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To my Dad, whose career change saved me.

I’ve grown up with intense back pain almost my whole life, so I know how debilitating it can be. As a physiotherapist, my father did everything he could to alleviate my pain and help give me full mobility. That’s why, when my Dad took on a course in Christchurch for dry needling it changed our lives drastically.

The bike accident happened when I was 12. I was clipped by a car and landed hard on the kerbside. The damage to my lower back was serious and I had to learn to live with spasming and pain. For an eight year old, I’m not sure if knowing only a little about pain was a good or a bad thing.

Anyway, one Christmas, our family were playing in the sprinklers out the front of my grandma’s house, when I slipped on the grass and my back went into a spasm. It was the  worst pain I’d had yet and this was the catalyst for my Dad  to find something that would actually help me.

We went home that night and Dad started looking for courses in New Zealand for trigger point needling.  Dad was a footy player whose career was ended by a bad tackle and he went from a career as a professional player into a career in physiotherapy.

One of his colleagues, Marie, had been having incredible success treating her patients on a non-invasive level from dry needling, and she had treated Dad with amazing results.Dad had Marie do an after hours treatment for me, and I was immediately relieved. No painkillers.

So, Dad decided to go back to study so he could treat me with dry needling in the same way. In what seemed like no time at all, Dad suddenly had a whole new world of working opportunity come to him.

So I’m in year twelve now and I’m hunkering down so exams go well. I’m planning on following Dad into a similar line of work, and I hope to get into osteopathy, applying trigger point dry needling in the same way. If i worked for me, I can only imagine who else it might work for.


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The Imaginary Hair Salon

I’m putting this question to you, dear reader. What’s the best hair salon in Melbourne? My friend Leon has assigned me the task of writing up an overview of top local ‘beauty destinations’ for his website. The problem is, I’m not exactly one to frequent hairdressers, which surely Leon must realise – I mean, I’ve been rocking a shaved head for several years now.

Never mind – I’m sure I can figure it out. Narrowing down what I would find desirable, if I were in the market for a hairdresser, might be a good place to start. Let’s see about this. Firstly, I guess I’d want any hair salon I was going to drop significant money on to have a stellar reputation. Maybe it’s been running for at least a few years and has a good number of high rating online. Staff seniority is based on years and breadth of experience, with the most senior staff having their fingers on the pulse of the latest in hair care technology and trends. Styles change with the times, so I need someone who knows what hair cut is going to be on trend. 

Another feature I’d like to see in my dream salon is an emphasis on eco-friendly hair products. Again, I’m not the most knowledgeable on this subject, seeing as I don’t use hair products. I’m sure I’ve heard my sisters raving about salons that do Aveda hair treatments. Melbourne, what’s your take? Do you love this brand as much as my sisters seem to?

What else? I suppose a beautiful environment never goes astray. Personally, I tend to gravitate toward classic modernist furnishings, or anything with an art deco vibe if I’m feeling extra flamboyant. Any salons around that are styled after these aesthetics?

That seems like a respectable list of desirable features, at least as a starting point. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, either. It’s almost enough the make me consider finally growing my hair out and seeing what Melbourne hairdressers have got these days.

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Eavesdropping for Oxygen

I spent some quality time eavesdropping while waiting to go in for my dental check-up this morning. The conversation wasn’t particularly interesting until it turned to the topic of oxygen therapy. I pricked up my ears at the mention of this – I’ve been doing some breathing exercises lately as part of my yoga routine, so have been taking an interest in how the body interacts with oxygen in therapeutic contexts.

When I tuned in more closely, I discovered that the subject at hand was something known as hyperbaric treatment. In Melbourne, the conversationalists were saying, this can be obtained at a handful of different treatment centres. Apparently, it’s been shown to be helpful in treating certain conditions in which the supply of oxygen to particular body part is reduced, like in gangrene and diabetic wounds and stuff. They were saying that even things like chronic fatigue and some brain injuries can sometimes be treated with it.

What’s interesting to me is that, from what I understand, oxygen is normally transported around the body by red blood cells. But it sounds like hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows oxygen to be dissolved into the bodily fluids at large – the plasma, lymph, central nervous system fluids – and even bone. That means it can get to areas where circulation is being blocked for whatever reason. The mammalian body is so weird and amazing!

The last bit of the conversation that I caught, before I got called in to have my teeth cleaned, was to do with there now being portable hyperbaric chambers for sale in Melbourne. I’m assuming that means there are companies from whom you can buy kits for setting up in your home or wherever. I’ll have to do a search to find out what form they take – I was picturing the chambers as something really massive, but maybe they’re more like the size of a float tank.

Such are the places one’s mind goes to while bored at the dentist. Better than a flicking through a year-old gossip magazine!

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Downlights and the Downward Dog: Perfection!

Five years ago, before Chris and I met and he introduced me to yoga, I thought I’d had everything figured out. But I was bored and wanted more out my working life. You couldn’t have told me that within a few short years, we’d have our own studio and we’d be looking for a commercial lighting consultant. Melbourne had been amazing for us for many years in our office jobs, but now we’re the owners of our joint business, and it’s all about to take off.  

So just last week, we met up with a consultant to talk about our ideas for designer lighting. We wanted to offer something really special, and the space needed to be perfect for helping people get the most from their practise. We found an ideal space with perfect acoustics, in a fabulous area with lots of parking- there was just one thing to get perfect- the lighting.

We’d had lots of challenges come up in this time. Having both left the corporate world, I sold my business and Chris took a pretty significant pay cut to get our dream off the ground. But our hearts are focused and centered on this, Chris ( who was already a professional instructor from way back)  introduced me to yoga and before long, we were conducting weekly small classes through a local studio. The only next natural step forward was to actually make our sessions our own.

When I first started doing yoga as a beginner, my first session changed me. I was blown away by the energy in the room. The lighting was dim, but warm, the room was quiet, the whole vibe of the studio was ambient. Stepping in off the street was like being transported into another dimension. I wanted to replicate that. Talking to the lighting consultant I realised just how important it was that she understood what was important about that initial experience. And she did. I really believe my studio is a way for people to escape not from themselves, but to themselves. We can’t wait to open the doors!

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Dreamhouse Overload

So my sister, Leanne, is looking to buy a house, and apparently this is the world’s biggest deal. She’s constantly plugged in to three different real estate apps, and has been texting me daily to report some new dream home she’s unearthed. To be honest, I’m sceptical about most of her finds – either they’re insanely out of her price range or there’s something seriously undesirable going on.

Over the long weekend, I finally agreed to go with her to check out a block of land south east of Melbourne. It was a cool area, but it wasn’t clear from the real estate agent’s online description whether or not it could be connected to power or support a building permit. Plus, the agent had evidently forgotten to email Leanne the Section 32 Statement. Help in Melbourne for this kind of thing can be hard to come by on a public holiday, so we were left to our devices in pondering the possibilities of this find.

With no info on hand regarding rates, zoning, building restrictions and the like, we instead turned our attention to assessing the notion of erecting a tree-house among the old trees up the back of the property. They were pretty huge, and looked relatively strong for the most part. There was one that looked like it might come crashing down at any moment, though. That got us to thinking about property insurance, and then vulnerability to bush-fires… frankly, it’s a lot to take on.

This has all made me aware of the need to get some professionals in on this action. If Leanne expects me to get knee deep in deciphering the legal ins and outs of buying property, she’s got another thing coming. Recruiting conveyancing services in Melbourne’s south-east should be her first port of call, I reckon. Let them harass the real estate agents for the vendor statement.

Meanwhile, I’ll be on hand to advise on the placement of rope ladders and flying foxes that will feature in the treehouse of dreams, which is obviously going to happen.

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Just…Get Rid of the Termites?

I’m trying to think of an Australian equivalent for the situation I’m in right now. What’s something that Australians REALLY like? I’m thinking sport, barbecues, beaches…probably more stuff. None of that seems really culturally ingrained like in other countries though. Like, if you said you didn’t like beaches, people might just shrug. Loads of people aren’t into sport.

Whereas in an Albjerian family, if you say you don’t like animals it’s like a thousand-year-curse on your household. Even people who don’t like animals have to pretend, because it’s THAT important.

So when I finally snapped and asked if we can’t just call someone about termite control. Dandenong has a bit of problem with white ants lately, according to the local newspapers. I had my fingers crossed that the pest control people will take care of the mound in the garden. The parents did not approve. I was given a stern talking to revolving around Kallii, the termite goddess who was personally responsible for the creation of tent pegs, back in the ‘Anima-Ren’ (Wild Days. Like, before time began or something). Oh, wow, I hope she got the rest of the day off afterwards, because that must’ve been tiring, poor thing. And that comment got me grounded.

It’s dumb though. We have a real termite problem brewing out there, and the parents are so steeped in tradition that they don’t even seem to care. So here’s me, the teenager, being the responsible one. In this, anyway. There are also those festivals where they cook up all kinds of insects, and everyone brings their dogs and cats and exotic lizards and we’re all supposed to handle them while thanking them for their acts of living. I don’t want to touch ANY of those things. I don’t want to eat bugs, and I do not want to go out to the termite mound in the garden and pay my respects with a short prayer. I’d rather be calling in the pest control people from Dandenong who can deal with it. Permanently. Forever. But I can’t, because…I’m grounded.


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Caring for Kitty, South of the City

My cat, Marleybone, and I had have a long-term, love-hate relationship with our local vet (nb. the hatred was not on my own part). Now that we’ve moved down near Moorabbin, the two of us are in on the hunt for a bayside vet.

Marley-bone isn’t in bad shape for a fifteen year-old cat. He loves to rip into anything woollen, and is known to have a red hot go at the mouse that occasionally cuts through our living room. Still, he’s no spring chicken, and benefits from the occasional health check up at the vet.

His dental health, in particular, is something that I’m keen to stay on top of – some vets say that caring for a pet’s teeth can add up to four years to its life. I have enough trouble keeping my own dental appointments, so it might seem a bit of a stretch for me to shell out the time and money for Marley-bone’s chompers. The way I see it, though, he’s not ‘my cat’; he’s a friend, and I’ve taken on responsibility for his health and happiness. 

As I’ve said, though, Marley-bone’s certainly not getting any younger, and it would be good to be connected to an emergency vet. Bayside fortunately, has options for this kind of service (note to self: pay attention to where these are located). I have particular concerns about his wellbeing over the approaching summer months, which, here in the Melbourne region, seem to get hotter with every passing year. It’s possible for animals to experience heat stroke – particularly fluffernutters ones like Marley-bone.

Again, this might seem like an over-the-top concern to have on behalf of one’s cat, but timely veterinary health care and treatment is part of what we owe our animal companions in exchange for having them in our lives. Experienced veterinarians and vet nurses have the specialised skills that enable us to provide these things to our pets, and I’m more than happy to spend up on that, as required.

Posted in vet
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Best Playground for Bub?

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we move down here, and we’re finally starting to settle in. Even Beatrice! She seems really keen to interact with other babies – every time we pass one, her eyes are out on stalks. I want to find a good indoor playground in Melbourne; we used to take Billy to one when he was her age in Darwin, and it was a cheap way to get both me and him out of the house when it was too hot to do anything else.

Bea is not quite walking yet, but can stumble forward in an increasingly coordinated fashion. Every day she manages to stay up a bit longer before tripping over. I think it would be fun for her to interact with some unusual objects – she’s never been down a slippery dip before, and I think it’s about time (on my lap, of course). Climbing furniture is something that she’s showing a keen interest in (ha), so I’m interested to see what she makes of a space filled with colourful objects designed to be climbed on. Some of these play centres have special areas for toddlers to explore without getting knocked around by the bigger kids – that’s what I’m on the lookout for.

So, Victoria: indoor play centre recommendations for a soon-to-be toddler and a mum who’s new in town? I’m looking forward to pottering around the play area with her and showing her how it’s done. Billy, on the other hand, will probably want to tear it up on the tallest, fastest or most challenging piece of play equipment in sight – he has a particular passion for towers. (Maybe I’ve read him one too many fantasy books, but he’s obsessed with anything vaguely medieval, and apparently towers count.) Anyway, a secure indoor play area would go quite away towards keeping my peace of mind intact if I’m there with both of the little monsters.

Help this mama out!

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Do it! Read my (perfectly symmetrical) lips

I’d had a few beauty appointments in the run up to my wedding, but by far the best of all has been having having my lip asymmetry addressed by a clinician who specialises in lip plumping treatments in Melbourne CBD. My town is teeming with great places to go for this kind of stuff, but it turns out that doing the research was worth the effort.I had so many questions and concerns-  I was worried about looking like I’d had them done, I was hyper aware that something could go wrong…but the actual event was so far removed from that, I can’t believe I ever felt worried.

I’ve had a dent in my lip from a scar, falling off my bike as a twelve year old- and now, twelve years later, you can still see it and that drives me crazy. I didn’t want the photos of my wedding day to be something that reminded me of the scar, so I went looking for a solution, and found a place that looked great for lip enhancing treatments. Melbourne based clinics can be expensive, and though I was prepared to pay a lot more for my treatment, I was really surprised and how affordable it was to fix something that worried me so much!

I booked an initial consultation and thinking that I’d just talk the procedure through, I bought a bunch of questions with me and made sure that the clinician I saw understood my big concerns. One of the biggest reliefs for me was finding out that injectables can be reversed if they go wrong- so I decided to take the plunge on the day.

I can’t believe how much changed in a short appointment. I’ve always been conscious of my lip, so to walk in and out of a building within an hour and have those concerns completely removed was like a dream I didn’t want to wake up from!

I’m no longer nervous about the wedding photos- in fact, I’m really looking forward to them. I can’t wait!

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Lip Fillers: We did it!

OMG. Christina and I finally had it done. We’ve wanted lip fillers since forever. Christina is scared of pain and I was almost always out of money to burn- but I’d recently received a pay-rise and with our weekend away to the city on the horizon, there was no reason to put it off any longer. We booked for lip fillers in the Melbourne CBD, nothing couldn’t have held us back!

We wanted to get the appointment in as soon as we arrived. Christina looked online and found a salon that looked super professional. We read up on reviews and booked ourselves in through the salons’ online service. By the time we touched down in Melbourne you couldn’t have calmed us down. We checked into our Carlton hotel and found out where the salon was.

Christina went first. She had a nervous but excited look on her face, and I stayed in the waiting room and read a pamphlet on lip injections that increase your lip size. Melbourne city seemed a world away, and the salon was so calm- it was a huge contrast to my excitement. There was a lot to consider- our friend Amy had a bad experience with fillers on an international trip, and that was our biggest fear factor. I wanted to be able to ask anything I wanted without feeling like I was hassling a professional with silly questions. My face, after all!

When Christina came out, what I noticed first was how happy she looked- once I got a good view at how great the result had been,  I was completely ready for my turn. The cosmetic nurse was so nice, she was like some kind of artist! I felt 100% understood and my lips are exactly what I envisioned they’d be. We ended up having the best weekend ever and our lips were the most exciting souvenir either of us have ever taken back from a holiday. Best weekend ever!