Aly + Jase = Love

So... remember that pre-wedding photo session we had a few weeks ago? The one that I was feeling super self conscious about, and how I was terrified that it would turn out awful?

Well, the pictures are back and the verdict is in.

I officially spent so much time freaking out about it for nothing. We were in a beautiful location, we did our best to mellow out and enjoy the experience, and our super-awesome-fantastic photographer, Andrew, captured some really beautiful shots, if I may say so myself.

Enough rambling from me, here are some of my favourites!

All images credited to Follan Photography.

It was a perfect afternoon & I love how beautifully all the photos came out.

I am so incredibly excited to see what wonderful things the Follans come up with for our wedding day pictures: just think, only a couple more weeks now and we'll be back in front of that camera again, hamming it up!

The next step is wondering how to sneak my tiny Jaguar figurines into our wedding day, mwahahaha. And yes, Weddingbee reference, ftw! Can you believe I've been blogging over there as Miss Jaguar for seven months now?

Now comes the hard part: we have to choose one of our favourite shots to be enlarged as part of our package - which one should we pick? Your advice would be very much welcomed!!

On Hospital Stays & Bananagrams

I had pretty boring plans for the end of my school holidays. I wanted to lay low at home (easy, since Jase has been working the whole time and has taken the car) and finish off my teaching programme for the next term, while watching a few Melrose Place episodes for good measure.

Sunday threw a bit of a spanner in the works: while most people were enjoying their Easter morning, I spent the day sick as a dog. I'll spare you the descriptions of what kind of sickness it was, but to give you a rough idea I wasn't able to eat much that day without it coming straight back up again. I finally managed to have a small meal of oats that evening, and had an early night to catch up on some sleep.

3am that morning saw me woken up with crazy stomach pains. They continued every hour, on the hour, until 6.30am when Jase woke up to find me freaking out and hyperventilating because my abdominal pains were so bad. After a bit of worry about what to do, with Jase pacing the apartment talking to my parents on the phone, and with me rocking on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet, he made up his mind - we were going to the emergency room.

I'll admit, I was more than a little nervous. Aside from visiting, I've never been to a hospital before as a patient - and I wasn't sure if it was the right decision to make. I was freaking out and in pain, but didn't want to go to hospital if it was just stomach cramps. At the same time, I didn't want to stay home and do nothing while I felt like I was dying. And so, we went. Off to the hospital, in the wee hours of a rainy and miserable Easter Monday.

The regular side of the hospital was closed, so I had to be admitted as an emergency patient - which made me even more panicky about being there. I mean, I watch Grey's and ER: from all I know, the emergency room is for traumas and dramatic stuff, not for tummy pains! But then, there was me with my giant swollen abdomen and shooting pains, so tight that I couldn't get my jeans to do up - so I figured we'd just go with it.

It was pretty deserted and after going through the motions of my history, I was shown into a bed and a very, very unflattering gown while they took some blood and did a few tests. After a while, I was given morphine (whoa, burny light-headed feeling, jebus) as well as some anti-nausea and stomach-cramping medication. As you can see, I'm not very technical. ;) They also hooked me up to a blood pressure monitor as well as started a bag of fluids.

My official diagnosis was gastroenteritis, colitis and dehydration - all of which were combining together to form the abdominal bloating and pain. I stayed there for most of the morning and some of the afternoon, and several shots of morphine and a few litres of IV fluids later, I was set to go home. After Jason's big efforts to get me there and treated, he had to shoot off to work - so my lovely folks (who, I might add, stayed by my side all morning to keep me company) took me back to their place for the rest of the afternoon.

Thankfully, the pain relaxed and I managed to keep down some crackers later on. And to finish off my random, random day? A few games of Bananagram with my parents was the perfect way. There is nothing cooler than word games and shouts of 'peel!' 'dump!' 'BANANA'. It's enough to make anyone feel better!

Apparently I Need to Do Laundry More Often

I've been meaning to write up this review for the past few weeks now, and it has just kept slipping my mind. I'm blaming the wedding. I figure I might as well use that excuse now, while I can!

A few months ago, I was sent two packs of EucoFresh Laundry Powder from Bosisto's to sample and enjoy. Being honest, I'd not heard of the brand before - but we'd only recently moved back to Australia at the time, so I was experimenting with a few liquids without favouring any one brand.

This particular product interested me because it's environmentally friendly and leaves no chemicals on clothing or fabrics. Before I tell you any more though, I should tell you a little about our washing habits here in the Breathe Gently household. Being that it's just the two of us(& the fact that we stocked up on super cheap clothing during our time spent in the UK and USA) I only do the laundry one day a week. It saves us time, it saves on water, and it's easier for me to do it on the weekends. To give a fair review, I deliberately didn't even begin to write this blog until several washes had gone by. 
My initial thoughts revolved around a few things. One, I was worried about it being a powder & it's potential to leave those dreaded white powder clumps/marks on our clothing. I'm happy to say that it mixes really well, and I've not had any marks during our washes. Two, I was worried about the smell. Have you ever washed clothes, hung them out to dry & noticed that they have a distinct 'smell' afterwards? It's not with every brand of washing liquid, but it's certainly happened a lot to us in the past - so I always give our clothes the sniff test before I declare a product to be good or bad. The Bosisto powder passed. The post-wash smell is nice and light, with a faint smell of eucalyptus.
One box will last you for 40 washes, and it's definitely true to its claim. Like I said, I've been washing with it constantly since I recieved my package back in January (!) and I am yet to get halfway through the first box! If I'm doing a bigger load, I'll occasionally sprinkle in a little extra powder, just because I want to make sure the clothes are all getting a little attention.
It's suitable for hot or cold water (cold for us - I'm lazy) and for top or front loading washing machines, so it's pretty much perfect for any type of laundry. And, as I mentioned before, it's both good for the environment AND good for those of us with sensitive skin, like yours truly. Once I get through these two boxes, I'll definitely be grabbing myself some more - the fact that it lasts so long and is doing such a great job on our clothing is proof that it's worth it.
They also have a whole range of other products too: I'm keen to try out their Tea Tree Oil to see how it helps my crazy hormonally challenged skin. Thanks to the folks at FGB Natural Products for letting me test it out!
Now for the fun part .....
The folks from Bosisto's have been kind enough to offer up a 1.5kg box of their EucoFresh Ultra Concentrate Laundry Powder to a few of my readers, so that you can trial it for yourself! To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is enter in one of the following ways:
  • Leave a comment telling me how often you do your washing - are you slack like I am?
  • Follow me on Twitter (@BreatheGently) & share the contest news with your friends!
Due to shipping, the winners must be Australian residents - I'll keep the contest open until May 10th. 

If you'd like a product to be trialled & reviewed on Breathe Gently, feel free to drop me a line: blog[at]breathegently.com

Update  for winners: Congratulations to Sian, Lala and ~Kathryn~!

Some Eventful Evening

Today started out like any other holiday.

I slept late, lounged around the house in my pyjamas, lazily arranged plans to get out of the house & had a wonderful afternoon - I caught a movie with the bff and ambled around a local shopping centre, not really looking for anything in particular and enjoying some company. Later that afternoon when it was time to go, I did what I always do: walked Kirby to the door, and stood with it mostly closed, saying goodbye.

Usually, Oscar sits behind me and watches through the crack. Today, he shoved his head out the door - so I had to nudge him back inside out of sight, since he's not really supposed to be here, and I'm always frightened of our neighbours hearing/seeing him. All was well, until he decided to make a bolt for it. Oscar flew straight out between my legs and onto the landing - and that's when panic ensued. Kirby stayed guarding the stairs, in case he tried to make a run for it and disappear, and I lunged out of the apartment after him and grab him while he was close.

I was successful - I swung out, grabbed him up into my arms and breathed a sigh of relief. That relief turned into panic, when I saw the door swinging closed out of the corner of my eye. I ran for it, but like in slow-motion, it slammed shut literally seconds before I'd got to it.

So. There I was. Standing in the hallway of our apartment complex, holding onto a terrified cat who is not supposed to exist. Kirby looked on in panic, as I frantically tried the door knob several times, realising with a sinking feeling that my keys, phone and handbag were all just inside the door... which was locked. What else was I missing? Why, my shoes, of course. I was barefoot and freaking the eff out.

First things first, we hid in a stairwell. I couldn't risk Oscar being seen, and we didn't want to leave the entire apartment complex because otherwise would have no way of getting back in. We rang Jase from Kirby's phone, explained the situation & asked if he could leave work early to let us in - except that he was in the middle of a deployment and physically couldn't leave the office.

We ended up hoofing it to Miss K's car and driving to his work with the cat sitting on my lap - talk about some strange expressions from people in surrounding cars! Oscar coped remarkably well, making friends through the windows and being pretty calm about it all considering the situation. I think I was more stressed than he was. We met Jason at his work, grabbed his keys, and headed back for home.

Honestly, talk about an eventful evening. In the end, we managed to smuggle Oscar-cat back upstairs, thankfully not running into any neighbours on the way, and sat down to laugh about it all. Talk about a random way of ending the day! I'm so thankful that Kirby was there; it tells you a lot about a person, if they're willing to shuttle their friend AND their cat halfway across town of an evening.

Moral of the story? Wear shoes, always. Keep an eye on your naughty feline. And always, always unlock the door's dead-bolts before opening it - just in case.

Weddings Make Me Ramble

Somehow there are only sixty days left before the wedding...

WOW.

Don't ask me how we got here so fast - I can't answer that. It feels like just yesterday I was getting excited over double digits, and now we're almost there. Two months. That will no doubt go by in a flash.

The invitations have been sent out. The responses have begun to slowly trickle in. The pre-wedding-gown-alteration diet has begun. The wedding transportation has been booked. The menu has been chosen. The engagement shoot has been done. Jason has a wedding band. After a drama with a groomsman backing out, we're all set with a new (& better!) one. It's all coming together.

This coming Saturday and Sunday, we'll be busy the entire weekend - we've booked in for our mandatory pre-wedding counselling experience. I'm looking forward to having some us time, where we're not just doing our usual routines of coming home, chatting, geeking out online and doing what we do. This will be quality time to get into the nitty gritty, and while I doubt there'll be any big surprises or bombshells (heck, it's been almost nine years now, I think we know each other pretty well!) I'm still interested to see how it pans out.

I renewed my driving licence yesterday, and was told by the woman at the RTA that in just a few months, I'll be needing to come back and adjust my details with my new married name. It sort of hit me then: I'll be someone new. The same person, but with a whole new name and a whole new label. I won't be 'Miss S'. I'll be 'Mrs D'. My name, this name I've had for 26 years, won't be mine. Or it will, but not formally. I wonder how long it takes to get used to a change like that?

Somehow there are only sixty days left before the wedding...

Harry the Huntsman

Today's blog entry, while somewhat ironic and amusing, may frighten some readers. Fair warning: it's a post about spiders. Big. Freaking. Spiders.

This past week, I've been stalked by one of those Big. Freaking. Spiders. You might say strange coincidence, I say stalked. Seriously. Let me preface today's post by saying that while I get a little squeamish around bugs, I'm usually not that bad. So far this term, we've had dragonflies, grasshoppers and a sparrow (!) somehow get inside our classroom, and each time I've either a) left them alone to find their way out or b) opened up a window for them to escape from. The kidlets are pretty mellow - if they see a visitor inside the room, they get excited and let me know, and then promptly forget about them ten seconds later. Ah, the mind of a six year old.
Anyway, so far so good. Until Wednesday, when one of the kids discovered a huntsman spider camped out at the back of the classroom, sitting in the roof corner. 
What's a huntsman? This is a huntsman. **Don't click unless you want to be seriously creeped out. Really.**
So his discovery led to a bit of a panic because OMGZ! SPIDER! WAH! (and no, not from me - yet) - but once again, the kidlets were soon distracted by other things. As for me, well, I pretended he wasn't there, but constantly kept my eye on him to make sure I could see him. I like to keep the creepy crawlies where I can see 'em, rather than have them scurry off and lurk. There is nothing worse than a lurking spider.
He stayed up there all day. I watched, he sat. It was a good arrangement.
At the end of the day, I noticed he'd started making his way across the wall to the door - so I left it open for the night, as well as the closest few windows - hoping that by the next morning, he'd have scurried off to stalk someone else. No such luck, I'm afraid. I walked into the classroom on Thursday morning & he'd vanished. 'Oh well', I thought to myself. 'As long as he's not hiding under something I'm sure to pick up, we're cool.'
Ha. HA. HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, you know where this is going, right? 
The first thing I do everyday is pick up my playground duty folder and take it to the cupboard near the classroom door; it's a reminder for me to take it out with me each day. I got the fright of my life when I opened up the folder AND THERE HE WAS. Like, an inch away from my hand. I shoved the folder back and RAN backwards, wailing the whole time. Looking back, it was lucky I'd checked it that early in the morning while there were no littlies around, because I'm fairly sure that I bellowed out a few expletives at the top of my lungs during that whole scene. Can you believe it? He was waiting for me, I'm sure of it.
After that little scene, I had to have him out of there. I went up to the office and started asking around for someone who wasn't bothered by spiders, and one of our Assistant Principals offered to get a broom and sweep him outside. She did, too. The spider was outside, I quickly locked and shut all the windows and doors, and she brushed him along the wall towards the trees. Things were good. Spidey was gone. I was happy. The bell rang, and after picking up my class and walking them back to our room, I couldn't believe my eyes.
The spider had crawled all the way back along the wall (two classroom lengths!) and was in the process of flattening itself out and climbing through our locked classroom door. Seriously? Seriously! Suffice it to say that I wasn't going back in there again until he was removed, forcefully if necessary. The teacher in the room next to mine is a tall male (thank the heavens!) who offered to remove it - so with a broom and a bucket in hand, he got the spider down and walked it all the way across the playground for me.
During this whole ordeal, the kidlets came up with a name for it: Harry the Huntsman. All I have to say is this: 
Harry? If you come back in my classroom again, I am going to throw a table at you and you will die. Enough is enough. That's all I'm saying. Have a smashing day. Best Regards, Aly.

Happy Third Birthday, Oscar-cat

Yep, my little guy is THREE today.

Feels like just yesterday I was bringing him home in peak hour on the crowded London underground, where he was so small & tiny that everyone who saw him just melted.
Special dinner for you tonight buddy, because you're awesome.





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