Wednesday, 2 September 2015

From Student to Midwife Part 6: A Taste of the Work Place

 Grainy photo of me all excited to be in my new uniform!

Hello lovelies! I am so happy to finally be catching you all up on my journey through midwifery. It's been an insane semester and I have taken on a bit of extra stuff at uni, as well as having some pretty tough stuff in my personal life to deal with over the past couple of months, so excuse my absence! I never said I would be anything other than sporadic with updating the blog while doing midwifery, and I'm trying, I swear!

So, there are two incredibly exciting things that have happened this semester and they go something like this:

1. Myself and one of my uni friends have started a Midwifery Society at uni


2. I started antenatal placement at a local hospital!!!

So, let's start with the Midwifery Society, shall we? Basically it's a student association specific to midwifery students and funded by our overarching student services association. It's exciting because it's enabled us to do a heap of really cool and fun things for our fellow students, such as movie nights, group study sessions, subsidising attendance at conferences, charity work and we have even linked in with the local beauty school to offer Midwifery Society members $10 treatments as a part of our self care philosophy. We are also having an information session on placenta encapsulation in a couple of weeks' time, which I'm super excited about! Would you consider consuming your placenta in the form of hormone and iron rich tablets after birth? We have one really big project in the pipeline, too - a full-day conference for International Day of the Midwife 2016 on May 5th next year. We have some incredible, world-class speakers lined up and although I feel like it's incredibly hard work at times, it's so validating when fellow students and staff tell you how excited they are for the conference and even the smaller events we put on! Makes all the time and effort so worthwhile!

So, on to placement! You guys have no idea how exciting it was fr me walking into antenatal clinic on my first day there! It was a crazy, busy day and I honestly felt like crying at the end of the day - mixed tears of joy and tears of being completely overwhelmed and upset at the fragmented care system we have in Australia. I wanted so badly to give the women the time and the holistic care they deserved, like we are taught at uni, but it's so hard to do that in the 20 minute time slot the hospital allocates each woman! I was also frustrated that due to being in a complex care clinic, I didn't get to do anything hands-on. The midwife said it would have been inappropriate for an inexperienced first year to practice skills on a complex care woman. My second day in the clinic was about ten thousand times better than my first. It was a breezy day of three booking-in visits and a little bit of time in the antenatal assessment clinic. I was on with a different midwife this time and she had so much confidence in me as a student! It was the best day of my life so far! I basically did all of the hands-on stuff in the first two appointments, while the midwife double checked me and filled out the miles of paperwork involved, then she let me run the third appointment myself! She was a great teacher - eager to pass on her knowledge, approachable, friendly and she made me and the couples we saw feel really at home with her, which is so important in midwifery! She was so confident in my abilities and she was full of praise for me throughout the day, which was really great! She gave me honest, constructive criticism when I needed it and I left on a total high, feeling like my career path had been validated by the experience. It was great! Now I just have my two continuity partnerships to get me through until birth suite at the end of October. Can you believe that in less than two months, I will be seeing a baby be born? It's so exciting! I feel so blessed to be on this path!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Precious Pieces and a Bohemian Twist

This month's brief for Graham & Brown's A Year in Design challenged me to think of how something precious in my home could be transformed by redecorating a room to showcase it in. Probably the most spectacular piece of furniture in my home is an antique, cedar dining table with turned legs thicker than my thigh. It's so stunning, and while it currently looks great among the oriental decor of our dining room, I can see it being a real star of an eclectic, bohemian dining room like those above. I would never paint this beautiful, antique table, but I can certainly see it with a bunch of mismatched chairs painted in bright, bohemian colours set around it. I also love the pink painted sideboard in the picture on the right up above. I would wallpaper in Exotica Blue from Graham & Brown and fill every chair with plush floral cushions, and lay a kilim rug beneath the table to provide a warm spot for feet to rest as I ate. The cozy vibe of the exotica print, the warm wood and the beautiful textiles would be completed by a pot belly fire burning in the corner of the room, and precious memories would be made as the family gathers around the precious antique dining table for meals, for tea and cake and for conversation.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Popsicle colours!

Being a brand ambassador for Graham & Brown is so much fun! This month's design challenge, The Popsicle Trend, has me thinking in all kinds of new and creative ways about how I inject colour into my life. When I think of popsicle colours, I think of the sherbet lollies I loved as a kid, of brights and pastels and ombre tones. With this month's challenge asking where I can see popsicle in my past, present and future, I had a lot of fun reminiscing, creating and day dreaming for this post.


As soon as I thought of the popsicle trend, this amazing tea cup and saucer that was given to me by my friend, Darci came to mind! The ombre pink cup, and the tropical pink and orange saucer complete with toucans and pineapples is the perfect way to inject some summer warmth into your winter cup of tea.



My little sewing corner is bathed with light in the afternoon,  making it incredibly hard to get a decent photo, but it is definitely the part of my room that fits the popsicle trend most perfectly. Graham & Brown sent me the paint to give my sewing chair an update to make it fit in better with the pastel colours of my room. The colour is Disney's Cinderella's Perfect Pastel. It reminds me of the colour of the frozen yoghurt popsicles I've loved since I was a kid and it's perfect for a subtle hint of colour that compliments the rest of my room. If you'd like to give painting a chair a go yourself, there is a fantastic how-to on Graham & Brown's blog. The mirror above my sewing table is one of my most favourite posessions. It was a gift from my parents for my 15th birthday and it definitely picks up on the popsicle trend with its bright, ombre flowers. The popsicle colour scheme is completed by the print by Autumn and the colourful crochet squares that are my current inspiration for my craft pursuits.



I really love the mid century aesthetic and think it fits in amazingly with the popsicle theme. Taking inspiration from my toucan tea cup I've put together this beautiful mid century tropical themed living room, featuring Graham & Brown's Flamingo wallpaper. Grahamm & Brown have a super impressive array of wallpapaer, which is my new favourite obsession after watching this season's House Rules. Of course, I had to be a little bit literal in this design, including a retro popsicle poster, which I think would look great above the replica sideboard, with the flamingo wallpaper on the adjacent wall, behind the sofa. Most of the stuff in this image is from my new favourite furniture designer, Matt Blatt and it is definitely a "future" style because there is no way I can afford Matt Blatt furniture for a good few years yet!

What do you think of my past, present and future interpretations of popsicle? Where does popsicle fit into your style?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

From Student to Midwife Part 5: One Year In

 How to unwind after a long day full of lessons in personal development and midwifery practice.

Ladies and gentlemen, can you believe I am already one full year in to my midwifery studies? I hope the next two and a half years go just as quickly, because I can't wait to not be a student anymore. As much as I love learning, I think I'd take like a duck to water to not being broke.

This semester has been an incredibly interesting one. It's reinforced my love for midwifery through my introduction to two midwifery units. It's challenged my perceptions of what midwifery is and opened my mind to different perspectives and career paths. It's been a journey of self-development, as I'm assured the rest of the degree is, and it's been exhausting and rewarding all at once. I've done well this semester, with two Distinctions and a Credit as my overall marks in the three units I've taken (if I've calculated correctly. Final grades aren't released yet!) and I've really enjoyed my learning. In Midwifery Foundations, I have learned what it is to be "with-woman" and started to discover the kind of practice I want to develop and in Primary Health Care Midwifery I've begun to develop the practical skills I will need next semester on prac. Right now, with exams far behind me, I am just really looking forward to the next semester's studies! I'm trying not to will my holidays away too much though, and hope to get some creative projects done and books read in the meantime. My head is so full with the lessons I've learned this semester, and yet I have nothing else to say! Complex weavings of thoughts on birth, and on midwifery practice will have to wait until next time. For now, I'm going to relax and binge watch some Netflix. Hope you all have a lovely day!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Mind, Body, Spirit - Finding a path back to fitness

 A time when I felt truly at peace with myself

Recently, I've come to a new understanding of how important it is to keep a healthy mind, body, spirit connection. I came to this understanding through my midwifery studies, when I realised how holistic most indigenous models of health are, and how we are missing crucial aspects of mental and spiritual health in western medicine. Excuse me for sounding like some yogic hippy, but honestly, it feels really good to find that connection between mind, body and spirit and work on maintaining it. This connection may be maintained in different ways for different people, and its about what works for you, but for me, this connection is nurtured through a mix of swimming, yoga and creative output, as well as the work that I so love - my midwifery studies.

I've never been one for willful exercise, but lately, in a desperate effort to ease the pain of fibromyalgia and start feeling good about myself again, I took to swimming. In my early teen years, I used to swim a couple of kilometres a day in the local pool over summer, but then I became an angsty teen who liked her sleep too much for swimming training, and my one form of exercise stopped. It's been over 5 years since I last swam two kilometres without stopping, but last week I donned a pair of goggles and hopped back in the pool again. It was hard. I needed to stop every two laps and I only made it 300 metres all up, but the rush of endorphins it gave me convinced me that swimming was the missing link in my life. The busyness of last week (and the cold) kept me out of the pool, but yesterday I hopped back in again and managed 500 metres, stopping less than I needed to last week as well. Progress in just two sessions! I like doing things that give quick results, and I think working towards my goal of being able to swim two kilometres without stopping will be really good for me, physically as well as mentally.

To compliment my swimming, I've decided to take up yoga again, and alternate the two forms of exercise each day. Yoga has really helped me in the past to ease my pain, and has also been really instrumental when I've been through bouts of depression, to help ease my mind and get me mentally healthy again. I'll be doing Yoga with Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga spread out over the next 60 days, alternated with swimming laps in the pool, and I'm hoping to reach my 2km without stopping goal by then. I did the first day's yoga today and am feeling really at peace afterward, as well as being grateful to have stretched out some of the tightness in my legs from swimming yesterday.

While I don't totally hate the way I look (I'm pretty genetically blessed, really) I certainly have been feeling a little frumpy lately, and I'm hoping that as well as keeping me healthy, swimming and yoga might just tighten up my loose tum and bottom a little bit, too. I'll be posting about my exercise journey sporadically over the next two months, as well as other pursuits that feed into my mind, body, spirit connection to keep myself accountable and document this journey as well, so keep your eye out for my next post on spiritual health and what that means to me, as someone who isn't religious.

What do you do to keep fit and healthy?
Does it feed into your mind, body, spirit connection?

Friday, 22 May 2015

A peek at my bedroom

 It's been months since I moved back into my parents' place and I'm finally starting to get my bedroom looking the way I want it to. It's been a huge process of culling off items that I had throughout my old unit and trying to find storage solutions for what doesn't fit into this room, which is jam packed with craft stuff (not pictured due to the obscene mess on my craft table), uni stuff as well as all my clothes and other bedroom stuff. I still have a ways to go with decorating my craft area as well as wanting more colourful cushions for on my bed and needing to cover a piece of foam for my window seat so that I can decorate that area properly, but so far I am happy with how everything looks (when it's all tidy)!

White is perhaps the worst colour I could have on my bed right now thanks to my dog's muddy paws constantly dirtying it when he makes his way into my room, but I love that a white bedspread is a blank canvas for cushions and things to dress up. I particularly love the girliness of this ruched and frilly spread which I got as a total bargain off ebay! The crocheting beside my bed is a granny square blanket I started ages ago that is finally starting to take shape. I'm hoping it ties some of the colours in my room together a little more once it is done, and want to paint my bedside drawers white to give them a more girly look and make my blue ornaments really pop!

 Looking at the above photo of my bedside table which I took a month or so ago is crazy to see how much my cacti have grown! The are much bigger now but still not too big for my pretty terrarium. I'm so happy with how this bedside table looks!

 My desk is the first space in my room which really came together when I moved back home. It's an ugly metal and frosted glass thing which I threw a pretty lace table cloth over and decorated with some of my favourite things. The Harry Potter quote sign is from KB Signs and Kaelah did such a beautiful job on it. It's one of my favourite things I own! The chair is one from my mum's outdoor setting which I claimed as my own, because it fits in beautifully with my rustic stuff. The vintage ads above my desk are from Woolangabba Antique Centre and I chose the fashion one because it is an exact copy of my nan's going away outfit from when she got married in the late 1950's. The crystal jewellery holders were a gift from my aunty for my birthday, and the drawers were from my sister, along with a matching mirror which hange beside my bedroom door, and the decorated jars were made by me and are filled with fresh flowers whenever I can spare the change for them!.

 This big, wooden bookshelf was too heavy for us to bother moving it when I moved into this room so I happily kept it and gave my brother a white chipboard one to move into his new room as a replacement. I love having space to display my books, of which there are more on lower shelves, and also to display my favourite teacups and my teapot, and to have my jewellery handy. It also works as a great divider, separating out the corner on the other side of the shelf from my bed as a craft space. I'm really lucky to havea large, peculiarly shaped room which makes me feel less cramped now that I'm living back with my family again, and allows space for my hobbies without intruding on my family members when I make a big mess.

 This print was sent to me by Graham and Brown and fits in perfectly above my bed. The rose is feminine and keeps in line with the shabby chic, vintage look of my room, while still bringing in a modern edge with the touch of glitter and the bright shade of pink. I am looking for a bigger painting to put above my bed, but when I find one, this beautiful print will only be relocated to the other side of my bookshelf to decorate my craft space. After years of renting, I'm so glad to finally be back in a place where I can put hooks in the walls to my hearts' content!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Introducing: Little Foal Shabby Chic Wedding Decor

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I recently attended a good friend's wedding, where I made a lot of the decorations. It was a beautiful, laid back wedding without sit down tables and we created a beautiful romantic vibe by situating tables around the room full of candles and flowers and vintage props and signs. A lot of people were surprised I would spend so much time and effort on something like this for a friend. There were literally dozens of hours spent cutting out triangles for bunting, ironing, gluing, measuring, cleaning and collecting jars and there was quite a bit of money spent on lace and doilies and all the pretty bits that brought the jars and bunting together so beautifully. Now, the truth comes out!

Before she even got engaged, the bride, who is a wedding photographer, knowing that I enjoy making things with my hands, pitched a business idea to me. She said there is a gap in the market for wedding decor that is shabby chic and low budget and offers the option of hiring bunting, so that the bride and groom aren't stuck with a heap of stuff they will never use again after that one day. At first, I declined. I said I was too busy, I wouldn't know where to start and I've never made such massive amounts of products before. Eventually, after her engagement, and a promise that she would help me build a network, I agreed. I'd make the decorations for her wedding, and hire them out afterwards, building on my stock over time. 

 Her wedding came together beautifully, with the two of us collaborating to style it with a mix of the decorations I'd made and she owned or collected in the lead up to the wedding. Many of the guests complimented us both on our efforts and my confidence was boosted! Now, one month later, I am finally launching Little Foal Shabby Chic Wedding Decor. Right now I'm offering burlap and lace bunting to hire (approx. 52 metres), decorated burlap and lace jars to hire (approx. 50) and a blue vintage suitcase to hire, a Singer sewing machine to hire, Mr & Mrs bunting to hire, CARDS bunting to hire (suggested use with suitcase for card box) and custom made bunting and jars to bride and groom's specifications. My delivery area is from Yamba to Broadbeach and west to Casino on the Far North Coast of NSW and the Gold Coast, QLD.

I'm really excited about this new venture, and hope to have hire prices in albums on the facebook page by the end of the week, in time for Evans Head's Beef Meets Reef event this Sunday, where I will have a market stall. I'm also hoping to eventually have some bunting in stock to sell, including the Mr & Mrs bunting, and to expand into other vintage and handmade props.