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

It’s Been A Wild Ride! ♥ (Makes You Wonder What We’ll Be Discussing In *2016*, Doesn’t It?!)

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Uh, guys? It’s the first of July tomorrow! Which means a few different things (it’s a brand-spanking new month! Christmas is only 176 days away! It’s – and who knew that this was an event?! – ‘National Hot Dog Month’!), but all it REALLY means when I peer at the calendar is “sweet merciful crap… I’m giving birth to a BABY in a matter of days!”

It never feels “real”. I’ve been spending the vast majority of my maternity leave manually transferring over five years of blog content from another hosting company to this wee space, WordPress (a task every bit as scintillating as it sounds, I can assure you! *groan*), glancing at each post and shaking my head. How did I get here?! Once upon a time, one of my best friends’ signature rejection moves at nightclubs involved pretending to be a single mother. In her mind, nothing could be more unattractive to the opposite sex than hearing a tale of a woman raising a child alone. We would all be in HYSTERICS, but only a few birthdays later, here I am!

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And to think, as I flew into Dubai in 2012, that I imagined months of (solo) overseas travel would be “tough”. If only!

Within two years, I’ve transformed from a girl living in Sydney to a traveller bouncing their way through England, Scotland, Ireland and Nepal to a female bringing a child into the world by herself in New Zealand, and nobody is more gobsmacked than me! (Isn’t it peculiar how you can insist “oh, I would NEVER do that!” or “but that wouldn’t happen to me”, only to eventually find yourself in positions all-too-similar to ones that you swore you’d never be in?)  What will we be gas-bagging about in 2015… in 2016?!

xoxo

Perspective ♥

Because sometimes (especially on a Monday!), we ALL need a serving of perspective with our breakfast! I love this, and as I sit here chomping through my morning muesli, I’m playing the ‘I Am Thankful For…’ game with my grumbles, too…

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xoxo

What The Frock?! : Lunch At The Wither Hills Winery ♥

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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Because I’m your friend, I would feel mightily guilty if I didn’t share this tidbit of reality with you: when you’re pregnant, almost EVERYONE will comment on your weight. Daily. Oh, I know! I can practically hear you gasping from here in New Zealand! “That couldn’t be,” you’re thinking, shaking your head, but uh huh! It be! You’ll soon establish that the majority of remarks are coming from a place of fascination, rather than unkindness, but if you’re not prepared for it, it can be… jarring. My personal philosophy (some people are partial to retaliating with swear words; whatever works is fully up to you!) is to play along. I’ve already lost my ability to fit into 98% of my wardrobe: I refuse to lose my idiotic sense of humour, too!

The Wither Hills Winery, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand ♥

And on that note… what’s one to wear when they’re heavily expectant and invited to lunch at the divine Wither Hills winery? A tent?! NO. I plucked out some sequins and a pair of knee-high leather boots! (Take that, misconceptions that pregnant women only shuffle about in tracksuit pants!)

What The Frock?! : 16/05/14 ♥

Getting my baby-clutching practice in! This is my gorgeous buddy Tayla’s munchkin, Tiana. Isn’t she the cutest?!

What I’m Wearing:

x H&M sequinned cardigan (I bought this in London nearly two years ago; I kid you not, I’ve already decided that next time I visit that phenomenal city, I’m bringing an empty suitcase, because THAT’S how incredible the shopping is over there! How was a girl to refuse these sparkles?!)
x Forever 21 handbag
x Asos boots 
x Pagani dress (I adore this because the back of it actually has an awesome zipper detail on it. Why wear a frock one way when you can wear it TWO ways?! TURN IT AROUND!)

The Wither Hills Winery, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand ♥

We were told that when Prince William and Kate Middleton recently visited New Zealand, this is one of the restaurants they dined at, and peeking at these photographs, you’re probably not surprised, are you? It’s breathtaking!

The Wither Hills Winery, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand ♥
Tayla, Jaz & Tiana At Wither Hills ♥

Two of the loveliest (and camera-shy!) girls I’ve ever met: Jazmin and Tayla!

The Wither Hills Winery, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand ♥

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There’s a tremendous air of change wafting around, and this was the perfect send-off: in a matter of days, I’ll be farewelling Blenheim and moving to AUCKLAND! Ah, don’t mind that noise… that’s just the sound of one chapter closing, and another one beginning!

xoxo

Does Everything Happen For A Reason? ♥

everythinghappensforareasonYou hear it CONSTANTLY, don’t you? (Heck, it was once one of my catch-crys!) “Everything happens for a reason.” Even an adorable message from my equally adorable sister was framed the same way yesterday:

“So, I was thinking… maybe, just MAYBE… you’re having this baby because you’re meant to be in New Zealand. Because think about it! If you WEREN’T having her, you would never be staying here, so perhaps she’s keeping you in the country for a reason! DEEP THOUGHTS, DEEP THOUGHTS!”

Deep thoughts indeed, huh?! But can I admit something to you? I’m not convinced that I feel comfortable uttering the saying anymore. While I l-o-v-e a positive mantra as much as the next lass (“believe in yourself!” “Have faith in your abilities!” “Follow your dreams!” RAH!), these days, I don’t know that I’m smitten with assuring somebody who’s endured significant hardship (please note: I’m not referring to myself here) “don’t worry… it’s all a part of the plan. ICE CREAM AND SPRINKLES FOR EVERYBODY!”

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I met a couple recently who were expecting their first children. Twins. They were in their mid-late thirties, and they were ECSTATIC. Twins! Two girls! A week later, I learned that at 24 weeks, the woman’s waters had broken, and she’d been forced to give birth early… and agonisingly, say goodbye early, too. Within hours, her tiny angels  – these miracles that her and her partner had been endlessly hoping and trying for – had passed away. She cried when she saw me next. I sobbed when I spoke to her, speechless, wondering what can I say to ease her pain?” Can you imagine if I’d blurted out “chin up; things obviously just weren’t meant to be? Ugh! She probably would’ve wanted to stab me in the eye with the nearest object, a reaction I’d expect from anyone who was suffering only to be told “but it’s FATE!”

What’s your destiny? What’s my destiny? Goodness, who would know?! It’s dawning on me though that before long, a little voice (my soon-to-be daughter) is going to be pressing me with “but Mum, why did *insert sucky situation* happen?”, and I won’t be able to explain or justify everything to her (sometimes, a tragedy is precisely that… a tragedy). But never mind! Eventually, she’ll come to understand that our years are similar to our favourite books, movies or television series (tinged with highs, LITTERED with lows!), except in reality, we have to be our own heroine. Battles? You’ll encounter them. But there’s also a heap of fun to be had, too…!

xoxo

Wallet-Friendly Beauty Buys ♥ (That Even The Most Skeptical Of Dogs Would Approve Of!)

Now, I don’t know about you, but whack me into the beauty section of any store and BAM! All of a sudden, I  adopt a totally different persona. Sure, to the casual observer I may still look like Corrine on the outside (same goofy grin, identical penchant for walking into inanimate objects), but no! What I REALLY morph into is…

SKEPTICAL DOG!

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“I don’t trust you. OR YOU.”

It’s not that I don’t want to believe the bold claims beautifully scrawled on the packaging of all manners of goos, but COME ON! ‘Anti-hangover’ body washes? Are you kidding me?! What liquid (beyond several thousand  glasses of water the next morning) is going to undo gin and tonic damage?! And ‘age unwind’ balms? GET OUT OF TOWN! You’re never going to make me more youthful! (And you know it, don’t you? DON’T YOU?!) ANYWAY. It’s not all deceit and misrepresentation, because I’ve sniffed out a few products that even the most untrusting of us would wave our thumbs up at!

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Palmolive ‘Naturals’ Shampoo & Conditioner

It’s almost as if the Palmolive folk conducted a team meeting and declared “you know what? We’re tired of being THAT BRAND that people only glance at when they’re a day or two away from payday. We don’t want to be sub-par… we want to SUCCEED!”, because I’ve tried their shampoos and conditioners before and, despite the tantalising price tag, I was not impressed. But, faced with the exact conundrum above (it was a Sunday. I didn’t have any pennies rolling into my bank account until the following Tuesday), I found myself face-to-face with them in the supermarket once again. I didn’t want to purchase them, but in the wise words of Macklemore, “shit… it was ($3 and) 99 cents!”

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SOLD! And gratefully so, because j-e-e-z these guys have dramatically stepped their game up! When did they change their formula?! Packed with coconut oil, honey balms and silk proteins (what? I don’t know either), they’ve tweaked their recipe BIG TIME, and I have soft hair! SMOOTH locks! I’ve been using it ever since! Fiddle-dee-dee!

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Maybelline’s ‘Fit Me’ Foundation

New? No. Noteworthy? YES! I was nattering away with a dame who worked for a high-end range at a department store a couple of months ago. She was delightful and asked if she could convince me to consider swapping my favourite foundation (Maybelline’s ‘Fit Me’, approximately $20 and a WINNER!) for one of her company’s offerings. We stripped my face of its make-up, and while she applied an $80 product to one cheek, I swiped my trusty Maybelline onto the other, and leaned into the mirror to compare. “I can’t see a difference,” she whispered. No, neither could I, which is why I’ve faithfully stuck by this baby for YEARS! It’s creamy with fantastic coverage, and while nobody ever asks for my opinion on politics, world events or anything remotely useful, I do regularly get pressed for what I plaster on my mug, and it’s this! eclipsenailpolish

Eclipse Nail Polish

Warning: getting your mitts on a bottle of this may involve some James Bond-style manoeuvring (or Ebay-ing!), because I have never spied this stuff outside of bargain stores. In fact, I’d never seen it before living in BLENHEIM, but word on the street (*cough* internet *cough*) is that in-the-know Asians have been using it FOREVER. You see, it’s a Korean brand, and something else? It’s the best nail polish that you’ll ever use. No lie! It’s genuinely long-lasting, quick-drying and the most delicious part? No shade will set you back more than $3. $3! Is that not the greatest thing you’ve heard all weekend?! (Apart from Macklemore?) WHY AREN’T YOU SEARCHING FOR IT ALREADY?! Your talons will love you eternally!

♥ 

Tell me about your wallet-friendly beauty buys! Have you snapped up anything sensational lately? (And do you find yourself transiting into a character when shopping, or am I just bonkers?!)

xoxo

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