homeschooling, I have found a passion for teaching.

I have always wanted to train to be a teacher but have been too scared that perhaps it wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, some days remote learning with my daughter is testing but I am so happy to have been given the opportunity. Now I’m able to be more involved in Audrey’s learning it has taught us a lot about each other. I enjoy seeing how Audrey is progressing plus I get to learn more about how her mind works. It has definitely brought us closer together and I am very proud of how she is coming along with school. As for Marquez, he is loving having Audrey home more and adores spending time with her on her breaks.DSC_0255

Lockdown has also seen us enjoying new projects around the house, and involving the kids in what we do. I’m looking forward to renovating my laundry and repainting the kids’ cubby house which are next on the list. 2020 has also taught me that I probably didn’t need to visit my shopping centre daily!!!

Is there anything you have loved about being in lockdown that you’ll continue to enjoy when we finally get our freedom back?

One of the things I have really loved is being able to spend more time with the kids and just relax without any other pressures or time restrictions. I will definitely be making sure that once everything goes back to normal we will save some weekends where we do nothing at all and just hang out as a family. I’ve also really enjoyed paying more attention to myself and my skin care regime. Self care really helps me switch off and relax so I’ll be making an effort to stick at it.


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Follow Molly and her family enjoying their ‘crazy life’ full of awesome adventures!

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Sharna Southan – Promoting healing after pregnancy loss

Pregnancy loss is never an easy thing to understand or talk about whether it’s your own or a friends. I haven’t been through it myself, however a few of my close friends have, and I’m aware I haven’t been nearly good enough at talking to them about it. I think one of the most precious things you can do for someone after pregnancy loss is recommend they talk to someone like Sharna, from Sharna Southan Coaching. I caught up with Sharna and she kindly shared her story with us and explained how that led to the amazing work she is doing to promote healing.


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Sharna Southan – Pregnancy Loss Life Coach

I am a qualified dental nurse. I always knew I wanted to help people, and I thought being in the medical industry was going to be it.
Although I always felt I was called to do more, I just didn’t know what it was or how that was going to look.

In 2017 my husband & I were faced with a very different future then the one we had in our minds. 

We found out we were pregnant, something we had been trying for, for a number of years.

Our future in those days & weeks afterwards was already looking so different, we had so many new plans, all with a baby in them.

In February 2017 we went in for our Ultrasound, only to be told “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat”. I was in shock, this couldn’t be happening!! I wanted the technician to keep trying and to keep looking for it because this wasn’t meant to happen!!

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It was my worst fear, but in saying that, I didn’t even really know what a miscarriage was at this point.

Not much information was given to me at the time. We went to the Drs surgery, where we were filled in a little bit more about what had happened but still left with very little information.

I had experienced a Missed miscarriage, which I diagnosed myself with my own research, because none of this was explained to me. A missed miscarriage means there were no outward signs of anything going wrong with the pregnancy. No cramps, no bleeding, nothing…. not until the ultrasound which was almost 3 weeks after the baby had passed away. 

So I was sent home.

The miscarriage was such a traumatic experience for us. My husband was great on the side lines, although men don’t fully understand what’s going on and the emotions we are feeling. We knew we wanted to try again and he understood I couldn’t if I wasn’t able to recover, or heal, from this experience. Not to say you ever fully heal, it’s an ongoing journey, but I made sure I was in a much better place mentally for the following pregnancy.

So I did a lot of work on myself.

In the days, weeks, months following our loss. I allowed myself to grieve and feel what I needed to feel. I just didn’t stay there. I was gentle on myself and didn’t put pressure on myself to feel any particular way.

I have become the support person that I so desperately needed after our miscarriage.

It was within my healing that I knew I had to draw from my experience and use it.

If I was feeling isolated and as if I was the only woman feeling this way, then many other women would be feeling this same way too. Knowing that the statistic of miscarriage is 1 in 4 I knew I wasn’t alone.

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I started my coaching business.

I started learning, increasing my knowledge on how I can best help other women going through the same circumstances as I had, whilst also learning to recognise every woman’s experience is so different.

I want to break the stigma around miscarriage and allow women to talk freely about it. To grieve for their angel babies. To know that there is support. To know they aren’t alone and that they can get through this tough time.

I want women to know there is someone who understands them on a much deeper level. Someone who knows what it’s like to feel the way they are feeling – Sharna Southan

I have created a support program that I needed when I was going through my healing. This program enables me to support women through what I have created so they don’t have to be guessing their way through the uncertainty and overwhelm after a miscarriage.

I am here to hold space for them, to allow them to honour their story and themselves, to be able to find themselves, find clarity and joy again after their loss.

As I was able to do so much work on myself through the months after our loss, I felt able to try again, from a place where I wanted to try again, from a place of love and understanding, knowing that we could be faced with the same outcome. I didn’t want to try from a place of wanting to ‘fix our situation’ because I knew that if I wasn’t mentally prepared, the following pregnancy would be overshadowed by crippling fear. 

We fell pregnant with our now rainbow baby

The following pregnancy did have fear popping it’s head in, but I was able to process that fear and understand why it was coming. I was able to welcome it and release it and I was able to enjoy absolutely every part of our pregnancy, the good and the uncomfortable. I was so grateful for the whole experience because I had been given another opportunity to experience it.

Sharna xxx


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If you would like to reach out to Sharna please follow the links below.

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Are you overwhelmed with emotion after your pregnancy loss? Download this journaling guide.

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Connection is Key for Louise Larkin

I was lucky enough to steal some time from Louise Larkin, the heart and the brains behind Friend in Me. We had a chat about how she is coping during these uncertain times and how the restrictions have changed the way she is living her life. Louise is not only a beautiful mama and a rad business woman, she’s also an all round bloody good human.


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Lou Larkin – Founder of Friend in Me

Today I found myself listening to heaps of live music, and the memories came flooding in. You know those days where we could go and dance in the sun, be with our friends, listen to our favourite band belting out our favourite tunes, making memories. Yeah those days. 

I can’t help but keep asking myself, “when will we get the opportunity to do that again?” I feel a little sad.  Not only for our kids, but for our world and our future.Louise L

As I was driving to get necessities this morning, I looked out my window at a very grey Melbourne. I began to wonder what people would say if they knew I was leaving my home. Would they judge me?

As I looked ahead at the people walking the streets, some with masks on, I began to notice how afraid I am feeling. I am scared of the future, I am scared of the world we are living in today. I realised I’m scared of the “new normal.”

Who’s in control?

I regularly get asked how I am feeling and how I am coping through this pandemic and I can mostly say that I am remaining positive. It’s true, despite the words at the beginning of this article, I am trying my best to focus on the things I can control and not on the things that I cannot. I think that’s critically important for everyone, especially when we have children who are watching our every move and looking to us for words of support. 

I can control turning off the news and not getting caught up in the hysteria of media.
I can’t control what they’re saying or showing, so I just switch it off!

I’m immensely happy that I have a beautiful, healthy family who are safe, and I am aware that we are amongst the lucky ones. Rather than sit feeling sad for the people that have lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their independence, I am making an effort to reach out to them and offer kind words, and assistance where I am able. 

I feel happy that my mental health is stable and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however I am equally aware of the thousands of people who are suffering in a world of turmoil and darkness. There may not be anything I can do to dramatically impact their lives, but I support charities, I reach out to friends, I talk to my children about being mentally healthy, and I make sure that mental health stays a top topic in our house.  Lou3

I am happy that my organisation Friend In Me can still bring so much magic to children who are stuck indoors and cannot have that social interaction that they so deserve.  Friend in Me promotes inclusive communities and is on a mission of making sure no child is left behind, not just in this pandemic but in every day life. To be in this position of bringing so much joy to children’s lives, makes me realise how very fortunate we all are to be living in a time where technology allows us to connect despite the distances between us. Connection is key to getting through this. 

 So what do I do to cope?

I get so much joy out of checking in on my friends, my loved ones, strangers in the street, so I make sure this is a part of my day. **We need to do that more. Less hate. More Love. 

I don’t get caught up in scrolling through pages and pages of social media, ending up saturated with the doom and gloom. I limit my screen time, and stick to it!

I surround myself with positive energy. Whether it’s great music, relaxation exercises, or walking outside and really breathing in the air, taking time to find the positives in your day is incredibly beneficial.Lou5.jpg

I also regularly buy a coffee for my neighbour just to show I am here for her. #itsthelittlethings

I will be ok. We will all be ok.

Of course, I have no idea when this will all be over, or what the new normal will look like in 6 months time, I am however, certain that if we continue to put one foot in front of the other and focus on the job ahead we will all be better together. 

Go gently Friends, the world needs us all to unite and please, please always be kind – Louise Larkin


 About Friend in Me

The Friend in Me organisation brings together children of all ages, nationalities and abilities to dance, play, sing, create and most importantly, make lifelong friends and memories they will cherish forever. These events will ensure “no child is left behind”. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

SIGN UP HERE FOR THE FRIEND IN ME DIGITAL DISCO SATURDAY 25TH JULY AT 1PM

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‘Hello’ Nanoleaf ‘Ciao’ Screentime!

We have just installed the Nanoleaf® Canvas and it looks like screen time may be getting the boot for now in the Wilson household! 

IMG_0811Staying at home used to seem like such bliss, however months into lockdown and I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s beginning to wear a little thin. The first few weeks were filled with super mum *me, creating all kinds of exciting projects, craft activities and movie afternoons. Now…. I’m done… and spend most of the day trying to pry the children from their screens before their eyes go square!

I’m always on the hunt for ways to reduce screen time in our house without hearing the words “I’m bored” every ten minutes but…. I have finally found something that the whole family can enjoy and I absolutely love it!

Let me introduce you to the Nanoleaf® canvas!

If you haven’t heard about these smart modular LED lights, then get ready to be wowed! They are literally lighting up spaces around the globe keeping kids (and adults…. ooooh the flame setting) entertained during the work day and sparkling into the night. This is the first ever touch-controlled modular smart light with built-in music sync technology and it really is awesome!

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The Nanoleaf® Canvas was designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room. And yes, it reacts to your touch. 

The Nanoleaf® Canvas not only looks beautiful shining away on the wall, it’s interactive and includes games suitable for the whole family. So, it’s not just a fab interior light it’s a glorious entertainment tool!

We got the kids to install our 9 panels (you can have up to 500!!) above the sofa, in any shape they fancied *they aimed for a W, whilst the Mr downloaded the app and got it hooked up. The ease of installation blew me away, within a few minutes it was up and ready to go.  The kids love the memory games, have played hundreds of games of whack a mole and we’ve all had fun playing Simon says!

 

Interactivity for children is becoming increasingly more important and trying to sway them away from a phone or iPad can be challenging so the Nanoleaf® Canvas is perfect!

‘Alexa set my lights to flames’ creates our warming fireplace feel in the lounge on these cold winter nights.

You can add to your collection of panels whenever you like, and can easily create some incredible installations. Thankfully they’re very easy to hang with the sticky pads included.

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There are over 16 million colours and light combinations to choose from, from sunrises, to party vibes, it literally has them all. We love the red, white and green Christmas setting, and the pink ‘Romance’ too. All easily applied straight from your phone! You can transform your space with one single touch, it really is that easy!

My personal fave effect is the voice reaction.

You can literally watch your Nanoleaf® move to the beat of your voice or your tunes! Fab for lounge room discos and for ‘quietest kid challenges’ #yourewelcome! With music sync built right into the Canvas, all you have to do is hit play on your favourite tunes and watch as the sounds are transformed into moving symphonies of colour and light.

The Canvas is LEGO for lighting so you can design, shape and reconfigure to your heart’s desire. With its unique offset linker system, you can create uniform designs or abstract asymmetrical ones

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Product Features

Touch-Enabled Experiences – Control the lights or play touch games with the palm of your hand.

Flexible Control – Control Square, voice, touch, or the Nanoleaf® App

Modular Light Squares – Create your own designs and shapes

More than 16 million colours – For functional or ambient lighting

Music Visualiser – Activate Rhythm Mode and watch your light squares react to sound

Simple Installation – Drill-free installation with the included mounting tape

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Nanoleaf® Canvas

You can purchase the Nanoleaf® Canvas Smarter Kit for approximately $349.  We were gifted the canvas however, as always, these words are my own honest opinion. I’m happy to answer any and all of your questions, although don’t forget, the experts are far more in the know than me, and can be found on the links below!

Canvas Playful

 

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Gorgeous Gifts & Beautiful Books

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I’m always thrilled when people buy books as gifts for my children. There is nothing better than a great book to spark a child’s imagination and boost their love of reading. Here are some of our new favourites from Walker Books Australia.


Baby’s First Encyclopedia || Ingela P Arrhenius || $24.99

Explore the familiar world in imaginative new ways in this stylish board book from the celebrated illustrator Ingela P. Arrhenius.

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Goodnight, Little Duckling || Goodnight, Little Bunny || Amanda Wood, Vicki Chu, Bec Winnell || $18.99
Simple stories sure to soothe your little one to sleep and give them sweet dreams

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My Mama || Annemarie van Haeringen || $16.99
A naughty elephant tells all about his mother in this lovingly drawn story. Parents and children will both delight in and recognise this gorgeous mother–child relationship—if not for the same reasons.

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Slow Down || Rachel Williams and Freya Hartas || $29.99
Bring calm to a busy world with 50 nature stories!

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Sometimes Cake || Edwina Wyatt and Tamsin Ainslie || $24.99
This is the story of two friends learning the joy of celebrating the every day because sometimes it’s important to enjoy things like Tuesdays, coconuts, orange, purple, and lions. 7.jpg


The Stone Giant || Anna Hoglund || $24.99
A story of cunning, courage and survival, in which a girl sets out to save her father from the giant who turns people to stone.

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Dogography || Maree Coote || $29.99 

Every part of me’s a letter Does that help you see me better? Look very closely, Can you see the hidden letters that spell me?

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Obsessive About Octopuses || Owen Davey || $29.99

If you are silly about squid or just daft for amazing animals of the deep, dive in for a fact-packed illustrated journey into the ocean.

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I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast || Michael Holland and Philip Giordano || $34.99

Enter the incredible world of plants to learn about the green machines of the natural world.

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The Sequel to Guess How Much I Love You
Coming October 2020

Will You Be My Friend || Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram || $24.99

From the iconic author and illustrator duo Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram comes a delightful new tale that celebrates the playful curiosity of little ones and the magic of making new friends.


If you would like to win a special pack of books from these titles, click the image to head to our competition on Instagram!

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Cheers!! All-Aussie cocktails delivered to your door

You may know by now, I’m not one to shy away from a tipple every now and again, and let’s face it, if your cocktail shaker comes out, I’m in!! That’s why I am so excited to introduce you all to Mel How and The Cocktail Shop; creators of Australia’s coolest cocktail kits delivered direct to your door. *I know right!!!

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Cocktail culture is in full swing and thankfully cocktails have found their way out of bars and into our homes. With just a little bit of practice, it’s ‘Au revoir’ to the obligatory glass of wine at the end of the day and ‘Hello darling’ to something a hell of a lot more exciting.


As Australia’s bar industry reels from COVID-19 lockdowns, Melbourne entrepreneur Mel How is supporting local distillers one cocktail at a timeMelissa How

Mel established The Cocktail Shop to support Australia’s incredible distillers whilst giving us ‘home cocktail makers’ a taste of the best local brands in easy-to-make cocktail kits delivered to straight to our doors. Yes!! That means you can get your Tom Cruise on, whilst kicking back in your lipstick & lounge wear! #Thankyou

The wonderful thing about the Cocktail Shop IMHO, is that it provides a simple way to make bar quality cocktails at home, whilst giving us the opportunity to sample a variety of local alcohol products without having to purchase multiple bottles of expensive alcohol. 

To wow your Wednesday night Zoom crew, all you have to do is log on to The Cocktail Shop, choose your favourite cocktail and everything you need will be delivered to your door in a cute little box. You’ll receive all the liquid ingredients to make approximately four cocktails, as well as a recipe card and the garnishes.Cocktails shop1

Once you have your hands on all the good stuff, you can view the tutorial videos on the website, which provide simple instructions to make bar quality cocktails at home. This would be such a fun thing to do with a big group of friends, each get a box and create your very own online cocktail bar sesh! Who’s in??

Australian Sourced

Another reason we all need to get right on this is that every alcohol and drink product in these fabulous cocktail kits is sourced within Australia. The more ‘hyper-local’ the better for The Cocktail Shop, which is why most of Mel’s suppliers are from Melbourne.Negroni Cocktail KitThe Cocktail Shop distillers include Maidenii, Melbourne Moonshine MeMo Gin, Mister Bitters, Imbue Distillery, and other such well-known local brands, supplying gin, whisky, vermouth and bitters. As well as being a champion for local producers, Mel is also committed to supporting local hospitality by selling batched and bottled cocktails by Melbourne’s iconic BarNone. Yes please!! 

 

There are so many wonderful local producers out there. Being a new business, we have only scratched the surface, but I want to work with as many of them as possible as we create more innovative cocktail packs – Mel How

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By choosing local artisan distilleries and drink makers to supply The Cocktail Shop, Mel is not only supporting local jobs and keeping her environmental impact low, she’s also contributing to the Australian economy. I think it’s pretty cool that this has always been at the forefront of Mel’s business plans and is yet another reason why The Cocktail Shop needs to be on your to-do list ASAP!

 

“If you have some of the World’s best distilleries on your doorstep, why would you buy liquor from overseas” – Mel How

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View the full range at https://thecocktailshop.com.au/ 

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