I Don’t Care if you’re Meghan Markle or Kim from Next Door – Slut Shaming is Never Okay.

Mamamia – we need to talk.

A couple of days ago I was scrolling my Facebook feed and one of your articles popped up, as is often the case. One of my friend’s had commented, “How is this appropriate or necessary?” (or something to that effect). I scrolled down the comments on your post and found all of them reflected my friend’s sentiments. You had made people angry.

So naturally, I grabbed a glass of wine and settled in for a read to see what had the women of Facebook up in arms.

The article in question was titled, “Prince Harry wasn’t the first famous person Meghan Markle had a romance with.”

Who would have thought it? A successful actress has had romances with other famous people.

Shock fucking horror.

Anyway, I digress slightly, as this wasn’t really the reason I was getting increasingly pissed off as I read through Meghan’s black book.

What did piss me off though was the way it was written.

“The royal wedding is just a week away, but why focus on the union of two people in love when you can instead just go deep on Meghan Markle‘s exes for no reason other than… fun?

That’s right.

Fun.”

“FUN”.

Even if this article was written in jest, with tongue firmly in cheek, it still does what so many of us are fighting to stop, ironically yourself included. Mamamia, you’re slut shaming Meghan Markle and I’m not okay with it.

If I call someone a racist name, is it okay if I let them know I’m just doing it for fun first?

No.

If my boss grabs my ass and tells me I look great today and then when I get offended, follows it up with telling me to “relax, it was just a bit of fun”, does that make it okay?

No.

Getting the gist yet?

You are calling out a woman for having relationships prior to her current one and even though you do defend her through the article, you are still calling her out. You are making it a thing for her to have seen other famous people before meeting Prince Harry, like no-one else in the world has ever had an office romance or five. Hell, if that’s the case, then Meghan and I are more similar than I ever thought. I’ve had a few office romances (thankfully I work for a very large organisation so there haven’t been too many awkward run-ins with the ex!). That doesn’t make me a slut, it makes me a normal woman who kissed a few frogs before she found her “prince”.

I don’t care if Meghan’s list has five names on it or 200. It’s 2018 and it’s time to stop making this a thing. Strong, independent women are allowed to have as many bloody relationships as they want and not be made to feel bad about it.

How do I explain to my girls as they get older that men and women are equal when the media continues to have a different set of rules for us both, even if it just in the name of “fun”?

I want my girls to know that it’s their choice to have as many romances as they please, provided they are safe and always feel like they have a voice. They have the right to kiss all of the frogs in the world if they really want to before they find their prince, or princess as the case may be. Just like Meghan Markle did.

Who do You Dress For?

A friend of mine was telling me a story recently about a girl she knows. Said girlfriend was in a clothes shop, contemplating buying a rather expensive but fabulous shirt. As she ummmmed and ahhhhhed about her possible purchase, she looked at her friend and exclaimed, “Craig is going to kill me if I buy this. He won’t like it at all.” As my friend recalled the story, she threw her arms up in the air. “Who cares what Craig thinks?”

Obviously, in this instance, this particular person cared what Craig thought. Enough that she walked away from the fabulous shirt and now probably goes to sleep every night thinking of nothing but how it could be hanging in her wardrobe right now making all the other, slightly less fabulous pieces hanging around it feel slightly inadequate.

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This sleeve length is maybe the best thing in the world…

On my last trip to Melbourne, one of my main objectives was shopping. I had squirreled away every hard-earned dollar from selling the girls pre-loved clothes, a few Gumtree purchases and bits of spare change I could put to the side, so I could go nuts in a few stores that I don’t have access to in Canberra. Yes, online shopping makes pretty much everything accessible, but sometimes there is nothing better than actually going into a store and being able to try on things before making a purchase.

So, like I was saying… I had come to shop. I had cash in my hand, and a list of shops to visit. What I did not have though, was a list of items that I was or wasn’t able to purchase based on what my husband likes. Sure, I like it when Benji says I look nice, but bless him – he pretty much reckons I look good in a potato sack (note: I do not wear potato sacks around the house, or anywhere else for that matter).

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Too cold to wear your favourite dress? Grab a crazy-cat-lady cardi, hold your head high and go live your best life

I dress for me.

I like it. I can afford it. I buy it. I wear it.

Exhibit B – a previous man in my life used to hate the way I dressed. As far as he was concerned, I wasn’t doing my body any justice hiding it from the world. It was something that should have been showed off in tight, feminine clothing at all times. I thought about what he said, and then went shopping for as many formless, androgynous outfits as my bank balance would allow #icantbelievehewasnttheone

Call that selfish if you want, but I don’t think you will. You see, the way I dress is just one of the ways I show the world who I am. When I wear clothes I feel comfortable in, I am confident, I walk taller, I feel powerful. Like the world is mine for the taking. If I start dressing for someone else, in shapes or colours that don’t quite suit my vibe, this doesn’t happen. I feel like an imposter.

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Gotta love a dress that you can wear with heels or sneakers, but yeah, mostly sneakers

As Avery gets older, she is starting to figure out her own look. She likes being able to pick what she wears and how. Sometimes she nails it, sometimes she looks like a cute little hobo. But maybe in her head, she’s rocking her vibe. Walking taller, feeling more powerful. So I won’t stop her. Just like Benji won’t stop me.

So let me ask you – who do you dress for? Do you have the fabulous shirt hanging in your wardrobe, or just in your head as you close your eyes at night?

All fabulous outfits and earrings kindly gifted by some of my favourite stores. Grab a wine and go find something amazing for you, not your partner below:

Outfit One: Whitehaven Emporium – A Nice Cotton Dress with Sleeves in Chai Lattice $84.95

Outfit Two: Seagrass Design – Pebbles Button Dress $229.00

Outfit Three: Assemble Clothing – The Lakehouse Dress $99.95

All Earrings: Love Buds by Amy – Prices Vary

Got this far? You go Glenn Coco! Discounts and a cheeky giveaway happening soon over on my insta.

Travelling with Kooshy Kids

School holidays. They’re here. Just like that. Pretty sure last Monday I was dropping off Avery for the first time at preschool, but apparently not. So here I am. About to embark on my first of many two week periods where I have to figure out how to occupy a school-loving kid.

Naturally, the perfect solution is only 646.6km away. Grandma’s house.

Thankfully, we have many good reasons to make the trip to Melbourne this school break, but the biggest two are our new niece and Benji’s best mate’s new bub. BABIES SQUEEEEEE!

Along with the portacot, the pram, suitcases, pillows, too many toys that won’t get touched, scooters, presents and enough food to feed an army for the trip down, we’re getting a bit smarter and packing a few items that are going to make our life so much easier this holiday, thanks to Kooshy Kids.

On-the-Go Parent Backpack

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Mary Poppins would be proud. You should see the lamp I’ve packed in this bad boy.

I’ve been testing out the On-the-Go Parent Backpack for a couple of weeks now prior to our trip away and it’s become an essential item for all our outings, big or small. Slim enough to fit snuggly attached to your pram, but roomy enough to fit enough nappies for a three day Easter vacation to the coast (we are from Canberra after all), this backpack has been a God send. With more bells and whistles than I can mention here, the highlights for us have been the unisex design, the waterproof material and the inbuilt frame that keeps the bag open for easy access when you’re doing your best to emulate Mary Poppins.

On-the-Go Nappy Clutch

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Love when a nappy clutch doesn’t look out of place next to your latest Gorman purchase

Super slim, yet extra large when folded out, the nappy clutch is yet another essential item for our wriggling, needs to be toilet-trained soon, almost two year old. I can chuck a couple of nappies and wipes in this bad boy and know that I’ve got everything I need to tend to that cute (stinky) little bum whenever and wherever I need to. It’s washable and fits perfectly with plenty of room to spare in my backpack.

Now, there’s one more thing I want to talk to you about, and this is a bloody game-changer.

Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to be planning a long-haul vacay anytime soon, but when I do, I know what I’m going to bring with me…

Kooshy Kids Kooshion

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Photo supplied because I couldn’t convince anyone to send me and the kids on a long-haul flight to road test the Kooshion

The Kooshion is your perfect travel companion. It inflates to create a flat, flexible space between plane seats for your little ones, giving them that flat bed experience that us adults can only dream of up in Business Class. Lightweight in design and accepted on more than 50 airlines, it’s a must have item for any long-haul traveling.

If you need more info on the Kooshion, head here, otherwise read on because I’ve got some good news for you…

I’m giving away a Kooshion to one lucky reader. All you have to do is:

  • Follow @thejadedmonkey and @kooshykids on Instagram
  • Comment below with your dream getaway location along with your Instagram handle.

Easy!

Competition closes Thursday 19 April 7pm AEST and is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram or Word Press.

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Kooshy Kids, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Five Days and One Menstrual Cup

Since becoming a mum, I have learnt many things. Quite a few of those things are about how I as a person, have changed, mostly for the good I’d say. I’m more compassionate, I love deeper, I am more aware of the impact of my actions and I share more. A lot more.

Maybe too much.

“TMI” seems to be my middle name these days, and this post I’m afraid is going to be no exception.

If you don’t like talking about your period, vaginas, or things that go inside of your vagina, then I’m just letting you know upfront that this blog post is not for you.

Close the page now.

Okay, still with me? Let’s get to the gross stuff.

I hate having a period. I was a late bloomer – 15 or 16 from memory. Have never been regular and am horrible at predicting when I’m about to start my next cycle. Being on the pill for the best part of 15 years helped these issues and life was pretty peachy keen until I decided to start trying for a baby.

Goodbye pill, hello unpredictability!

Fast forward two pregnancies and over a year of breastfeeding each time resulting in about three glorious period-free years in my life and here we were, just a couple of months ago. My period was back and I was not happy.

Not so much with the actual period itself – I didn’t mind the blood, I just hated the inconvenience of it all. The pads – gross. The tampons – gross. The constant trips to the toilet, kids in tow, weapon of choice carefully concealed somewhere discreet – I was always a fan of a tampon in my bra…

But I digress. I had had enough!

I had seen a few posts and things on the internet about menstrual cups and while a super foreign concept, I figured I had nothing to lose and made my purchase online.

Day One

Once again my period has managed to sneak up on me and take me by surprise.

“Not this time”, I think to myself as I get my little pack out of the vanity. Thankfully, it’s a Friday afternoon and I’m not due back at work until Wednesday so the timing is perfect to give this thing a go with little fear of public embarrassment, unlike that one time at a school concert where there wasn’t a toilet close by…

I follow the instructions and fold my cup into a “C” shape and pop it into place. It’s easy enough, but takes a bit of fiddling to get it right. The internet tells me it’s going to take several cycles to nail it, so I’m not too worried.

I’m pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it is, and head off to sleep for the night.

Day Two

Overnight is a success! No leaks, and no urge to run from the bed to the loo as soon as I get upright as is the case sometimes when using tampons.

I remove the cup as instructed in the shower and pop it back into place with a bit of difficulty. I can now relax for 12 hours until I need to change it again.

Yes. 12 HOURS.

Day Three

Another night with no dramas and a trip out of the house, wearing a liner just to be safe. Still, there are no incidents and I start to get cocky. I feel like I’ve cracked the period code.

Cue 14 hours later when I’ve forgotten to change my cup and find myself with a dirty big stain on my undies. I take the cup out thinking it’s full, but it’s not. I think it’s moved a little during the course of the day and the seal has broken, creating a leak.

Lesson learnt – a little readjusting throughout the day doesn’t go astray.

Day Four

I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting the cup to fall into place properly when inserted, so I consult the internet and find a useful video on different folding methods. I try the “Punch Down” fold and immediately find it better. I’ve also decided to trim the stem which also helps with not noticing it’s there at all.

Day Five

Things are wrapping up for me this cycle and I’ve made it. five days with no tampons, no pads. A couple of liners which I consider my safety net for now.

It sounds silly, but I am proud of myself for taking a chance and trying something new and definitely not mainstream. For saving a couple of dollars a month on items I can’t stand buying. For switching to something more environmentally friendly.

So for those of you curious about menstrual cups – my advice is just give it a go. If you don’t like it, go back to what you were doing before. I’m sure they’re not everyone’s cup of tea (okay, that’s kinda gross), but I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who assume, like I used to, that there are no other options besides the sanitary items in your local supermarket.

So where do you find your perfect cup? Start here.

Good luck!

Edit* I’ll be grabbing a pair or two of Modibodi’s undies to use as my back up instead of liners to make my cycle zero waste. Go me! See the range here.

Smashing School Lunches

There I stand. In the kitchen. Specifically in front of the fridge. Door wide open, hand on hip, foot tapping.

School bloody lunches.

The thorn in every families side.

The Morrison household has had it too good up until this point. Daycare has provided all of the girls meals, which means I’ve never had to give much thought about how to pack a school lunch box. Until now of course. 2018 is here and that means we’re about to be introduced to the wonderful world of Preschool.

I’m not exactly known for my creativity in the kitchen, so school lunches typically send shivers down my spine. I know I’m not alone though. I see you mama. Reading along. Nodding your head.

School lunches are a pain in the bum. Period.

But I’m going to let you in on some classified information. I’ve got a couple of secret weapons that are going to help me in my quest to nail the perfect lunch box this year and not just for Avery. The whole house is covered. Can I get an amen?!

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The Smash Bento Lunch kit is a great set for little ones or for carrying around on the go when you need to pack snacks. It comes with a 450ml drink bottle, a novelty sandwich cutter and stickers so the kids can personalise their set which is guaranteed to keep them quiet for at least 5.4 seconds so you can have a sip of hot coffee before someone starts whingeing. Did I mention it’s only $10 too? Love a good bargain.

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For those of us who like a little more food, then the Smash Lunch Box is for you. Not only does it look cool AF, it also holds a tonne of food (okay, may not actually hold a whole tonne of food, but you get where I’m going. It’s big.) and is insulated so your “tonne” of food is going to stay fresher for longer. Super fantastic for these 40 degree days we’re having at the moment!

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I’ve saved my favourite until last – the Smash Bento Switch Up. It’s got a detachable insulating liner, you can chuck it in the dishwasher (YAS!!!), the dividers are moveable to customise the size of the individual compartments and it’s leak resistant which makes it pretty much my go to item for Avery’s school bag this year. She’s basically been using it every day since we picked this beauty up and she loves figuring out what she wants to put where. More engagement from her in deciding what goes into her lunch box means she’s more likely to eat it all. Less waste, more healthy options, everyone wins.

So if you, like me are starting to realise that the school year is just around the corner, then head down to your local Big W, check out the Smash range and pick up some items that are going to make your life a whole lot better.

You can thank me later x

This has been a collaboration with Smash Enterprises, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.  

Place mats thanks to We Might Be Tiny

 

The Great Dollhouse Renovation!

My girls were the lucky recipients of a hand-me-down dollhouse from their Mardie and Pardie (is anyone else noticing that none of my children’s grandparents have normal names yet?) a couple of years ago. It’s wooden, beautifully handmade, and very solid.

But kind of old-fashioned.

And as you might have figured out if you’re familiar with my Instagram page, I don’t really do old-fashioned at home.

*cue music* It’s time for a makeover!

I had hinted to Benji for quite a while that the dollhouse could use with a bit of a face lift, but my whinging hinting fell on deaf ears. So there was only one thing left to do – get the job done girl.

With special thanks to Ryobi tools, this is how I made our little dolls house go from drab, to fab.

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“She’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools.”

WRONG!

My idea of DIY, is getting stuff out of the shed and then standing behind Benji, loudly offering my guidance on what I think he’s doing wrong as he goes about the task at hand. But this time I was determined to do it myself. I’m a woman, I can do anything!

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Benji: “Are you sure you want to do this?” Getouttamyway Benji.

Using the One+ 18V Compact Drill was easy, but kind of counter intuitive to start with for a thinking girl – “So I have to push the drill into the dollhouse to get the screws out? Huh?” Once my brain got over that little fact, and realised that this was going to make my life approximately 1052 times easier, I got into it and removed all those screws holding the house together quicker than I can make my way through a packet of Tim Tams.

The backing board was next to come off, and that was just a matter of using a little elbow grease and some pent-up frustration. A few strong taps (“like you mean it” according to Benji) and it was off.

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Eek, there’s no turning back now.

It was at about this point – five minutes in, that I got a little bored out in the shed and needed a little something to keep me going. Luckily, this is where the One+ 18V Bluetooth Radio comes in handy. It’s small, lightweight, has AM/FM, aux and Bluetooth capabilities and uses the same battery pack as my drill. Sorry neighbours, but this bad boy is getting turned up and I’m getting my shed-oke (totes a word) on.

Now, the wall of the dollhouse was probably the part of the house I disliked the most and was most keen to replace. To get rid of the old wallpaper, I set my 2000W Corded Heat Gun to low and warmed up the backing enough to scrape that bad boy off. Good riddance! Using my limited computer skills to good use, I made up some wall paper, printed it on card and using 84 2 rolls of double-sided tape, lived out my fantasy of having a house with beautiful wallpaper in every room, in miniature form.

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New versus old… Ugh, get rid of it now!

In hindsight, I should have used PVA to glue down the paper, as the taped paper buckled slightly. If I was a perfectionist, I would have redone it, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, so I’ve left it as is!

Next came the part I was dreading the most, and more than likely was the reason I avoided doing the renovation myself for so long – the sanding. Ugh…

Thankfully though, thanks to the 100W Multipad Sander, the old varnish came off that bad boy fast and easy. I decided not to disassemble the entire dollhouse because I’m lazy like that, which meant there were lots of little nooks to get into. The sander handled these with ease and I was able to sand the timber back to its former glory without too much mess or fuss. Smooth as bruh.

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Super easy to use. Dare I say it made sanding fun? Too far?

Because I’m a narcissist at heart, I decided the colour scheme for the dollhouse would mimic that of our renovation that we’re about to undertake, so off I went to Bunnings and picked up some sample pots of the colours I’ve had my eye on – Dune for the exterior walls and Basalt for the Roof. Snow Peak for the interior walls which I watered down to whitewash the floorboards to show the beautiful wood grain.

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The whitewashed flooring and herringbone “marble tiling”. So chic. So what I wish I could have in my actual big house.

Finally, it was time to put the house back together and see if it actually looked any good…

Drum roll please…

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Time to see if it’s been worth the effort or if I’ve just ruined a perfectly fine dollhouse…

Success! Avery running out to see the finished product and looking at me with delight was a major highlight. “I love it!”

*heart swells with pride*

I made this for her. Me. Not Benji. Just me. I must admit, I didn’t realise how proud of myself I would be at the end of this project. It wasn’t particularly difficult, or challenging, but it was something that I would usually make Benji do for me. I feel a real sense of pride in my achievement and I must admit, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for DIY…

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Happy girl, happy Mum

Watch out shed, I’m coming to see what else I can play with next!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Ryobi, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Ryobi delivers affordable power tools with pro features, all backed by their 6 Year Warranty* and are available exclusively at Bunnings Australia and New Zealand.

* 6 year warranty applies to cordless products registered at http://www.ryobi.com.au. Batteries and chargers have 3 year warranty only. Corded tools have a 4 year warranty.

 

The Problem with Preschool

2018 marks a big year for the Morrison family, Avery in particular. You see, in February, Avery will start what we in the Nation’s Capital refer to as “Big School”. What we are actually talking about is Preschool, or for those of you who live in most of the other parts of the country – Kindergarten. It’s the year before you start actual school. Ugh can we just have a nationally standardised school system already please?

Anyway, I digress.

Next year, Avery will be breaking free from the shackles of childcare and making her way into the public school system and she can’t wait. She asked for and received a new backpack from Santa this year, and we just braved the Boxing Day sales with Noonsie (AKA Grandma) for a new pair of school shoes.

It all sounds a little too fantastic, doesn’t it…

Of course. Here it comes…

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Swinging into the new year like…

BUT

2018 is going to be a major pain in the butt for the parent’s of the Morrison household, because Preschool in the ACT is only five days a fortnight. Two days one week, three days the next and repeat.

I’ve been chatting to many a parent over the last couple of months to get a feel for how they are going to navigate this weird and wonderful year in the schooling calendar and for most, it’s easy. Pay for a day a week at childcare and then only use it once a fortnight, or pop the kids over with the grandparents once a fortnight for free babysitting family bonding time.

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The Pre School year is a balancing act for many Canberra families

At this stage, Avery is booked into childcare, but to be perfectly honest, I’d rather burn a $100 note once a week than continue to put her in childcare for another year. I’m ready for her to move on. And as for the grandparent option, well… That’s just not an option for us. We don’t have any other family here to rely on. *Cue the violin please reader* Yes, we chose to move away from our families and set up in Canberra, but there’s still a massive amount of jealousy when I hear people talk about how their parents look after their children. I have tried in vain to convince my Mum to move to Canberra, but alas, she’s staying put interstate for the time being. Probably until the kids are both through Preschool and she knows it’s safe to come here without being hit up for a regular babysitting gig. Smart woman.

So where to from here? Ben and I are toying with the idea of us taking a day off once every four weeks, but realistically I don’t think we can actually afford to do that and we have to save our annual leave for the bloody school holidays (don’t get me started on those.) We could look at a nanny, but again, there’s the whole money factor. I’ve tried to hit up parents who have kids in school the same days as us to see if they want to do a sharing arrangement between the four parents so we would only have to take off a day every eight weeks, but haven’t had much success with that yet either.

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Someone is hanging to start Preschool. It’s not me, give you the hot tip.

So, here we are, with six-ish weeks to figure something out, I’m a little bit stuck. Not quite sure how this is going to work. And to be honest, I’m probably going to let it be Future Amy’s problem, because Present-Day Amy is still a little full and tired from Christmas to be thinking too hard about schooling schedules.

Sorry ’bout that Future Amy x