When I was young I could never imagine my parents getting old. To me, they never aged. They would always be around.
It wasn't until I gave birth to my daughter and I became a parent, did I realise my parents - now grandparents, were aging.
Still, I could not visualise them as old people, and especially ones who needed care.
Today my mother is 80 and lives with Alzheimer's and my father is 84 - while still as sharp as a tack, physically he is slowing down.
My father is Mum's unpaid sole carer. For those of you who have had experience with Alzheimer's patients, you will understand some days for him are mentally and emotionally draining.
He deserves support and admiration for all he does, as well as caring for. That's where I come in.
I am a part-time carer for them both and very fortunate that I can share the load with my two older sisters. It makes the world of difference. We are the lucky ones.
Most unpaid carers don't have that luxury. It is they and only they. For some, their every waking moment is consumed with having to think for someone else and attend to their every need. Can you imagine how draining that would be? How could you not feel resentment?
But they don't. They just do what has to be done.
When they do escape for a while, they feel guilty. Guilty for leaving their loved one and guilty for the person who is relieving them.
Those inspirational life quotes - live life to the fullest, love the life you live - must eat at their soul. Of course, they would love to apply that to their lives, but it's unthinkable to do so.
These exceptional human beings deserve recognition and support.
If you know an unpaid carer or someone who is sacrificing their existence to care for someone else - support them. Care for them. Your words and actions can move mountains and break down walls.
They need us.
I care. I hope you do too.
Lately, stress and I have become best friends. Not really the type of friend I wanted in my inner circle, but she forced her way in. (yes stress is a she)
Being a part time carer for my beautiful mother who has Alzheimer's, running a small business with my husband, working part-time and trying to kick-start a freelance writing career - and run the family home - was the invitation that stress RSVP too.
She keeps me awake at night, at times gives me chest pains and consumes my every thought. She is very high maintenance. I wish she would find a new BFF.
Learning that Magnesium - among other things - can help relieve stress and sleep deprivation I started taking tablets before bed.
However, I found out today that mixing Magnesium citrate powder in water (hot or cold) and sipping it through the day works even better.
And get this - to amplify the benefits add a little sea salt as it includes 72 minerals! (1/4 teaspoon per litre)
Gosh, that and my lemon water, I will pee all day.
Besides drinking lemon water as a natural detox, did you know it is insanely good for your skin and hair?
This knowledge has been around for so long and there have been endless articles written about the benefits of Lemons.
It has taken 48 years for me to actually try some of these natural alternatives and I am happy to say, after 8 weeks of drinking 2 litres a day of lemon water, there have been obvious improvements.
Working in the cosmetic industry I get to see many different skin types and speak to patients about different alternatives they use. I was surprised how many incorporate lemon into their daily health routine.
Lemons are full of antioxidants. Drinking lemon water can actually remove damaging free radicals from your body. Packed full of Vitamin C (88%) it also helps repair damaged skin cells and assist in minimising fine lines, blemishes and wrinkles.
For those of you who use a Vitamin C serum in your daily skincare regime, you will know it plays an integral part in rejuvenating the facial skin internally.
Others have said drinking this liquid gold over a prolonged period of time has also helped with acne and skin infections.
In regards to hair - I have a full set of strong curls and no dry scalp, so I am very lucky. However others have confirmed a noticeable difference with the strength of their hair (strengthens the follicles) removal of dry scalp and dandruff and for the people with oily hair - it works by decreasing the secretion of sebaceous glands in your scalp, which stops the hair follicles from getting blocked.
Last and certainly not least - for me - I am 99% sure it is helping with some weight loss - especially around my stomach. It seems to work a little like an appetite suppressant. That alone makes me want to drink bucket loads.
Oh and very important - because Lemon juice is one of the most acidic fruit juices of all - with a pH of 2 to 2.6, it can erode tooth enamel. Drinking the lemon water through a straw will bring any acidic liquid toward the back of your mouth away from your teeth. (note to self - use metal straws - no plastic)
Can't believe it has taken me this long to understand how highly beneficial this piece of fruit is.
Spring and Summer - my two favourite seasons. What is the first thing that comes to mind when I feel the warmth of the first Spring day? Weekend BBQ's on the back deck, afternoon drinks around the pool, hot summer days and nights at the beach. I mean seriously, what else are weekends for?
Every year I look for the trending warm weather beverage that will quench my thirst and accompany me on the many social weekends that lie ahead.
2018 - Hello Aperol Spritz.
Ingredients: 90ml Prosecco (does not have to be an expensive Italian sparkling), 60ml Aperol, Splash of Soda water
Served: On the rocks
Garnish: Orange Wedge (in Italy it can be garnished with a salty green olive as well)
Drinkware: Tall, short - as long as it looks fancy.
Preparation: Pour all ingredients into glass over ice, garnish and serve.
This coral coloured, Italian aperitif is reminiscent of the seasons - the colour is the combined energy of red and the happiness of yellow.
It's strong - but fresh, bittersweet taste pairs well with snacks and appetisers - perfect for those afternoon drinks around the pool. Also is known to prime your appetite for dinner.
And you know what I love about this drink? Unlike beer and wine (and even for me champagne), being low in alcohol (therefore less sugar) it's light, refreshing taste doesn't leave that heavy, bloated feeling.
Even better if you are in for a marathon session - you can easily have 10 of these and still be standing at the end of the race. (Ok 10 might be pushing it)
Lastly, I have the perfect appetizer – found on https://www.platingsandpairings.com (def worth a follow) to serve with this quintessential cocktail. Bacon-Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers. Can be made ahead of time and they are insanely tasty.
A hot appetizer may not seem like the right match for this refreshing drink on a warm day, but trust me, they go down very well.
Arrange the stuffed peppers on a tray with baking paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.
So there you have it, the perfect combination for your next spring/summer hosting.
Both are so easy to make, are crowd pleasers and Martha Stewart will become your second name.
Kenilworth - Queensland - Friday 28th September, 2018.
Rolling acres surrounded by sweeping mountain views was the backdrop I was welcomed to last Friday at my first rustic country wedding.
The warm spring weather didn't disappoint and the sunlight streaming down on the untouched countryside offered endless photographic opportunities, which I could not get enough of.
The rustic wooden sign welcomed us as we arrived at this magnificent setting, igniting excitement that this wedding was about to come to life.
Rows of hay bales covered in white vintage sheets, with a few white long white benches here and there were the perfect guests seating to take in the breathtaking surroundings and watch the romance unfold.
As the bridal party arrived they were serenaded by a live version of Elvis Presley's - Only Fools Rush In. The bride and bridesmaids all dressed in white, and the bride carrying a spectacular oversized, bright, native bouquet, complimented the natural beauty of a rustic wedding theme.
The ceremony took place between two tree stumps, the significance being where the newlyweds home will be eventually being built. As they lovingly said their vows bringing a tear to all who were there to witness, they were now pronounced man and wife and sealed it with signatures at the cutest little table you could imagine.
The celebrations kicked off with live music and an array of artistic grazing platters, flowing champagne and beer on tap - all perfectly laid out on the back of an old farm truck.
As the sun set we made our way to the old hay shed where the reception had come alive. Exposed beams draped with festoon lights (which were bought from Cosco and not expensive), wooden naked tables with old style school chairs, mason jars with small bunches of blooms alongside home made marshmallows and candles - decorated this once baron shed which had now been transformed into a venue of simplistic beauty, full of love and celebration.
The rustic drinks bar made from recycled timber and an old bath was a feature alongside the dance floor made completely from wooden pallets.
A self serve Mexican feast of enchilada’s, nachos, dips and salads - full of simple ingredients and spicy flavours were presented on recycled timber platters – all hand made and all catered for by the Brides family.
The presentation was creative. 10/10.
Time to cut the cake, which was a small and elegant home made vanilla butter cake, used as a prop for cake cutting photos, and then an assortment of delectable cup cakes served with coffee and tea for desert.
Feeling content and relaxed, it was now time to party. We danced under the stars for the remaining of the night to a mixture of country and modern music, which kept us on our feet for many hours.
A splendid way to finish the night was sitting around a crackling campfire. Exhausted, the glowing embers slowly mesmerised me bringing my night to end. The wedding had been nothing short of remarkable.
All weddings are beautiful, but for me there is something extra special about saying “I Do” in the country. I think the combination of being surrounded by nature and the finer details of a rustic setting - that looked effortless, but clearly wasn't - brings a different appreciation than a luxurious venue.
They say less is more and I have to agree. It was simple but elegant and the rustic woodland ambience is something I will never forget.