33 Lessons for 33 Years

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These life, love and business lessons were originally shared over on Instagram as daily posts to coincide with my 33rd birthday, but I’ve had a bunch of requests to post them on the blog in one easy-to-bookmark post, so here we are. Enjoy!


[01] Betraying the very essence of who you are for the (supposed) benefit of others actually benefits… no one.

When you diminish your joy for fear of being judged or creating separatism… when you play down something that actually came naturally and effortlessly… or when you apologise for being too sensitive / too expressive / too whatever, you’re sending yourself a clear message.

Being who you are and owning how you feel is less important than presenting yourself in a way that is most ‘palatable.’

Let me challenge that by reminding you you’re here to live a fully-expressed life. While that’s going to be both thrilling and terrifying at times, graciously speaking your truth (as you uncover what that IS time and time again), is the path to true freedom. Deep fulfillment. Peace that starts right down in your bones.

Marianne Williamsom famously said ‘As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’ #yes! and #amen! We all know what it’s like to be in the presence of someone who is ‘at home’ with themselves — someone who knows that they’ve been given the gift of this mind, this body, and this life for a reason. It’s comforting, liberating and exhilarating, all at once.

Do YOU like only you can.

[02] Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, but let it be said, it is not necessarily ‘easy.’

When I was pregnant, the extent of my thoughts about breastfeeding were: ‘Have baby. Breastfeed baby.’

14 weeks later — after countless appointments with professionals including a lactation consultant, a doctor, a pediatrician, an osteo, and chiro, plus buying a breast pump (then resorting to hiring an expensive hospital-grade pump to express like a madwoman) and then, finally (!), two procedures to release Ryder’s tongue tie — we are just now coming to a place of flow with feeding.

The upside: this process has turned me into one #determinedmofo But on a serious note, the thought of women beating themselves up for thinking this process should be ‘perfect’ and that there’s something ‘wrong’ if it isn’t breaks my heart… so mamas, this lesson is just for you. If breastfeeding is more challenging than you expected, or in fact, simply not for you, know that it’s your body, your baby, your choice. You are supported.

[03] Throw a spanner in the works.

Just because it happened in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll happen in the future. EVERY experience grows us… when we allow it to. Transcend your story.

[04] Carve the time to ask yourself The Big Questions.

Creation or Evolution — how did we get here? Is there a God, or higher power? What about the Soul — do you believe there’s a journey beyond the experience you’re having in *this* body? What’s your stance, if you have one, on gay marriage? Feminism? Poverty? War? Life on other planets?

I was thinking recently about how beautifully curious children are and their natural instinct to ask WHY. Why do you believe that? Why did that happen? Why, why, why? These little people are constantly trying to make sense of the world; endlessly digging deeper to form opinions based on the little seeds of knowledge and wisdom they gather along the way.

In pondering all that (as you do!), I realised that when we, as adults, get so caught up in simply EXISTING day-to-day — whipping through our to-do lists, scrolling through Facebook, mindlessly racing from here to there — we can so easily crowd out the space required to contemplate the complex, vast, magical mystery tour that is our (capital L) Life. Which is such a shame.

Opinions evolve, shapeshift or DEEPEN as we feed our minds and open our hearts. Fire up a conversation, read a book that challenges your beliefs, journal it out… Get down and dirty with the Big Q’s today.

[05] There will never be a perfect time.

One of the best pieces of business advice I’ve ever received, and also the simplest.

At the end of 2012, in a head-spinning (stomach-churning) turn of events, my coaching business was launched after a single fortuitous decision — to send an email broadcast to my blog subscribers. And if we’re talking about ‘perfect timing’, it either was or it wasn’t, depending on how you look at it.

My husband and I had just spent all our savings on our wedding (like, ALL our savings.)

The completion date for the project he was working on was up in the air; the uncertainty around when things would end (for real) was keeping us in a perpetual state of limbo.

I had no business plan or promotional strategy mapped out, no finely crafted sales page.

Looking at the ‘facts’, logic would have most definitely said it wasn’t an IDEAL time to leave my corporate gig and blaze out on my own full-time. However: desire is a magnet. Once that decision to leap was declared, doors swung open, inspired ideas landed, the people showed up… and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Experience has shown me time and time again that it always is when you make the choice to begin, in any way (big or small) that brings you closer to the dream.


[06] Flip your perspective.

If you’re feeling troubled, try this lens instead: it’s not happening *to* you, it’s happening *for* you.

What changes then?

[07] For the love of all that is good and holy, when you find The One… go ALL in.  

Nine years ago, Ramai and I got together with possibly the worst timing ever — not only was I in a self-declared phase of being Completely Over Men, but he was booked to fly out 7 weeks later to travel Europe for a month and move to the U.K indefinitely.

But the heart wants what the heart wants.

Those 7 weeks were all-consuming, punctuated with a tug-o-war of emotions (“This is going to end! Don’t get hurt! Pull back NOW!”) and far too quickly, that dreaded departure day rolled around. There were trembly embraces and teary goodbyes at the airport as we tried to reconcile that this might be it — a beautiful stretch in time in both our lives, but merely a chapter, not a story.

And then. My phone beeps. ‘I’m in Spain and I’ve finally been able to get a SIM card!’ My heart skipped several thousand beats. Like a romance of old (with a modern twist), this incredible man and I kept in frequent contact from then on in, learning as much as we could about each other through the written word. Emails upon emails, witty banter, sweet declarations, texts at all hours for the next 3 months (a blip, but an eternity). My best friends were living in London at the time as well, and eventually it was decided that I would throw flights on my dangerously-close-to-being-maxed-out credit card and come and visit..

AND THEN. “I’m coming home.” He says. Just like that. The ‘living in the U.K’ dream was over. And he still says to this day: ‘We just knew, didn’t we?’

Take a chance. Risk your heart.

[08] Call in (money) miracles.

I can’t remember when I first declared the following, but it’s certainly stuck with me; something I’ve circled back to when necessary over the past few years.

When it comes to losing money, either by accident or through bad or mis-timed decisions — and this is going to sound ludicrously simple, so you may just chuckle to yourself — I simply ask for it to find its way back to me. ‘Go on, Universe. SURPRISE ME.’ #abundancemindsetENGAGE

Top-of-mind examples?

Two weeks ago I absent-mindedly left $50 at a self-serve checkout at the supermarket. Two days ago, I withdrew $200 from an ATM and $250 popped out. (well THAT’S a first.)

In a similar vein, a few months ago I lost several thousand dollars on a project that was pulled… and days later opened my inbox to an email saying I was receiving double the amount that was lost in an unexpected payout.

These things aren’t foolproof — if only, right? — but when it comes to manifesting / summoning / clasping one’s hands in prayer / whatever resonates, my take is there’s no love lost in making the ask. Everything is energy, after all… And I’d rather dance through life with the rock-solid belief that I’m S U P P O R T E D.

[09] Celebrate your sisters, and celebrate them well.

Wanna know the single best way to feel inspired to honour, enjoy, support and build UP the women in your life? Start at home. Build from within first. Enter into a deeply respect-FULL, fiercely loving, wildly accepting relationship with YOURSELF. ‘Cause when you do, I promise you’ll feel a sense of peace around your own *perceived* shortcomings. You’ll relinquish the compulsion to compare. You’ll know you’re an equal, imbued with countless extraordinary gifts of your own. Self-assuredness will radiate from your cells… and importantly, you’ll know her accomplishment takes nothing from your own.

You may have discovered it’s easy to lavishly dole out love when you’re feeling LOVED BY LIFE — when you hit a high note and all feels right and flowy and abundant and your wounded bits aren’t so… tender — but consider this a gentle nudge to celebrate your sisters when you’re NOT riding high, as much as when you are.

Apart from the obvious truth that heartfelt words never go astray and may be called upon by this sister of yours in tough times to come, know that the act of celebration will elevate YOU too. Do it for her, from your heart, first and foremost. That goes without saying. But it would be remiss of me not to point out that illuminating her magnificence will serve to unlock the places it feels out of sight in your own life, also. Life is wondrous like that.

We have so much to learn from each other.

We have so much to offer each other.

We need each other.

We are (so, so much) better together.

Instead of turning your back, turn towards.

[10] You have permission to pause.

Here’s the thing: there are going to be days where you JUST DON’T WANNA. You’ll wake up exhausted. You’ll be struck by a shitty situation. Your heart won’t be in it. Your desire to do… well, anything… will slip hastily out the back door. Logic will tell you ‘it’s okay to stop!’ but then guilt may just swoop in unannounced. And because these things tend to spiral if left unchecked, you might start convincing yourself that because you JUST DON’T WANNA — you’re *actually* a lazy, incompetent, uncreative, not enough human being. (hello spiral.)

Let’s stop right here.

You’re not (lazy, incompetent, uncreative, not enough).

But you ARE a human being. Which, by virtue, means that your very human need to recharge, restore and replenish is going to show up from time to time.

So when you really JUST DON’T WANNA, pop on your ‘do nothing’ pants and shelve your responsibilities for a moment. You’ll be back in full force soon.


[11] Dig deep.

Yesterday’s lesson was a permission slip to pause when you ‘just don’t wanna,’ and I’m absolutely certain that when you tune in and listen hard, you’ll know when that’s required.

Today — the opposing thought. The times where underneath any initial resistance you’re feeling, you actually DO wanna. We’re not talking about ‘depleted and requiring rest’ (an entirely different kettle of fish.) We’re talking about digging your heels in and making it happen because the rewards will be so much greater than the minor, and momentary, pain of getting started.

Which happened for me just this morning.

After carrying a small human in my belly for the better half of the year, my current focus has been upping my fitness levels again. Like most of us, I feel significantly better — emotionally, mentally and physically — when I move my body every day, so last night I set an intention to hit the track early for a run and some light resistance training.

However, as is the unpredictability of #mumlife, last night was one of (very) broken sleep at our place, and I’ll admit that my intention was looking mighty shaky this morning.

This doubtful moment I experienced is not uncommon when it comes to our goals, whatever they may be.

We’re always choosing. We can actively step towards them, we can actively step away, or we can do nothing at all. I was on the edge of nothing at all this morning, but with the bigger desire still simmering underneath I turned on the light, pulled on my tights, crop top, socks, and shoes…. and things began to shift.

Because the choice was taken out of it — this was now HAPPENING — my energy rose to meet my intention.

Dig, dig, dig deep.

[12] ‘There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can choose to be there for it. Put yourself in the way of beauty.’

Ahh. ‘Put yourself in the way of beauty.’  Those words by Cheryl Strayed are alive to me. They remind me to celebrate the way the sun peeks out over the ocean, heralding a do over and a new day, ripe with promise. The leaves as they change colour to signal a shift in season. A child’s smile. A woman who knows her worth, and reminds you of yours.

When we look for it, we can find beauty e v e r y w h e r e. Keep putting yourself in the way of it.

[13] Stop looking for the snake.

We’re blessed to have an incredible rainforest-laced National Park not far from where we live, and at least 4 days out of 7 you’ll find me running or strolling the track that weaves around its core. I’ve been doing this for years.

And then there’s the snake.

Mostly, I start my runs mindlessly and forget he’s there, but inevitably, before I’m half way ‘round the loop I’ll hear a rustle in the scrub… or spy a Bearded Dragon basking in the sunlight… or see something out of the corner of my eye…

And I’ll be reminded of his presence. That damn snake, again. THE. SNAKE.

I imagine how we’ll eventually meet. He’ll slither out from beneath a dense patch of leaves, right across my feet (which, in fact, has happened to me before, but with a much smaller, friendlier snake; this snake is, of course, of the Big Papa Do Not Mess With Me variety.)

I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about this snake… and I’m sure you’ve just about cottoned on to the fact HE DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST. He’s a figment of my imagination. Nothing more than a habitual, default thought, based on an ‘idea’ I conjured up once upon a time that has {seriously} overstayed its welcome ‘upstairs.’

Ridiculous as this story may sound, what’s worth noting is every time I expend even an ounce of precious energy thinking about the existence of this critter (based on zero evidence), I’m yanked from the present moment. The thought may be fleeting OR my mind may wander for minutes at a time, but either way, there’s potential to miss the way the light leaks in through the fig trees. The sweet sound of the birds. The lull of the ocean that wraps the headland in a hug. Mama nature at her absolute finest.

Whatever the form, there comes a point where we have to take back the reins and say ENOUGH. I will no longer invest energy into this rogue thought that’s distracting me from the beauty of what’s in front of me, for real.

We have to stop funnelling energy into a ‘snake’ that does not even exist.

[14] Let discontent guide you forward.

Feeling bored? Agitated? Restless? Dissatisfied? Imbalances have a way of revealing where we most desire change. Laser in.

[15 – 20] Business: enjoy the ride.

[Five lessons in one]

// Solve problems, and know who you’re solving them for. Trade the goal of trying to convert the peeps who AREN’T your peeps (aka, trying to be for everyone) for really getting to know the ones who are. Treat them like absolute gold.

// How often are you implementing? There’s magic in planning, strategising, mapping out, and dreaming the dream. Start there. But know that when it comes to growing your thing — and living the dream — there’s honestly no substitute for clipping that seatbelt in and taking a c t i o n.

// Commit to the process of busting outmoded beliefs around success and abundance. And it is a process. You’ll be called to push beyond your limits again… and again. Do it with love and (self) compassion, always.

// Make peace with failure. In fact, reframe the concept of failure altogether. Tim Ferriss says, ‘There are no failed experiments — there’s only feedback.’ #amentothat Failure is progress. Try this: define your worst-case scenario, in detail. Then ask, “What if that actually happened? And then what? And then what?”

// Mental shift: swap ‘uncertainty’ for ‘possibility.’ Ahh. Better.

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[21] Fear will quite happily run the show. 

We’re afraid of rejection and afraid of judgement. We avoid traversing our emotional landscape FOR FEAR OF WHAT WE MIGHT FIND. We worry that we’re not talented enough, not ready enough, not worthy or deserving enough. We obsess over how we’ll be perceived, what’ll happen if we fall down, what life might look like on the other side.

The thing is though, much of what Fear whispers in our ear is an illusion, and to buy into that illusion is to sacrifice the fullness of life — unbridled freedom, the joy of discovery, the delight of unguarded love, and the high of leaping with your heart in your throat, and the result being (way) better than expected.

When it comes to your creativity, your message to the world, and your desire for more, there’s a sure-fire way to ensure you’re running the show…

Go on and do the exact thing your fear is telling you not to do.

[22] Stay open.

One of the biggest lessons for every.single.one.of.us walking this planet, I believe, is remembering that we are all experiencing the world through a filtered lens; a lens of our own perceptions. Which is to say: we interpret things in vastly different ways.

So often, we’re assigning meaning to a situation based on our past experiences — the way we were raised (good or bad), the people who influenced us, our biggest wounds, our most triumphant wins. And how could these things NOT weave their way into our worldview, right?

There are plenty of instances where this is a very good thing, but I’ve found that in situations where we feel unsettled, upset or resentful over someone’s actions, there’s so much to be said for opening our hearts with compassion and looking at things from a slightly different angle. Even if just for a moment.

Perception vs. reality. Open vs. closed.

[23] On the power of encouraging words.

For the new mama finding her feet in foreign soil, there’s really nothing quite like hearing: “Honey, you’re doing an incredible job.”

[24] Be the vessel.

I want to give you a little peek behind the creative curtain today (lessons ‘about’ the lessons) as pulling together this series has been an inspired — and interesting — process for me.

My original intention for #RM33for33 was that it would be published over on my blog as a lengthy post. * which, due to request, it now is. 

Not long after I started writing, though, another idea floated in and I decided on a whim to make this an Instagram adventure instead — bite-sized pieces of wisdom that I hoped would be more impactful and relevant when published here in their individual form.

I had several lessons in the kitty when I kicked things off, but knowing this was going to be a fairly decent end-of-year undertaking, I sat down and attempted to plan out the rest… … And promptly failed.

And so, the first lesson for me arrived.

I needed to relinquish ALL plans to allow the creative force to show ME what was to be written on any given day. {Aha. Yes. Got it.} Some days I resisted, but I was reminded of the sense of fulfillment that comes from consistently devoting and following through.

Some days, the opposite happened and words POURED out of me, and I remembered that the creative process can be easy, too.

The second and third lessons then showed up.

Despite me previously trying to engineer it this way, #holyrevelation — the conditions DO NOT need to be perfect to write, and to try and cultivate that perfection is *actually* just procrastination. (most of these were punched into the Notes app on my iPhone with Ryder cradled in my arms). As a new mother who also runs her own business, this one was particularly potent.

The other lesson (a re-learning) was that when we ask for our creativity to show up and guide us, it does. Often unexpectedly, possibly down an alternate route. But guide us it does. We are to follow that energy. We are the conduits, after all.

[25] Feed your mind.

‘May your thirst for knowledge be met with a depth of understanding.’

My Dad — he of the one-word text message — scrawled that poetic declaration inside a hardback encyclopedia he gave me when I was 11… and yep, looks like I must have filed it under MEANINGFUL because here I am sharing it 22 years later.

The thirst for knowledge.

The lifelong student.

The curious mind.


Does those terms resonate with you too?

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to supercharge our minds today. From books to workshops to docos to blog posts to podcasts to courses… there’s an absolute abundance of information, on any given topic, right at our fingertips. A simple click and we’re away.

Which brings me to a few recommendations. Below you’ll find a small, random selection of resources that have spoken to me as a personal-development ‘devotee.’

// AUDIBLE subscription — best $5 you’ll spend each month. A treasure trove of audiobooks to take on your next walk or car trip. (multi-tasking at its finest).

// TIM FERRISS’ podcast for really bloody good (in-depth) conversations with fascinating characters.

// BRAIN PICKINGS for beautifully crafted, impeccably researched essays on writing and philosophy and everything in between.

// MINDSET: THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS by Carol Dweck, exploring her insightful research on the ‘fixed mindset’ and the ‘growth mindset.’  the growth mindset is what we’re talking about with this lesson.

// THE UNTETHERED SOUL by Michael Singer; anything by Caroline Myss, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson and Pema Chodron; ASK AND IT IS GIVEN by Esther and Jerry Hicks… and so on! Soul food for the spiritual seeker.

// THE BIG LEAP by Gay Hendricks for busting limiting beliefs. Much-loved by coaches and online entrepreneurs.

// ON WRITING by Stephen King; BIG MAGIC by Liz Gilbert; STILL WRITING by Dani Shapiro; BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott — my favourite books on writing.


[26] Expectations are joy killers.

[posted on Xmas Eve]

As a culture, we’re continually bombarded with romantic ideas about the holiday season. From gifts, to spending, to meals and family dynamics — wherever we turn, it seems we’re greeted with perfectly-styled images of ‘a happy, harmonious Christmas.’

It’s a lot to live it up to, no? Is it really any surprise that the expectations we have for our own celebrations can be through the freaking roof?

Not at all… and here’s where shit can hit the fan. When our reality doesn’t match how things ‘should’ be, there’s SO much potential for us to end up triggered, resentful, disappointed and hurt — the opposite of what we’d hoped and desired.

So with this in mind, and because attaching to an outcome can kill our joy in one swift manoeuvre, it makes sense that practicing the art of D E T A C H M E N T might be the surest path to an enjoyable Xmas.

A few thoughts on releasing the grip of expectation…

// Sideline the idea of perfection. It’s okay if your carefully-thought-out present doesn’t get the reaction you were hoping for. It’s okay if you forget the sauce, if the weather sucks, if Plan A gets shelved for Plan B, or if someone doesn’t show up to the family lunch because they’re dealing with their own stuff.

// Allow others to just ‘be themselves.’ Remind yourself that they’re doing the best that they can with the tools that they have. An open heart will radically alter every interaction.

// That said, protect your energy if you need to. Accepting others as they are does not mean forsaking your own emotional wellbeing.

// Don’t be afraid to slow down. Over-committing yourself is a recipe for overwhelm and stress, at a time of year when restoration is particularly key. (Plus, there’ll be plenty of time to see everyone next year!)

// And finally, return to mindfulness. Your breath is your anchor. Always.

[27] On celebration, future visions and family traditions.

A little Xmas story.

On Christmas Day a few years ago, much to the delight of my three brothers, I whipped out a canvas-bound notebook and emphatically declared: ‘A new tradition starts now.’

‘I’m going to be the keeper of this little book here, and in it, each year we’ll document What We’re Most Proud Of from the year that was, and what’s a Done Deal for the year ahead.’ {Yep. #lifecoachinthehouse There’s no escaping me.

I have to give it to the boys, and my Mum and step-Dad, because it wasn’t long before they all got RIGHT INTO IT. Goals and proud moments were flung around the room with reckless abandon. As each family member had their turn in the hot seat, we’d lift them higher, urge them to dig deeper: ‘What about this?’ and ‘Don’t forget that one.’ My heart grew bigger along with their smiles. We contemplated. We joked. We bonded.

This whole reflecting and visioning business is my ‘world’. I have the privilege of having an online platform via which celebration and wild dreaming is fully supported. I also have the gift of dear friends who’ll readily hold space for my goals for the future.

But, for my family members — particularly my brothers — I could see that carving out time to acknowledge the year’s achievements before rushing headfirst into a new one was not a regular occurrence…

And that the gift of being held and witnessed is the greatest gift of all.

[28] The grass is green under your feet, too.

A handy, sure-thing formula for a contented life: more focus on what you do have, and less focus on what you don’t.

[29] Gratitude is everything.

The research doesn’t lie, the benefits are endless, and — yep — turns out all those passionate, vocal advocates of appreciating what ya got really are onto something.

Practicing gratitude can CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

[30] The way you make people feel, and creating what you wish existed.

When I’m creating anything, my primary focus is on creating a transformative EXPERIENCE.

More precisely, I want my people — those who choose to purchase from me or work with me — to feel part of something special. A loving tribe; an inspired collective. I want them to feel heard, included, supported, elevated… and of course, I want them to feel empowered to do the thing they want to do.

In birthing any project, in the initial ‘scratchy concept’ days I zoom in, firstly, on how I want my peeps to feel — hat tip, @daniellelaporte — from the moment they see the product for the first time to their thoughts looking back on the journey. This is big.

Lasering in on the experience bleeds into everything from this point on: the stories I share on my sales page, my immediate communication after someone buys from me, the designer I bring on board, the quality of the software, the depth of my support… and so on.

Feelings clarified, I then switch tempo. I go deep on the strategy. The features spelled out in detail. The A-team I’ll hire. The end goals. The important movements that will take me from here to there. This is where the fun really begins, and the specifics of the vision usually shapeshift several times as this process unfolds. (allow them to — you’re evolving as the project evolves!) (also: the challenging/ resistance-filled bits are where you’re really growing, so embrace them eagerly!)

I’m also a firm believer in creating the product that would have helped YOU out. In other words, create what you wish existed.

As a blogger who knew no-one online when I ‘ventured in’ back in 2011, having access to a bustling online community of like-minded bloggers would have been invaluable. That thinking lead me to creating one of my own — and so was born my eCourse Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted.

Experience. Feelings. Strategy. Usefulness. Here’s to a year of powerful CREATION in 2016.

[31-33] On reverence and reflection.

[Posted on New Year Eve, 2015]

WE’RE HERE. What an unforgettable 12 months it’s been. From the gut-punch of losing a soul sister; to the magical ride that is pregnancy (and the support that blew my mind); to epic business highs and the launch of new ventures (Ramai’s); and of course, to the most defining moment of my life thus far — becoming a mother to our beautiful baby Ryder.

I’ve plumbed the depths and touched the sky in 2015. And now, friends, it’s time to close this year out.

The final 3 of 33 are not {actually} lessons, but rather, questions. They’re an integral part of my yearly review ritual — which also involves my husband, my journal, The Desire Map and a corner of our favourite beach. Feel free to weave them into your own reflections (*at any time of the year) if they speak to you.

1 // SWEET RELEASE: What do I need to leave behind?

2 // GET GRATEFUL: Who do I need to thank?

3 // VISION, BABY, VISION: What will I (co-)create in the year ahead?

May your answers surprise and delight you.

You made it. And now I’ve gotta know: favourite lesson? And why? Share with us in the comments below.

One last thing… I’d be ever-grateful for your support in sharing this around, so feel free to hit the buttons below to share on the various channels. Big thanks!

Images by Bayleigh Vedelago; styling Peppa Hart

Mastering Your Mean Girl: An Interview with Melissa Ambrosini


Some time ago, I happily stumbled across the beautiful Buddhist virtue of MUDITA — and let me tell you, today is a mudita kinda day.

Defined loosely, mudita means: ‘vicarious joy’ or ‘delighting in the happiness, good fortune and success of others,’ and hand-on-heart, I don’t think I could be more delighted to share the news that my soul sister Mel Ambrosini has LAUNCHED.

In other wordsMastering Your Mean Girl: the No-BS Guide to Being Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy + Bursting with Love has officially landed!

How do I explain how it feels to pour over Mel’s debut book?

Firstly, this baby is MAGNIFICENT; a visual feast for the eyes straight off the bat (clear a spot for her on your coffee table, pronto).

And then you start turning the pages, and inside, discover this tome is layered with wise, searing, honest words you can actually relate to and — importantly — super actionable steps to help you on your own journey to self-acceptance. It’s akin to sitting together cross-legged on the couch, peppermint tea in hand, your worries soothed and your spirit noticeably lighter in her presence.

Because I know she’ll laugh at this, I’ll call that the Mel Effect.

In a nod to the concept of mudita, and to celebrate this exquisite woman and the release of Mastering Your Mean Girl, we recently caught up for a soulful chat, available to you below.

Amongst other things, in the audio we dive into:

> Mel’s personal journey of mastering her Mean Girl (her story is a doozy!)

> Her definition of Mean Girl, and the three-step process she encourages every woman to explore to turn down the volume on their critical inner voice and choose LOVE over fear

> Where the Mean Girl shows up in Mel’s life today

> Plus, for those who’ve always dreamed of writing a book of their own — an insightful behind-the-scenes look at her book creation process from start to finish



Melissa Ambrosini is the author of Mastering Your Mean Girl, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and self-love teacher. In her signature straight-talking style, Melissa teaches women how to master their inner Mean Girl, smash through limiting beliefs, and ditch the self-doubt so that they can start truly living the life of their dreams.

Named a ‘self-help guru’ by Elle Magazine, she is known for her inspirational live events, books, booming online community, her weekly Goddess Groups, game-changing online programs such as the MA Academy Business Bootcamp, her soulful guided meditations and empowering keynote talks.

Her mission is to inspire women across the globe to create a heart-centred life that’s wildly wealthy, fabulously healthy and bursting with love.


Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube


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Bugaboo, Wondersuits, Carriers ‘n’ More: The Baby Stuff I’m Loving So Far


When you discover you’re growing a tiny divine being inside your belly, at some point your attention will inevitably turn towards the ‘stuff.’

The pram. The nursery decor. The teeny outfits.

The potential to go overboard with the research and the consumption is high, which is where good, trusty recommendations come in to make life a little easier.

I hope this collection of products we love and use regularly with our sweet man helps you out as you yourself enter the wonderful world of parenthood (or the next time you need to purchase a gift for someone who is.)


Comfy, cosy, convenient, and keeps your babe close to your heart — what’s not to love about baby carriers?

We’ve got a couple of carriers that we mix up:

The Ergobaby 360 with the Infant insert (important bit) — for longer walks. Super sturdy and supportive, bears the baby’s weight extraordinarily well, and for a dodgy-right-shouldered woman like me, doesn’t cause any discomfort.

The Chekoh wrap — for wandering over to the beach and trips to the shops/ markets. Our grey-striped Chekoh is definitely the lighter and more stylish of the two.

Soothe Shirt — this genius piece of apparel is perfect for wearing around the house when I need both hands free, and quickly. Pop it on, slip him in the pouch. Too easy.

When it comes to settling, these puppies are all incredibly effective. Pop your baby in, sway a little or do an exaggerated walk around the house for a minute or two with a bit of shushing and patting and they are likely to be putty in your hands. An hour-long walk outside is perfect for Mama and babe — exercise AND a nice little nap.

** Other brands I love are Elki and Yoli and Otis

PRAM :: Bugaboo Cameleon 3

Hands-down our favourite purchase, for a few key reasons.

+ It’s solid and sturdy, without being too bulky.

+ Handles beautifully. This baby’s got big wheels and suspension, and allows me to execute my ‘veer off the path for a bumpier ride’ manoeuvre perfectly, which often works for getting Ryder to sleep.

+ And, yep, it looks great.

Size-wise, the Cameleon is perfect and, for us, was a better option than the Bugaboo Buffalo which is the next size up and seemed a little heavy and chunky for our needs. We also prefer the upright seat over the newborn bassinet (which we used at the beginning, but switched up). We do currently have it tilted backwards so Ryder is lying down, however.

Our additions:

A cup holder — which mostly holds my phone, but sometimes a smoothie. Coffee drinkers, this is a necessity for you!

Black hood — when it comes to colours, black and charcoal are firm favourites for Ramai and I so we decided since we were investing, we may as well go the whole hog and changed up the hood to a black one, instead of the standard beige. Life’s too short!


OUTFITS :: Bonds Wondersuits

Wondersuits are the best, best, BEST. We’ve got a bunch of these in different prints and in the first few weeks, Ryder wore them ‘round the clock.

Love: the handy fold-over bits for keeping tiny hands enclosed (no face scratching) and those edible baby feet nice and warm.

RECOVERY (for Mum) :: SRC Recovery shorts

These high-waisted lycra compression shorts are brilliant and came recommended by several friends.

You’re meant to pop them on the day after birth, but to be honest, with everything else going on (i.e.: having A BRAND NEW BABY to coo over / feed around the clock) I completely forgot, so I started wearing them once I got home from the hospital on day five.

Not only did they help with post-birth recovery ‘down there’, but they definitely helped with flattening my stomach and giving me core and back support once I started going for walks with the pram. I wore them as much as possible under Lululemon leggings and flowy pants (I slept in them too — never fear, I did wash them!) for the first five weeks and still occasionally pop them on.

Well worth the investment.


Aden + Anais and Modern Burlap are my favourite muslin wraps for the quality, size, the way they feel and the patterns. I use these to swaddle and drape over the hood of the pram.

For sleeping, we pop Ryder in his Love to Dream swaddle suit, which — magically — has become a ‘sleep cue’ for him.

I also find the fact he looks like an Xmas tree angel highly amusing at times, especially when he’s moving his little chicken wing-ed arms around. #parentingkicks #itsthelittlethings #help

WHITE NOISE :: myBaby whale noise machine

Another sleep cue, this white noise machine goes on when it’s time for some zzz’s on the ‘ocean’ setting — all part of my husband’s cunning plan to ensure our son loves surfing. ;) (kidding. Kinda.)

Babies adore white noise because it reminds them of when they were nestled cosily in the womb, so if you’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep, I do recommend giving this machine or an app — of which there are many — a go. Alongside swaddling like a burrito, these are things we adults might file under WTF… but they work.


COMFORTERS AND TOYS :: Kippin Comforter 

These home-grown organic comforters have become quite the cult item and it took me a while to hunt down a River Kippin because they were sold out everywhere for some time.

Ryder hasn’t quite cottoned on yet, but I’m sure they’ll be the best of friends in future.

BREAST PUMP :: Medela Swing

This electric pump came recommended by just about everyone I know.

Hot tips:

1. Ensure you have the right flange size for your ‘girls’ as it makes the world of difference.

2. I would hold out on purchasing this until you’ve had your baby, as breastfeeding just may not happen for you and I know a few women who were left with a reasonably expensive purchase they couldn’t use. Know that you can also hire hospital-grade pumps from many pharmacies so that’s an option if you need it and don’t want to buy a pump of your own.


+ Buddhism for Mothers a truly beautiful book on what really matters. If you get lost in the parenting forums and sleep training mumbo jumbo, come back here to soothe your mama heart.

+ The Conscious Parent confession: I haven’t actually read this as it only arrived last week. HOWEVER, after watching this interview with Dr Shefali, I’m already a huge fan of her wisdom on parenting. Add it to your list.

+ Ina May x 2: Guide to Childbirth and Guide to Breastfeeding I absolutely love these two tomes. Full of stories and gentle mothering techniques.

+ The Wonder Weeks my tip is to get the app AND the book. Next time your babe is uncharacteristically unsettled, you may just find he/ she is in a ‘wonder week’ — a developmental leap that can shake things up in their world. Knowledge is power!

+ The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer I found this one super comprehensive on all things ‘calming’ and ‘connecting’ with your child, and the least rigid when it comes to sleep training / establishing a routine.

Now that’s it from me for now, mamas, but I’m calling on your expert recommendations…

What would you add to the list? Please tell us in the comments below.

And before we go, posts like these are for ripe for sharing, so I’d be ever grateful if you could hit the buttons below or share over on Facebook. Thank you!

Small sidenote: this post is not a sponsored one, nor am I an affiliate for any products mentioned. The Chekoh Wrap and Soothe Shirt were gifted to me (without expectation — mentioned because I use ’em.) 

Pregnancy Series: The Third Trimester


If the first trimester was characterised by the sweetness of the secret and that first heart-altering scan, and the second, super-human energy, then the third most certainly has been about feeling all the feelings. 

On more than one occasion, the thought of watching my man cradle our tiny person in his arms has had me dusting a stream of tears from my cheeks.

A soaring tune on my iPod can open the floodgates, and I all but lose it over sentimental Facebook videos and blog posts that should come with a Definitely Not Suitable for Pregnant Women warning.

Surprisingly, I’ve been awash with a feeling of CALM READINESS for most of my pregnancy, but then there’ll be a day where an anxious thought will slip in the back door, and suddenly I’m worried about something 5 years down the track…. that will definitely never happen.

Trimester Three has had a definite marshmallow heart flavour, but it’s not just a ‘softening’ I’ve noticed. There’s a fierceness, a wild protectiveness, that’s also made itself at home in my bones.

In the way life so often dishes up ‘trial runs’ or ‘like experiences’, I feel like I’ve been called to step up AND sink deeper across the board — from my business to my relationships to life in general.

Which is to say, there’s been plenty of growing. Inwardly, outwardly, spiritually, emotionally.

A new evolution is drawing ever closer, so before that happens, let’s take a look at what I’ve been pondering / exploring over the past three or so months, shall we?



{30 weeks, away in Byron on a mini baby-moon}



{39 weeks; before two becomes three}


{Prints of the above, and also, a sneaky look at some of the last-minute maternity pics I did with Jo from The Luminous Kitchen who made me feel like a mama-goddess — on my due date.}


It’s a funny thing, visualising the birth of your baby. SO MANY unknowns. Such a radically different and unique experience.

I’ve been slowly preparing for The Big Day for the entire duration of my pregnancy, but below are some things I’ve done to get ready in the third trimester:

1. Zenning out to HypnoBirthing meditations nightly. Adore Melissa Spilsted’s Surge of the Sea — Relaxation for Childbirth and Affirmations for Beautiful Birthing (on the same download)

2. Also really loving Naomi Goodlet’s Meditations for Pregnancy and Birth.

3. Holding acupressure points and rubbing diluted clary sage oil on my feet and belly (note: suitable for those overdue / in labour).

4. Crafting a ‘Birth Bible’ — essentially a Moleskine journal in which I’ve been recording my favourite affirmations and reminders, relevant information from baby books, notes for Ramai, and other bits and pieces that we may or may not use throughout the labour.

“Every surge of my body brings me closer to my baby.” 

I relax and let my body lead. I trust in its wisdom to do what its designed to do.”

“I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure.”


5. As always, movement. Walking. Bike riding, beach-cruiser style. Limbering up ;) I’ve noticed that in the final weeks, I’ve felt slightly more spacious in my body (as the baby has dropped) and I’ve certainly been making the most of it.


A while back a friend and I were deep in conversation about motherhood and identity, and she said something that’s stayed with me ever since, which was:

“Becoming a mother changed my perspective on certain things, the way anything big does… but I’m still me, you know?

Gosh, I loved hearing that.

As I face down mamahood, I’m welcoming the ways in which I’ll be altered, transformed and stretched beyond my current reality, but at the core of it all, and just like my beautiful friend — I know I’ll still be me.

Hopeful, determined, over-thinkin’, creative. A prone-to-restlessness, growth-seeker who loves to ‘work it out’ vs. be told what to do (yes, my inner petulant teen needs to be tamed sometimes).

ALSO: writer, mentor, entrepreneur — lit up by purposeful contribution and creation. One who adores an end goal but REALLY comes alive in the process.

That woman I describe now will still exist, and I can say with conviction that thanks to the plethora of women in my life who are both nurturing their children AND their creative spirits via their online businesses, I no longer believe something I once did:

You must choose one or the other — work or family.

My more empowered, modern day belief is that our interpretation and expectations of how it all WORKS and LOOKS might need to shapeshift, but we can hold space for these many varied energies and desires that sizzle and swirl inside us.

This is a (big) topic and one I can’t wait to dig into it further as I imperfectly plod my way through the experience of growing a little tribe alongside a business, but for now, I’m going to lean on this quote by Cheryl Strayed:


Thank you Cheryl, you beautiful badass, you.


I’m not one to dwell too hard on the negatives, but it wouldn’t be right for me to share the utter beauty of this journey without touching on some of the less-wonderful aspects. (I’ll preface this by saying there’s no doubt most of these pertain to the ‘superficial’ BUT they do give an insight into the complete experience).

// Swelling and fluid retention.

Face/ feet/ ankles/ fingers/ calves; the feet especially when sitting at a right angle at the computer for stretches of time. Once I approached 39 weeks, things seemed to shift on this front (in fact, my weight has gone slightly backwards at my last 3 obstetrician appointments) but I’m not going to lie — there have been times where the swelling has been NOT GOOD. I thoroughly look forward to the return of my ankles and regular face once I’m not pregnant (ha!)

// Sinusitis.

This one has been a real bugger for at least half my pregnancy. Blowing my nose constantly throughout the day, mega-congestion at night, keeping my man up with weird choking sounds in the middle of the night — being perpetually blocked is no joke!

I’ve had acupuncture, taken supplements, sprayed saline sprays relentlessly and… nadda, unfortunately. Keeping the faith that this will dissolve after the baby arrives.

// Heartburn.

 Having never experienced heartburn before, I actually had no idea what the horrific icy-burning feeling was in the top of my chest until I consulted Dr Google. Thankfully this only showed up in the third trimester and seems to have disappeared now, but I can say for sure that eating too much in one sitting, along with chocolate, ginger and (unfortunately, as I craved it) orange juice, were major triggers for me. Boo.

// Iron deficiency.

Ramai and I are away on a ‘babymoon’ in Byron Bay, it’s the middle of the day and he’s talking to me and I say meekly ‘I think I need to close my eyes for a minute.’ Hello, exhaustion — where did you come from?

Turns out where that all-encompassing tiredness came from was a pretty severe iron deficiency (discovered after a blood test) but once I consciously started supplementing with a strong iron pill and upped my red meat intake, everything went back to normal pretty quickly.

* I’m mentioning this one as I’d originally put it down to ‘third trimester tiredness.’ If you’re pregnant and feeling completely zonked, it’s well worth getting your levels checked. 

// Hormonal skin. 

It’s hard to say ‘I’ve always had clear skin’ without feeling a bit ridiculous, so please forgive me, but after having a rash-like inflammation around my chin for almost my entire pregnancy, let me say with great compassion that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from long-term skin problems.

Try as you might, when you’re having ‘one of those days,’ angry skin staring back at you in the mirror has the tendency to leave you feeling more than a little disheartened, particularly when you’ve tried every freaking remedy under the sun to no avail.

It’s not quite eczema, but it’s not acne either, it’s only around my chin and sides of my mouth, and I’ve applied plenty of self-acceptance BUT it’s also okay to say these things suck.

On the flipside, the rest of the skin on my face has remained in check with a combo of:

1. Facials from Lauren at Raw Beauty as mentioned in the trimester two post.

2. Mukti Organic products — aka, THE BEST damn skincare products out. I’ve been using:

Marigold Hydrating Creme;

Hydrating Cleansing Lotion;

Rose Blossom Hydrating Mist Toner

And have fallen totally in love with these luscious products.


Or, where I find myself currently.

For me, this period of time following my estimated due date has been (a) tinged with a bizarre sense of ‘Am I still pregnant?’ (I very clearly am) and (b) has acted as a kind of emotional classroom in which I’m served a brand new lesson daily.

Over the past 6 days, I’ve felt frustrated, disconnected, totally at peace, rational, irrational, accepting, excited, grateful… you name it. I’ve also come face to face with expectations and attachments to The Way Things Should Unfold that I had no idea I even had. (illuminating to say the least).

What I have loved, however, about these in between days, is the reminder about the impermanence of our feelings — if only we ALLOW them to roll through us instead of stuffing them away.

Sometimes, it’s taken less than a minute to shift from irritated to wildly appreciative. Admittedly, other days I’ve needed a good old cry or a tight squeeze from Ramai to catapult my head out out of small thinking and back towards the Big Picture.

Moral of the story: TRUST is the opposite of control. Here’s to trusting all is as it’s meant to be, and remembering what this is all about: the gorgeous baby boy we’ll be locking eyes with in no time at all.


Reading other women’s pregnancy adventures (and yep, maybe stalking an Instagram profile or two) has personally brought me a lot of joy, insight and a sense of connection along the way, so regardless of whether you’re pregnant right now, wanting to be, or not interested in having children at all, I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot into the past 9 or so months of my life. It’s been a beautiful experience writing and sharing it with you, and I thank you for all your support and love thus far.

If you haven’t yet, click below to recap:

// Trimester One

// Trimester Two 

As ever, your comments expand these posts in the best possible way, so get busy below. And if you’re feeling generous, feel free to hit those little share buttons below to spread the love far and wide. xo

Pregnancy Series: The Second Trimester


Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing some of the highlights and points to note from weeks 13 to 27 of my pregnancy.

Before we do that though, if you haven’t read the first post in this series yet, head right over here to get caught up: The First Trimester.

Second trimester notables.



{23 weeks  |  26 weeks}


If I could have bottled the get-up-and-go from my second trimester, I’d be making paper planes out of $100 bills and sailing the Med in my super yacht by now. HOLY MAMA. 

All I can say is thank goodness it arrived by the truckload, as these middle months were some of the biggest of my life, especially when it came to my business.

To scratch the surface, the second trimester saw me:

// Jointly running our biggest B-School partner program ever, including a private Facebook Group, weekly Q & A’s, comprehensive emails AND a two-day live event in Sydney.

// Coaching more one-on-one clients than ever before in preparation for some time out of the coaching saddle while we embrace the early days of parenthood.

// Restructuring my entire Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted program and Member Portal, including adding a bunch of new content, writing a sizeable free eBook and…

// Preparing to launch — an incredibly exciting launch that saw just shy of 400 wonderful new souls join the now 1100-women strong BE & BH community.

You can probably deduce there were plenty of highs, and despite being stretched to maximum capacity with long hours at the computer and deadlines a-plenty, it all felt wonderfully manageable. I felt more intensely focused than I had in years — purpose-FULL, productive, lit up. I was discerning on how and where I spent my time. The energy was potent, and I rode it with glee.

But, as is the nature of life, heartbreakingly there was also an unforgettable low that unfolded during this time as well — the passing of my dear friend Jess Ainscough in February.

The emotion I felt at that time is still difficult to wrap words around, so I’m not going to dive too deeply into it here, but it goes without saying that this time of my life and this period of my pregnancy was tinged with great sadness. I felt waves of anger, fire, frustration. Numbness, and possibly a touch of delusion (‘She’s not really gone.’)

Missing her beautiful smile, today and always. #blessedbyjess


I’ll preface this by saying given I’m not a qualified professional when it comes to movement, I encourage you to find someone who is if you have specific questions. Trust the cues your body WILL undoubtedly give you, and know that pregnancy is not the time for ‘amping up’… it’s for tuning in.

Personally, I’ve used exercise for health, to keep my energy elevated and to maintain my fitness levels somewhat so that getting back in the swing of things once I’m given the all clear post-birth won’t be too difficult.

As someone who is used to moving regularly and sweating it up, tapering right off has been a (mental) shift for me, but I’m pleased to say I’ve found plenty of joy in the slowness. Meandering, meditative beach walks where I chat to my little guy and rub my belly have been the absolute highlight.


So how exactly have I moved my body since being pregnant, you ask?

For me, it’s been all about:

// Daily walks.

// Twice weekly gym sessions for 30-ish minutes a pop; a combo of elliptical training and lunging, squatting, and chest-pressing with dumbbells.

// In the first trimester, regular yoga. A big break in the second (hello, workload). In the third, pre-natal yoga.

// Occasional running up until month five, until my body told me it just didn’t feel like running anymore.

What I’m looking forward to after baby:

// Running. Ahh, endorphins!

// Yoga and Pilates barre.

// Ab exercises. How I’ve missed you!

// HYPOXI (The ultimate. More to come on this one).

Something worth noting when it comes to exercise is the presence of that clever little hormone relaxin (designed to soften and widen the cervix, whilst relaxing ligaments in your pelvis) means you’re definitely more prone to over-stretching in pregnancy.

Case in point: I went for a swim (of all things) and ended up with a whole lot of tailbone and pelvis pain after frog-kicking my legs out to the side whilst doing breast stroke. The result was me walking like a cowboy for a week — plus, I had to have THREE deep tissue massages to fix it.

Trust me when I say: go gently, friend. Your magnificent body is working hard!


Hands down one of my favourite parts of being pregnant; a sacred, ‘just between us’ experience that I know I’m going to feel nostalgic about once our babe is earth-side.

I’ll never forget the very first flutter at 18 weeks — accurately described to me as ‘like popcorn popping in your belly’ — and not long after, those sweet tickles advanced to rolls and wriggles, strong kicks and what I liked to imagine were excited little fist pumps. ;)

From the second trimester on, our break dancer / football player has done his best work when I’m lying in bed at night (walking around during the day can rock them to sleep), and I’ve seriously revelled in every movement… yep, even those painful jabs in the ribcage in the third trimester.

I believe they call that MAMA LOVE. Always present, even when it’s not pleasant. 


My husband and I have private health cover, so when we were deciding where to birth, it made sense to go with the private hospital situated 10 minutes down the road from us — which also happens to be one of the most reputable in Australia, particularly for maternity.

Going with this option instead of using a private midwife in a public hospital (which I would have done if we hadn’t been paying for cover for the past couple of years) meant the next step was to make the all-important decision: Which obstetrician do we go with?

Being supremely conscious of energy and resonance when it comes to anyone playing significant role in my life, this process wasn’t something I took lightly and I’d say I grappled with / avoided making the choice for, oh, about a week. Maybe two.

I called friends to ask about their experiences, I did research of my own — but in the end, I went with gut feel above all else and have had no regrets with my decision.

Our first meeting with our OB was at 16 weeks, and because I’ve (gratefully) had a trouble-free, ‘textbook’ pregnancy, the monthly (then fortnightly, then weekly) appointments have been pretty uneventful affairs.

To give you an idea of what to expect if this is up ahead for you, my appointments involve:

// Checking my blood pressure and weight.

// Listening to the baby’s heartbeat or seeing him on the ultrasound to check where he’s positioned and how he’s developing.

// Ask any burning questions, and;

// Getting results of blood tests that have been taken along the way (and for me, getting the Anti-D injections I mentioned in my last post).

My husband joined me for the first couple, but after that I told him not to bother as after hanging out in the waiting room forever, I’m usually in and out of the actual appointments in under 10 minutes.


A few other key people in my ‘Pregnancy Support Crew’ have been:

Tanya Goldie: Naturopath — before getting pregnant, and throughout.

Before getting pregnant, we focused on getting my body ready for baby with things such as liver and adrenal support, folate and building up my Vitamin D and B stores (I was incredibly deficient).

During — and on various rotations — I’ve supplemented with iron, magnesium, calcium, iodine, B6, zinc, Vit D, folate and fish oil.

Whether you’re planning or have already fallen pregnant, I can’t speak highly enough about consulting with a naturopath to see how to best support you and your baby on this miraculous and often, wildly taxing journey.

Lauren Dawson from Raw Beauty: Facials

I melt. There’s just so much… care.

Lauren is a total sweetheart who has most certainly found her calling — her passion is palpable, not to mention her skill — and her natural products never fail to leave my hormonal skin aglow.

Anita Crosbie: Kinesiology

Anita has been my go-to kinesy maven for a few years now, and over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve loved popping in to see her every now and then for an energetic spruce up and balance.

Tabitha from Studio Qi: Acupuncture 

I’ve only recently — as in, from 38 weeks — started getting acupuncture and BOY do I wish I’d gone sooner.

I see Tabitha for sinus congestion, something that’s plagued me for over a third of my pregnancy, and also, because I’m slightly addicted to the deep relaxation that comes when I’m propped on the massage table with needles expertly placed on my body.



GONE in the second trimester!


There are a range of options available to expecting parents when it comes to education, and the way I’ve approached it is from a few different angles — attending a full-day intensive ante-natal class run by one of the midwives at the hospital, reading up and listening to audios on hypnobirthing and Calm Birth / gentle birthing techniques, and also, watching videos online of natural births.

Was actually watching the births confronting at first? Certainly (especially BEING PREGNANT, which adds a hefty dose of reality to the experience). Above and beyond that, though, knowledge is power and awareness is EMPOWERING, and whilst we can never ‘plan’ a birth, I’ve found comfort and confidence in witnessing the various ways it could unfold.

That might not be for everyone, but for me, it’s worked.


My Mum, Ramai and I are staring up at the beautiful, bouncy being on the screen in front of us and the sonographer asks: ‘Would you like to know the sex?’

YES, PLEASE, I say excitedly… knowing in my heart already.

She wriggles the device around on top of my belly again, and BAM! There we go. An ‘underneath shot’ — I’ll let your imagination piece that together — and cackles of laughter from us all as she declares with certainty:

‘Well, there’s no doubt about it, guys. That’s your son you’re looking at. Congratulations.’

Our cheeky little Leo boy, already making us giggle with his antics.


From extra cuddles with my man, to baths with essential oils and Epsom salts, to wearing materials that feel beautiful against my skin (I bought the best comfy / plushy robe and have thoroughly enjoyed sashaying around the house in it) — the need to be nurtured was strong in tri 2. And has continued to be.

A couple of essentials and best purchases:

// The BellyBean maternity pillow for sleeping. Once my belly started to grow, this gave me the support I needed to sleep on my side without having my stomach uncomfortably positioned on the bed. In the third trimester, I’ve added a regular sized pillow to between my legs, positioned vertically, to help keep my hips aligned as I was getting some pelvic and sciatic pain. Getting in and out of bed — as you do often in the middle of the night for bathroom visits — has become a PROCESS, to say the least.

// I can’t speak highly enough about the Lululemon fold-over-waist tights for exercise. (I’ve never folded, I just pull the waist up). No elastic digging in as your belly expands = total winner.

// I’ve worn my Nike Free runners or Havaiana thongs (flip flops) for pretty much my entire pregnancy — mostly because my feet haven’t fit comfortably into anything else for a while! I’ll call this ‘Benefit of working from home #134’… and also the benefit of living in sunny Queensland. Take that, puffy feet!

// Comfy underwear. Maternity bras or sporty crops that mould to your body, knickers that look good but more importantly FEEL good. When it comes to pregnancy, the dental floss-style G’s are probably not going to be your number one choice… or perhaps they will be, you racy little kitten, you.

Again, I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of my journey towards motherhood. Looking forward to tying everything together with a bow with the third trimester post!

Two more things ::

1. I adored reading and answering your comments last time — thank you. Pregnancy is a time where every DAY feels laden with questions and ‘newness’, so I want to say to you: if you’ve got q’s, don’t be afraid to ask away. I’d love to offer up any insights I can.

2. Here’s the link again for the first post if you missed it :: Pregnancy Series: The First Trimester

Pregnancy Series: The First Trimester


Mid-last year I had a vivid, symbolic dream in which I was standing in the middle of a highway that stretched into the horizon, and when I looked down, in my arms was a baby boy.

The details of that dream stayed with me in a way so few do — so real I can still transport myself there in an instant. A little soul was circling. That I could feel, just as I could feel the subtle shifts occurring within in me, opening up new possibilities and considerations and energies I’d dabbled with previously but never fully embraced.

Something was coming.

Fast forward several months…

And there were a series of signs and messages, delivered in quick succession.

Alex sent me an email out of the blue saying ‘I know you’re not supposed to ask these things, but do you have a little miracle growing in your belly?’

The same day, I went to a kundalini yoga class with Tara and the meditation for the evening centred on the divine mother, which felt meaningful and significant to acknowledge in the way that things do when your wisest self whispers ‘There’s something in this, you know.’

Beyond the external nudges, I was also acutely aware that I was a couple of days late to start my cycle and there was a feeling that was bubbling inside me that sat somewhere between hope and holy shit…

Retreating to the bathroom, Ramai in the next room tapping away on the computer, I’d just taken the all-important pee-on-a-stick test — the one with ‘No other test tells your sooner!’ emblazoned across the front — and I found myself willing those little lines to darken. And darken they did.

P O S I T I V E.

Oh my goodness, I yelled around the corner.

I think we’re having a baby.

I. Think. We. Are. Having. A. Baby. I’d just said those words, for real.

I looked up and there he was in front of me, pulling me closer, time grinding to a halt for a moment as emotion electrified the air between us. Shock! Joy! Disbelief! Elation! Argh!

Ever the certainty-seekers, we decided that we couldn’t fully believe this was happening until I went to the doctors for a second test, and luck on our side, the receptionist on the other end of the call said ‘We have an appointment… but it’s in 5 minutes. Can you get here?’

You better believe it, I thought as I legged it to the car.

A moment I’ll never forget.


I was sitting in the waiting room when my phone beeped with a text from Tara. Timing, my love.

In a millisecond, I’d shot back with where I was and what I was doing.

‘What the?… wait… doctor down the road? I’m next door at the post office. I’m coming.’

Not moments later, there she was. Swirling rainbow harem pants. A curtain of blonde hair. Her eyes as wide as saucers as she walked slow-mo towards me, sat down on the seat beside mine and leaned forward.

Babe, she whispered. It was a surreal passage of time where this gorgeous friend of mine seemed to journey right into the depths of my soul and pluck out every thought and emotion I was experiencing, weaving them into something exquisitely pure to reflect back at me.

We hugged and our shoulders shook; sweet tears flowing between a pair of soul sisters who didn’t need a doctor’s test to confirm that a baby was on its way,

We both knew. That little, circling soul had found a home.

Baby MacDonald was headed earth-side.

Are you ever really ready?

I was asked this question not long ago, and want to attempt to answer it here with the caveat that obviously everything I’m sharing is coloured by my own experience, and may vastly differ for you. There’s, of course, no right or wrong answer here.

For me, there was a noticeable, deep maternal yearning and sense of readiness that took up residence in my heart sometime last year.

Ramai and I had always hoped that children would be part of our love story in this lifetime, but we had no definites around when that would, or even could, happen. Nearly all our friends have one or more children, but it still felt like an out there priority for us at that stage; one of many tangled in with (more) travel, business launches, saving to buy a house and so on.

But then, all that shifted.

I found myself talking regularly about when we’d have kids, and this ‘down the track’ dream started to have a year, and even months attached to it.

Instead of looking at other people’s babies with a beaming — but detached — smile, saying ‘What a cutie’ to whoever was with me, I started to feel an unmistakable internal tug. There was a new dialogue unfolding; my body and soul in conversation.

I want to have a baby, I thought.

Hang on, I’d catch myself, I want a baby?

And yep, in there perched amongst flashes of fear and questions of what will happen then?, I found in myself a desire to become a mama that I simply could not deny.

I was as ‘ready’ as I was ever going to be,


The first trimester notables.

I’m going to do a big ol’ gear (and mood) switch because I want to sum up key elements of my first trimester, and it’s easiest to do that in short form.

Honestly, it feels like there’s so much to share, which I’ll do over subsequent posts, but for now ::


Citrus anything. Crushed ice with fresh lemon juice (praise the preg-gods for our Vitamix-slash-”healthy slushie maker” is all I can say). Also, orange juice. In fact, any juice. We bought a new cold pressed juicer early on, an Oscar Neo, and it’s been the best thing ever.

Carbs. Pasta! Bread! Gimme! I remember one day I saw a recipe in the back of a magazine for a homemade herbed macaroni cheese, and I had to make it. I had absolutely no choice in the matter — all of a sudden, I was at the checkout going ‘But, I’m not even THAT into pasta?’ And like many things I ate in that first trimester, the thought of the meal was at least 57 times more exciting than eating the meal itself. *Sigh.*

Beef burgers. Actually, to make a sweeping generalisation here, ‘boy foods’ on the whole took my fancy (hello cheese and anything savoury).


Vegetables. Oh gosh, this one was hard to swallow (literally) — and is actually very common. It was a total brain-bender that the mere thought of my beloved broccoli was enough to make me dry retch.

Logic would say: ‘But I’m growing a spine and a brain — shouldn’t I be craving veggies like MAD right now?’

But, tastebuds would say no. Nooooo.

(Cooking with) coconut oil. The combo of super-sonic pregnant powers of smell and my vegetarian husband cooking kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts in coconut oil was enough to have me covering my head with a pillow and yelling from the bedroom PLEASE STOPPPP! It was comical, believe me, and I was over the moon the day I realised I’d come out the other side of that pesky little vege-and-coco-hating phase. Hallelujah!


I couldn’t dial my loved ones soon enough after leaving the doctors, and to hear your elation in the jubilant, cracking voices of your nearest and dearest is BEYOND everything.

Recalling my Mum crying ‘That is the best news I’ve ever heard’ on the other end of the phone still makes me misty-eyed.


I can’t really remember the last time I ‘slept in’ — the standard seven and a half to eight hours sleep has always served me beautifully — and I’m not an afternoon napper (the reason being on the very rare occasion I do drift off, I pay for it with being up most of the night).

So, with that in mind, you could say the full body tiredness of particular days in the first trimester knocked me sideways a touch.

I was blessed not to experience morning sickness in the vomiting sense, and truly feel for the poor expectant mamas that do, but I did get to taste the half-to-full day nausea and I’ll liken the feeling to an uncomfortable hangover because:

// You crave heavy/ grounding foods (aka carbs) to settle your stomach.

// You’re not sure whether you want to be asleep or awake. Agitation levels = HIGH.

// You start willing yourself to just throw up dammit so you can release the feeling of discomfort.

// Plus, your energy tends to slip right down the drain, and fast.

Thankfully it was close to Christmas as this was all happening for me so I was winding things down business-wise anyway, and one of the benefits of running your own show is being able to set up with a laptop in bed when absolutely necessary. Hurrah.

The change: At nine weeks, I was thrilled to wake up feeling like my energy had returned with a vengeance. I’d love to say I never felt nauseous again, but unfortunately, pregnancy is steeped in unpredictability so there have definitely been bouts here and there, but significantly less so as the journey has progressed. Double hurrah.


… And learning pretty quickly that pregnancy forums aren’t my cup of tea. And that’s okay.

While forums can be useful for a quick answer occasionally, you often have to trawl through the muck to get there, so when in doubt, I highly recommend directing your questions to a small handful of people whose opinion you trust, including, of course, your primary care provider.

In addition to this, my favourite pregnancy-related books and resources are:

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali 

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May

The Bump baby app (The Bump app was the first one I came across, but there are a heap of different ones out there)

* More to come on the recommendation front.


Because you certainly get acquainted with them in pregnancy!

I’ve unfortunately never been able to give blood as we lived in the U.K in the 80’s (mad cow disease) and was told by my parents that I was an O positive blood type… but, turns out I’m actually A negative, which has meant a couple of additional injections of Anti-D throughout my pregnancy for these reasons.

(you’ll also have blood tests for the Down’s Syndrome screening, to test glucose and iron levels, and anything else required along the way.)


I couldn’t wait to have a bump, but it didn’t noticeably appear until around 22 weeks-ish.

What happens before that is The Bloat. The cocktail of hormones coursing through your body when you’re pregnant slows your digestion amongst many other things, and you can carry this bloated feeling well into your second trimester, which happened for me.

* Here’s probably a good place to mention that I’ve massaged oil (either coconut or jojoba) into my belly and breasts most days throughout my pregnancy and haven’t experienced any stretch marks.

While the jury’s out on whether stretch marks can be ‘prevented,’ I’m all for adding any nurturing rituals that connect you to your body and baby into the mix, purely because they help release a flood of feel-good hormones. I usually have a little chat to our lion cub as my hands swirl (from the bottom of my belly, up towards my heart), and sometimes ask my husband if he can take over instead, which is divine and allows him to ‘connect in’ too.


There’s something incredibly special about having a secret that just an intimate group of friends and family are privy to, and despite the fact that by about 10 weeks we’d started to get more and more ‘lax’ with keeping that secret, I got a serious kick out of the moments where someone would ask when we were planning to start a family.

‘Oh soon, for sure’ was my usual blase response, with a sneaky sideways glance to whoever was positioned near me and in the know, but on the inside, I was chuckling / bellowing ‘Moowahaha, actually there’s a BABY GROWING IN MY BELLY RIGHT NOW!’

The day we did finally share the news publicly after our 12 week scan was one of the most wildly exciting days of my life. The outpouring of love still blows my mind.

Speaking of…


Unforgettable. Magical. Tear-inducing.

And also: bladder buckling.

In the hour before the ultrasound, you’re required to down a bottle of water without going to the bathroom — which sounds like no big deal, but at that stage of the pregnancy where you could pee every five seconds, actually is — and as Ramai and I sat nervously in the waiting room hand-in-hand, I decided I’d ‘be a good girl’ and drink another almost-full bottle.

Please note: this was a mistake.

A trainee was in with our sonographer learning the ropes which meant that our scan went for an exceptionally long time, and coupled with the fact our little one was being cheeky and flipping around (which meant lots of heavy stomach pressing by the technician to get the right view) I was almost hallucinating by the end I needed to go to the bathroom so badly.

Discomfort aside, however, the more important news to convey here is that there is nothing quite like all-encompassing flood of LOVE you’re engulfed by when that first fuzzy white flash appears on the screen in front of you, and you realise you’re looking at your child.

A little beating heart. It suddenly all becomes gloriously real.

Now, over to you ::

I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments — with insights AND any burning questions you may have. You can also find the second trimester wrap up right here.

And before you go, if you have any pregnant friends/ family members who you think would find this post valuable, go ahead and hit the buttons below to share the love. xo

Collaboration and Celebration with Violet Gray


In recent months, whenever I’ve had the pleasure of catching up with my beautiful friend Alex, she’ll inevitably end up crouched down in front of me, both hands — and possibly a cheek — placed lovingly on my pregnant belly, a smile on her face and her eyes aglow as she coos at my little lion cub.

You can’t help but be buoyed by this woman’s love for life and the people in it. These acts of expression and connection and demonstrative tenderness seem to come as naturally to her as breathing.

She’s heart and soul and magic, in human form.

And it’s that same spirit that has woven its way into the fabric of her intentional jewellery brand, Violet Gray

Co-piloted with her gorgeous sis Frances, Violet Gray is a brand thoughtfully constructed on the ideals of generosity, authenticity, instinct, sisterhood, community and meaningful creation — which happen to be the very ideals I endeavour to fuse into my own work in the world.

With that in mind, then, you can betcha it’s an exciting day ’round these parts as I’m THRILLED to announce I’m now a proud Violet Gray brand ambassador!

Before I tell you why this is great news for YOU too, let me share just a little about why I adore VG, shall I? 


Firstly, these pieces are MADE WITH MEANING. Which is hugely important to me, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say since you’re hanging around here, is an important factor for you too.

As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully a touch wiser, I’ve found that owning lots of ‘stuff’ no longer holds any appeal.

I search for quality over quantity. I value the intention behind an object, and I want the things I adorn my body with to be a reminder.. which is why I go so mad for the VG chakra range.

When I’m sitting down for a big writing sesh, or getting ready to speak on stage — I pop on my throat chakra charm to invite in clear communication and creative self-expression.

When I’m meditating, you’ll find me wearing my third eye charm for spiritual (in)sight, or my crown chakra charm to remind me of my connection to the divine.

When I’m in launch mode — a notoriously ‘heady’ time — you’ll most likely see me with a base chakra charm hanging around my neck for grounding and stability.

I also wear ‘Guided Grace,’ a charoite ring, on my finger to usher in flow and ease, and you guessed it, GRACE.


Now, the bit you’re going to love. 

As a celebration of our ‘coming together,’ for the next seven days until Tuesday 30 June, In Spaces Between readers will receive 10% off the entire Violet Gray range * excluding sale pieces.

If you’ve had your eye on one of these beauties for yourself, or if you’ve got a friend/ sister/ loved one with a special birthday or event coming up, now is the time!

:: All you’ve gotta do is ::

Click this link to comb through the site.

+ Then enter the code rachlove at the checkout to receive your discount.

Easy as that.


Tell me, are you the proud owner of a Violet Gray piece already?

If so, which one? Do you wear it to remind you of an intention or energy you want to embody? (your reasons might just help someone else pick their treasure!)

Photos by Tegan McVey