Life is not always PERFECT…

Life is not always PERFECT…



“Keeping Secrets” – Ch:13 Slumber Party (2nd storyline)

Slumber Party

Green is the theme of the day. Every imaginable shade of green can be seen in the various decorations. The streamers are green, the pictures are green, the plates and cups are green, the cordial is green, even the cake is green. Poppy is obviously in a green mood.

From the moment I enter the house, I am determined to look forward and not back. I have come so far to be here and now that I am, nothing and no one is going to ruin it for me. This green party is going to be the party of the year and I am going to make the most of it.

The music played all my favourites and I knew all the words, the others all watch me sing each song as if I own it. We were dancing like the stars, Jo is the expert dancer and soon became the expert teacher.  Routine after routine we performed, song after song we sang. With nonstop laughter throughout the night, only stopping to eat something green and then back to the fun.

I forget all about my life, simply being in the moment and cherishing my time. Time captured each moment of fun until finally exhaustion settled in and it is time to hit the sleeping bags. Looking like sausages all packaged together, Poppy’s bedroom floor no longer existed.

The mood has been light with no time for seriousness, until now. When Mum dropped me off, I hesitated to leave the car, wanting to share my secret that I thought Roxie really should be here, but the right time past and, so too did my courage to say anything. Mum didn’t ask where Roxie is so I didn’t mention it.

Before I had time to say anything, squealing girls ran from the house, scooping me up amongst them and disappearing into the party zone. The darkness is nowhere to be found, the pains had left and my mind is occupied with music. As I become immersed into the conversation and the mood becomes intense, everything that had left me, quickly finds its way back in through the cracks.

“Okay, truth or dare!” Announces Poppy, clapping her hands, controlling the conversation. “I’ll go first.”

No one disagrees with the birthday girl, instead, they settle in for a game of truth or dare.

“Bella, truth or dare?” asks Poppy.


“Is it true that you still like Marcus?”

“Of course,” replies Bella confidently.

“Well, is it true he wanted to kiss you and you said no?” continued Poppy never hesitating.


“Don’t forget its truth or dare Bella” interrupts Poppy smugly.

“Well maybe, but I didn’t really feel like kissing him at the time.”

“You are scared to kiss him Bella, tell the truth,” laughs Poppy mockingly.

By reading Bella’s reaction, we all know that is the truth. She is scared to kiss Marcus or any boy for that matter, but so am I. I have never kissed a boy and a boy has never wanted to kiss me. When the time comes that kissing is required, I know I will be nervous, really nervous, maybe even shy away as Bella did.

If I can choose one boy that I want to share a ‘real’ kiss with, it will be Brendon. Even though I think he is gorgeous and to kiss him would be as exhilarating as waking up on Christmas morning, I know I would be nervous. It comes down to who I trust with the kiss. The first kiss is a huge step, a major event, I want it to be special and with someone who is really special.

Brendon has every quality I think is important in sharing that special moment with. He is older than me so he can guide the kiss, his experience is capable of making sure the moment is perfect. He would be tender in his approach, as he is naturally when placed in the right situation. His strong arms, perfect lips and beautiful looks combined with his sweet affection would make him a dreamy first kiss, one definitely worth remembering.

“I wasn’t scared,” defends Bella, clearly offended that Poppy is laughing at her.

“Yes you are. I can’t believe at our age, you’re still scared to kiss a boy,” said Poppy still laughing.

“Well what about the others,” Bella said, hoping to move the attention from herself.

Wanting to hide behind Sam or Jo so I wouldn’t be the next person up for humiliation, I sit acting as cool as possible, hoping not to attract any attention. My eyes dart between Sam and Jo and I notice they are behaving in an identical manner to me. It amazes me just how similar we all are even though these girls are so much cooler than I am.

“Okay, Jo you next. Have you ever kissed a boy?” asks Poppy.


“Well tell us more, I need to know all the details,” says Poppy excitedly, leaning into the circle so as not to miss a single word.

It doesn’t surprise me that Jo has already shared her first kiss with a boy. She is the oldest girl in our year level at school and looks it too. Jo’s parents had migrated from Italy when she was five years old and she had already started school back in her hometown of Grosseto in the region of Tuscany. An old town with a history dating back centuries, the people of Grosseto believe education is the key to life’s successes.

So all the children are sent to school from the age of three, learning all aspects of life and its wonders. Jo had two years of schooling before she had even hit the shores of Australia and her parents still decided to hold her back another year. They want Jo to strive to be the best so an extra year in school would surely give her an advantage.Jo’s looks have an Italian influence too. Her skin a deep, golden brown, soft rosy cheeks, glowing with health. Her eyes are dark too, almost black in colour to match her jet black silky straight long hair. She is exotically beautiful.

“It was last year when my cousins from Italy came over to stay with us,” says Jo, elated by the attention she had captured. “My cousin Anton had bought one of his friends over too, do you remember Rocco?”

Everyone simply nods whether they remembered Rocco or not. No one wanted to disrupt the story by commenting on such incidentals, it was too interesting and we need to know more.

“Cool, well when I first saw Rocco I thought he is gorgeous but said nothing. I mean what could I say? Rocco is so nice and sweet but he is older than me. He mainly spoke Italian. I know a little bit but I couldn’t understand most of what he is saying. So we had to help each other with the language and stuff.”

Nothing could be heard, no one dared move, Jo has captured our attention and imaginations with her story.

“I thought he liked me too cause we just clicked. It was so easy being around him and he made me feel special. Like I am the only girl around, the centre of all his attention. Then on the last day before they flew home, we kissed.”

“And..?.” Asks Sam, more enthralled than I thought possible.

“And what? ”Laughs Jo teasingly. “And well it was everything I had dreamed it would be. He is gentle, sweet and his lips were experienced lips. They had done this before but I trusted him to show me what to do. And he did, he is a wonderful kisser.”

“Aw”, every one sighed in sync with each one another.

“Do you miss him?” said Sam still captivated by the love story.

“Yeah I do. Lots…..we email all the time but I miss him. It would have been so cool if he could have stayed but maybe one day I will go to Italy and see him.”

“Yeah well enough of that,” injects Poppy, agitated that Jo has taken too much attention from her. “We need more truth and dare. Okay, you next Alexx Truth or dare?”

This is a hard question, more difficult than I had expected. Truth is always the easier way to go, it is simply answering a question. But the line of questioning is around boys and I wasn’t prepared to tell anyone who I liked. I am happy to say that I have never kissed a boy, that doesn’t bother me. However, if anyone wants to know who I would kiss if given the chance, that is for me and me only.

Then the dare part comes into play. Poppy is always a step or two ahead of everyone else and I am a little scared of what her dare might be. I have never done a dare before and I wonder if I would have the courage to.

Truth or dare, truth or dare? Brendon is my secret, and my secret only. That left me with no option but to play the dare card.

“Dare,” I say with confidence.

“Yeah about time we had a dare.,” says Poppy, clapping her hands in excitement.

As soon as Poppy says this, I regret my decision. She has a dare already planned and that meant I am going to be the one to do it. Panic sets in as I try to think of an escape route. I need an intelligent excuse to get out of whatever dare Poppy wants me to perform.

“No, no, I mean truth!” I say quickly before anyone has a chance to realise I am panicking.

“Bad luck Alexx,” says Poppy, now rubbing her hands together with a menacing look on her face. “You only get one chance and you picked dare. So dare it is.”

“But it’s not your turn to pick someone Poppy. You have to take it in turns,” I reply, panic taking over entirely.

“It is my party Alexx and I will say whose turn it is and I say it is still my turn and you picked dare so you must do as I say.”

Poppy scans the room, determining who is on her side and who is on my side. No one wants to argue with Poppy, maybe because it is her birthday or maybe because they are truly scared to be at the other end of her anger. I am on my own with a dare challenge waiting to be completed.

“See everyone agrees with me Alexx, now you picked dare, let me see, we need to think of a dare. Any ideas?” Poppy says, looking around but paying little attention to what she sees. Poppy already has a dare in mind but doesn’t want to make it obvious that she haw planned this all along. “Looks like it’s up to me. I dare you to call Roxie and tell her you are at my slumber party and that she is not invited,” says Poppy casually.

“What?” I choke, alarm bells ringing in my head, confused whether or not I heard Poppy correctly.

“You heard me, call Roxie. I would love to hear what she says.”

Searching the faces of the girls for guidance, for help, for anything. Blank stares planted on their faces, telling me nothing, helping me in no way. Thoughts raced through my head. Thoughts of Roxie and our friendship. Thoughts of Poppy, Bella, Jo and Sam. Thoughts of life at school without either of them. Thoughts of Mum and her advice.

Darkness surrounds me, darkness so thick and without light, I can barely focus on the situation, which has captured me. I am in a cave with noise echoing around me penetrating every part of my body. Noises I can’t understand, can’t decipher. Confusion sets in, making my head spin, making me lost. The darkness, the noises, the loneliness, I feel trapped like a wild animal being caged at the zoo.

When I finally take a deep breath I come crashing back to the realisation I am in a situation that requires immediate attention. Poppy has planned this all along. It wasn’t that Roxie couldn’t come as she had suggested to me, it is that she didn’t want her to come and I am the one stuck to do the nasty work.

“But I thought you said it is your Mum who said she couldn’t come.”

“That’s what I said but, well I just didn’t want her here. It’s my party and I wanted my friends, not Roxie,” replied Poppy with conviction.

“But why? What’s wrong with Roxie?” I stammer.

It is like a tennis match, all heads go from facing me to facing Poppy and back again. Silence fell in between, even breathing could barely be heard. Bella is grinning as she looks my way, this secret she is obviously a part of.

Jo and Sam seem genuinely shocked, but relieved that they are not in my shoes. Sam has her hands covering her mouth, eyes peering over her glasses, unable to participate in the conversation.

“Well for starters she looks like a boy, acts like a boys and even smells like a boy,” laughs Poppy, proud at her insulting jokes.

Bella joins in with the laughing, supporting her friend all the way to the end.

“That’s not very nice,” says Jo, stunned by Poppy’s vicious words.

“Well she is boring,” snaps Poppy, annoyed with Jo. “She, she never wants to talk about the things we like, so I don’t want that kind of person here. I only hang around her because I like you Alexx but I am definitely not having her at my house.”

“I never knew,” I say quietly, reality hitting me like being hit in the head with a brick, it hurt.

“Now you do, the others put up with her too, just for you Alexx. We really like you, your one of my best friends but Roxie, well she is like a little girl. She can be such a sook sometimes, like a baby,” says Poppy, the tone in voice changing.

“I can’t call Roxie and say that. It’s mean.”

“You have to Alexx, that is why the game is called truth or dare. You chose dare so you need to do whatever the dare is.”

“Yeah Poppy’s right,” adds Bella as she reaches for the phone, placing it in my hand. “You need to call her.”

Time is against me with no excuses left and no escape. Roxie is going to be crushed and I am going to crush her. If I call and tell Roxie the truth she will hate me and I would lose my best friend. I will hate myself, even more than I did when I decided to keep all my secrets from her.

I feel I have no one to turn to, no one who will support me with my secret. Roxie would have supported me if I had given her the opportunity. Roxie wouldn’t laugh at me, think less of me because my parents fought all the time. I was wrong not to trust her and show confidence in our friendship.

I need to make a decision on my friendships right here, right now. If I play along with the dare, breaking my friend’s heart, I will no longer have her in my life. Or I could be different, an outsider and say no to Poppy. Even the thought of saying no to Poppy is more scary than facing Mum when you have been caught telling a lie.

Succumbed by friendships, I am defeated. I can no longer fight, challenge the group by standing up to be different. The fight is over, and I have lost. I have never wanted this, never asked to be placed in this situation. But I realised that didn’t matter, it isn’t my choice to be placed in this situation. Now that I it is all down to my decision, the consequences would be entirely on my shoulders.

“Sure, I will call,” I say, an air of confidence pushing though the darkness that had engulfed me.

As I dial the number, all eyes are glued on me. Poppy’s with elation. Bella’s with satisfaction. Jo with disappointment. Sam with sadness. I am the centre of attention and even the birthday girl is happy to take a back seat for this memorable moment.

“Hi,” I say, my voice piercing the silence in the room. “I need to tell you something.”

The voice on the other end replies,’yes’.

“I need you to pick me up Mum. I want to come home.”


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year and the day itself is the best day of the year for me. For me Christmas has always been a time where everyone is always happier and families see each other more. Although I love getting presents, I know that’s not what it’s all about.

Around Christmas time, it seems to me as if all issues are less important and smiles take over everything else. I think it’s sad that some families either don’t catchup or refuse to talk to each other. Christmas should be spent with people you love as I believe that is the whole idea of the day.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope that you have a great day, I know I will.

Ciao Ash x

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Beautifully said Ash. Merry Christmas to all our family and friends.

This year we will spend the day celebrating with my husband’s family for lunch and special friends for dinner. My family celebrated 2 weeks ago as we will all be separated this year.

Christmas is all about being with those special in your life. This is horrible to say but I don’t like the year as much when lunch is not with my family. I love my husband’s family but lunch with mine is always more fun.

The traditions I grew up with I have tried to install into my kids lives. The presents are all wrapped, sitting in piles awaiting their excited faces. The stockings are Dad’s socks, stuffed with chocolates (yes they are clean). We put out a little food and drink for Santa and Reindeer. It’s very special and important to me and I want my children to always have positive memories of this wonderful time.

Love to everyone.

cheers natalie


Book Review – Divergent by Veronica Roth

I am constantly amazed at how much Ashlea and I have in common. She has been bugging me to read the ‘Divergent” series by Veronica Roth as she said I would love, love, love it. So I picked up the first book and WOW – yes I love it so much I have just completed the second book – “Insurgent”, and will begin on the final tomorrow. 

Divergent is set in a time when people were segregated into factions – 5 factions in total. Each faction is ruled by what they value most:

Abnegation – values selflessness

Amity – Peace

Candor – honesty

Erudite – knowledge

Dauntless – bravery

The main character Beatrice (or Tris ) is tested to see which faction she should spend her adult years growing with but Beatrice’s test result are inconclusive as she holds 3 out of the 5 factions values. Tris is known as a Divergent. The novel follows the life of Tris as she moves from Abnegation to Dauntless, all her ups and downs and introduces a love by the name of ‘Four’. 

Veronica Roth has managed to capture the reader into this unusual world with very believable storyline. She draws you in, making you relate to each character – whether it be love or loath them, and she makes it difficult to put the book down. Divergent won the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2011 and well deserved. 

If I had to compare the ‘Divergent’ series to others on the market, I would say it has a similar flow to ‘The Hunger Games’ books. 

Loved it Ash, thanks for introducing me to another series I am hooked on. 

cheers natalie 



Divergent by Veronica Roth is the first instalment of a three piece series. In Divergent we follow the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she moves throughout the Divergent world. In Divergent there are two main characters, Tris and Tobias “Four” Eaton, as well as several really important secondary characters. 

Divergent is a young adult fiction novel that can be linked to the likes of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner trilogies, two series I highly recommend. As the book has a high level of violence and in some instances, states that violence is necessary, I would definitely advise to keep it away from younger children. 

Veronica Roth is an extremely talented author who has the ability to really play on your emotions thought the entire novel. She has a way to bring characters and a brand new world to life plus get you overly attached to them.  Veronica made me feel as if I was living though the life of the factions with Tris and Four.

In Divergent we witness various different things such as romance, betrayal and violence. The violence comes into play during numerous training scenes and battles but is not portrayed too graphically so it is alright for teenagers. Veronica is great at writing non stereotypical situations and characters so Divergent flows together perfectly with a big difference to other novels. 

As Mum said, I recommended Divergent to her as I had loved the book when I read it. Divergent is a book that is great for people of near all ages, from teen years onwards. Divergent is a great mix of romance, war and fantasy that is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to watch it on the big screen in March next year. 

see ya Ashlea xxx

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Life is like a giant storybook…

Life is like a giant storybook…


Guest Post: Kristina Cerise: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Keeping things simple this time of year saves time, money and energy.. relieve the stress…

4 Mothers

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

If it ain’t cookie dough, it doesn’t need a cookie cutter.

SIMPLE: not hard to do; having few parts; not complex; not fancy; not special

Can we agree that motherhood has gotten complicated?

When I was a kid, cookie cutters were used for exactly one thing: cookies.  Now, Pinterest tells me seasonally appropriate cookie cutters should be an integral part of everyday lunch packing.  You know, because kids feel more loved when their carrots look like pandas.

As a child, I thought it was indulgent when a friend’s mom offered to cut the crust off my sandwich.  Now, there are sandwich cutters that not only remove the crust but transform humble PBJ into two long neck dinosaurs.

Speaking of long necks, when did we get so many types of dinosaurs?  When I was a kid, there were five:  T-rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and…

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“Keeping Secrets – Ch.12 – Pain pain go away (2nd Storyline)

Pain pain go away….

“See you tomorrow Alexx,” says Bella, skipping as she leaves the school ground, heading for home to enjoy the weekend’s slumber party.

“See you Bella,” I reply, waving slowly concentrating on whether Roxie is close enough to hear the conversation.

The day has almost arrived. I only have to survive the walk home and then I can avoid Roxie for the remainder of the weekend. Every time Roxie and I are alone, there is a constant reminder that she isn’t sharing in this part of my life. We are all friends but with the obvious exclusion of Roxie I am one of them and Roxie isn’t.

I am fooling myself to believe this friendship is real, that we are all friends and that Poppy’s Mum did set the rules for the party. We are keeping this secret from Roxie to protect her from getting hurt. I want so much to believe this story but too much of this story is hard believe.

Roxie often says she isn’t really part of the group. The girls accept her most of the time and that’s only because of our friendship. This creates mixed emotions for me, both of excitement to be liked by friends so much and horror that friends could actually treat people with such contempt.

I try to decide whether to leave the school now while Roxie is nowhere to be seen, making an excuse I thought she must have already left, or behave as I if there is no conspiracy and wait by the gates as we always do.

Before I get a chance to make the decision, it is made for me when Roxie comes running out of the toilet block, heading towards me. She seems a little pale, her eyes narrow and confused, as if she has something on her mind.

“Hey, Roxie, Are you alright?”

Roxie hesitates. Maybe she is sick and can’t find the energy to speak. Some times being sick is a good thing. You get to stay in bed all day, reading books, listening to music, watching movies and eating junk. Mum never lets me stay home unless she thinks I am about to die and even then she will hesitate.

“Yeah, I’m alright, just the umm, toilets, they stink.”

“I know what you mean. I went in there when lunch ended and I thought someone had died, it’s foul,” I reply, relieved the conversation is about anything but the weekend.

“Well you would have thought boys had been in there the way it stinks. It’s just gross.”

“Yeah gross.”

“Super gross,” laughs Roxie.

As we head home, walking in silence, my head concentrates intensely on each step. With each step I am closer to home and further from sharing the secret.

“Alexx, I think something is going on with Poppy,” says Roxie disrupting my concentration. “I over heard some girls talking in the toilets before.”

Oh no, I have been caught, it is all about to unfold. Roxie knows and she is about to put me right in the centre of it.

“Huh,” is the extent of my vocal intelligence.

“When I was in the toilet before, I heard some girls saying they wished they were invited to Poppy’s slumber party and how cool it would be and stuff.”

“Ohh, not really sure, maybe Bella is sleeping over and you know how Bella can be, talk,talk,talk,” I respond so quickly I am unsure if any of it even made any sort of sense.

It feels like Roxie is looking right through me, deep into my soul. I try to blank out any thoughts I have on the party just in case she can actually read my mind.

Shrugging her shoulders, happy with my response, not concerned about Poppy and whether she is part of her social life, Roxie says, “Yeah, maybe she is just having Bella to sleep and people think it is some big party.”

As my house comes into view, each step taking me closer to the beginning of the end of this secret, I feel as though I am doing something against the law. Immense guilt floods over me, surging through my veins. The guilt pounds into my stomach like I have been punched in the belly, making me bend over in agony.

Not realising the two could possibly be related in any way, my immediate thought is that I am coming down with something. I am going to sick like I have wished for sometimes, but not on the weekend and not when I have a slumber party to attend.

“What’s wrong Alexx?” asks Roxie, with a concerned look ready to run for help.

“I don’t know, I have pains in my stomach,” I say still bending over breathing heavily to stop the sensation of vomiting.

“Do you want me to grab your Mum?”

“No, no, just wait. I’ll wait to see if it goes away,” I reply hastily, not wanting mum involved.

If Mum becomes involved then that will be the end of my weekend and that is not an option. I am going to this party even if I am really sick. I no longer care about anything  else but going to this slumber party.

“Alexx are these the same pains you get when your parents fight?” asks Roxie curiously.

“Not sure,” I manage to say.

“They seem the same. Is every thing okay at home?”

I nod, now panting a little heavier.

“If you want you can stay at my house this weekend, to get away from your parents. I will ask Mum. She won’t mind.”

With the pain still surging through me, the blood pumping hard in my head is causing a headache. Roxie has asked me over for the weekend. Normally I would love to so I can get away from the arguing or the twins. I don’t need to run away from home this time, I need to run away from Roxie. For a moment I contemplate telling Roxie about the party. A good friend would do that.

If Roxie knows then I won’t be able to go and I desperately want to go. This party is so important on the ‘social calendar’ for the year. The most popular girl is having me at her party, it would be wrong to not accept the invitation.

I am certain, well almost certain that if the roles were reversed that Roxie would go and not tell me. She knows I would understand that this is a life changing party, one not to be missed. If I understood then so too would Roxie.

“Thanks Roxie but things at home haven’t been too bad lately,” I lie.

“Oh that’s really good,” replies Roxie, genuinely elated by the news. “Did you say something to your Mum like we discussed.”

Once again I nod, feeling like a trap door will open up and swallow me into its darkness full of lies. The words continue to flow from within me, the lies, the untruths. It is never ending the amount of lies one person can tell.

With lies come secrets and with the secrets come the pains. The connection between the two I have denied, not wanting to believe the two are related, but standing outside my house with my body fighting me, my mind screaming at me and my friend consoling me, the two clearly go together like cheese and crackers.

Lying to people is not a natural behaviour of mine. Some people lie easily, the stories becoming more elaborate with each telling. I use to be afraid to lie, especially to Mum and Dad.

I remember Mum pulling me aside, talking in a soft convincing voice that if I was asked about my age, I had to say I was only 4 years old. The movies are free for kids under 5 years old but this information is something I didn’t quite understand at the time. I had only just turned five and I was extremely proud of being so old.

I wasn’t questioned on my age. No one even looked down at me or the twins who were strapped in the stroller. I remember being nervous, believing my parents would get in trouble with the police for telling a lie. I didn’t want them to be taken away to jail. I didn’t know how to look after the twins. I didn’t WANT to look after the twins.

As we walked into the movie theatre, I burst into tears, shaking all over. Dad picked me up in his strong, comforting arms to console me, confused with my reaction to a movie that hadn’t begun showing yet. I spent the entire movie huddled on Dad’s lap, not letting him out of my site for fear the police would be taking him away for lying.

The fear this instilled in me never really left but now I didn’t have the comfort of Dad’s lap. I am too old for that and I know I have to own the decisions I make, but the fear remains deep inside, the fear develops into a darkness that intensifies with each lie, each deceit.

“I gotta go,” I shout as I run towards my house leaving Roxie stunned.

“What about staying over,” I hear Roxie screaming back but I pretend not to hear her, waving my hand to hide my true feelings.



Sibling Rivalry – is it healthy?

Sibling rivalry is definitely real amongst my siblings and I. We fight, we argue, we disagree just like any other family does. We constantly go on about who is the ‘golden child’ {as we all know it is me} but we can never seem to agree on who it is as we all believe that it is us.

We each claim that Mum or Dad have told us that we are their favourite despite their protests that they have none. I think sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up. If kids didn’t compete for their parents attention then they wouldn’t be real siblings.

Fighting to be the best and always striving to out do one another is what makes sibling rivalry something that completes every family. Although my brothers, sister and I are constantly arguing and attempting to decide who is the ‘golden child’, I know that it is all in jest. Amongst my siblings, I can tell that we are close, no matter how much we argue.

By looking at how my parents interact with their siblings I know that sibling rivalry fades over time. Watching my parents has taught me that your siblings may just be your best friends so we may as well get used to each other.

In one night we can go from being the best of friends to people who despise each other’s existence within seconds. Sibling rivalry can turn on and off within seconds but in the end we have always made up and become friends again. My brothers and sister are some of my closest friends and I know they always will be.

See ya Ashlea xx


It is true that arguments and fighting with siblings does decrease as you mature. However, it still exists and sometimes I think it is healthy.

Recently I had an argument (quite heated at the time) with my only brother. Things were said in the heat of the moment that we may not have meant. A few days later when my brother called me he said “I don’t want this to ruin the great friendship we have.” And that is true. We have a wonderful friendship – not only between the siblings but also everyone’s partners.

The closeness I have to my siblings means sometimes we think we know what is best for them. So we go in to bat for them, trying to sort out an issue that they may not actually want sorted out. We are very similar in likes/dislikes but we are also very different in many ways. We each have different partners which alter the dynamics (in a good way). We all have children but our parenting differs. We share similar values and morals but there are also aspects of what we believe in which differ greatly.

Sibling rivalry doesn’t exist as it use to when we were children. Healthy discussions and disagreements are what result in a family understanding more about each other and keeping the relationships real. I love my brother and sisters and hope my children grow up to have their siblings as BEST FRIENDS like I do.

cheers natalie xxx



“Keeping Secrets – Ch.11 – Darkness (2nd storyline)


The heat is beading onto my tanned golden skin, warming each part of my body from the inside out. The soft sand sifts through my fingers, each grain falling delicately to the ground below. My eyes are closed, my thoughts are empty as my head rests sleepily on a towel, every muscle relaxed. The calmness of the waves, trickling up to the shore then back out to sea, a continuous act of nature seeping into my conscious thoughts.

Summer time is my favourite time of the year. Swimming all day, playing outside in the warmth, staying up late as the sun wants to stay out and play too. Roxie runs towards me, water dripping off her shoulder length hair making her look older and more mature than anyone our age.

I begin to laugh at the sight of her bathers, olive green board shorts with a yellow rash top entirely covered in white skull heads. As I continue to giggle, her elated expression leaves turning into anger.

A heavy dark cloud moves swiftly overhead, covering the beautiful sunlight, taking the warmth and replacing it with a terrifying chill.

Her face reddens, her eyes turn black like she is possessed by a devil like creature. She speaks only it isn’t her voice. It is the voice of hatred threatening me, scaring me by their words. I try leaping from my towel to run away from her, run from the darkness. I can’t move, my body is locked to the ground, trapping me in a helpless position.

Scream, let me scream. My voice won’t let me scream. The more I try to move the more the sand captures me, pulling me deeper down.

“Arrhhh,” I scream, as I wake from my nightmare.

My voice wavers, my hands shake, still picturing Roxie’s evil face. I am awake and safe in my sanctuary, my bedroom with my possessions and my voice. My body is soaked from the nightmare, still shaking from what it has experienced. The coolness of the night air surrounding my soaking skin makes me shiver uncontrollably.

The darkness has followed me into my dreams. As I lay awake regaining the knowledge that it is only a dream, I begin to wish this party never existed. It is haunting me, during the day I feel the anger, the darkness surround my every move and now at night, while my body relaxes, the darkness haunts me.



“Keeping Secrets” – Ch.10 – Growing Apart (2nd storyline)

Growing Apart….

“Come on girls, hurry up or we’ll be late,” screams Mum down the hallway.

Searching my room for the perfect accessory, my beautiful shoulder handbag with black and white prints scattered all over, lined in a vibrant red. It will go perfectly with my new stretch blotched leggings, red skivvy and dark grey waist length jacket. The reflection I see in the mirror conflicted to how I was feeling.

Poppy’s slumber party next weekend is playing on my mind constantly. It has been three days of keeping the secret, but this time from only one person, Roxie. She has no idea there is so much excitement building behind her back. Every time I look around at school, I see my friends congregating, whispering, and laughing in preparation of the party.

Sometimes I wonder if Roxie knows exactly what is happening. It seems so obvious to me but whenever there are secret whispers of ‘slumber party talk, Roxie appears unaware or frankly, just unconcerned. Her expression never alters, her demeanor never waivers, she is like a statue, permanent, constant.

On the other hand, it is beginning to bother me. I am missing out on everything because I need to keep Roxie away while the party whispers occur. The lunchtime gossip about the party, all the plans, games and exciting events is what I am missing out on. Talk of what movies we would watch, what PJ’s to wear, colour coordinating everything, and I know nothing.

Nothing, I’m not part of anything to do with a party I am invited to. Poppy looks my way most of the time, trying to let me know I am included, but she also makes it perfectly clear that Roxie isn’t and as Roxie is my best friend, I simply have to wait for the fun to begin.

As much as it feels wrong that Roxie is being left out, I remind myself that it isn’t my party or my decision about who to ask. It is Poppy’s and if Poppy doesn’t want Roxie there for some reason, well that is her choice.

As the weekend of the slumber approaches and the excitement grows amongst most of my friends, an unusual darkness develops inside of me. The darkness began like a tiny seed, small and insignificant, causing no damage and interfering with no one else but me. I initially ignored it, putting the dark thoughts to the back of my mind, hidden from the world.

Each day the seed grows, more and more rapidly, with such desperation that before I can control it, the seed is like a gigantic tree with over growing roots and branches until nothing but darkness can be seen.

Throwing my school bag heavily against the wall, storming into the kitchen, I rip open the fridge door staring at its contents. School sucks at the moment, my friends suck at the moment and now the fridge sucks too, absolutely nothing to eat. There is never anything to eat in this house.

“Hey Alexx, don’t throw your bag against the wall like that,” says Mum in a stern voice, not even bothering to look up from the newspaper while she sits at the bench.

“There’s nothing to eat as usual,” I reply angrily.

“What would you like?” Mum says calmly, clearly she’s noticed my behaviour worsen as the week progressed.

“I don’t know, maybe food, I’m hungry,” I lie.

Actually I wasn’t hungry at all, I just want to eat something to attempt to fill the dark hole growing inside.

“If you want I can make some pancakes,” offers Mum, remaining seated but giving me full attention.

“Yeah, sure,” I say, still holding the fridge door, not wanting to move.

As Mum moves, around the kitchen, dodging in and out of cupboards collecting all she needs for pancakes, the silence is grows. I have barely said a word to anyone all week, especially Mum and she doesn’t even seem to care. Mum is far too busy fighting with Dad, all the time and now I can’t even talk to Roxie about it.

Every time I need to call Roxie to vent about Mum and Dad, I have to hold back. It will be too challenging not to say anything about the slumber and this is a secret I am determined not to share. The party is the only good thing I have at the moment. I want to cherish this party more than ever.

When Roxie called last night I didn’t know how to talk to her. I couldn’t talk to her. She is still my best friend but I have to push her away until the party is over. If I did that I can go to Poppy’s, have an unreal time with the girls and then next week I will make it up to Roxie. I promise myself I will be extra nice next week, maybe have her over to sleep, just the two of us.

“Are you fighting with Roxie?” Mum asks, as she busied herself with making pancakes.

“No, why?”

“You have been in a mood all week and I thought maybe the two of you are fighting.”

“We’re not fighting, I just can’t be bothered talking to her at the moment.”

“Alexx, that’s not nice,” replies Mum, obviously shocked by my response. ‘That is not how we treat people, especially your friends.”

“I am not treating her any way, I just don’t feel like talking. That’s all.”

“With friends like you Alexx, who needs enemies,” Mum mumbles, shaking her head in disappointment.

Who needs enemies? I don’t need enemies but I seem to have them. Mum has been my enemy so much lately, including now. Dad never sticks up for himself so he is just like my enemy, he doesn’t understand how much he is hurting me. Roxie is a definite enemy, she is the reason I am unable to join in with everyone and have fun. All I want is to be part of the group, part of the fun.

“Do you want to help me or stand at the fridge all day?” asks Mum.

“Neither, I will sit and wait. I am obviously in the way,” I snap back.

“Now listen to me Alexx,” Mum says, banging the spoon on the bench, her voice rising in anger. “You have been in a mood all week and I’m not sure why, but if you don’t want to talk about it then I can’t help.”

‘Sorry,” I whisper, barely audible but just loud enough so Mum will think I meant it.

“Is there something you want to talk about?”

I shake my head.

“Alexx, I was your age not that long ago. I may not be able to sort it out but I can listen and try to help, but you have to let me in darling.’ Mum continues, her voice relaxing back to its normal tempo.

I shake my head again, not able to look at Mum this time. The darkness has affected my mind too deeply, it has taken control and I wasn’t capable of talking about it. I know Mum wanted to help, maybe she would even come up with some suggestions, but the opportunity to let her in is almost over and I still don’t know how to control the darkness.







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