The fine art of receiving

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day… A lot of emphasis is placed on the joy of giving. It’s not surprising, really – there’s almost nothing as heartwarming and love-affirming as giving someone you care about something you know will make them happy.

Birthdays in my family are a big deal. I’ve been known to start squirreling away little bits and pieces months in advance, from trinkets I find at the op shop, to things I’ve made, to small pieces of kitsch crap (‘booby prizes’ to keep it interesting!), to little treasures I discover in odd shops along the way .

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I made this hat out of fabric scraps and cushion stuffing, for my sister, for her 30th birthday.

I get a certain childish joy from pretending I’ve only bought the recipient an economy packet of tissues (beautifully wrapped, of course) then revealing that ACTUALLY I have ONE more thing, which upon being opened turns out to be ALL of the things I’ve collected, all individually wrapped, which spill across the lap of the give-ee who squeals with delight and faux-surprise.

BUT, knowing how to receive is every bit as important – sometimes more so – as giving. Receiving a present is the perfect opportunity for you as the give-ee to make the giver feel good about themselves for taking the time and effort to buy you something – no matter how you actually feel about whatever it is you’ve just unwrapped.

EXHIBIT A: Receiving a puppy.
Now this one is easy. You don’t even need instructions. Who WOULDN’T wail and weep with happiness after opening a box, to discover a warm, fluffy, waggy, licky, fuzzy ball of love inside?

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EXHIBIT B: Receiving a pair of socks.

Now, people like me love a nice pair of socks. Sometimes, the right pair of socks can make an outfit. Other people would rather die (yes, DIE) of boredom than even look at a pair of socks. Those people might unwrap a pair of socks and react like this:

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But what they should do, is react like this:

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EXHIBIT C: Receiving the ugliest, itchiest, most heinous woolly jumper your poor, bleeding eyes have ever been assaulted by.

You may react like this:

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But what you should do, is this:

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So you see, it’s simple. Making people feel good about themselves for giving you a gift is as easy.

All you have to do is pretend you’re unwrapping a puppy, every single time.

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So… my baby is due today…

… but she’s under strict instructions to continue baking, because Tutti and I are going to the preview screening of Advanced Style, the movie named after both the inspirational blog and subsequent book by Ari Seth Cohen.

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I am so excited to see this film, not least because I have so much respect for Ari’s work. In this age where there’s such fixation on youth, it’s so refreshing to see age portrayed in such a fun, vibrant and vital way – which is exactly how it should be.

The platform Ari has given to wonderful women over 60 is nothing short of inspired. After all, you can bet they have more wisdom, style and sass than most women half their age. There’s plenty we could learn about living and loving life from the ladies of Advanced Style.

This is one movie you HAVE to see. In cinemas around Australia from October 2.

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I’m back after two weeks away. And I’m grumpy.

Hello loyal, lovely (and HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE) readers who I have callously neglected for the last two weeks. “Where have you been?” I hear you ask. “What have you been doing?” You plead. “PLEASE fill us in with all the minute details of your illustrious life!” I hear you cry (er… in my head… as I watch the tumbleweeds roll softly by).

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It might as well be a tumbleweed. AKA The innards of one of Tiggy’s toys. There is fluff EVERYWHERE. I am going to have to teach her to use the vacuum cleaner.

In truth, I’ve had ten glorious days off work. I’ve been the very personification of the Spanish proverb that goes, “Isn’t it beautiful to do nothing and then rest afterwards.” And it is, I tell you. It really, truly is.

For the first five days of my holiday, Matty, Tutti, the Guru, Tiggy and I went to Sky Cottage in Jervis Bay, a gorgeous, simple, two-bedroom cottage, just a five minute drive from Hyams Beach, which according to the Guinness Book of Records has the whitest sand in the world. It was glorious. We lazed by the sea, watched movies, had barbecues at night by the bonfire and played an epic game of Monopoly that spanned three days and ended predictably with The Guru making appalling deals, and Matty monopolising the board until he owned everything and had mercilessly bankrupted everyone with his exorbitant rents.

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Tiggy, contemplating some of life’s big questions at Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

I just realised I didn’t take any photos of anyone except Tiggy, so you will have to look to her to see how much we enjoyed ourselves.

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“Nothing to see here,” says Tiggy. “Move along please.”

Then we drove back to Sydney, and I spent another couple of days mooching about, and yet another couple, having succumbed to a boring cold that saw me lying in bed listlessly and coughing pathetically.

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Just imagine this is my face, I’m coughing persistently, and being incredibly self-pitying.

Then Sunday night (when I’m writing this post) rolled around, and I had all these grand plans about the fun I would have, and yet somehow, the hours ticked past, I ate a couple of sandwiches, tidied the bedroom, ate some cheese toast and fell down an appalling internet rabbit hole while trying to help Matty change his Apple ID region from UK to Australia. I went round and round in frustrating circles, unable to solve the problem and yet I persisted in vain for over an hour until I started weeping pitifully and declared my Sunday RUINED. And then I made plenty of these faces, a few of which I have captured for you here.

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So there you have it. I may be whinging and whining like a dog in the rain, but I’m back, good people of the internet, and I look forward to seeing all your lovely faces back here again. Now THAT will cheer me up.

Love ya!

Ceci xx

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Giving thanks for gorgeous parents

There’s no denying it: I am extremely lucky. It’s true, the saying that you can’t pick your parents – you get what you’re given. As you’re travelling down that birth canal, about to emerge into the harsh, wide world, there’s no stop button – no option to say, “WAIT! Transfer me to another woman’s womb. This one’s a total bitch!”

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Tutti and The Guru. Lucky me.

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The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do…

There’s no other way to say this: Yesterday, I felt completely wretched. Not a little bit discombobulated, or run-of the mill unhappy or mildly depressed, but truly wretched, in the most conspicuous-wailing, red-eyed-and-sodden-faced kind of way.

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