About Me

I was born in 1966, and I share my Mum’s birthday, except she was born in 1942. We are both a Gemini star sign and a Fire horse in the chinese calendar.

I married my husband Phil in 1991- he is still ‘the one’.

In 2003, I gave birth to twins named Mitchell and Holly.

We have one cat named Anna.

I live in Karaka, South Auckland, New Zealand

On this blog I write about a variety of topics – art journaling, reading, scrapbooking, parenting a complex child, disability issues, sobriety, self care, midlife, and anything that piques my interest. I use this blog to get my thoughts out of my head, and to help me find my authentic voice.

Random bits:

  • Give me a rom com to watch any day of the week and I will be happy.
  • My golf handicap is around about 23 and I love to play as much as I can.
  • Japan, Thailand and Canada are my favourite countries I have visited.
  • I have been sober since 21 May 2018
  • There is a girl that used to run marathons hidden in this body
  • My dream is to publish a book about our journey raising a high and complex needs son

The long story:

I’m a generation X, so in the mid 1980s, I was fortunate to travel the world gathering memories at a time when physical evidence like getting stamps in my passport, buying air tickets with coupons to check-in with, and taking real pictures with film camera were still a thing.  Even traveling solo and talking to fellow travelers in the flesh – yep, before the digital age of smartphones, selfies and digital pictures that’s how I created real live memories.   No social media, google maps, chats or blogs for recording, so I kept a diary off and on, and wrote letters home to my Mum on thin airmail paper.   Photos were printed at the specialist photography shops and it was exciting to open the developed photos and see what memories you had captured. 

Of course, along the way, I met my husband, fell in love at the ripe age of 24, married soon after and we continued living a carefree and charmed life, living and working in Auckland, NZ.  Twelve years later we welcomed twin babies into the world.  That was 2003, and we still didn’t have a digital camera – but my sister-in-law did.  We have a few grainy pixelated pics of our newborns first weeks, before we splashed out on a digital camera of our own. 

You could say that we hit a bit of a speed bump in our road once the twins arrived, as Mitchell our oldest was born with a rare disease called Pentalogy of Cantrell.  His chances for survival were not great, and I think we quietly started appreciating each moment more mindfully, as we realized how precious life is. 

It was while Mitchell was in Starship hospital for the first two years of his life that I was introduced to the craft of scrapbooking.  I was hooked, it was as good as therapy.  It became a way for me to keep track of events while still and it was something that I enjoyed. Our family spent many hours sitting in hospital waiting rooms, on the wards and at specialist appointments – the backgrounds to many of our family photos are not scenic backdrops of spectacular mountain ranges or iconic monuments.  But they are a record of our life, and with them are the stories of our journey.

My experiences through motherhood have made me a different person to what I expected I would become.  My resilience to cope has been severely tested and by no means have I got it right all the time or been the perfect mother.  I have made the classic mistakes of doing too much, and not asking for help until I would feel desperate.  Having grown up, with a motto of “there is no such word as can’t” I fully believed that you were weak if you asked for help.  I did not want help to raise our kids, but I had to acknowledge without serious help, we would all crash and burn under the stress.  So, it took me a while to get there – but I now believe that you show strength when you ask for and accept help.

One of my coping mechanisms to destress along this journey, was to have a wine or two, and for many years this worked okay for me.  However, somewhere on the way, I realized that I was no longer drinking socially or just to destress, it had become an addiction.  I found myself waiting for 5 pm to arrive, so that I could open that bottle of wine.  Realising that this had become a problem, I started trying to ‘moderate’ my drinking – by having days off, limiting my number of drinks per day, but I would always return to daily drinking.  I could not possibly be an alcoholic, as I still had a job, I hadn’t lost my licence, been put in jail?  But, after several years of this mindless chatter going on in my head, and even trying a break of 6 months, I thought that it would be alright for me to start drinking socially once again.  Two years later, I was back to drinking unhealthy amounts of alcohol on an almost daily basis.

On May 21, 2018 I decided to commit to trying life out alcohol free.  I rejoined the Living Sober community and continue to belong to this community as a way of focusing on living alcohol free. If you are interested in trying out an alcohol free lifestyle you may be interested in this community – http://www.livingsober.com. (I am not paid affiliate links, I just think it is an awesome site).

To replace my drinking pastime, I knew that I needed to start looking after myself better.  So, I decided to do more than “just stop drinking”.  Instead, I returned to things that used to make me happy. I got back into reading, scrapbooking, art journaling, and looked for new ways to look after myself.  I resigned from my job, to have more time to parent, and to make time for myself.  I started to see a counsellor.  I started trying to find other ways to deal with my emotions that I had numbed for such a long time.  And here I am.  Still far from perfect – but in a much better space.

I think you could say I have been coaching myself into living a more meaningful life without alcohol as my buffer.