The Working Gal

2015 is shaping out to be an interesting year.

Having come across a potential job opportunity before Christmas, initial talks with the potential employer were strictly casual.

Casual because as the opportunity came up quite suddenly.

For the guys offering the job, the need to fill the role was urgent.

As it worked out – casual can materialize itself into commitment.

Which then transforms a coffee meeting last Friday into a part time role as a business development manager for a thriving and innovative financial services company, starting tomorrow.

Yes. TOMORROW.

I officially become a working gal.

But I’m ready.

Equally nervous as I am excited.

The thought that there are expectations to be met is a little daunting.

Then again, being a mum those are constantly tackled and successfully slam dunked every day.

It’s just been so long while since I’ve been put on that corporate measure.

Five and a half years to be exact.

I don’t know how this is going to pan out.

While the job has got the two big ticks I need right now – flexibility and permanent employment – the circus juggling is going to be crazier than ever.

One day it’ll be spinning plates chaotic.

The next it’ll be breathing eating dramatic.

I know it’s going to be about military precise time management.

I know I will need to be easy on myself.

I know I’m up for it.

I know I’d rather give it a go, then fail rather than be too chicken shit to attempt at all.

The Working Gal

I also believe in signs.

As it works out, the day I go back into the work force, – starting this significant new chapter in my motherhood journey – happens to also be the very day the twinions turn five.

Yup.

Shaping out to be a very interesting year, indeed.

Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Did you like this? Share it:

FYBF – The FIVE Edition

It’s less than a week until the “twinions” turn five. FIVE.

FYBF Five Edition 3

No doubt, time will fly by before they will soon be dubbed “the twin-agers

Then again, I doubt if I’ll still be blogging by then.

You. Never. Know.

As per usual, we are completely unprepared for their birthday celebrations.

K-Bear is still crying over the sad fact Christmas is over.

Despite explaining that there’s a good chance he’s getting his own “Shark Play Set”, just like the one he’s obsessed with at daycare, almost 5 year old logic doesn’t seem to grasp that receiving for his birthday, isn’t as long of a wait.

FYBF Five Edition

“Noooooo!!! I want it for Christmas, OKAY???!!!”

Okay.

Unperturbed Nunu couldn’t care less either way. Just don’t touch his Stegosaurus or Triceratop, OKAY???

Okay.

FYBF Five Edition 2

If there’s anything that’s going to be a constant family tradition in our household, it will be that the twinions will ALWAYS be getting a birthday party…
3 weeks after their actual birthday.

They should be so lucky we’re even throwing one.

There was, after all a four year recovery, er I mean hiatus after their first.

FYBF Five Edition 4

While last year’s wasn’t a complete shambles, the memory of my shirtless husband slaving away in the kitchen at 2am, decorating two dinosaur cakes with Maltesers, green food colouring and choc drops has been burned on my mind.

That and of course the moment I realized that over a dozen preschoolers were bashing the Thomas Pinata to no avail because…I was supposed to fill it up with LOLLIES!!

Come on! Buy the Pinata AND the lollies? What happened to “All in One” deals?

Whatever shin dig we come up with this year, invoices will NOT be sent to last minute no-shows.

Seriously. Some people.

Anyway, the twinions are turning five.

Fünf Jahre alt. 五歳. Lima tahun.

FIVE YEARS OLD.

Someone, hold me.

Any SIMPLE ideas for five year old birthday themes? Did you hear about the parents who invoiced the no-show parents for their kid’s ski party? Were you Team Party Parents or Team No-Show Parents?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

Did you like this? Share it:

FYBF – Fitted For Work

I have an incurable habit of storing “stuff”. Clothes, in particular.

For over 5 years, an entire rack of corporate suits hung in my wardrobe collecting dust.

While my Mama days no longer has a use for them, it would be corporate fashion faux pas to simply dump them.

In my defence as an insatiable hoarder, these suits are BEAUTIFUL.

FYBF Fitted For Work

Classically tailored and expensive.

No longer being able to ignore the growing, nagging feeling urging me to get rid of them, I thought the new year would be perfect timing.

After all, it would be another step in my quest to work on the small things that matter.

Last week I finally packed the suits and called Fitted For Work – a volunteer driven organisation with a mission to assist women experiencing disadvantage.

FYBF Fitted For Work 2

There are clients who may be suffering a lack of self-esteem and confidence or for whatever reason, going through a particularly tough time but want to become self-efficient and financially independent.

Fitted For Work has a boutique supplied with donated corporate clothes that their clients can use for job interviews and to help them with the kick start their ambitions to enter the work force.

Along side clothing donations, Fitted For Work is always looking for ex or present corporate professionals, especially women, who are willing to be mentors or help a client with job interview and corporate styling tips.

I walked into their Parramatta office with 2 big garbage bags of clothes, had a meeting with two staff members, Liz and Dawn who filled me in on the boutique but also how busy they are with training programs for the clients.

Almost an hour later, I left with the promise to commit my time as a volunteer at the boutique and to also be a mentor for the Transition to Work Program.

Cannot tell you how long it’s been since I’ve felt such excitement after a meeting.

And hey, my beloved suits found the perfect home.

 

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it:

Playing Dirty {Omo and Jif Giveaway}

***This post was written in collaboration with Kids Business Communications and Unilever. No monetary payment was exchanged and all opinions are 100% my own.***

This summer, Mr Surfer has taken it on himself to give our garage a massive overhaul, transforming it into a man cave.

Neatly tucked away is the work bench, accompanied by tools and saws. Most importantly, there is now abundant space.

Playing Dirty 1

A sacred shrine for the men in my life to make as much mess as they want.

Last Sunday’s rainy weather proved to be the perfect opportunity to test this makeshift haven of hardware.

Rather than have the twinions stay home, climbing walls from sheer boredom we set the first project:

Making wooden planes.Playing Dirty 2

Then, came the fun part – painting them!

You know how it goes with little children. They’ll happily paint what they’re supposed to. For five minutes.

Then, they find more interesting stuff. Like facial and body parts…

Playing Dirty 3

I didn’t care. The exercise took up at least a couple of hours.

Give me happy, filth to their ears children over bored, screaming, whiny ones any day.

All the while, I took LOTS of deep breaths and tried to let go of my controlling compulsive tendencies.

Call it cheap therapy.

The fun was finally over. Not a lick of paint left.

I promptly stripped and dumped them in the bath.

Perhaps it was risky to let the twinions have such free reigns and access to mess.

But the entire experience was not in vain.

Firstly, playing dirty doesn’t have to be stressful. Now that we have the designated space, I no longer hyperventilate when it turns disastrous.

I also wanted to see if well known, trusted brands like Omo and Jif could also handle the aftermath.

To be completely honest (and there’s no reason to be anything but) neither product was completely effective.

Granted, I put them to the extreme test with grotty, stubborn paint.

Still, I was slightly disappointed with the results.

While the Omo Ultimate guarantees to actively lift stains that have been left to dry up to 48 hours, it wasn’t entirely the case with on of the twinions’ t-shirts.

Playing Dirty 5It took a couple of washes and a 30 minute soak in hot water to get rid most of the paint.

Next was to see how well the Jif Easy Lift Bathroom spray could clean the paint off the bathroom tiles.

Again, it wasn’t a completely satisfying outcome.

After many generous applications and vigorous scrubbing, it didn’t quite finish the job leaving some paint stains between the tiles.

Playing Dirty 4

I have often used other Omo and Jif products without any issues. Give me the traditional Jif cleaning cream any day.

Playing dirty is a part of life.

Playing Dirty 6

My children are learning creative and sensory skills from making a mess.

I’m learning to cope with them.

Playing Dirty 7

For one reader, there’s a giveaway that includes:

  • 1 x Omo Ultimate 1L ($12.99)
  • 1 x Jif Easy Lift Bathroom 750 ml ($6.49)

All you have to do is:

Terms and Conditions:

  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents
  • Closing date for entries is 10pm AEST Thursday, 22nd of January.
  • The winner will be contact via email on the following Friday.
  • If the winner does not reply to my email within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries will be judged on merit and decision of the winner will be final.

 

Did you like this? Share it:

The Superstar Journey

Imagine having to constantly look in the mirror.

The catch however, is that the reflection isn’t you.  It’s not even an extension of you; an uncanny version maybe, but actually someone else.

Superstar Journey 5

In the infamous words of shrewd Balinese street vendors and their powers of persuasion, you and this other form of existence are “Same, same but different”

What makes you different? How do you find out?

There is a happy co-existence, after all. You are the yin to his yang. He is the pepper to your salt.

Superstar Journey 4

But every so often, there is a restlessness to pull away.

You can’t explain it; only acting on the frustration that you are yet to be heard individually, to be known exclusively.

From his conception, Nunu has always had to fight – for size, space, nutrients, then ultimately when he was born – for survival.

The Superstar Journey

As parents, we were always just that little bit more conscious of his fragile state post birth.

Force of habit saw us pay more attention to his quiet nature, the insistence to always be by his brother’s side.

We also began to wonder when was it going to be his time to shine; to break through to the other side of twin autonomy; to build his independence.

Superstar Journey 3

It wasn’t too long ago we consciously began to spend one on one time with the twinions.

With each brief outing, a little more of his confidence would crack through to the surface with a progressive willingness to talk, to engage.

Slowly we discovered that he just needed space and undivided attention.

Attending day care on his own one day while his brother stayed home sick, Nunu came home with the biggest, most triumphant smile.

“Guess who got the superstar award today?” my husband reported.

“The teacher said he deserved it because he was so, so good today. He helped the other kids. Made sure they all stood up in line properly. Tried to answer all the questions…”

Mr Surfer deliberately spoke a little louder ensuring our little one could hear how very proud we were.

In the words of his teacher, since that day, Nunu started to shine in his own accord.

While his brother is still very much his constant.

He’s begun his own Superstar Journey.

www.nataliewozniak.com

Beyond counting, memorising the alphabet or being able to write his name, this strong sense of self, the freedom to be himself – with no hindering mirror – is what’s going to send him to school next year with confidence.

I just feel it.

I burst with pride in the knowledge.

Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT

 

Did you like this? Share it:

FYBF – The Year of Small Things

This may not be the feisty fist pump, jumping new year’s message you were looking for.

Notwithstanding it being the first FYBF post of the year, my mind’s made up:

2015 will not be about big goals or glamorous dreams.

In fear of sounding trite and passé, I’ve done big and brash. It’s been given a huge tick next to the era of my life that’s titled, “Corporate career bitch, constantly dissatisfied in her wayward journey of lost values”

Mistaking it for “ambition”, I would subconsciously make “happiness” unobtainable by peppering my own life with unrealistic expectations. All based on money, company accolades and stupidly, bad choices in men.

Funny how life flips around.

Asking my husband last year what he wanted for Christmas, he had to pause a bit to think before giving me a reply.

FYBF The Year of Small Things 2

“You know when you’re blessed when you can’t think of anything…”

Bam!

Dreams, goals, ambition and drive are all still so extremely important.

If they help your life evolve, change, shape for the better, absolutely, go for it!

Write that book this year.

Run that marathon (or three).

Aim and hit those big traffic stats for your blog.

Just don’t do what I did, forgetting to strip back to important basics; what I would be considered small but significant to someone else.

FYBF The Year of Small Things

Sing to my kids the same Indonesian lullabies my Ma sang to me and slowly watch the same peaceful, calming effect it has on them as it did me.

Call an old friend who’s year was far rougher than mine, to reach out with no purpose or reason other than to say “Hi and RUOK?”

Give my mother a hug in church as she silently weeps, missing and thinking of my late cousin.

All the little things I do as a mum, wife, friend, daughter, sister – all add up to who I am and what I believe in. I’m just going to continue all this in 2015…and then some.

Happy New Year, lovelies.

Whether this year is big or small, make it yours.

Which camp are you in this year? The one for big things to happen? Or the small yet great? 

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Keep On Moving

Today marks the one year anniversary of my beloved cousin’s sudden, tragic passing.

In one phone call, a giant wave of shock, disbelief, insurmountable pain and sorrow cruelly crashed into my life. The ripples still continue.

It’s hard to swallow the ugly truth that death guarantees life will never be the same again; that life is not what it is if we stay stagnant; if it doesn’t evolve or change.

Finding Solace 1

I know my cousin would want me to carry on today like any other; to keep on moving.

She was never one to keep still herself.

Always traveling for work or for her church, she successfully kept up the demands of her family, patients, students and colleagues.

A gifted public speaker, she rarely declined an opportunity to lecture to a packed room of eager students, or stand in front of the pulpit for her local congregation and proclaim her God’s love.

Her often hoarse voice was simply an indication of how content she was in her own life’s purpose, how much she loved being around people.

In an already crazy crowded city like Jakarta, the neighbouring streets to her family home were blocked off to control the traffic congestion, to manage the constant flow of guests coming over to pay their last respects at her funeral.

People, just keep on moving.

While I need to find something to mark this day, I know Kak Rytha wouldn’t want me spend it by keeping still in sadness.

Maybe I’ll do a run; go somewhere special to eat (she loved to eat and we spent our last hour together gorging our faces).

FYBF Canon

Perhaps, a swim like the few times we went together.

Whatever it be, I’m adamant she would want me to celebrate her life, not mourn her death.

FYBF Canon

She’d want me to keep on moving.

 

 

 

 

Did you like this? Share it:

FYBF – When Love Trumps Hate

Whether it was a quick detour to get to a client meeting or routinely driving through to work, the majestic mood of Martin Place always took my breath away.

There’s the beautifully restored GPO clock tower with its chime echoing through the quadrangle that also carries the angelic acoustics of many a talented busker.

For a crappy corporate working day, Martin Place and its city buzz would always make me stop in my tracks to be grateful; how fortunate it was to feel so safe in a bustling, spectacular city.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate

I bumped into my heavily pregnant friend at the gym on Wednesday morning.

Admiring her gorgeous, growing bump, it was a nice change after the past couple days of horrific events.

Asking how she was feeling, her usual bubbly face suddenly dropped to a quivering frown. Fighting through her tears was the confession on how the Martin Place siege had emotionally hit her hard.

“I just started to freak out last night,” she cried.

“How am I going to bring a child into this world where there is so much evil and wrong?”

My dear friend had succumbed to pregnancy hormonal surges and what I like to call, “Mama Bear mode”

Oblivious to my gym sweat, I hugged her tight and whispered, “Welcome to the emotional roller coaster of motherhood.”

What happened in Martin Place on Monday morning is an extremely sad reflection to the senseless violence, hate and anger that can exist in our world.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 7 (1)

This horrible incident – along many others – never fails to make me doubt if I’m cut out for this parenting gig.

Sure, I can feed them and care for them.

But this innate responsibility to protect; the obligation I precariously have in raising confident, strong, resilient children?

It feels impossible.

Most of all, how can I assure them that they’re safe and secure in this world when we are infested by so much sorrow and pain?

We can’t shield our kids forever.

But there’s nothing stopping me to also talk about compassion, humanity and love.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 6

While our beloved Martin Place was a place of unexplainable horror, it also quickly became a makeshift shrine, with a continuing outpour of flower tributes and cards for the victims’ families, friends and loved ones.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 8

That in instances like these, I can show my children that love is actually tangible.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 4

One day when they want to know what makes Sydney – their home – so special and rock solid, I can proudly tell them of a time where we put aside our differences – race, religion, creed – and let those flowers represent how we stand side by side in times of adversity.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 3

I want to teach them to experience beyond feelings of defiance or revenge.

That instead, they’re instilled with the knowledge that love trumps hate.

Every time.

FYBF Love Trumps Hate 9

As a parent, not only does that gives me hope for my children but also for this world.

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it:

FYBF – Open Letter to Trevor

Dear Trevor,

I know our relationship is only customer call centre deep. Just this once, let me get hot and heavy with you on the interwebz.

After 10 faithful years and a helluva lotta data download I dialed your number to break up.

I was no longer feeling the love, you see.

Prepared to blindly move on to someone else, even if it meant more drop outs, greater monetary demands from my pocket.

Customer Service Sign Shows Help Or Assistance

I had my departure speech all planned.

Even practicing my usual ranty customer tone:

“Don’t take it personally, it’s not you…it’s your company. They suck. The fact that no one has bothered to call and let me know my contract has expired for almost 10 months? They SUCK.”

I know that in a highly stressed job like yours, extinguishing customer complaints are never ending. Cancellation threats send your head in a frantic spin.

Doesn’t look good on your next performance review, huh?

Anyway, you kept your cool. Apologizing profusely for your collegues’ past mistakes, you were ready to recommit, straight up offering me an exclusive deal.

Helpdesk Hotline Operators Show Call Center And Service

You didn’t even get narky with my nonchalant response.

A girl needs time away to think, you see.

You respected that and said no matter what, you’d be there, waiting for me

Aimlessly I looked elsewhere, over at your competitors. Only to sadly discover long queues patiently waiting to be served by tired, cranky staff.

I was even told to go away and “come back in an hour and ten”

After much soul searching and internet surfing, I realised what you were offering, I couldn’t get better anywhere else.

You called back like you said you would.

We made amends. We sealed a deal.

And I believe you when you promised that right before Christmas, I will have a flashy, new grey iPhone 6 Plus toy.

0e7ce98

I know you don’t celebrate Christmas in your part of India but I just want to wish you an awesome whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.

I would’ve given you a squishy hug for all your hard work in changing an almost dire situation around. But #awkward, right?

Next best thing was to let your supervisor know what an awesome job your doing. She was taken aback by my fangirl gushiness praise for you.

But hey, just as easy it is to complain, so is giving credit when credit’s due.

So, thanks, Trevor.

My faith in customer service is restored.

Sincerely (and eagerly waiting for her iPhone 6 plus),

Grace

What’s been your best customer service experience? What do you think of the iPhone 6 Plus?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it:

Of Smelly Boys and Scented Candles {Air Wick Giveaway}

***This is a sponsored post for Air Wick. However, all opinions are my own and I love me a nice scented candle, anyway***

If the near future ever sees you pay a visit to my humble abode, whatever you do, please ignore its pitiful, neglected state.

I am no Pinterest Queen of Domestic Interior Design.

My house is not conducive to having pretty trinkets, plush rugs or intricate ornaments.

Most have been spectacularly destroyed.

Air Wick Giveaway

The few treasured pieces are safely kept away from twinions’ reach.

Instead, you will find sturdy heavy wooden pieces Balinese furniture and well-worn couches with ominous stains and blotches that have been hanging around since the boys first started solids.

Yup. That long ago.

I know it’s just a phase. One day, I’ll be able to buy nice furniture and curtains again. Well, I’m hoping, anyway.

With this male dominated house plagued with endearing odours of playground sweat, stinky vegemite sandwich breath and flatulence of the rotten egg kind, I rely on fragrances to keep me sane.

Like a bear feverishly collecting food for winter, I keep a stock standard supply of scented candles.

Air Wick Giveaway 3

It drives my husband mad (“You’re going to burn the house down!”) but hey, he doesn’t seem to smell what I smell. Why is that?

Adding to my ever growing collection, Air Wick sent through three of their candle products:

  •  Multicolour Silhouette Candle in French Vanilla Romance
  • Decorative Jar Candle in Cottonflower and Blue Bonnet (Fluffy Linen)
  • Decorative Jar Candle in French Lavender (Unwind Time)

Air Wick Giveaway 2

Scented candles can tend to be either not having enough aroma or be overbearing.

Air Wick candles all have their distinct, yet subtle aroma.

My favourite would have to be the Fluffy Linen because well, who doesn’t like to indulgently lie in clean, fresh, heavenly soft bed sheets?

Lying next to my little boy the other night, gently patting him, I was sure he was slowly drifting into slumber.

A tender moment short lived by a subtle yet obvious puff of air from his tiny perfectly rounded bottom.

“Nunu…did you just do a toot toot?”

*Cue bursts of giggles and laughter*

Some say, no matter where they’ve been, how they smell, you love your children all the same.

So tis a mum’s life of smelly boys and scented candles.

Hosting an Air Wick giveaway, one lucky reader will win the three above mentioned candles!

All you have to do is:

Terms and Conditions:

  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents
  • Closing date for entries is 10pm AEST Tuesday, 16th of December.
  • The winner will be contact via email on the following Wedneday.
  • If the winner does not reply to my email within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries will be judged on merit and decision of the winner will be final.

 

Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT

 

Did you like this? Share it: