Tilly Mae : a birth story

Tilly Mae : a birth story

At 12:39pm on Friday 18th May, 2018, our daughter Tilly Mae Cook entered the world. Weighing 3.98kg and 53cm long, she was perfectly pink and healthy, and our lives changed forever.

But the process of getting her here was just as life-changing for me. Pregnancy and childbirth have been two of the most challenging and forcibly soul-searching experiences I have ever been through- and those who know even a little of my past know I have experienced some extremely challenging times. 

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A love letter to my unborn daughter

A love letter to my unborn daughter

In 2006, at the age of 19, I found myself in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a man whom I had thought cared for me. For three years, I lived in fear, pain, and isolation from the world. When I was finally able to get out, I discovered it wasn’t the end of my journey. In fact, it turned out to only be the catalyst for what was to come.

I spent the better part of the next decade firstly falling deeper and deeper into a hole, before finding help, a purpose, and myself. Now, at 31, I have discovered just how resilient the human mind and body can be. I’ve built an award-winning business and a social following to go with it, found forgiveness and love for myself, discovered and developed a truly loving relationship with my now husband, made in-roads into my campaign against domestic violence, and as I write this, am awaiting the birth of our first child, a daughter.

I’ve experienced a lot in a relatively short period of life. But it has given me not only a number of tools with which to approach life, it has also helped me to appreciate just what being human is, and that it IS okay to be human. I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the hardships I faced both in that abusive relationship and during the long and troubling healing process afterwards. Now the realisation that I will soon have a young female soul in my care, has helped me to see just why what I have been through is important. Because I have the tools to help her, and anyone else who needs a helping hand, to be just who she is, and to love herself all the more because of it. And so, I write this open letter to my darling daughter, as I wait for her to join us earth-side. But, this letter is for you too, because girl, it is okay.

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5 tips for creating a memorable and timeless wedding

5 tips for creating a memorable and timeless wedding

I may be sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for a certain little miss to present herself earthside (but she's also quite happy wiggling about in my belly, so who knows when she'll get bored of it!), but there's also a wedding looming in our world this year, as my brother prepares to marry his beautiful fiance before we say goodbye to 2018. And it got me to thinking about weddings again, especially as I have been able to provide a little insight from my own to the betrothed couple.

There are a lot of articles out there about creating a unique and special day, looking at current trends and all the latest and greatest ideas. But when you put those things aside, ultimately you are wanting to create a day that will be remembered for years to come.

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Pregnancy: the halfway mark

Pregnancy: the halfway mark

Pregnancy. It's an elusive thing. You don't know when it's going to pop up, or if it will pop up, you don't know what it will do to your body, or what it will produce (although as long as it's human, you're probably doing okay), but most of all, you don't know what lessons it is going to throw at you.

In terms of the generic pregnancy timeline, #thelove and I had a textbook beginning. As with all couples who decide to try for a family, we didn't know how long it might take to fall pregnant. It's such a question mark- even doctors can't answer that question.

Turns out neither of us needed to worry, because we were blessed enough to fall pregnant the second try. I'm quite in tune with my body, so I felt a change happen- although when I peed on the stick, and that oh-so-faint pink line showed up, my original plans of preparing some sort of surprise for #thelove and getting it on camera when I told him we were pregnant just disappeared, and I walked back into our bedroom with the stick still in my hand, and said to him (whilst lying in bed first thing in the morning), "umm, I think I'm pregnant"..... The shock was very real.

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2018 : the year of GRATITUDE

2018 : the year of GRATITUDE

Already, as I write this, we are a whole week into the new year. It doesn't matter how many times new years sneak up on us, it is still a time of wonder, amazement, and sometimes, a few swear words as we realise yet another year has packed up and left us.

A couple of years ago, #thelove and I decided to ditch the age-old 'New Year's Resolutions' in favour of what has become a much more meaningful, and attainable practice. We chose a word for our year. Almost like a theme, I guess. It is something to focus on, to work towards, to apply to all aspects of life- family, work, relationships, health, spirit. Not only does setting a word or a theme for your year set the tone for how you approach life, it gives you a marker for whether or not you are doing what is right for you.

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AWARENESS: Abuse is not just physical.

AWARENESS: Abuse is not just physical.

If you missed it, last week the 'Love Shouldn't Hurt' campaign with Two Good Co, American Express, and Deliveroo launched here in Sydney, with me as the face of the campaign. As a domestic violence survivor, it was a true honour to stand up and put my face out there- literally, there's a 10m x 6m mural of my face in the heart of the Sydney CBD- but it's been what has happened since then that has truly made it worthwhile for me.

I've long been open with divulging that I experienced domestic violence. It happened at an age for me that ended up shaping the rest of my life, and I've come a long way down the path of healing and self-discovery since that time. I soft-launched the Onwards & Upwards campaign earlier this year, a social movement that is set to shine a light on those who have been affected by domestic violence in their life, and have come through the other side.

But what all of these things have done, has been to begin to give people an opportunity to speak up, and share their stories with me, and with others. And what I'm starting to discover, is that there is a major misconception that is still going strong- and it's resulting in too many women (and men) living in harmful situations.

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GUEST POST: Why your business needs you to start backing yourself!

GUEST POST: Why your business needs you to start backing yourself!

I want to start by asking you this question. How do you really feel about your business?

Because I’m pretty certain that your business means the world to you. I bet that it fills you with significance and purpose and possibility; and don’t get me started on all the relationships and connections you now have as a result of it. So, it’s pretty darn special, right?

Ok so here’s another one for you - what would it mean to you if your biz was delivering you real results and you could contribute to the family income, all whilst staying at home with the kids? It would be AMAZING, wouldn’t it? I imagine that it would be like a dream come true…

So, now let me ask you this, how much recognition, time and appreciation does your business get from those around you? How much support are you offered? What sort of investment are you putting behind making this happen for you and your family?

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DIY Project: embossed wrapping paper boxes

DIY Project: embossed wrapping paper boxes

Okay, so first of all, I'll admit it- I love my embossing projects. It's probably a good thing I don't have kids yet, because chances are every single thing they own would be completely personalised now, because I have an itch to emboss everything. But I guess the other good thing is that, because I've got this need to emboss things, I can share the project with you, and you can do it too!

I had a couple of gorgeous white boxes sitting around. I've known for ages that I had to do SOMETHING with them, and then, when I was cleaning out some drawers for our house move, I came across some wicked watermelon gift wrapping paper, and a light bulb went off in my brain. Here was a whole other way of using both my embossing tools, plus leftover wrapping paper. And you can do it with any paper you want!

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