Life In Auckland As A Single Mother ♥

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For many moons, I’ve been one sad panda. I haven’t meant to be (who on earth wants to be upset?!), and truth be told (I feel like such a smug, privileged turd for admitting this, and if that’s how I sound, I’m sorry!), I never really have been.

Loneliness? What was that?! Depression? Well, I’d heard of it, but I didn’t have a clue what it was. For the most part, I’d had a GREAT life, a very happy existence (and if we’ve met before, or you’ve been reading here for a while, you’d know that!), and I liked to believe that I was largely responsible for it: I mean, I was a “good”, kind person… so why wouldn’t my life be the same?

As a child. I was NEVER serious, even way back when!
Always laughing, NEVER serious: even way back when!

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And then everything came undone. My beloved grandfather passed away. My relationship – that I’d moved from Australia to a small town in New Zealand for – ended. BADLY. I learned I was three months pregnant (my worst nightmare!). Unsure of how I could provide for the tiny being in my belly if I moved back to Sydney (finding a job is difficult as it is; could you imagine trying to do so with-child?! I can just imagine all of the “sorry, we’ve chosen a candidate that’s more… suitable (read: NOT KNOCKED UP) for the role” rejection e-mails I would’ve received!), I remained in Blenheim, where I barely knew anyone, but at least had paid employment. I bawled my eyes out every night. Sorrow and I? We’d become best friends! And it just didn’t seem to let up… until my Aunt and her husband suggested that I move to Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city (and where a bunch of my family reside), extremely generously inviting me to live with them.

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Nearly four months on from that moment (and almost a year after my break-up), and the world’s FINALLY starting to appear beautiful once again. Charlotte and I moved into an apartment in Auckland’s CBD (we’re practically neighbours with the Sky Tower! N-I-F-T-Y!). I’m beginning to meet new people (and, funnily enough, my closest friend from Blenheim has actually just moved here!). The goofy, genuine grin is returning… and I can see Auckland becoming our home.

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xoxo

What The Frock?! : The August Blogger’s Brunch, Auckland ♥

What’s ‘What The Frock’? Upon compiling feedback for Frock & Roll, the undisputed winner of the ‘What Would You Like To See More Of?’ competition was “style” photographs of what I was wearing. (Gosh, who would’ve thought?!) I find this both utterly astonishing and magnificently terrifying, particularly as I believe that I have roughly the same amount of fashion credibility as say, a dish cloth. BUT! You ask, and I deliver!

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FACT: You’re unlikely to meet new, interesting individuals and have new, interesting experiences by sitting at home. No, if there’s one thing that hopping from a variety of different locations (can you believe it?! In the past two years, I’ve jumped from Sydney to London to Ireland to Scotland to Nepal and then Blenheim and now Auckland, New Zealand. NUTTY!) has taught me, it’s this: no matter WHERE you are in the world, try your bestPut yourself out there. Be open to opportunities. After all, how can you determine how you feel about somewhere (or anything, really?!) until you’ve actively sought to enjoy it? I could stand still and think “oh, I miss Australia and my gems of friends there, wah, WAH!” (and trust me, sometimes I do!), or I could focus on creating beautiful memories here. I’ve chosen the latter, so when an invitation popped up to attend the August Auckland Bloggers Brunch, I immediately RSVP’ed!

Okra Espresso Lounge ♥

The idea? That every month, a group of bloggers get together to have a chat and a delectable meal. As Laura and Maddy explained, “… we originally started this because we were friends who blogged and loved to eat. And now it’s grown into this!” Brilliant, huh?! We met at Kingsland’s Okra Espresso Lounge, and I couldn’t recommend a more fabulous, informal venue: the food, drinks and service were all SUBLIME.

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Isn’t it impressive when an establishment goes that “extra mile”? The staff at Okra didn’t HAVE to provide us with complimentary cocktails… but they did!

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I am always that lame-arse who whips out their camera at events. Meet the ultra-sweet Alisha, Stacey, Laura and Maddy

What The Frock?! : The August Blogger's Brunch, Auckland ♥

Lisa of All In A Daze was LOVELY.

What I’m Wearing:

x Red aztec print crochet maxi dress, New Look
x Black leather-look ‘Waterfall’ jacket, New Look
x ‘CORRINE’ nameplate necklace
x Black ballet flats

What The Frock?! : The August Blogger's Brunch, Auckland ♥

My only regret (it was a large table!) is that I didn’t get to natter to everyone; Meagan, Doug, and Rebecca were just a few people who seemed wonderful that I would’ve liked to speak with more, but hey… NEXT TIME! If you’re an Auckland-based blogger, come! (You can join the Bloggers Brunch Club Facebook group to find out when the next shindig is!) If you’re a Wellington-based blogger, go! (The girls are travelling to Wellington this weekend to hold a little soirée!) And if you’re neither… why not form your own regular-meeting club of some sort in your town?

xoxo

Style Icons: Jonathan Davis ♥

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While I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is interesting (you! Obviously. Your neighbour! Your neighbour’s bus driver! We all have a fable to divulge), throw me a figure who’s lived a slightly off-kilter existence – and in particular, weathered darker, tougher times, only to have THRIVED – and I’m fascinated. (Because while any tale involving success is stupendous, isn’t it a tad more terrific to hear about a person that’s flailed and then flourished? It’s inspiring!)

One such somebody that I’m endlessly intrigued by is Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of Korn (and no, not just because he’s responsible for possibly one of the silliest band names ever!), because boy, the man has b-a-t-t-l-e-d. He was physically and emotionally tortured by his stepmother as a child while his father toured as a keyboardist for Frank Zappa. Sexually abused by a family friend. Beaten constantly and taunted during high school for being a supposed “homosexual”. And yet, eventually he’d have to leave his job (at a mortuary, cutting up dead bodies, no less!) to become one of the biggest rockstars in the world, simply because a psychic whispered to him “you’d be stupid if you didn’t take this opportunity.”

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Well if you’re going to don a tracksuit, it may as well be adorned with sequins, right?!

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Or gold!

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The earlier years…

He drew on his horrific experiences to craft lyrics for a group that would come to be recognised as one of the greatest heavy metal outfits of all time. Award-winning. Multi-millionaires. He definitely had the last laugh when it came to his tormenters!

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Yes, really: BAGPIPES! In addition to singing, Jonathan also plays the bass, guitar, piano and drums…

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I admire Jonathan for countless reasons (could you imagine meeting someone like him at a party? What an army of stories he’d have for you!), a significant one being that he’s completely stone-cold sober. He quit alcohol and drugs (after a serious addiction to both) early in his career, almost two decades ago, yet still continues to perform, tour and make new music as a happy, head-banging, family-obsessed (he has three sons) adult today.

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I love reading – and sharing! – anecdotes like Jonathan’s because there’s a multitude of encouraging lessons in them: wear your wounds with pride.  They’ve helped form the phenomenal person that you are. Greatness, regardless of circumstances, is within reach. And most importantly? Keep going, keep fighting, no matter what, because you never know what the future holds…

xoxo

The World Won’t End & No-One Has Died ♥ (Or, Motherhood: Two Weeks In!)

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(Nothing quite like an uplifting post title to start your day with, is there?! Teehee!)

I made myself cry one evening by imagining how I’d traipse to the supermarket with a baby. In fact, I made myself cry on many evenings by imagining how I’d attempt to do ANYTHING with a baby. Changing them (“GROSS!” I’d wail), soothing them (“but what happens if they won’t stop CRYING?!” I’d think, bursting into tears myself), trying to fathom how I could ever manage a trip to the bathroom or a shower with a dependant infant around… you name it, and I’d FRET, and towards the final stages of my pregnancy, I’d become convinced of one thing: the world would end and someone would die. (Because I couldn’t possibly succeed at this motherhood caper, could I?! No, no, NO!)

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As I’ve previously stated, I’ll bounce on planes to international cities by myself (hi, Kathmandu!), strike up conversations with strangers with total ease (it’s one of my favourite activities!) and, heck, even move overseas for a person that I’ve only met with THREE TIMES (ahem, this is why I now have a daughter), but it’s easier to be wildly naive optimistic and stupid brazen when you’re on your own. Add a youngster to the mix and it’s a totally different ballgame. (One which has me shrieking “the world will end and someone will die!”)

Here’s the thing, though: it only will if you allow it to. Go with the flow! It’s been two weeks since Charlie came into my life, and guess what? We’ve already been to the supermarket NUMEROUS times. (In fact, I’ve even taken her to the shopping mall, and on Wednesday we’re travelling into the city!) For some reason, I assumed being a responsible/capable parent meant worrying about anything and EVERYTHING, but almost a month in and I’m finding it infinitely more beneficial to ask: “what’s the worst that could happen?” (And if you can’t stop yourself from picturing the worst happening? Break your fears into chunks, and pop steps into place to prevent them. For example, I was afraid of having Charlie squawk her head off in public, but I now know that provided she’s fed, burped and clean, I’ve minimized those chances. Risk management, baby!)

The world hasn’t ended, and no-one has died. Next on the to-do list? Taking Charlie on her first plane!

xoxo

Whittaker’s 100’s And 1000’s Chocolate ♥

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No, you’re not dreaming! Cannily concocted from white chocolate, biscuit pieces and loose hundreds and thousands (to emulate Griffin’s Cookie Bear hundreds and thousands biscuits, you see), there’s a charming new confectionary offering on the market and as Whittaker’s have so succinctly summarised: “there are so many reasons to unwrap this chocolate bar. In fact, there are literally hundreds and thousands of them.” 

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Limited edition and currently only available for purchase in New Zealand (the unjustness of it all!), it’s super-sweet and SCRUMPTIOUS. (Although, if you’re more partial to dark, bitter chocolates, this is unlikely to tickle your tastebuds.)  

And after prattling on about its perfection, what kind of a wally would I be not to offer you some? Simply perform one cartwheel underwater while humming The Macarena, and you’re in the draw to w-i-n! Or (aren’t some entry forms ridiculous?!), alternatively, you can just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll enter your name all the same. TOO EASY!

xoxo

My Daughter, Charlotte ♥

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You’re probably going to shake your head, chuckle at my astonishing stupidity and think “oh, Corrine… you sweet, arrogant, ignorant nitwit!”, because to tell you the truth, I always assumed that I was different. IMMUNE. “Motherhood won’t change me!” I’d assert. “I’m an INDIVIDUAL! I won’t become one of those women who obsessively documents their child’s life (bah! If we’re pals on social media, you’ll already know that I’m besotted with my newborn!), or forgets that anything other than their spawn exists… I HAVE AN IDENTITY!” And then, of course, on Wednesday the 16th of July, I gave birth to Charlotte, and became 110% ensconced in a baby bubble.

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Things have been a teensy bit quiet around here, and this is why!

Who knew that the clichés would be correct?! I didn’t want to admit it (ooh, there’s that pomposity again!), but they ARE. You hear sayings such as “kids are the most magical experience ever!” (old Corrine used to scoff and sarcastically snicker “gee, if that’s all there is to living, why don’t we give up now?!”) and “there’s nothing stronger than a mother’s love”, but it wasn’t until I held my own bundle that I understood. I’m smitten! (Cringe, I know, I sound like one of those parents already!) She’s the most gorgeous, exquisite being, and I’ve fallen head-over-heels for her.

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So, hi! Hello from my daughter and I! We’re thrilled to be embarking on a whole new voyage with you!

xoxo

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy ♥

Uh oh… looks like SOMEBODY’S just been informed about the ever-alluring GAS factor!

With my days of growing a human numbered (eek, she could be here as early as NEXT WEEK!), I decided it was a splendid occasion to pay tribute to my time as a pregnant woman, and namely, the things absolutely nobody tells you about. (Because sure, everybody’s familiar with the inevitable weight gain, but what about the bits and pieces that you’re NOT advised on? Let’s examine them!)

1. You May Not Exude Any Symptoms

Ooh, that’s fun, isn’t it?! There we are, raised to believe that we know ALL the signs to watch out for (the morning sickness, a tender chest), and then BAM! Some fool (*cough* me *cough*) struts along and tells you that you may not display any of those symptoms at all!

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True Story: I was three months pregnant when I learned that I was with-child. Isn’t that mad?! Three months! I hadn’t thrown up once, NOTHING was sore and because periods weren’t a regular occurrence for me anyway, I was none the wiser. UNTIL…

2. Never Mind The Weird-As Cravings, Because You’ll Develop Some S-e-r-i-o-u-s Aversions, Too!

When I announced my newfound repulsion to alcohol in December to a colleague, she glanced at me sideways and whispered “are you sure you’re not… pregnant? Because that’s how I found out! You start reacting really strongly to foods/drinks you normally love. I drank coffee every day, and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t stand the smell or sight of it. Turns out I was knocked up!”  

Yes, you may find yourself hankering for hotdogs smothered in candy floss and all manners of CRAZY concoctions, but you can also start loathing your favourites, too!

3. Your Dreams Will Range From Giving Birth To A Flying Saucer To Fighting Sequinned Suit-Wearing Monkeys To Dancing With Bananas While Listening To Rihanna

And you thought the last episode of Breaking Bad was nutty. Trust me when I say that this will be nothing compared to the oddness of what your mind will conjure up while you’re sleeping!

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4. Socialising Won’t Be As Jolly As It Used To Be

Perhaps it’s due to the changes in your hormones, perhaps it’s because, let’s face it, watching everybody else get spectacularly drunk while you’re stone-cold-sober is about as entertaining as watching paint dry (not to mention the fact that you’re constantly. EXHAUSTED), but even the most social of butterflies will find themselves morphing into hermits or acquiring a case of Grumpy Cow-Itis while there’s a bun in their oven!

5. Everyone Has An Opinion

And you know this already, but woo is it amplified when you’re carrying a baby! You’re scoffing too much bread! You’re not eating enough bread! You’re choosing to use cloth nappies? HOW MORONIC CAN YOU BE?! You’re choosing not to use cloth nappies? HOW MORONIC CAN YOU BE?! That’s the name you’ve picked?

Every time someone decides to stop you and tell you how you should be parenting (which will be every single time you step out in public), THAT Mean Girls Scene will appear in your mind, but try to smile. Deep down, most people do mean well!

6. There’ll Be Some Fun-ky Changes To Your Body 

Will you glow? Definitely! Lose your teeth postpartum? Possibly! Possess shiny, strong hair and nails? More than likely! Spot veins in ridiculous locations? (What is UP with those strange, purplish ones that sprout on your feet?!) Maybe! 

7. You’ll Realise That Your Parents Knew What They Were Talking About

Remember when you heard the line “I was your age once” and you’d roll your eyes and mutter “no you weren’t” (who can imagine their parents as teenagers?!) and “yeah, but you don’t understand, this is DIFFERENT!”  The penny drops and you grasp the reality that soon, this exact conversation is going to transpire between you and your offspring!

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8. Friendships… Adjust 

Sitting with my BFF of 14 years, he almost looked… hurt when I rejected his offer of a bourbon. He just didn’t understand. Where was his party girl?! What do you MEAN she was no longer this up-for-anything, stay-out-all-hours hooligan?! Another one of my closest pals simply stopped speaking to me. “I don’t know what to say,” she texted when I shared the news. I didn’t think too much of it until my sister admitted that she’d tried to contact this person when she was putting together a collage of “congratulations!” messages for my baby shower, only to be repeatedly ignored. Did she think I was making a tremendous mistake? Was it wacky because, growing up, she’d always been the one excitedly talking about starting a family, while I sat there shuddering, adamant that kids weren’t for me? Who knows? Be aware that there may be some adjustments between you and your buddies, but where there’s negatives, there’s positives, too: motherhood will introduce you to some fabulous new folk!

9. “Baby Brain” Exists

What were we discussing again? Oh, right!

10. You Don’t Have To Love It

You could… and HOORAY! That’s marvellous! But you don’t have to. “I loved being pregnant”, numerous women gushed to me in the early days, leaving me perplexed. What was to enjoy?! The maniacal mood swings? The warped body image? (It doesn’t matter how confident you are, when you’re stacking on sixteen kilos, gassy and perpetually uncomfortable, you’re bound to encounter moments of anxiety!) I just couldn’t wave my hypothetical pom-poms, but I wasn’t obligated to. It’s your pregnancy, and more importantly, your life. Be however you want to be! (I’m a big believer that if you’re experiencing something, someone else is/has/will, so never feel guilty/embarrassed for it!)

Phew, what a list! Is there anything you’d add? Have you been pregnant? Do you think you will – one day! – be pregnant? What did nobody tell you about pregnancy?

xoxo