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Navigating the grey zone, and pear and date muffins because cake.

29 Jul
Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

My step mother came over for lunch on Sunday. Technically, she’s my Dad’s ex-wife but she’ll always be my step mum.

When D Man asked me who she was it was kind of hard for me to explain so we entered into the unchartered territory of ‘STEP…’.

The easiest way for me to explain was by relating it to us, and our family and it felt very alien and surreal.

“If Daddy was to marry someone else she would be your step-mum.”

It sounded matter of a fact enough coming out of my mouth, but it tasted like a dusty tumble weed rolling over my tongue, and yet a little monkey somewhere banged a drum that made me squint with one eye as my sphincter clenched.

But that’s what a step-mother is.

We’re all doing really well though, thanks for asking.

Finding a rhythm and slipping into a groove. The kids are fine mostly, nary a blip. Weekend visits are surprisingly easy, except for that one time…. the day I forgot Ratty.

The very first blog I ever wrote was about that Rat and his place in the family has probably heightened rather than lessened over the years.

Ratty has traveled more extensively than some adults I know and Boy and Rat have never spent a night apart….But in my rush to get out the door for a Daddy sleep over night Rat was left behind.

I could blame the 4 year old because technically I gave Ratty to him to carry to the car, but you really can’t trust a four year old to take responsibility for something so important.

D Man eating pear and date muffinBy the time we realised the smelly old Rat was left behind, I was on my way to dinner with friends. You see dropping your kids off is great in many ways, but a little bit quiet and lonely in others so I’m also finding my new groove.

That’s not at all bad.

I’m on my way to dinner when I get the call that Ratty was not in the bag and not in the car, and, and, and…..

No Rat.

It kind of broke the top off something I’d screwed down pretty tight. Tears blurred my vision as I drove through the dark, and I brushed them away as fast as they came worried about my mascara and arriving at dinner looking like a Zombie but then suddenly I couldn’t keep up with them, so I just let them roll. Bloody smelly old, bunk eyed rat.

But they weren’t really tears for the Rat.

But I guess we all know that.

pear and date muffinsAnyway, I’m keeping busy, like usual, so when we had a play date recently I thought I’d whip up a batch of something to offer the guests. We’ve also been rocking them for breakfast.

I had some squishy pears in the bowl and I thought I’d make some low sugar muffins sweetened with those bad boys.

This is so easy because you chuck it all into the food processor and you’re on your way. Sort of.

 Pear and Date Muffins

What you will need :

  • 2 over ripe pears, smooshed with a fork
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 125 g dates, chopped
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 50g choc chips, or chopped dark chocolate (optional)

pear and date muffins

What you will need to do : 

Pre-heat over to 180C. LiPlace your muffin cases in your tray.

Core your pears and whack them into the food processor and whizz them up. Throw your flours, sugar and baking powder in and then add your milk, eggs and butter.

Take the bowl off the processor and stir in your dates, choc chips and walnuts, and spoon your mixture into the muffin cases.

Pop into the over for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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Portrait 365 : 202 – 207

25 Jul

  I had quite a few knock backs this week; more than usual.

My schtick is to approach people and explain to them who I am and what the Portrait 365 project is and then I ask if they’ll be my portrait of the day.

Mostly people run a hand through their hair, or smile a little nervously and say sure, but if they hesitate for more than a few seconds I give them an out and say it’s totally their choice. I know once these words are out I’ll lose them but I don’t want anyone to do it if they’re not comfy with it.

Funnily enough, the anglos are usually fairly keen and I find that other cultures are more hesitant. Are anglos bolder, less reserved?

It’s an interesting question.

Anyway, I’ll keen photo stalking anyone interesting and see what other questions pop up.

portrait 364 : 202 Rohan

“I wrote and performed my own cabaret show at the Perth Fringe Festival. I’m a performer, I’ve always been a performer. I was on a reality show called “I Will Survive” and I was the third runner up. That sounds so much better than 4th place.”

 

 

 

Daisy

Daisy

Portrait 365 : 204 Anisa

“I parked in the disabled spot because there was no other spaces. I feel like I should go and move my car but I am 9 months pregnant with two other children and I feel pretty disabled.”

Unknown

Unknown

Anika

Anika

Look at that attitude!!!

Rachel

Rachel

“I would usually say I’m so proud of my children, possibly my greatest creation, but today I doubt that.”

We had a bit of a hectic play date.

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Portrait 365 : 194 – 201

19 Jul

Don

Don

“I play Santa every year and one year a kid told me that they should sack every other Santa because I’m the only one with a real beard.”

Alex

Alex

 

“I packed my bags and traveled around the world for a year and a half. I came home with a broken foot after a paragliding accident in Columbia. I broke up with my guy and began jumping off cliffs to feel empowered; then there was an earthquake. It was time to come home.”

Kimberley

Kimberley

“I’m a child psychologist and I’m nearly finished my 7 year PhD in the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. It’s all about belonging.”

That never changes, I think.

L'il Bee

L’il Bee

Alex

Alex

“I met my wife in London and she fell pregnant within one month. Two weeks prior I had told a friend that i would never marry or have kids. We moved to Australia and got married. Two years later we had another child and I’m in love with all of them.”

 

Monique

Monique

“I’m so proud of my little 14 month old boy. I’m so proud that I created him. It’s the best.”

Amani

Amani

“You know, if you renew your library books online you won’t get a fine?”

Yep. Fined again.

Filippo

Filippo

“I used to be an engineer in the construction industry but it didn’t make me happy, so I became a photographer. I specialise in time lapse photography and I tell stories through pictures.”

You can check out Filippo’s amazing, mind-blowing, inspiring work here. He’s traveled to places I’ve only dreamed of and told stories that touched my viscera through images. Seriously, click his link. It’s like wow on steroids.

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Is there an elephant in your bedroom?

17 Jul

sexy 2 Did you know that getting it on is really good for you?

I mean Zumba is ok but the horizontal rumba kicks its arse all day long.

Sex boosts your immune system, can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, makes your hair shinier, and can help battle the effects of mild depression and anxiety.

With sex being the most awesome multivitamin in the world, we should be banging the be-jesus out of each other all the damned time, but the fact is, most of us aren’t doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

I can’t speak for everyone, because I have no idea what happens to a large majority of couples once you add kids, sleepless nights, endless housework, a dash of resentment, and regular exhaustion, but of the ladies I speak to candidly and regularly about sex,  almost all of them complain about the same thing.

The most physical they feel like getting with their partner is punching him in the face….. no, not really (maybe, sort of), but they don’t feel like giving him one either.

I’ve written before that I reckon rumpy pumpy is the tie that binds you as a couple, and if you ain’t doing it those shoes left laying in the lounge room, and the putting the washing beside the laundry hamper really start to get on your tits. Basically, if you’re getting regular intimacy (read : schnuggles and schtooping) you’re more grounded as a couple.

Less easily pissed.

Sexy-Kiss-sexy-couple-sexy-kiss-Love-between-Woman-et-Man-sexy-BLACK-AND-WHITE-PASSION-THE-FEELING-THAT-ABSORBS-YOU-heplusshe_large_large

That’s a fact.

If the intimacy element of your relationship is slipping, it doesn’t take long to become a whacking great elephant in the room. You’re avoiding each other, feigning sleep, maybe you’re even ‘doing it’ just to make the other person happy…. that’s a bit awks… Obligatory sex?

Eew.

Remember my old buddy Isiah McKimmie, the sex therapist? She’s started up a new program called Juicy, Sexy, Love.

Juicy-Sexy-Love_Logo_FINAL

I was so pumped (not a euphemism) when I heard about it that when she offered my peeps a free crack at her introductory program I jumped at the chance because if you get onto this stuff early enough it can be a game changer for your relationship….as in, save that shit from going south-er-er.

Know what I’m saying?

Juicy, Sexy, Love. discusses the importance of intimacy as a couple, but it also delves into the other stuff, the really important stuff that will help your love life…… the stuff like -

Loving yourself.

Valuing yourself.

Feeling sexy and sexual and worthy of love and pleasure.

Remember that stuff?

That shit can be hard when you’re nipple deep in the daily sludge.

Isiah talks about the balance in your relationship. The balance of respect, the balance of power. You see sex isn’t just about the beast with two backs.

90% of love making is in your head, so if the planets aren’t aligning, you ain’t feeling the va-va-va-voom.

Anyway, the program itself is not open yet, but Isiah has given you peeps access to her 3 Keys to a Juicy Relationship, so you can suss it out and see if it’s something you think you can benefit from.

3 Keys to a Juicy Relationship is a three part video series, with little ‘play sheets’ so you and your partner can work together to reconnect, and rekindle your spark.

sexy

JUICY SEXY LOVE IS FOR YOU IF:

  • You’re ready to take action to improve your relationship and sex life.
  • You know that there are two people in a relationship and you have to work together to make it work.
  • You want to feel happier, more confident and have more energy.
  • You want to argue less and love more.
  • You’re willing to invest 8 weeks into making your relationship awesome.
  • You’re worried about what will happen to your relationship if things don’t get better again soon.

JUICY SEXY LOVE IS NOT FOR YOU IF:

  • You want someone else to do the work on your relationship for you.
  • You want to blame your partner for what is happening in your relationship.
  • You’re not willing to set aside time to make your relationship better.
  • You’re having multiple, long-term problems in your relationship (we suggest you seek help through coaching).
  • You want to leave your relationship.

** This is not a sponsored post. I’m just a big fan of sex and shiny hair **

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Happiest girl in the world.

15 Jul

the holsbysI just got off the phone to renowned Australian anthropologist Dr Stephen Juan (hello shameless name drop).

We’ve spoken a few times of late and we usually speak business for 5 minutes and then spend 40 minutes talking about all things life, love and anthropology (today we also touched on chocolate; you know the big topics).

There are few people that you instantly connect with, but I can safely say I think he’s a truly interesting and remarkable human. I look forward to making up an excuse to contact him again as he’s one of those people that you feel happier for having spoken with them.

That’s a gift.

He was telling me why he feels he’s the happiest guy in the world and in the folds of his tale were numerous wonderful things that had happened to him over the course of his life, and Stephen attributed them to luck. Of course, as an observer, I can see that his hard work, and kind deeds and sunshiny energy has drawn wonderful things his way and it got me to thinking about me…. you know, cos it always comes back to me.

I have had so many fantastic experiences in my life. I have traveled far and wide, and had adventures that many will only ever dream of. It wasn’t a big deal, I just explored with a thirst for adventure and immersed myself in situations. Some were ridiculous, sure, but most were wondrous.

One of the things that Stephen said made him truly happy was thinking about how many people loved him.

Isn’t that cool?

kiki and mamaJust this morning on our way to school D Man was asking me who loved him.

“I do.”

“Who else loves me?”

“Daddy.”

“And who else loves me?”

“Kiki.”

“And who else loves me?”

“Nana”

“And who else loves me?”……

This went on until I really couldn’t think of another person who loved him.

Even family members overseas that haven’t seen him since he was a babe.

Even Mr Fluffy Pants who is actually probably ambivalent before D Man gives him breakfast and downright disinterested after.

Anyway, two times in one day is not a coincidence in my book, but a poke in my eye for me to sit quietly for a minute and think about all of the people who love me. I decided I would go beyond the obvious, like people whose butts I wipe, or I cook food for, but into the greater spectrum of people who send good juju my way because they care.

There was actually quite a long mental list, new friends who I’ve met online through this crazy business called blog who actively send me love, old friends who I may not have seen for a while but when we get together the love feels just the same as it always did, and then there are those special people who when they hug me and they beam their love directly into my heart from theirs like a bolt of rose coloured lightning.

Family near and family far, and family not related by blood but because we chose each other, and chose to adopt each other permanently into our lives.

So much lovely love.

If I was to measure my happiness in units of love radiated at me, then I really am very lucky.

I have to say that’s a happy thought.

Someone who loves me dearly, with whom I have had many adventures, and misadventures, with took these beautiful images of us recently. She put a little blog up on her site if you’d like to see the whole series. Check us out here.

Anyway, take a minute to think about who loves you because that shit really warms the cockles of your heart.

Be happy, lovers.

Life is short.

danielle colley

 

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A letter to me on my 38th birthday

7 Jul

me on my 38th birthdayDearest You,

I know you wanted to cancel your birthday this year, but there are some things that you just can’t finagle no matter how much of  control freak you are.

Time is marching, no?

Firstly, I want to take your mind back to your birthday last year. I think this last 365 days have potentially been the biggest, craziest, most momentous of your entire life. You’ve had amazing, life altering moments in previous years, but when you look at this whole year, no wonder you’re feeling raw.

Your highs have been stratospheric and your lows have been deep and dark and sometimes they’ve happened simultaneously leaving you wondering if you’re going crazy, but you’re not. You’re just experiencing life with all of your marrow and you know what?

It may always be this crazy, or it may chill out, but you’ve got this.

You’ve always said that you’re only given as much as you can handle. I have no idea if it’s bullshit, but it’s certainly something to remember as your little legs are paddling like crazy under water and you’re all calm on the surface.

Just don’t stop paddling, dude. You’ll be fine if you just keep paddling.

Your life looks so vastly different from a year ago and that’s ok. Ok?

Your life also looks pretty different to how you imagined it would. And that’s ok too.

In reality no one’s life really looks like they imagined it would, maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse, but it’s definitely different, because we don’t have crystal balls and we can’t predict how things are going to turn out.

the holsbysI want to tell you something really important so I need you to really listen carefully to me when I say, relationships end all of the time.

It’s sad, and it’s difficult, but it is not a failure on anyones behalf. Lord knows, you tried to make it work. There is no point looking back and bombarding your brain with ‘what if’ scenarios because the only thing to do is move forward, and you have plenty to look forward to, my girl.

You need to take stock and look at everything you have achieved in the last 6 months and really start to believe in yourself. You are creating the life you want to live…. not you can, not you might -

YOU ARE.

So, stop comparing yourself to others, just worry about what you’re doing and focus on what you want. Your energy is spent much better that way.

Stop caring what people think about you. It’s none of your business what they think. You’re putting yourself out there, so they’re going to form opinions of you, that’s the nature of what you do, but just remember that the real you, the whole you, is much more than this brand and you know who you are. Don’t forget who you are.

And you’re alright. You have a few more laugh lines, and a few more grey hairs, a few more internal scars but all in all, you’re alright.

You have a phenomenal network of people who love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. People like to help. People like to feel useful and needed, allow them that gift, whilst receiving yourself.

Anyway, I want you to know that I love you. I’m sometimes unkind to you, but I’m going to try to be more patient and caring with you because I forget that you’re just doing the best you can.

Have a really wonderful birthday, lady. May this year shine sunny rays on you and yours and may all of your dreams become realities in the palm of your hand.

All my love,

Danielle xxx

holsby 38th birthday

 

Photos by the awesome Kirsten Cox. Check out her other work here. 

 

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Mama Bear

4 Jul

mamma bear There are few more influential women in your life than your mum. Whether your relationship is amazing or appalling that single connection can shape so much of who you are.

In this regards, I am blessed.

I know a lot of people think their mum is cool, but they haven’t met my Mum. No matter what hair brained scheme I ever had, my mum always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and not to live small.

I was the kid whose friends wanted to hang with my Mum… in fact, they still do.

The mother of my childhood was a statuesque style queen.

I used to think she was a cross between Annie Lennox and Sheena Easton. She liked cool music, cool clothes, parties, dancing and she had great hair (except for the Laura Ashley period which I’m not allowed to talk about).

As a single mum she’d take me most everywhere with her as a kid and I loved being privy to the adult world, pretending to be asleep at parties but secretly watching the grown ups dancing, smoking, kissing and living it up. As a result I suppose I grew up kind of fast, but I personally think my trajectory in this department was set because of the type of person I am.

I couldn’t wait to be a grown up…. that said, I also slept in my mum’s bed with her for years. Partly because my bedroom was chronically messy, but mostly because I loved spooning up with my Mama in the night and feeling her warmth next to me.

She liked it too.

I guess my growing up process got fast tracked a little when I was about 13 and Mama started getting headaches. Not just any old headaches but real whopper doozies. Her eyesight went blurry and things started getting scary so they did some tests on her.

Initially everyone feared a brain tumour.

She had all the symptoms, but they couldn’t find it so she went from our home in Coffs Harbour to Sydney for more extensive testing.

mum and II was a sensitive kid, hence being a sensitive adult I guess, and I was devastated that I couldn’t make my mum better. I remember holding her hand and massaging her head trying to take her pain away as she lay on the bed in tears.

Alas, I was just a kid, and she had something happening inside her that was beyond our control.

The thing about my mum is she is the most vibrant, fun, and fun loving person I know. She is wise, she is spiritual and there ain’t much that could shock her.

I’ve always been able to tell her all of my sex, drugs and rock’n’roll stories and more that once I’ve heard her say -

Danielle, did you have to tell me that????

But I do. Because I can. And that’s a gift.

I hope one day my kids like me as much as I like my mum. I hope they turn to me when they have sensitive and painful scars to share, or deep fears that they want soothed.

Over the years many of my friends have adopted her as their own, and now the people she lists as her dear friends range from 18 years old to 90. She spans the ages because she is open to everyone- Open minded and open hearted.

She can cook a mean feast and she can drink up a storm and she has so many wonderful qualities that define who she is.

Multiple Sclerosis is not who my mum is. Her illness does not define her. It’s an aspect of her life just as much as all of the wonderful things and she had often said MS has been a teacher that has taught her valuable life lessons.

My mum is fun, and loving, and silly.

My mum is gentle and fierce, and fucking brave.

She is also an unbelievable Nana. She reckons these little stinkers have given her a new lease of life.

If I’m half the women she is when I grow up then I’m gonna be a whole lotta awesome.

mum and I

 

Thanks for coming to stay with me, Mama. Can you babysit tomorrow?

 

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The happiness obsession.

18 Jun

australian blog festival
I confessed to a friend recently that in the middle of the night I get struck down by paranoia and stress. I actually think I’m way too paranoid to be a writer, but I can’t seem stop typing (read: talking).

I told them that I start to obsess about my future, and my faults, and what I’ve recently written or not written, and I imagine that everyone is aware of these failings and they’re probably all thinking about them too.

No one could possibly think good things about me. Certainly not at 4 in the a.m. anyway. Naturally, my logical brain knows that everyone else is asleep or thinking about their own shit, but gripped in the long dark fingers of night I can’t make sense of it.

I’m finding this especially at this moment in my life when everything seems amplified because of the great changes going on in my life with end of my marriage and all the grown up, night time stress worthy things that go hand in hand with that.

Generally, I wake up feeling gritty eyed and mildly zombified, without the bad teeth and shocking death breath, but I snap out of it, go about my day and my equilibrium finds me and my wobbly sea legs are left behind.

On this particular day, my friend listened carefully and talked me down from the ledge with logic and love.

Not everyone is so lucky.

For some, the dark fingers grip them into the day, and day after day they struggle to pry themselves free.

I was recently invited to an event at the Australian Writer’s Centre as a part of the Australian Blog Festival. I often feel awkward about attending blog events but when I heard they were discussing mental health I knew it was an important thing for me to attend.

charlotte dawson homewaresJai Evans, a dear friend of the late Charlotte Dawson was there, as was Peter Bliss, brother of the late Diana Bliss, and they both discussed the crippling affects of depression and watching their loved ones lose the battle for happiness.

Just before her death, Charlotte was about to launch a homewares line of gorgeous hand made, hand screen printed cushions and coasters that she has discovered in Bali: her home away from home. Her friend Jai has continued her legacy by launching that line and 80% of the proceeds go to Charlotte’s top 5 charities, Lifeline, Community Brave, ACON, Angels Goals and The Smile Foundation.

One of the things everyone says about Charlotte is how what you see is what you get. She was kind, fun, loyal and loving, but on a bad day, she let you know where she was at.

I only met Ms Dawson once. I was producing a music video that she played a small role in. I guess I met her on one of her off days, and she certainly let me know where she was at!

Listening to Jai discuss her struggles made me view my only meeting with Charlotte a little differently.

A little more kindly.

charlotte dawson

Diana Bliss was a dynamic writer and wife to the infamous Alan Bond. Her darkness overtook her life and for years her family watched her slip away into the shadows of life. Her brother Peter is a life coach and an advocate for mindfulness who now dedicates his life to helping others find balance. His talk was most inspiring.

One of the most profound things I took from his talk was that the happiness movement is delusional. You can’t be happy all the time and the pressure we place on ourselves to be so is causing issues.

Peter

Peter

The desire for happiness is creating discontent.

All in the room were touched by depression in some way, and one particular person whom I admire greatly had been touched profoundly, both suffering it long term herself and her brother had taken his own life after deciding he was tired of the battle. As her tears fell while she talked of this heart ache, she apologised to us for her grief, and my throat tightened and I was gone.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, but cry?

You need not cry alone.

We discussed the importance as bloggers to have conversations about mental well-being. If someone tries to tell you they’re struggling, don’t try to fix it, just listen. Just sit with them. Just love them.

If you’re worried about someone, let them know.

There’s much help out there, so don’t stop until you find the right people to help you.

Lifeline – 131114

BeyondBlue – 1300 224636

 

australian blog festival

 

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Portrait 365 : 160 – 166

13 Jun Bella
Yuri

Yuri

“Something that makes me smile every day is seeing beautiful girls like you!”

Kyren

Kyren

“He was drinking beer on the couch and he kind of flopped off onto one knee with one cheek still perched and he proposed to me. I was pretty happy with that approach.”

Rose

Rose

“I live in a boarding house with 23 other people. I don’t mind it though. That’s where I met my boyfriend.”

Rose had a handbag full of photographs, so we sat down and I met her whole family and saw photos of her in her wedding dress from 50 years ago. I was touched. She was very proud of her beautiful family.

Peter

Peter

“My father was a methodist minister who gave and gave and gave to people, then he died of a heart attack at 57. I’ve realised that giving and giving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I met Peter at a talk for the Australian Blog Festival. He was speaking about the impact his sister, Diana Bliss’, depression and subsequent suicide had on his life. He is a remarkable man, who is doing remarkable work. Check him out here.

Bella

Bella

“I’ve been working on a farm in Cairns and it has changed my life. I’m here from Korea on a working holiday and I’ve decided I’m going to move here and study nursing.”

Jackie

Jackie

“I fell in love with someone who told me that my dream career was stupid and to get a real job.Stupidly I listened to him and lived an unhappy life because I thought he was the love of my life. He manipulated and betrayed me, and I still thought he was the one.”

Jackie is an actress, and happens to also be one of my kids’ best friends.  And I love her to bits.

Chris

Chris

“I pulled out a map of the world and I thought ‘where can I go?’. I don’t want to be cold, it’s got to be ok for homos, and there’s got to be hot men. I want coconuts, lots of drinking and malaria. And the answer was Brazil.”

Let me tell you a story about this kid.We met 10 years ago in East Timor and instantly fell in platonic love. We stayed in touch for a bit but it was before Facebook (we laughed when we realised this) and we lost touch. He’s had many adventures and become a man, and I’ve become me. Three weeks ago, an hour away from my home in a place neither of us ever go we bumped into each other. When we went for a beer I remembered what a freakin’ special cat he is. Happy adventures, my friend. May Brazil give you everything you wish and more.

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Self Defence in the Suburbs

8 Jun These cats make self defence look like a music video. I don't think I looked like that either.
I didn't look like this.... I would never tuck a t-shirt into trackies. (source)

I didn’t look like this though…. I wouldn’t be caught dead on tracksuit pants in public. (source)

I lived many years of my life working or living around Sydney’s infamous Kings Cross. I saw loads of crazy shit, including a couple of dead bodies, and one time someone followed me for about 500 metres in the wee hours of dawn as I was leaving my work in a nightclub. I zigged and zagged through some back streets and I either lost them or they lost interest as they were more likely a pissed hopeful than a true predator.

Aside from that, I always felt fairly safe.

Since moving to the ‘burbs I’ve had two incidences of sexual assault, and just yesterday I experience the very unwanted advances of a dude who tried to kiss me and grabbed my butt in a fairly public place.

Someone I know.

A shop owner I see regularly.

I shrugged it off, as I did my sexual assaults assuming that I had misunderstood what was going on….. because I’m an idiot. (Note : I did go to the police over the more serious of the two sexual assault incidences.)

Anyway, quite fortuitously I met a dude who happens to be a fairly lethal weapon just by chance the other day, and when I asked if he’d give me some boxing pointers I did not expect the full gamut of self defence training that I received this week. I’ve been an avid boxer for the last few months. If I can’t make a class I’ll just take my gloves to the gym and beat the shit out of the bag. Not only does it give me an awesome sweat, and sculpted guns, but helps to ease the  cacophony in my brain.

Of which there is much.

Spending an hour and a half with him has made me realise that dudes that intimidate you are not out to cop of feel of you, they’re out to make you feel powerless because that’s how they get their kicks.

Your greatest defence is simply the word NO. Said loudly, with the ‘STOP!’ palm in front of you, and staring them straight in the eye.

I struggle with this word in these situations because I always believe the person misunderstanding the situation is me. That I’ve done something, and I also want everyone to be my friend.

Freud would have a field day no?

Anyhoo, I learned that on a train you never sit by the window (much less slump or slouch on it reading Facebook on your phone – ooops). Aisle is much safer. Particularly right hand side, facing forward aisle seat. Most people are right handed and this puts a potential attacker at a disadvantage.

I learned that doing that thing toddlers do when they do the jelly body and you can’t pick them up is perfect if someone is trying to grab you. When you tense you become all angles and easy to hold, when you do jelly body you’re slippery. Your primary concern in self defence, is not to fight, it’s to get away safely.

We did imaginary knife attacks from the front and behind, and hair grabbing. I learned 500 ways to get my attacker to open up their body so I can kick them, punch them or bite them in the knackers (I made the biting bit up. Maybe we’ll cover that next week).

These cats make self defence look like a music video. I don't think I looked like that either.

These cats make self defence look like a music video. I don’t think I looked like that either.

Imaginary scenarios of me sweeping my floor and a crazed ice addict bursts into my house, or someone trying to glass me in a pub saw me getting my focus on and whisking myself out of harm’s way with a flick of a hip and showing them I mean business with a swing of my broom.

I asked the question if I would remember any of it if push came to hair pulling attacker shoving me from behind and the answer was practice.

When you first learned to drive a car you thought about every gear change, every touch of the pedal, but over time it becomes second nature, so it appears that self defence is best when you do it more than once.

I’m actually going to train with this guy once a week for a while. I want to feel empowered, confident and actually have the ability to defend myself or my kids should we ever find ourselves in a Zombie apocalypse. Apparently, my broom handle would come in very handy then too.

 

 

 

 

Getting interrupted whilst sweeping makes Rick really pissed.

Getting interrupted whilst sweeping makes Rick really pissed.

Have you ever wished you had some self defence skills? Would you consider a class?

 

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