Wednesday, 30 March 2016

speaking up

"Sometimes getting pregnant can reduce the symptoms and provide some relief"
-- Actual professional medical advice offered to 21- year old Andie

I was a Uni graduate ready to commence my career;
I was not yet engaged but I will always wonder if perhaps this diagnosis fast tracked the process which saw me upgraded from girlfriend to fiancé;
Soon after the engagement party I had my first laproscopic surgery.
I'm now well over- due for my third.

'Endometriosis' 
I'd never heard of it before.
The surgery was the only way to know for sure if the diagnosis was correct.
And yes - More than one of my doctors suggested pregnancy as a means of 'managing' the condition.

This is the first time I am telling my story in a public forum.

Why??

Because March is
E N D O M E T R I O S I S
A W A R E N E S S   M O N T H

And it's taken me 30 days of the month, to build up the courage to complete this post and hit Publish.


But that's the point of an awareness campaign, isn't it?

To shed light on a topic.
Start a dialogue.
Encourage open communication and education..

Society doesn't like to talk about 'female problems' so endometriosis not a medical condition I admit to suffering from despite it causing near-constant discomfort and crippling pain more often than once a month.


It is a difficult condition to describe to anyone who has not experienced it.

Sometimes a picture can convey the pain more accurately than I can explain it -



Very pissed of fire breathing dragons.
With knives.
And machine guns.


The pain can be so extreme and debilitating that it literally incapacitates me.


As a result, it is a huge contributing factor to depression.

It is rendering women infertile.

And yet, I still feel like it is not a legitimate reason to call in sick to work.


O N E  in  T E N   W O M E N
S U F F E R   F R O M   E N D O M E T R I O S I S

So I am simultaneously caught between thinking I should shut the fuck up and not complain; 

And
Talking about it until I am blue in the face, 
So that maybe others also suffering in silence will feel they can share their story too.

Today I am choosing to talk about it.

To share my story.
And the stories of others.
Because knowing I am not alone truly helped me.

They gave me permission to be kind to myself.


They made me realise I am not crazy,

And the pain is not normal.

They allowed me to accept that it sucks,

But it doesn't mean I am broken.

And neither are you.


"Be kind to yourself on the bad days"





And remember this :

STARTS WITH CUPCAKES >> alex_elle instagram
Alexandra Elle



xx

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

international women's day

Today is 
I N T E R N A T I O N A L   
W O M E N ' S   D A Y

It is also a week in which media (and social) commentary has been focused on the future of the Clipsal Grid Girls.

Following a heated debate on the weekend with a dear friend, whose opinion I often share on many an issue - I wasn't sure if I wanted to voice my opinions on either of these topics. 

There are women far more eloquent and definitely more passionate than I, to discuss these issues. From both sides.

And so I decided to carry on, as if it was any other day.. because, I thought to myself, if women want equality we should not be satisfied with just one day on which we are to be celebrated or have a voice.

This, by the way, echos my opinions of Mother's Day being the sole day to appreciate Mother's; and likewise Father's Day's purpose to remind us of our appreciation of our Father's - We should be thankful and grateful 365 days of the year.

Oops.. I guess I'm not very good at keeping my opinion to myself after all. 

(And for the record - I think the Grid Girls add atmosphere and entertainment value to a very long, and often uneventful car race. They are to Motorsport, what the tinsel is to a Christmas Tree - not 100% necessary, but pretty to look at, and certainly not doing any harm. If you think the role of the Grid Girl is derogatory to women, then I hope you didn't buy a movie ticket to watch Channing Tatum take his clothes off in Magic Mike. Admiration of the human form - it's all in the name of entertainment, is it not?)

I don't want to stand on a feminist or anti-feminist soap box and make sweeping claims, because it's just not my thing... 
Although the influx of Girl Power quotes on my Instagram feed today has been interesting to observe.

I just wish that women were always this supportive of each other - in life and in business.

"We live in a society that wants to pit women against each other,
and it's our job to resist the tyranny of that"
- Lena Dunham

So, on International Women's Day 2016, how about we start to make a concerted effort to celebrate each other on the remaining 364 days of the year?




xx

Thursday, 25 February 2016

seduced by words

I am a writer.

OK.. So I'm not the kind who gets paid to put prose to paper; reach an assigned quota; or meet a deadline.

But I do pour my thoughts out of my head and onto the page.

I'm the girl who believes in the significance of words.

Who values both the price of those written in silence and spoken out loud.

The kind who carefully forms thoughts into sentences.

Who knows that language is a gift.

Perhaps it is because I am a writer, or maybe it's just me... 
But I am the girl who believes in the power of the things I say.

I   S A Y   W H A T   I   M E A N 
I   M E A N   W H A T   I   S A Y

(And if I can't say it, then I remain silent... but that's a story for another day)

Even the simplest words can convey a significant message.

Every word has a worth.

And because I find beauty in letters strung together to form a meaning;

And because I appreciate the art of articulation - 

 I   A M   S E D U C E D   B Y   W O R D S

So it never occurred to me to question that others may not consider the value of their own.

Then again, I am the girl who believes that a pinky promise is a valid contractual agreement.

So I am learning that words alone (though magical in their seduction) are not quite enough.

In the currency of language -
Words and promises are only worth something if they are accompanied by action.


seduced by words >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


xx

Thursday, 18 February 2016

churro waffles

My eating habits range from supermodel yoga enthusiast -
Hello raw green veggie juices.

To hungry unsupervised child in a candy store -
Hello cookies for breakfast and M&M's for dinner.

My baking skills (and subsequently, my pantry contents) enable me to have a thought like
"I feel like waffles"
And then be back in bed eating waffles 20 minutes later,
Without the need to leave the house,
Or (perhaps more importantly) put any pants on.

These waffles are a winner,
Because I don't drink milk at home,
And this recipe (unlike many others) is milk-free.
So once again - A celebration of not having to leave the house or put on pants for a trip to the supermarket.

Sometimes in life, you have to celebrate the little things.

I recommend you do it with these waffles.


C H U R R O   W A F F L E S


CHURRO WAFFLES >> starts with cupcakes


1 cup plain flour
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup water

1.5 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar

Turn on the waffle iron to pre-heat.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan, over low heat, combined water, sugar, salt, and butter.
Stir until butter has melted and sugar dissolved -make sure the mixture doesn't boil.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in flour until dough forms.
Return mix to low heat and use spatula to fold dough and cook dough until it leaves a film of flour on sides of pan.
Remove dough from pan and divide into equal portions.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and cook portions for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown.
Coat hot waffles in cinnamon/sugar mixture while hot.
Serve.
Eat.
Die of happiness.


xx

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

afraid of love

I wanted to write a post about love to coincide with Valentine's Day.

Wanted to.

As in, kept sitting in front of my computer and staring at the screen.

Scrolling through Insta quotes and Pinterest Pins and not finding the perfect words around which I could form my thoughts.

Struggling.

A very quick self-evaluation would have me admit that this is because

I  D O N ' T   D O   F E E L I N G S

But honestly?

It's because I do!
But I never write about them here.

I write about fluffy stuff.
Don't I?!
My last post is about the complexities of modern dating in a world of situationships!
Other topics about which I choose write, I will happily (and endlessly) discuss/debate/deliberate.
With anybody.

And so, it soon became apparent that I am not suffering from an absence of feelings.
But quite the opposite.

I have recently become incredibly aware of who is reading these words.
My thoughts.
My opinions.
My feelings.

And all of a sudden, I am suffering from writers block.

And then I remembered this gem.


As I read this quote,, I am reminded of that time I wrote about vulnerability.
And that time I wrote about trust.

So perhaps I am writing about my feelings far more often than I admit to myself.

S H I T !

How did that even happen?!

And if that's the case, then why am I having such difficulty forming thoughts around what is arguably The Most Important Feeling Of Them All?

L O V E

The short answer?
(Also known as 'the brutally honest, shut-my-eyes-and-say-it-quick' answer)

Because I have spent so much time (and energy) avoiding it.


*Insert huge thank-goodness-I-finally-got-that-off-my-chest exhale here*





So suddenly I am dealing with writer's block and a brand new revelation, 
(Which ironically has come to me, only as I write...)
I think it's best if I allow someone else to reveal my feelings on my behalf...



Yup. Terrified of love. Right here. Me.

But now I'm publicly declaring that is all about to change.

Why?

Well let's all take a minute to remember my word and focus for the next 12 months*...

And then break it down nice and simple :
And if there's one way a person should love - 
It is fearlessly.



xx


*Bonus points to those who remembered what it was.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

so many ships in the harbour

Once upon a time, before mobile phones became a miniature computer with the means to keep you ultra-connected to anyone at anytime... Dating was (apparently) very simple.

Boy meets girl; 
Boy likes girl; 
Boy asks girl out on a date 
(Classic Combo: Dinner and a movie).

Insert montage of super romantic activities like wine tasting and mini-golf*.
(NB. Super Romantic Montage does not involve Boy sending Girl endless text messages (and snapchats and tagging her in endless memes on Facebook or Instagram) but rarely actually interacting with her face to face.. Except for random appearances on her door step well after a 'reasonable hour' and slipping back out under the cover of darkness right before dawn.)

Or so I've heard...


This probably the most accurate thing I have read all year.

"Situationships?!" I hear you ask.
Yes. They're a thing.


Relationships, Situationships, Textationships...


Present day dating requires you to learn a whole new lexicon*.


Allow the girls from The Hills and I to educate you.



Let's start with the basics...





F R I E N D S H I P
A state of mutual trust and support.
A promise to help someone no matter the circumstances, subsequently proven by actions.



R E L A T I O N S H I P
Any type of connection that brings two individuals together for a period of time.
Something other than a friends with benefits.
More than a mutual understanding!!




S I T U A T I O N S H I P
A situationship is kinda like a relationship, but more of a situation.
Friends with benefits are in a situationship.
People that are a 'thing' are in a situationship.




T E X T A T I O N S H I P
A friendly, romantic, sexual or intimate relationship, either brief or long-term, between two people whereby text messaging is utilized as the primary form of communication.
A relationship bound strictly to text messages with the absence of an actual physical connection, including but not limited to dates, sex, etc.
One may use pictures, Facebook, or sexts, but it is strictly a screen-based relationship.






E - F L I R T I N G
When someone is great at online communication
(such as sending flirtatious emails and text messages)
but never actually gets the courage to hang out with you in person.
A way to pretend you are in a relationship with someone without actually seeing them.
Sure... It seems innocent enough...




G A M E  P L A Y E R
A person that plays games, like mind games with others




C O N F U S I O N
Uncertainty about what is happening, intended or required.
The state of being bewildered or unclear in one's mind about something.



G H O S T I N G
The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone with whom you are in a 'ship' (friendship, relationship, situationship).
This is done in the hopes that the ghostee will just 'get the hint' and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.



S L O W  F A D E
Unlike ghosting, the slow fade is a more gradual way of cutting off communication with someone. 
The slow fade is when you begin to respond/interact less and less until you stop talking altogether.


       
J E R K
An obnoxious, arrogant, self-centered male who women can't seem to get enough of.



S I L L Y  G I R L
When a person of the female gender, behaves in a silly manner.



A F
AF stands for “as fuck.”
But it is commonly used to describe someone who is super single.
So, someone is “single AF.”



L O V E
A strong feeling of affection.
The act of caring and giving to someone else.
Having someone's best interest and wellbeing as a priority in your life.
Either a horrible disease or a blessing.




A D V I C E
Guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent action,
Usually offered by concerned friends and family,
Often ignored or disregarded.




xx


*Definitions adapted from Urban Dictionary

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

covered in freckles


A half eaten packet of freckles;
and a craving for something sweet to dunk in my peppermint tea.

That's all it took to inspire my latest batch of cookies.

covered in freckles>> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES











F R E C K L E S   C O O K I E S


200g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Chocolate freckles

Preheat oven to 180C and line baking trays with baking paper.
Place butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
Sift in flour and baking powder and mix to form a dough.
Roll dough into balls and place onto baking tray.
Lightly flatten, then press a chocolate freckle into top of each.
Bake 10-12 min or until lightly golden
Set aside on wire racks to cool.
Store in an airtight container.
Or eat them all... Whatever.



covered in freckles>> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


xx

Thursday, 28 January 2016

f e a r l e s s

Hello, my name is Andie

and I am Queen of the What Ifs.

You know - 

"Yeah... we could do that but what if...?"

I mean, I'm not running around town like Chicken Little 
(ie. screaming "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!")

But I am pretty thorough in evaluating all potential outcomes of a scenario, 
particularly the ones that could end in catastrophe.
I'm the girl who likes to have a Plan A and a Plan B.
Also a Plan C, D, E... 
Well.. You get the picture.

And so it is with great intrigue that upon choosing my word for 2016,
I started to see examples of it everywhere.

I hadn't even announced it to anyone yet.

But over the past few weeks, several people, in a variety of conversations about a range of topics have stopped me in my What If tracks and asked

A N D I E , W H A T ' S   T H E   W O R S T   
T H A T   C A N   H A P P E N ?

Answers to this question have varied depending on the scale of risk involved;
but the consensus is something like 
"I might look silly, but I'll get over it"
or 
"It doesn't work out... so then I move on".

I must admit -
even the worse case scenarios tend to be far over-shadowed by the excitement of potential of success.

And so, following on from my Word of the Year in 2015 - Balance - 

I am excited to unveil my word for 2016...

FEARLESS  >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


Yesterday, at the end of my Hot Yoga class, the teacher spoke to us about... yup, you guessed it ... 
FEAR.
Specifically her recent fears related to meeting with someone she had matched with on Tinder.
Let's all take a moment to appreciate that despite their calming voices and ultra-flexible bodies, 
Yoga Teachers are real humans too.

What struck me about her story,
(in addition to an ego-driven "See? Perky blonde yoga teachers struggle to find decent men too")
was that fear is relative.

We all have different fears.

These fears are the result of our own stories.

The stories we tell ourselves are not real.

FEAR IS NOT REAL  >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

So this year I am making a conscious effort to ditch the What If's.

This year is about being fearless.


FEAR IS A LIAR  >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES




xx



Wednesday, 20 January 2016

what happens to me if i fail your test?


Connection [noun]
a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else.

Attraction [noun]
the action or power of evoking interest in or liking for someone or something.
a quality or feature that evokes interest, liking, or desire.

Trust [noun]
firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

 Love [noun]
a strong feeling of affection.


Being able to identify and experience these emotions is what makes us innately human...

.

.

.

Isn't it??


Do yourself a favour this weekend;
Pour a glass of wine, cook some popcorn and settle in for a movie night.

The movie?


E X   M A C H I N A


EX MACHINA >> starts with cupcakes


I'd never heard of it when I watched it and I'm thankful I had no expectations.


I don't want to say too much...

Even though I talked about it to anyone who would listen for days.

Hands down - One of the best movies I have seen in a long time.


And now I've learnt that it's up for a whole bunch of awards.


Critics Choice Awards
Best Original Screenplay
Best Visual Effects
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie - WINNER

Oscar Nominations
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Golden Globe Nominations
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Alicia Vikander 


And when you've seen it - Let me know so we can chat.





xx


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