In about four months’ time, I will become a mum for the first time. And right now, I’m pretty scared.

When I first found out I was pregnant, all I felt was shock. This was mainly because the news came on the same day that my family buried my beloved Grandad and I was emotionally spent. As my has body has changed, my belly has popped and I’ve felt the first kicks of the little one inside me, my emotions have ranged from excitement to joy to apprehension and to overwhelming love for my husband and our growing family.

However, this week, everything just seems scary. It may be the hormones that are to blame and next week I’ll be back to joyous love, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how this is the biggest thing I will ever do in my life. Those thoughts are unnerving because never before have I been scared about making a big life decision. Almost without batting an eyelid, I quit two jobs to go travelling, moved countries four times and for two years lived in a separate country from my husband. I’ve changed career and I’ve bought a house.

I wasn’t scared about taking these steps because I knew they were right for where I wanted to be at that stage of my life. I know that being a mum at this stage in my life is right too, so where are all these the nerves coming from, creeping up and laying siege to my emotions?

Speaking to the wise owls among my friends, they reminded me that fear of the unknown is perfectly natural, particularly for someone like me who likes to be able to plan and control…which of course in this case just simply isn’t possible. I can’t plan what kind of mum I will be and I certainly can’t control how my child will be. I just have to let it be.

Reading back through the archives of The Bulb also helped me remember that doing scary things is actually good for you. Taking the scary step may involve some heartache, but in the end, things generally work out and give you what you were lacking, be it clarity, happiness or freedom.

So, when those nerves start creeping up from now on, I am going to try to let them be and remember what awaits at the end of the scary path to motherhood.

Reason, season or lifetime? The resolution that can make you happier

Cutting the ‘should’ weeds from the garden of life

 A tiny new Bulbette has arrived

(Written by Laura)

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So, after all these years of being silly, it seems that silliness can actually have a very meaningful purpose.

I’m a big fan of silliness. I have a silly sister. A silly mum. Some pretty silly friends. My husband can be particularly silly. I am definitely silly. I basically live in a sea of silly.

It used to be that the tendency to be silly was just part of my personality – and also a lovely, playful part of my upbringing – so it was a naturally-occurring element of my life. But now that I’ve discovered that silliness can open a door to creative thinking, mental agility, and a wider circle of friends and collaborators, I see silliness now as an important part of my life. It’s a really good thing to be silly!

There has been quite a lot of chat lately – in both creative circles and the business world – about “play” and listening to your “inner child”. Play is considered by many to be a crucial state to nurture if you want to maintain mental and emotional health. It apparently opens doors to stress relief, helps to unlock your unconscious self, and can help to avoid behavioural, emotional and relationship problems.

For me, I’ve found that play, and being a bit silly, allows me to tap into a part of my brain where ideas and colour and creativity abound, and where linear thinking and social and cultural mores are less relevant and dominant. There are many fewer rules and restrictions when you allow yourself to play; to be silly and imaginative. Isn’t that great?

I have been part of many formal (corporate) and informal brainstorm sessions where a bit of giddy laughter or some imaginative verbal scenario painting have sparked a flurry of brilliant ideas and light-bulb moments. Indeed, some of our best ideas for relaunching The Bulb (watch this space!) were conceived courtesy of some rather ridiculous, giggle-ridden brainstorm sessions.

So to give you a creative boost on this happy Friday and launch you into the weekend, here are a few of our favourite silly posts from The Bulb archives, plus some extra reading on the topic if you really want to hone the art of play.

Embracing five-minute laughter breaks

Beat seriousness fatigue with Bad Lip Reading

Flight of the Conchords’ new song: hilarity for charity

 

Convert this thought into action:

(Written by Sarah)

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It’s Friday afternoon. The mind starts to turn towards what kind of edible and drinkable treats Friday night might bring. The cupboard door swings open and a couple of almond and rosewater biscuits wave their little nutty hands and shout, “Eat me with your tea!” So I do.

Food, food, food. It’s always been pretty fundamental to what we do at The Bulb; in fact, the idea for this site was conceived over a very memorable meal. We knew we loved the creativity, the sensuality, the fun involved in cooking and making things to eat, but we knew for sure that you loved it too when you told us (in our reader survey) that it was very nearly your favourite subject to read about. (It was just pipped at the post by our Follow Your Dreams series.) Food and dining will have more of a presence in the new-look Bulb, and another exciting venture we are bursting at the seams to tell you about … but can’t yet.

So why don’t we remind you of some of our best-loved foodie posts? A few of them have crept up the popularity rankings recently, even though they might have been written a while ago. Thanks, Google. We’ll include them here.

I would write more but I am trying to decide whether to go with fabulous Greek takeaway from up the road, or whether to make something involving chicken and chorizo tonight. Decisions decisions!

Happy reading and happy eating! See you next week!


Melbourne’s corn fritters craze: where to eat them and how to cook them

Sweet, sweet, sweet potato pancakes

Saucy chocolate pudding to end all puddings

Solving the dinner party dessert conundrum

Ottolenghi’s yoghurt flatbreads with mushroom ragout

(Written by Julia)

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Pheeeew-ee! It’s been a busy few weeks at The Bulb. It may not *look* like we’re doing much, but a-ha, we’re doing the old swan trick: a calm surface with legs paddling madly beneath.

In between international Skype sessions to plan our relaunch later this year, we’ve also been working on a super-secret side project, part of which is coming to a head this week. We can’t tell you much just yet, but rest assured, we’re on a big adventure that we can’t wait to share with you.

A very important and special part of our conversations recently has involved poring over the results of the survey that we asked you to fill out, to tell us what you like (and what you don’t like) about The Bulb in its current form. We were flabbergasted, honestly, and quite overjoyed by the responses, both in quantity and quality. Thank you, so much, for reassuring us that what we do matters to you, and for telling us what you’d like to see in the future. It was incredibly gratifying AND helpful. Sometimes a girl can feel a bit jittery putting herself out there in a forum like this, and it can seem that there’s nobody out there reading – but the survey told us that that is simply not the case. (Phew!)

We thought we’d start revealing some of the survey results, and of course, will announce the winner of the competition  for those who responded to the survey. It gives us great pleasure to say that we discovered a kindred spirit in the excellent online publication A City With a Quirk, whose  author filled out the survey and was chosen using Random.org as the recipient of a copy of Rohan Anderson’s Whole Larder Love. This beautiful book will be winging its way to you in the post very soon.

Now to the survey results, and the proper subject of this post: following your dreams. We asked readers to rank their favourite Bulb post categories and it was no surprise to discover that you love to read about people who have taken a leap to find a way to live passionately, authentically or more creatively. To live their dream. We call this series, funnily enough, Follow Your Dreams. This topic will form a big part of the new-look Bulb, and we are constantly on the look-out for interesting people to profile. If you know of anyone (or perhaps are tracking a path towards your own Big Dream), let us know.

So here’s a recap of our best-read Follow Your Dreams posts. Here’s hoping these pretty great people can give you a little reminder about that Thing you really want to do, or give you the bit of courage you need when you’re flagging or losing sight of the fact that, as Christopher Robin told Winnie the Pooh, you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

Follow Your Dreams: Rohan Anderson, Whole Larder Love

 Follow Your Dreams: Becky John, founder of Who Made Your Pants?

 

Follow Your Dreams: Kate Foster, Full of Grace Granola 

 

Follow Your Dreams: Erin Fitzgerald, Peace Corps volunteer

 

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For the past two weeks, I’ve been living amid Murray mania. The British have been talking about, writing about and screaming for Andy Murray in his attempt to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936. And I have to say, the passion is infectious.

Watching Murray’s amazing come-from-behind, five-set quarter final win on Wednesday had me doing my own version of a Lleyton Hewitt ‘c’mon’, and also got me thinking about the power that sport holds in communities large and small. At it’s most basic level, sport is a unifier of people.

Playing and watching sport brings together families, workplaces, remote communities, suburbs, cities and countries in a way that not many other peacetime pursuits can. The two Olympic and Paralympic Games I have been lucky enough to attend have shown me the class barriers sport can break down and the horizons it broadens, in particular for children.

Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2013

I grew up in a family where sport was a big part of our every day life. My mum, a former gymnast and international judge, and my Dad, a dedicated cricketer, instilled in us a love of playing all kinds of sport, and taking joy from watching it.

Among my vivid childhood memories are looking for my mum on the TV when she was juding at the 1984 Los Angeles Oympics, and then four years later watching her scream at the TV – with broom in hand as she was half way through sweeping the family room floor – as Australian Debbie Flintoff-King won the 400m hurdles at the Seoul Games. By the time I was 10, I had found the perfect volume to listen to ABC Radio sport in bed where I could drift off to sleep, but still wake up every now and again to get the latest score in the Ashes, the cricket World Cup or the Olympics taking place on the other side of the world.

A childhood sport-watching memory: Debbie Flintoff-King wins the 400m hurdles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The determination, passion, belief and commitment that sports people at all levels can display, makes me evaluate how I approach tough situations in my own life. There’s something about the mental fitness of golfers, the precision of gymnasts and the physical endurance of Tour de France cyclists that makes life’s small problems seem easier to tackle. Of course, when the person or team I support wins, the insporation and euphoria can last for days.

So, in preparation for Andy Murray’s pursuit of the Wimbledon crown, here are three posts in which The Bulb has saluted sporting achievements or events. I would love to hear what you think of these, and which sporting moments, either personal or world-stage, have made you stand up and salute?

The Bulb salutes Cadel Evans, a humble champion

What joy as London take Olympic Gold

The Bulb salutes Europe’s Ryder Cup victors: believe to achieve

And if this weekend is anything like last weekend – when I had every TV and radio in the flat tuned to either Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the cricket, the Australia v Lions Rugby (and Glastonbury too) – then there will probably be more posts to write on this very topic.

* Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk and abc.net

(Written by Laura)

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