Thirty and Two.

So, it seems the thing that changes the most when you hit thirty is the inability to write good. Seriously, I’ve started this post ten times already, and each time it sounds worse and worse. It’s like February 24, 2014 was the exact date my brain had planned an extended vacation!

Seriously though, thirty years ago today, I came into this world. My mum constantly tells everyone that I was the easiest of labours, and ‘popped out like a cherry seed’. At which point I cringe, and endeavour to disappear. I don’t wanna brag, but I was a pretty cute baby. See:

Mummy and Daddy Heidielka, Brother Koshy, and Baby Heidielka.

Mummy and Daddy Heidielka, Brother Koshy, and Baby Heidielka.

(Things went downhill shortly after it was discovered I was, indeed, a ginger for life.)

When I was seven, I had cousins who were thirty. I thought they were the oldest people in the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure I told my twenty-nine year-old cousin that she should have babies soon because she only had, “like, eight more years and then you die”. I have never been good with numbers.

Even when I was a teenager, I was convinced that thirty was so far away, I’d definitely be some kind of successful, married, super-mum by now. But I was also convinced I would always love the name Lorraine, and would totally wear shoulder pads and a perm to my wedding. Just so you know, neither of those fashion statements will be present if/when I marry.

The past few years, I’ve definitely stressed about the fact that I was still so far from all that I wanted to achieve, and yet so very close to thirty. I mean, I was at least hoping to have a stable career, and see the possibility of a future with someone. Neither of those things are currently even close to happening right now.

Last year I was constantly frustrated at the nothingness my life seemed to have become. Living with my parents, surviving on welfare, and certainly not making any waves in the dating pool. I was convinced I was doomed to life as a lonely spinster, with far too many cats.

You know what, though, thirty really isn’t that old. Sure, I’m not fresh-faced and full of quite as much youth as I was in my twenties. I may not be quite as agile or full of energy. And I’m certainly not as good at recovering from an all nighter or a big booze-up. But I’m hardly over the hill.

So, I reckon, while I’m not really one for celebrating birthdays, thirty is definitely worthy of a little hurrah. As one of my pals said the other night at dinner, having made it this far without a drug or alcohol addiction, no unexpected pregnancies, or criminal records deserves celebration. Add to that the fact that I’ve managed to surround myself with the support and love of family and friends who I know I can count on, and being thirty isn’t all too bad.

So hurrah for thirty. And, also, hurrah for Heidielka. While I’m celebrating thirty years, my blog is turning two. Just like me, Heidielka has had a life of ups and downs so far, with periods of change and growth. I hope, as it’s technically in the toddler stages, Heidielka should find feet this year, and really start to take a more permanent shape. I’m expecting some more growing and changing, into a place I am excited by and proud of, as well as inspired by.

Thank you to all of you out there who have happened upon this little space, and stuck around for a while, even through the more silent times. I hope this year I can deliver some worthy reading, interesting titbits, and a few moments of happy.

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My New Man

I’m wrecked tonight, so I’m going to keep this short. I just had to drop in and announce that I’m now the proudest Aunty of this little guy:

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He’s already a serious thinker

HC was born on Friday at 5:10pm, exactly one week and three days early. He is, quite honestly, the most adorable creature I have ever seen, and I love him to death.

In equally wonderful news, my favourite girls took me out for dinner last night. We went to one of the best (and most expensive) restaurants in town, and had an absolutely divine time eating, laughing, and living it up. I am feeling utterly spoiled, and unbelievably loved. So, not only do I have the sweetest nephew in the world, I also have the best friends a girl could ever ask for—for reals.

Endless Love: My Mum

My mother just informed me that my father’s snoring really bugs her some nights, but she has a grand solution:

“I just put my hand over his mouth, and block his nose and he stops!”

Ah, mum, I’m pretty sure that’s called suffocation! The thing is, my mother says things like that with such innocence, and excitement at her cleverness that you can’t help but love her for it. And laugh.

She is always making me laugh for absurd reasons. Like when we went to the tennis and, right before Venus Williams was to serve, everyone went quite and….she farted. Or how every time we go out for breakfast she gets all excited, because she can have pancakes and ice-cream for breakfast. Or the copious incorrect word choices she makes—advocado (avocado), squeeziness (queasiness), and prostrate cancer (prostate cancer).

That last one is always tinged with a hint of sadness, because many of her word issues are the result of surviving a near-fatal brain aneurysm 13 years ago. Post-operation the surgeons informed us her vocabulary may be reduced by as much as 40% due to the aneurysm’s location. But they hadn’t realised they were dealing with my mum—the woman who has survived death eight times, and is affectionately know as the family cat.

She’s tough. She’s funny. But most importantly she’s my best friend, and easily the best mum in the world. I love her to bits, and am forever thankful that on this day, seventy-one years ago, she came into this world and made it her own.

Happy Birthday, Daffers. Even though I’m sure I wasn’t always the best daughter (think high-school), I know I’ve definitely been privileged to have the very best mother. I hope you’re around for long enough to teach my kids a thing or two, and make them laugh a little too.

Of Biscuits and Birthdays

 

Okay, so I promised cake, and cake you shall have. Tada!

(Please forgive my extensively bad photography skills)

(Please forgive my extensively bad photography skills)

This masterpiece is the cake I baked last night/today, in honour of my dear friend Wabi. She turned twenty-nine today and, while this has been far from a great year for her so far, I hope today was at least one she can look back and smile about. That’s what the cake was about—giving her something to smile about.

I went to the supermarket with no idea what I was going to make. I knew I was going for cake, but I had no idea what sort, what flavour, or what size. Wandering the aisles I picked up the basics—eggs, chocolate, almond meal—and tried to figure out how to make my cake super special. And then I remembered that Wabi and I are both huge fans of the incredibly clever Steph, from Raspberri Cupcakes. Bam! Suddenly I knew exactly where this cake was going.

Before we get to the cake, let me tell you a bit about Raspberri Cupcakes, and the lady behind it. Steph is an Aussie food fiend who loves to bake, especially if it involves creating something unique. Her creations are amazing. From Milo Cheesecake with a chocolate crackle crust, to a giant Tim Tam cake, and her ultra-cool beetroot lollipops, you’re bound to find something extra special you just have to make. Check her out, I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Alright, back to the cake. As I said, my inspiration came directly from Steph’s reinterpretation of classic treats. I originally thought I might do a Monte Carlo but, after realising it would essentially be a sponge filled with cream and strawberries, I decided the fanciful Iced Vovo would be much more fun. I had meant to take photos during the process but…I left it until the last minute to put the darn thing together, and ran out of time.

BTW, it was a hit! Not only did it look like an Iced Vovo, it tasted amazing. People even went back for seconds. So I figure I better give you the recipe. I used two separate cakes for this: an Almond and Coconut cake from Wayfaring Chocolate, and a flourless chocolate number via Gluten Free Mommy—both moist, light, and fabulous on their own as well. The original Almond and Coconut cake called for raspberries dotted throughout but, knowing I was using them on the top as well, I decided to omit them from the cake.  Because Wabi and I are both trying to eat better, I also substituted the sugar in both cakes for Xylitol. Oh, and I baked the cakes in a low lamington/slice pan, about 27cm x 18cm.

To assemble, I left the coconut cake as it was, to give the cake a biscuit-look about it. The chocolate cake I cut into thirds longways, ending up with two long thin bars and a spare for when I stuffed up (which I did). I trimmed the edges so each bar was nice and neat, and then coated them in a basic cream cheese frosting, tinted a pretty pink. I plonked the bars on top of the coconut cake, just in from the edge so you could still see the bottom layer, and then doused them in a layer of moist shredded coconut. The last step was super easy. A dash of jam down the centre, between the two chocolate bars, and then as many raspberries as possible crammed on top of the jam. Voila! A giant sugar and gluten free Iced Vovo.

Happy Birthday Amber Wabi, hope you had a fantastic day.

Birthday Boy B.

Today is B’s Brithday. B is one of my bestest friends. We met in my fourth semester of uni, mere days after I’d decided I was going to knuckle down and study instead of making friends. The first night we met, B walked me across the bridge I travelled to get home, and then we sat talking for two hours.

We spent two years almost completely inseparable—grouping up for assignments, spending weekends lounging on the couch watching movies, and even working together. And laughing! Sooo much laughter. But it wasn’t all fun and games. B also talked me down from bad moods, helped me out when I needed advice, and offered sanctuary when I couldn’t face the tornado of grossness that was my housemate at the time. In return, I cooked him real food, listened to his boy troubles, and dragged myself out of bed at two am to rescue him from the clubs.

A few years ago B met the love of his life and was promptly dragged away from me, moving to rural New South Wales to be with his man. We keep in touch (less regularly than we shoud), and also see each other a couple times a year. But I miss him, and often find myself thinking of him when something funny happens that only he and I would laugh at.

I would normally adorn this post with a picture of the Birthday Boy, but B’s not such a fan of being splashed all over the internet. So, instead, here’s a song from one of B’s favourite artists, in honour of his birthday.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Heidielka Turns One.

Today I turned twenty-nine. Just another year, really, although also only one year away from thirty. But nothing special. Certainly nothing to write home about. For Heidielka on the other hand, it is a special day indeed—my blog’s very first birthday.

I started Heidielka on my birthday last year. Partially because that day I specifically felt like writing, and partially because it seemed like as good a day as any to go on a new adventure. Initially, this space didn’t feel much like anything. It was new, still slightly confusing to navigate, and I had no idea if I’d feel like bothering with updating it ever again. Now, Heidielka feels like home. It has become a space where I can vent about things that are bothering me, a stage to share bits and pieces of art and music I just have to tell everyone about, and a jumping off point to get my inspiration going when it’s running slow.

Heidielka is where I find my thoughts wandering when I can’t sleep at 3am. Or my reminder that I can’t simply sleep all day—I have a post to write. And it’s also one of very few things this past year, outside friends and family, that has kept me sane. Watching my stats slowly climb, discovering interesting new blogs from their “likes” on my posts, and being complimented in comments has registered a strange level of importance in my daily life.

From planning to blog at least once a week, I’ve started blogging every day (almost). Some days I grudgingly trudge through a post, but most I sit down to write with excitement and joy, grateful to have a space where I can share whatever happens to be on my mind that day.

I’m still not happy with my lay-out—something I plan to fix in the near future—but Heidielka certainly has become like a favourite blanket. I love planning my posts, researching topics, and tapping away at each one. I even like looking back on the (often badly written) past posts, and remembering what’s happened over the year.

I have to say thank you to my loyal readers, those I know and those I don’t. I would still blog even if I knew nobody ever ready any of it, but it’s nice to have encouragement along the way. I don’t know yet what this next year holds for either myself or Heidielka, but you can be assured that this time next year there will be a thirtieth birthday for me, and a very important second birthday for Heidielka.

Fashion Friday: Kindness

Okay, so maybe my topic choice tonight seems like a bit of a stretch. But, seriously, when have you ever thought someone who was kind to you was unfashionable for their actions. Personally, I think kindness is the coolest look ever.

See this:

Fashion Friday - Birthday Kindess

This is my birthday haul. Yes, haul. All that stuff is from just three brilliant, fantastic, Ah-mazing ladies, who just happen to be three of my bestest friends in the whole world (and not just because that give me cool shiz). Not only have I been showered with gifts tonight, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by kindness.

Tonight was to be a movie night/dinner at Helva’s place—just a casual get-together, not unlike many we have had in the past. I kinda knew something was up, however, when the planning took a decidedly “hands-off, Heidi!” turn. And by “up”, I mean geared towards a semi-surprise party for me. My suspicions were confirmed on arrival at Helva’s, mainly from the copious amounts of wrapped items sitting in wait. That said, every gift was a pleasant surprise. Not going to lie, dying to finish this post so I can pore through my books before sleep.

But wait…there’s more! (Nineties home shopping, anyone?). There had been some mention of frocking up for this movie night which, quite frankly, I was incredibly un-keen for this afternoon—I was, in fact, an inch away from donning trackies and a tee. Luckily, I chose some semblance of a dress-leggings combo, because it turned out that their little surprise included a lovely dinner at one of Toowoomba’s finest restaurants.

I had a bit of a whinge about not looking the part, and not being prepared to go out for dinner, etc. But within five minutes of sitting down I’d forgotten all about the lack of make-up and unbrushed hair. Dinner was delicious. If you’re ever in Toowoomba, head to Veraison—it’s not cheap, but each bite is worth a week’s salary. The company was spectacular, although we probably need to work on our inside voices and topic choices. Er, rhyme not intended. And the sentiment behind it was utterly wonderful.

As I type this last bit I’m tearing up, but for very different reasons than those, that left me foetal on my bed earlier today. The past few weeks (months, years) have really shaken me. I’ve spent many days wondering how to dig myself out of this ever-widening hole, and many more days simply deciding it’s maybe just not worth the effort. Tonight three ladies proved me wrong, because just getting to spend time with them makes it worth all the effort.

Helva, Wabi, and Rendez, thank you. I know I had a moan over the unexpectedness of it all, but I truly appreciated tonight. Thank you for being such wonderful, caring, beautiful women. Kindness looks good on you.