Snaps ‘n’ Crackles #11 – The birthday edition

May 30, 2019
Multi coloured birthday balloons

Multi coloured birthday balloons

I’m way overdue to do the next post in The Great Ocean Road (GOR) series … but I just haven’t had time to go through all the photographs and edit them and remember what photo is of what and write the post.  So then I thought I’d write a post about 55 things I’ve learnt in my 55 years (in line with my impending birthday), but I haven’t have enough time to write that one either, so instead I thought I would do one of those coffee catch-up type of posts (aka ‘rambles’) and fill you in on what’s been going on around here lately.  Life sure has been busy around these parts lately and there is more coming up, so pull up a chair, get comfy, and be sure you have your tea or coffee ready, and I’ll fill you in.

First and most importantly – tomorrow is my birthday!

As the post topic and my opening paragraph have eluded to, I have a birthday coming up.  I was born on 31 May 1964.  Tomorrow I’ll turn 55.  How can that be?  That’s the kind of age my mother always was!  One minute I was 35 and now I’m turning 55.  I honestly can’t believe how quickly those years have flown by.  I can’t be sad about turning 55 though because throughout my lifetime I’ve known, and known of, so many people who’ve had their lives cut short.  They never had the privilege of living to this age.  I’m grateful that I’m still here.  

My daughter’s move to FNQ

My daughter moved out of home not long after she turned 21.  She just turned 24 earlier this month, so she’s been living out for nearly 3 years.  She’s not been far away though – a few different locations but all within a 20 minute drive of home.  Last week she moved to Cairns, about 1700 kilometres away.  She’s a journalist who was producing regional news in Brisbane whilst relieving as reporter in the regions when needed. She’s happy to have secured a regional reporting role.  Fingers crossed all goes well and she will be happy!   Thank goodness though for mobile phones, social media and the like for helping us feel connected and not so separated by the distance.  Luckily I will be seeing her again in a couple of weeks, but you’ll find out more about that as you read on.

Birthdays galore and Mother’s Day

May is always a crazy busy month around here!  Let’s see – it used to be my father-in-law’s birthday on 1 May and it’s also a nieces birthday that day.  On 3 May it’s my Mother and daughter’s birthdays, on 15 May is a sister-in-law’s birthday, 18 May is a niece’s birthday, 20 May is ‘The Tennis Player’s’ birthday (see below) and then there is mine on the 31st.  In addition to all these birthdays of course, there is Mother’s Day.

The Tennis Player turned 60!

If you’ve been following my blog for some time you’d know that ‘The Tennis Player’ is the term I use to refer to the hubby (more here).  He prefers to not be featured on the blog/internet so I don’t mention him much and keep Write of the Middle very much my own little space on the internet.  However, turning 60 is a bit of a milestone and it has kept me a bit busy so definitely worth a mention!  There was a quiet family dinner at home on the actual day of his birthday.  Then a big extended family dinner a few days later, followed by a boys weekend away at the Sunshine Coast to play golf and go to the races, so it was a bit of a ‘festival of 60’ for about a week!

Melbourne and Harry Potter




Long before we knew that my daughter would be moving to Cairns we decided that for our birthdays (hers and mine) we would like to go see the Harry Potter productions (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) in Melbourne, so the bookings were made.  My daughter arranged for some leave from work.  This will still all go ahead, though some additional flights had to be booked to get her home and then back north again.  This will all be happening in early/mid June.  It’s only a couple of nights away but I’m so looking forward to it!  Also looking forward to seeing my daughter as it will have been a few weeks since I saw her last by then.




Bupa Blogger Aluminae

By some good fortune I am a part of this group and really enjoying the experience. There was the Blog Awards in October 2018.  Then there was a trip to Melbourne in January 2019 for the first ‘influencer program event’, and more recently the trip to Sydney for the second.  The next one will be in Brisbane in late June, so no travel or hotels for this one but it’s still exciting and I’m looking forward to it.


My sister, her two kids (my niece aged 16 and nephew aged 11) and an additional friend of my niece are headed to Stradbroke Island next school holidays and guess what … I’m going too!  I’m the driver and we’ll be going over on the vehicular ferry.  I am ashamed to admit that though I live so close to Stradbroke Island, I have only been there once and that was more than three decades ago and was just a one night camping trip with a few others.  I remember nothing much except that I was in a tiny two-man tent, it rained, my air mattress went down, I got wet, and I didn’t enjoy it much!  I am SO looking forward to this trip.  This time I’m staying in an apartment (yes!) and I have 5 nights and days to explore.  The nature fix will do me wonders!

Zen Tip Tuesday

I’m so happy with the gems of zen (accumulation of great guest posts) I have had as part of this series so far, and very thankful to each and every contributor. I think it is turning into a wonderful resource of inspirational ways and means to reach a calmer, more zen-like state in what can be a very busy, stressful, overly connected and switched-on world!

Always seeking guest posters!

At the moment, the last guest post I have will be published on Tuesday 18 June.  The next available publish date is Tuesday 25 June.  So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence, maybe now is the time to jump in!  If you’re not sure what to write about, have a look at the gems of zen accumulated so far and that might provide that inspiration and ideas may come!  What is it you do – activities, rituals, practices, places you go – that calm you, that soothe you, that relax you?  That’s what we want to hear about.  Have a read here of what is required and if you’re interested send me an email at 

My thinking at the moment is that I might take a bit of a mid-late July break from #ZTT – 2 weeks or more and then continue on.  However, if I haven’t got any guest posts to do that then instead of continuing each and every Tuesday, I might change Zen Tip Tuesday to be ad hoc – just when we have a post to publish.

ZTT Link-Up

Sadly this hasn’t really taken off as I had hoped.  There are 2-3 wonderful bloggers (you know who you are) who have supported me and my ZTT Link-Up and I thank them very much for that, but I think the time has come to scrap the link-up.  Unless suddenly we are getting some more linking up or there is a strong aversion to me scrapping it, the last ZTT Link-up will be on Tuesday 18 June 2019.

I’ve noticed quite a significant decline in the number of bloggers linking up with link-ups as compared to the participation of a few years ago (I’m talking about the Australian link-ups only here).  I’m not sure why?  Maybe it’s a cyclic thing.  Maybe linking up to linkies isn’t deemed cool anymore, or is too much work – considering that generally the etiquette is to read and comment on the hosts post and a few others of those posts that have linked up (depends on the specific rules of the individual link-ups).  The linkies that have been around a while have some dwindled but solid support but it’s very hard for new linkies to get off the ground with any more than a few linking up unless they are very broad (by broad I mean you can basically link up any kind of post old or new).  Just my observations anyway – keeping in mind that I’ve been a participant in the Australian blogosphere since late 2012 so I have been around long enough to see how things have changed over the last 7 years.  One final point on link-ups, particularly for new bloggers … they are the portal to the blogosphere!  They are what get you seen and known and how you get to see and know other bloggers in your country and other countries. They are how you network and find link-minded bloggers. They provide opportunities to collaborate, to learn more about the blogging industry, and much, much more.  They’re not just about getting comments on your blog posts.  I recommend them, particularly when first starting out.


It’s been 17 months since I lost my Dad.  It’s been my first ‘real’ experience of grief.  I’ve been very sad when people I know (relatives and acquaintances) have died before but never have I felt this level of grief before.  My Dad was everything to me – a gorgeous man and a stable, calming anchor in my life.  I might not cry every day now but I think of him every day and I still cry often.  I recently saw an article on a friends Facebook page that explained grief so well.  It’s called the Ball in the Box analogy.  Please have a look at it HERE.  It explains grief so perfectly. 

Authenticity – some home truths

In the interests of being authentic, real, and honest – I’ve not been feeling that great lately.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, sad/depressed, anxious, stressed.  I’m not keeping up/coping with all the ‘things’.  Sometimes we can be very good at dishing out words of wisdom and advice to others, but not so good at applying these things to ourselves.  I’m at a point where I really need to take some time out, pull back a bit, and apply some self-care to myself.

There’s many factors at play that I guess have contributed and it’s important to acknowledge and try and understand these things.  Here’s some, but probably not all:

  • I’m at the peri-menopausal/menopausal phase of life with shifting hormones and lots of changes & challenges going on
  • I’m still grieving
  • My daughter has moved 1700 km’s away
  • It’s been busy around here (see all the above) and I’ve had a lot on my plate (some personal stuff that can’t be shared here). 
  • I love my blog and I work hard at it and will continue to but it does consume a lot of my time (and quite a bit of my money!) and I very rarely earn any money from it.  I often feel guilty that I’m not more productive in a financial/business kind of way – whether that be via my blog, associated with my blog, or completely separate to my blog.  I’ve had a long time to explore and dabble since I left the corporate life but I still haven’t found the ‘thing’ that I need to be doing in order to feel fulfilled, productive and purposeful in a way that I can be proud of.  I know there is a ‘thing’ – I feel it in my bones – I just haven’t found it yet.  I’d really like to have hit that ‘aha moment’ by now and have some clarity about what this ‘thing’ is and be working away on this project of my very own that I would love and enjoy, that would bring some money in, and that I could be proud of.  Having said that, I must mention my Gorgeous Women Skin Care business and say that these products are something I truly love and believe in.  I adore the products and couldn’t live without them – but I’m a distributor, not the owner, and thus don’t have complete control over the brand.  It’s not mine.  It will continue but it’s not the ‘thing’.  
  • I get loads and loads of emails from people wanting to ‘collaborate’ – but really just wanting me to publish their guest posts (not as part of ZTT – I like emails from people wanting to participate in ZTT!!) with links to their social media, wanting links within my posts to their posts or they want me to use their infographic or whatever, and so on and so on, and it’s just all become a bit too much at the moment!  It takes so much of my time to read, comprehend, consider, and reply to these emails, and it’s tiring to have my platform and skills used for the benefit of others and for no real benefit for me or the readers of my blog.  I’ve been at this blogging caper for a long time and I’m tired of people expecting me to give my time and skills just for ‘exposure’.  Ugh!  
  • I’m feeling drained by social media.  Scrolling my Instagram feed lately is making me feel ‘less than’.  You read about this.  We’re warned about this.  It’s a true and real modern day phenomenon.  For example: I’m exposed to all the gorgeous fashion bloggers with their beautiful clothes, shoes, jewellery and handbags (that I can’t afford); gorgeous young figures that I compare my middle-aged mother of three figure to (so stupid to compare considering the age and life stage differences and anyway I too had a smoking figure at that age … but its so easy to forget all this when scrolling around social media); photographs of exotic travel locations (that I’ve never been to and probably never will get to); the fact that many other Aussie ‘influencers’ have squillions more followers, far more engagement, and perceived more success than moi – the classic comparison trap scenario!  And so it goes.  I think that every now and then we need to remove ourselves from social media and reset.

So I need to take a leaf out of my own book, pull back on my commitments and apply some self-care for my own health and wellbeing.  I may even take a short break from the blog in coming months in order to disconnect from screens and social media for a bit, spend more time living in the physical world, take more time to contemplate how I want to spend my time and ponder what my ‘thing’ might be.

What else I’m looking forward to!

In order to end on an uplifting note I thought I’d include a few more things that I’m looking forward to!

  1. Muriels Wedding The Musical – I’m booked to see this with a girlfriend in September and I can’t wait! 
  2. A visit to my daughter in Cairns – maybe September.  This will probably include some day trips to Port Douglas and the Daintree and who knows where else!
  3. Chicago The Musical – with the same girlfriend as mentioned above – booked for November – yay!


So how’s your coffee/tea going?  Need a refill?  I sure did offload quite a bit of stuff didn’t I!  How ’bout you fill me in now on how things are going for you lately?  I promise I’m a good listener.  By the way, 55 isn’t old … is it??  Happy Birthday to me for tomorrow!


Ciao for now,



Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Deborah of Debbish | Jo of And Anyways
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all our blogs.


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  • Reply Joanne Tracey May 30, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Oh Min, I’m hearing you & feeling you. There sounds to be so much going on & your daughter moving away is huge. There’s also lots to look forward to & I for one think you are a worthy addition to the Bupa alumni. Please remember I’m at the end of messenger if you need to talk to someone unrelated to it all. For now though, happy birthday for tomorrow.

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks Jo. I do have so much to look forward to which is a blessing. I just need to find my place in the world where I feel I’m adding some value I think. xo

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond May 30, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Hi Min, Happy Birthday and enjoy your special day. You have so many good things happening in our life and I particularly like the mother/daughter time you have planned. I also understand the feeling of loss as she moves to Cairns and you are obviously still grieving the loss of your Dad. Be kind to yourself and you are on the right track with your upcoming visit to Straddie. My offer of a chat is always there so don’t hesitate if you feel like a cuppa – even a virtual one! #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks Sue! xo

  • Reply Natalie May 30, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Hi Min – A warm happy birthday to you on May 31! I wish you a fabulous birthday and a beautiful year ahead. 55 is just the beginning of many great fun to come. From your updates, I’d suggest to take a break from the social media that make you feel down. You already have a number of fun events lined up with family and friends so that’s wonderful. I look forward to reading about them and seeing your photos. I hope ZTT stays on. I started drafting a post to send to you for ZTT but haven’t completed it yet due to time constraints. I’ll be travelling in June and am not sure if I’ll be able to send it to you to extend the series a bit longer. #lovin’lifelinky

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks so much Natalie! Yes a break from social media and the blog and some more time getting back to nature and doing other things is needed at the moment. I’ll be keeping ZTT going at least until the end of 2019. It’s the Link-up that will be ceasing. SO your guest post will be welcome anytime you’re ready but no rush! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 30, 2019 at 8:20 am

    So many things here – firstly, I agree you are in your 20’s and then 50’s and it seems to have just disappeared. But I’m okay with being 50. I just wish other 50 year olds wanted to do stuff. You are as boxed in as you allow yourself to be. Secondly, grief and loss is hard. I was lucky I came across This is How at the time I did and I made the most of the time I had left with my dad, it has also framed the death in a different light. I miss him terribly. Lastly, I decided a long time ago to stop chasing the money off the blog. I spend my 6am-7.30 on it every day, but it’s my pleasure (and therapy) and if I get money, I get it, but if I don’t, I don’t care. It means I can blow off my FB (which I do) and shut the blog down when I want, for a break. It’s my thing, that can bring opportunites but doesn’t really matter. It’s for me, mainly. As for the link ups, I miss the community they used to bring. I will try to remember ZTT. I just forget….I don’t think it’s a reflection of your idea, I just think they don’t bring the traffic they used to, so people have ditched them. You have reminded me I have to book Chicago….will do today. #Lovinglifelinky

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      Time sure does go fast doesn’t it Lydia?! I’m so sorry you’ve lost your Dad too. I know how it is to miss them. I’m not necessarily wanting to make money from the blog though a bit here and there to help cover costs would be good. However, I’d like to have some kind of venture that I absolutely love doing, that suits me, that brings in some money, that is of value, and that I can be proud of. At the moment I feel that is out there waiting for me to identify it but it still eludes me. Glad I reminded you to book Chicago! It’s not one you wanna miss. I’m looking forward to it! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 30, 2019 at 8:22 am

    And Happy Birthday!! (what a clown! I forgot to say the most important bit)

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Haha – its ok – it’s not till tomorrow anyway but thank you!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl May 30, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Firstly Happy Birthday.
    I’m sorry things have been a little tough recently but hopefully having this forum to share about it in a reassuring environment will give you some comfort and strength to keep on keeping on.
    Oh and I just ignore those collab requests. No time!
    Much love
    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks SSG – I’ve probably done too much of an overshare in this post here today but I figured it’s best to be honest and real. I get so tired of the ‘show reels’ online – where you only see the good stuff and it’s usually embellished. I want people who read my blog to know that I get it – I have down days too. I can get caught up in the comparison trap and the imposter syndrome too and my self esteem can dip low at times. I know these things pass but only if you look after yourself. It’s by experiencing these things myself that I feel better placed to advise others on ways to handle them or help themselves out of them … because I’ve been there too and I know what works for me and what doesn’t. As for those collab emails – I ignore a lot of them (and delete them) but some are more valid and need a good read through, a bit of research, contemplation, and a response. Sometimes I get some great opportunities so I’m not complaining about that – but lately I’m getting swamped and having to wade through copious emails (love the dodgy ones cos I can just hit delete!) and it’s so time consuming! xoxo

  • Reply Leanne | May 30, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Wow that was a big post Min – and a really honest one too. There’s so much I could say, and you know that I care so I won’t repeat it all here! Happy birthday for tomorrow – may 55 be YOUR year! I hope you find whatever it is that will make your heart sing, I’ve begun looking for mine, but haven’t had the aha moment yet either. I see jobs pop up in my email notices and can’t be bothered applying for them (it needs to be something pretty special to tempt me back to the 9-5!), I love my blog but it’s not going to make me a millionaire – at least it doesn’t cost me money so I don’t feel guilty puddling away on it and I love the connection and encouragement it’s brought into my life. As far as those collaborative emails go, I now have a standard response where I tell them “thanks – this is my fee for a guest post – email back if you’re interested” That politely gets rid of most of them, and has allowed me to make a few extra dollars from the ones who are happy to pay – so win/win for me (I’ve even saved my blurb so I can just copy and paste it in the reply email – 2 secs and the problem is solved!)
    Anyway – Happy Happy Happy Middle of Midlife Birthday to you – enjoy it and make sure you Facetime that daughter of yours for a nice long chat xxxx

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Yep – a real honest brain dump! Eeek – probably too much of an overshare but that’s reality and I’m a real person. I hope that 55 IS my year – that’d be fabulous! It’s early days for you finding your ‘thing’ but I can’t say the same for me – hence my frustration. I wont ever be going back to a 9-5 corporate job with a commute and I can say that with 100% certainty! lol Thanks for the birthday wishes. It’s not till tomorrow but I’m happy to start celebrating now. Why not?! I’ve been talking on the phone to my daughter every day since she left. Can’t wait till she comes home in June so I can squeeze her though. Thanks Leanne! xo

  • Reply Deborah May 30, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    I can relate to all of your home truths Min – well, not the family stuff of course, but the rest of them re blogging and social media AND bloody menopause.

    As you know I’ve cut right back on blogging. I wonder if I really do EVER cut back on my book blogging if I’ll do more personal blogging again. They’re the posts I enjoy most but my headspace hasn’t been worth sharing lately. Well, it could be helpful for others to let them know that I hit rock bottom, but I’m still conscious about who reads my blog and potential employers etc…

    But on the positive side re your daughter, you can justify trips to Cairns and at least they occasionally have flight specials etc…

    • Reply Min May 30, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Yes I thought you might relate to a few of my home truths Deb and a big YES I KNOW to bloody perimenopause and menopause *sigh*!! I know what you mean about sharing the personal stuff in blog posts. Today’s post was especially difficult to press publish on because like yourself I am very, very conscious of who is reading it and also not wanting to appear to be pathetic or weak or something similar BUT I decided that being real is important to me. There’s so much fakeness out there. You see the glamour and glitz but not the reality. I want my blog to show some reality and the reality is that I am human and I have down days, insecurities, self esteem issues, and so on. BUT as I said in response to another comment … it’s by experiencing these things myself that I learn and am better equipped to write about them and share things I do or have done or tried to help me at these times and maybe help someone else in the process. Maybe. As for my daughter – YES trips to Cairns will be coming up. I’m thinking September for the first one. Not sure I could cope up there in the thick of summer! UGH – me and humidity/heat do not mix well!

  • Reply Di from Max The Unicorn May 30, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    Wow, so many Birthdays in May for you! Sounds like our September which is choc-a-block full of events and Birthdays! Anyway I hope you have an amazing day celebrating your Birthday tomorrow… and 55 certainly isn’t old! Have a great day xx

    • Reply Min June 3, 2019 at 8:53 am

      Thanks Di! My birthday was a nice day. Good luck for your busy September! lol xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan May 30, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Happy Birthday Min. You share my late Aunty’s birthday and she was a wonderful supporter of mine. So, enjoy your special day. I know what you mean about grieving. You are grieving your parenting role as well as the death of your dear dad and that is a tough one. I have been through this, and now getting over the grief of little to no contact now with our grandkids. In the cycle of life, that is what it is.

    With you on the blogging climate. Yes there are those of us who remember the 100+links for IBOT! I do know that many have stopped blogging as their lives changed and they went into work or business.
    I have to be careful of too much scrolling. My life is “nothing” compared to some I follow and I hear you in the wardrobes and accessories and costs.

    Onward though. I will remain blogging at least this year and most likely into next. I am sorry the Tuesday linky has not been the success it deserved to be. You have put a lot into it. I know how much it takes to do this as well. I have two more posts (I think) for your Tuesdays and then will stop.

    I think a ‘stocktake’ of our needs and going forward in a more calm and less pressured manner is a good thing. You have things to look forward to and that is important.

    Denyse x

    • Reply Min June 3, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Denyse! I hadn’t thought of myself as grieving my parenting role but on reflection … yes I think you’re right! I can understand how hard it must be for you to see much less of your grandchildren these days. As for blogging – yes those IBOT days! So many linked up that Jess had to get a team together to help read and comment on them all. There’s far less bloggers linking up these days and yes many have moved on to different life phases and that happens. That’s what I mean by ‘cyclic’. A fresh batch will come along eventually most likely! lol As for the comparison trap – yep it’s a thing and I think the key to trying to keep that at bay is to disconnect regularly and reboot/reset – which is what I’m feeling the need to do lately. xo

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