Colour me stylin’

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I have a friend who I met on Instagram and then we met in real life a couple of times. She makes me smile every time I see her little square of happiness. She blogs over on the very awesome Style & Shenanigans so I suggest you get over there pronto. Okay? Okay.

The thing I like about V is that she keeps it real. Like properly real. There are the requisite super helpful and well researched posts on everything from fashion to homewares to holidays with small people [insert exhausted emoticon here] but then there are snippets of real life like when your LEGO vomits all over your carpet. You hearing me?

Every now and then, like this week, she posts a style challenge. It is a bit of fun to shake up your wardrobe rut and yes, take photos of yourself. I have always enjoyed these challenges and yes, I have always enjoyed the photos of myself. This is not arrogant but just how I feel. And you know how it makes me feel? Bloody good about myself.

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I first joined in some of these style challenges with the uber rad Styling You and her #everydaystyle. You can read about what that meant to me here. I don’t do it as often as I’d like. Some days I don’t get out of my sports gear. Others I am just not feeling the camera or I don’t have a willing photographer.

So when this latest challenge popped up I couldn’t get to it quick enough. During this week of rad dressing I get so many amazing compliments which make me feel great. Oddly, I also lose a whole heap of followers so either peeps dislike my face or my dress sense or they were gonna leave anyway. I haven’t got to the bottom of that one yet. I lost another stack of people when I was frolicking in Bali and now, my running posts seem to polarise people too. But my grey posts, when I feel my truly down at the bottom of the crappiest barrel around worst, light up like Luna Park. My stats go off the scale. Surely we can all soak up each other’s happiness? I hope we can get past this little anomaly of social media oddity.

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But dressing myself for happiness, self esteem and just to feel like I give a shit about myself are all tremendously helpful for my head. It is beyond the awesome compliments and losing followers. It becomes integral to my self esteem. I feel good when I give a shit. Some days I just have to get my game face on and dressing up makes that possible. One of my biggest tips for managing my anxiety lies in the ability to stay connected. On a practical sense this means to stay connected to your community, keep talking, be engaged. But on another level it means stay connected to your own self esteem. As a mum it is all too easy for that to be completely shot to pieces. Hell, that is true as a woman. So boosting my self esteem means I care about myself. If dressing up and posting that on Instagram makes me feel amazing, then you betcha imma gonna keep on doin’ it.

I have also realised a few things.

1. My best photos are when the kids are mucking around as they take them. So I pull a face and relax and we all have a laugh.

2. Not one of my photos is perfect. The one fanged monkey cuts off my feet, the five year old princess huffs and puffs and the nine year old wastes no time and takes at least a dozen shots and hands the phone to me with the stern words, “Make one of those work mum.” Apparently she is incredibly busy.

3. A lot of my wardrobe consists of favourites I have had for a looooong time like my red shoes that I am sure are older than at least three of my kids.

4. I eat well, I make sure I get a lot of sleep and I exercise regularly so I look the way I do because I try really hard to stay healthy. There is no trickery, just bloody boring hard work. I don’t look like a supermodel {they don’t have giant boobs!} but I do look like a healthy 40 year old mum of four and after everything I have been through, that right there is all that matters. And of that, I am proud.

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So thanks to Vanessa and Nikki I have learnt to embrace the selfie. I have also learnt to embrace myself and my self esteem and you know what? You can just go ahead and colour me yellow – full of happiness and optimism.

And if there is a colour for my self esteem then let me bathe in that too.

Colour me a mistake maker

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This week has been an odd one indeed. All my usual organisational calm has seemingly evaporated along with my ability to dress properly.

It all began last weekend. I’ve been light headed for a few days. My usual low blood pressure is particularly low at the moment. Then I had an intense but short bout of nausea and vomiting after standing up too quickly and from there it has been a bit of a weird headspace.

I’d love to say I was just keeping it real when I fed the kids toast last Saturday night when this kid fell asleep at the table. I fed them more on Sunday night and on Monday morning, the five year old Princess asked if we could have “real dinner” tonight. Whoops.

Monday I gave myself a black eye after walking into the bathroom door.

Tuesday I spoke for BeyondBlue at the Australian Red Cross Blood Donor Centre and I held my shit together. Then I dropped a f-bomb in front of the school principal.

Wednesday I wore the same underpants as Tuesday.

Thursday I flashed my bra at the vice principal thanks to the handiwork of the one fanged monkey.

And today, Friday. You saw me with my dirty underpants hanging out of my trousers. I mean WTF?

I’m not at all on my A-Game. My running training is undoubtedly exhausting. This low blood pressure and nasty headache thing I’ve got going on is making me crabby. I’ll prioritise my health next week, starting with my GP. And no, unless by some miraculous modern day immaculate conception or a complete piss take by the vasectomy Gods, I am not pregnant.

But it was the parent teacher interviews this week had me questioning myself the most. The overwhelming observation was that my kids worry about making mistakes.

Mistakes?

Yes. Mistakes.

I went home and told the Baker and he said, “Duh.” The look on his face was telling me that I was the one making them frightened of making mistakes. It wasn’t vindictive. It was true.

Where in my weird little headspace did I take the fun out of the process of learning? When did enjoying the journey stop and the strive for perfection begin? How have I blurred those lines so vividly, not only for my older two but also for my little Prep who hasn’t been at school for a month?

It is confronting to realise that you’ve made a mistake. In my desperation for them to achieve and be well adjusted, I have made them scared of making an error in their judgement or their actions. So when one of the teachers said, “We’re risk takers and mistake makers,” I knew that I’d had it wrong.

Then my least risky kid got into trouble with the principal (it was nothing to do with my swearing!) and I was kinda pleased. She did something wrong and she learnt from it. But she was beside herself with worry about telling me. She admitted that she was going to tell my mum first. I hid my reaction of acute sadness well but it hit home. She was afraid to tell me she made a mistake.

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I don’t know how I’ll jump from being risk adverse to a risk taker but I guess I’ll just have to find a way. Hell, I’m not even pretending that I have never made a mistake for there’s been plenty of those. But this parenting gig is a really tough one. And honestly, I’m wobbling with it right now. But my honesty and wobbling will be with my little mistake makers and we’ll all celebrate our mistakes together. I’m sure there’s no harm in that.

Colour me a risk taker.

Colour me a mistake maker.

Colour me green with clarity + understanding. And whatever colour that learning from my mistakes may be.

Colour me in tight jeans

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This summer has been a bit pants on the weather front. Sure there has been some nice days but there has been a lot of super not nice days. Cold days in fact. Like 19 degrees in summer. WTF?

When I turned 40 in September last year, the spring weather turned on a fine 18 degree day and we were all sunglasses and look at this sunshine.

But on a 19 degree day in January, I am thinking about wearing jeans. Jeans in January suck because jeans in January are usually tight. Jeans that were not that tight before Christmas. Boo to you calories and your jean tightening ways.

Immediately after squishing the zip up on one of my jean wearing days I sunk into a state of miserable. My first response was that my self esteem and my happiness are 100% connected. Having said that, at the height of my anxiety I was at my skinniest in years and I still felt awful. So then what is it bout a tight pair of jeans that has forced me into a state of mild melancholy?

Reality.

The reality is that whilst I have been chomping down on rad salads, I’ve also been knocking back booze at an impressive rate. Plus potato crisps, dips, chocolate, cake, bread…whoa. I would stay stop but clearly I don’t know how to either. Talk about not taking my own medicine.

Reality bites hard, doesn’t it? What a bummer.

But I am not quite ready to be spurred into action. I wonder why.

Perhaps I need the slow time and the extra calories that comes with the holidays.

Perhaps I need the lack of disciplined exercise although I am walking several kilometres each day and planking and doing some Pilates work.

Perhaps my body is crying out for it to stop for a while.

Doubt it. I suspect my body is crying out for my digestive system to be given a break. It’s saying, “Yo Anna, lay off those calories would you and chuck down a green smoothie girl!”

Yup, THAT is what it is saying.

I’ll get back into the swing of things. Perhaps today is a particularly bad day in terms of feeling blergh. Tiredness and the lack of routine of the school holidays are a dangerous combination sometimes. And in the blink of an eye I’ll be craving it again when our over stuffed schedules explode between now and Easter.

But now, salads.

DAY FOURTEEN : roast chook | mesclun | red onion | red + yellow cherry tomatoes | nectarines | goats cheese | basil | {balsamic, honey + olive oil dressing}

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DAY FIFTEEN : iceberg | mango | prawns cooked in garlic + red chilli | parsley | guacamole {avocado, yellow cherry tomatoes + lime juice}

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DAY SIXTEEN : mesclun | roast chook warmed in coconut oil | 7 grain wholewheat sourdough croutons | yellow cherry tomatoes | avocado | goats cheese | {basil, lime juice + olive oil dressing}

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DAY SEVENTEEN : chickpeas | red onion | cherry tomatoes | spinach | parsley | feta slash fetta | olive oil

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DAY EIGHTEEN : shredded midi cos lettuce | cucumber | parmesan | {mint, lemon juice + olive oil dressing}

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DAY NINETEEN : quinoa | black chia seeds | toasted pistachios | mint | parsley | preserved lemon | lemon juice | olive oil

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By the way, aside from asking who stole summer I’d also like to know, who stole January?

Colour me snapped

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I do love this social media thang. It keeps me happy to be honest. I love taking a moment to escape from my frantic reality and focus on little bits of other people’s reality. I don’t worry myself with their perfect looking houses or children as some of my own photographs are deliberately styled that way. And if after a while, their little snippets of perfection become too much to bear then a simple unfollow is as easy as the follow. Social media is fickle like that but just like the ebbs and flows of reality, the little snippets of unreality will go up and down too.

But every now and then you make a connection with an online person that you genuinely want to hang out in real life with. And that is exactly what happened when I discovered the simple gorgeousness of Milk Please Mum aka Tahnee aka pretty fucking rad chick. {Tahnee likes a swear word too so that f-bomb is dedicated solely to her radness.}

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But Tahnee and I have both been busy in 2014. So busy in fact that it took from January to November for us to be able to meet up, photograph the chaotic Kemp gang and then now, for me, another month or more to share this wonderfulness with you all. Whoops. But, if the adage is true that good things come to those who wait, then our patience and life juggling has certainly been rewarded.

I don’t think my heart could love this any more than the deliriously beautiful capture of my little slice of happiness that it is. I think I constantly get caught up in the every day that I don’t appreciate the beauty in what the every day gives me…my family. The milk drinking, sandpit playing, netball throwing, tea making chaos of happiness. It is my chaos. Thank you Tahnee for showing it to me.

Check out what Tahnee has to say and share here

Then watch this. Please. And smile.

Colour my little family full of health and love.

Colour me full of yellow – happiness + optimism.

What a glorious finale to my #yearoffriendships2014. Amen.

 

 

Colour me feta slash fetta

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Welcome to #fetaorfettagate

There’s been a bit of debate about whether fetta slash feta has one t or two.

According to I Give You The Verbs, feta means to slice. Then Kimba Likes explained that the Greeks use one t and the Italians use two.

I asked, what about the Danish version and what if it is crumbled? We haven’t even discussed the Persian version.

Either way fetta slash feta had been featuring highly on my salads. As have giant home grown lettuces.

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about some things I’d like to do in 2015. I don’t set resolutions so these are kinda bucket list items. I wonder if I will do any of them.

In no particular order, among the intentions that I set here, I’d like to learn to surf. I don’t know why, it just looks like fun.

I’d also like to run a half marathon. This does not look like fun. I will attempt it this year with the River’s Gift crew. The Baker is joining me but he is thinking about running a marathon because, crazy. Anyone else keen?

And I’d like to learn an instrument. I am completely tone deaf so it could prove interesting. I would love to learn the drums but I suspect it will be something more accessible like the piano or guitar. I am hoping to pick up all the cool chicks. Oh, wait…

And you know what, if I don’t do any of them then that is okay too.

DAY SEVEN SALAD ONE : this guest salad is from the gorgeous Style & Shenanigans who collected her brood and visited us on the Bellarine | hopefully next time will be a longer stay | italian pasta salad | pasta | green beans | prosciutto | red onion | basil | {mustard, lemon + mayonnaise dressing}

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DAY SEVEN SALAD TWO : giant home grown lettuce | baby cucumber | avocado | shaved parmesan | toasted pine nuts

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DAY EIGHT SALAD ONE : greek yoghurt | strawberries | raspberries | blackberries | blueberries | coconut chips

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DAY EIGHT SALAD TWO : chargrilled zucchini ribbons | quinoa | red chilli | parsley | toasted pine nuts | goat’s cheese

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DAY NINE : broccolini | red + yellow cherry tomatoes | rye sourdough crumbs from La Madre Bakery | feta slash fetta

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DAY TEN : home grown salad greens | fennel | haloumi | pomegranate | 100 % spelt sourdough croutons from La Madre Bakery | fennel fronds | snow pea sprouts | {yoghurt, anchovy, garlic, lemon juice + lemon rind dressing}

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DAY ELEVEN : rocket | spinach | broccolini | quinoa | avocado | peas | feta slash fetta | {pistachio pesto dressing}

{this was made by my lovely friend Georgie who you can follow on instagram @lifestyle_thermomix }

{recipe link here}

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DAY TWELVE : roasted cauliflower with sumac | pomegranate | toasted almonds | mint leaves | feta slash fetta

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DAY THIRTEEN : the snack salad | strawberries | raspberries | blackberries | blueberries | honey + cinnamon roasted almonds for a touch of #saladwanker | mint leaves

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So there you have it. Intentions wrapped up in non-resolutions charading as bucket list items. Salads galore. And #fetaorfettagate

How do you spell feta slash fetta?

Colour me a salad summer-y

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You like that play on words huh? Summary. Summer-y.

Sometimes I outdo myself. Amazing literary skills right there. Stay tuned for more of that folks…there is plenty of dagginess behind these pages.

It seems that this salad thing is quite popular. This makes me happy. As does eating salad. So here is the week that was in salad eating…

You can check out my DAY ONE salads here.

DAY TWO : chickpeas {‘marinated’ in garlic, olive oil, lemon juice + chopped parsley} | shaved parmesan | baby spinach

{This recipe was featured in Marie Claire’s Off the Shelf by Donna Hay}

I am not a massive fan of chickpeas but this is a winner. And it tastes even better the next day.

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DAY THREE: chicken breasts cooked in coconut oil | vermicelli rice noodles | carrots | snow peas | mint | {dressing of fish sauce, lime juice, honey + chilli}

To make this even easier, I should have used a barbecued chook and then the only cooking would have been to boil the kettle for the noodles!

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DAY FOUR : iceberg lettuce cut into wedges | {dressing of feta, greek yoghurt, lemon juice + olive oil} | chopped chives

{This recipe was taken from a delicious magazine, published in February 2013}

I needed to add a little water to the dressing as the feta I used was quite thick. It would have made the dressing a little runnier.

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DAY FIVE SALAD ONE : breakfast salad | rocket | Christmas ham | scrambled egg with pesto | coffee

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DAY FIVE SALAD TWO : wombok cabbage | radish | peas | mint | parmesan | red chilli | lime juice | olive oil

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DAY SIX : roasted sweet potato | bacon | pine nuts | {buttermilk, lime juice + parsley dressing} | rocket | watercress

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So there is week one with a plethora of healthy eating for you. There is a definite correlation for me with self esteem and diet. I have been gobbling some ace salads but a fair few beers and sweet treats too. My aim in the next week is to curb the sugar cravings and refocus back on my gut health. Expect to see some fermented vegetables soon!

What salad adventures have you been getting up to?

Colour me a lettuce leaf

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It’s baaaaaack!

I started #jansaladaday a few years back in the wake of an overindulgent festive season. You been there too? Well I was feeling blergh.

What I didn’t appreciate was the connection between eating well and a clearer, calmer head. Seriously, the connection is phenomenal. If we feed our bodies healthy, nutritious food that tastes amazing the health benefits are far greater than our waistlines. If 90% of serotonin (our bodies feel good chemical) lives in our gut then it makes complete sense to look after that gut. When I talk for beyondblue I can often be heard saying, “if you eat shit you feel shit.” And it really is as simple as that.

I have been working on a whole raft of gut healing habits to give myself the best fighting chance. I’ve been drinking bone broth (I call it beef jelly – squirm!) along with fermented miso and nori sheets. I am not loving it but I am noticing a few things – my hair, nails and skin are improving as is my bowel regularity. There is a lot of talk of poo in this house!

I’ll talk this year a bit more about how I colour myself well. Little tips and tricks that have worked for me and may help you too. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in? I do hope so.

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I have also set a list of New Year’s intentions. I don’t do resolutions. Here they are:

In 2015, I intend to continue to nourish my body, heal my gut, exercise for my head, manage my anxiety, hug my kids hard, live in the moment and calm the fuck down. 

But first, salad! It is not all lettuce leaves and counting calories. It is actually none of that. It is about eating great food and making it fun. So today, and for the next month my Facebook page and Instagram feed will be full of salady yummity. Each week I will do a salad round up and share recipes. There will be guest salads and fruit salads and big salads and take away salads and even a deconstructed salad because, wanker. I will only promise one thing, I am not going to take myself too seriously. It is an intention. Plus I am not a food stylist, chef, nutritionist or photographer. I am a mum of four who is trying to eat well in January.

So here are not one, but two new salads on day one of #jansaladaday for 2015. Because you guys rock and I am feeling generous.

DAY ONE SALAD ONE : cherry tomatoes | lemon rind | torn mozzarella | torn basil

{Torn because it is both fun and sounds a bit wankerish. I throw a whole lot of avocado oil on the top and this is seriously the easiest salad you’ll ever make}

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DAY ONE SALAD TWO : couscous | goats cheese | toasted pistachios | pistachio dukkah | mango | snow pea sprouts | lime juice | avocado oil

{This would be equally great with quinoa for a gluten free version or roasted pumpkin instead of mango for a fruit free version}

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We are off, so it seems. Happy New Year and I hope to see you and your salady faces soon.

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