Sunday, 14 December 2014

#DAREcember - Week 2

I came to realise this week that this challenge is contributing to my mental health. Funny to think that a style challenge could do that, but for me, it's working two-fold. Firstly, I'm being mindful; I'm really being present when I'm getting dressed, adding accessories etc. And recently some fellow counsellor friends asked me what I'm doing for self-care. As well as the usual getting enough sleep, doing some girlie pampering, etc, I realised that I'm doing this challenge for me. Not for my clients, colleagues, Pickle, BigTed or anyone else, just for me. So this is how Week 2 panned out...

Day 8 was In the Wild, slim pickings here, it was either going to be my cow print sneakers or my leopard print scarf. The day came around and it was way too hot to consider having the scarf around my neck, so I wore it as a belt. Pickle chose my earrings and the colour of my hair clip, so I chose the green top to coordinate. Of course, trying to capture this resulted in my second "awkward bathroom selfie", the first being here. I love that this constitutes a work outfit these days!

All Black for Day 9 was really out of my comfort zone. I never wear all black and I struggled not slip on a bright pair of shoes... I couldn't resist adding a splash of colour with some bright red heart earrings a friend gave me. As it was a work day, I'd initially selected a sensible pair of ballet pumps... Then saw these heels sitting next to them and it was a no-brainer. I love these shoes and they are surprisingly comfortable.

Pinned On for Day 10 gave me a good excuse to dig out the vintage brooches I've been collecting. I love how the prettiness contrasts with the utility of the denim vest, so think I'll keep one on the collar from now on. Pickle chose my earrings again today, he's becoming my regular stylist!  I love "twin" earrings, though they're hard to come by - not a matching pair, but part of a set.

Day 11 for His, saw me doning the only shirt of BigTed's that was at my house. Good thing I like it... I nipped it in with a belt "borrowed" some years ago from a former boyfriend. This was perfect for a day of Christmas shopping in 32°C.

Brightest for Day 12 was much more in my comfort zone. I *love* colour. Today was my work Christmas lunch, so I got glammed up to hang with the girls. I had a divine pasta, glass of wine and indulgent dessert at Café Cavour, which I highly recommend, not only for the piquant food, but for the top notch customer service. My brightest day dress was a relatively new purchase, but with cost-per-use, I'll soon be in single figures... Pickle again chose my earrings, a green flower drop; hot pink shoes and red lip tar complete the outfit. Hair up in my latest favourite look, red glitter and gold nails, and I was ready to go. Do you think I'm bright enough?!

I cheated a little for Day 13's Killer Heels, as the actual day started out at kindergym and on general Mummy duties... Not really Killer Heel appropriate! However, I was heading out on Day 12 for dinner with a couple of the girls and our men for a glamorous Christmas get together that evening... And it went late, so technically I started Day 13 wearing this outfit (artistic license and all that). I kept the dress bright - I purchased this dress years ago in Paris (sorry, had to drop that in there), with one of my favourite people in the world (Chaz, do you remember?). Adding in my rose gold shoes and vintage accessories, I was ready to head to Coast, by far the swishest restaurant in the region. It deserves it's own blogpost, which will feature soon.

Backless for Day 14 is a little out of my comfort zone these days. I actually used to wear this top as a dress(!), and have been thinking of donating it, as it so rarely gets an outing. I dressed it down with white jeans to take Pickle to see Paddington the movie today,  and added a pop of colour to the monochrome with my favourite red Converses and the red heart earrings again. The movie was great btw, but watching Pickle's expression was the best bit. 

Tune in for more next week... vintage, ring bling, mixed prints, curves, cats eyes, rock out, and product free... definitely some there well out of my comfort zone!

Was there anything that caught your eye this week? 

Cheers, KangaRue :) 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

#DAREcember - end of week 1

I started blogging the first two days of #DAREcember here, mostly to commit myself... Here is the rest of Week 1:

Day 3 was "to the max", though with currently only one maxi dress in my wardrobe, this wasn't a hard pick (I've since got another one, which of course arrived in the post at the end of the day, though it of course needs taking up so my 5'2"/158cm doesn't trip over it!). I bought this panama hat a couple of months ago, but hadn't worn it yet. Throw on some turquoise drop earrings and my sunglasses and I was ready to rock Pickle's swimming class! Evening came around, and I removed the hat, put my hair up into a twist with a hot pink clip and threw a denim jacket on top. 

Day 4 was "orange kisses", which required a quick shopping trip. Not convinced this is the colour for me though. I will no doubt try the gloss again, but don't envisage it becoming a staple. Think the girls at work are almost enjoying my selfie taking as much as I'm enjoying the style injection (Amy and Mel, I'm looking at you!). 

I was a bit wary about the double denim challenge. I was thinking about playing it safe with white denim crops or long shorts... but decided to go for my short(est) denim shorts paired with my well loved denim jacket. I'm also wearing my sequined Rolling Stones t-shirt which always gets loads of positive comments, the panama and my favourite tan FitFlops. One problem, it is extremely hot in Hervey Bay at the moment. I was sweltering. A denim vest has been on my wish list ever since reading this Redcliffe Style post... Then I knew I *needed* one, I went into work the next day and my über stylish colleague was wearing one. Shopping with a toddler is not particularly conducive to browsing and trying things on, so I hadn't found one yet. Day 5's challenge spurred me on though and Pickle-free, I hit the mall. Just Jeans was my saviour... I went in with the the expectation of buying a pale denim, but preferred the dark wash (so much that I bought the distressed dark wash jacket too).  

I tend to think people generally fall into either the silver or gold camp. I am definitely a silver (or preferably platinum!) wearer. However I do have the odd gold accessory and for Day 6 I dug out my favourite pale gold earrings, worn with a chocolate brown top, beige shorts and  my ubiquitous FitFlops for Pickle's kindergym class followed by lunch. I later changed into an all navy outfit for an evening out. 

Day 7 was an easy one. Living in Hervey Bay, most of my wardrobe is easily adapted to Beachy. I'd always liked the idea of a kaftan top, but didn't know if I could carry one off. Inspired by Styling You (who regularly features kaftan tops and dresses) a while ago I bought this turquoise patterned top, which has become my firm favourite. I wear a blue, pink or green vest underneath, or can throw it over a bikini, and then dress it up or down depending on what else I pair it with. Today was mainly spent playing with Pickle, so it was a pretty casual day.

So that's the end of Week the first week of #DAREcember... I'm loving the challenge and I'm definitely finding that I'm thinking more about my complete outfit, resulting in a style boost.  

What do you think? Would you be up to joining in? 

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

#DAREcember (not a fashion blogger!)

While I certainly wouldn't call myself a fashion blogger - I just don't think I'm that stylish - though I do love my shoes, handbags, earrings, hats, scarves etc. And this is (I suppose) a lifestyle blog... Well, a blog about my life with Pickle anyhow (is that the same thing??).

One of the bloggers I've been following on social media for a while is Fox in Flats, and while she regularly runs style dares, I've never had the chutzpah to join in before. Now that I'm back at work, and am feeling fitter and more confident with our new simplified lifestyle, I thought I'd take part in #darecember.

Stacked up was the first challenge. Working as a counsellor, I took a bit of a twist on this one, and wore my mental health rubber bracelets stacked against a simple black dress for the day (turquoise earrings and hair-clip completed the colour injection). If you'd like to seek support and are aged 12-25 years old, then check out headspace; additionally and for those outside that age group BeyondBlue is a great resource and why not check out World Mental Health Day's suggestions too.

Today is braided... Now I'm not adverse to the odd French plait.  But it felt a bit of a cop-out to go with something I regularly do.  So, loving a bit of asymmetry, I went for a one-sided braid.  Now trying to get a shot of this was a trifle more difficult.  I call this one "awkward bathroom selfie".

So what do you think so far?  Are you tempted to join me? 

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Adventures with Olaf

Ever have anything that you half dread yet half anticipate with excitement? It was my turn this weekend.

Pickle's playcare class have an Olaf toy (from the movie Frozen if you have been hiding under a rock don't have young kids) that goes home with a family each weekend, and they document the adventures.  So far he's been away to the Gold Coast and Townsville on holidays, but even those at home have done some seriously creative scrap-booking displays.  One talented Mum even propped scenes.  I'm not sure if I want to hat-tip or throttle her... stuff like this is just not my forte!

Then Miss Vanessa, Pickle's girlfriend educator sprung it on me Friday morning that we'd be taking Olaf home this weekend.  Cue panic.  We didn't have anything out of the ordinary planned, but...

Olaf came along for the ride - quite literally - on the cargo-bike, in prime position next to Pickle for the journey home on Friday night to kick start a pretty typical weekend for us.

Arriving home, Pickle and Olaf set to playing on the fort before a dinner of sushi in the garden.  I had joked that Olaf needed a spa day. Jinxed myself didn't I, as Pickle had a massive nose bleed just before bed.  Olaf enjoyed his spa night and looks quite spiffy now.

Saturday is Kindergym... gymnastics for under fives.  Lots of games, balance beams, trampolines, and the pièce de résistance: the foam pit.  Pickle and Olaf were also up on the rings, they bowled and finished off the morning playing under the parachute.

Time for a relaxing fruit frappe and dairy-free babychino which Pickle and Olaf shared.

We went shopping to get Pickle a proper tea pot. Afternoon tea time meant we each had a cup of "tea" poured for us.

Then Hermes decided to get in on the action for cuddles. Lulu was camera shy.  Olaf previously met (co-educator) Miss Rachel's cats, so he knew cats are friendly and like warm hugs as much as he does.

Pickle wanted to make Warm Fuzzies, so he could give one to Olaf to let him know he enjoyed his visit.  He picked each set of feet, pom-pom body and mouth for each person he made them for.  Olaf's is the green pom-pom with yellow feet and red "kissy lips"!

B2, B1
Pickle, Olaf & RJ
Sunday night we went out for dinner with Big Ted and his "big boys", B1, B2 and RJ.  B2 has finished his final school exams and he graduates this week, so we went out for dinner to celebrate (he also got the purple Warm Fuzzy and a "gratulation" from Pickle).

Last night for the sleepover with Olaf and Pickle with his regular cohorts of Charlie the monkey,
Woofy the dog and Sven the reindeer (who is actually a moose, but Pickle named him after the Frozen character, and who am I to argue). It's been great fun.  We'll miss you Olaf!

So the scrap book has been updated.  Pickle will stand up in class tomorrow to tell everyone about his weekend with Olaf.  *proud Mummy gush*.
The end result - what do you think?
My coloured card and origami paper might not be quite as artistic as some of the efforts, but I don't think it's embarrassing and we sure packed a lot in.

So what do you think? Are you one of the über artistic parents, or do you dread the creative stuff you need to do for daycare/school participation as much as me?!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Degrees of doldrum

I'm done!  After taking the best part of 8 years to complete my degree, I've finally finished.  And truth be told, it's been a little anticlimactic.  I was expecting a huge rush of triumph... but it didn't happen.

Finishing up was spread over a couple of months.  I handed in my last paper, a few weeks later I got the results.  Then I had to finish the practical aspects... the required client hours and clinical supervision.  The final supervision session was delayed as I ended up in A&E with Pickle (who had fractured his arm, but coped really well in plaster and is fine now)... and then it was done.

I had to finish up at my placement venue as I was no longer a student, yet the required meetings and paperwork hadn't been completed in order to offer me a position.  So I set to spring cleaning my house, de-cluttering our wardrobes and the accumulation of toys (this is still a work in progress).  I had the meetings, signed the paperwork and a couple of days later I was back in the workplace having only missed two days of work (I've chosen to work part-time as a good balance for my own mental health and well-being particularly as a single parent).

The beautiful flowers on my desk at work
with obligatory photo of my gorgeous Pickle
BigTed sent me a gorgeous bunch of my favourite flowers to celebrate my first day as a fully-qualified paid counsellor... and as they are opening up they smell stunning.

And don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic that I was offered a position doing the work I love.

Over the coming weeks I'll need to do some delightful paperwork *yawn*, to apply to graduate... in May 2015... so I'm not sure when, or even if, I'm going to a celebratory *woohoo* moment.

Has this ever happened to you?  Did you get your *woohoo* eventually?  What triggered it? And what happened if you didn't get that lightbulb moment?

Cheers, KangaRue :)
BAppSocSc (Couns)  - well, that's the first time I've written that and admittedly it feels pretty good

Thursday, 16 October 2014

It's all in a name...

For some time I've been pondering a name for my cargo-bike. I was thinking it had to be a girl's name as aren't all vehicles named after girls?  Recently, my friend, Mikey, bought his first car and was looking for a name, in the search to procrastinate on my spring cleaning be the helpful friend that I am, I stumbled upon a first name that just fit. (I suggested Heather for Mikey's car in case you were wondering.)

Later that day, another friend, Rochelle, did one of those silly-fun Facebook quizzes "what's your hippie name?".  I loved mine.

Then came my *lightbulb* moment.  That's his name.  Sorted.

So maybe I've over-thunk that, but so be it.  And on that note, I'd officially like to introduce you to...




Clarence Breeze 

Pickle raiding his lunchbox on the way to playcare, while riding in Clarence Breeze.

Have you named your vehicle of preference? 

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Freaking Out

That's how I'm feeling right now. I've got a major assignment looming, am only current on the current week of my university work (as opposed to ahead so I can actually *do* the assignment), the house is a mess, I need to find a second student placement (and believe me the first one was a struggle to find though it ended up awesome). Oh, and somewhere in there I need to be a mother and have a life.

I had the flu for almost three weeks. Which meant any advances I made, promptly disappeared. And then we had three public holidays in a two week period. Now for most people, this means extra study time... but as a solo parent, not so much.

So I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I felt my anxiety levels rising quite dramatically this morning. So I've done some mindfulness meditation - I am a little bit in love with Smiling Mind at the moment. I've then cracked on with it, asked my tutor for an extension on the assignment, and I'm using this post to clear my head a bit before hitting the books again.

Do you ever feel like a huge wave is about to come crashing down on you? How do you manage the anxiety it produces?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nailed It

I've been seething since the weekend. A parent of one of Pickle's friends told him "you'll have to stop Mummy painting your nails in a few years". I turned around and politely told this man that Pickle actually asks me to paint his nails and chooses the colour each time.

The "offending" toes - outrageous!
I'm allowing Pickle to express his individuality as he wants. He wants to put the pretty colours on his toes, like Mummy does. Is he likely to want to conform to gender norms down the track? Probably. But it will be his choice, not something I'm going to force on him.

Pickle has a tea set, he has a baby doll he nurtures, along with a myriad of stuffed toys.  Not to mention Lulu and Hermes, who are subjected to his attentions he also adores. He also has a Buzz Lightyear, dinosaurs, light sabers, laser guns and a train set. He plays with the lot, in fact the dinosaurs often have tea parties.

As a society we're (still) figuring out that girls/women are as capable boys/men - if I had a girl, I'd be buying her Goldieblox.  If you don't know what they are, there are some excellent videos on YouTube here and here, and a fantastic TEDtalk.

Can we do the same for our boys/men please? (But in reverse, if that makes any sense?) They can be - and indeed are - loving, caring and nurturing.

Picture from Stonewall UK - a great resource site
And what about Rainbow individuals? As a counsellor, I particularly want to work with children, young people and their families. The risk figures around mental health and suicide sky-rockets for Rainbow youth. By raising Pickle to be accepting of all people, I hope he'll be an influencer in his generation on acceptance of all people.

If I painted that man's toe nails, would it change his sexuality or preferred gender? I promise to get off my soapbox soon, but would really love it if you watched this video that asks the question gay people get asked all the time... and this mind-expanding TEDtalk about transgender youth.

As a girl, I think I had the best of both worlds, I had dolls (and cats) I dressed up, but I also climbed trees, and rode both a bike and a skateboard... I'd like for Pickle to have the same opportunities.

Do your boys paint their toe nails or play with tea sets? Do you allow your girls to build with blocks or train sets? 

Cheers, KangaRue :)

PS. Thanks for allowing me my rant!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Pickle is Two-Twooot!

I wrote this post about six months ago. Then went looking for the invite photo, as I wanted to show off B2's fab handiwork - he did a great job encapsulating the image I had in my head, and managed to capture my rambling descriptions perfectly. But I couldn't find the image, and thinking it would eventually turn up I waited. And waited some more. And then didn't blog other stuff because I thought this should be posted first. So since Pickle's third birthday is rapidly approaching, and I'm already tossing ideas around about his party, here is the post about his second birthday, sans invite image (sorry B2).


I love birthdays. So when Pickle's birthday is approaching, I can't help but get excited about preparing his celebration.

For his first birthday, he had a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme... Invites, balloons and some of the food was themed. I tossed around loads of ideas for his second birthday, but decided that he would get more out of some of the themes when he was a bit older. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

I normally manage to stretch my own birthday celebrations out over a week. Pickle had a birthday month! With no less than three birthday cakes.

Pickle's 2nd birthday cake (Part 1) for playcare
Because we were going to be in Western Australia with my Outlaws on the actual day, his celebrations at playcare happened before we went. I decided to take the easy route for this one and use a packet. The first dairy-free packet I used was a disaster, so I had to make a second cake, so not the quick and easy option I'd hoped for. Purple icing and the sides covered with a mix of sprinkles rescued it though, and I was reasonably happy with the end result.

Nanna's marshmallow covered birthday cake
Off we went to the Outlaws. My MoL made a delicious orange cake - her normal recipe, substituted with Pickle'a dairy-free spread... But it was a little warm when she tried to ice it, and the icing ended up in a puddle. She did an awesome restoration with marshmallows - Pickle's treat of choice. I love this photo of him blowing out the candles.

We returned to Hervey Bay for his official celebrations. There are some great playgrounds here, one of Pickle's favourites being the train park (that's what the locals call it, it's official name is the Ernie Organ park). So with a fantastic location, a train theme seemed obvious. I found some Thomas the Tank engine loot bags, so it was just the invitation and cake that really needed theming.

I knew what I wanted as his invite in my head, but my computer capabilities limit me somewhat. BigTed's son B2 came to the rescue. Not only is he one of Pickle's favourite people, but he is a whizz technically and talented creatively, and he managed to translate my wobbly ideas onto paper with a great result.

I decided to bake the cake from scratch after my last "shortcut". My darling friend Chaz, is a chef, and had pointed me to a recipe for a dairy-free (vegan) chocolate cake for Pickle's birthday. It was a huge hit that time, and I surprised people by telling them it contained avocado. I kid you not. There is no dairy, but a gorgeous creaminess. I used neon colours in the dairy-free "butter" icing and decorated the cake with various Pickle-friendly lollies. Pickle was thrilled it was a yellow toot-toot (his favourite colour).

Pickle's train cake - not sure I'll be able to top this!
Even BigTed's big boys got into the action
We had a lovely day, we played pass-the-parcel, the kids played with his new toys, and the train playground *eventually* got a look-in. It was an absolutely brilliant day.

The final celebration came right on the end of the month. Our cats, Lulu and Hermes finally arrived from London.
We missed you!
After a couple of false starts, nine months had passed since we last saw them. Pickle was excited - he even had a sign to hold up at the airport! They've settled in really nicely and Pickle is learning to be quiet and gentle with them. Hermes was always his best friend, and he puts up with a lot of hugs and enthusiastic squealing.

Not sure I'll be able to top this next year! Shall I start thinking of themes now? (Ideas welcome).

Cheers, KangaRue :)