I hope you’ve had an excellent week, and exactly the kind of weekend you were hoping for? I’ve had just the right balance of relaxing, meeting friends - more about that below, and doing a major tidy up and rearranging of furniture in our bedroom (much to Jordan’s frustration!).
Here’s the latest Round Up of things I’ve been loving recently. I hope you enjoy it!
It’s May again, which means that it’s Vascular Birthmark Awareness Month!
Which means a lot more of me posting on Insta and Facebook about Strawberry Marks, and sharing other online friends posts about their experiences.
Honestly, Instagram has given me a whole new community of people who’ve had similar experiences that I’m so appreciative of.
I generally recommend Crystal Hodges writing to all who are curious about vascular birthmarks, and I’ve learned a lot from reading her work - including how internal hemangiomas are an ongoing part of her life.
She has written this excellent piece for parents who may be worried about their children with a ‘body difference’ feeling different.
The only thoughts I could possibly add to Crystal’s piece, is that it’s so essential to raise all children to be kind, compassionate, resilient and empathetic. All kids will experience disappointment and challenges with friendships as they navigate childhood and adolescence, and we need to equip them to be able to navigate these experiences, and to help them feel safe to talk about what’s going on.
Kids are also going to be curious about those around them, so we need to teach them how to ask questions respectfully, and to be honest in our responses.
I recently had a ten year old child I know ask,
“Is it okay for me to ask you about your scars?”
And it was one of the most affirming and positive experiences of this kind that I’ve ever had.
I said that I was happy to talk about it, told them and their siblings about my hemangiomas, how they had impacted my body when I was little, my surgeries, and how they changed over time.
I thanked them for asking me in the way they did, and said that I thought it was quite a brave question because a lot of people are nervous about asking me at all.
Content Warning: Discussions of Suicide and Suicide Attempts in link
Sam Dylan Finch’s piece 5 Things Suicide Loss Survivors Should Know - from Someone Who’s Attempted is essential reading for anyone whose life has been touched by the loss of a loved one to suicide - especially if you’re struggling to comprehend why.
Obviously, we’re watching the heck out of Game of Thrones here in the Kitteh Palace, but as a family without a TV (which is honestly one of the best decisions we’ve made) we actually watch quite a lot of YouTube.
Some of my favourite recent content has been Oliver Thorn’s ‘Philosophy Tube’ critique of Jordan B. Peterson’s ‘12 Rules for Life’ - which has got absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he’s shirtless, dressed as Satan, and draped with snakes for a good portion of the video, I swear!
Kat Blaque recently released this video about the Rebranding of White Nationalism, and her decade on YouTube.
Everyone should also watch Natalie Wynn’s ContraPoints channel - but a good place to start - especially if you’re new to her channel and the kind of humour she works with, is The Darkness.
Natalie makes videos engaging with TERF ideologies; INCEL’s; and Transphobia, playing a huge range of characters to tackle hatred and bigotry with high production values, excellent costumes, a deep knowledge of academic philosophy, and humour.
So I’ve pretty much spent the past year honing my Office Goth Aesthetic, and it makes me so happy to walk into work feeling put together and polished in an outfit as dark as my soul.
I also recommend checking out the Silent Arrow moving sale while it’s still on!
Not only did this Melbourne Based lingerie brand take part in the Fashion Revolution transparency initiative last week (highlighting fashion brands policies; employment conditions; carbon footprint and recycling efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions; community efforts; and production practices), but they also stock wide range of rad looking bras and carry larger cup sizes that ACTUALLY FIT.
Honestly, I went to their first open studio event last year and picked up one of their Royal Bras, and it is possibly the only bra I have ever owned that the straps haven’t slipped off my shoulders! The team are super helpful and they include a personalised thank you note with every order when you purchase online - they also let you know how many pairs of undies they’ve donated to a woman in need on your behalf.
A few months back, Jordan bought a pasta roller, taught himself how to make ravioli, and we’ve pretty much been living on fresh homemade pasta ever since. It’s honestly the BEST.
I’m also a big fan of baking meringues on a Sunday afternoon (check out Nectar & Stone on Instagram for inspiration - I use the meringue recipe from her book I’m Just Here for Dessert), and yesterday Stabs came over and we spent the afternoon being fancy making cucumber sandwiches and scones.
Drinking tea feels extra fancy when you’ve got cups as pretty as this one.
While I’m not vegan these days (I have been in the past, and I am vegetarian), I enjoy cooking delicious food that also happens to be vegan - not only because I want to reduce the amount of animal products I eat, but also because it’s great to be able to cook for our friends when they come over.
It’s been super fun learning new ways to recreate meals I used to eat way back when I still ate meat, and not be disappointed.
I can’t remember if I’ve recommended it here in a previous Round Up, or if it’s just been on social media, but I HIGHLY recommend listening to Jen Gotch is OK… Sometimes.
In particular (and given the further reading I suggested earlier, I think this is important) her informational episode about depression is really helpful for people who haven’t directly experienced a mental illness themselves, but who want to be able to support somebody in their lives.
Jen also talks about living with anxiety, ADHD, depression, and bipolar disorder, as well as how she built her “Criminally Cute” brand Ban.do.
I have a new favourite place on the internet, and I almost guarantee that it’s about to become yours, too!
This Cat is C H O N K Y is honestly the most wholesome, lovely, and encouraging space dedicated to Fat Cats and the people who love them.
On Friday night, I got to meet Stephanie Wicker of Simply Kids IRL for the first time as she was in town. It was super fun walking around the city with her, playing tourist, and getting to know one of my internet friends a little more.
(Yes, she’s just as lovely in person as she is online, and I’m super excited for her to visit again - or to plan a sneaky trip to Sydney at some point!)
We went to Hihou for dinner and it was super delicious.
Our excellent friend and Dungeon Master, Stevie recently commissioned artwork for our entire D&D party, and I am just a little obsessed with how well my Tiefling Rogue Orianna turned out!
We all know by now that Real Self Care isn’t all bubble baths and Instaworthy manicures, but damn I do love some decadent tub time, and this Black Rose bath bomb from Lush is one of my current faves. The new Tumeric Latte one also smells amazing.
For those of you who don’t know, I have a super sensitive scalp.
So many shampoos, conditioners and colours seriously fuck with the skin on my head, and I feel as though searching for products that don’t inflame my scalp, or turn my hair into a grease slick has always felt never ending.
I’m pretty happy to say that I think I’ve finally found a product that I’m happy with: Function of Beauty.
Yep, that brand with the hair quiz ads I’m sure you’ve seen pop up in your social media feeds who make shampoos and conditioners specifically for your hair type and goals.
You can customise pretty much everything about your formulas including fragrance, colour, and the name they print on the bottle - obviously I opted for black shampoo and grey conditioner.
They offer a subscription service which includes free shipping (you can cancel at any time), and their products are 100% Vegan Friendly.
If you’re curious to try their range out for yourself and use my affiliate link*, you’ll get $10 off your purchase.
*I will also receive a $10 credit towards my account.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been so supportive of me getting back online.
I’ve really appreciated all of the feedback I’ve received, and I’m enjoying writing content for the blog again!
I hope you all have an excellent week, and I’d love to hear from you - especially if you have any thoughts or suggestions on what you’d like to see me write about and create going forwards.
There seemed to have been a lot of interest in my YouTube channel last week, and I’m tinkering with the idea of bringing back the Coffee Break interview series again.
Like I said, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I hope you have a great week!