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Kangaroo Spotting

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kangaroo Spotting Has Moved!

You guys! I've taken a big techo-step forward and have moved the Blog. My new home is HERE.

All this back-end stuff is super confusing but my brain loves learning all this new STUFF.

Click Here to go to New Site

Make sure to update your bookmarks!

Join my mailing list if you want more updates and inspiration-----> Click Here.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PND, A Partner's Perspective

Sponsored by Bupa Australia.

My husband, Matthew is a problem solver. He is a project manager and is responsible for millions of dollars’ worth of contracts, hundreds of employees and working-around potentially expensive mistakes.

When Matt couldn’t fix my postnatal depression he felt helpless, not a familiar feeling for a bloke like him. Not only was I difficult to live with at the time but I was so absorbed in my own struggle that I was unable to see just how much my pain was tearing him up inside.

Women who experience postnatal depression (PND) need a lot of support, that’s a given. But I think we need to acknowledge what the partners go through as well. Dads and partners also live with the illness and can even experience PND themselves.

I spent most of my time and energy trying to look like a normal, joyful mother while out in public but when my husband walked through the door at night I had nothing left for him. I couldn’t even pretend. He always had me at my absolute worst.

I snapped easily, my mood swings were unpredictable, and usually because Matt was the person in my firing line he copped all of it. And the resentment- oh the resentment!

In the early days I was jealous of his hour commute and lunch breaks (when he actually had time to take them) because at least he got to be alone or speak to adults.

One morning as he was leaving for work, I was feeding our daughter while crying my eyes out. He offered to make me a cup of tea and even though I would have liked one, I said, “No! Just go ahead and leave, just leave us!”

What a horrible thing for him to hear as he was preparing for a stressful day of work. Even writing about that morning makes my eyes misty. The poor guy was simply trying to show me how much he cared.

Dads want to enjoy it too
I’m well aware of my privilege. I have a supportive husband with a great job, I live in a beautiful house and we are comfortable. That’s the thing about PND though, unfortunately, it does not discriminate.

Something I heard at a postnatal depression talk will stick with me forever because I felt like the woman was speaking about me.

“Sometimes the mums who appear to have it all together are the ones who are struggling the most.”

And though this is true, standing next to that mum is a partner who is also struggling.

We are a closer family thanks to The Parent & Baby Wellbeing Program
How can we better support partners of PND sufferers?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Going Public About Postnatal Depression

Sponsored by Bupa Australia

I have been writing about my experience with postnatal depression (PND) and anxiety since my daughter was five months old. Recently I was offered an opportunity to put my face to this illness in a very public way.

Sometimes when someone offers you an opportunity to ‘walk-the-walk’ it can be terrifying but without fear we cannot be brave.

My family and I appeared in a commercial for Bupa’s Parent and Baby Wellbeing Program which debuted nationally in Australia over a week ago. We are not aspiring actors, just real people sharing our story to help other families who may be going through something similar.

I’ve always tried to speak about my experience with PND openly with my friends and blog-readers but when Bupa contacted me to see if I would like to share my story on national TV I was nervous….but in a good way. Whenever I decide to push beyond the boundaries of my comfort-zone, it usually leads to unexpected growth. 

My gut told me told me to do the ad. I have been a Bupa customer since 2011 and I believed in the story they wanted to tell. I participated-in and loved the program they were promoting. The whole thing aligned with my core values. Best case scenario, more women would know about the program and it could help de-stigmatise post natal depression.

By saying yes to the ad, I could potentially reach more people than my blog or mouth ever could.

There are those who don’t believe in sharing such a personal journey and that’s okay too. I tried to picture what that criticism might look like. When I first started sharing stories on the blog I had family members question why I didn’t just write in a journal. They were trying to protect me but I was already hurting.

Back then, just like now, I wanted to go public. To connect to others. To hold myself accountable. To help change the world in my own, small way. 

I am confident in where I am and how I got there.

And you know what? Being open about my journey has led to richer, more grounded relationships, deeper friendships and I have become much more confident in myself. Finally, I am not worried what others think of me..

I have learned that post natal depression is so much more common than I ever imagined. Maybe women, like myself, didn’t know where to go to seek help. Even as a Bupa customer, I was unaware I had access to The Parent and Baby Wellbeing Program until I desperately needed it. 

So can I please ask you a favour?

Help me spread the word. Share this post with a pregnant friend, a mother, or a family that might need help or support. 

Let’s all be accountable for those villages that all parents and children need.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Makers Monthly: May

Can you seriously even believe it's May already? Not me.

I've been working on some incredible campaigns over the last few weeks which are close to my heart. They focus on new mothers and overcoming post natal depression. More news on that to come.

My artwork was one of the tools I used to help heal during my own struggle with PND and it's cousin, anxiety. Now I'm kind of on a mission to inspire other women to use creativity to empower and express themselves. 

I even just started a newsletter where I'll share the things that are currently inspiring me because I'm always searching (hoping to get it out monthly). If you want some creative inspo in your inbox you can sign up here.

Check out this video I participated in sponsored by Medela Australia. I also just wrote a post about how to raise and encourage children to continue their creativity into adulthood.

I'm not a tech-y person but I've been busy migrating my blog over to Wordpress- boy is it challenging and I hope to unveil the new design soon! I'm learning heaps but I wouldn't even ask myself for advice just yet. Thank goodness for Google.


Let's kick off this Months Creativity showcase!!

What have you been crafting lately? Share by clicking on the blue button below.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Raising Creative Kids

My daughter likes to make birthday cakes out of bubbles in the bathtub. She sings Happy Birthday and makes me blow out the 'candles.' 

Watching my daughter use her imagination amazes me. I didn't teach her how to do it, she just KNOWS.

Essential to development, creativity helps fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and cognitive thinking. 

For these reasons creative pursuits are encouraged early in life but then dismissed later when adults stop hanging up our finger-paintings and start telling us to 'get a real job.'

As a young girl my parents indulged my every creative whim; dance lessons, art, piano, oboe, acting, and more. From these classes I learned self-discipline, patience, and determination. I also learned to deal with critique and failure. I learned how to let things go, how to work around unexpected problems. How to make my intentions look deliberate.

Are these not all skills you need in any CEO?

When I wanted to study Studio Art at University my parents cringed. They encouraged (insisted) that I double major in English too. You know, so I would have something to ‘fall back on.’ I took the compromise and spent extra hours in the studio at night and brought art projects home so I could create between writing Shakespeare papers.

With graduation looming, dinner conversations in our home usually began with “What do you want to do with your life?” and usually ended with me in tears, stomping off to my room so I could take online personality and aptitude tests. I wanted someone to tell me what to be, even if that someone was the internet.

Careers today come with enormous pressure. In my parent’s generation a job was a means to an end, not an identity-entangled manifestation with which to define one’s whole life by. 

It goes without saying we want to spare our children pain, failure, criticism, and a living on canned tuna. Now that I’m a mother, I understand why my parents couldn’t see the romance in my becoming a starving artist. 

My interest in too many things, love of art and writing lends itself well to a career in blogging- but it wasn't even invented yet when I graduated Uni.

If there is one thing I learned from my experience it’s that I will be conscious of supporting my children in their passions even if I don’t necessarily ‘get it.’ 

Let me be completely honest with you, if my daughter came home and told me she wanted to become a beauty pageant contestant or Jehovahs Witness I would cringe too (no offence to those who are) because I don't understand it. 

After all, I’m not the driving force behind my daughter's journey, I am merely the bumpers in her bowling lanes.

Lavinia’s father is a passionate builder. They adore checking out building sites and building blocks together- there is totally a 50-50 chance she could be an analytical thinker like her Dad. Still, I can’t help my heart from swelling with pride when my daughter asks to ‘paint with Mommy.’

My husband asked me if I think our daughter genuinely shares our interests or if she is simply imitating us. I don’t know, but if I had to guess, I would say it’s a combination of both. We can only introduce her to the things we love, let her be witness to our passions and encourage her in her own discoveries.

No matter what she gravitates toward in her life I’m excited for her to find it....mistakes and all along the way. I'm positive that I will occasionally have to remind myself to stand back and let her to figure it out for herself.

This post originally appeared on the Hello Mamas blog and has been modified.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Internet is not what's Stressing New Mothers

Sponsored Post

So apparently this whole idea that modern mothers are more anxious because they have access to too much information, is not exactly true. 

I bought into that same myth myself and even rant about it in my mission statement. I have no idea why I adopted such a belief other than maybe it was easier to have something to blame for how I felt.

A survey of 4,000 Australian women, by Medela AU, showed that after seeking advice from a family Doctor or midwife, the next place mothers looked was the internet.
click to view infographic
Most women saw having access to expert information 24/7 as a huge benefit.  They also found value in connecting with like-minded people. Of the women surveyed only ten percent felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available online. So there you have it. The interwebs are as convenient a place for parenting advice as they are for grocery shopping. #whatagift

Seriously. What did breastfeeding mothers do before smartphones? I remember Googling every. single. thing. It's a solitary job, being a milk maid.

So if the web isn't stressing us out...it must be something else.

One sobering statistic the Medela AU survey revealed is 48% of women experience some form of depression/ baby blues/ low mood after childbirth. That is basically HALF of all mothers!!!

Let that sink in for a moment.

48% Half.

I mean, even as a fellow PND sufferer I had no idea the numbers were that high.

Why is this disturbing?
  1. It tells me not nearly enough people are comfortable talking about their experience with PND 
  2. Therefore I highly doubt those women are getting the help and support they need
Maybe there is a stigma with the word ‘depression’ but my guess would be that there is more of a stigma surrounding the "M" word. Perhaps we feel that if we admit we are struggling with motherhood then we are failing at it. 

Which is simply not true.

Opening up about my own experience with PND was terrifying. I literally felt sick when I published my first blog post about the subject. When I was flooded with emails, messages, and kind words from women who had all been through (or who were currently going through) the same experience, I no longer felt alone.

The main lesson I learned is that those metaphorical villages, you know, the ones it takes to raise a child? Well, they look different today.

More and more families are relocating for work, study or even an International romance (guilty). I live half the world away from the people I grew up with.

By opening up about my struggles, I didn’t know it then, but I was inviting people into my own, albeit virtual, village. 

So what can help? According to the Medela survey three main things can help mothers who are suffering.
  1. Speaking to a friend/ partner or family member
  2. Reading about people’s similar experiences online
  3. Consulting a Doctor or Midwife
So just like my advice in the video- we need to create our own villages. These could be online communities, forums, blogs, new friends. Medela AU have created a personalised app with all of these elements and more at your fingertips...Available even in the dim glow of a 3am feed.

To learn more about the Medela app clik here. I will plan to have it for the next bub because it’s a combination of several different apps I used when I had my daughter.  

Note: Can I just say, participating in this campaign has been a privilege. I’m proud to work with a company like Medela AU who are clearly sensitive to a mothers needs. I hope this study encourages women to speak out, because they will find that they are definitely not alone.

If you or someone you love is suffering from depression please contact your local crisis hotline or beyond blue in Australia.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Makers Monthly: April

A crafty project waiting to happen!

Makers Monthly FAQ

I’m starting to think that this month, personally, is about that easel cradling a blank canvas, or a blinking courser or...maybe even the bones of a brand-new building waiting for finishes. It’s that moment of anticipation before the making begins. It’s full of doubt, trust and inspiration right before the hands and mind are set free.

It’s been a busy month! Lots happening creatively but I have had zero time to paint and that makes me twitchy.

When I feel overstretched the first thing I look at is my time management. I will need to book myself some 'free' time- really make it a priority. This is not an easy task when you have lots of other priorities (ah-hem toddler). Obviously not all priorities can share top billing. 

How do I achieve this?

By rotating the important things. 

My family and my own (mental and physical) health come first (not necessarily in that order). My work is my passion and, I think, key to my overall happiness. Some weeks I feel more inspired to write and others it's more about painting. So I switch it up depending on my mood. Of course there are those tasks I never feel like doing (ah-hem admin & accounting) so I need to force myself to do those as well.

The last few weeks I’ve been concentrating on the blog. A bit of writing and a bit of networking with brands…more exciting news on those soon! This was a fun post I wrote about how April is National Craft Month #ncm here in Australia where I got to partner with Spotlight craft stores. Hello craft mecca! They are hosting free events this month so check it out if you have time. 

In other news

Etsy has unveiled a new look with mixed reactions, my own? I just try and roll with it. Social media is constantly evolving anyway. Adjusting might be a pain but I try not to fret- the minute I get used to something sure enough there will be another change on the horizon!
Also... our home extension is almost finished. It's going to seriously change our family lives for the better. And for the first time in my life I will have my own dedicated art studio.

Trust me when I say A LOT of creative energy has gone into dreaming up that space. Every finish has been chosen with the utmost care and consideration. It’s been such a long process that it feels completely surreal now that we are near the end. I recently wrote about how my brain was starting to feel like the empty shell in our backyard, bursting to be decked-out, in this post here

In the interest of that beautiful moment of nothingness before it becomes something- Let's share our latest and greatest projects in the link-up below!

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