Proud Moment….

Proud Moment….

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Who cleans in your house?

Cleaning the house for my family of 6 (Hubby, 2 teenage girls and 2 younger boys) always begins with an argument. My attitude is ‘I am not the only one who lives in this house, so we all clean it.’

I am not a clean freak (I have friends who definitely fall under this category), but I do like a tidy house. We only clean it once a week and with 6 in the house, it should take us no longer than 30 minutes if everyone pitches in (I am often still cleaning an hour later).

Ashlea just sighs and gets on with her allocated cleaning job. She is smart enough to know that no matter what she says, it will fall on deaf ears.

My second daughter (unhappily, mumbling under her breath) begins and completes her task, a smile never entering her face. Even though cleaning the house is a weekly ritual, she still appears shocked when I announce it is time to clean.

My eldest son tries to persuade me every week to do the work later (only later never comes), to which I ignore his request and tell him to put his earphones in, listen to his music and begin vacuuming the floor.

Whilst my youngest child (a very lazy but cute boy), fluffs around, avoiding the work with every trick in the book – toilet stops or drink breaks or cuddling the dog. Even when he does FINALLY complete his task, it looks no different to when he began.

My husband hates house cleaning (whilst I obviously LOVE it) as he often seems to get out of the weekly ritual. Yes he will mow the lawns (typical male role) and take out the bins (another typical male job). However, when it comes to vacuuming and mopping floors or cleaning toilets (I am certain we all use this one, some are a lot messier than others – BOYS), he will do everything in his power to avoid it.

Eventually when the work is complete, and the house is sparkling, I am happy and the kids feel a little sense of pride at their achievement. Or maybe the kids are just relieved they have another week before we go through the same arguments and the same routine….

cheers natalie

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There are days …

There are days when nothing goes right… this is one of them…

Nothing better than your sister

Nothing better than your sister

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http://www.PreciousMemoriesByNatalie.com.au

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is probably the most real issue in my life at the moment. I personally have never been cyber bullied but I have close friends who have. Cyber bullying is basically when someone uses the internet to bully someone. I think it is the most cruel form of bullying because not only is it cowardly, it never truly goes away. Anything that is online is around forever and can be accessed by anybody.

I think that we don’t get educated properly in schools about cyber bullying. We get told what can happen and we all know just how serious it can be but I know that I never really took it seriously until I saw first hand just how real cyber bullying is. I think that teenagers aren’t properly made to understand that it can and does happen to anyone. I felt as if I wasn’t nearly as informed about the realities of cyber bullying as I should have been.

When we are being taught about cyber bullying, I think that we should see more real stories about people who have been affected from all different types of cyber bullying. Teenagers need to see that cyber bullying comes in many different forms not just teasing and hurtful messages. Bullying can also be spreading rumours or doing anything that is purposely meant to hurt the other person involved. People need to know that anything that they find hurtful online IS classified as cyber bullying.

As much as it’s a bore to listen to the lectures on online safety, they are totally important. There are so many situations where people don’t feel safe online which then leads to them not feeling safe in other areas of their life. Almost losing a friend to cyber bullying has opened my eyes to the dark side of the internet and although that hasn’t limited the amount of time I send online, it has made me wary of people on the internet.

Thanks Ash xxx

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WOW Ashlea, what profound words. Hearing this directly from the people adults are trying to teach is amazing. Are we not informing our children of the real dangers of cyber bullying?

As I sit here at my mac and type away, I can be anyone I want to be. If I am in a bad mood, I can vent my anger to the world via the blog. If someone has annoyed me, I can tell the world via either of my websites and show the world just how ripped off I feel. I can pretend to be a princess, flirtatious, bold, confident – in fact I can be anything I choose. It is easy to pretend when it is only my and my computer.

Ashlea’s generation has grown up with computers as another appendage, a natural extension of themselves. Deciding what is real online and what may be potentially harmful is not easy, especially if all you have ever known is life with the internet.

Let’s teach our children better social etiquette, both online and in person. If you would not say it to the persons face, one on one, then you do not say it online for everyone to read. It is a cowardice act and one that should be tolerated. Our children are too precious.

cheers natalie xxx

Short Story Competition

Selfish Hunger

 

‘Dear Mum,

You don’t understand me. You have never understood me. I try so hard to be the perfect child and I’m good at it. But you just don’t see me. Whenever Sarah does anything, and I mean anything, you comment, you praise her. I hate Sarah sometimes and that’s your fault too.

I tried running away last time but that didn’t work. So this time I am going all the way. Life is just too hard and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore. I know you won’t really care cause you will still have Sarah.

Bye Mum,

From your ‘not favourite daughter’ Amber.’

 

It’s time. I have had this letter hidden in my school diary for two weeks, afraid to finally accept my defeat. I can’t understand why the person who is supposed to be closest to me is so blind to my pain. She is too busy with her own life to even care about mine. I can’t keep going like this, I won’t keep going. It’s ruining my life.

The first time is hardest. I’m a straight-A student. I am pretty-ish. I have blonde long hair. I think I’m a good friend, maybe a little bossy at times, but overall fun to be around. If I’m honest, I am not fat but maybe a couple of kilos over weight. In general terms, I’m OK.

Sarah is my older sister, by only 15 months but she is perfect – if there is such a thing. She is taller than me. She is prettier than me, even when she wears her cool pink glasses. I would be smarter but no one thinks that is very special. And one thing that is for sure, she is skinnier than me. Mum thinks she is perfect and makes it obvious that she loves her the most. Why am I so hard to love?

It all began a few months ago. School was over and I had walked home on my own as my best friend and I were fighting. It was the worse fight ever and I wanted to run away and hide. I needed something, anything to make me feel better. The bright lights of the supermarket shocked me back to reality, not recalling entering the store in the first place. Unsure why I was here, I wondered up and down the aisles, oblivious to everything around me.

It wasn’t until I stood in the freezer section and spotted the frozen donuts did I know what I wanted to do. My heart began racing as saliva spurted into my mouth, making the desire more intense. This would make me feel important, feel special, so I took the donuts from the freezer, eyes darting around me, while placing them in my school bag. The adrenaline pulsated through my body as I swiftly made my exit from the store without suspicion. I did it. I took my first step to freedom.

I inhaled the four donuts before I had reached my front door. Still on a high from stealing, the concealed wound inside me had temporarily been filled. As I walked past the mirror in my bedroom, the disgust, the hatred began bubbling to the surface. I was pathetic. I was fat. I was nothing.

I needed the donuts to escape my body as I ran to the toilet. I needed this pain to go away as it was pulling me down, trying to pull me under. With my head in the toilet bowl, I retched. Nothing. Again I retched, the noise echoing through the little room. Nothing. Get out of my body I thought. Again and again I tried, perspiration accumulating under my armpits and my eyes immersed in liquid.

I couldn’t even get this right. I left the toilet and returned with a pencil. I shoved the pencil deep into my throat, scratching the lining but penetrating deep enough to cause the reaction necessary. Again and again I injected the pencil deep into my throat until the contents of my stomach was empty. Slumping to the floor, an overwhelming sense of perfection came over me. It was like I had elevated to a higher status in society, I was actually someone. Sheer exhaustion took over my body as I lied on my bed, slumber pulling me in.

The first time hurt the most but I have never looked back. The euphoric feeling I get from each session, allows me to get through days when life is just too hard. I feel prettier, I feel skinnier. I feel like I am finally someone of importance.

I’d like to think I am now an expert at throwing up quietly. I no longer need a pencil to get deep into my throat – that is only for beginners. I know precisely where to place my fingers so my body can react accordingly. I am proud of this fact.

It never occurred to me that what I was doing was wrong or even harmful to my body. It never occurred to me that there was even a name to what I was doing. I gorged myself to fill a void, an emptiness that began as hunger pains but grew into obsessive cravings. This would invade my body, penetrating my mind until I could no longer focus on anything else. Then I simply fixed the problem.

But the disgust that follows from these sessions and the self-loathing feels like a knife is cutting into me. My body goes into auto mode. It knows what has to be done so the hatred can be eliminated and the euphoric feeling of thinnest takes its place. This is my drug of choice. This is where my rush occurs. This is when I know I am someone special, someone who is lovable and someone who has earned their place in society.

I didn’t do this everyday, but almost. The high I gained from each session started to last for less and less time. I made excuses to myself about why I was doing it – ‘My friends do like me’ or ‘Mum doesn’t care anyway’ or ‘If I was just a little bit skinnier I would be more popular’. Each time I would think of a different reason as to why I was doing what I was doing.

My weight didn’t change though. I wasn’t getting skinnier as I had hoped. I wasn’t getting that gaunt look on my face that I desired. From the outside nothing was changing. I woke up every morning and looked at myself in the mirror but all I saw was a predictable girl. I dressed the same, looked the same and in front of everyone, I ate the same.

 

From the inside everything was being torn apart. I was sending my body on a roller coaster of highs and lows in such extremes that I was exhausted. The internal torment was my ally and it was the only thing in my life that I could rely on.

I have tried to stop. It wasn’t because I was thinking about the damage I was doing to my body. It wasn’t because of the damage I was doing to my life. It was because no one had noticed how much I had changed; even though I thought I had.

It was a normal day at school. Sitting in the class having a joke with my best friend, I actually felt happy. The teacher had her back to the room as she wrote the lessons workload on the blackboard, white dust from the chalk falling to the ground. Kids were talking, mostly amongst themselves as we waited for instructions. I had my best friends full attention, something that didn’t always happen. We were laughing about what one of the cool boys said to us before school.

As the noise took over the classroom, the teacher appeared oblivious to the rising volume; I began to take in my surroundings. Here I was in a room full of kids that categorised me in the popular group. I had a best friend who made feel special (most of the time). I had a boyfriend who put me on a pedestal (most of the time). What was I chasing? I was so desperate to change, to be something other than myself that I never stopped to look at what I had already.

I was tired of my internal hostility. I was beginning to feel desperate to share my secret with someone. The thought of verbalising what I was doing was embarrassing. It struck to me that I was not normal. If what I was doing was normal then I should have told me best friend a long time ago. But I knew she would not understand. How could I make her understand that I needed this to make me feel superior and important?

Looking around the room, I wondered if anyone else was like me. All the different faces, different personalities mixing together, surely there was at least one other person who thought the way I thought.

Trent, with his surfy blonde hair and gorgeous blue eyes, never had a care in the world. He played football at lunchtime with his friends; had the coolest parents ever; and had a girlfriend (me) who would do anything for him. There was no way Trent would ever do anything to harm his body. I could never tell him as he would definitely dump me.

Eliza, with her skinny legs and big boobs, never had to worry about being a strong and independent woman. Everyone wanted to be her friend, always being picked first in any activities at school. Other girls wanted to be her friend, wishing she chose them to be best friend but I was lucky, as she chose me. I realised if I told her she would lose respect for me and pick another skinnier, prettier girl to be her best friend.

Mandy, with her perfect facial features and bubbly personality, she was someone you either loved or hated. She was my friend and most of the time I loved her, even when she was annoyingly perfect. Telling her about my inner demons was an absolute no no. She would cringe and exclude me from her inner circle immediately.

So it was just my inner thoughts and me. I was the only person at school, or at least in my grade, that felt so inferior to everyone else. I was surrounded by people who knew themselves well enough and were confident in their own skin. I squirmed at the thought of my own skin, hiding the truth from everyone I knew.

I tried to not compare my life to those around me but it was difficult. Everyone seemed to have life sorted out, whereas I was struggling understanding where I actually fit in. I knew I needed to stay thin to stay in the popular crowd. I knew I needed to be happy to be popular. I knew I needed to have no major issues to keep my boyfriend. These things were facts. Trying to keep all these things together at the one time is what was bringing me down.

So I gave up purging and throwing up. And for a while I felt better within myself. I didn’t get thinner but I also didn’t gain any weight, so a tick to the first fact. I felt happier when I woke every morning, like the major stress in my life had been taken away and I was behaving like a carefree child again. Fact two now also had a tick. Finally, without any major hang-ups in my life to keep secret from my boyfriend, he had no reason to want to leave me. The final fact was ticked off.

However, one day I woke up and the sun wasn’t shinning as much as it use to. Getting out of bed wasn’t something I wanted to do. I wanted to avoid school, avoid my best friend and especially avoid my boyfriend.

The day before was a normal day at school, a quick kiss with Trent before the first bell went, a giggle with Eliza on the way to class and a bitch about one of the girls who always wanted to steal our boyfriends. At recess we all hung out down the far end of the oval to repeat the mornings ritual of kissing, giggling and bitching. A perfect day at school.

When the topic of food came up, I kept my mouth shut. I hated to talk about food. I hated to eat food in front of people just in case they thought I was too fat and shouldn’t be eating what I was eating. When Trent said he hated eating fruit but was glad I ate lots of fruit, I didn’t know what he meant. When Eliza asked the question I was thinking, Trent had replied in a joking manner he didn’t want a fat girlfriend. The entire group laughed at his joke. I just sat there.

The little confidence I had started to build inside crumbled with a few little words. No matter how hard I tried, I was never going to really fit in with my friends. With a small smile on my face, I tried to join in on the joke but internally I was screaming. All I wanted to do was run from the circle and never return.

That afternoon when I got home, I ate an entire packet of barbeque shape biscuits, barely stopping to chew properly as the jaggered edges ripped my throat on the way down. When the packet was finished, I reached for a choc chip muesli bar – gone. Next I opened the tin of milo, eating spoonful after spoonful until most of the tin had disappeared.

This is the feeling I remember, the feeling of disgust, of patheticness. It was time to hurt myself once again. I deserved it. As I closed the door to the toilet, I realised I missed the high I got after each session. I missed feeling important and I missed feeling like this made me better than those around me.

With my fingers down my throat, retching only once, I began releasing my internal emotions. Every time my fingers went back for more, I could feel my body getting lighter and my mood euphoric. I was back to where I belonged. I was home again. Ten minutes later, I was in bed and asleep, exhaustion over ruling my body.

When the sun rose the following day and it was not as bright, I knew I was heading into a form of depression. I had been trying to avoid this for over a year but I wasn’t strong enough. It only took a few joking words from someone I cared about to drag be back into my own selfish world. I had returned but this time I didn’t want to leave.

The house was quiet as I wrote a letter to Mum. It was only my thoughts that I could hear. I couldn’t spend the rest of my life in this state. It wasn’t fair on my best friend, it wasn’t fair on my boyfriend and it wasn’t fair on my mum. As I finished the letter, sealing it up in an envelope, it dawned on me that it also wasn’t fair on ME.

 

 

 

 

 

Selfie of kindness

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Movie Review – The Fault in our Stars

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The Fault In Our Stars movie was absolutely amazing. It may have been the most heartbreaking movie I have ever seen but that didn’t make me love it less than I thought I would, in fact, I think it made me love it more. The movie was such a close adaptation from the best selling book that it was bound to be a hit amongst everyone. Even though the book was a great read, I was a bit dubious over how well it would work as a movie. I was worried over nothing though since the movie was perfect.

I don’t think I could have asked for anything else for the film. The acting was superb. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort did such a fantastic job at bringing Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters to life. All throughout the movie, I couldn’t fault the acting once. As well as Shailene and Ansel, the entire cast brought the book to life so spectacularly. Whoever did the casting of the film was so in touch with the characters and their personalities, just like the author John Green.

My favourite part of the entire movie was the ending. My least favourite part of the movie was the ending. This was the saddest yet perfect ending I have ever watched. It was so beautiful and true to the book. I don’t think I have ever cried so much, like ever. I think that this movie is appropriate for most people. I would avoid taking young kids though because the cancer is very realistic and full on all throughout the movie.

If you are looking for a good cry then this is most definitely a movie for you to see. I would suggest that if you are planning to read the book, that you do so before you see the movie because it is so close to the book that it would spoil it for you. The movie is going to be a massive hit so I would suggest seeing it. I’ve already seen it twice and I’m seeing it again soon and I don’t think I will ever tire of it.

💕ash

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The fault in our starts by John Green was an emotionally exhausting movie. It pulled at my heart strings from the opening scene, making me fall in love with the characters, joining in their emotional journey. It is one of those movies where you leave feeling drained, maybe a little flat but very thankful for everything you have in your life.

16-year-old Hazel and 18-year-old Augustus meet in a cancer support group. At the time of their meeting, Hazel’s cancer is active while Augustus is in remission. They form a friendship which quickly turns into a beautiful first time love affair, sharing in their quirky sense of humour, especially about the cancer cards they have been dealt. The story has them travel to Amsterdam and this is where their unforgettable love is concreted and damaged at the same time.

When I read the book, I cried from a 16 yr old perspective who was dying from cancer. Already an emotional topic. However, the movie enable me to feel the mother’s perspective in such an over powering way. While I cried for Hazel and Augustus, I also cried for their parents, which basically meant I cried throughout the movie, leaving the cinema without a tissue left in the packet.

As sad as this movie is, the story line in divine and the characters feel like a part of the family. I have never been to a movie where people were sobbing, not just crying, but sobbing (including Ashlea and her gorgeous girlfriend Tilly). Definitely worth seeing as long as you are ready to cry and to leave the cinema emotionally wreck.

cheers natalie

The Fault in our Stars – BOOK REVIEW

Ashlea and I reviewed this book 6 months ago. As the movie is released this week, enjoy our review once again….

The Fault In Our Stars. I don’t even know where to begin to explain how much I loved this novel. John Green, the author, really touched my heart, even made me cry with his book, something I rarely ever do. John has a way with words that can only be expressed as inspirational. He writes in a language where you really feel what the characters are feeling.

In this story, we follow Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters as they battle through cancer and young love. As an avid reader I would recommend the book to absolutely anyone. However, the themes and ideas of this book really limit me as to who I can tell about it. Although it is in the genre Young Adult Literature, I think that most adults would simply adore this novel.

The ideas in the book are a bit mature for younger readers but for people around my age {14} and above I think it is absolutely perfect. Despite my maturity and great ability to read heavy content, I still found The Fault In Our Stars a sad yet uplifting book.

As confusing as that sounds I felt both happy and sad after reading the book. I felt sad about all that had happened in between the covers but then, when it had finished, I felt oddly fulfilled and slightly happy that it had happened. It made me realise how precious life is and to live every moment to the full.

It is impossible to read The Fault In Our Stars and not come away with a new outlook on life and the people around you. I think that it is a marvellous book written brilliantly. John Green is a fantastic author and I can’t wait to read more of his work.

Ashlea xxx

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I had never heard of ‘The Fault in our Stars’ until Ashlea told me she had read a book and cried. Ashlea is fairly level headed and crying over literature is not something she does very often. When we discussed doing a book review for the blog, very excitedly Ashlea insisted it be on ‘The Fault in our Stars’.

The book was wonderful. It is an easy read , simple language but with serious and sometimes emotionally challenging themes. The two main characters Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are both battling different forms of cancer. The novel encapsulates their journey beautifully, staying as true to life with all the ups and downs everyday teenagers experience. It was easy to become emotionally invested in the main characters, finding it difficult at times to put the book down.

Hazel Grace has lung cancer and has spent her teenage years in and out of hospitals, eventually being home schooled. There were moments in the novel I could hear her struggling for breath, desperate to live a normal life even though there is a fault in her stars. Augustus (Gus) I fell in love with. He was divine, making me laugh, cry and want to be 16 years old again.

The novel is perfect for young adult readers but oldies like myself will also enjoy the experience of reading it too. 

Thanks Ashlea for picking a beautiful book for our first review. Loved it, loved it, loved it. 

cheers natalie

 

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