Footnote: Christchurch

I live in New Zealand, and last Friday we experienced the worst terror attack in our history.

Per capita, the loss of 50 lives (and another 50 injured) at the hands of a white supremacist gunman at two Christchurch mosques is comparable to the horror of 9/11.

And that’s what it felt like for me on Friday.

It took me back to 2001 when I had been off school with a tummy bug, and my mum and I had sat stunned as we watched two planes soar into the Twin Towers in New York (over and over again on the news).

I remember leaving the lounge, feeling even sicker, not knowing what to do with myself, but knowing that I couldn’t watch anymore.

And that’s what I felt like on Friday.

I felt sick.

And intensely sad for the families affected, and for Christchurch itself, a city that has seen so much more than it’s fair share of suffering.

And I left the lounge.

I turned off the news livestream. I closed Instagram. And I went and played with my son.

We crawled around on the floor laughing, he blew raspberries on my mum-tum (his fave), and we played with his toys.

Later – still avoiding the news – I watched Queer Eye on Netflix (THE FEELS); and on Saturday, met my mum for a girls’ date of Lime scooting and Captain Marvel.

And it was amazing.

And I felt so guilty, because you’re not meant to have fun when an atrocity happens.

You’re not meant to smile while others mourn.

But even though I’m heartbroken, I refuse to live in fear and darkness because of one man’s act of hatred.

Reliving the horror and hatred over and over again gives him the power.

It’s what he wanted, and it’s why he livestreamed it.

People process things differently, and they feel things differently, and that is entirely ok.

For me, I can’t watch too much because I feel things very vividly. I imagine myself there. I imagine what it must be like for the families who lost loved ones, and the paramedics who had to climb over dead bodies to treat the injured, and I am completely overcome.

And I refuse to give him that power. I refuse to let him make me afraid.

I will cry for those who were lost, and who have lost, but I will not be immersing myself in news coverage.

I will back our country’s response to gun laws (America, take note).

I will go out of my way to be inclusive and kind to our Muslim New Zealand whanau, showing them that we are behind them, and that we are so very, very sorry that we were not able to protect them.

I will celebrate the heroes who fought back the gunman, and the Police, special forces, paramedics, hospital staff and countless others who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way – both physically and emotionally – to help others.

And I will choose to believe that we will rise.

I choose to believe that hope, love and light will win out, and that together this horror will make us a stronger, kinder, and more inclusive nation.

And that despite it all, still we will rise.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries? …

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Excerpt from Maya Angelou’s, Still I Rise

My heart is with you, Christchurch.

Love,

Kate x

Note: If you are feeling (quite rightly) distressed about Friday’s attack, please talk to someone. A friend, family member, or 1737 is a free txt or call number where you can anonymously speak with a trained counselor. Let’s look after each other, NZ.

Chapter 20: Half-Marathon

I ran a half-marathon.

Which basically means I can do anything, because ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME, I RAN A HALF-MARATHON?!

I’m the chubby kid who hated cross-country Wednesday almost as much as I hated math (i.e. A LOT) – and six months ago, I couldn’t have run two kilometres, let alone 21.

And yet here we are.

I, Kate the Non-Runner, have a medal for the Wellington Round the Bays Half-Marathon, and I didn’t even buy it off TradeMe.

shook
Both how shook I was to have finished, and an accurate description of my legs post race.

Started from the bottom, now we here

I am deadly serious when I say I couldn’t run 2km in a row six months ago.

I had a baby in November 2017, so my cardiovascular fitness (and pelvic floor) were missing in action for the first half of last year.

As I started to emerge from the new parent fog some time in July, I must of been feeling a bit of get up and go, because I decided to start this blog and to take up running.

I’d always wanted to do a half-marathon, so making it a Thirty Before Thirty goal put just the right amount of internet accountability on myself to actually commit to running 21km in a row.

Lamp post to lamp post

My first couple of jogs were a true family affair.

My husband Taka was recovering from a knee injury (which he actually ended up needing to have surgery for – but more on that later), so the two of us strapped on our sneakers, put the baby in the buggy and the dog on the lead, and we took to the streets … taking on one lamp post at a time.

We were super slow. Bucky the Westie was the worst. I think I was basically dragging him by the home-stretch.

But little by little we were able to run further, and faster. And eventually I ditched the boys altogether (mainly for the sake of Bucky, and to snaffle up some “me time”).

I still remember the total euphoria at running our 4km neighbourhood block without stopping.

If I could give you one tip for starting running, it would be: let yourself suck. Running ALWAYS sucks at the start. Don’t beat yourself up because you “should” be able to do more, or it “shouldn’t” be this hard. Because running IS hard. At the start especially. But … the more you do it, the better you get, and the more fun it gets. Stick with it, and give yourself permission to suck.

I kept doing the neighbourhood block run for a while to really get my feet back in the game, and then I started doing destination runs.

By which I mean, I drove somewhere to run.

Running river

It was around this time that I started this six-week training plan to give myself some structure, and to make sure I was getting enough kilometres in.

(If I’m honest, I didn’t do the speed work, and I only averaged about three runs a week. One lunchtime jog, one during the week, and one on the weekend. All of which were captured on Strava, cause if it’s not on Strava, did it even happen?)

My favourite place to run was the Hutt Valley River Trail.

The map has clear markings so I could see how long my loops were (for someone who hates math, I bloody love running stats), it’s mostly flat, and the river and bush are super pretty.

It was there that I ran my first 10km, 12km, and 16km; practiced with gels (these are my faves); did my first Park Runs; ran through detailed scenarios in my head about how I would fend off an attacker; and listened to countless episodes of Sports? with Katie Nolan and the RISE Podcast.

They were really nice times. Especially as the bulk of my training was done was during our surprisingly tropical summer.

They were also made possible because my husband Taka had knee surgery in early January, so I was able to do some sizable mid-week (as well as weekend) training runs while he looked after our little man at home.

I have nothing but fond memories of that summer along the river.

Running tips with Kate: Not sure you can run long distance? Go really, really slow. Learn how to pace yourself. You might not be as fit and fast as you’d like to be, but if you’ve got a reasonable base level of fitness, you should be able to finish if you hit it “tortoise” (not hare) style and go slow and steady.

Round the Bays – In Theory

The course for Wellington Round the Bays is beautiful.

It starts at Frank Kitts Park, and then follows the Wellington waterfront along past Oriental Bay, Evans Bay (literally all of the bays), past the Miramar turnoff, and winds around the water until you’re nearly at Scorching Bay, and then you double-back to Kilbirnie Park.

Or, see: course map.

Full-Course-Map-2019-LRes
I also recommend doing a drive of the course, it helped me visualise where I was up to on the day. 

Round the Bays – In practice

In practice, it was a little bit different.

Race day

Miraculously, my son slept through the night, and I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 5pm.

I turned it off, snuck out of bed, and slunk into the bathroom to get changed into my bike shorts, singlet, shoes, and chic as hell fanny pack (it nipped me in at the waist so well I’m deliberating wearing one on the regular).

Next stop was the kitchen, where I made myself two pieces of Vogel’s toast with peanut butter and banana, and a black coffee.

Then it was game face time. Back to the bathroom, and on with: Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser (gotta get that SPF), Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation and Stay Matte Pressed Powder, Benefit Brow Contour Pro, and Benefit Roller Lash.

Which some of you may not think of as essential race-day prep, to which I say to you:

Race photos.

I’m going to be looking dreadful – because running 21kms – so I’m going to at least give my face a fighting chance at looking Instagrammable.

Then there was a knock, knock, knock on the door.

My hype squad had arrived.

Here’s my mum, with the most wonderfully non-sensical sign I’ve ever seen. I loved it.
My gorgeous mum and her famously non-sensical but wildly encouraging sign.

She bundled me into her (Taylor) Swift at 6.45am, and we talked excitedly all the way into Wellington about the training I’d done and how I hoped I wouldn’t end up in an ambulance.

She had that proud mum energy that us attention-seeking first-borns are forever thirsty for.

Then we were there, and it was time for a nervous wee in a portaloo, before assembling at the starting line.

The first 5km

Sports? with Katie Nolan – Now that we found love

Were super easy. I was determined to pace myself well, so stuck to my guns and plodded along slowly, unperturbed by the hundreds of fit people passing me.

I had to stop for another nervous wee at the first portaloo.

From 5km to 10km

The RISE Podcast with Rachel Hollis – 80: The Hard Things That Will Throw You Off-Course (And How To Fight Them)

Still not too bad. I’d seen mum and her hilarious sign twice, I’d had a gel, and I was just entering the shade of the final knob of the race course.

From 10km-15km

Jules and Sarah with the Rapids

This last section is much longer than I remember.

Have another gel.

I’m also seeing a very disconcertingly large number of people coming back past me towards the finish line, but the turnaround point is nowhere to be seen.

At 14km I finally get to turn around.

Gosh, it’s a long way back.

From 15km-21km

ZM’s Fletch, Vaughan & Megan Podcast – February 15 2019

Pass the 16km marker. This is officially the longest I’ve ever run in my life.

Remember how when I did my 16km training run my calves had started cramping as soon as I stopped.

The calves are twitching, threatening to cramp.

I have to get going.

Contemplate getting a tattoo of XXI in honour of completing the race, which I tell myself I will, to remind myself that I can do bloody anything.

The last 1km is so hard. I want to stop. But I don’t want to stop, because my calves are going to absolutely murder me.

And then I can see the finish line – through approximately 5 million buggys – and I slowly attempt to weave my way towards it.

I’ve done it! I have an enormous medal! MUM! Good Lord, I can’t walk. Oh no, we have to walk to the car, 500 miles away. But I DID IT! I ACTUALLY DID IT!

Proceeds to eat a double-pack One Square Meal Bar, and demolish a blue Powerade like Steven Adams, as we go the long way home through Island Bay.

I am amazing.

Fancy a run?

Honestly, if I can do it, you can do it.

Seize the day. Get some sneakers. And let your body amaze you with what it’s capable of.

Just run, Forrest.

Kate x

Chapter 19: We started a podcast

I did a Rachel Hollis exercise with some friends recently where you visualise what the best version of yourself would be like.

What do you do for a job? What do you dress like? How are your relationships? What are your priorities? How do you feel? How much sleep do you get? What do you eat …? 

And then after imagining all of this – seeing it like a movie in your head – you quickly write it all down on a piece of paper, using “I” statements and as much detail as you can.

I really recommend giving it a go.

It’s a ridiculously helpful way of focusing in on what you actually want your life to be like, and then being big and brave and going for it.

Here are some of the things on my list:

  1. I am a famous writer
  2. I am a present, loving mum
  3. I eat fresh healthy food and regularly work out, and I feel amazing
  4. I set my own work hours
  5. I am confident and completely myself
  6. I influence people to believe in themselves and live their best lives, and to be kind.
  7. I make the world laugh.

Then we had to each look at our lists, and come up with a goal – just one – that would help us get closer to this bomb version of ourselves.

Get it, girl

My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG, if you please) is to create a platform of smart, silly, fun, encouraging content.

Like what Leandra Medine has done with Man Repeller.

But more Kate-ish.

Which is difficult. And daunting. And exciting. And entirely achievable.

Kate, Media Mogul

I love podcasts. They bring me untold amounts of joy – like, Making a Murderer.

Kidding. I ain’t about that True Crime life. I live almost exclusively in the comedy section. See below.

Kate’s Top 5 Fave Podcasts:

  1. Jules and Sarah the Podcast
  2. Rise Podcast
  3. Fletch Vaughan and Megan
  4. Wobble
  5. Sports?

So when I was thinking about what I wanted to be a part of my platform, podcasts were FOR SURE on the list.

So I made one. Like a gangster.

I enlisted my husband Taka as Producer and Co-Host, and on Thursday night we sat at the kitchen table and chatted into a surprisingly phallic microphone about everything from our car being totalled by an ambulance, to the Netflix show Taka’s mum is currently obsessed with.

It was really fun, and we hope it makes you smile.

If you want to have a listen, we are now officially iTunes approved so you can find us there by searching Kate Takes Thirty (I’ve renamed it The Kate and Taka Show, but it’s just taking a little while to sync!), or listen online at https://thekateandtakashow.simplecast.fm/.

If you listen, please screenshot it and post it to your stories and tag or DM me at @katetakesthirty on Instagram! I. WILL. DIE.

You can also follow Taka at @takakauri.

Thanks so much for your support, guys. We will frankly be bloody beside ourselves if more people than just my mum listen (both because she’s supportive, and also because I talk about her confusion with “that’s what she said” … it’s a little rude …).

You are the best of all humans.

Lots of love,

Kate x

Chapter 18: Family Holiday

We went to Napier over the weekend.

It was a family vay-cay to celebrate my in-law’s 40th (!!) wedding anniversary.

There was me, my husband Taka and our one year old Zeke, my sister-in-law Ari and her fiancé Josh, and Taka’s commitment level 5000 parents, Pat and Maxene.

It was basically a Big Fat Greek Wedding Anniversary, minus the Greek part.

It was also the first family getaway we’ve been on since little man escaped the womb, and it was awesome.

Kate, the Travel Writer

Napier is a coastal city in the Hawke’s Bay of New Zealand that is famous for fruit, wine, and having an uncanny resemblance to a Universal Studios set street.

That’s because in 1931, Napier experienced the deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand history.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

On 3 February at 10.47am, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake violently shook the Hawke’s Bay for two and a half minutes, killing 256 people and injuring thousands.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the quake also ignited devastating fires that tragically finished off was left of Napier’s city centre.

At the time, The Dominion newspaper described Napier as a town “wiped off the map”.

If you’re interested in history, I recommend checking out the MTL (Museum Theatre Library) next time you’re in Napier.

And this is coming from an uncultured non-fan of museums, so believe me when I say this one really is worth the visit.

Silver Linings Playbook

The MTL also have an exhibition on the rebuild of Napier, because the silver lining to this (again, not Greek) tragedy is that the city was then redesigned amidst the Art Deco taste of the ’20s.

In an impressive display of Kiwi ingenuity and team work make the dream work, four Napier architectural firms banded together and worked around the clock to redesign their town.

Beauty for ashes – Isaiah 61

Amazingly, this meant Napier was nearly entirely rebuilt within two years of the disaster, and in an archetypally Art Deco style that has made it one of the New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations.

Kate’s Top 5 Napier Faves

When your sister in law is as extra as you 💞

1. Te Mata Peak – it’s about a 30 minute drive from Napier, but it’ll make your trip approximately 30 million times better.

The landscape was so sweeping and picturesque, I felt like I was in a board meeting for Lord of the Rings cinematography (an award category you will not be seeing aired at the Oscars this year, ohhh! #popculture).

2. Hapī – this allergen/vegan/Keto/Millennial-friendly eatery was seriously delicious considering it’s definitive lack of gluten and refined sugar.

I can’t remember exactly how many times we went there, but it was a lot …

My favourite nook in all of Napier.

3. MTL – as I said, I’m not a museum fan. I’m the heathen who thought the Lourve was only worth it for the fine art gallery and gift shop.

Ps. Taka spent a solid hour agog at old vases. I kid you not. I have never seen a brother so jazzed about pottery (he has a Classics degree, so let’s not judge … either of us).

That said, I loved the Māori exhibition at MTL, and the sea-life art installation made from recycled plastic was legitimately incredible.

(As was the gift shop.)

He’s not even posing. This is just how my husband the model sits.

4. Par2 Mini Golf next to the Sunken Gardens (um, bad ass name alert, way to sound like El Dorado or Atlantis, Napier foreshore).

I don’t know what it is about mini golf, but it’s just such good clean fun.

10/10 would recommend.

5. The Street Art – it might be my Wellingtonian showing, but I love a big ol’ graphic mural on a city wall.

So fun. So vibrant. So great for the gram.

Fun Historical Facts with Kate!

Did you know … neighbouring cities Napier and Hastings are both named after English dudes who helped run colonised India on behalf of the British Monarchy?

Charles Napier, was the Commander-in-Chief of India from 1848-1849, and Warren Hastings was the first Governor-General of India from 1773-1785.

I am Carmen Sandiago.

4 Things That Had Me Shooketh

1. Splash Planet is super loose, and super Kiwi! We went on an insane scorcher of a Saturday, and the water theme park was basically bursting at the seams. So much so that people had parked all over the grassy verges, and apparently that was totally cool and normal.

You were also encouraged to bring along your own picnics and BBQs.

The delicious smell of sausages was almost as strong as my regret for not bringing a full Christmas Day-worthy banquet to the pools like the people next door to us.

Although you know your girl stopped in at Hapī on the way back to the motel though …

2. You can’t swim in the sea! A beautiful beachside tourist town, and there wasn’t a single person to be seen ducking up and down in the waves.

Upon further investigation, I found out: “They have a poo problem.” 💩💩💩

I’m no Mayor. Obviously. But I would (bio) hazard a guess that fixing a sea sewerage problem should be the top of your town to do (do) list …?

Editor’s note: I have since found out that Napier beach has a fairly fierce undertow, so even without the water pollution, the pull of the beach would be a rip – not a fun family day in the waves.

3. We were hit by an ambulance on the way home. Technically it was a patient transfer van, but the irony remains.

Our little black Golf is looking like it’s going to be written off, but thankfully, the driver ploughed into the only door without someone next to it.

The locals of the small town we were passing through were also incredibly kind, and so was the extremely apologetic St John’s driver. No harm, small foul.

As a side note, If you have any recommendations for a reliable, chic, not too expensive, family-friendly car I’d be very interested.

4. Zeke slept through the night! 😱 My child is over a year old and has famously never slept through the night.

Except in Napier. When apparently he’s King if Sleep.

We might need to move.

3 Benefits of Having a Baby Wake You Up at 4am in Napier

On Saturday, our little man was ready to carpe diem and seize the day at 4am. Which actually had its benefits.

1. I tried out a Centr workout in the motel room, because I’m Chris Hemsworth, obvs.

2. We saw the sun rise at Bluff Hill Lookout

3. And had a glorious wander (my favourite way to see a city) down the Art Deco main streets, and along the waterfront.

And then it was 10am!

2 Go-To Coffee Spots

I’m an unbearable Wellington coffee snob from way back, and these two places served from seriously delicious brews.

1. Ajuna Eatery: it had a really nice vibe and a pop art picture of Queen Elizabeth that I wanted to smuggle home with me, and they did a solidly good Mojo flat white.

2. Six Sisters: the hipster bicycle on the roof of this place filled me with confidence that a quality flat white was coming my way, and it did not disappoint.

Alas these were the only cafes I tried over the visit, but the internet tells me Crazy Good is also crazy good, so give them a try too.

1 Door To Rule Them All

Napier is home to the most Instagrammable door in New Zealand (maybe a #fact).

Exhibit a:

Prom photo.

If you want to find it and get that gram, this is the address:

National Tobacco Company Building Ltd

1 Ossian St,

Ahuriri,

Napier

You’re welcome.

Have you been to Napier? What was your favourite part? Do you know a better New Zealand door?! But for real, what would be a good car for us? We need help.

Kate x

Chapter 17: I Wrote a Book

My mum had cancer last year.

And I’m so insanely glad to be able to say had, because I know so many people aren’t so lucky.

Cancer is an asshole.

Thankfully, my mum had very early stage breast cancer that was picked up as part of regular screening.

(Speculums up your fachina, pancaked boobs, fingers up bums … regular cancer checks aren’t exactly a good time, but they could literally save your life, so get it done, son!)

But back to my dazzlingly intriguing headline.

I wrote a book.

Actually, I wrote three. And to be fair, calling them books is a bit of a stretch.

They’re short kids’ stories.

And I wrote them for my mum.

The Pirate Queen

My mum’s birthday is coming up on 7 February, and this time last year, when she was feeling weak and nauseous and generally terrible, I wanted to do something to help.

I have pretty limited skills, and none of them include oncology, so I used what I had, and I wrote her a story where she was the hero.

Specially, a golden armour-wearing, flying pirate ship captaining, queen who’s greatest weapon is her powerful butt trumpet (farts guys, we’re talking about farts).

It was full of in-jokes and people from her life (including her partner Ian, who is a literal Silver Fox in the book, and my son Ezekiel, who’s the other protagonist), and is all about her defeating the Can-Can Dancing Crabs that have taken her prisoner.

Super subtle allegory.

I wrote her another one for Mother’s Day called The White Dog, which was an origin story about Bucky (my real life West Highland White terrier), who’s a enormous flying dog from the City in the Sky (the high-lands, get it, get it) in the book.

And then this week, I wrote the third installment (which I’ve included at the end of this post) in time for her birthday celebrations at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday.

Sick loved one?

It’s easy to feel a bit useless when you have a loved one who’s ill, because you want to be able to do something to help fix it. But often, there really is nothing you can do … which is a difficult place to find yourself.

Obviously, I am by no means an expert, but here are some things that helped me last year when my mum was sick:

  1. Know that you can’t actually make them feel better. It was literally impossible for me to make my mum feel like she hadn’t just been hit by the chemo-truck. But, I could make her feel loved, and noticed, and appreciated, and special.
  2. I’m pretty good at writing. So I wrote a book. What are you good at? Gardening? Cooking? Photography? Tax …? Do something thoughtful using the talents you have. Sometimes it can be hard for people to verbally express how they’re feeling – but actions carry love well. Doing your sick mum’s taxes will be one less thing she has to worry about!
  3. Just be there. You don’t need to feel like you have to say the perfect thing that will somehow magically make them feel better (see: #1), because most people in pain don’t actually want advice. They just want to be heard, and not to be alone.

Also, I want to give you a big hug through this screen if you are going through something like this at the moment. It’s so hard and crap.

But you are stronger than you think, and you’re loved more than you know, and you will get through this.

Lots of love,

Kate x

(Love you extra much, Mum)

Important background info:

  • Mum and Ian recently got a shiny new fridge, which unfortunately (but funnily) fell on Ian. He’s fine.
  • Mum is obsessed with sparkling water. I am obsessed with carrot cake.
  • My son’s nickname is Zeke.
  • Mum’s grandma name is Nona.
  • Like kids on Fortnite, Mum and Ian play Settlers of Catan nearly every night. Addicts.

The Robber

For Mum

WHOOOOOHH! Zeke blew out the big gold candle. It was a huge, waxy number 1.

Bucky’s big black eyes appeared on the other side of the cake. And then all 42 of his big white teeth.

“NOO! Back off Bucky! This is the human cake. You have your special doggo cake over there. Nona even used your favourite stinky fish,” Zeke said pointing to the other table.

Bucky’s tail dropped and his eyebrows drooped down sadly. “Bu’ I love all cake.”

Nona that Pirate Queen stepped in, a vision in glinting gold armour. She scratched Bucky behind his floppy white ears. “I know Buck. But, I made that Red Herring Velvet Cake just for you, and you’re allowed to eat the WHOLE thing!”

Bucky stood still.

Weighing his options.

Then, smiling like a sly dog, he bounded over to the other table and wolfed the whole thing down in three bites. Table legs, included.

It had been exactly one year since Zeke and Bucky stumbled across Nona’s golden breastplate in the rock pools of Lighthouse Island, a chance encounter that had catapulted them into a life of adventure and skulduggery aboard The Flying Italian, Nona’s airborne pirate ship.

To celebrate, Nona had baked the most spectacular carrot cake Zeke had ever seen. It was four layers high, dripping in cream-cheese icing, and covered with the same golden swallows that adorned her magical head scarf.

Except the cake birds were made of Caramilk, not silk and magic.

Zeke was doing some mental math on who he had to share his cake with. There was Nona, her crew of Golden Girls, and Chief Advisor Ian, the silver fox … he was going to have to get in there fast.

Nona suddenly interrupted his food battle plans.

“Zeke, we need sparkling water! We can’t have carrot cake without sparkling water. We’re not savages. Would you mind grabbing a bottle from the fridge please?” asked/instructed Nona.

His face fell.

“But the cake …” Zeke whispered.

“Well, the quicker you go, the quicker you’ll be able to have some. Off you pop.”

Shuffling his feet like a moody teen, Zeke made his way into Nona’s expansive scullery and headed towards the big silver fridge.

Wrapping his hand around the thick cool handle, Zeke open the door.


Bucky was so close to the enormous carrot cake he was basically slow-dancing with it.

The horse-sized terrier wondered what was taking his friend so long. Not because he was thirsty. Heck no. That weird water gave him the burps.

He just rrreeeeaaallly wanted to try the carrot cake.

A few more minutes ticked by.

Bucky saw Nona looking nervous. He frowned. Nona never looked nervous.

“Where’s Zeke …? Something isn’t right …” she said, mostly to herself.

Setting off at a jog towards the scullery, Nona’s arm hairs started standing on end.

It was cold.

Bursting through the doors, her youngest crew member was nowhere to be seen. But an icy crust covered all the contents of the room.

Ian was next inside the door, and let out a small gasp as he saw the icy scullery.

“It can’t be,” he breathed. “Can it?”

“What is it? Do you know what happened to him?” asked Nona.

“The ice,” he said gesturing to the frostbitten room. “There’s only one kingdom I know of that has ice like this, and I haven’t been there for a very long time.”

“Not the White Wilderness?” she said, eyes wide.

Ian silver fur bristled. He didn’t like to think about his snowy homeland. The White Wilderness was a dangerous place to be a fox.

“There. The fridge,” he said pointing. “That must be the portal. I’d heard rumours that the workshop elves hid portals in whiteware so they could escape into the free kingdoms.”

Nona put a hand on her sword. “Well, then. I hope everyone’s got their thermal underwear on, because we’re about to get very cold.”

She turned to face her Golden Girls. “Dorothy and Rose, you two stay on as skeleton crew and look after the ship. The rest of you – Bucky, you too – are coming through the fridge with me and Ian. We’re going to need all the help we can get in the Wilderness.”

Ian stood next to Nona, facing the room of fierce golden women and a stinky white monster of a dog.

“Has anyone been to the White Wilderness before?” he asked.

No-one’s hand went up. Not even Nona’s.

“Has anyone heard scary stories about the Wilderness?”

Everyone’s hand went up. Including Nona’s.

“Thought so. Well, at least you’re informed. They’re all true. It’s a nasty, desolate place where mostly everything is trying to kill you. It’s kind of like the cold version of Australia. There’s the sabre tooth tigers in the East, and the frozen waste lands in the West – that’s where we snow foxes hide out. The South is mainly glaciers and abominable snowmen, and then the North Pole is the dominion of Santa the Dictator. It’s all factories full of slave labour elves making everything from sneakers to fridges. He’s a real asshole.”

The Golden Girls gulped audibly, and one at the front asked: “So where do you think this fridge will take us …? North, South, East or West?”

“Not sure, I’m afraid. It’s a bit of a lucky dip. But to be honest, none of the options are good options, so we can’t really lose. Or maybe we can’t really win. Either way, we’re going in, I guess.”

Ian opened the door, his eyes on Nona. “After you, Captain.”


Zeke was covered in goosebumps. Even his goosebumps had goosebumps.

The last thing he remembered was a fridge falling on him.

And then nothing, except white.

“HELLO!” he yelled. “Is anyone out there? Can anyone hear me?”

Wrapping his arms around his chest, he started walking, looking for shelter.

Or someone.

Or anything.


­­­­­

Snow crunched beneath Nona’s golden buckled boots.

She felt like she’d been hit by a fridge.

Ian appeared next to her, his silver fur and armour perfectly camouflaging against the snowy scene.

“Welcome to the White Wilderness.” He sniffed the air, and then frowned.

“What is it?” asked Nona. “Where on the map are we?”

“Smells like burnt plastic and oppression. I’m sorry Nona, we’re in the North Pole.”


­­­­

Zeke’s feet were numb. Head down, he marched on stoically through the snow.

He couldn’t help but think that in this weather, if he didn’t keep moving, he might never move again.

BOOOF! Zeke fell down onto the white ground. What had he hit?

Looking up, he found his answer. A huge concrete wall loomed over him. It looked like a prison. Or maybe a factory?

“Sir, sir you can’t be here!” said a squeaky voice.

Zeke looked around, trying to find the owner of that strangely high-pitched voice.

“Hello? Who’s there? Where are you …”

Suddenly two round, tennis ball eyes appeared in front of his face.

“Sir, I am Maxwell the elf, and you are in much danger.”


­­­

Nona’s golden gang was making good progress through the Wilderness.

Ian had been able to find Zeke’s scent and was tracking him through the abyss of white, and Bucky had offered Nona a ride on his furry back. For once she didn’t mind the doggy smell, and nuzzled in close to keep warm.

Ever the professionals, the Golden Girls had fallen into a V-formation behind Ian, Nona and Bucky.

Ian grumbled. “He’s headed towards Santa.”

“Surely we can take him. I am Nona the bloody Pirate Queen, after all. What are you so worried about?”

“Santa’s a terrible man, Nona. He’s big, mean, and worst of all, he’s the keeper of Catan.”

Nona’s jaw clenched. “I thought that was as myth. A magic boardgame that allows its owner to control the very land they stand on? Sounds like fairy tale nonsense.”

“I wish it was. But he has the boardgame, and he has the Robber. He’s the reason the Wilderness is White. He placed the Robber on his own doorstep, and has stopped any natural resource from being able to grow – or any kind of flower to flourish. He’s cursed us all, and he doesn’t care. He just wants to be in control, and to make cheap shoes in his nasty factories.”

Nona sat up straight. “Stop!”

Bucky, Ian and the Girls halted. Their eyes squinting against the icy breeze.

“I’ve never met this Santa character, but I’ve had enough of him already. This is a rescue mission, and well, we’re going to be rescuing more than Zeke. We’re going to rescue the whole of the White Wilderness as well. Ian, I want you to lock onto Santa’s scent. We have a new target.”

“Bu’ what abou’, Zeke?” ruffed Bucky, in his thick Highland accent.

“Zeke is a tough kid. I think he can probably get by on his own until we take down Santa. But-” she said, noting Bucky’s bristling fur. “If you want, I’m happy for you to carry on searching for him while Ian, myself and the Golden Girls take down Santa. What do you say?”

“I say, aye, Captain.”


­­­­

Zeke followed Maxwell the elf through a side-door into the factory. It was smoky and grey inside, and it took a second for his eyes to adjust.

“Sir, we must hide you. Master Santa does not like uninvited guests. Master gets very cross, and makes us work overtime. And we are not even allowed our evening gruel. It is most upsetting.”

Zeke could only half make out the small figure in front of him through the factory haze. Maxwell was small, but had quite impressively strong arms – but tiny legs. He looked a little like some of the protein shake guzzling gym-goers back on Lighthouse Island …

“Here. You hide in here.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Zeke.


­­­­

“So let me get this straight, your plan is to sneak into Santa’s Lair. Find the boardgame. Steal the boardgame. Move the Robber to an uninhabited island in the south. Set the White Wilderness free from the never-ending winter. And banish Santa to said uninhabited, and now snowed under, island. Is that about right?”

“Yes,” answered Nona. “Nailed it.”

Ian rolled his eyes. “Well, if anyone can pull it off, it’s you.”

He pointed. “There it is. That’s Santa’s Lair. You ready?”

Nona winked. “Nearly.” She reached under her coat and brought out a bottle of sparkling water, and downed the whole thing. “Gives me terrible gas …”


Nona and her crew were crouched on the roof of Santa’s Lair, ducked down next to the chimney.

“Alright girls – and foxy man – we’re going in. Keep close.”

She put two hands on the edge of the brick chimney, leapt up, and disappeared in a puff of smoke.


Bucky could see a building. It was large and grey and a bit grim looking.

Buck’s black nose twitched as he sniffed around the snow.

“Zeke!”

Catching his friend’s scent (and another smell that reminded him of porridge and socks), Bucky started walking, nose to the ground, towards the imposing concrete fortress.


Nona was surrounded by Santas. They were jolly looking, bearded, and suited and red – and they were everywhere.

Huge ceiling to floor tapestries, figures the size of suits of armours … every spare bit of space was taken up with toys and cards with that friendly, old face.

“Quite a humble guy, that Santa?” muttered Nona to Ian.

“Oh, I’m not so bad,” boomed a voice out of nowhere.

Nona did her best not to jump out of her skin.

She whipped her head around, trying to spot Santa among the Santas. It was like a Where’s Wally.

“Show yourself. Coward!”

(Nona wasn’t known for her subtlety.)

Then she saw him. A tiny Danny DeVito figure of a man holding a giant megaphone.

He was balding, with a small scrappy beard, and was wearing a shiny red silk dressing gown and bright white Nike Air Force 1 shoes.

He looked ridiculous.

“YOU’RE Santa?! How absurd. You look absurd,” laughed Nona.

Santa’s eyes darkened.

“I am an icon. YOU are the absurd one, with your gaudy gold get-up.” He snapped his fingers, and three sabre tooth tigers emerged from the doors behind them. “Now, what the hell are you doing in my house?”

Nona smiled. “I’ve come to challenge you to a game of Catan. Winner takes all.”

HA HA HA HA HA HAAA! Santa laughed into his microphone.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Why would I ever do that?! I’m just going to feed you to my tigers.”

As he turned to leave the room, Nona called out: “Chicken!”

“How dare you! I’m not a chicken,” said Santa, storming towards her.

“Yes you are. It’s just a game. You too scared to play a game? You scared, little man?”


Ian was worried. Nona and Santa had been playing Catan for THREE HOURS, and it wasn’t looking good for the Pirate Queen.

Santa was just one point away from winning, and it was his turn next.

Although she hated to admit it, Nona was sensing she was about to lose too.

‘Well, nothing else for it,’ she thought to herself. She suddenly jumped to her feet, bottom to Santa’s face, and released the most earth shattering fart her butt trumpet had ever blown off.

Santa was knocked clean off his chair and smashed into a shrine of dancing Christmas dolls.

Nona grabbed the Robber from the board, and moved it on the magic map to an island far, far away from anyone and anything. Then she picked up Santa’s red playing piece and put it on the island with the Robber.

“What have you doooooonneeee?!” he cried, before vanishing before their eyes.

And he wasn’t the only thing that was vanishing. The crew, blinded by sunlight, looked out the window to see the dead white landscape had been replaced by a beautiful green wilderness.

The Golden Girls clapped and cheered! Nona had saved the day again

“Surely dear, you could have done that three hours ago?” Ian said quietly, smiling at Nona.

“Yes, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to play,” she laughed. “I really am a terrible loser though. I must work on that. But for now – let’s find Zeke and Bucky!”


­­­­

The crew of The Flying Italian opened the big grey door of the big grey factory.

And that’s when they saw them. Terribly hidden in a large scale nativity scene – Zeke in the manger as Baby Jesus, and Bucky as an on-looking sheep.

“NONA!” he cried. Jumping out of the manger he ran over to the shiny pirate and gave her his biggest, best hug.

“Can we please go home and have cake now?”

Chapter 16: Fashion in the Field

I strongly identified with Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality this weekend.

Not the being in the FBI part.

The being whipped into pageant shape part.

Not that I took part in a pageant.

But also.

Didn’t I …?

Fashion in the Field

On Saturday I walked the Fashion in the Field runway at Wellington Cup Day in Trentham, and tried really hard not to fall over.

And guys. I totally didn’t.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Let’s have a quick deep dive on …

What is Fashion in the Field?

Lord knows I’m no expert, but in my vast experience of competing twice, and the intense Google research I just did, this is what I know:

Fashion in the Field is the love child of Project Runway and Downton Abbey, and began in Victoria, Australia in 1962 as a way of encouraging more ladies to attend the races.

It’s a best dressed competition. But one that somehow manages to be both fashion-forward, and meticulously old world.

There are rules, my friend.

For instance, a head piece is a must, and cohesion is key.

Your hat, dress, shoes, bag and jewellery should all look like they belong together.

Or, if you’re really killing it, they should be the ensemble cast in a story your telling through your, er, ensemble.

As an example, this is quite possibly my most favourite Fashion in the Field outfit. Ever.

It’s worn by my friend Charlotte (we were Montessori School homies in Auckland) when she came down for Wellington Cup Day in 2014.

So elegant. So coordinated. So Audrey.

And actually, so fashion-forward.

Voluminous midi skirts are having a real fashion moment now, but lest we forget, this was back in 2014, when most of us were all about a peplum top over a pencil skirt.

A big chunk of the kudos for this outfit also goes to Ali, Charlotte’s mum and the design mastermind behind alotta winning Fashion in the Field lewks.

Between them, Charlie and her sister Olivia have a serious sash collection.

The lovely Livy and I.

You should definitely stalk @ali_moor_millinery on the gram, or better yet, order a piece from her for your next fashionable foray in the field.

Fun fact: it’s called Fashion on the Field in Australia, which does actually make more sense … but, #patriotism.

Wellington Cup Day

But back to Saturday.

This is me.

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go, so this bold situation was (elegantly) thrown together over Messenger convos with the Moor girls.

The dress is Asos, the bow headpiece Ali Moor Millinery, the bag was customised by Ali (I’ve got it around the wrong way … there are some sassy lavender details on the other side), the earring are big ol Karen Walker numbers, and the shoes are Forever New.

I was going for: Whimsey, French, and a little bit Madonna in the 80s.

Hilariously, I ended up twinning with the gorgeous Simone Anderson who MCed the event.

I entered the Maiden of the Carnival category, and didn’t win. But was really glad when the lovely chicky in the gorgeous red dress and sassy gold half-gloves that I’d been talking to backstage did.

Why do it?

It’s not often in life you get to play dress ups. And this is a spectacularly good excuse.

Plus, the prizes are baller.

But my favourite part is always just getting to spend time with my friends the Moors.

And this time I also got to meet their incredible friend Katie, who I Facebook friend-requested nearly immediately.

Support your local girl gang: Katie, Charlie, squinty Kate, and my mama Toni.

Also, how cute is my mum! Our photos together are forever a Frodo/Gandalf situation.

As with any competition where you’re literally being judged on what you look like, there is the temptation to get self-conscious, to compare yourself to others, or for things to just get all a bit Mean Girls.

But as Katie put it so well after our gang didn’t come away with any placings:

“That’s Fashion in the Field! We look amazing. But everyone looks amazing. You just never know what the judges will like.”

My advice: at Fashion in the Field, and life, always try to be Miss Congeniality instead of Regina George.

And then, win or lose, you’re happy.

Have you done Fashion in the Field before?! How was it? Man, I really wanna watch Miss Congeniality now …

Kate x

Chapter 15: Ginger Spice

Like most girls in the 90s, I grew up obsessed with butterfly clips and the Spice Girls.

And I mean crazy town OBSESSED.

When (Her Maj) Adele posted this to Instagram earlier in the year, I identified so strongly with her it was almost a spiritual experience.

Basically me.

And again, when Blake Lively said:

When I was a child I probably should have been medicated about my obsession with the Spice Girls. I had the Buffalo shoes, a Baby Spice necklace – when I say custom-made, it was made out of plastic from the local mall – and a Union Jack dress.

Preteen fangirl is a special breed of crazy.

Just ask Justin Bieber.

And to be honest, at 29, I probably still know every word to Wannabe, every dance move to Stop Right Now, and Geri Halliwell is still my spirit animal.

Girl Power

Like Adele (did we just become best friends?), my favourite Spice Girl was is Ginger Spice.

She was loud. Fun. Empowering. And I was all about that hair.

So much so, that I still vividly remember going to the hairdressers with a hand-drawn picture (it was a different time) of the shoulder-length Geri haircut I wanted.

Nevermind that I have naturally wavy hair, and it was the 90s, and I was seven, and the most sophisticated hairstyling tool at my disposal was a brush.

It wasn’t this bad. But it was this bad in my heart.

Poor tiny Kate and her poofy halo of brushed out curls, bouncing up around her ears.

I’m nearly 100% sure I cried in the hairdresser’s chair.

Fast-forward 22 years, and I’m basically still trying to look like Geri Halliwell in the 90s.

Cause this week I dyed my hair red – again.

Red hair, don’t care

Pre-baby, I dyed my hair more than that chick in the Bourne Identity.

I was brunette, then I was ginger, then I was really ginger, and then I was strawberry blonde, then I was a copper to blonde ombré … Then there was a lob. Then a blunt bob. Then a fringe.

Honestly, I changed my appearance so regularly you’d have thought I was in witness protection.

Montage, montage, montage!

“Just a trim and my roots” are six words my long suffering hairdresser has never heard come out of my mouth.

But with the (boring) budget cuts that inevitably come with becoming a parent, I decided to rock my brunette roots for the better part of a year and a half.

But then I was in the supermarket.

And I know home hair dye is cheap, and bad, and basically the devil.

But then I was like …

Montage, montage, montage!

So hopefully my locks don’t explode, or turn into straw, or whatever it is that’s so much worse than salon dye.

(Footnote: I just did some low-level Google research on why, and this is a handy article on it. Making major changes that need some chemistry know-how is the key perpetrator of a botched box dye.)

At home with Kate

The Dye:

I used Firey Topaz by Schwarzkopf (twice).

I wasn’t a hundred percent on the first go of it. It seemed a little lighter at my roots, and a bit more brunette than entirely necessary.

So I did what any woman who’s just watched Aquaman and liked Mira’s hair would do, and I went and bought another box. And I dyed it again.

And this it what we ended up with …

The Result:

Just after doing the second box (it’s lightened since then – yass!).

It’s definitely not as good as when I go to the salon. But it was $20, so like …

And it’s made me feel a bit more like myself.

The Motherhood Sisterhood

It’s easy to find yourself consumed with motherhood – and that’s not entirely a bad thing. That kiddo really needs you.

But you’re important too. Your interests and priorities matter.

You matter.

So to all my mums out there: make sure you’re regularly doing things that give you some energy, and fun.

Things that make you feel good about yourself.

Your tired, compassionate, loving, stretched self more than deserves it.

Kate x

Chapter 14: Lime Scooters

Today was excellent.

The sun was shining. I got to SLEEP IN. Not because my one year old was zzz-chillin’ til 9am. AHAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Definitely not because of that.

But because I’m on summer holiday break with my main man Taka, and he got up with little Z when he decided to take on the day at 6am.

… After being up every two hours last night …

Teething is low-key hell, guys.

And molars are in their own special circle of it.

But anyway, I GOT TO SLEEP IN! And it was majestic. And glorious. And REAL GOOD.

And when I got up, Taka went and got us coffees.

MOOD:

It was best case scenarios all round.

And then, it got BETTER.

Because it was date day.

Date Day

I’d organised for Taka’s parents to take Lil Z for the afternoon, so we could go and see Aquaman.

Side note: Taka has an uncanny resemblance to Jason Momoa, and I am not mad about it.

Exhibit A

Side note deuce: our kid is insanely cute. Fact. Also. Lucky. Because the zero sleep he gives me is no joke.

Side note thrice: did anyone else get strong Hamlet vibes in the Avengers‘ trailer when Tony Stark was talking to his helmet/skull?

… You can take the girl out of the English lecture, but you can’t take the English degree outta the girl …

Anyway, on this beautiful day, we went and sat in the dark to watch a true spectacle of a movie.

It honestly had it all going on.

There was Tron music, Indian Jones style adventures, a Pirates of the Caribbean cracken, Star Wars vibes, beautiful glow in the dark Avatar post-production scenery, a Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and a very Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria monster swarm …

All in all, a kinda silly full-on adventure flick, and I really liked Amber Heard’s red hair and all the New Zealand references (“I was going to cook you some eggs,” from Temuera Morrison was everything).

Just a good, fun time.

And then it got even better.

Cause I got to go on a Lime Scooter.

They see me rollin, hatin

The city I live in recently got Lime Scooters, a pay to play motorised funmobile that you can book out using an app and your credit card.

Basically, you just find them on a street corner, zoom off somewhere, and leave them – wherever – when you’re done.

And they’re

(They’ve had a bit of health and safety backlash with *cough* Baby Boomers injuring themselves on them, but guys … SO MUCH FUN!)

I’ve been wanting to try one for AGES, and today was finally my day.

After the movie we walked to the waterfront in Petone, and found one almost immediately. I downloaded the app, set my socks to rock, and hopped on.

I think my face was like this basically the entire time:

My internal monologue was a sick mashup of Time of my life and Rollin’ by Chamillionaire.

For $4.60 for 11mins of zoomin around, they are the absolute definition of cheap thrills.

The next time I’m feeling down or having a bit of an off day, these scooters are going to the top of my “turn the beat around” self-help strategy list.

(Next to: exercise, lol at Parks and Rec memes on Pinterest, put on some worship music, chat it out with a pal, have a dance party for one to my fave jam, do something nice for someone else, drink coffee, stop thinking and do a task, and have a shower. Whoa, free self-care advice, where did that come from?!)

Lime scooters: 10/10 would recommend.

Have you been on one yet? What did you think of Aquaman?! What do you do to break yourself out of a downward spiral?

Kate x

Chapter 13: Stretching

I do pretty well under pressure.

And, thank God.

Because Round the Bays, the half-marathon I famously (and stupidly) told the internet I would do in Chapter 5: Running, is less than three months away.

And I am not prepared.

Not.

At.

All.

Which I should be more worried about …

But I’m not. Because deadlines are my home girl.

Under pressure, da da daa da daaa

With this newfound motivation (to not die), I made the mistake of going from no runs to back-to-back runs last week.

To which my body said:

And I got a really sore lower back.

And knee.

And super tight hips.

Basically, I checked myself after I wrecked myself. Not before. Like a damn fool.

So, I went to the Osteopath.

Which was hilarious.

Have you been?

I had not.

I knew they were muscular experts, and I’m a big fan of a deep tissue massage (read: paying for someone to beat the crap out of you), so I kinda figured it would be something like that.

Which – wow.

What a grossly inaccurate assumption.

My appointment basically involved having my bum in someone’s hands for half an hour as they lightly tickled me.

I’m sure there was Osteo magic happening, and that she’s a kinaesthetic genius – but all I could think about was how awkward it would be if I farted.

This is the sort of maturity level I have to deal with in my head.

Anyway. It was during the gentle tapping that she exclaimed: WOW, YOU ARE SO TIGHT!

Which initially I thought she was inappropriately directing at my buns of steel … but, no.

She meant my body was basically a clenched fist.

And thus my homework has been:

S T R E T C H I NG

Why stretch?

I feel like we all vaguely know stretching is a good idea, but perhaps not really why it’s a good idea.

It’s like drinking water.

We all know to do it, or we’ll, you know, die, but I’d hazard a guess that not many of us are reaching our recommended H2O quota.

(Ps. I totally am. But I’m a thirsty weirdo.)

We all know we should probably stretch. But whyyyy?

And I can attest, it really is so relaxing to do before bed. Especially jamming a bit of Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s new album, yass.

Fear the foam

It is relaxing, that is, unless the foam roller’s involves.

That cylindrical tyrant is absolute hell on my (tight, tight) hips.

The IT band one got me like:

My only hope is that, like drinking Spirilina/pond scum, the nastiness is doing me some good.

ParkRun #1

Speaking of good but unpleasant things …

I DID MY VERY FIRST PARKRUN, GUYS!

Sweaty victory ft. my fren Mary who smashed it!

They’re free 5km events that run (punsss) every week all over the world.

And I am a fan.

I dragged my friend Mary along, and we had a fabulously active start to the weekend. I was so hardcore I even got arm chaffing from my old school phone armband.

Side note: if anyone has any recommendations on cellular device holders I would love to hear them.

It was only 5km and my arm was (ever so slightly) bleeding by the end of it.

If I don’t sort something before the half-marathon I’m going to have a 127 Hours situations on my hands.

When was the last time you stretched? Give it a go! It really is magic.

Kate x

Chapter 12: Cool Soccer Mom Hair

Motherhood is full of surprises.

Some are wonderful.

Like how ridiculously, heart-string-wrenchingly beautiful it is when your baby reaches out and touches your face for the first time. Or smiles. Or hugs you. Or laughs. Or falls asleep on you. Or gets food all over their face. Or breathes. Or exists.

Some seem real bad, but are actually fine

Like did you know that most stretch marks fade?!

I. Did. Not!

I’d just gotten used to looking like I’d been mauled by a tiger, and – poof! No more red claw marks down my tummy.

Bloody thrilled, mate.

Some definitely are as bad as they seem

Like sleep deprivation.

That crap is fierce.

It was my son’s birthday this week, which means I have not gone to bed – and stayed there all night – for over 365 days. Not that I am for sure counting.

I am currently surviving on coffee and love.

And some are just plain crazy town!

Exhibit A. Your hair doesn’t really fall out when you’re pregnant.

For nine months you become this lush Pantene ad of a woman. But then birth happens.

And

your

hair

falls

like

rain.

Showering becomes a very disconcerting exercise. Like, y u still in my hands, hair? U no live there.

I think my hair-exodus calmed down around 6 months postpartum (tbh, I have no idea. The last year is a beautiful blur), leaving behind some very questionable regrowth layers.

I have also been slowly turning into the lion from The Wizard of OZ as one of my budgeting hacks (two words: halved income) has been to cut down my six-weekly visit to the salon to six-monthly.

Grim.

Effective, but grim.

Also, #firstworldproblems.

“The Cool Soccer Mom”

img_4760

Last week (a casual six months since my last appointment), I booked in with my gorgeous hairdresser Haley, and asked her to make me look like Gemma Arterton, please and thank you.

I call this haircut: “The Cool Soccer Mom”.

It’s like Amy Poehler in Mean Girls meets Hilary Clinton.

Possibly the best gif I’ve ever seen.

Baller.

Other famous mum-fan include Kween of Hair, Lauren Conrad, real life Belle Marion Cotillard, and “Where the bloody hell are ya?” Lara Worthington.

img_4748

So. Damn. Chic.

img_4753

img_4751

How-to style this mother

There are lots of different techniques you can try (like this one, or this one) – but an easy method is …

The Cool Chick Curl

  1. Starting at the front of your hair, curl first segment backwards away from your face
  2. Next segment: curl the opposite way (towards your face)
  3. And so on until you reach the back of your head
  4. Start the same process on the other side
  5. Straighten the ends (or leave uncurled)
  6. Spritz with sea salt spray (or hairspray) and mess up.

Done!

Curled Bob

I also like to air-dry my curls sometimes to get a little chic curled bob poppin’.

I do this when: a) I want to channel Marion and feel ooh lala and French, or b) I. Can’t. Be. Bothered. Heat. Styling.

Side note: my fave writer Zoë Foster-Blake has a phenomenal curled bob.

img_4756

Tiny Dancer Bun

I’m a huge fan of the half-up bun. Like …

img_4755

It’s easy. Cute. And let’s face it, ponytails and buns are RIP when you’re hair’s at this length.

Other than pigtails (and pigtail buns or braids), it’s kinda your only option.

So at least it’s a good option!

Footnote: The origin of the term “Soccer Mom”

While I was researching for this post, I found out something really interesting.

It turns out, the term “Soccer Mom” became a thing during the 1996 election (Bill Clinton v Bob Dole), when the typecast of a suburban, SUV welding white woman became a “swing vote category” (Source).

We must win the Soccer Mom vote!

Fun. Facts.

When did you have a big hair change? Was it after a big life event? We do that, huh.

Kate x

Ps. The struggle has been so unbelievably real trying to get a good photo of the new do, so here are some random grainy photobooth snaps of me and my man at our friends’ wedding yesterday.

img_4665