The seductress and the middle aged woman who is learning to live

How, when you have depression, do you find the light in the day?

I have no idea to that question.

I am only me.  The glass is half-empty me.  The “some days it’s hard to live” me.

I find life really really hard.

So hard in fact I became a raging alcoholic.

Raging might be too strong a word.

I was functional.  Sort of.

I always managed to take my children to school.  I always managed to get their dinner on the table.  I always managed to get their clothes washed.  I hardly ever managed to keep the house straight.

I have friends who didn’t fare so well.  Miss J used to go to school with a girl whose mother constantly kept her at home for “family” days.  In reality, she was too hungover to take her daughter to school.

I didn’t get that bad.  But, lordy, I could easily have done so.

I decided today that I was going to take control of my life and lose weight.  I enrolled at the Tony Ferguson centre near me.  Yes, it’s a milkshake thing.  That’s not the point.

The consultant spoke to me of what was and was not allowed and the rather sticky subject of alcohol came up.

Um,” she said, “alcohol isn’t really allowed.”

That’s okay,” I said, “I’m a recovering alcoholic.  I’ve been sober for nearly five years.”

Her eyes lit up.  “Good girl,” she said.  “If you can do that, you can do anything.”

Giving up alcohol never really seemed that big a deal to me so when people react this way I am always so surprised.  It’s the living of life that I find so fucking hard.

I looked at her.  “Yes, I suppose I can do anything.”

I don’t feel like I can do anything.  I don’t.  There are days when I feel I can’t breathe, never mind do “anything”.

But I did stop drinking.  I made that conscious choice not to pick up a glass of wine.

In AA there is a saying that one glass is too much and a bottle is not enough.  That’s what it is like for an alcoholic.  There is no moderation.  There is no “just a couple”.  That first sip of alcohol is the beginning of the end.

For us, alcohol is a seductive mistress.  We don’t want to sleep with her, but her allure, her promise of a good time, her promise of helping us to forget how fucking hard life is, is just too tempting.  And we give in.  Hard.  Only to bitterly regret it the following morning.  Oh Dear God the remorse.  But not enough remorse to stop us doing it again.  Usually the very next day.

And so I decided to look that mistress in the eye and say no more.

She didn’t want to let me go.  She kept knocking on the inside of my brain willing me to take just one sip of alcohol.  Just one sip.  What harm could it possibly do?  One sip, and all the pain of living can be eradicated once more.  And you can be the good time girl again.  The one that laughs with abandon and is jolly and sociable and fun to be around.

But I held on.  I resisted her.  Just one day at a time, I resisted.

And here I am.  Learning to live life without my mistress.  Like a child learning to walk.

I want to be cheery and laugh and see only good in life.

I just don’t know how right now.

I will get there.  Dear lord I hope I get there before I die.

I keep telling myself that I can do this.  I CAN FUCKING DO THIS DAMMIT!!!

And so I keep waking up.  Willing myself to push past the seductress, followed by the “I want to die” thoughts.

And I tell myself “Just for today I am going to survive“.

Because that’s all I have right now.  Survival.

Living will come another day.  Living will slowly emerge as I learn to take off my training wheels and learn to embrace life in all its fucked up glory.  I imagine it prancing over the mountain of shit on its trusty steed saying in its deep strong voice “Here you go Sarah, life is for the living, and here is how you do it.  Now go. Live.  Make your mark!

I’m trying.  I promise I am trying.

Please know that.

Until next time,

SHW Signature



To You

Thankful Thursday {Choosing Gratitude}

I think it is safe to say that I have been having a pity party this week.

I’ve been feeling extremely sorry for myself.

I’ve been looking at myself and lamenting all the things that are wrong with me – my baldness, my obesity, my crappy nails, my crappy feet.  You know, that systematic attack us women do on each and every part of our body.

Then two things happened.

I read this post from the beautiful Rachel over at The Chronic Ills of Rach

And I read this post from That Summer Feeling.

I know that this depression thing totally sucks.  That there are times when living life on its own fucking terms doesn’t seem to work.  I know that looking at myself and systematically denigrating all that I am is just a manifestation of the toxic ball of shit that I feel inside.  I know this.

And it is because I know this that when I read those posts I could step outside of myself for just a little bit.  It is because of this, I could choose to work on something that wasn’t about me.  It is because of this knowledge that I strive each and every single day to live a life that is better than the day before it.  It is because of this that I want to BE better.  It is because of this that I WILL be better.  It is because of this that I don’t want to take the life I have for granted.

How grateful I am to be living in a time and place where I can connect with such incredible beings who live thousands of kilometres away, who inspire me so much.

How grateful I am to be sober, to be working on myself each and every day so that I can be more present for my family, so that I can work towards living my best life.

How grateful I am to live in a time where the quality of wigs are so incredible that no-one knows I am wearing one unless I tell them.

How grateful I am to be able to create, to be able to contribute some goodness to this world, rather than take away from it.

How grateful I am to be alive, right here, right now, in this moment, talking to you, telling you my story.

How grateful I am that you are reading my story.

Today, this Thursday, I am simply grateful.

Much love,

SHW Signature


One Word Wednesday {Serenity}

This little prayer has saved me.  Many times.

It reminds us that we are not always in control.  That many things happen to us in the course of a day that we are not able to manipulate to our bidding and that, simply, we should just let them go.

As a recovering alcoholic, this prayer is vital to my daily routine.

I forget, obviously, to remind myself.  To take that deep breath, close my eyes, and to let it go.  I forget to remember that I am not in control.  My stomach contorts, and I get frustrated and I stand on the precipice of that abyss.

And just when I am about to jump in, I remember.

I breathe in – Grant me the SERENITY

I breathe out – To ACCEPT the things I cannot change

I breathe in – To change the things I can

I breathe out – and the WISDOM to know the difference.

That is all I need and peace of mind is once again restored.

I hope it brings you some peace as well.

Much love,

SHW Signature

Tell Your Story 101

Tell Your Story Tuesday {A day in the life of}

In telling our stories, we often forget to tell about the mundane.  You know, the life that we live on a day to day basis.

Today, I thought I would give you some insight into the day I had.  It is mundane, regular and real.

I encourage you to do the same.

When my mom died we had very little written documentation of her life.  Very few pictures, and those that existed no-one that remained had any idea who they were.  What I really struggled with was the memories of what her life was like.  She told us of course, throughout the course of our upbringing, but when she died, for the life of me I couldn’t remember them.

Telling a story of what life is like in the normal course of your day has more value than you will ever know.  Believe me when I say that the legacy it will become matters very much.

It may seem boring and unimportant, but it isn’t.

And it doesn’t have to take long.  A few photos taken throughout the course of the day, a few words to explain the photos and you are done.

A day in the life is recorded for all posterity.


Today is Tuesday the 4th November 2014.  I am living in Melbourne.  It was a warm 27 degrees today – an extremely late start to the summer season.  It was also Melbourne Cup day – a horse race that stops the nation.  I am not a fan of the race particularly.  I don’t like gambling and the treatment of the horses.  A horse died today.  It proves my point.

My day started late.  I woke up at 8am and for some reason I struggled to get into the day.  Eventually of course, I had to get up and get showered.

2014-11-04 10.43.17I had to put my clothes that I was going to wear on the floor because Mr C had already opened the blinds and since our house faces the road, I wasn’t really into humiliating myself by exposing all my nudie self to all and sundry.  Yep, that is my bra and pants {I didn’t really think this diary entry through very well did I?}

2014-11-04 10.34.02

After my shower, I had to pop on my wig, because I now no longer have hair.  You may note that the clothes I am wearing are not those clothes that are on the floor.  I decided against those {which, of course, is a woman’s prerogative}.

2014-11-04 10.43.29

2014-11-04 10.59.39


We bought a king size bed yesterday – so excited about that – so we need to make space for it.  Took these photos to place on Gum Tree to sell it.

2014-11-04 09.35.23

2014-11-04 09.42.04

We are completely redoing the bedroom.  Finally a room that will become my sanctuary.  I bought these yesterday from Spotlight Stores, a homeware and craft store that I absolutely adore.  I’m thinking aqua will be the prominent colour – very calming.

2014-11-04 09.52.35

We had a day out planned, but first I had a couple of chores to do.  First there was the laundry.  I am not a fan of this job at all.  But it was such a lovely warm day, I had to take advantage of getting the washing on the line.  Just as well really, as our old tumble drier went on the blink this morning.  It is about 12 years old so has done really well.  We will have to replace it come the winter.  In the mean time, good old sun and air will do.

2014-11-04 11.01.56

I also had to tidy the study.  I have been doing a lot of crafting of late and it had become a real mess.

2014-11-04 11.09.29

After my chores had been done, it was time for some fun.  First up, Mr C and I met up with gorgeous Miss J and Baby C for coffee.  It goes without saying that I adore these two people.  Unfortunately Master J was at home doing a SAC for VCE.  A last minute job, but he got it done on time (so I am told).

2014-11-04 13.04.15

2014-11-04 13.03.55

Baby C got a little impatient with just sitting and waiting for us grown ups to finish talking and drinking and so I took him outside for a play.  I loved the angles of these buildings so so much.  Baby C made friends immediately with another little boy.  I love how children have no inhibitions, how they can just walk up to each other and say, without speaking, “hey, let’s be friends”.  It was a delight to watch them laugh and play.  Eventually Baby C became tired and wanted to cuddle and go inside.  His new friend cried.  That is what it’s like as a toddler.  They play with passion and cry when it ends.

2014-11-04 13.23.27

2014-11-04 13.23.21

2014-11-04 13.20.35

2014-11-04 13.24.01

Eventually we visited Ikea.  I once read of someone who had a fear of Ikea as they had a feeling that once they entered, they would never leave.  I know how they feel.

2014-11-04 15.50.03

I quite liked this table though for Master J’s lounge.  We are replacing his lounge suite and I think this would go really well.  I really like the simplicity of this piece.  Easy to keep clean too and with two shelves.

2014-11-04 13.37.21


Once we got home, I rested a bit to chat to some friends online.  I love technology and the ease with which I can connect with people online.  It has opened up a whole new world to me and I love that.  I have made some very close friends in the blogging world and I am so very very thankful for them.

After dinner (no picture – I forgot), I performed my nightly ritual of removing my hair and getting into my pyjamas.  The end of the day has been signalled and now I am enjoying a quiet evening of relaxation, writing a post for my blog, sitting with my family, watching the 1993 movie of Demolition Man which is making me all nostalgic.  I was only 27 years old then and yet it doesn’t seem that long ago.  Watching it makes me realise just how far movies have come.  Now they seems so lifelike, almost too real.  I wonder how it will be another 20 years.  By the way, that is Lulu our neurotic but adorable maltese-shitzu sitting with me.

2014-11-04 19.41.49

And there you have it.  My mundane, very normal, but lovely day.

How was yours?  Worth documenting?  You bet it is.

Until next time,

SHW Signature



Make a Card Monday

Make A Card Monday {Sobriety Cards}

And one day she woke up, all foggy and hurt from the night before, and she knew.  She knew that the grip that alcohol had on her had to be loosened, had to be demolished.  So that she could live her life the way it was intended, so that she could live her very very best life.  And so her journey to sobriety began.

Do you know anyone who is a recovering addict?

If you do, you will know how important each anniversary of their sobriety is to them.

So important in fact, that pins are given out at AA to celebrate each and every milestone.  We like to be rewarded for our efforts and, let’s face it, sobriety – the total abstinence of any alcohol or narcotic – takes enormous effort.  It deserves celebrating and congratulating.

But how to do it.  You can’t take them down to the pub {that would be bad}.  You could take them out somewhere, which would be lovely but you want to give them something tangible to mark the occasion, to let them know how special the anniversary is, to let them know that you get it and how proud you are of them.

How about a card?

Of course, you can’t just walk into a news agent and pick one up.  They don’t make Happy Sobriety Anniversary cards – I’ve looked.  But making one is so easy to do.  And what says I get it and I care better than a hand made card.

Below you will find two Sobriety Cards.  A sobriety anniversary is like a birthday – in fact we call it a birthday in AA {as in “I am celebrating my 5th birthday in January”} – the day that marks the rebirth of you as a sober person.  But it is also an anniversary – the anniversary of the date you made that choice.  It is a very special time and one so deserving of a hand made card.



This card was made using white card stock as the base.  The patterned paper was part of a paper pack that I bought at Aldi, the blue card stock I had on hand and the labels were made using the print and cut function on the Cameo Silhouette.  I used a corner rounder to create the curved edges.  I am really pleased with the way it turned out.  It’s bold and sassy and says exactly what it needs to say.


This one was made in exactly the same way except I turned the card around to create a landscape card.


And there you have it.  Two very easy sobriety cards to make.  I hope you give it a try and if you do, please do let me know.

Until next time,

SHW Signature


Operation Sarah is a go

I have never been one for self improvement of the body.

It’s true.

Now self improvement of the mind, that I could sink my teeth into.

But body improvement?  Not for me.

Of course, this stance was just a guise for “I can’t be arsed to move my body”.  And this attitude led to me becoming extremely overweight, which meant I didn’t want to buy new clothes because clothes in the plus size range are ridiculously unfashionable (in my opinion), which meant I didn’t feel stylish (what is that anyway?), which meant, without even being aware of it, my confidence plummeted.

Frankly, I am hating on Twiggy right now.

That cow completely ruined things for us curvy people.  Okay, I know she isn’t a cow and I do know that it was a man who photographed her and decided her stick thin androgynous shape would be the next big thing.


Her fame and look was the kiss of death for us voluptuous maidens.

And we have been paying the price ever since.

I shunned this.  I miserably held on to my lard in protest of the commercial media hype of what the perfect size -2 woman should be.

But that was the point, I was miserable.

I have written about this before of course.

But over the last couple of weeks, despite previous health scares and other things, I plummeted to a new low.

Losing weight is no longer about alluding to an image that I have in my head of what I should look like driven by the ridiculous ever-changing picture that the media tells us.  No, losing weight is now about me feeling in control of my life, about me being able to dress with confidence, about me being able to put my best foot forward with my head held high, about me having enough confidence to leave the house and attend events that I currently avoid like the plague, about me not being exhausted when I go out for a small walk, about me gaining energy, about me feeling like I am living my best life!

It’s really lonely being obese.  And often that loneliness is self-imposed.  At least for me it is.  I choose to lounge around in my jeans or tracksuit bottoms, t-shirt and jumper.  I choose to not wear make up.  I choose to not put my best foot forward each and every day.

But that is about to change.

It is funny how things work, how things come together that suddenly make you question your own point of view.

The first thing that happened was that I met Michelle from That Summer Feeling.  She is what you would call a regular person, down to earth, generous, kind, wicked sense of humour and as stylish as anything.  She follows stylish people and her love of fashion is infectious.  She is my age, with a similar lifestyle to mine.  Looking at her and how much confidence dressing well gives her has made me question why I hold onto my fashion misery so steadfastly.

If I was to analyse it, I would say that it is because my own upbringing was very poor.  We were unable to afford new clothes and so I stopped looking long ago.  I never did look at myself and think “What can I wear to enhance my best features today.”  I just threw on whatever I had to hand.

The second thing is that I read Michelle’s post on how Nikki Parkinson from Styling You really helped her to solidify her style and that ever since that styling session Michelle has dressed with confidence which has had an amazing knock on effect on her life.  Never before had I put how we dress and our inner confidence together.  I know, it seems incredible, but it is true.

Then, a few days later, I got a copy of Nikki’s new book Unlock Your Style, gifted to me by the beautiful Michelle, wanting to pass on the gift that she had been given all those years ago.

To be honest, I let the book sit for a while.  I didn’t want to be reminded of how unstylish I was.  I imagined a book full of beautiful women all looking stylishly stunning.  One thing us depressive obese people don’t want to look at are images of a life or look that could have been.  But, one day recently, I was at home, feeling a bit lardy, looking at my lardy enhancing track bottoms and the book just called me to it.  I flipped through the pages and realised just how practical it was.  It wasn’t preachy at all and frankly, it embraced me as a woman at this moment in time.  Nikki encouraged me not to berate myself for the choices I made, but to look forward, to know that I can change all that was to create myself a-new.

It also happens that I had bought a book last year called Staging Your Comeback by Christopher Hopkins who is known at The Makeover Guy.  I had seen a couple of his youtube videos and felt inspired to buy his book.  He does for makeovers, what Nikki does for style.  I am onto a winning combination here, I can tell you.

But, this reinvention, for me, all hinges on me losing weight.  I have said it before and I will say it again, I need to do this for my physical and mental health.  I need to do this to enable me to live my best life.  My original plan still stands (Eating well, exercising, a good sleeping plan, meditation, doing work that is fulfilling).  I just need to put that now into ACTION.  Because without action there can be no satisfaction, right?

What are you doing to take care of your physical and mental health.  I would love to know.

Until next time,

SHW Signature


Favourite Five Friday {Bedroom Decor}


Yay, yay, it’s Friday.  Well, this was meant to be written yesterday.  I started yesterday with good intentions, but, you know, life gets in the way.  So this is being offered to you today, Saturday.  Hopefully next week I’ll get my act right and manage to post on the right day. HA!

I love Fridays.  It’s the start of the weekend and that can only be a good thing, right?  Friday is the day when we get together as a family too.  Miss J comes over with Baby C (I’m going to have to find another name for him because he is now two and a half – where does the time fly?) and my in-laws come over and we all chat and love.  It is my most favourite time.

This week, Mr C got a little bonus at work too which means that we can finally, after nearly 20 years of marriage, do up our bedroom.

Bedrooms are meant to be havens don’t you think. Sanctuaries where when you enter, you feel the stress just ooze out of your body.  I love to feel calm in the boudoir.

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about our bedroom.  It is quite a large room with an area large enough to put decent seating.  I have toyed with so many ideas but have finally come up with my plan.  I’m on a budget, so I couldn’t plumb for the complete interior designed refit I would have liked.  But that is life, isn’t it, one big journey of compromise.  And it has been fun trying to come up with inexpensive ideas to create the look I want.

Of course, I have had to trawl through masses of websites to try to find the items I want and I though it would be fun to share those with you here today.

Before I do that, let me give you an idea of what it is I am looking to create.


That’s it.

Because with simplicity comes calm and by golly do I need calm in my life.

We are replacing our queen size, rather inexpensive and not good on our backs, mattress with a king size one.  It has been fun wandering into shops to try them out.  It is funny how couples lay down on beds and in turn they shuffle and turn to try to get some idea of what it may be like to own it and sleep in it.  We tried a couple yesterday.  It’s a hard decision.  And the mattress industry is a bit shaky at best.  There seems to be no particular consensus.  It’s a bit confusing but we will persevere.  This will be the most important decision we make in the room, because, you know a good night’s sleep makes for a happy life during the day.

To go with our mattress we have opted for an upholstered bedhead.  We currently have a dark wood/leather bedroom suite and although the room can carry it quite well, I am looking for light and airy now.  I am particularly loving these from Heatherly Design.  I came across her website when a friend of mine told me about Big Hearted Business and she was in the directory.  I just knew that those luscious bedheads were exactly what I am looking for.  I’m thinking of going with a light neutral colour to complement my simple theme.

Heatherly Design also do ottomans which I would like to have at the bottom of the bed.  They make a great seat, great storage and look amazingly stylish too.

Our house is extremely open plan.  It was a display home and all the cabinets and flooring were built to match in co-ordinating shades of creme and chocolate.  To spruce it up, I had to choose a colour that pretty much went throughout the house.  I chose red because well, it was plentiful at the time, which made decorating easy, and I also like the colour red.

However, for our bedroom I didn’t want red (although some might argue it is a great colour for a night of passion!!).  What I wanted though is a colour that elicits calm.  And that, for me, is along the shades of blue.  I love the ocean, and its myriad of blues, so I have decided to go with that palette, leaning more towards the teals and aquas.  I found this gorgeous muted rug from Pottery Barn and am lusting after it big time.

Now to dress the bed.  I have decided on a simple white duvet cover.  That way I can add accents of colour.  I bore easily so I know that it is likely that I will want a change in a year or so.  Far easier to stick with neutrals and accent with colour which is easy to change.  I am totally loving this Turkish duvet cover from I Love Linen.  White, but with some very on trend texture.  Perfect.  Actually, there are a few things I am loving from this store.  They have such an amazing range.

No self respecting bed would be complete without cushions and a throw.  Since I am going for teal/aqua colours, I am thinking that these from Freedom furniture would definitely fit the bill.

We have two massive windows in our bedroom that look to the front of the house.  They have plantation blinds on them that are stained, but they are sun faded now and need an overhaul.  I haven’t decided if I should paint them white.  The rest of the house has a natural wood trim and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to make our room that different.  However, I did find these curtains from Temple & Webster that would certainly add a splash of colour to the room.

Of course, the room is still in its planning stage, but I think these would be a good foundation on which to build.

Where do you go to shop for your interior decor items?  I would love to know.  Please do let me know in the comments below, won’t you.  In the mean time, have a wonderful weekend!!

Until next time,

SHW Signature