Thursday, 30 April 2015

Letter to the Editor

Before he resigned as Victoria’s police commissioner last December, Ken Lay spoke about men “needing to own” the crisis of violence against women – including the men within his own police force. “We are constantly misapprehending the nature of violence,” he said.

“When a woman is jeered, groped, bashed or raped I want you to consider the man who did it, and the culture which encouraged it. I want you to consider why we so ardently place the emphasis on the woman – why was she there? what was she wearing? – rather than on the man’s indecent entitlement, grubbiness and criminality.”

So how would Lay respond upon hearing the take home message of Mayor Kevin Mack in relation to an alleged assault on a 17 year old girl when walking over a well lit foot bridge off the main street of Albury at 6:30pm at night?

“The message is that men and women should never walk alone after dark, they need to take ownership of their safety.”

“It’s only unsafe because people are willing to do the wrong thing,”

“There are always people willing to take advantage of situations."

Here is what I have a problem with,  from my humble observations  it  has become standard practice to play into blaming the victim.

Why was she walking alone at night?
How could she of taken "ownership" of her own safety?
It shows you can never be too careful!

Another recent example of this were the comments made by Victorian homicide squad head, detective inspector Mick Hughes, following the brutal and seemingly random killing of 17-year-old schoolgirl, Masa Vukotic, in broad daylight while she was out walking as part of her usual exercise routine. Hughes’ advice to the community?

“I suggest to people, particularly females, [that] they shouldn’t be alone in parks,”
“I’m sorry to say that this is the case. We just need to be a little more careful, a little more vigilant.”

“We encourage females to walk together,” Hughes said, adding that it was up to women to take “reasonable precautions” to protect their own safety.

It is difficult not to laugh when viewing the advice on Victoria Police’s own website that advises women living alone that they can “create the impression of a male housemate by asking a friend or relative to speak on their message bank service”.

When someone with considerable influence and power chooses to perpetuate myths about what puts women in danger and who is to blame for that, their status means people are listening.

Here's the thing, Language is powerful and can be the catalyst for great social change. I believe changing the term "King Hit" to "Coward's Punch" is a great example of this.

As a mother of a young daughter whom I do not want to grow up feeling afraid and who at present is more vulnerable because of her gender, I feel compelled to respond;

It does not matter what the situation is, how well lit or remote the area is, what time of day or night it is, whether she is intoxicated or not, whether she is living alone, what she is wearing, or how she is perceived by others....

Violence against women is unacceptable and should NEVER be tolerated.

So, I would like to call on the words of my best friend as I end this post. What should Mayor Kevin Mack's response have been as a leader and male role model within our local community?

Instead of urging people not to walk at night alone, how about we urge men not to rape women.

(Letter sent to the Border Mail) in response to be-aware-of-safety-mack-urges-walkers

Monday, 27 April 2015

Memories of a pencil pinafore with a crisp white apron and a lace trim

Being the youngest of six children, looking back at old photos I always marvel at how my Mother made time and took such care in getting us dressed. She hand made allot of our clothes, beautiful matching dresses, shorts, pyjamas, even swimmers. Remarkable for a woman who when reflecting indicates that she never really had a passion for sewing. On Sundays going to Church as a family we would always be immaculate with braided hair, ribbons, personalised brooches and shined shoes. This effort and attention to detail reflected the significance of where we were going as a family and instilled the importance of taking pride in yourself even from a young age.

The memory I have of feeling extra special in my beloved pencil dress has suck with me. I still have this dress hanging in our wardrobe. A beautiful pinafore made of pencil material, with a crisp white apron with lace trim. I look forward to the day when Adella can wear it proudly.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be handed down some vintage materials that my Mother used to make our clothes. When I look through the rolls of material and old patterns I become very nostalgic and appreciative that my Mother made us these special outfits with such love and care.

When I was at home initially after giving birth to Adella I felt that I needed a creative outlet. Hence Babydoll Design was born. It always makes me happy to see these little beauties hanging up waiting to be worn and loved. Here are a few at our local florist

Vintage Materials that hold fond childhood memories
Sweet little Cupcake... One of my favourites

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Restoring the Balance

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy – care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life”

Jean Shinoda

It appears in the last few months that my life has gone up a gear in busyness and if I am completely honest the past month has been a bit of a blur. This is not due to anything negative necessarily but the product of some really exciting changes in our little world... promotion at work, rebirth of a creative outlet which takes form in a little side venture making vintage children's clothes, Mr Alfie developing and growing at a rapid pace- a month shy of his first birthday he is on the verge of walking (I wouldn't be surprised if he forgoes this step and moves straight onto running) and Miss Adella growing into a vivacious, creative little lady who loves anything that is loud, fast and down right risky- hence she has commenced Circus for Tots at the local Fruit Fly Circus.

It is quite humorous really that once I gave myself permission to STOP, take a breath and check in to see how I was going with it all both physically and emotionally  I was quite surprised when my body started to let me know that enough was enough and that I needed to check myself in for a necessary "service" if I wanted to keep the engine running. I felt exhausted, lacked any energy, emotionally I was all over the place and as a result my body was responding by breaking out in psoriasis.

I had really stopped attending to me and anything to do with self-care had fallen off the bandwagon completely. My attitude had been, if my children were thriving than that was enough. But to be honest, it is not enough. If I want to be a leader and example to my children and set a standard of health and wellness then I need to attend to my own self care needs and make sure that I don't fall in a heap.

So I have decided to take action and have begun a 30 day cleanse to reboot and begin to nurture my body from the inside out. I am excited about this, a little apprehensive but also hopeful that this will be the beginning of rebuilding internally.

Exercise is so important for wellness but it is very easily missed in between the busyness of everyday life. I know this is certainly true for me. Like self-care and me-time, exercise often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.... When I don’t exercise I feel incredibly sluggish, get cranky and daily tasks are a struggle. Exercise is so important for me. It helps keep me sane and re-energises and helps restore the balance. So instead of being over ambitious and setting a ridiculous goal that I will not achieve I have started to make small changes that incorporates exercise into my daily schedule but also gives me an opportunity to have some "me" time. One of the things I have started to do is participate in my local Park Run . Nothing like a collective group of people to keep you motivated and feeling encouraged. I always feel a sense of achievement when I get to the finish line of the 5km and note the improvement on my time.

Lastly, I think it is really easy to discredit the importance of being still and becoming more mindful of self.  This is something that I have begun to see real significance in and am taking time to practice this daily.

Every challenge we go through in life holds within it the seeds of real learning, greater wisdom and growth. I truly believe the greatest gift you can ever give yourself and those around you is the gift of learning how to truly thrive, no matter what obstacles you face along the way.

Thanks for encouraging me on this journey

X Grace

Monday, 6 April 2015

Flourless Orange Cake

With a special visitor coming for afternoon tea it was time to put on the apron and get baking. I wanted to try something new so I decided to bake a Flourless Orange Cake.

This delicious cake has no butter or oil, no flour and is gluten free. It is very moist and perfect to accompany a cup of tea or serve as a dessert.


  • 250 grams of cooked (whole) oranges.  *See Note
  • 6 egg
  • 250 grams Castor Sugar
  • 250 g Almond Meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Method:  
    1. Place whole oranges in a saucepan of water, cover and simmer gently for two hours.* Set aside to cool.

    2. Cut oranges into quarters and remove seeds. Puree oranges together with the skin in a food processor. Measure out 250g of the pulp. This step is essential so the cake is not too mushy and will set.

    3. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Fold in combined almond meal, baking powder and orange pulp.


    4. Pour into a greased and floured 20cm spring form (can use oil spray) and bake at 180 for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

    5. Cool in the tin.


    6. If desired, serve with orange slices or  (as below) ice with cream cheese icing.

    X Grace

     original recipe: flourless-orange-cake

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    Nothing that an early morning bike ride cannot fix

    My life has intertangled with three people that at times I feel like there is barely a trace of me. I have become them, as it should, somewhat be.

    We know we only have so much time to impart to our children, that time is valuable, we want to make the most of it all.

    But there are also times when I can feel a bit lost in the continual juggling act of giving oneself whole heartedly to the role of mother, wife, professional, friend, whilst also making sure I maintain a sense of personal identity, wholeness and balance within my own sense of self.

     I am someone who is passionate, lack patience, creative, adventurous and whole hearted. I am easily led astray by a great idea that I want to bloom now while  fresh in my mind and become frustrated when I am unable to act immediately or have to listen to the voice of reason instead of throwing caution to the wind.

    I often get carried away dreaming of lands far away. Of opportunities to get lost in the moment and make memories instead of simply taking photos.

    Recently I had felt a little overwhelmed with responsibility and what it really means to be an "adult". I know this sounds a bit juvenile but I guess I had somehow let the pressures/stress of daily life impact on my ability to be joyous, spontaneous and look for opportunities to have fun. I have to remind myself that there is a season for everything and not to get discouraged....

    Thankfully I have significant people in my life who listen, make me feel normal and encourage me to take time to recharge when it all gets too much.... I feel extremely fortunate to have these people in my corner and to have moments to recharge, refocus and regain a bit  of perspective!

    What do you do to make yourself feel more like yourself?

    X Grace