Crocs, Bingo Wings and Sales!

Yesterday I did my version of the Boxing Day Sales shopping.

Armed with my list of

Essentials I didn’t get for Christmas

  • diary
  • calendar
  • small backpack for if / when I go walking on Straddie again

and my list of

Wants / Desires / Maybe’s

  • replacement Mac blotting powder (medium)
  • try any sort of Jo Malone perfume
  • shoes for a wedding in Feb to match a dress I haven’t even chosen

I made my way to the Mall that was previously known as Indooroopilly Shoppingtown. In the year or so since I have ventured there, it has been fully renovated and  it shall evermore be known to me as Where The Hell Am I?   Don’t get me wrong – it is indeed impressive … if you can find a park!  Which I did because I was early.  It is huge and everything is in a different place and there is soooooo much more than I remember …. maybe double more!!

I began shopping where every great shopper does – on my second  list!!  After wandering around for an hour or two, I had nothing.  Zip zilch nada nothing!  I’m very sorry mam, but we don’t seem to have any medium blotting powder – but we do have light or medium dark if that would suit?   Of course it won’t suit, your consultant at the airport said medium is the colour I need!!!  Next shop – I’m very sorry mam, only our city store stocks Jo Malone perfume, but I have tried it and it is very beautiful and you have the ability to layer the levels and that way you can use the other Jo Malone perfume products to create your own version!   Yes, well that is entirely useful information but I only wanted a squirt to see if it gives me a headache, as many perfumes do.  You don’t happen to have yours in your handbag so I could try it before I go traipsing into the city for nothing?  By this time I had given up on the shoes for many and varied reasons – mostly related to maybe I should decide on the dress first … or at least a colour.

It was about this time that I turned the corner and I found this and it saved me!

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I then began on my first list and was able to quite quickly find everything on it and Get The Hell Out Of There and go home!

Now don’t get me wrong, I usually love shopping but at the moment it is riddled with all the things that make my anxiety levels high.  Driving in stressful conditions; talking to people who don’t know me; making decisions; spending money AND what to wear when I go to the mall!

The last one nearly did my head in yesterday.  It is hot and humid in Brisbane at the moment and I tried on 3 different outfits with sleeves before I said to myself Stuff it …. I am going sleeveless!  You see I have very flabby arms. Tuckshop lady arms!  Bingo wings!  I try to never leave the house with out covering them up.  I know that there are toning exercises that could help but as I have mentioned before I have a small internal voice that helps me with that! What I really want to know is if you see my flabby arms when I am shopping sleeveless on a hot day or is it only me that see them?  For the most part, when shopping, I only notice the smiles that couples and friends share, the weary looks on some of the  faces as they fit their kids  for new school shoes, the colourful Summery clothing worn and the buzz of the busy crowd.

It is sensible to go sleeveless in the heat so I did!  And was anyone looking?  I really don’t think anyone was looking at me. Anyway, if they were, it was probably because I accidentally wore my Crocs!!

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And we all know that  Crocs are not shoes!

Breaking the Drought with a Net.

After days of intense heat and months of dry weather, the city of Brisbane finally, got a decent storm that brought thunder, lightning and most importantly rain!  Of course, this also meant flash flooding, high winds and power outages but we Queenslanders know that this goes with the territory.  Last night the air was crisp and clean – a real relief from the muggy, humidity of the past week.  Sleep was a much easier prospect and this morning has dawned clear and sunny but the ground definitely has a tinge of green already.

Brisbane downpour!
Brisbane downpour!

While I definitely feel joy and relief, my celebrations were immediately curtailed by the heart wrenching comment posted by my dear farming friend who is smack bang in the midst of a drought – big time.

“those pics make my mouth water…we just have the heat and now wind thankfully to get some water pumping….glad you guys got under some as Brissy looks pretty ordinary too.”

A drought for us city slickers is an annoyance – our gardens require more attention and many plants don’t survive and our lawns become dust bowls. But a drought for our farming families and associated industries, is a whole other ball game.

Most of my farming friends are dairy farmers. The Australian ones have had more drought  than good years in the thirty plus years we have been friends.  In the past, they have always managed to keep positive and continue to look with hope and prayers towards the next sprinkle or storm.  They have always been circumspect.  Knowing that with the land comes challenges.  They have continued to push on day after day to put food on our tables.

But this time I can feel a difference.  A despair that I haven’t witnessed personally before.  This drought hasn’t been as long as some others but I think it must be the constant wearing down of having had 11 years of drought, only to be followed by 2-3 reasonable years, then to be thrown right back into drought again!  The recovery time might have been enough for the land to semi bounce back (I have no technical knowledge here so don’t quote me) but it does not seem to be enough for the exhausted minds and bodies and souls to recover. They are tired and downhearted and struggling to find the energy and will, let alone the finances to keep going.

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I have felt helpless to know what to do to relieve their burden for some months now but I continue to do what I can.  I never buy Supermarket brand milk (every little bit helps); I give when & if I can; I sign petitions and I pray.  Another thing I try to do is to encourage and validate  my friends importance to me personally and as a community, by sharing their stories and struggles with whoever listens or reads my facebook and blog posts.  As I have found with my personal struggles, just knowing someone cares about you; is thinking about you; is praying for you – can give you an amazing boost!  For the farmers to know that when we get rain, we are still thinking about their plight, is greatly appreciated.  And the big one …. when they get rain – it doesn’t mean the drought is over for them.  They will still need, the often elusive gift of follow-up rain, to really make a difference.  They don’t need to be told that they are never happy!!!

So make contact with a farming family today.  Tell them you are thinking about them and their important, life-giving work.  Show them that you appreciate them and encourage them by prayer and any other means you can.  Talk to them, ask them how they are going and if there is anything specific you could do to help.  Then follow through as best you can!  They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and together, one at a time, we can become the soft place for them to fall and the safety net necessary to keep going.

All in this together

I wish to acknowledge Amie Ballon for the use of the gorgeous photographs of her family property.

You can see more of her work on Instagram on

Mandy’s G20 Spa Update: Conclusion.

The G20 in Brisbane is over.  Vlad left early!  Barack wowed the Uni Students!  Tones … well Tones was just Tones!  Most of the road closures will be slowly getting back to normal but the weekend was anything but normal!  We had days of this –

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It was ridiculously hot which meant any Spa activities that needed me to leave the house and the air conditioning, were well and truly forgotten!  It was actually too hot to walk the 100 metres to our Community pool, remove the cover, swim, replace the cover, then walk the 100 metres back to the house!  So, the weekend of pampering and relaxation of myself changed quite a lot.

I was amazed to notice that the minute I announced the fact of having a pampering weekend and gave myself permission to have a relaxing weekend – I became revitalized and energetic.  Ploughing into those tasks that have previously been beyond me.  Tasks like tackling Mt Washmore!  Like organising my wardrobe and packing away my Winter woollens.  I washed and packed away winter bedding. Of course, because of the weather, it was a nightmare to hang out the washing but it did dry in a heartbeat!

You know, I never did slather, smooth, pluck or exfoliate anything but I really don’t mind.  My mind was fed and nourished with the beauty of music and words.  And I achieved many satisfying outcomes within my home.  No, my home is not picture perfect nor sparkling from top to bottom.  But it is a more serene and organised place in which to feel calm and motivated.  I wanted to give myself a hug and I did!  And it felt good!

Here are some photos of other things that made me feel relaxed, calm and motivated on the G20 weekend.

A Kookaburra and a Peewee dropped in for a well needed drink.
A Kookaburra and a Peewee dropped in for a well needed drink.
The All Blacks had a narrow win against Scotland.
The All Blacks had a narrow win against Scotland.
Mettwurst, cheese & crackers for lunch.
Mettwurst, cheese & crackers for lunch.
Mango season is well and truly here.
Mango season is well and truly here.
My bedroom minus Mt Washmore!
My bedroom minus Mt Washmore!

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful I feel with all those clothes having been sorted, folded and packed away.  Yes, there is ironing to be done but next weekend I will receive a whirlwind visit from my New Zealand nephew and seeing as he is my Sister’s son – I’m hoping that her love of ironing has been passed down the generation!  I am not holding my breath, though!

The other soul nourishment from my G20 Spa Weekend, came from Glennon Doyle Melton and her wonderfully down to earth blog,  Momastery. Her blog and her book, Carry On Warrior are continued sources of encouragement and laughter in my daily life.  I would love you to discover for yourself her inspirational words.  Here are a couple of snippets to whet your appetite.

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You are not a mess

So, what do you find nourishing and uplifting?  Maybe you will be surprised to discover that relaxation and pampering can come from the most unexpected places e.g my conquering of Mt Washmore!

Mandy’s G20 Spa Update:1

Hmm, it hasn’t quite gone as I expected, but it began well, waking up early and hanging the first load of washing before 7am!  Next, while eating a healthy breakfast, I logged on to see what wonderful offerings had arrived in my inbox and sure enough my tribe had not failed me.

The first offering was a link sent to me by someone who knows my heart well.  It was a link to a blog by Ashley Hackshaw.  It so nurtured my soul this morning that I am hoping Ashley aka Lil Blue Boo doesn’t mind me sharing it here?

I especially loved the quote she shared from Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tues with Morrie quote

Next I had a laugh provided by Jimmy Fallon & Channing Tatum via this little gem

It was about time that I realised that this was happening today on TV and well you know me and sport!!

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So instead of pampering body, I decided to pamper my home by attacking Mt Washmore, while watching the cricket!  So the doona’s were popped into the washing machine and I began sorting and folding until my table looked like this …

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Those are piles, people! Folded and sorted piles, people!  I’m so proud of me.

Just the queen sized doona to hang out and then I’m ready for some slathering and soaking.  As I was hanging out the doona, I wrenched my grumpy shoulder and MAN DOES IT HURT!!!! So the rest of the day is being spent with a wheat pack and these …

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It is 34 degrees here and I have a heat pack on my shoulder!!  I guess it will open the pores on my neck – if that was what I wanted to deep cleanse.  So I have ended Day 1 of Mandy’s G20 Spa by eating hot, fresh croissants with butter and strawberry jam.  And I am happy and have achieved stuff  and am looking forward to Day 2 of Mandy’s G20 Spa.

Until then.

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Getting my G20 on.

I don’t know if anybody outside of Brisbane realises but we are hosting  the G20 Summit this weekend and for a relaxed holiday city like us, the security is crazy!  Obama’s secret service detail requested that a roundabout outside the University of Queensland, be demolished so that the President’s motorcade would not have to slow down when transporting him!  Request denied!

US decoy helicopters.
US decoy helicopters.

Tomorrow has been declared a G20 public holiday in Brisbane, making a lovely long weekend.  With the extra day break and the predicted temperatures of 38-42 degrees celsius, most of Brisbane has made their way to the beautiful Sunshine or Gold Coast to enjoy the beach.

Beautiful Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland
Beautiful Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland

But not me!

What to do on this momentous occasion?  Well, I could wander into the City Precinct and go people watching. Don’t really want to get frisk searched or mixed up with the many protest groups already there.  I could go shopping.  Many of the Shopping Centres are closed.  I could do housework and fold clothes from Mt Washmore – actually I just might do some of that.  I’ve been wracking my brain for what to do.  It is just this kind of weekend, when most of my friends are away, that I can fall into a deep depression and crawl under the covers and not come out (obviously with the air conditioner on).  So I decided I needed a plan – thank you Pinterest!

Mandy’s Stay at Home Pampering Weekend is about to be planned.  My mind, body and soul are going to be nurtured and loved and spoilt and hugged …….. by ME!!  I am going to rest, relax, drink plenty of water & G & T’s! I am going to slather and lather and scrub and smooth!  I am going to pray and think and read and write! I am going to move and swim and listen to music and dance in my kitchen!  And I may even plan my food for the next few weeks and I will definitely be sneaking in a few “get ready for Christmas” activities!

Watch this space for G20 Spa updates!

Christmas crockery has made it's way into my cupboards!  Oops!!
Christmas crockery has made it’s way into my cupboards! Oops!!

What will you be doing this G20 weekend – wherever you are in the world?