“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be Kidney Failure in my early thirties I would never have believed them. But when life gives you lemons… You really have a choice. You can screw up your face from those sour little suckers or you can make lemon meringue pie! (Or anything else that tickles ya fancy). ⁣⁣⁣
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I have so many reasons for self sabotage throughout my life, but really my main reason is that fear. That deep fear of actually “making it” & “being successful”. ⁣
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Since starting dialysis in July last year, I’ve really had a change in perspective on life & especially on self care. Most days for me self care is about taking my medications, going to hospital for dialysis or being able to do a workout. Whilst those things aren’t glamours they are allowing me precious days with my children.⁣⁣⁣
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It may seem ironic that I’m making health a priority whilst I’m in organ failure… But the truth is before I started dialysis I was too unwell to do anything. Now everyday I am able to move, I make moving a priority. It’s my non-negotiable self care. Because I know what it’s like not having the energy to be able to move. Nine months ago I couldn’t even walk up a set of stairs without stopping halfway!! So now I know that moving my body is a privilege & one I am incredibly grateful for! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻⁣⁣⁣
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So my lovelies what about you? Emmy Xx

 

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Unplugging

My children took these photos of me this afternoon. While I was laying there in the park looking at the trees I was trying to find some peace. Trying to make peace really with my reality, which currently is making me sad & overwhelmed. ⁣

Whenever I feel like this; anxiety increasing, sadness hanging over my head & just general feelings of “not coping”; I usually try to switch off. Reset. And give myself time, space & kindness. ⁣

I don’t know if it’s my one year dialysis anniversary looming, this bloody full moon or just a phase but I know I need time. Time to collect my thoughts, time to write & time to treat myself with kindness. ⁣

I need to slow down. Remove the digital world & just sink into me. Find gratitude & happiness in the everyday. I need to simplify. So if I’ve disappeared for a week or so on here I’m just unplugging, grounded my feet into the sweet earth & trying to treat myself to kindness. ⁣

Thank you to everyone for all the love. As always your support means the world to me. ✨ Emmy Xx

Anxious Avocados

Last night I had a mini anxiety attack over packing avocados for our weekend away. I mean like all true anxiety attacks it’s never actually about the avocados is it? But packing avocados certainly set it off. Now I say mini because I was able to come out of it quicker than normal & remind myself that I am not my anxiety. But like all anxiety attacks I have woken up with that shattered, hungover, vulnerable feeling. ⁣

Thankfully I’m here at the beach; with the salty sea breeze smacking me back into reality. ⁣

Last night was a good reminder for me however that despite not having an anxiety attack for ages and despite feeling on top of it all… That anxiety can creep up on you! I should have realised that actually it was creeping up on me because my OCD this past week was a bit out of control; a true sign that things are starting to unravel for me… ⁣

Having suffered from anxiety on & off for basically my entire life you would think I would be an expert at reading the signs by now… But that’s the thing with anxiety it really can be a bit of a mother ducker 🙄 ⁣

Time to reset, soak in the sunshine & let the sea do it’s magic healing trick! ⁣

I used to get worried that my anxiety was negative, however I’ve realised I’m just showing my children that it is ok to experience a wide range of feelings & emotions. I’m hoping that they realise we are all capable of an array of feelings & that our feelings don’t own us. And also that it is ok to have anxiety not something that should be ignore or not talked about. I want them to know that we experience a feeling, we acknowledge it & then we treat ourselves with kindness. ⁣

Go gently my friends. May your weekend be glorious ✨ Emmy Xx ⁣

I am literally waiting for someone to die so that I can live

Chronic illness is all about waiting. Waiting to for appointments, waiting for tests and waiting for results. For me I am waiting to find out if I am in fact even eligible for a kidney transplant. I’ve been waiting to get on the transplant list, waiting until I start dialysis and now that I have started dialysis, I am still waiting… waiting for a kidney. I literally am waiting for someone to die so that I can live. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a pity party. That is the reality of the situation. The blunt reality, but the reality none the less. Those words, ‘I am literally waiting for someone to die so that I can live;’ that very sentence has kept me in therapy for the past 18 months. All the guilt associated with that sentence has resulted in some very sleepless nights. I will say it another way. I will receive an organ, specifically a kidney from someone when they die and then I will live. It is a lot to absorb isn’t it?

And while I wait for this ‘death’ to happen, while I wait for the ‘match’; I have this robot aka the dialysis keeping me alive. My blood (or rather my toxic blood) is leaving my body going through a machine, getting filtered and then returning back to my body all clean and filtered.  I mean I am all for natural medicine-gut-healing-kombucha, organic-kale-chips and hemp-seeds, but they aren’t going to keep me alive. That is the job of modern medicine. Of the robot. Of the dialysis.

And if trying to be a mother, a writer and a dialysis patient isn’t enough to wrap your head around on a daily basis; there is also the whole I am waiting for someone to die so I can live thing going on…

So while on some says I sit and whinge ’cause because my life doesn’t looks as perfect as @WhatEverHerNameIs or that I have cellulite and can’t look as good as @GoodOnYouForBeingSoHealthyAllTheTime, or that the Instagram algorithm is really messed up these days, and no one is organically growing anymore, and my last post didn’t get likes that it should have got, or my last photo doesn’t go with my feed, or heaven forbid I posted and a time when my engagement is low #TheStressesOfBeingAMummyBlogger or my Lightroom app isn’t syncing photos how can I edit all my photos to have the same flow? #FirstWorldMummyBloggerProblems

On other days, I am literally grappling with the notion that in order for me to live without the aid of a machine, I will need someone to die, have registered with DonateLife Australia, have told their family their wishes, have their family respect their wishes, be a positive match; only to then undergo surgery, recieved new said kidney and take medicine for the rest of my life to stop my body rejecting it; oh and have all those nasty side effects of being on anti reception mediation for the rest of my life. #Intense #KidneyFailureProblemsTrumpMummyBloggerProblems

So while I am waiting…I thought why not use this platform to spread awareness of organ donation. Did you know it only takes a few minutes to register to be an organ donor? You can register here. Or that you really do need to tell you family you want to be an organ donor? Before I needed a kidney I didn’t really know those things either. Because hashtag life hashtag live in the moment, hashtag slowdown, hashtag mindfulness, hashtag mumlife were the buzz words I wanted to hear. Now I am all about waiting. I am living and still very much the same person, just with a little change in perspective.  And a lot of guilt. I have so much guilt it can be consuming at times.

But I know one thing to be very true. The day I do get my new kidney, my second life, that day I won’t feel guilty anymore. I won’t feel guilt that someone has died so that I can live. I will feel externally grateful that they took a few minutes to be completely selfless. A few minutes to save someone else life. A few minutes to give me another life; a life to see my children grow up, my husband grow old and to watch my own smile lines thicken with the joys of life. I don’t know much, but I do know that.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart and my two busted up kidneys for all those people who have donated organs in the past and to all of you who are registered to donate. So incredibly grateful.

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Can we go to the Tip Shop?

One of my fondest childhood memories was going to the tip with my Dad on the weekend. I loved it because back in those days you were able to scavenge through the ‘rubbish’ and I would always without fail return with other people’s trash (which naturally become my treasure)!! It’s such a vivid memory and I’m certain that it is where my love for vintage treasures started. I’ve always been a collector, especially of second hard items; I love imagining the life certain objects might have had before me & who might have owned them.

Second hand objects always have a story to tell & as a storyteller I adore that.

I will be honest and say I also feel a bit like I reach ‘eco warrior status’ when I shop second hand shop.  Knowing that I’m the reducing landfill waste by giving objects another life in my home, fills me with a great sense of satisfaction.  Not only am I helping the environment by reducing waste; second hand shopping is also much cheaper… so I am helping my savings as well! #WinWin

 

I often feel so guilty when we go to the tip to drop off our garden waste and see good quality items being thrown into the massive skip bins and then being crushed by the machine. Whilst the kids love it when the machine is out, smashing TV’s and furniture, for me I just find it so wasteful. With de-cluttering and minimalism on the rise (yep we are all Marie Kondo bandwagon jumpers), I think it is really important to also think about where our ‘clutter’ and our unwanted pieces should go. To me there is no point in de-cluttering your life if you are just going to clutter up the world.  If you are a Brisbane local, the Brisbane City Council has recycle collection centres where you can drop off all your usable items (furniture, clothes, home wares etc) to.

A few weekends ago was a motherhood milestone moment for me, as I was able to recreate my own fond childhood memory of ‘tip shopping’ with Isla at the Brisbane City Council’s The Southside Tip Shop.  I’m also hoping that I’ve inspired Isla to love second hand shopping as much as I do!

 

Isla and I picked up some silverware cutlery, embroidered doilies, a basket, a toy ornament teddy for Isla and truck for Oliver and two made in Australia cups for the bargain price of $12!!

I can honestly say I have been second hand shopping for over thirty years and the best tip I have is to arrive early, when the store opens (8am for The SouthSide Tip Shop); otherwise all the bargains will be snapped up by others.  I also think it is easy to be overwhelmed by second hand stores as there really are a lot of items! It’s so important to go in with an open mind and not be searching for something in particular. On the weekend I knew I wanted to get some items for food styling, but I didn’t have anything specific in mind; which made everything I found seem like a bonus!

 

Do you love finding a bargain? What’s your favourite item you have bought second hand?

Emmy Xx

 

This post was written in collaboration with Brisbane City Council, all opinions are the authors own.

EASY PEASY PUMPKIN SOUP

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I love nothing more than discovering recipes that are as easy as one, two, three EAT! Life is so hectic at the moment for us; I’m working three nights a week and my hubby is working 6 days; so being organised especially when it comes to dinner time is really important. We’ve been experimenting with different recipes and our mantra is cook once, feed twice! It has halved our cooking time and having leftovers means we have lunch the next day or dinner the following night. One recipe, which I came across and have fallen in love with, is Donna Hay’s No-Peel Roasted Pumpkin Soup Recipe.

I’ve altered the recipe as I can’t really eat brown onion and I’ve added in some sweet potato. But you could easily substitute out any of the vegetables for others. Think potato and leek; tomato, capsicum and onion; the list is endless.

What I love most about this soup is it is healthy, nourishing and SO EASY. Literally just put everything on a tray, skin and all, roast, add water/stock and then blitz with your hand blender or Thermomix.  It is that easy.

  • ½ Pumpkin (skin on)
  • 1-2 Sweet Potatoes (skin on)
  • 1-2 Shallots
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic (skin on)
  • 500ml Vegetable / Chicken Stock
  • 500ml Warm Water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • **Optional Topping Goat Cheese

 

Emmy Xx

It feels like the right time to take an awkward self timed photo & say hola

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I’m Emmy; mama of #theoneilltribe, wife, writer & a complete dreamer. I’m actually a bit of a walking contradiction and have been known to somedays wants diamonds & other days chickens.

I love crystals & organic food, but also cheeseburgers & IKEA (love me a $1 hotdog 🙋🏼‍♀️). I feel like life is all about balance. Somedays I do yoga & other days I eat ice cream 🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m an ex-hoarder who’s attempting to convert to minimalism & to live more mindfully 🙏🏻 I used to drink at least two shots of coffee a day (sometimes four 😬) but I’ve recently traded coffee for tea; though I sometimes will have a sneaky cappuccino or iced latte.

I love sharing simple moments & capturing the little bits of beauty amongst the daily chaos. The kitchen is my happy place & can’t wait to get back into blogging my food adventures again 👌🏻 I’m a bit of a rambler so sorry about the long captions 🙈

Those who have been following me for a while will know I’m in Kidney Failure & I’m in the early stages of preparing for dialysis. Some days I find that very overwhelming but mostly I tackle each day with a smile & ‘I’ve got this’ mentality. I absolutely adore this IG /mummy blogger it-takes-a-village-community-vibe & I would love to know some random fun facts about you!

Thanks for following along & sharing the journey.

Emmy_LC

Coffee Shop Survival Guide For Mums

A lot of mums groan at the thought of taking their children to cafes. I mean the noise, the spillage, the mess and the chaos all in the public eye of EVERYONE! It can be a recipe for disaster.  But it is also an opportunity to get out of the house and caffeinate yourself. Some mamas might even go as far as saying coffee shop outings are a necessity. It certainly is a necessity for me…

Hello have we met?  I LOVE my coffee.

I don’t groan at the thought of going to a café with my children… Once the alarm goes off, I bounce out of bed, put my hair in a messy topknot and race out the door. Did I mention I LOVE my coffee?

Now I know not every mama drinks coffee (but hey there are enough of us sleep-deprived-ladies that do, so much so, we could probably form a mama-coffee-drinking-collective), but whether you’re into drinking coffee, tea, kombucha, fresh juice or just mingling in a café… these seven tips will make you feel like a coffee-shop-loving-pro.

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Just do it

No really. You can thank me later when you buzzing off caffeine (or hot chocolate). Getting out of the house, as a mama I feel is crucial. It helps you stay connected to the outside world, makes you realise ‘we’re all in it together’ & gives you that oh-so-happy post caffeine glow. #amirightladies

Location

Location, location, location… didn’t become a catch phrase and a famous show for no reason. Location is the key for coffee shops with children.  Busy cafes in the middle of the CBD where everyone is holding ‘out of office meetings’ might not be the best option to meet up with your local mother’s group. Ten massive prams in the middle of a tiny café sometimes can be a tad annoying.  But don’t worry; Brisbane has PLENTLY of child-friendly cafes.

Smile & Say Hello

This might seem basic, but these days everyone is sooooo busy with life it almost seems people forget to smile & say hello. Oh & also just asking your local barista ‘how are you?’; just basic human interaction & simple acts of kindness. These all go a long way. Trust me! No one likes a cranky mama bear that doesn’t look up from her phone, while her kids are running rouge in a coffee shop… Your Instagram feed can wait five minutes… which leads on to…

Building relationships

Build relationships with your local cafe. Believe it or not, most cafes love you bringing in your tribe along for the ride. After all our children are the next generation of double-shot-almond-mylk-latte-sipping-hipsters!

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Be prepared

Having little bags, baskets, and boxes with café friendly toys, crayons, books & snacks is a must! Try & mix it up, so it stays interesting for your kiddies. Think a few cars & a mini puzzle one week, followed by colouring in or those cute lil magnet books the next.  Also try to avoid the noisy toys… I can say from experience ‘To infinity and beyond’ is only cute once… not repeatedly for thirty minutes. #mumstheword

Clean up

I don’t mean you need to go out the back at wash all the dishes or get start mopping the floor; but just use your common sense ladies. My rule is if I would clean it up at home, I clean it up in a café. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but picking up excess crumbs, wiping down a high chair, or cleaning up a spill are all little polite ways to show your local café that you appreciate them.

Give back

When you do find those lil gems of cafes; which serve perfect espresso, freshly baked goodies (nothing beats a warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin) & are child friendly… shout out their name to the world. Share on social media & let them know just how truly amazing they are!! And if you’re an IG over sharer like me, take a quick snap and share the love so other mamas can enjoy a blissful coffee date with their littlies!

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P.S. If all else fails bring out the emergency iphone; ABC kids usually works a treat for my two 😉

Got any other amazing coffee shop survival tips? Or perhaps your favourite local café? I would love to hear to from you.

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This post was originally written for and published on Mums of Brisbane. 

 

I baked a freakin’ pie

There are days when I don’t get a single load of washing done; there are dirty dishes piling in the sink, wet towels are laying on the floor (that is only if I actually manage to organize myself to even have a shower) and toys are everywhere.

You know those days….when #mumlife defeats you?

The kids are screaming over every single damn thing, Netflix isn’t working, no one is having a day sleep and going to the toilet is a crowded and a very public experience. Yep those days. Those days were quotes like ‘Is is wine time yet?’ or ‘Just remember the days are long but the years are short’ get you through… #bullshit On those crazy days, quotes like that actually just really piss me off because #motherhoodunited isn’t happening today. Ahhh those days… #amiright?

Well Sunday wasn’t one of those days… Sunday was the day that I baked a god damn pie.

BOOM.

There was music playing, candles burning, children in harmony, toys being packed up and a freaking pie is baking away in the oven for dinner. Sometime you have to celebrate the little achievements. Like pie. I am celebrating pie.

The best thing about this recipe is you can basically put in any greens you like (think silverbeet, spinach, baby spinach, watercress etc). Sometimes if I am feeling fancy I add in a little bit of lemon zest, leek or some basil. But today it was just the simple version. So here is my take on a Greek ‘Hortapita’ Pie. The kids loved it; (as did hubby) though we did call it a lasange in order for Oliver to eat it. He doesn’t eat pie…

What you need:

Pastry 

Flour

Olive Oil

1 Egg lightly beaten

Cold Water

Salt

Filling 

Olive oil /butter /ghee

2 large bunches of greens (I used silverbeet).

1 onion

2 Shallots

200 – 300 grams of cheese (mix of cheddar / feta/ goats cheese).

How to do it:

Make the Pastry. Don’t freak out. It is a just few ingredients and literally you just mix them altogether in one bowl. Mix the flour, olive oil, cold water, salt and eggs together with a wooden spoon. Once the dough has come together knead it into 6 – 7 smaller balls and rest for thirty minutes.

Dice and fry up onion / shallots on a low heat in olive oil / ghee or butter.

Chop up your greens finely. If you have a thermomix /blender / food processor you can easily do this in a few seconds, but sometimes I love the repetitive precision that comes with cutting greens. I’m a bit of a food geek.

Grate cheeses and mix onion, greens and cheeses together.

Now it’s time to assemble your pie. You can use any shape pie dish (round / square /rectangle). Place some olive oil on the bottom of the dish and roll our your first sheet of pastry on a floured surface. Tip: want to get the pastry as thin as you possible can.

Place the first layer on pastry on the bottom of the pie dish, then drizzle with olive oil and top with some of the green mixture. Repeat for as many layers as you like. I did six layers this time, but it can easily work with less.

 

 

 

Interview with Black Sheep Coffee

Meet Emmy, digital content creator, mummy blogger and one of our Black Sheep favourites.

Emmy took some time out from her hectic schedule (two little ones, three websites…) to chat with us about motherhood, chickens, diamonds, and of course, coffee.  

Tell us about yourself, who you are and what you do.

Hi I’m Emmy, a coffee loving, sleep-deprived mama of two babes, Oliver and Isla. I am a bit of a walking contradiction. Some days I want to have chickens running around the back yard amongst the organic veggies and other days I want to be driving a big Range Rover whilst dreaming of massive diamonds (ethically sourced obviously).

I am a digital content creator, which basically means I take photos and write copy for businesses on Instagram and other social media platforms. I have two mummy blogs (that is a really genre, just Google it) rexandrara.com and themergejournal.com and I am also the editor of Brisbane Threads. It keeps me pretty busy! Did I mention I have two children? And I am sleep-deprived?

What is a typical day for you?

Being woken up WAY too early by said children, then I have little rituals. I like to put on my ‘French Cooking Music’ station and the kettle. I usually potter around, getting the children breakfast and making all the beds. I have found if I make the beds in the morning it sets up the day for greatness. I also usually check Instagram (I’m @the.oneills). I would love to say I meditate and do yoga. I want to do those things but I would be lying if I said I did.

We usually stay around home for the start of the week, painting, playing outside and cooking. I used to drag Oliver and Isla to every single lesson possible: yoga, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, creative arts… but then I realised that we would have more fun if we just did those things together. We like to have at least one Black Sheep Coffee outing a week and we also try to do one big adventure a month, like a road trip to the beach.

What is your go-to coffee order?

I like to mix it up actually. My most ordered would be an espresso (or double if I am feeling super tired). But I also love a good flat white or iced latte and recently I have been ordering cappuccinos because, like, where have they been my whole life? Hello, chocolate and coffee at the same time!

What is one of your earliest memories of coffee?

I feel like it has something to do with Edith Piaf? But I can’t actually identify the memory. Maybe my parents used to drink it whilst listening to Edith? I do know why I started drinking short blacks. When I lived in Paris I was a poor actor, so in order to get free Wi-Fi I used to go to the local cafes. I would only order a short black, as it was the cheapest thing on the menu. And now I just love the taste.

What brings you and your tribe to Black Sheep?

The ‪10/10-nails-it-every-time espresso. Like, ‪10/10! Also the sense of community. EVERYONE who works at Black Sheep is kind, caring and actually takes an interest in our tribe.

I started coming to Black Sheep when my youngest was 3-months-old. I still remember the first time I was there, jazz playing and sun streaming in. It was so special because it was the first time I had been out with Isla and she wasn’t SCREAMING! She had reflux so screaming was a 24-hour-a-day occurrence back then. Isla and I had a hard time bonding (she was born at 32-weeks, so spent a bit of time in the hospital) but I still remember that first time at Black Sheep when I looked into her eyes and she stole a little bit more of my heart.

What is motherhood to you?

A juggle. A rewarding, challenging and amazing juggle. It actually is exactly like that saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.” It is about trying to live in the moment and being present with my two children. It is about failing and succeeding. It is about teaching them empathy and kindness, not just to others but also to themselves. It is about being okay with many mistakes and owning them. It’s a circus but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What is your proudest parenting moment?

Probably when Oliver and Isla play kindly together. It’s really simple but I do feel proud seeing them be siblings and share that love.

Coffee is an essential start to many people’s mornings. Why do you think motherhood and coffee fit so well together?

I think it is essential because it seems apparent to me that as a mother you never sleep. From the moment you find out you are pregnant you are up all night, either going to the bathroom ten times or worrying or being kicked in the ribs, or just really excited to meet your baby! Then the baby comes and, well, we all know that they NEVER sleep through straight away (unless you have one of those unicorn babies… I didn’t have one of those). Toddler years bring on climbing out of cots and bad dreams. I am pretty certain it continues with wetting the bed, more bad dreams, until finally they are teenagers and you’re still not sleeping wondering what they are doing. Actually, this would continue forever… so yes… mothers NEVER sleep. “Hello coffee. Nice to meet you,” said every single mother!