2014: The Year That Was

I still remember the absolute joy I felt while writing up the review for last year. 2013 was one of the most amazing and incredible years of my life so far - and it's a shame that the year that followed was full of so much sadness.

I'm following the same format as years gone by to keep it simple - (2006200720082009, 2010, 20112012 & 2013)

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Lost two pregnancies.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I had a whole lot of goals this year, and I managed nearly all of them! In particular, I smashed my reading goal (over 30 books) & took a gazillion photographs of Georgia. We knew that wouldn't be too hard!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Some online friends had their bubbas this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Nowhere, how sad is that?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? A healthy pregnancy with no complications.
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 30, when we celebrated Georgia's first birthday. June 19, when we found out we were expecting baby #2. August 11, when we got the devastating news that our baby had died. October 20, when we found out we were pregnant again. November 6, when we lost that baby too.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Just surviving. This was a freaking hard year. Seriously though, Georgia made some great progress with milestones this year & I'm so proud of her.

9. What was your biggest failure? The way that I coped with both the infertility and the losses. I've never felt sadness like this before, and I feel like I handled it terribly - it's only now, six months later, that I'm finally moving on from the miscarriages and trying to look at things in a positive light. That's a LONG time to be in the worst place in the world. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? We've been pretty healthy this year, thank goodness.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I didn't really 'buy' it, but my library card - I've been meaning to get one for years, and I've finally sorted myself out & am reading up a storm with it.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Jason, as always. He's supported me through some of the hardest times this year, and has pulled me out of the dark places - all the while dealing with his own sadness. He's the most incredible dad, and such a good man. My family have also tried hard to support me this year, and I'm grateful for them.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? My own.

14. Where did most of your money go? Georgia. But we wouldn't have it any other way!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Georgia learned to walk! And run! And chatter, even if most of it is in her own language. Also, being pregnant, twice over. I was so, so excited to grow those babies, even if they couldn't stay with us for very long. We'll never forget them.
16. What song will always remind you of 2014? After the Storm by Mumford & Sons. Gives me hope.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) Happier or Sadder? Sadder. 
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Thinner, but barely.
(c) Richer or Poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I'd told my hubby how amazing he is more often.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Being sad.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2014? With close family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014? I stayed in love, with my special ones. I'm so lucky to have them.
22. How many one-night stands? Loads ... with my bed and trusty pillows. :)

23. What was your favourite TV program? Game of Thrones, Homeland, Nashville, Outlander.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope. No hate.
25. What was the best book you read? Gosh, I read SO much this year. Favourites this year included The Night Circus, The Tournament & The Storyteller. Plus, I re-read the Outlander series; love.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? No new discoveries, just enjoying my oldies - Sarah McLachlan.

27. What did you want and get? An amazing first year with my Georgia girl. :)

28. What did you want and not get? A baby. I would have been close to 30 weeks right now, or 13 weeks. Instead, I have no pregnant belly, and two big holes in my heart. 

29. What was your favourite film of this year? Gone Girl

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? This year I turned 30. It was a great birthday; I was 8 weeks pregnant, we got to see our little jellybean via ultrasound, and I was happy.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I wish that I could have had more good luck with the pregnancies, because I was so looking forward to a 2 year age gap. But you know what else was satisfying (and that I miss?) - thigh rolls. Nom, nom, nom.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Lots of maxi dresses.

33. What kept you sane? Georgia. Hubby. Family. Mum friends. Online IVF/miscarriage support groups.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nobody off the top of my head!

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Unfortunately, I'm still let down by our government.

36. Who did you miss? I missed my Nanna; there were so many times this year where I desperately needed a hug. 
37. Who was the best new person you met? Lots of new faces in miscarriage support groups, which I'm so grateful for. Sometimes, all you need is to chat to someone who understands, who's been through it before.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Patience is a virtue.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “There will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill & see what you find there... with grace in your heart & flowers in your hair."

40. What are your resolutions for 2015? I want to be more positive. That's it. Positivity. 

Happy New Year, friends. I'm so sorry for this blog being such a place of disappointment and sadness, but it's been a pretty accurate representation of my heart & my mind. I'm ending the year feeling resigned, nervous but hopeful.. hopeful that 2015 will bring us the good news that we've been hanging out for.

Happy Holidays

Thank you for sticking with me through the good times... and supporting me through the tough times.

I hope you and your families had an amazing holiday, whatever it is that you celebrate! :)

I'm Ready

I'm ready for 2014 to be over now... and ready for 2015 to start. Next year is going to be a good year. I can feel it in my bones.
I woke up this morning and felt hopeful. I have no idea why, or what changed, but I'm going with it. We've got our Christmas shopping done. We've taken Georgia to her first carols by candlelight, looked at pretty lights, visited family for the holidays.. it's been a great week.
Today we decided to book ourselves a holiday for next year. We've been to-ing and fro-ing about it for a while now, but I'm sick of putting things off 'in case' we get pregnant. The plan is this: we'll do a FET in January, and then go away in February. We're off to Fiji for 5 days - and I anticipate lots of chilling out and relaxing. We'll either be newly pregnant if we get lucky, or we won't be. Either way, we'll have something to look forward to. :)
I hope the positivity continues - it's nice feeling this way. 

Almost the Holidays

I can't believe it's Christmas in exactly a week. I can't say I've been much looking forward to it for myself this year, but I'm looking forward to spending it with family - and experiencing it through Georgia's eyes.

We have a delightful real tree this year - and she has been amazing! No toddler proofing this year, believe it or not ... she mostly watches it from afar. I can hardly believe it myself. As for the kitties, well, that's another story altogether. :)

We're going to be having a fairly quiet holiday season. Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with hubby's family.

And then, just us. Our little family of three.

There are only a few things I want in this world. A happy and healthy life for my family & friends. Peace and tolerance. And to be a mama, again. To give my baby girl a sibling. And while I have very little control over any of those things, I'm going to try my hardest to make them happen.

Spending Christmas with this gorgeous almost-two year old {well, in a few months anyway} is going to be amazing.

With grace in your heart
and flowers in your hair.

Introducing Helpling: A Review

I recently had the pleasure of working with Helpling - a fantastic online company who works to pair independent workers with everyday consumers looking to invest in a home cleaning.

I've always been envious of folks who could afford a cleaner or housekeeper, since I assumed it was well out of our price ranger as a single income family. Plus if I'm honest, it also made me feel a little lazy, since I'm a Stay at Home Mum - shouldn't I have all the time in the world to clean my home? (Pffffffffffft.)

When I was contacted by the kind folk at Helpling and asked if I'd be interested in the gift of time with a cleaning voucher, I was more than keen & jumped at the chance.

Here's what I loved about Helpling at first glance:

  • The website is really user friendly - simply pop in your postcode, and follow the prompts.
  • The Helpling calculator helps you figure out how many hours of cleaning your home might benefit from.
  • The price of cleaning is set at $29 per hour, so there are no nasty surprises at the end.
  • It's really easy to select an appropriate day and time frame for your booking.
After booking, we received confirmation of our time frame & a note of who was coming to clean the house. In our case, we got a second email that notified us of a change in cleaner - but not having a preference for our first time meant that it didn't worry us. Good news is, if you have a good experience with a particular cleaner, you can request them again for future bookings. Our helpling for the day was a lovely young man.

So was I happy with the service? Well, just take a look at our bathroom and our oven - they turned out SPARKLING!
We have a fairly large home, with lots of open plan rooms and a LOT of cat fur... so a 4 hour clean would be about the minimum we could get away with. I think next time, I'd book an extra 30 minutes - as we just missed out on enough time to mop the floors. Of course, we made the decision to have the oven cleaned in that time frame, so our cleaner definitely had their work cut out for them.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience - and hubby & I are now talking about potentially doing booking a home clean once a month/six weeks just to do a thorough clean, in lieu of our spot cleans.
With the silly season already upon us & the New Year just around the corner, now's as good a time as any to splurge and indulge in a home cleaning - and the folks at Helpling have been so kind as to offer readers in Sydney a special discount code for 1-hour of free cleaning with your next booking. Simply enter the voucher code breath at the payment page of the website. I know we'll be using that again in the future!

And as a busy mum, if I had to ask for a Christmas gift.. a home clean to use at my discretion would be AMAZING. Just sayin'.
Breathe Gently was provided with a complimentary home cleaning session from Helpling - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Taking a Little Space

Waiting cycles suck, there's no getting around that fact. I naively thought that it wouldn't be too bad, what with Christmas shopping and the holiday season... but no, it still sucks.

I've been keeping myself busy, but things are always lurking in the back of my mind. My specialist had me take Letrozole again this cycle, to ensure that I ovulate and have a 'regular' cycle, even though there would be no transfer at the end.... but it's CD18 and nothing is happening. Negative OPK's, low fertility on my fertility monitor, and tumbleweeds blowing around my ovaries.

I'm really quite nervous I'm becoming resistant to the Femara, like I did with the Clomid... which doesn't bode well for future FET cycles, since that's what I rely on to ovulate and do natural cycles.

We'll check out what's going on in a few days, and make the call - to trigger, if anything's there - or to Provera if it's a pointless annovulatory cycle. It's just a bit rubbish that even a freaking REST cycle seems to be kicking me in the guts.

I've had to remove myself from a few groups I've been a part of, because I'm just not in the right head space for them at the moment. I'm also chatting with someone about some coping strategies for when things get tough, because we have no idea how long this particular journey will last for. It's not a cure, but it's nice to have my feelings acknowledged.

Is it 2015 yet? C'mon already! ;)

dish'd food store: An Aussie Product Talk

Anyone who knows me will know how much I love food, so I was thrilled to be chosen for the dish'd product talk. In short, I was able to head over to the dish'd website, grab some products to heat & eat, and tell you all about them. Don't mind if I do!
The concept is really simple: you pick and choose what you'd like to eat - whether it be meals for one, family mains or sides, party snacks, appetisers, or desserts.... or all of the above. Pop them in your online shopping cart, choose a delivery time & check out when you're ready. The service was fantastic: I ordered and chose my delivery day, and it arrived freshly packed and left on my porch - so you don't even need to be waiting around to collect it; all of your products are kept in a cooled box.
This is what we saw on our doorstep, and upon opening up our goodie box:

Everything was sealed and packed beautifully, with dry ice ensuring it stayed perfectly frozen. You can re-use their esky the next time you order with them. Ours is in our garage for now.
As for what I chose, well, I tried to pick an assortment of items. I wanted to try some things I'd eat, some that hubby would eat {seafood, which I'm not a fan of} and a few treats as well. Choosing options on the website was the hardest part. As I was adding items to my cart, I could always keep an eye on what my current order total was. Even better, I discovered that dish'd currently have a great promotion going for new customers - where if you spend $50 on their website, they'll give you another $30 of free credit to use, as well as free delivery. A little more bang for your buck! This is what we chose:
My hubby's jaw dropped when he was helping me unpack the box. So much food! And everything looked fantastic, and in decent serving sizes too. A quick run-down for you; there are two pizzas, two vegetable packs, two potato bakes, risotto, penne pasta, spring rolls & giant squid skewers, three different desserts {hello, gelato!} as well as some fresh pasta, and several single serve frozen meals. 
Having all those yummy dinner options in front of us ... well, what's a family to do but pick some to cook then & there?
First up: Ricotta, Spinach & Lemon Zest Mezzelune for Georgia & I, and Sea Bass with Spinach & Grilled Mediterranean Veggies for hubby. The pasta was amazing - the lemon was so beautiful! And hubby tells me the fish was great - but he especially loved the simple veggie side dish the most.

The following night, we sampled some of the individual meals - Prawn Pad Thai for me, and Thai Vegetable Green Curry for hubby. Oh, plus some Vegetable Spring Rolls for good measure.

Can you say delicious?? The spring rolls were so good, I could almost lick the screen again to taste them. I wasn't a fan of the pad thai, unfortunately - the sauce wasn't peanutty enough for my liking, but hubby scoffed down his green curry; and when I sampled some of that, I wished we had traded! ;)

And desserts! Can't forget desserts! Chocolate Fondants & Lemon Tartlets - both served with some cheeky icecream on the side - and both tasted fantastic. Tiny pockets of deliciousness. We also still have some mini gelato to try too. YUM. :)


We'll still be sampling our food products for a while to come yet, and are looking forward to testing them all out. I think pizza might be on the cards for tonight -- delish!

In the meantime... how would you like to win yourself a $50 voucher to spend at the dish'd food store website? Simply follow the prompts below with your favourite food product from the dish'd website & go in the random draw.

Please note: This giveaway is open to residents of NSW and VIC only.

Breathe Gently was provided with a complimentary gift voucher to spend on meals from the dish'd food store website via Nuffnang - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Twenty Months

This girl, this beautiful girl, just turned 20 months old.
It blows my mind watching her every day - seeing how much she is growing and changing before my eyes.
She's full of surprises. She's full of extreme joy and she's full of crazy temper tantrums. She's babbling at a million miles a minute, and has started repeating some words - mostly just chattering in her own little Georgia-language. 

She's a dancer, an animal lover, a drama llama, and I love her more than anything.

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