I’m a Barbie Girl

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Every one precious, every one special, every single one coming with us to Australia!

In the days BC (Before Children) I recall proclaiming loudly that, should I choose to have children, should the universe grant me a daughter, she would NEVER wear pink, she would be raised with gender neutral toys and under no circumstances whatsoever would she be allowed to play with Barbies.

My girlfriends cheered  and we raised our unshaven armpits in solidarity!

When Monkey was born she was duly dressed in an adorable, non-gender specific onesie and brought home to her brightly decorated, non-gender specific nursery.

Within days of her arrival, doting Grandparents, friends and Uncles started sending care packages containing beautiful, highly gender specific clothes and toys. I spent my weekends sorting laundry into whites, darks and pinks!  (…though it was my lovely housekeeper in Bangkok who actually washed, dried, ironed and organised our lights, darks and ‘the pink wash’… sigh!)

As fate would have it, Monkey was a girls, girly, girls girl.  By 18 months she was choosing her own clothes.  She refused to where ANYTHING BUT PINK until she was almost 4 years old.

She was probably around 2 years old when my best friend came to visit us for a holiday.  Her eldest daughter, almost five, brought with her a Barbie doll, a singing Barbie doll, a singing barbie doll in a pink sparkly dress with long golden hair… Monkey was enthralled!

I was horrified.

It is possible that I heaped a rather heavy dose of ‘WTF’ on my girlfriend.

Several months later, just in time for Christmas, a parcel arrived for Monkey from my girlfriend.  Inside was a Barbie doll, a singing Barbie doll, a singing barbie doll in a pink sparkly dress with long golden hair… AND A DVD…Barbie and the Diamond Castle! 

Well played my friend, well played.  I give up.

To this day, G and I still sing, I feel connected, to the girls as part of their bedtime ritual and can I just say, we  rock the harmonies!

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Thanks for reading, have a fabulous day!

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Never a dull moment…

We are moving back to Australia.  A reshuffle within the company has resulted in a rather sudden change of roles.  G has taken a position in the head office in Brisbane.  I am proud of him.

Brisbane is my home town.  We had always anticipated that, one day, when the time seemed right we would move back there.  I call it ‘home’… as much as anywhere.  Perhaps the move is a little sooner than I had anticipated but it is a chance to lay down roots and a chance for the girls to ‘call Australia home’ (at least for a little while… nothing needs to be forever… right?)

I am in the midst of yet another international uplift… what a fucking treat!

All our worldly goods must be inventoried – keep, sell, repair, gift, throw that shit away!

On the other side of the world, mostly using the magical power of the interweb, a new life must be created  – shelter, schools, transport, medical.  I have been stunned at the amount of paperwork required for…everything!  This chick has been in South East Asia for too long.

The news of the impending move has been hard on the girls.  Monkey is old enough to realise that we are leaving her friends, her community, the only home she has ever known.  She is sad, angry and confused.  Pigeon is trying to find the positives, she is so resilient.  Chilli is well Chilli is about to leave her precious Bau, our nanny, who has been a constant since Chilli was 8-weeks-old.  Chilli is not going to like that.  Bau is not going to like that.  I AM NOT GOING TO LIKE THAT.  There have been, and will continue to be, tears all round!

I have found a wonderful home for our beloved cats.

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Sanchez and Schlarper are 13-years-old.  They came here from Austalia with us and they love it here. We decided the stress of moving them back to Australia  (7 months, two quarantine stays and two different countries) was too much. They are getting lots of extra cuddles and some rather fancy treats as I enjoy my last month with them before saying goodbye. It is impossible to explain how difficult the decision to leave them behind has been.  They were our first children. When we adopted them, we made a commitment. This feels like a betrayal, even if I know it is for the best.

It is a little over a month until we actually leave.  A strange, emotional, exhausting and lonely time ahead.  But with change comes adventure and opportunity.  Who knows? Fabulous could be closer than I think!

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Two months since I have been here,
Two months, too much to say,
44 is coming but the fabulous seems far away!

Thanks for reading and I am sorry I have been away so long.

Self Imposed Torture

For the last three days I have not eaten a thing. I have been achy and sweating, isolated and exhausted. If everything goes to plan I am going to feel like this until the end of the week. Then like a butterfly from a krysaliss, I shall emerge, purged, cleansed and feeling like a new woman.

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The view ain’t bad.

I am at Samui Detox, in Thailand, on fasting and detoxification program. I booked myself in, it is a rare and wonderful privilege to be here while my wonderful partner, irreplaceable nanny and generous mother take care of the children. But for now I am hungry grumpy, achy and wishing like hell that I could go home.

Madness!

What makes me even more insane is that I knew what I was in for. This is not my first time down this road. I have made time for a detox once a year, give or take, for the last 4 years. As I whined to G last night on Skype about how rotten I was feeling he reminded me that I say that EVERY time I come here and yet I keep coming back for more.

Idiot!

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Mealtime!

The detox program at Samui Detox includes a lot of things (food not being one of them): daily supplements and juice, deep tissue massage, steaming, daily exercise and yoga, meditation, workshops on healthy eating, parasites, the importance of the liver…. and yep… daily colonics. For this reason we refer to my annual retreat as ‘arse camp’.

Insane!

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You don’t want to know what goes on in this Bungalow

Arse camp has slowly but surely changed everything about my approach to life, or at least health. Not the least reason being the inspirational and passionate way that the Centres Director, Kim, guides you through the program and helps you to understand the value of taking care of your body, giving it the right fuel and how to take those concepts into daily life. I will admit she does have some crazy ideas. Apparently alcohol is bad for your liver and red meat, butter, cheese, cadbury dairy milk chocolate are best avoided.

Ridiculous!

Nonetheless, over time, I have made lasting changes to my lifestyle and to the lifestyle of my family that have tangible measurable benifts. Sometimes, when I go to a restaurant I choose the salad over the steak and don’t order french fries.

Certifiable!

I am loving my stay here. I am incredibly grateful, though a little hungry. I look forward to going home at the end of it. Home to my children and my man and back to all the crazy stress that is life but with a new sense of vitality, priority and purpose.

FABULOUS!
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Thanks for reading. Enjoy your next meal you bastards.

I think this might be for the best…

To whom it may concern,

Please accept this, my resignation, from the position of mother-of-three. I know that you were hoping I would apply for tenure but after much consideration I have realised that I am unsuited for the role. It would be remiss of me to continue.

Let me start by saying, in case there is any confusion, that according to the role description I have been given, there are three young children in my care. Are we clear on that point? Three little life forms all relying on me to keep them safe, fed, healthy and stimulated. Three little people who look to me for guidance, support, love. Three VERY DIFFERENT personalities who all NEED me, ALL THE TIME.

The fact is that I should never have taken on the role in the first place. I will admit to having been quite the advocate for having a child. A CHILD. Single. I was actually rather good at the making and baking part.

What I failed to do, this is entirely my fault, was read the safety instructions and follow the precautions which were clearly indicated, though in rather fine print I must say, at the back of the document.

The fact that I failed in my duty of care a third time should really be grounds for instant dismissal. I am obviously completely incompetent.

That not withstanding, I would like to list a number of other reasons why I am unsuitable for this job in the hope that you will accept, with haste, this request for clemency.

I like to be organised.
I like to be in control.
I like to be punctual.
I like clean.
I am rational.
I like to finish something I start, be it a task, cup of coffee or even a thought.
I like sleep. (Seriously, I really, really like sleep)

Given the above, I hope you see why I cannot possibly continue in this role. There is really very little job satisfaction!

If you are still not convinced, please let me make one final point. I wanted to do this job well. I really wanted to nail it. With every fiber of my being I wanted to be the best mother I could possibly be. But I just don’t have the capacity or the resources to give ALL THREE CHILDREN the time, support, sensitivity and understanding they need.

The only thing I have enough of is love.

The only thing I seem to be good at is shouting.

Thank you for your time. I wait anxiously for your response.

Regards and apologies
Miss Pip

For now…

Three weeks ago, here in Laos, a plane crashed into the Mekong while attempting to land.  49 people were on board. None survived.

It was a story on the news.

In this small country, in this small town, in this small community, we were all connected to the tragedy.

For now, for me, sadness, support for those who need it, those I love.

Also, a renewed determination to find  fabulous, where… when… however I can.

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Thanks for reading.

I do love a Party!

It's never too early for sparkle!
It’s never too early for sparkle!

For all those visiting as part of the Maison Bentley Style blog warming party… WELCOME.

I am guessing that you haven’t been here before, why should you have? If you want to know a little bit more about me and this particular patch of cyberspace check out this.

As it happens, I am typing this from Yangon, Myanmar. My three little princesses and I, for reasons I obviously didn’t think through, are visiting with my partner, G, who was here this week on business.

Place… fabulous! Travelling with smalls…well… check this out! 

It is my absolute pleasure to be part of the PARTY. Kate and I discovered each other days after I started 44andafourth and I have been her cyber-friendly ever since… any friend of Kates as they say! This is how awesome I think she is.

Living as an expat in South East Asia has its ups and downs but this is my recollection of one of my favourite ups.. and a post I am very proud of.

I hope you get a chance to wander around a bit. Though I might be late (I am travelling on Sunday) I look forward to joining you all.

Happy blog warming!

Sober September: a summary

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We did it.  One month of Sobriety. Champagne anyone?

On the evening of Monday 31 September G and I opened a bottle of Prosecco and proposed a toast to our remarkable achievement!

It was moments after the first drops of bubbly, boozy goodness touched my lips that I realised it was actually still September and we really should have waited until midnight (or even the following day) to jump off the wagon!

WHOOPS!

Nonetheless, I am claiming a victory.   Sober September success!  We did it. We owned it. It was a little more difficult than I thought it would be.

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The first week was miserable.  We had jet lag.  I was sleeping badly.  I had a psychological, if not physical, need at the end of the day for a glass of SOMETHING… just to take the edge off, as a reward for making it through the day, to help me sleep, because I WANT A DRINK AND I AM A GROWN WOMAN AND THIS IS A RIDICULOUS IDEA.

G was all, “Well if you want to I am not stopping you but I won’t be joining you”, which  just made me determined not to let him win.  He can be such a manipulative bastard!

We had just returned from France where my daily intake of wine was really quite impressive so I guess, on reflection, that I was detoxing, cold turkey.  It was quite sobering (pun intended) to realise just how reliant I am on alcohol as both a physical and emotional crutch.

But it did get easier.

During the month that was September, I thought a great deal about alcohol. Mostly, I thought, “Fuck, I would like a drink”, but there was the occasional moment of more serious contemplation.  Booze has really played a major role in my life.

  • Firstly, I am an Australian and for most Australians drinking is a right of passage, a cultural expectation and sometimes a lot of fun.
  • My parents are both drinkers.  In their heyday they were heavy drinkers. For better or for worse, drinking was celebrated and revered in our house.
  • I spent (or perhaps mis-spent) my student years, most of my twenties, and some of my thirties developing an appreciation of many mind-altering substances including, but not limited to, fine wine and whisky.
  • Apart from the 27 months that I was been pregnant,  I reckon that I have had a drink every week (in fact most days) of my adult life. (I even took the occasional drink while my girls were on the boob)
  • There is a (very valid) assumption amongst our peers that I will ALWAYS knock back a glass or two given the chance.
  • I have enjoyed some wonderful times with friends, family and a drink in my hand.
  • Many of the WORST moments in my life have been directly related to me, or those close to me, drinking too much!

I don’t want to mislead anyone into assuming that all this deep thinking actually led to any sort of revelation.  There was no epiphany, no life changing decision, just some sober (yep, that one was intended too) reflection.

Also, some observations:

  • After the first week, I slept much more soundly;
  • It was easier to return to sleep if I was woken in the night by one of my small people;
  • I was less groggy and more alert in the morning;
  • I was less irritable with my children, mostly;
  • I was sometimes more irritable because I didn’t have ‘mothers little helper’;
  • My skin improved and I looked less puffy in the face;
  • I craved something sweet in the evening after dinner (no doubt a replacement for the sugar in the alcohol);
  • I DIDN’T lose any weight (probably because I was giving in to those sweet cravings);
  • I became a bit of a hermit because I didn’t want to go out and be asked why I wasn’t drinking;
  • I enjoyed a lovely, sober night out with a group of girlfriends and didn’t miss alcohol at all (but I did have dessert);
  • I missed the ritual of sharing a glass of wine and some adult time after the kids went to bed;
  • I missed drinking – the taste of a good red, the match with a great meal, the buzz after a chilled glass of bubbly stuff.

Ultimately, not drinking for a month was good for my health and good for my head.  We might make Sober September an annual event.

That said,  I think it might be wine o’clock somewhere!  Can I tempt you?

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Patsy: What will you drink if you stop drinking?

Edina: I shall drink water.

Patsy[Blank look]

Edina: It’s a mixer, Patsy, we have it with whisky…. I mean, you’ve given up drinking before.

Patsy: Worst eight hours of my life.

( Absolutely Fabulous, Series 1, Episode 1)

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Have a FABULOUS weekend lovely readers!