Chapter 30: The Last Dance

We made it, guys!

We’re at Chapter 30, and only four months late.

What an absolute metaphor for my psyche: a little over-enthusiastic and optimistic, but eventually – full of stubbornness and pride – she gets the job done.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

For my final post (in this series, at least) I thought I’d pay homage to this whole blogging journey.

I thought I’d talk about how it forced me out of my comfort zone and headlong towards my dreams, and inspired me to (finally!) deal with things like my anxiety – which to be honest, has been completely life-altering.

About the profound difference this blog has made on my life, and how truly thankful I am for everyone who’s taken the time to read these posts.

And also, if anyone could guess what my favourite post has been?

It’s one of the least read on this site.

… Chapter 4: Paintball!

If that was your pick, you’re clearly a genius and we should be best friends.

The final countdown

Well, that how I planned on ending this series, anyway.

And then I thought …

Thirty Before Thirty deserve a finale.

The best kind of finale.


So …

Chapter 30: The Last Dance

For my final Thirty Before Thirty challenge, I threw it right back to the original Thursday –  Chapter 1: Fortnite – and I learnt Orange Justice, Hype and a half-assed version of Dance Therapy (in my humble opinion, the greatest of all Fornite dances).

I went full 14-year-old boy, and it was awesome.

But then I did something more magnificent.

For my sister-in-law’s Ariana Grande themed bachelorette party, the bridal party ladies made a full-blown music video to Thank u, next when we got back to our hotel, because clearly we’re nuts extra as hell.

You’re welcome.

Or, I’m sorry.

Kind of both.

Until we meet again (and Lord knows, we probably will. You know how your girl loves to write the lols) – thank u, next.

Kate x


Chapter 29: Don’t be dumb

I remember ugly crying at my final high school assembly.

Which was a super chill, cool move for 17-year-old me.

But the worst part wasn’t the puffy-faced photos or “Ermahgerd, I didn’t bring a tissue!” snot disaster, it was that people assumed I was crying because school was finishing.


Although, perhaps not as embarrassing as the real reason … which is that I was spiralling into a nerdy abyss of despair upset I didn’t get Dux.

Two of my very clever dude pals, Chris and Prashant, tied to receive it and I came in a very bitter third.

Like a real Prince George (He’s third in line for the throne. You should know this stuff, guys).

I did actually get the English Cup and Creative Writing Award (#humblebrag), so really shouldn’t have complained with my leaking eyeballs quite so much, but c’est la vie, that is the life of a maniacal hormonal nerd.

Fun fact: Prashant bet me in academic awards so regularly that one of my mum’s good friends only knew him as “Effing Prashant”. She knows how to flick that pageant mum switch.

“What has this got to do with anything?”

Solid question.

It’s mainly just funny. But also, I feel like it illustrates the sincerity of my Leslie Knope Energy.

Which is an important part of this post’s story, because it’s all about lifelong learning and bettering yourself.

Which I think we can all agree is a lame title, and that’s why I went with: Don’t be dumb.

As a side note, I was actually very tempted by Nobody likes a dumb-ass. It’s my second-to-last blog post in this series you guys, and I’m getting loose.

What I’ve been learning lately

So you know how I’ve been writing a screenplay (see: Chapter 28: Writing a screenplay), well, fun fact, I don’t know how to write a screenplay.

Cue: Montage

So I’ve been reading these books from the local library …

My fave.

Listening to this podcast …

Reading through screenplays of movies I love and know like the back of my hand (like Mean Girls) to learn their form.

And researching what further education options there are for screenwriting in Wellington (where I live in New Zealand), or online.

I think it’s safe to say, I’m a real Harry Hard-out.

“But what’s this got to do with me?”

Solid question.

And if I may ask you a question in response, dear reader, what are you learning about right now?

What are investing time and mental energy into?

And if your answer is:

Don’t feel bad! Feel like a badass, because you’ve just had a wild opportunity come knocking.

This is your chance to do something different, to chase your dreams, and to invest in yourself.

As some smug, smart person once said:

“Dreams don’t work unless you do” – John C. Maxwell

“Where to from here?”

The first step is to work out what you actually care about.

Some questions to ask yourself that might help:

    What job would I do for fun? Even if no one ever paid me to do it.
    What’s a problem in the world that interests or enrages me, and that I’d like to help fix?
    What was a subject I always loved at school, but haven’t done since I sobbed at that last assembly …?
    Who do I look up to? What is it about them that I would like to be able to do too?

And then what I would do, is exactly what I did with screenwriting:

  • Go to the library
  • Research different resources online (YouTube tutorials, blogs, online courses, higher education options)
  • Listen to podcasts
  • And talk to someone who’s doing the thing you want to be able to do. That’s always my favourite. I love learning from people.

“Then what”

Start! And know that you’ll probably feel confused, overwhelmed, and generally like an idiot when you first try something new.

We all do.

But then you learn, and you grow, and the new thing isn’t so new and scary anymore, and actually, you’re a little bit badass at it.

“Why bother?”

Apart from the obvious benefits of increasing in personal fulfilment, achievement, purpose, self-belief and self-esteem ... sounds terrible, right …?

Learning is incredibly good for your brain.

It’s basically anti-aging cream for your mind, and helps to grow and improve your memory and mental sharpness as you age.

Avoiding the end of The Notebook

On a slightly more serious note, as someone with Alzheimer’s Disease in my family, I’m pretty personally invested in doing all I can to keep my brain and mind healthy and well.

If this is something you’re interested in, I recommend having a read of this article about Alzheimer’s prevention.

The pillars of brain health are actually quite surprising. Let’s gooo, Mediterranean Diet! *Swells with Italian pride, olive oil in hand*

What would you love to learn more about? You should totally do it. I believe in you.

Kate x

Chapter 28: Writing a screenplay

Have I talked to you about how I have more self-confidence than sense sometimes, or is that just implied?

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It probably isn’t a cool, humble thing to admit – but for whatever reason (strong self-awareness, Narcissistic Personality Disorder?), I really back myself to achieve my goals – especially when they play to my strengths.

And especially when they don’t include math.

Lord Jesus, am I terrible at math … 

So when I was listening to the Rachel Hollis podcast the other day and she mentioned writing a screenplay, something in my head went:


Girl, YES.

It was like the stars-aligned and then exploded into shooting rays of colour and light and “Oh, but, OF COURSE”!

I love movies. I love writing dialogue. I hate writing scene-setting prose, and the length of a novel makes me clench my cheeks in intimidation.

I found my dang format!

But then I thought …

How the hell do you write a screenplay?

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Do you feel like this is going to be a GIF-heavy post? I feel like it’s going to be a GIF-heavy post.

Which is always the bloody way, isn’t it.

You get pumped about trying something new and exciting, and then you realise you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, which is in fact why it’s both “new” and “exciting”.


So, I did what any self-respecting nerd would do, and I went to the library, which is where I learnt two distinct things:

  1. I don’t know crap about searching online library catalogues. A delightful woman named Dawn* saw the idiocy in my eyes, and thankfully came to help.
  2. My son is a local legend. I’d heard from my husband that our one-and-a-half-year-old was a hit with the ladies at the library, but seeing it in the flesh was truly something to behold. I could barely move for dreamy-eyed women. It was like a Justin Bieber concert.


Thanks to “Dawn”, I managed to track down some literature to help me on my authoring quest, and left the library feeling like Pattie Mallette, with Funny On Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career In Comedy tucked under my arm.

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Pattie Mallette is Justin Bieber’s mum. It was a niche joke.

What am I planning to write?

Honestly, I’m not totally sure. But the general vibe I’m aiming for is a jumble of Clueless, Bridesmaids, anything starring Noah Centineo, and a dash of Flight of the Conchords.

And I’d like to emphasise the words “aiming for”, because my first draft will most certainly suck baubles.

But that’s pretty much how life works when you try anything new.

If you’ve never done it before, you’re going to be bad at it … until you’re not.

The trick is not giving up in the …

Source: @hayleydrewthis on Instagram

Setting goals and taking names

Last week was Matariki, the Māori New Year. It’s a time of reflection, hope, kindness and kai (read: noms) – and a great opportunity to give yourself another January.

It always feels harder in winter to really sink your teeth into a goal. It’s dark (SO. DARK), cold and generally grim, and the lure of Netflix and procrastination is so much stronger than in summer.

But, that’s also exactly why it’s the perfect time to start a new goal.

  • A). Because there’s literally nothing else to do.
  • And B). Because it’s a surefire way to bring some light and excitement to an otherwise dreary time of year.

Not convinced?

If you’re feeling a bit lacklustre and uninspired, I recommend listening to this episode of the Deliciously Ella Podcast – How to Break a Habit & Make Lasting Changes, with Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi.

I loved her episode so much, I ordered Shahroo’s book, The Kindness Method and started stalking her Instagram on the regular.

Because that’s all a goal really is – making a new habit, and sticking to it.

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And if you still need some inspirations, just Google “Leslie Knope memes” until you start channeling that Big Knope Energy.

What would you love to have a go at this winter? Tell me in the comments, and give yourself a lil boost of accountability. 

Kate x

Chapter 27: Losing weight like a dude

I put on nearly 30kgs when I was pregnant, which I told you all about it in Chapter 7: Postpartum Body, because I’m an unstoppable oversharer.

I talked to you about my slow and steady approach to getting back to my normal Kate weight, the importance of being kind to yourself, and that McDonald’s breakfasts truly are crack for pregnant women.

But as I sit here and type this, 18-months postpartum, the time has come to go full Dwyane the Rock Johnson on the business.

It’s time to be “the hardest worker in the room“.

And it’s time to lose those last bloody kilos.

the rock.gif

Losing weight, and taking names

Although I’m back to my pre-baby fitness level (*cough* Chapter 20: Half-Marathon), my weight has well and truly plateaued.

I’m also conscious that I get pregnant in a big way (*cough 30 kgs*), and I want to avoid compounding baby-weight (when the time comes) if I can help it.

And I’ve had “those last 7kgs” to lose for about a year.

BUT. And this is a big butt. Before now, I was in no state to be putting dedicated effort into weight loss. My 2018 looked like:

Breastfeeding. Lack of sleep. Adjusting to having a tiny person dependent on me. Going back to work. Lack of sleep. Insane hormones. Lack of sleep. Lack of sleep … 

The motivation and mental stability needed to try and lose weight well (read: with a healthy mindset, and a healthy approach to nutrition) would have tipped me over the edge.

However, 18-months later …


Get, get your head in the game

When I’ve tried to lose weight in the past, it was usually motivated by something negative (e.g. I don’t like the way I look, or I’ve been eating “bad” and need to be “good” again).

But not this time.

Weirdly, I’m actually in a very good head space about it all … a tendency, it would appear, that is generally more prevalent in the dudes amongst us.

The Gender Pay Thigh Gap


‘Men and women experience weight loss differently.’ – Science. 

It’s true. But I’d hazard a guess you already knew that.

Very generally speaking*, here’s how it plays out:

Chicks are more likely to:

  • Try to lose weight/think they need to
  • Be health conscience and know about nutrition
  • Have unrealistic weight-loss goals
  • Eat as a response to a negative situation, and then feel guilty (read: “eating your feelings”).

Dudes are more likely to:

  • Not try to lose weight, or think that they need to
  • Introduce exercise to help manage weight
  • Overeat in positive situations (e.g. while watching the rugby or playing poker with pals)
  • Lose weight and keep it off – if they decide to try (especially if it’s in response to a health scare).

(Source: Weight Watchers)

And then there’s this:

“In my experience, I’ve noticed that many men just see the numbers on the scale creeping upward and make a decision to correct it. Plain and simple, they decide to increase their activity and decrease their food intake.

“But I’ve seen some women beat themselves up over a few extra pounds, even though this does little more than destroy their self-worth. Berating yourself will not help motivate you to control your weight and improve your health. So the next time those negative thoughts creep into your head, recognize them for what they are and replace them with positive ones.” – Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

I don’t know about you ladies, but this speaks to my dang soul.

[*Obviously everyone has their own experiences, and the above won’t be true for everyone. I actually suspect men are leaning more towards our unhealthy ways when it comes to weight loss and self-image, but traditionally speaking, this is what the evidence tells us these are the main gender differences.]

Happy wife mind, happy life

Before I launch into what I’ve been doing (which I only share because, A) I’m nosy and I like to read about other people’s health and fitness regimes, and B) To keep myself accountable), if you do struggle with having a healthy mindset around food and self-image, can I please suggest that you have a look at some these resources before you go any further:

And yes, if you’re wondering, I really do bloody love British people.

My approach to health and fitness

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in exercise or nutrition. This is just what I’ve been doing recently, and it’s been working pretty well for me so far. Everyone’s different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting in shape.

Always do your research or see a professional before starting anything, and don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Crash diets are damaging and unsustainable. 



  • I’ve been following Chris Hemsworth’s Centr app for a few months now, and I really rate it.
    • My fave workouts are: MMA with Jorge (because I’m low-key savage), yoga with Tahl, and functional HIIT with Da Rulk (his workouts are so hard, I can’t even. The dude literally trains Navy SEALS).
    • I’m also very excited for Monday when the new Gunnar X Centr four-week programme for women is dropping on the app. I’ve been reading Khloe Kardashian’s book, Strong Looks Better Naked, and Gunnar Peterson is her trainer. I. Am. Pumped!


  • I also love walking. I have a 15-minute walk to work to and from the train station each day, and on Friday-Sunday when I’m at home with my boys I like dragging them around the block with me. If you don’t really like exercise, give walking a go. It really is one of the best things you can do for your body. 
  • Note: I haven’t run since I did my half-marathon in February. I really got the urge out of my system! But I’m sure I’ll pick it up again at some stage.



  • I started by cutting down how much sugar I was having a few weeks ago, and having a cup of tea after dinner instead of snacking in the evening.
  • Last week I got my first Fresh Start with Nadia My Food Bag, which I plan on doing fortnightly.
    • I like Nadia’s sensible, whole food approach. She focuses on nutrition, not deprivation, and is really into low-GI foods (slow burning energy).
    • The meals are packed full of veges, and are under 450 calories a serving.
    • Most meals do me for both dinner and lunch the next day, and they’re super scrummy.
    • I’ve also cut down my snacks. I now just have breakfast (normally black coffee, green smoothie and 1-2 slices of toast or porridge), and my Nadia meals for lunch and dins, and either a flat white or a couple of carrots at my desk during the day – and the odd cheese scone for sanity.
  • One of the things Nadia recommends is doing the programme alongside the My Fitness Pal app, which is essentially a digital food diary.
    • I’ve used My Fitness Pal before and I find it helps keep me accountable (read: having to log that you ate eight cookies in one sitting can really make you second-guess you life choices. Now I only do that sometimes … #becausebalance).
    • However if you have any issues around food, please steer clear of it. Calorie-tracking can be really triggering for some people.
  • It can also feel quite sad and unsocial to be particular with your eating around others, so I’ve decided that once a week, if there’s a fun event happening involving food, I’m just going to go for it. Life is for living, after all.

I hope that’s been helpful or at the very least mildly interesting, but more than anything I hope you leave knowing that you are awesome just as you are right now.

Whether you’re at your “goal weight” or not, you rock. I have a goal in mind around my weight, but I still think I look great, and it’s my hope that you love and accept yourself too – at every size.

Kate x

Chapter 26: Breaking up with anxiety

I like to think of anxiety as a bad boyfriend: it lies to you, makes you freak out, and is generally a real dick head.

In the past, I’ve had some fairly crap patches where I’ve had anxiety attacks (shaking, sore stomach, chaotic mind, that kind of fun jazz), and stages where I’ve had mild sense of unease – like there’s something I should be worried about, but I can’t quite remember what it is …

This mental health joy ride seems to be triggered in part by my hormones, with the worst of it happening when I went off the birth control pill.

Thankfully, these days it’s just relegated to feeling a bit “off” the week before Aunt Flow comes knocking.

But it’s still unpleasant, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to to dump anxiety like the bad, lying boyfriend he is.

Thank u, next

I think it’s worth noting that seeing a doctor or counsellor is a good idea if you’re experiencing anxiety.

I didn’t. But that’s because I was in complete denial and terrified of there being “something wrong with me”.

But the thing is, one in four people will experience a period of mental health difficultly in their lifetime.

That’s a quarter of the population.

It is insanely common, it is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is something we should talk about more.

Dr Quinn Medicine Woman

Because my anxiety is both reasonably low-level and strongly linked to my hormones, I decided to see Maree, a Medical Herbalist, for a gentle, natural remedy to help balance my hormones and calm my mind.

She stocked me up with:

    A herbal tincture of St John’s Wort, lemon balm and a myriad of other clever flora and fauna
    A super-powered women’s multivitamin
    And a probiotic.

Herbal remedies tend to take a little longer to really build up in your system, but I can honesty say, my symptoms have already significantly reduced since I’ve been taking the above concoction.

And. Thank. GOD.

Other things that have helped

  • Sharing with loves ones. I am so thankful for my husband, beautiful mum, and friends for going through this with me. Life is meant to be lived together, and a problem shared really is a problem halved.
  • Cognitive techniques. I’ve been listening to Psychologist Dr Caroline Leaf’s podcast, and she has great practical tips on how to manage and calm your mind.
    Regular exercise. One word: endorphins. Several others: feeling like a bad ass, using up excess energy (that can be easily confused with nervous energy), better sleep, improved self-esteem … shall I continue?
    Reducing sugar and fast food. Hands up if you experience a ‘crash’ after mainlining sweet treats or a big greasy burger? They’re Tasty – but problematic, because you’re throwing yourself onto a food-fuelled emotional rollercoaster, while also trying to get off your anxiety-powered rollercoaster. It’s all too much unnecessary turbulence, babe.
    Meditation. I’m a Christian, so I like the SoulTime app, and meditating on scriptures/rolling them over in your mind (things like, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”). But if you’re not that way inclined, HeadSpace and Calm are very good apps as well.
    B r e a t h e. Being deliberate with taking big deep, calming breaths during the day helps lower cortisol levels and tricks your body into thinking you’re safe, and moves you from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and digest’.
    Mantras. When I’m feeling jittery and on edge, I’ve found repeating mantras like “I am calm”, “I am joyful”, “I am powerful” really helpful. A) Because your brain is smart/dumb and will believe what you tell it. And B) Filling your head with these statements leaves less room for toxic, unhelpful thoughts.
    Being in nature. I love nature and find it really calming in general, but the oxygen that comes from trees is also really helpful when you’re feeling anxious and aren’t getting in enough air #science.

Although I have a psychology degree (I really was in denial – I know the dang DSM for anxiety!), I’m obviously not an expert on mental health.

These are just techniques that worked for me.

To find what works for you, get in touch with your doctor or a counsellor.

If you’re in New Zealand, you can free call or text 1737 anytime to anonymously speak with a professional counsellor.

Speak up, girlfriend (or boyfriend). You don’t need to go through this alone, or forever!

Why am I sharing all this?

To be honest, I didn’t really want to.

I didn’t want people to know “my stuff”, or to think that I’m weak.

But then I remembered that when I was at my most anxious, the most wonderful thing in the world was finding out that it wasn’t just me – that other people had struggled with, and overcome, similar stuff.

It made me feel hopeful and less alone, and it’s my hope that this post can do that for someone else.

Because the truth is, you’re not alone. You’re not broken. You’re having a crap time, and you’re in a bad relationship, but life will get better.

Mental health issues aren’t caused by you being weak.

Generally speaking, they’re caused by a genetic predisposition coming into contact with an environmental stimulus.

Ie. You need both a family history/genetic predisposition, and something to happen in life that triggers this issue within you.

Having one or the other does not mean you will develop mental illness – and having a mental illness does not define you.

It’s just a thing that happens sometimes, and it’s something you can fight to overcome.

Even with chronic conditions, there are generally always steps that can be taken to make things comparatively better than they are currently.

Be brave.

You can and you will get through this.


Kate x

Chapter 25: Banter

I don’t like conflict.

People start arguing, and I’m like:

Which is unfortunate, because I’ve just joined an all-dude fantasy football league, and they have precisely three core values:

  1. Banter
  2. Commitment
  3. Contribution

In that BCC-email-acronym order.

Men are from Mars, and women are confused by them

The thing is … I don’t do banter.

Me and my gal pals never just hang out and roast each other.

We’re into:

  1. Deep and meaningfuls
  2. Quality time
  3. Bridesmaids GIFs.

*Struggles to find anything funny about the acronym DQB … Googles … apparently it’s a nerdy game to do with dragons. What a triumph.*

To help upskill myself on what the sweet hell banter is, I did a very simple, obvious thing.

I asked.

“What is banter?”

Any my homeboys actually had some really good responses.

Well, minus the couple who thought the question was a weird power play of feminine wiles, so I clearly already have them beat and abstained from answering.

Their answers ranged from …

The Tweetable:

“I would say banter is a discussion with the intent to entertain at the expense of others.” – Hiro, League Commissioner

“When you’re bantering you can sort of take on a character and push that character to the extreme … The more absurd the thing is that you say, the more obvious it’s banter.” – Liam, Press Sec

“Banter is a way to make your match up for the week mean more.” – Taka, FLOTUS

To the quietly savage:

“I like banter cause I can be mean to people and they think I’m joking.” – Roy, Chief of Staff Salt

“I find it it fun cause I like to have a laugh. Also have to admit I love to see people shot down due to quality banter.” – Ropata, Chief Executive

And even some official “#bantz rules of engagement” from Karan, Head of Legal:

  1. Build rapport with your league mates (the better you know them, the greater the understanding of their limit and acceptance of said banter)
  2. Research the target of the banter thoroughly (have they claimed something in the past that lends credence to the banter)
  3. Make it funny and/or insightful
  4. Minimal self-depreciation/maximum ego
  5. Adopt a persona and build on it
  6. Play mind-games to break them down, but keep it above board
  7. Foster a rivalry
  8. Have fun.”

With all of this in mind, dear reader, I have a question for you …

Have you ever watched WWE?

Rivalries. Personas. Fake feuds. Entertainment.

Banter is basically that big wrestling energy.

Becoming ‘The Man’

I’m going to be honest with you.

For one emotionally-charged moment, as those first banter bombs fired at me from across the group chat, I did think of throwing the “Ross Finger” and bouncing.

But I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t be that weak chick who left as soon as she was let into the big boys’ room just because it was difficult.

So I picked myself up, put on some It’s Britney, b*tch, and I thought:

What would Ruth Bader Ginsberg do?

Spurred on by my new spirit animal, the Notorious RBG, I started taking baby steps towards banter bad assery and defeating my fear of confrontation.

1. Remember who you are, Simba

Generally speaking, I dislike conflict for two reasons:

  1. I have people-pleaser tendencies, and I like to be liked
  2. I like people, and I don’t want to compromise relationships for the sake of getting to be “right”.

Which sounds very nicey-nice, but is actually pretty problematic, as in healthy relationships you should definitely be able to have disagreements without fundamentally rocking the relationship boat with how you view and value each other.

But that’s a therapy session for another time.

To help bust me out of this Swiss shell of neutrality, I had to have a “Come to, Jesus Mufasa” moment and remembered:

I’m a third speaker, damnit. 

Uh what, Kate? 

Oh yeah, I forgot – not everyone’s as much of a nerd as me. Let me explain.

I was in my high school debate team. 

Debate works by having two teams of three argue ‘for’ or ‘against’ a topic.

The earlier you speak, the more pre-prepared your speech is, and the less rebuttal (read: logically and articulately explaining why the other team’s argument is trash) you do.

I was third speaker, so 75% of my speech was rebuttal.

For someone who doesn’t like arguments, I’m actually very good at arguing.

And I do improv … so on the fly funny is kind of my jam.

And banter kind of is arguing + improv …

Oh my gosh … I’m about to kick some candy ass.

I also come alive for any kind of boxing or fighting sport. Which is neither here nor there, but I think probably embodies why this is my all time favourite quote:

2. Starting small

It sounds silly, but those first little banter battles on the Facebook Group chat would have me STRESS SWEATING.

Confrontation (even when it’s make-believe) makes me uncomfortable.

But the more I did it, and the more I overcame the temptation to have a little freak out, the easier – and funner – it became.

3. The Shark

Today’s #bantz was about comparing league members to different animals, and I was given the Tiger Shark along with this explanation and link:

Tim and I had some jibes at each other last week.

I think I might of done quite well.

I’m now so into banter, I accidentally burned someone at work yesterday. I need to reign it in.

What a fun, new problem to have.

That RBG spirit

Confrontation is my thing.

What’s yours? 

What makes you nervous, and shrink away.

Because I think you’re probably stronger than you think you are.

You tell that thing, ‘Not today, Satan’, and you walk towards it – not away.

You got this, girlfriend. Go get that RBG spirit, and go get your victory.

Kate x

Chapter 24: Colourful Eye Makeup

I had a blog in 2011.

I know. What an early adopter.

It was called A Little Bit of Loveliness, and I have long since expunged its existence from the internet.

I can’t remember what I used to write about, but thanks to an old Facebook album (that I should definitely have deleted by now), I can tell you I very much used to like posting Harvey Dent style two-face makeovers.

Exhibit A:

Aw baby Kate with her long hair and tiny brows.
Not so tiny brows …

Eight years later and I’ve gone full circle, and am back writing a blog and painting my face and putting it on the internet.

Exhibit B: Yesterday’s gram

Still so damn extra …

But anyway, onto the topic of today’s post:

Colourful Eye Makeup

I never do colourful eyeshadow.

I am a vanilla, Naked palette wielding, basic white chick when it comes to my eyeshadow routine.

I don’t mind a lil somethin’ somethin’ bright on my cheeks or lips, but when it comes to my eyes I do precisely three things:

  1. Browns (the full spectrum from cream to dark brown)
  2. Golds
  3. Coppers.

And that it is it.

Exhibit C: Archetypal Kate makeup

Turn around, bright eyes

In the spirit of taking 30 by the proverbial balls horns and busting out of my comfort zone, I went sky-diving, hiked the Great Wall, learnt French tried bright eyeshadow today – and I actually bloody loved it.

Like any self-respecting Millennial, my first port of call was to scour Pinterest for #inspo.

Exhibit D: #Inspo

I have a super pigmented matte pink velvety lipstick from Tarte Cosmetics that I figured would do the trick, so I just used that as a base and blended with Retro (a matte salmony colour in Naked Reloaded) to get the Jackson Pollock face you see before you.


Fuelled on by my rule-breaking success, I then smouldered up the look with two of my most-hated makeup techniques (on me):

  1. A Smokey Eye
  2. Eyeliner in the waterline (I think it makes me look hella hoochi)

Fun fact: putting bright turquoise eyeshadow onto pink lipstick eyes makes purple!

And again, I loved it!

What. Is. Happening?!

Same blush, different day

Hands up if you do the same makeup look pretty much every day?


It’s easy to go full auto-pilot with your eyeliner and just do what you always do, because:

A. You know you like it

And B. Because repetition is the key to growth.

Meaning: you get better at something the more you do it – like running, making the perfect poached egg, or contouring the sweet heaven’s out of your jawline.

If you do the same makeup look every day, basic maths says you will get better at it, and you will get quicker at it.

Which makes sense.

But – it can mean you get stagnant and complacent with your makeup.

Which is fine. Until it isn’t. Which is generally when:

  1. You’ve been doing the same makeup look for a decade, and it’s no longer serving you. Ten years ago I didn’t touch my brows, and ten years before that I was putting Vaseline on my eyelashes like mascara/chic conjunctivitis.
  2. You don’t actually feel awesome anymore. Instead of using makeup as a way to accentuate your natural beauty and to help you feel confident and like a Grade A hottie, you’re just doing it out of routine. Girl, please. You are worth more than that!

Kate, help! I’m in a makeup rut!

Thats ok. It’s just makeup!

It’s a very easy fix, and has the wonderful transformative benefits of making you feel like a total fox.




So, what’s the fix?

As with anything, it depends on the person – but here’s what I’d do:

Hit up a makeup counter at the mall. Find a nice person who’s makeup you like, and ask them what they’d recommend for you. Then get them to try products on you, watch how they apply it, and ask questions.

YouTube it. YouTube is basically makeup tutorials and cat videos. Just search: makeup tutorial for #your demographics#. That’s how I learned how to paint my face.

Ask a friend who’s brows are always on fleek. They’ve probably been waiting for this moment for years!

And depending on whether you feel like a big change, or just adding a couple new techniques/tricks up your sleeve (like me filling in my brows), just do what feels right for you. It’s your face!

Have fun with it, and know that you will probably suck at applying your look for a little bit.

It’s the same for everyone, at everything. We’re all beginners, until we’re not.

You got this, babes.

Also, it kinda goes without saying, but if you don’t like or wear makeup, that’s totally cool too.

Do what makes you feel beautiful and confident, and don’t judge another woman for doing the same. Easy!

And also, #peopleskills.

Have a wonderful day, you glorious things!

Kate x

Chapter 23: Brainy Talk

I have an attention span shorter than that tiny tyrant, my son Ezekiel Napoleon.

I get bored easily, and just as easily excited by shiny new ideas and hair clips.

Which basically makes me a toddler.

If a toddler was an enthusiastic go-getter, and also a little bit of a flake.

Loves the start of a new venture; hates the daily grind of making it happen.

This personality quirk is particularly unhelpful for long-term success, because as any cheese or wine advertiser will tell you, good things take time.

Long-term success requires long-term commitment and hustle, which if you ask me, is a giant pain in the ass.

But – and I mean butt – this blog has helped me turnaround that tendency.

I’ve had to stick at things: regular writing, weekly podcasts, Instagram content, I’ve completed two terms of improv, and I ran a bloody half-marathon.

Through thick and thin, long after the excitement and novelty wore off, I stuck with it. And heck, you can too.

“Dreams won’t work unless you do,” – John C. Maxwell

Psych 121

Have I mentioned that I have a Psychology degree?

I actually totally do, so let’s put it to good use for a hot second.

The human brain is very clever, but it can also be a real jack ass.

I’m talking about neural pathways.

These are the well worn tracks in our mind that have been created through repeated behaviours. They’re the bunches of axons, called tracts,  that have joined up through repeated use – like a well-trodden path through the bush.

These pathways create efficient shortcuts in our mind so we can do things easily and without thinking – like driving a car, or applying contour.

Which is helpful, but also incredibly unhelpful, when that habit or behaviour isn’t a fun or healthy addition to our lives.

What has this got to do with anything?

Homie, it has everything to do with everything, because it means you not screwed.

It means there’s a reason why some behaviour or ways of thinking feels like it comes naturally to you, but it also means you can create a new reality and a new you.

You just need to create a new pathway.

But, howww?


It takes around 66 days to create a new habit.

That’s 66 days of consistently, mindfully choosing a different path.

Which tbh, seems like a long time. But the time will pass anyway, so you may as well be moving in the right direction.

I’m still confused Kate, give me an example

I always wanted to do a half-marathon.

But I’d never trained outside before, and I’d never run more than 10km in my life.

From past experience, my subconscious knew I would give up, because that’s what I’ve done before.

My battle was to not give up, and to convince my brain I wasn’t going to by consistently hacking at that scrubby bush to create a new path.

How did I do that?

Tiny victories.

  • Doing a 15min jog outside
  • Doing a 5km ParkRun
  • Cracking 10km (that was such a good day!)

These were all milestones that continued to prove to my brain that I could do this thing it thought I couldn’t.

And the rest, as they say, is history … See: “Chapter 20: Half-Marathon

Learn more about brainy stuff

Want to know more about neural pathways and changing habits?

I recommend checking out this article. I used it as a reference, and it definitely explains neuroscience better than me!

What habits would be at the top of your to-change list? Or what positive, new habits are you going to try and form? Go on, give it a go – I dare you!

Kate x

Disclaimer: I do have a Psychology degree, but I’m not actually an expert in this field. This is just the Basic White Chick explanation of neutral pathways and habit changing/forming. I recommend you do your own research if you really want to knuckle down and make some changes, or to talk to a professional if you have significant mental health concerns you want to tackle. Much love. 

Chapter 22: Massage

In my experience, self-care is very strongly correlated with not losing your damn mind.

Especially as a mum.

But also just as a human person.

Because honestly, the alternative might be Britney 2007.

But like, right?!


There’s something about the term “self-care” that makes me think of white towel robes, single-use slippers, and a good deep tissue massage.

… Man, I love a massage …

Although, do I?!

Because recent memory would indicate that I do not.

Cue: Kate’s Top 3 Weird Massage Stories

*Disclaimer: Spa names have been (lightly) changed because I don’t want them to get mad at me.

1. Summer* – I was recently given a voucher for this lovely jazzy little place in Wellington. I decided on a back massage as I have Quasimodo posture and a small child who uses my hips as a chair.

Cue: a lovely bit of deep tissue to soften and mould my muscles back into their natural order.

Except, she started off very strong.

Like, Terminator strong.

And I didn’t say anything.

I thought: Maybe my shoulders are so bad, being panel-beaten by a small South East Asian woman is the only option?

And also: Maybe this is how I’m going to die?

“How’s the pressure?” she asked, like every masseuse ever

And instead of answering honestly, and saying I felt like I was being slowly pummeled to death, I said:


[Narrator: She was not fine.]

I had bruises for two weeks.

Life lesson: Speak up

2. Some Woman’s House: A little while ago, I went for a facial and massage with a beauty therapist a colleague of mine recommended.

Except the appointment was at the therapist’s home salon.

Which was fine.

Until she was sitting behind me, massaging my shoulders and decolletage, and I was like … this might be how I die.

Life lesson: You don’t have to do things that make you feel uncomfortable

3. Cheers – Quite a while ago, my gorgeous husband gave me a very large voucher for an award-winning day spa in Lower Hutt.

It’s not often one gets to have a Real Housewives-level beauty treatment, so I was excited to try something different and e x p e n s i v e.

Casting aside basic white chick options like a mani-pedi or blow-out, I decided to go for a hydrotherapy treatment involving scrubbing, body masks, and water-jet massage.

How daring! How chic!

It all started very well. I was ushered upstairs into a lovely, dimly lit room and given a plush white robe to get changed into.

But when I emerged, things started to take a turn.

For one, my beauty therapist – whom I was about to get basically naked in front of – was a girl I half-knew from High School.

Not ideal.

She ushered me into a dark, tiled, morgue-like room, and I lay down in all my paper-g-string-ed glory.

And then I heard groans coming from next door.

Presumably it was a man getting very vocal about his massage, but I did very seriously wonder for a number of minutes whether the day spa was actually a front for more salacious business.

Then things got worse.

It turns out, the hydrotherapy treatment really is a full-body affair, and I really am a prude.

There’s just something not quite right about someone sugar-scrubbing your stomach …

And to be honest, the mask wasn’t much better. After being painted on, I was wrapped up like a claustrophobic caterpillar, and awkwardly lay there like a sausage for a v e r y long time.

And then came the water.

Sorry, “hydrotherapy massage”, which kind of just felt like I was lying in a bath with the shower on. Except there was also a girl I knew from 6 form there.

S I G H.

All in all, in my ranking of awkward life experiences that are funny on reflection, it sits:

Ah, what a life I’ve lived. 

Life lesson: Theres nothing wrong with a basic white chick mani-pedi.

Love, actually – is a good massage

After a (g)string of wildly unfortunate massage experiences, I actually had a really glorious one not so long ago.

My shoulders and back were basically in pieces from the daily realities of mum-ing, so my loving husband treated me to a massage voucher (this time, not with my high school alumni and a shower, thank God …) but with a wonderful woman at Body Balance Massage in Lower Hutt who had fantastic Google Reviews for sports massage.

She was sensational. And I didn’t even leave covered in bruises or shame.

10/10 would recommend.

But for real, what actually is self-care?


I know I’ve talked a lot about day spas and white robes in this blog post, but that isn’t actually the only definition of self-care.

Self-care should be practiced daily, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or involve ylang ylang scented oil.

For me, daily self-care looks like:

  • Listening to funny podcasts on my commute
  • Wearing makeup
  • Regular exercise
  • Eating lots of fruit, veges and hot cross buns
  • Drinking coffee
  • Bible time
  • Taking time for hobbies (writing, improv)

And avoiding:

  • Comparing myself to others (or the me I “should” be)
  • Eating lots of sugar and fried food
  • Dwelling on negative things.

I know myself, and I know what makes me feel happy and well, and what makes me feel yuck and like I want to karate chop people – and I try to adjust my day accordingly.

As a starting point, I recommend writing two lists:

  1. Things you love doing
  2. Things you do every day.

If List 1 looks very different to List 2, I strongly recommend you inject a little bit of self-care into your day.

Even if it’s just one thing.

Your future self will thank you for it (and so will your partner and kids!). Because self-care is not selfish.

Self-care = a happier you

A happier you = a person more likely to turn up for their life with enthusiasm and positivity, and who has greater levels of patience and grace for others.

The real result of self-care is that you become a person other people feel better for having been around, and my friend, that is anything but selfish.

Do you struggle to practice self-care? Are you a mum? I BET YOU ARE! We’re NOTORIOUS at being Mama Martyr. Go take some time for yourself, babe. You bloody deserve it, and honestly, you and the whole family will benefit. 

Kate x

Chapter 21: Putting Yourself Out There

The past two years have been bananas.

The first year I grew a person.

And the second year I grew as a person.

But not in the way you’d expect.

Becoming a parent is fairly synonymous with becoming immeasurably more selfless, patient and tired than you ever though possible.

That’s pretty much a given (unless you suck a little bit as a human).

For me, the unexpected growth came because I wanted needed something that was just for myself.

ENTER STAGE LEFT: Kate Takes Thirty

From watching Parks and Rec, to writing about it

When I was in my early 20s, binge watching seven seasons of Parks and Recreation over a Christmas holiday wasn’t indulgent, it was frankly impressive.

But when you become a parent, the game doth change, and time becomes the ultimate luxury – both for treasuring moments with your little people (“They grow up so fast!” – everyone, ever), and for treasuring moments with yourself.

What did this look like for me?

Starting a blog.

And one that by it’s very definition, enabled and encouraged me to try lots of different things – like starting improv classes, a public Instagram (@katetakesthirty, get about it) and a podcast – oh, and I ran a half-marathon.


And nerve-wracking!

Particularly the bit about putting my face, voice, and writing on the interwebs for people to see and hear and judge, and aggghhhhhhh

But then I remember, WWRHD?

What would Rachel Hollis Do?

She would say:


“You dreams don’t work unless you do.”

“Are you humble enough to suck for as long as it takes to get better?”

“What other people think about you is none of your business.”

And other such inspiring, bad ass things.

So I sucked it up, and went for it.

I’ve even started approaching lifestyle news sites to see if they want a piece of this action to take me on as a contributing writer.

I’ve tried three so far, two have knocked me back, and one is still pending.

But again, WWRHD?

She would keep trying until someone says yes, and remind me of the classic J.K Rowling “never give up” anecdote for authors about how Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down 12 times by publishers before Bloomsbury said yes to the dress.

Or she’d start her own news site, cause she’s a gangster like that.

And dang it, so am I.

Just cause you’re a gangster

It goes without saying – but Rachel Hollis, J.K Rowling and I don’t have the monopoly on bad assery.

You too can be a gangster and go after your dreams whole-heartedly.

It’s hard. Heck, every time I produce something there’s a gnawing thought at the back of my mind telling me it’s probably terrible and no one will want to read/listen to it.

But then I think: Nah, boo. You do you.

People will enjoy it or they won’t. The most important thing is that you enjoy making it.

A. Because life’s miserable if you spend it trying to be someone you’re not, to impress people you don’t even like or know.

And B. Because people are smart, and they can tell when you’re being disingenuous.

My advice?

Be a gangster.

Believe in yourself. Find what you want to do, and keep doing it.

Like our girl Rach says, you will probably suck at the start. Lord knows my first podcast episode is solidly “ok, and pretty averagely alright”.

But you keep going. You keep grinding. And you keep smiling.

Because sooner or later that commitment and enthusiasm is going to breed growth and opportunity.

Don’t give up now!

The best is yet to come.

If money was no object, what work would you do for free? If you’re not sure what your dream job is, that’s a good question to start with.

Or if you know what your dream is, tell meeee! Feel free to comment below or hit up my DMs on the gram. I love hearing from you guys.

Kate x