An (overdue) update.....

Friday, April 11, 2014
Time for a chat. Have you made your cup of tea/coffee/gin......?

So, wowsers, time sure flies when you are knee deep in mothering 4 VERY active boys!! I cant quite believe that we are in April already!!! A third of the way through 2014. How does that happen?!!! (please forgive my love of exclamation marks.... clearly I have an issue... !!!!!!!!!!)

How are you? I'm good, thanks. Always chasing my proverbial tail.... but good.

I'm dipping my toe into so much lately. I am head on into work, keeping up to date with the boys commitments and studies. Getting them to and from sports, trying to remember special canteen days and excursions..... (not always succeeding..) And now we are one week into the school holidays. Oh and a huge shout out to Mother Nature, thanks for the week long rain. Well played.... *sigh

Speaking of kids, we have entered a new phase, well two in fact in the life of my little Ollie.  
1) Its pants off.  All day and sometimes throughout the night.  Its impossible to keep his pants on! Mostly, this is fine, but sometimes, as you can imagine, he neeeeeeeeds pants. ie. a nappy. Get the gist?!  In a moment of motherly sharing, I Instagramed our new phase. Clearly I didn't get the memo that this was far too hideous a subject for Instagram and so I was warned, picture deleted and acquired a short ban. My bad.  Oh well, roll on the never ending pics of T&A then.....  
2) Mum, Muuuum, Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu...... Its our new game. (please imagine me NOT smiling as I share this...)  So it goes a little something like this....
Ollie: Mum.
Me: Yes?
Ollie: MUM!
Me: Yes?
Ollie: MUUUUUUUUUM!!!!!!! 
Ollie: Mum.
Me: Nope. Not playing.
And so on, and so on, and so onnnnnnnn.....
Fun yes?... No.

When I'm not consumed by boys, boys, boys, my head is all book, book, book!  I have had meetings, I have had emails, I have had knock backs (must admit, not fun, want to beg... will begging help?), I have had interest (still do, just waiting crazily patiently). I am hopeful and know that one way or another, this book WILL be published.  Obviously it would be nice to have someone do all the work for me but in the end, if its up to me (and lets all remember that 50 shades was self published.....) I promise to make it happen. Just might take a little longer. I will keep you all up to date. (of course if anyone reading this knows someone who knows someone etc, feel free to hook me up!)

I am LOVING the response to my 'Habit of Happiness' project and hope those who are playing along are loving it too.  Remember, life is not perfect and it never will be but the trick is to see beyond the flaws and celebrate the good times.  In the end, its those moments that matter most.  If you think you would like to join in, we would ALL love to have you! Go here for all of the details. xxx

Well, lovelies, I have enjoyed this little catch up. Hopefully it bought you 10 minutes of peace. Winning!
Have a lovely Easter all and to those mums on school holidays, remember.. 

(and if that doesn't help, its always 4pm somewhere in the world...)

Now a little message to the beautiful ladies who I have come to know via this bizarre old land of www.  You might notice over time that due to having some nudity and child pornography splattered on my Instagram account (yep, apparently), I have decided to create a new, private account that will become a photo album of sorts of my life as a mum.  A more intimate sharing of my life.  SBTB will remain however as a source of inspiration and encouragement (as much for myself as for you). As I know many of you have been a huge support to me over the years and you are as normal as I am... (whats normal anyway..?) and if you are not afraid of the odd toddler bot bot, please feel free to follow.  It will be boring,  I warn you but my most favourite job in the world is mothering and as I enjoy what others in my 'field of work' proudly share, as do I. Its just that this way I will be able to say no to the fishin', shootin', drinkin' bad ass that requests to follow a boring old mum of four. Go figure. 
Find me at leigh_vdh .

If you find squishy baby bots offensive, please don't bother. You are wasting my time and yours.

We must help...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I love that I have the opportunity to write here and perhaps help in spreading important news, share moving stories and highlight to you just how amazing some people really are..

I am a mum to 4 young boys so this story below hits hard and I just cant believe how strong these beautiful boys are.  They have endured far too much hurt and hardship for their shorts lives and we must help them get through this tough phase.  

I have donated as I would absolutely, desperately hope that others would support my precious boys if I was unable to and I encourage you, if you are in a position to do so, please donate some money to ease their burden.

You HAVE to watch this short video and you will understand the necessity to help.

If you would like to donate, the link is here.

Go with your heart. Forget buying your take away coffee for the next week and give that money to these very special young men.  Do it for their beautiful mum.

Now, excuse me while I go and get a fresh box of tissues.....
Bless them.

ps. If you have read this, may I ask that you please share on Facebook or Twitter? Lets make good use of Social Media and get as much support as we can for Jarrod, Blake and Dylan.

Thank you,


Happiness is....

the simple things...

Last night I had the honour of comforting a beautiful lady as she was preparing to leave this life.  In my profession, this opportunity can come up with no warning and I'm grateful to have the skills and knowledge to support someone in such a vulnerable time of their life.

This lady I have met many times.  I wont say too much but something that I have gained from her each time we met was her wisdom. She led an amazing life and always had little snippets of advice that I took on board.

During her decline yesterday she said to me 'Darling, just make the most of every day'.  I said 'I do'. She smiled and said 'My best times were those little moments, the simple things you know?'  I agreed. She then drifted into a deep sleep.

I sat, holding her hand and thought about her final words to me.  It is the simple things.  We are always pushing and pushing to reach higher and higher and that's OK, that's the adventure of life.  But in-between all of these moments are what makes our life so special.  The conversations with our children.  The routines in our day.  All of those moments that we will look back on and treasure.  I'm living these moments right now and yes, I admit, I can be so rushed and under pressure at times that these simple moments aren't appreciated and can sadly go unnoticed but it really is important to value them for they really are the best times of our life. And it is all happening right now.  Its worthy of celebrating.

I have LOVED the #SBTBhabitofhappiness moments that have been shared so far.  I'm so thrilled to see people joining in and taking notice of the simple things that make them happy.  Collecting all of these moments really do make for a grateful and well lived and loved life.  That is all we can ever ask for, and by realising just how special your simple moments are, you will enhance the satisfaction gained from your journey.

Here are some beautiful moments from Instagram captured from the past week. Thank you to everyone who is joining in.  Please continue, I am LOVING it and I hope you are too!  For those interested, I would adore to see you join in too. You can go here for all of the info. xx 

'Diamonds dancing on the sea.. Lifting my face to the sun. Not a bad way to start the day'..
Beautiful Vic can be found here

'I had a moment this afternoon with my boys when they "presented" me with this joint picture'
The very talented Cat can be found here

'Flowers from Joel; he makes my heart sing every day.'
The always inspirational Trish can be found here

'Them be exploring legs.'
Gorgeous mumma Bec can be found here

Thanks again ladies xxxx

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.... ~ Paulo Coelho

Happiness is....

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Sharing & Inspiring..

Do you agree that when we develop a habit, it is hard to change?
In most cases, this sounds negative doesn't it, but in the case of happiness, it sounds desirable.

'Our habits make us.  Like wheels running on the road, they wear the tracks or ruts in which our life moves.  Our character is the result of our habits.  We do the same thing over and over a thousand times, and by and by it becomes a part of ourselves.' J.R. Miller.

I have found over the years, as I re-constructed who I was and what kind of life I wanted, that I have become a much more aware and happier person due to my daily habits.  I understand what gratitude is and with that, naturally an overwhelming feeling of contentment and joy follows.  I also know that in this world, many twists and turns occur that threaten to disturb my positive attitude but as I said, habits are hard to change and so, I remain focused on what is good and less so on what is not.

I want YOU to feel this way too.
Well, by developing your own habit!

And so.........
Welcome to my challenge....

*here's how to play*

~ I want you to capture the moments in your life that sum up what 'happiness is' for you.  It can be anything at all!
~ Share your moment (or moments) on Instagram, on the Six By The Bay Facebook page or on Twitter using the #SBTBhabitofhappiness hashtag and each week I will share some of the lovely images that have made me smile.
~ Once a month, I will highlight some of the photos that have been shared by you all here on my blog! Just think, your delicious moment could inspire many in this beautiful big world! (and you could meet some amazing people that you never knew existed!)
~ Browse other #SBTBhabitofhappiness photos and be inspired! Say hello, connect, benefit from being a part of a positive, grateful community and soak up all of the happy vibes! By taking time to appreciate simple moments of joy, you will develop the ability to look beyond all else and always seek out goodness. This will become one of the most rewarding habits you could ever acquire!

~ It is up to YOU to recognise those magical moments in your life!
~ Share as little or as much as you want!

So, get involved. Tell your friends.  Celebrate just how wonderful your life really is!

'Live the life you love. Love the life you live.' - Bob Marley

Enjoy the ride!

Happiness is....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This little reminder has been doing the rounds on social media lately and it got me thinking. How many people actually understand it? Do you interpret it purely as fact? Does your response sound something like "oh, ok, I will do just that, when I get the time...."  Or do you understand what this is really saying?

When my mum and I travelled to England before she became really sick, I soaked in her wisdom. I knew that it was an integral time of my life and I came home with open eyes and an open heart.  One particular moment that I am drawn to when I see the above image is this...

One blissful sunny morning, mum and I were walking through St James Park in London and she motioned for us to sit on a park bench.  Now, at that time of my life, I was quite impatient and wasn't overly keen to just sit but I did as she did, that was how it went.  As we sat, I talked and talked and talked, not about anything overly ground breaking, nothing relative to the moment, not allowing her to get a word in and suddenly she said "LEIGH!". "What?", I replied.  "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh", she added. "Stop making noise and when I ask, tell me what you hear."  A little time passed and she questioned my findings.  "Cars, horns, people talking, sirens......." was my answer. "OK, now do it again", she said, "and don't pay any attention to any of that, then tell me what you hear." More time passed, maybe lots, I don't remember, but the second time she questioned me I replied "ducks quaking, leaves rustling, the wind whooshing, water trickling, and I felt the warmth of the sun on my back."  "Good", she said "try to remember how to listen, really listen. Take it all in. Appreciate what is around you. Absorb the magic".

magical St James Park, London

Absorb the magic.....

I interpret the magic of life as those sounds we are not conditioned to hear.  Those moments that flitter by without any warning that are simply and divinely full filling.  The larger scale of what we see, do and feel.  Its necessary to learn how to notice all of this magic.  When you do, you will gain so much appreciation of everything that surrounds you and more importantly, these magical treasures are what you will be aware of above all else.

So, stop. And listen.
The rewards that life will grant you will ignite your soul. Always. 

'So watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it' - Roald Dahl.


5 funky kids' beds that make bedtime fun!

Monday, March 17, 2014

sponsored post

Trying to get your kids off to a good night’s sleep can be a nightmare for some parents. Fortunately, there are some crazy concept beds out there to give your kids their dream bedroom—and hopefully make your job a little easier. Take some inspiration from the following funky ideas from Furniture Online that will turn your kid’s bedtime into fun time.

1. A turbo-charged bed for car-loving kids

If your kids dream of taking pole position on the podium, then a four-wheeled 
creation will have your budding F1 champions racing to bed at breakneck speeds. 
With its flame design, spinning wheels and fully working headlights, a bed like this 
is a dreamy bed for car-loving kids

2. Hold the mayo: a bed with bite

Burger or bed? Well, it’s both­. If your child lives for burgers (and let’s face it, 
who doesn’t?) then a giant burger bed will be just right for them. Let them 
nestle down for the night under a giant bun between a patty and a generous 
slice of processed cheese. But remember, while it might look good enough to 
eat, this bed is best for sleeping.

3. A bed fit for a king

Most kids already think they’re king of the castle and a bed like this isn’t 
going to change that view one bit. This medieval-inspired bunk bed with 
battlements and towers is the perfect pad for your little prince or princess. With stairs leading up and a slide leading down, this is a fun-filled fortress for a really good knight’s sleep.

4. To the rescue!

This funky fire engine bed will inspire your little heroes to save the day. 
With its friendly face, driving cabin and realistic wheels, this is an 
action-packed bed that will race to the rescue at bedtime. Its safe 
and secure high sides make this an ideal after-cot bed, and it has loads 
of storage for toys too. This bed’s a real life saver.

5. A ship-shape bed for budding buccaneers

Ahoy, me hearties. Do your little land lubbers dream of sailing the seven 
seas but don’t quite fancy swinging in a hammock all night long? If so then 
this ocean-going berth is the perfect vessel to give your crew a night of 
ship-shape slumber—and they’ll be splicing the main brace (or making the 
bed, if you will) in no time.

Upgrading children’s beds is usually done when kids transition from a cot to a bed, when they reach an age-milestone, such as starting school or primary school, when you move house or even as a special reward. As the focus of any bedroom, your child’s perfect bed might be a classic design, a funky bunk bed or a novelty style. Whatever the reason, finding a dreamy bed is simple when you can shop for it online.

happiness is....

Friday, March 14, 2014
Switching Off!

Have you ever been at an event and become so engrossed in your phone that once you come back from cyber land, you realise the event has finished and you missed the whole thing?  If I am being honest (and I do love honesty), I admit, I am sooooo guilty of this!

An example;

I was at my sons swimming lesson last night and my phone buzzed to alert me of a message. I read it, answered it, then looked at Instagram, then Facebook, then checked my email, then... then..... then..... I looked up to get some clarity and realised that 98.999% of parents at the same sports session were all looking at their phones. Deeply committed to their phones. Heads down, faces drooping, possible dribble rolling down chins.... Totally unaware of anything and everything going on around them.... (and me.)  I sat, taking in the view, not judging, mind you, as I was playing the game too, and I made a deal with myself then and there.  No longer will I so much as read one word on my phone whilst I am with the kids doing kid stuff.  

Watch this:

Can you relate?

I have missed so much in so many facets of my life because I have focused on my phone. 
Conversations, milestones, special moments, life's natural beauty....

I remember as a girl, my mum gave me the attention I deserved.  When I did my swimming lessons, I found it so hard but each time I looked up, she was there, eyes on me, only me and beaming.  This made me try harder and feel so special. I can only imagine the hurt and dissapointment that my kids feel when they look up for that same attention and get nothing. Just mum, looking blankly into a phone. Not any more.

I use my phone as my alarm. SO bad, I know! I go to bed, exhausted, check out a few things on it, start reading articles etc and then BOOM, I'm wide awake! Cant sleep.  Why? 

'Light stimulates cells in the retina, the area at the back of the eye that transmits messages to the brain. The light-sensitive cells inform our body what time it is, explains Dr Meadows. 
'This controls the release of the hormone melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy, and the waking hormone, cortisol.'
And because of the way we sleep, having a mobile by the bed means if we do wake up in the night, we're more likely to stay awake. 
All artificial light, whether from standard light bulbs or fluorescent strips, is thought to inhibit the release of melatonin, keeping us awake longer. But light from mobiles may have a greater effect......  
As Dr Meadows explains: 'We sleep in cycles of 1½-2 hours, with brief moments of waking in between that normally go unnoticed. 
But in these brief waking moments, any outside stimulus has the potential to drag you out of sleep - for instance, a flash of light or vibration of your phone from a text message at the wrong moment could make you fully conscious.

If you then check your phone, you'll be stimulating the cognitive parts of your brain, too - which really will stop you sleeping,' adds Dr Meadows. (Daily Mail 11/03/14)

Not any more.  I will go back to using my trusty old clock radio and begin enjoying a good night sleep again.  I'm positive the world wont end if I am offline overnight!

I take this seriously and I hope that you do too. If not for us, let's show our children that life can be enjoyed without having a phone in our face 24/7.  Let's hope that as they grow older, they wont lose the ability to hear what is around them. To smell blossoming flowers as they sway in the wind. To catch little glimpses of the magic that life exhibits.  To absorb meaningful moments and feel a soulful connection with all that surrounds them.  

Switch off. Come back to life.
Enjoy simple moments.

Happiness is found in the simplest of things..... Don't let it pass you by.

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