My Wardrobe is a Black Hole

March 28th, 2012  / Author: Myra Cooke

Black has always been my fall back option when choosing clothes.  Black pants and a black top are great value when it comes to cost per wear.  Black pants can be paired with a number of tops and jackets to create many outfits.  Likewise black tops can be paired with a great number of pants or skirts.  Black pieces offer versatility, with the ability to take you from casual to elegant using only accessories.

But somewhere along the way black stopped being a wardrobe extender and became the main attraction.  I suspect this change coincided with the arrival of children and a drop in disposable income; subsequently my wardrobe has become a black hole.

There were warning signs.  My first clue came when my best friend picked me a bridesmaid dressed for her wedding and exclaimed, ‘Yay, I’ll get to see you in something other than black!’  At the time I laughed it off – I realise now – she may have been trying to stage an intervention.  I’m almost ashamed to tell you that I ignored this sign and because loved the dress so much I also had one made in black.  Proclaiming you can never have too many black dresses.

This year I decided I would make a conscious effort to start wearing more colour. I went shopping with the best of intentions but it proved difficult to find anything other than black.  To prove a point I came home with two tops but I find myself only ever wearing one of them, and in the interest of full disclosure – the one I wear is grey, (my husband suggests it looks like a black that has faded).

Which brings me to today.  The postie has delivered a parcel containing a gorgeous dress I ordered.  – I pulled it out of the bag and rushed to try it on.  It looks amazing.  So amazing I will be wearing it to work tomorrow – I pull out the necessary accompaniments – leggings, a long sleeved top, shoes – and then I notice everything I have laid out is black. I look through my wardrobe – all of the dresses seem to be black, with the exception of my wedding dress and a couple of others.  In fact my entire wardrobe seems very black.

I have recognised the need to add some colour to my wardrobe although it appears the next step of buying a colour other than black maybe a stumbling block.

Do you wear colour?  Or are you in a rut like me?

The overall look of a piece of clothing is my biggest concern but comfort and cost per wear are also huge influences.  What influences your choice in clothes?

List it

March 7th, 2012  / Author: Myra Cooke

 

 

I am not organised – this is a fact.  I am so bad at being organised ‘Disorganised’ should be my middle name.  But somehow I manage to get through the days – my kids always wear clean clothes, we eat fresh home cooked meals (most of the time), and my house is fairly clean.    How do I manage when I have the organisational skills of a (insert the first thing you think of that epitomises disorganised here**)?  I’m glad you asked.

The answer is, while I am not naturally organised, I am a planner.  Without the help of multiple lists (written in notebooks, on post-it notes, or mobile phone apps) I’m pretty sure nothing would get done in my house – EVER.

Lists help me keep track of the things that need to be done in my life.   Sometimes my lists tell me what I need to do next, at other times they tell me where I should be going, what I need to buy, or how much money I should be spending.  They help me plan my day, my week, my month and my year.

Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I even plan my meals a month ahead.  Sounds a bit extreme but without this level of organisation it is quite possible I could forget to shop*, or spend my entire month’s grocery budget without buying ANY food, or end up eating takeaway way too often.

Unfortunately my need for lists was a lesson learnt the hard way.  Experience has taught me having a meal plan helps me budget so I can buy my meat in bulk and save money, while at the same time saving my family from too much takeaway or having to eat the same uninspired meals every night of the week.

Without this forward planning I can get a little overwhelmed.  I don’t plan because I AM organised, I plan so I CAN be organised.  Organisation goes against every natural fibre in my body, and experience tells me that without my lists and post-its my life won’t and doesn’t run smoothly.

This need to plan is almost certainly a coping mechanism to make up for my poor memory but there is also some comfort to be found in following a trail of post-it notes and there is a certain satisfaction to be had at completing a task and crossing it off a list.  And this ladies and gentleman is how I manage to get things done in a typical day.

*You can read about my memory issues here.

How do you remember to get everything done?

Are you one of those gifted people who are naturally organised or do you have to work hard at it like me?

**What was the first thing you thought of that epitomises disorganised?

Sharing My Strange

January 25th, 2012  / Author: Myra Cooke

I can be a little bit weird sometimes.  The good news is I’m not alone.  We all do things that can sometimes seem a little strange to others.  Whether your weird comes from a strange quirk or a habit, the good thing is it’s relative.  My weird might be your normal, and what’s normal to me might leave you scratching your head or raising an eyebrow.

Although I know my weirdness exists I struggled to think of a single weird thing about myself, and when I asked my husband to help me out he said, “We’ve been together so long your weirdness has become normal.”

But he must have tried REALLY hard because he came home from work with a long list of the weird things I do.

 

This was his list:

  • When I’ve finished my meal I push my empty plate away because I can’t handle dirty dishes in front of me.
  • I give myself the hiccups from eating sandwiches too fast – every time.
  • I can’t sleep without some sort of bed covering pulled up over my ear, even if it’s really hot.
  • I can’t sleep if the bedroom door is open or if there are any windows open anywhere in the house.
  • I will only ever eat Nutella straight out of the jar with a spoon – I consider any other way weird.
  • I don’t remember lines from movies, even my favourite ones.  It’s like each time I watch them it’s the first time.

 

It’s true – I do all of those things, and to me they are all perfectly normal.  There are probably many more things I do that others would consider strange but nothing else comes to mind, perhaps because I don’t realise my oddities until someone else points them out.

It’s so much easier to notice the weirdness of others.  Like the group of people I know that need to use matching pegs when they are hanging out washing – yes, it’s true I know more than one person who does this (maybe I’m weird for not doing it).  There are people I know who can carry out whole conversations using only TV or movie quotes.  Then there is the person who doesn’t like chocolate but buys himself multipacks of Malteasers and Mars Bars, and admits to liking Boost Bars and the person who always uses a strange voice when she is talking on the phone.  I know people who can’t sleep unless the jars in their pantry are lined up in height order with labels facing the right way, or others that need the toilet paper to have the flap at the top rather than underneath.  Some of us need our towels or tea towels folded a specific way or hung so that the bottoms are lined up to maximise neatness.

We each have our own little things that we need to do in a specific way, sometimes these things can be strange to the rest of us but the best thing about being a little bit weird is the knowledge that if we weren’t a little bit weird then we wouldn’t be normal.

What’s your weird?

Share it with us – chances are you won’t be the only one.

My Little Bit of Sunshine

January 12th, 2012  / Author: Myra Cooke

My Little Bit is away right now, holidaying with her bestie.  I miss her like crazy. She’ll be back in a couple of days, but I miss her because things are changing.  She is changing.  I don’t have a little girl living in my house anymore; a young lady, who starts high school in a couple of weeks, has replaced her.  It’s an exciting time and I know she’ll be fine. (She really is brilliant, but of course I am biased.)

I’m very proud of her. But these days I find myself looking at her and wondering where my baby went.  This year she will become a teenager, and more and more she’ll look outside our home, and our family, for role models.  Thankfully, she has lots of wonderful people around her to guide her through.  I’m positive she’ll do well but I can’t help being nostalgic for the baby I held, and for the times we shared.

I have to keep reminding myself that her growing up is a good thing.  That she was never mine to keep.  My job is to look after her, nurture her and then ultimately (not anytime soon) let her go.  Which makes me now more than ever, grateful for the time we’ve had over the last year.

Over the last twelve months we’ve been lucky enough to regain some Mother-Daughter time and I’ve loved every minute.

For almost seven years Little Bit was an only child, and the centre of our universe.  Then Monster was born.  Little Bit had always been independent.  One of the earliest sentences she spoke was, ‘I do it,’ which went on to become, ‘I do it by my own.’

Monster was her polar opposite.  He was needy and took up a lot of time.  This gave Little Bit more space and independence.

Then last year Monster started Kindergarten and for the first time since his birth, I again had the opportunity for some regular one-on-one time with my girl, and I loved it.  Twice a week we had about an hour and a half together and although a lot of that time was spent sitting in traffic, it was nice, just the two of us, together.  She could speak, I could listen and most importantly, there were no interruptions.

I’m sure, over the next few years, she will want to spend less time with her mum but I’ll always be grateful for the little bit of sunshine she brings to every day.

War has been declared

January 5th, 2012  / Author: Myra Cooke

 

I’m living in a war zone.

It’s currently Day 4 of a Nerf war that started when I (after years of nagging) finally caved on my no toy-gun policy.  To be honest I’m not sure who was more excited, the kids or the husband but before I could change my mind there was a hasty trip to the shops where three Nerf guns were purchased – we have two kids so you can guess who the third gun was for.

By the time the weapons were removed from their cardboard packaging the rules of war had been established.  No one was allowed to shoot Mum (me), or the dog.

The kids were careful to stick to the rules while the man-child had a serious lapse in judgment and decided it would be funny to shoot me in the bum as I walked passed.  Not cool husband, not cool.

Since the war started I have listened to my soldiers playing together, running around, hiding, and most importantly laughing together.   I think this war has been a great bonding experience for all involved, and I’m really glad I caved.

The idea of kids playing with guns was previously quite upsetting to me but then I realised the man-child to this day loves a bit of paintball action – bruises and all – it leaves him grinning like a Cheshire cat.  After an afternoon paintballing he will happily re-tell his tales of action over and over to all who will listen, and as far as I know (and I’m pretty damn sure) he’s never once shot a person in real life.

Besides, my ban had never once stopped my little boy from playing with guns, he would just pretend sticks, toys, brooms and whatever else he could get his hands on were guns, and the fact that I didn’t like him doing it made it all the more appealing.

The war has not been without injury, or tears.  There have been shots to the face (all allegedly unintentional – and all caused by one gung-ho man-child), and one injured elbow but so far no blood has been spilt, and after a quick injury assessment from Mum the soldier usually begs to return to the war.  So as the epic battle continues to rage I can honestly say as a family this war has definitely been a winner.

How do you feel about kids playing with guns?