10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

I love this post so much.


Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!

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Guest Post: 8 important lessons for parenting

I am so excited to bring you a guest post to this little blog. A wonderful mother I met through an antenatal class often talks about the strategies she uses with her children. They are so fantastic I asked if she could share some here. I find Lori is great at blending her professional skills with parenting in a real-world way that anyone can achieve. While Lori has specified toddler in this piece, these skills could be used with any age child. Enjoy! 

As a psychologist and a parent I often find myself questioning the way we parent. It is so easy to fall into a trap of short term wins as a parent as we are often tired, busy, or even embarrassed by our children’s reactions or behaviours and we want them to stop. However, short term wins can impact over time and I believe it’s equally important to think through long term consequences. I research and read A LOT!!! Not just looking for gentle parenting strategies that have worked for other parents or parenting experts, but examining the research into impacts of different techniques and strategies long term. Every child is different which is definitely evident with both my children; and it has been trial and error at times. However, there are a number of techniques and strategies that we have found really work. I believe these work to encourage, work to empower, work to enable, work to impart and work to build emotional intelligence and resilience over time. I hope you find them as useful as I have.

8 important lessons I’ve learned with parenting my toddler.

1. Judge intention not behaviour. So often we react to children’s behaviour and get cranky at them when their intention was something completely different to our judgement. Toddlers don’t always know the best way to show their intention so their actions and intentions can often be incongruent. If we can stop and think about intention before responding we can better understand our children and what they are trying to achieve as well as minimising our negative reactions.

2. Give choices where possible. Toddlers like to have responsibility and independence. While there are some instances where we have to give more direct requests, look for those opportunities where you can give them a choice. For example, “which of these three options would you like for morning tea?” “which out of these three outfits would you like to wear today?” “where would you like to sit to eat your lunch”, “which park would you like to go to?”, etc.

3. Where you do need to give directions, explain the “why” behind requests. Providing toddlers with an understanding of why we want or need them to do something helps them appreciate the importance behind our request. I also ask my toddler why when she asks me something to get her thinking in this way as well. In my opinion she can never ask “why” enough and I will never answer with “just because” or “because I said so!” as it teaches her nothing positive.

4. Ask them what to do, not what NOT to do. If you tell a toddler “don’t run” they don’t know what the alternative is at that split moment. Saying “walk please” is a much clearer instruction. I then follow with the why.

5. Ask questions, not statements, and get them to think about it. Asking questions helps your toddler link behaviours and experiences to outcomes, consequences and emotions as well as think about these linkages. Common questions I ask my toddler “What was the happiest/saddest thing that happened today?” “What does respect look like?” “What do you think you could do differently next time?” “Why do you think they did that? What was their intention?” “What does proud feel like?” “How do you think they would feel if you did that?”

6. Encourage and discuss positive behaviours and actions; why these are positive and the impact they have. There is a wealth of research on this topic showing the long term benefits on wellbeing, resilience and even intellect. Be aware of the positive language we use and the impact of this in their interactions with others.

7. Talk about the not so positive behaviours. Why they were no so positive and the impact they had. Then encourage them to come up with an alternative way they could approach the situation next time.

8. Teach them positive ways to manage their emotions. Deep breathing and cuddling works really well and are simple techniques if they are feeling out of control. Sitting with them when they are feeling this way also helps them feel secure and reinforces we are there to support them through all emotions, not just when they are happy. Also, if they hurt themselves or get upset about something, let them feel that emotion (don’t try to stop it or distract them from it). This reinforces it’s okay to feel all emotions. All emotions are healthy; it’s how they learn to manage these that is important in teaching resilience and stress management techniques.

There have definitely been challenging times but we have stuck to these methods and I really feel like they have really paid off! Don’t get me wrong; my children are not perfect, and we don’t expect that. In fact, we encourage mistakes in this house as it’s an important way to learn. That’s what we do as adults and we model this for our children; letting them know when we have made good and not so good choices in our own reactions. And just like us, they are allowed to express their emotions; it’s just a continuing journey to work out together appropriate ways for them to do so.

Lori Burdon is an experienced psychologist who specialises in organisational psychology. However, since having her first child over 4 years ago she became passionate about researching and reviewing parenting practices within a psychological context and putting these into practice. Lori is focused on gentle and positive parenting techniques to assist her children in becoming resilient, emotionally intelligent and empowering them to choose their own appropriate behaviours and actions.

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Why I think Frozen got it wrong

With the official news that Frozen 2 is under construction, I thought I’d take my anti-frozen rant to my blog. Because, yep, I think Frozen got it wrong.

Frozen was a revelation in movies aimed at young girls. It show cased two strong female roles, and it was the sister not the prince who saved the day – this is all pretty awesome

So why do I hate Frozen? Read on dear friend..

1. Mental health issues
Let’s me honest, Elsa has a serious anxiety disorder that her parents manage by teaching her that she should ‘not feel’ and to ‘conceal’ her issues/magic. It’s not her magic that is the issue, it’s her anxiety. Now this could be a powerful message on how anxiety (magic) can be managed, but no, let’s lock the crazy bitch up in the castle. That should sort her mental health issues out.. Seriously? WTF?

2. Skinny minny
Well done Disney for providing strong female leads. I am totally happy with that. But, why the fuck are they so skinny??? Women’s arms do not look like that, and head to body ratio in a normal body is not represented by their super skinny ladies. Come one Disney! They are not less awesome if they actually approach real girl proportions.

3. Elsa’s dress vs. Anna’s dress
Elsa’s escapes the castle and moves into the real world. At which point she dons awesome hair and a glorious dress, but decides she must live in solitude, because really no one can live with her mental illness!

Meanwhile Anna embarks on a super adventure where she overcomes her super bad judgment around men, and shows real fortitude and determination. To be frank, Anna kicks some serious ass in the saving of her sister. But who do little girls love? Not the girl with fortitude and determination; oh no. The girl with the nice dress is the ‘real hero’. Just ask my girls. How the fuck have we got to the point where a victim is the hero because she wears a nice dress. When two little girls growing up in a household where fashion is a non-event and career and academia are lauded STILL admire Elsa, you need to examine these issues in society more closely.

As a mum of girls I am happy to see a step forward in the type of women presented to my daughters. However I am frustrated that it stopped where it did. There is still so much work to be done in the types of media that are created for young girls. In the meantime my girls get a running commentary any time they watch it, and The Tradie gets stink eye for letting them watch it in the first place.

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I am not what I weigh

Since having my girls I have put on a lot of weight; 15kgs to be exact. The little voice in my head is continuously telling me that this weight gain makes me less of a person; that I should be ashamed of myself. Well, it’s time to tell that little voice to shut the fuck up.

You see, I have been thinking about this a lot. I’m 35 now, I have two amazing children, I am finishing my masters degree by completing an original piece of research that has implications for improving childhood health, I am kind to others, I love puppies. Why they hell am I defining myself by what I weigh.

We are so hung up on weight, and body image. We walk into shopping centres and are bombarded with images telling us we are not good enough. The internet is saturated with diets and weight loss messages, and somewhere in all of this we bought in and decided we are not good enough. I am about to return to my teaching job; a fantastic position where I get to share my knowledge on nutrition and inspire the next crop of practitioners. Yet instead of being excited about that, I am terrified that I am too fat to teach. I have been putting aside the fact I am knowledgeable and passionate about nutrition, and defining my abilities by my weight.

This all came to head for me yesterday. when I cut my calories so drastically I could barely work from fatigue. I realised my obsession with losing weight, which ironically is not helping me lose weight at all, was now interfering with the things that actually make me a valuable human being.

What would happen if I stopped focusing on what I weigh and started to focus on being amazingly happy?

What if I decided that what makes me amazing is not my body, but my mind and heart?

What if I decided that eating a whole batch of the one minute slice, didn’t mean I was a failure, weak or a bad person?

What if I starting moving my body in ways I love, and that made my soul happy, and stopped thinking the only exercise I should do is one that makes me skinny or strong (being strong is an awesome goal, but the new focus on ‘strong’ is associated with the message that you are strong or a failure – just like the skinny message).

What if I showed my girls that food is about pleasure, nourishment, family, and that happiness comes from living a great life that fulfills me?

I’m going to answer those questions by living them. I am going to try these radical ideas, and let go of the idea that my weight in some defines who I am. I am going to stand in front of my kids, and in front of my class, and I am going to be fantastic just as I am. Because maybe, just maybe, if I stop judging myself for something so superficial then what makes me great can shine out in the world and inspire others.

I can see this life ahead of me too. It’s filled with beach trips, cooking great meals, fun at the park playing, yoga because yoga is freaking amazing, love, family, joy and somewhere in there will be the moment when I realise that self-acceptance is happiness. It is also freedom.

Who is going to join me?


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Healthy Cookie Cutter Cookies (with a sugar free option)

This recipe is an adaption of the Butternut Cookies on the I Quit Sugar blog. The original recipe was okay, but the coconut flour gives it that horrid dry mouth feel, and the recipe uses a whole jar of cashew butter. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to spend $6 on just one ingredient for a batch of cookies.

This adaption makes a flaky, buttery, pastry-like cookie. The girls devoured them, so that’s always a good sign.


  • 300g spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp rapadura sugar (or xylitol for sugar free)
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g cashew butter
  • 100g butter (or nutlex for dairy free)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2.5 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 180c, and get a baking tray ready
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the cashew butter, butter and coconut oil. Make sure it is over a very low heat.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the butter mix, eggs and vanilla essence. Stir well.
  5. At this stage you should probably rest the dough in the fridge a little bit, but we just went right ahead and rolled it. Up to you.
  6. Roll out half the dough between two sheets of baking paper, until it is about 4mm thick
  7. Using cookie cutters, cut out the biscuits and use an egg flip to lift them gently onto the baking tray.
  8. Bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy. (Sorry I didn’t time it. We did a basic clean-up and read two books if it helps)
  9. Allow to cool on the tray

NOTE: I froze the other half of the dough so we have some ready for another day.



A yummy and healthy cookie cutter cookie. Yes we added sprinkles to this batch


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Routine lemon tree care, and potato trenches.

I am loving my veggie patch at the moment, but after such a long period of neglect there are a lot of jobs to do.


I think it is a Meyer lemon, but the tag got lost a long time ago. It’s such a good tree, but will need a prune to shape her after this growing season.

Today I spent some time caring for the Grand Lady of our garden: the lemon tree. Our tree produces beautiful sweet juicy lemons, nearly year round. We bought her for our first wedding anniversary, so clearly she is special to us. 3 or so years of neglect have left her nutrient depleted, and suffering several bug afflictions.


Those big lumps are from gall wasp. It was a pretty bad case, and those holes mean the adult wasps have escaped.

My first job was to give her a light pruning. Gall wasp has gotten into several branches, so I pruned them off. Gall wasp causes lumps in the branches, as the wasp lays it’s eggs into the branch itself. These lumps can lead to a reduction in fruit, so I pruned them all off and threw them into the green bin. Pruning is the only real way to control the wasp. I had to chop a few branches that had growing lemons on them too, but if you take them with a little piece of stem attach, they will still ripen nicely.

We also have a bit of citrus leaf miner, some scale and a sooty looking mould. These can all be treated with organic controls, but since none of them are seriously attacking the plant I am on watch and wait alert. A good feed, and some repeated deep watering, might allow the plant to control this herself


Multiple diseases can be seen here


Leaving some stem helps the lemons ripen. Baby hands adds some cute factor too.

Next, the girls and I cleared all the grass and weeds from beneath the tree so we could fertilise her. A light hoe got all the growth out pretty easily , and I actually left it piled around the outside to make a little moat. This will stop the water and fertiliser from running down the slope away from the tree.

Lemons need to be fed three times a year: March, July and November (yes, I’m a little late!). I always use a commercial citrus food, but I’m sure you could find some amazing organic options. I choose one with trace elements as well, but you could use rock minerals in combination with a standard NPK fertiliser. There is a dose of fertiliser for lemons, which is 125g per year of plants age. I’m a little less exact than this though, and just toss a couple of handfuls under the tree. It seems to work alright 🙂

Lastly, I mulched with straw from the chicken coop, which provides both manure and soil cover.

Today’s other job was the potatoes. I never buy seed potatoes, as I nearly always have some growing in the potato box anyway. Potatoes are so easy to grow. I wait until a few eyes sprout, then I cut them into pieces, making sure each piece has an eye. I dug a big trench this time, and then planted them into holes at the bottom of each trench. The plants have now sprouted above the top of the trench, so I had to push all the hilled up dirt back into the trench. This will give a better yield then just planting them at ground level (which I’ve done before too). I think next autumn I will do an even deeper ditch, as these plants are doing so well I could use more soil over them.

Tomorrow I will have to start training the unruly beans and peas.


You can see the tops of the potatoes sticking above the trench here.


All filled in, and mulched up!

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6 of my must-have baby products

This blog post was supposed to be 5 products, but I really couldn’t choose which one to cull! These are all tried and tested on my own kids, and are products I truly love.  Continue reading

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