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M.A.D Fundraiser

 

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M.A.D Make A Difference – Supporting local and National Charities

I arranged a Family Fun Day Fundraiser…. It feels like a blur – but it happened and it was a success. What was my motivation for doing this, you may ask?
In 2006 my Father died- suddenly and very unexpectedly from a massive heart attack ,at only 53. Whilst devastating and life changing for all of us, my mother was never able to recover. In 2012 she succumbed to her mental illness and sadly passed away, aged 56. This lit a fire in my belly, as peoples opinions on her illness varied and some were less than understanding!

 

Initially I wanted to support charities that not only support mental illness, and the various forms it comes in, but those charities that raise awareness and get people talking. My hunt for the perfect charity began and I just could not find one that really screamed out to me. That is until I attended a fundraising high Tea for Baby Give Back. I had heard of the charity, told my friends about it, shared it and looked around at home for items that I could donate but I had never considered it as the charity I would fundraise for. I had met the founder and one of the directors through my gym and we trained together, drank together, laughed together and when they popped up tickets for their fundraiser I jumped online to purchase immediately. I mean its great what they do, and you should always support your mates – so that’s what I did. I was not prepared for the tears that welled up and threatened to flow from my eyes as the speeches began and stories from women Baby Give Back had helped, were told. I realised how much of an impact poverty, and the inability to provide for one’s child, could really affect a woman’s mental health! I mean pregnancy is hard enough as it is – imagine not knowing if you will have a roof over your head, or warm clothes for your baby. Where will baby sleep? How will I pay for nappies? What if I can’t breastfeed? How will I afford formula? This charity was here, it was in need and it was SCREAMING my name loud and clear! Whilst not directly a mental health service or charity it certainly aligned with what I wanted to support.

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Baby Give Back Directors Carly, Julie, Ainsley & Kylie

I contacted Julie McBride (BGB director) the week after the fundraiser and let her know that I was going to begin planning a fundraiser, and that I had chosen Baby Give Back as my charity.
I began the months of planning, sending emails and reaching out to local businesses for help. This was the hardest part for me – I am always open to recognising my flaws and one of them is that I am a CONTROL FREAK. I have lived on my own since I was 15 years old and became a mum at 17, so I’m used to doing things my own way and not asking for help. It was so hard to contact businesses to see if they would like to contribute on the day, either by donating for the raffle, or attending with a service on the day. My stomach churned with it and I had constant butterflies awaiting replies. A lot of my emails weren’t returned, many messages were read and not answered, I was hitting walls with locations – and my confidence in my ability to do this was plummeting. But then miraculous things began to happen – businesses were replying and not HESITATING to contribute, in fact they were thrilled to be a part of it and were super supportive of the event. Then I started getting contacted by businesses who were ASKING if they could join in with their business on the day. The event was taking shape and gaining exposure thanks  to the our amazing community sharing on their social media and putting posters up in their local schools and kindy’s. I found a need for a separate page, dedicated purely to making a difference in the world and assisting local and National charities with fundraising events. This is when M.A.D Make a difference was born, and is now a separate page for events, discussions and images of events.
I woke up the morning of the Family Fun day feeling really relaxed and calm. The coffee van arrived, the ponies had turned up, our sweet treats baker was here, our soft play area was being set up, Peppa Pig was waiting in the wings, face painters ready, our hair braider good to go, craft station set, bubbles blowing in the wind and our jumping castle inflated and awaiting the little people! No one had pulled out last minute, everything was looking fantastic and the cars started pulling in. The event was 3 hours long and there was not a person I met who was not smiling and enjoying themselves. This made me happy, but not as happy as seeing the donation box overflowing with nappies, wipes and more ,the raffle ticket jars full of entrant’s tickets – all of this was for BGB and THIS, over anything else made my heart happy.

Some shots from the day – for more head to @m.a.d_make_a_difference__

My people
My family ❤
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I had planned on a flowing boho style dress for the event – I never had the time to change, so this what we got people!
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Peppa Pig
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Giveaways

 

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Hair Braiding
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Jems soft play
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More Face painting
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@emmyjae_lake
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Pony rides all day

 

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Obstacle course with Leanne
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Jumping Castle
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Photo sessions
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Big Bubbles
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Hair braiding
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Raffle winner
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Chill out Zone thanks to @forloveandliving
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Craft station
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Donations

We had an amazing turnout of around 400 guests at the first Family Fun Day Fundraiser, we gave away over $3000 in raffle prizes and were able to donate $1344 and a boxful of items to the Baby Give Back Team. But there’s something the event raised that is priceless, in my opinion. It raised awareness in our local community about who BGB are, what they do and which support agencies they work with and why it is SO important we continue to support their not for profit charity.
The day would not have been possible without our sponsors, who either donated a service or a product. Please take a second to acknowledge them all and share some love.
I could go on and on all day about the BGB directors and volunteers, the gold coast community, the businesses and my family – so I’ll leave it here with a link to the Baby Give Back website. Here you can read about how it all began and how you can help.

Body is tired, but heart is full – until the next one- Thank you to all who attended<3
Ness xo

 

Our amazing sponsors

 

 

 

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17 and pregnant!

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For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mum. Well okay an actress AND a mum! I loved playing with dolls and babies and would babysit for any one at any time, much to the pleasure of my family and parents friends!

Finding out I was pregnant at 17, was not ideal situation to be in, however as soon as I saw the two little pink lines on my test,  I was in tears, overjoyed and couldn’t wait to start being a Mum! I went out and purchased a second hand copy of “What to expect when you’re expecting”, which I valued as the pregnancy Bible and shall be referred to as The Book from here on in!

I read The Book  from cover to cover and ate everything it said to eat, did everything it said to do and lived in a little pregnancy bubble of happiness and food. Needless to say I went from 48kg – 72kgs in those 9 months and have since realised that I had the metrics wrong and actually ate way too much!

I was very scared to tell my parents and although I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks, it wasn’t until I was 8 weeks that I blurted it out to them, in my typical awkward way. I was sitting in their lounge room, trying hard not to vomit or fall asleep, or vomit in my sleep and they knew something was up. I had amazing parents, let’s just get that out there now, and they raised me very well. My dad had the short Scottish temper and was the most likely to blow up, whilst Mum was shy and quiet and rarely raised her voice. To say I was surprised when Mum stood up and blasted me, is an understatement. She couldn’t believe I could be “so stupid” and cried angry tears, as Dad sat back in his chair, uncharacteristically quiet. I didn’t hang around for long and caught the train home, only speaking with them sporadically until after my 18 week scan.  I had disappointed them, as doting parents they had different visions of my future, expectations of what I would become, who I would become, what I would achieve, the experiences I would have. This was NOT on their list. They needed time, I needed time – so I waited.

After my scan I rang the bell to my parents front door, with the ultrasound pictures clutched in my hands. I had found out I was having a girl and I wanted to share it with them, I didn’t care about anything else. They were the first people I wanted to be told about this exciting news. Mum opened the door, Dad was at work, and all the anger, disappointment and sadness was gone – there was an air of peace and acceptance and she hugged me excitedly after hearing the news that she was getting a granddaughter. A parent or Grandparent is not supposed to hope for a particular sex, but Mum admitted in a whisper that this is what she had been hoping for.  She had a bag full of dresses from when I was a baby, that she’d gotten out at some point in that last 10 weeks, so maybe she wasn’t as angry as I first thought. Maybe she felt a tiny bit of excitement too.

My pregnancy was long and exhausting. I had horrible morning sickness from 5 weeks pregnant until around 13 weeks and basically ate, slept and vomited for those first few months. The second trimester was much more enjoyable as my belly started to show physically, and move around as my baby did. I was able to get out and about more and spent a lot of days visiting my Gran and Mum on the tram. That being said I was still extremely tired – I had never felt such tiredness in my life and was a sleep early at night, slept in in the mornings and if I didn’t head out for the day, I would sleep the day away as well.

I did not exercise, I ate well but a lot (I ate the amounts in the book told me too! Books fault, not mine that I had it all wrong….right?) so I basically ate and slept and by the end of my pregnancy I felt horrible. My skin was pale and oily,  my hair needed doing (but the The Book said not to dye it!!) and the baby was taking everything from me so I was like a ghost….. except a very chubby one! I did not glow or radiate gorgeous pregnancy at all and I can laugh about it now – but gosh I felt awful. Like a completely different person, not the 17 year old fit healthy teen I had been months prior.

On the 2nd of September 1998, at 3pm – 17 years 10 months old, my water broke and my labor began.

The Book had described labour as a long process with contractions beginning at around ten minute intervals which would get closer  together as dilation occurred. The Book lied guys! It lied to me! For my ENTIRE 10 hour labour my contractions were 40 secs long and 1 minute apart. I thought I was going to die, I thought something was wrong but I didn’t and there wasn’t and on the 3rd September 1998 Shealee Amy was born.

After 5 days in hospital my parents brought me home, still in my maternity pants and still in a world of pain. They helped me settle in, they waited until I had changed the first nappy and first breastfeed at home and then …..they left. There I was, 17 and a mum. Alone in a big quiet house with this tiny baby in my arms- left to let nature guide me in what I needed to do. I stared into my daughters beautiful sleeping face and felt assured that we were going to figure this out together.

I was so in love -I couldn’t believe my heart hadn’t physically exploded with the love I felt for this tiny human. She was all I had ever wanted and I felt complete.  We co slept ,despite The Book and the midwives advising against it, and I breastfed on demand, despite The Books “rules”. We barely left the house and just slept and fed a lot, in between the soaking of cloth nappies! It was exhausting, but I went for daily walks and mastered getting the pram onto the tram with as little fuss as possible! I was feeling more like myself again, and I cut and dyed my hair so yeah……that helps!

I often get asked about my social life as a teenage mother. I mean I am still a teenager right? I should  be hanging out with friends and experiencing things that other teenagers do, but to be honest I didn’t have many friends left and I didn’t want to leave my baby. I’m not going to sit here and blame people for”abandoning” me or not being true friends – I’m not a victim here. I spent 9 months in a bubble of vomiting and sleep and I rarely contacted anyone. Whilst I was giving birth my friends were finising highschool and heading off to uni or off onoverseas adventures. We were living different lives and we drifted apart and that’s okay 🙂 I didn’t feel like a”regular” teenager and I didn’t really feel like surrounding myself with other teens, so I joined the local mothers group. Here I met my first new bunch of friends ranging in age from 21-42 and I felt like I fit here – Like I belonged. I didn’t feel like a disappointment or a loser – I was welcomed with open arms and remained close to one of these women for over a decade after the mothers group dissipated.

Financially –  being a young mum was tough. I couldn’t work outside the home – I relied fully on public transport, I didn’t want to leave my baby, and child care fees were super expensive, even back then. I often felt judged and would style my hair and dress older than my age to avoid the looks of disadain. I found most people assumed teen mothers were not good mothers, that they left their babies to go out all the time, that they didn’t want to become mums and hated their lives.  I did NOT want to be viewed in this way as  despite my age, I was loving life as a mum more than I could ever imagine possible.

School enrolments and parent teacher interviews were always interesting, as I was always the youngest mum there. I always made an effort to address everyone with  confidence, I mean I truly believed in myself and my abilities as a parent. I always aged up instead of down, which I still catchmyself doing even now! Come June I’ll be telling everyone I’m 38, despite being 37 until November!

I knew I would want my children to finish school and wanted to lead by example so at 21 years old, with a baby (Kiah) and toddler (Shealee) I completed year 12.  I also returned to acting and modeling ,on a very small scale, participating in student movies, small features and extra work – just to keep my toe in the water 😉 It was also nice to be doing something for me, contributing financially and have work outside of the home with actual ADULTS!

I have a beautiful 19 year old daughter now, and I would not change that for the world. That being said, I have told both my teenage daughters to hold off on the making of the babies! I want them to work, travel, find love, lose love, explore, have fun and enjoy the youth they have without the finaincial burdens, exhaustion and feelings of isolation that comes with being a teen Mum.

And you know what? My girls get it! They want their freedom and youth and to achieve great things personally, before they give themselves selflessly to another tiny being and I am so proud!

I would not be who I am today without the experiences I have had and I would not have the awesome relationship I have with Shealee if anything had been any different.

Everything happens for a reason and my gran would always say to me “Ness, you are just born to be a mummy. Everything will come later if its meant to be”. And whilst my idea of success had once been in relation to my career, I now realise that the journey into motherhood ,and the babes I hold in my arms, are the greatest example of success I could ever have hoped for.

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Let’s Meet!

You’re here! Thank you so much for joining me on this little journey called life.

My family and I moved here, to The Gold Coast, from Melbourne in 2013 with the TV series Location, Location, Location Australia (Foxtel) and have never looked back.

LLLA episode sneak peek

I recently returned to Instagram and have found an amazing community of people to laugh and discuss with , which has brought me to this blog!

I find writing very therapeutic, I always have, and even set to work on writing a novel in my teens! I am quite awkward, shorter in real life than I appear in photos, a bit clumsy, passionately loving ( I also have a “passionate” temper), have abnormally long arms for my body, a crooked smile and a head full of thoughts.

Gold Coast musings is not a blog based around one subject. I have so much I believe in and I feel needs to be talked about in an open, honest, raw and real manner and I hope you will all engage with me in some awesome discussions on love, motherhood/fatherhood/parenthood, teen parenting, disordered thinking around food, mental illness, fitness, fashion and more on mental illness (‘coz it needs to be talked about a lot more in a more honest fashion)

If you’ve read this far – I thank you! Welcome the GCM family and I cant wait to get talking the real talk – my version of events, and learn from you all!

Ness xo

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We only get one life – let’s not muck around!