Shout it Out!

Everyone has a past, everyone has a story. We want to hear it. Don’t be shy. Let your words be the voice you are too scared to have!

Potty Training

I’m just going to dive straight in because I have carpets to wash 😂
Just kidding. Those have long been put away in preparation for this exciting and sometimes exhausting chapter. So here they are:
1. Take child to shop to pick out undies. Make a huge fuss about the Elsa motif on the front. Then tell them that they’re going to try to keep said Elsa clean and dry. (In hindsight, maybe not Elsa, because: “Let it go”) 😂😂😂.
2. Choose a potty together with child. This is important because AM hated the first one I brought home. Who knew he’d be scared of the frogs’ eyes? 🤷‍♀️. Also, choose a potty training book or YouTube video to explain the process and make it look less daunting and confusing. We used this Princess Polly one:
3. Clear your calendar. A long weekend or similar is a great time to set aside so you can be consistent for a good few days. Consistency is key to them learning the process.
4. Remove carpets and keep linen savers, mops and towels handy. You want to be able to clean up any accidents without too much fuss, and just get on with it again.
5. For the first 3 days, leave child to play without any nappy or undies (outside is obviously more convenient but inside can also work). If child is truly ready, child will very quickly start to develop an awareness for when they need to relieve themselves. At first you should gently remind them every 15 minutes. But gradually, they should begin to alert you themselves. Place the potty in an accessible area close by.
6. Once they do use the potty… GO NUTS! Call anyone who would care to listen and ask them to congratulate child, shower child with treats, have a reward chart and issue a sticker each time there is success. They need to understand that what they just did is BRILLIANT and will get them loads of attention.
7. DO NOT place emphasis on the oopsies. That is not what they should be remembering about the whole experience. You want them to associate it with fun and excitement. Clean up and move on.
8. As they get better at predicting when they need to go, (which should be around 3 days of consistent training), introduce the new undies. By now they should be able to get to the potty on time so they will now have enough time to pull down their pants.
9. Make sure the nappies are hidden. Out of sight, out of mind.
10. Be patient. This method usually works within a week but all kids are different. They will get it with live and patience.
This works! But they have to be ready. If you notice that the child is miserable and not coping, give it a try again in a month or 2. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

To check out my photos, tips and video-click on the link below.

A couple of weeks ago we had the honor of rubbing shoulders with Bo Tjellesen (Owner and CEO of GOSH COPENHAGEN) and Bolette Tjellesen (Daughter of Bo Tjellesen, Makeup artist & Junior Key Account Manager) who came all the way from Denmark to meet fans and media. As you can gather this is a 100% family owned business and the family is so friendly and humble.

I got chatting with Bo and he had a very interesting story to share with me about how the brand actually got it’s interesting name. The brand was named by Bo’s dad. He was doing a crossword puzzle one day found himself stuck with a particularly tricky one. The final word turned out to be ‘gosh’, and he realised that nothing can be badly associated with that word, what a nice name for a company and the rest was history. Gosh originally started as a pharmaceutical company but Bo turned it towards cosmetics. And are we glad he did!

Gosh is extremely proud of the fact that they a vegan and animal cruelty free. Long live the bunnies!

Social Media Blooms

In recent years I have not been a hard drinker. (Insert cough.) Just before I completely went sober I was into what some may call “sophisticated drinks.” Like cocktails and craft beer and my favourite, a spicy merlot. However, I must mention that I did go through the gin phase and I’ve indulged merrily in the 1-liter beers that came onto the recent scene.

OMG, who am I kidding I loved alcohol and there was always something for every occasion. Something tangy and crisp on a hot summer’s day and something stronger like a premium brandy on a cold winter’s night.

I started drinking around the age of 16 and gave up alcohol at 34 and the only time I went sober before that was when I was unemployed during my early 20’s and then again when I fell pregnant. The first time I went alcohol-free was for 8 months, and like mentioned – I was unemployed and without any clear direction at that point. Early 20’s summaries a time when I had lots of heartaches in the romance department, in which case every rejection felt viciously intense. But I was also young without any major responsibilities, and so when I found a job and things were looking up for me I started drinking again because that’s what young people do. They like get-togethers and they basically cannot socialize without any booze.

However, when my sister died 3 years ago my alcohol consumption went through the roof! During that time my heart was drenched in wine, to numb the pain, to cope, to just manage I guess. But I did not manage. I remember during the first 6 months I would lay awake at night and get up to pour myself a large drink. I remember getting up early in the morning to pour myself a large drink. I would drink and feel guilty, sad and angry all at the same time. I didn’t take any other medication, alcohol was my drug of choice.

The sadness totally consumed me when I was under the influence. Here I must point out that I would never drink to the point of being staggering and pathetic, nope I was always groomed, composed and in control. Here I should also point out that writing this is extremely difficult, delving into this period of time is always grim. I guess I want to tell you that I didn’t see myself (and I don’t want you to see me) as an alcoholic, during the last 2 years I would only drink 4 moderate glasses a day and I would only drink 3 days a week – depending on the alcohol availability in which case there was always more on weekends. (Such denial, I know.)

I stopped drinking 3 days after my sister’s birthday, it was on the 23rd of March 2018. On that day I read something on Twitter around suicide prevention and went ballistic! I was in such a rage. Why wasn’t there any intervention, why didn’t I give more attention to my sister’s mental state? (She committed suicide at 19, read more about that here.) Why didn’t I see it coming and why didn’t anyone else? It could’ve been prevented! I was in a state and also under the influence. Because you see, every year around her birthday the days would turn into a destructive pattern of visiting her grave, buying her favourite drinks and having a “party” because she would’ve wanted us to be happy.

So as you can see, me going sober was basically born out of grieve. I just couldn’t handle all that sorrow anymore and desperately needed another way to deal with everything. And so, today it has been just over 4 months that I’m sober and thus far it’s been going alright. I can be part of birthday parties and other events with alcohol and be completely fine with that. Well, maybe not completely, I had to be very strict with myself in the beginning, using a lot of willpower and such.

But however tempted I may be, I’ll still choose to be sober as I don’t have to deal with those intense feelings of heartache anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still get sad but because I’m in a clear state of mind I’m more at peace. I know that I need to move on and that there’s nothing I can do about what happened.

I know that I need to focus on creating a happy and healthy life for myself and my little family. I don’t want my precious daughter to grow up and think that drinking will ease the pain in her life. I have nothing against alcohol and I don’t judge people that drink but for my personality and the things I’ve had to deal with it is just way better to live an alcohol-free life. It is a personal choice.

I’m working on a post about how my new sober lifestyle has bettered my skin, gave me more energy and helped me to lose weight. I’ll also be sharing my fave nonalcoholic drinks, so keep an eye out for Part 2 of My Sobriety Journey.

Sight

Walking to a place I haven’t set foot in for five years, I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin, a sight I had not seen in many years. The sound of my white cane tapping against the old wooden door told me I had now reached my destination.

Entering the church, I felt for the nearest pew. I sat down and reminded myself of why I was here in the first place. I took a deep breath and my nose filled with the musty smell that told me of a place that I once deeply loved. I opened my mouth and started to pray. I thought about being gentle. I thought about being kind but what came out was a wave of anger from deep inside, “Why God, why me and why did you take the one thing I so loved, not just my sight but also my best friend?” With tears streaming down my face, I waited for an answer, one that I knew I wasn’t going to get it.

I decided to try again and open my heart to God: “I came here today seeking help I’m tired of the anger, and I’m tired of the pain, this is a chapter of my life that should have been closed a long time ago!” I stopped to take a breath when I felt a presence behind me, “Who’s there?” I called out. “I’m sorry if a startled you,” said a faintly familiar voice. “I was just leaving when I heard your prayer, and I wanted you to know have been where you are.”

I released a breath of anger. How could this stranger possibly think they know what I am going through! Giving her the benefit of the doubt I shifted on the bench to offer her a seat; the creaking of the chair let me know she accepted my offer. Moments of silence go by and then she starts to talk: “The confusion and pain are hard to swallow, but if you don’t take let it go, those emotions will eat you alive.”

I scoff at what she says, “You don’t know me, and you don’t know my story how can you say you understand my pain?”
With the same gentle voice and not a hint of anger or irritation she responds: “Then why don’t you tell me?”
My physical reaction to the question was to touch my eyes, blinded entirely because of an accident that happened five years ago. The pain still raw the memory still fresh where, to begin with, a story that haunted me every day of your life?
I will start with something simple, “My name is Grace, and I wasn’t always blind.”
I taste the saltiness of the tears on my tongue that I didn’t know had started again, ‘was my anger directed at God or Clarissa for making us go out that night?’ and with sudden clarity, I begin to understand that my anger is misdirected because it was easier to blame God for my pain than a dead person for leaving.
I felt the familiar stranger’s hand on my shoulder and remembered I wasn’t alone the story had to go on, with a shaky breath I started again…

“Her name was Clarissa, and she was my best friend she had her faults, but I was blind to them no pun intended. Clarissa had a rebellious streak that sometimes scared me, but as her best friend I always stood by her side. Barely eighteen, a new drivers license, we embarked on an adventure that was forbidden; a night of fun, relaxation, laughs and drunk on happiness ignorant to the world with music blaring over the sound of our horrible singing. I’ll never forget how happy Clarissa looked after months of unhappiness as her parents’ divorce took its toll on her. Then in a split second everything changed a light from the driver’s side blinding me and this was the last thing I ever saw… I woke up to a world of darkness wholly blinded. Added to this trauma, Clarissa died all because some guy had one drink too many.
The start of my journey of hating the world. How could I lose the two things that meant so much to me!” The familiar stranger’s voice pulled me from my thoughts and questioned: “What happened to her parents?” With what could only be shock shown clearly on my face I turned towards her, “I just told you how I lost my sight and my best friend on the same night and you want to know what happened to her parents!”

In all this pain a simple question posed by the familiar stranger summed all in one answer, “Isn’t this what started the journey and why you believe your anger is directed at God?”
I decided to humour this stranger and saw where this was leading. “The pain of their combined loss brought her parents together and came September this year they are expecting a new child.” I heard the familiar stranger shift as if something big was about to happen, “out of the loss will come to a new life and a bond between a once broken family.”

After a moment of silence she continues, “Now isn’t that what Clarissa wanted?” The truth from a familiar stranger opened my eyes and for the first time in years my heart. All this anger seemed pointless at the thought of new life after death. The atmosphere had changed the mood was lifting all because this stranger, I was starting to think of as a blessing, had heard my heartfelt plea. She kindly handed me my white stick, and with parting words, she asked: “what now?”
With a smile on my face for the first time in years I said, “I was not only physically blind, but I was living in darkness. All it took for me to see again was some advice from a kind stranger. Thank you!” With a whisper in my ear the nickname I had missed, “Goodbye ‘Gracibell’ now it’s time to live the life you I knew you were always meant to.” With that, she left just as she had come. With a final wave of tears, I said my last goodbye to Clarissa.

Written by Claire Tison

For so long she sat in that empty building, blending into the walls like she was a nobody. Like she didn’t belong. She was told at every turn that she was different, that she had to change. That finding someone to love her, to want her would be hard. She knew she was different; she knew that no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t be like everyone else. So she just blended in with the walls, trying to please everyone in hopes that someone would see her. Then it came, a long time come. A hand like no other, outstretched and pointed to her. What was the meaning of this hand, why was this man wanting her. Did he actually see her? But as time passed on, she knew he saw her, and she started to shine more and blend less. She left the empty walks and took then hand held out. It came with no traps; it came with no ultimatums. It came with the fact that who she was at her very core was precisely what he wanted, and that gave her hope that even as different as she was, there was someone for her. Because just as easy as it was to blend it, it was just as easy to stand out for him. He let her be herself, and she took that acceptance and al the sadness of being alone was finally gone because someone saw her as different but in the exact way they wanted and she saw a man who was willing to meet her halfway and even with his own quirks she saw the man her heart so desired.