Friday, December 3, 2010

Confidence and Self Esteem

“Once upon a time there was a young girl called Vanessa who was extremely confident in herself, her thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Her self-esteem was pretty high as well”.

Sadly this is no longer the case.

Over the years both my confidence and self-esteem have slowly diminished. To be fair I can attribute some of it to growing from a teenager to an adult and being more aware of things in the world and learning to be a little more reserved. However, there are some other experiences that have not helped.

As I look back over the past 10-15 years I realise there have been things that helped my ‘lack of’ confidence grow and take root. Years ago I made a really bad work decision and in retrospect on the second day of my job I should have left. Unfortunately, my work ethic was very high and I stuck it out for about 9 months until I could not take any more of the abuse and bullying. Please do not think that I cannot take responsibility for my part in the whole situation because I can and for the most part I have made “peace” with myself.

A year or so later I joined an awesome company with good career advancement possibilities and advanced quickly. I then made another (small) career mistake; that eroded more of my confidence again and I began to doubt myself professionally (I was already doubting myself personally). I stuck it out for about 18 months and then moved into another role (same company) and this was the beginning of something that I really enjoyed. I ended up with an amazing female boss and she helped both my professional and personal growth. I also learnt that throwing tantrums at work is not mature, professional or acceptable. Imagine that!?

I then left that company after almost 5 years and joined my current company (which I adore). I have realised that without the good and bad bits that I would not be where I am today. I enjoy what I do. Actually, I LOVE what I do.

I still have a lot of self-confidence issues (both personally and professionally) and I am really, really trying to work on these. There are times that I slip and take things personally when they are not a personal attack and just recently this ended badly. Having low self-confidence and self-esteem are two things that I cannot stand about myself; but they are not easy things to change (short term).

As for my low self-esteem I think that this stems from being overweight and having people stare constantly in malls or perfect strangers making comments or screaming things from their cars. Please do not think that I am being over-sensitive or paranoid about these things as it has happened and it continues to happen to me. What makes people think that they have the right to hurl abuse at me (or others) for the way that they look ? What right?! People look me up and down in malls and it makes me incredibly upset and vulnerable. I know that I am OBESE and I beat myself up every single day of my life and quite frankly I do not need others to do it for me. Perhaps they think I do not realise and want to make me aware.

So here is my statement.

“My name is Vanessa and I am obese. I am currently working on changing the way I look and feel but the extra 60-70 kilos that I am carrying around EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. is not going to come off overnight. Like everyone I have good days and bad days and like many people I emotional eat. There are times when I crave chocolate, or potatoes, or soft drink. I understand that I have not exercised enough and have eaten too much.

I also understand that there is a great deal of emotional baggage tied up with my weight and I need to embark on a massive three-pronged attack on my weight.

1. Making healthier food choices and understanding my cravings.

2. Including more activity in my day whether it is planned or incidental.

3. Delving into my psyche to start unravelling the negative emotional stuff.

It is going to be a day-by-day journey for me and it is my journey and at the end of the day I am the one that has to make those changes. So while I can do most of it myself there are times when I need/want kind words of support. I am Vanessa and I am making the effort to change my life, my health and my well-being.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go to Garage Sales on a Saturday morning

I had to change a couple of things on the list so Body Jam Class has become Sh’Bam and Go to Armageddon to Garage Sales.

I have always wanted to go to a whole heap of Garage Sales on a Saturday morning. On Friday night I actually looked through the Western Leader and there were HEAPS! So I circled quite a few with the first being one that started at 6am in the morning.

I was so excited and woke up really early and Mark decided to come with me as he did not want me traipsing around stranger’s garages on my own.

We got to the first Garage Sale just after 7am….needless to say it was pretty disappointing. The next one was much better and we came out with 2 x books and a quiche dish for $3.5o. What a bargain. The next few were pretty disappointing as well and the best bargain of the day was a pail of Lego Duplo that we got for $1.00.

We then went to the Henderson car-boot sale and managed to get another book and a whole load of beautiful plants from this lovely man.

A few people were much more organised and one house was completely disorganised. Do people not understand that you have to get everything ready the night before when you are holding a garage sale, as the first hour is normally the busiest? Also, some of the stuff people were trying to sell was absolute junk and really should have been tossed. I was surprised by the junk as we have held garage sales in the past and have had quite cool stuff. I also organised a massive charity garage sale a few years ago and people gave us a mix of junk and really good stuff.

We probably managed to go to about 7 garage sales. Mark and I still had fun and we would probably do it again.

Suggestions for holding a successful garage sale:
- Get everything ready the night before so it can be put out easily (if you don’t have a garage)
- Have an idea of prices and be prepared for people to bargain
- Get rid of anything that is really just rubbish
- Display “like” things together
- Have a float with plenty of change
- Use good, clear signage in the streets around your house and on main roads
- Advertise in your local paper, on community notice boards etc.
- Have extra people helping during the first hour or so when it’s busy
- Consider involving a few families as the more that is on offer; the better

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Urgent Couriers and Auckland City Mission

Last week I got my Christmas cracker from Urgent Couriers (*happy claps*); this cracker is for their “Santa Needs Help This Christmas!” campaign in conjunction with the Auckland City Mission. I know that Christmas is still 59 days away however you can start getting your workmates organised now.

What is it?In December the Auckland City Mission will:
• Provide emergency food to thousands of families
• Celebrate Christmas dinner with 1600 people
• Make Christmas special for thousands of children

They can’t do it without your help!Become a Santa’s Helper and encourage your workmates and customers to donate food, new presents and financial gifts for the Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal. In turn, you can make Christmas special for thousands of Auckland families and their children.

*This is proudly supported by Urgent Couriers who will drop everything that you need for your office collection and then pick up the donations in December*
To give you an idea of things to donate, below are the products that are commonly included in their food parcels:
Canned Baked beans 440g
Canned Spaghetti 440g
Canned Sweet corn 425g
Canned Fruit (as available)
Canned meat
Peanut butter 380g
Flour 1kg
Tea bags (30 sachets)
Rice 1kg
Salt (small packet)
Canned fish
Milk powder 500g
Sugar 500g
Jelly packet
Pasta 500g
Soup (tin or packet)
Weetbix 375g
Toiletries bag: soap, laundry powder, razor, toilet roll
Cereal (i.e. Cornflakes)
Canned Tomatoes
Sauce Mix
Canned Beetroot

For Presents my suggestions would be $2 Shops as they have some quite cool toys and things i.e. bucket and spade for the beach etc. Also, you cannot go past The Warehouse for some good deals.

I know that people are stretched at Christmas and it should not really be about material things; however food is a necessity and also many of these children deserve at least one present on the day. It could be as simple as everyone in your company adding an extra can of food to their weekly shop.

So send @urgentcouriers a tweet or contact them through their website and get your Christmas Cracker today and start collecting! I am sure you could get your friends together and start collecting too!

Not in Auckland; then find your local food bank and find out what they are doing.

Eating my feelings and my mind

Last week I had a few conversations about sabotaging my weight-loss journey and eating my feelings.

I know enough about healthy eating and exercise to write my own book. I have read books, blogs, watched television, tried Weight Watchers and Sure Slim, done Body for Life etc. So it is definitely NOT my lack of knowledge about these things that is preventing me from losing weight.

As I watch more of the Biggest Loser Australia; I have realised that there is a lot of mental and emotional ‘fog’ that I need to sort out before I will seriously start to lose weight. Perhaps I need to go and see a counsellor for a few sessions to point me in the right direction.

Like a lot of people I do eat my feelings. I eat when I am happy, sad, angry, bereft. I enjoy food and I do not ever want to be in a position where I do not enjoy food. Last week I had a chat with Shona over an Oreo Shake and Chocolate Cake with ice-cream. Shona asked me if I would ever consider “surgery” and I said no. I explained that I do not really want to go down that track, as I am positive that I can get my mind right and do it myself. Then we talked about how we had both just made food choices that were not that great and therefore sabotaged ourselves. My personal trainer Arlene asks me why I sabotage myself constantly.

To be honest; I do not know why I sabotage myself. There could be any number of reasons:
- Deep down I do not want to weigh less and be fitter and healthier
- I am starving and make a bad food choice
- I need to get my head “fully” in the game
- I want to support people’s businesses and other than buying their beautiful food I cannot think of other ways to help support them

Over the weekend I had an epiphany! I realised that I eat my feelings because I do not tell people how I feel when I am sad or upset with them. I push down those feelings with rage, tears and food. This leads to resentment and a very emotional Ness. I then dwell on all the things that I should have said; things I should have felt strong enough to say. I often hold onto these feelings of sadness or anger for months or years and by that stage it is too late to say anything to that person.

For about 20 years I have not really spoken up when I have felt hurt or disagree with someone. I used to be a lot more strong-minded and in some instances I still am. However, there are still miles to go for me to become a whole person that speaks up rather than staying quiet. Deep down there is the feeling of being ‘disliked’ if I say something when I feel hurt, or if I go against the grain with my opinions. Also, I am completely freaked out about getting into a debate where I feel that I cannot “hold my own”. Over the years my confidence has been eroded and I am left with virtually none.

Twitter has taught me a lot about people and I have watched a lot of debates when people have differing opinions. It is refreshing to me to see some debates that rage while not becoming “personal attacks”. I have even begun to dip my toes in the water a little and express my own opinions.

So it is time for a new Ness that stands up for herself and is not going to be bullied, walked all over or made to feel stink anymore for her feelings or opinions.

Previous Weight: 154.8kg
Current Weight: 153.2kg
Weight Difference: 1.6kg
Initial Goal Weight: 99kg
Work out pledge: 3 cardio and 2 resistance workouts

Friday, October 22, 2010

Core Strength and the Pelvic Floor

*Disclaimer* ~ I am not a doctor or a personal trainer however I have written this blog based on my own limited knowledge after some comments from my personal trainer.

Other than the need to increase my cardiovascular fitness my abdominals (or lack thereof) have always been an issue. I have never had ‘washboard’ abs and for the most part I avoid sit-ups like the plague. Incidentally, I had a trainer in the past comment that I had stronger lower abs than upper; go figure. Sometimes when I do abdominal exercises I want to cry because they hurt. *sigh*

I remember watching a US program a few years ago where a woman had lost a significant amount of weight and was then able to have a tummy tuck. I was surprised to see that under the layers of excess skin that she had an obviously strong abdominal wall. So there are some abdominal muscles under there somewhere!

Strong abdominals are crucial to help support your lower back, spine and assist with good posture. According to my sister they are also important if you want to be a success in a pole-dancing class! Abdominal strengthening can be achieved with exercises that work all the muscles; i.e. Pilates, Yoga, Swiss ball work and Tai Chi.

A few months back I had just finished a workout with my gorgeous personal trainer Arlene. We were doing the dreaded abdominals and she had me squeeze a small ball between my knees. I was going gung-ho and then she said “right Vanessa when you squeeze the ball I want you to focus on squeezing your pelvic floor muscles”. I was “what the hell”. At the end of the work out I asked her why working my pelvic floor muscles would help my abdominals. Arlene explained that if I thought of my abdominals like a box and contained within that box were groups of muscles (lower abdominals ~ Rectus, internal and external oblique and the deeper Transverus). So sitting at the bottom of your core are your pelvic floor muscles which assist in supporting your core.

It is probably best to have a read of research done way back in 2003 around ‘Rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscles utilizing trunk stabilization’ which talks about the “synergy” between abdominal and pelvic floor and have a look on the internet too.

So gals when strengthening your abdominals do not forget about your Pelvic Floor; do exercises in the car at the lights, or while you are cooking tea!

If anyone else other useful information/links/knowledge please, please add them into the comments.

Helpful links:
Core Strength and Core Stabilization Training
Pelvic Floor Exercises etc.
Rehabilitation of pelvic floor using trunk stabilization

Previous Weight: 155.5kg
Current Weight: 154.8kg
Weight Difference: -700g
Initial Goal Weight: 99kg
Work out pledge: 3 cardio and 2 resistance workouts

PS My favourite workout song this week is “Proud Mary” ~ Glee Cast.

Monday, October 18, 2010


When I joined Twitter I was sad.

For some reason I was so down and did not really want to share my sadness with my close friends or family, or burden them with my pain. So I turned to strangers; strangers who have since become some of my closest friends. Unfortunately, I ended up cutting myself off from many close friends and my family. Some of those friendships have gone or changed and some are stronger through people’s perseverance.

I also felt both overwhelming happiness and grief because my beautiful sister and my sister-in-law were both pregnant. I was excited for them both; however I felt sad because they were having children and we were not. Years ago I miscarried at the same time I found out I was pregnant. I understand that miscarriage is a lot more common than we would think and often women do not even really know they are pregnant. Nevertheless, I did grieve and it also made me realise that “yes” I really did want children. Now I wonder if it is even possible and as each year passes my opportunity to have children slips steadily away. I even feel somewhat resigned to the fact that I may never have children.

I joined Twitter not long after I finished volunteering. Giving up volunteering left a huge hole in my life and I gradually filled it with Twitter and writing a blog to try and get my happiness back. I blogged about painful and emotional subjects and I shared these blogs with strangers as I struggled to work through my own issues. I did not share them with friends or family.

Even as I write these words I feel sad; sad because some of the grief that I felt last year is seeping back into my heart.

Last year I felt broken and I had no idea at all about how I was going to fix myself and my life. So I wrote, I delved into my thoughts, I went back to the gym and I used Twitter. I successfully kept my Twitter and “real life” separate from one another; now 18 months later these two parts of me have started to mesh together to form one life.

Please remember that while outwardly I may appear strong, inside I am not always so strong. I take things to heart and some words do still hurt me. Every 6 months or so I feel really sad and I need a couple of days to recharge and feel like “Ness” again. It’s cyclic and I am used to it. Usually, it gets sorted with some awesome music and a good cry.

I just wanted to write the way that I am feeling so that I can process it all and move on without having a wee meltdown.

PS Liz (I know you will read this) I am working hard at not taking things personally and telling people when they upset me, but it's hard to change 20 odd years of behaviour overnight :) xx

Friday, October 15, 2010

Put a little extra “somethin’, somethin’” in your trolley

Today at lunch the girls and I were talking about charities. I explained how I thought it would be really awesome if the City Mission were to update their Twitter and Facebook pages on a weekly basis with what they urgently needed that week. I actually remembered a few weeks ago they really needed cereal. The City Mission also has a list on their website of the food products that go into a food parcel, so this is a good guide. The Kits2Kids Facebook “crew” have started doing this and I find it really helpful. It means that if I want to get them some goodies to help out then I know exactly what they need in “real time”.

Perhaps as more non-profit organisations come onto Twitter and Facebook we will see regular updates of what they need sent out to their followers and friends.

Having worked for a non-profit organisation for quite a number of years I know how hard it is to ask for and get the things that you desperately need to keep things going for just another month.

I know that at the moment times are pretty tough and people cannot always afford a monetary donation, however perhaps you can give a couple of cans of food that you can “live without”. I tend to buy bulk things for organisations all at once, which unfortunately led my husband to ask “who are you buying 6 x children’s toothbrushes and 6 x tubes of children’s toothpaste for”. Ummm I did not really have an answer to that one.

So my suggestion is how about adding an extra “somethin’, somethin’” to your trolley each week or fortnight? When you get a box worth of goodies then you can drop them off to the charity of choice. As woman I figure we have become very good about justifying our “secret” purchases over the years…we are stealth-like in fact i.e. “oh honey, this old thing? I have had it for ever”.

At the moment I am busy thinking about how I can help charities without having to put in a lot of hours or time. So being able to donate products is an excellent way for me to help. A few years back I actually gathered a whole box full of women’s beauty products to give to the City Mission for women at Christmas. Last year at Christmas I know that CJLambert actually ordered groceries online through Foodtown and had these delivered directly to the City Mission. I know many website developers and photographers help out non-profits doing work for them to help raise their profile.

This year I think I will do a huge collection of food items for the City Mission and deliver them in early December to help with the Christmas rush.

Note: there are many other charities out there that need assistance and it is about finding the one that you really want to help out. Check out Givealittle on Twitter to.
Please feel free to share your ideas for helping where you can.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 30- Your favorite song

It is stink that I have to pick just the one song as a favourite.

Right now, my favourites would be:

'Bathe in the River' ~ Hollie Smith
'Carry on my Wayward Son' ~ Kansas
'Take it Off' ~ Ke$ha
'Dog Days Are Over' ~ Florence + The Machine
'I Like It' ~ Enrique Iglesias
'And I am Telling You I'm Not Going' ~ Glee Cast Member (Amber Riley)

That's all...THE END of the 30 Days of Me Challenge

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned

I cannot believe how much I have learned about people and how many similarities there are between us. So many people have been adopted. Many are procrastinators. A few want to exercise more and improve their diets. Most (if not all) love their family and friends. Many are willing to share a great deal of their lives, thoughts, feelings online. Many have had sad things happen in their lives and have managed to grow through the sadness and pain.

I hope people continue to blog after this.

Looking back to the start of this challenge…I would have read through the list more thoroughly and perhaps created my own. There were too many duplicate/similar blog topics, and loads of photos.

So now the 30 things in 60 Days begins.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now how have you changed since then?

I struggled a little with this challenge as I tend to avoid photographs of myself like the plague as I hate how I look. This is from our trip to Wellington in December 2009 at dusk in front of Lake Taupo.

How have I changed since this photo? I am older and wiser(?). I have learned a lot in the past year from Twitter and people’s blogs. I definitely read more online and am more up-to-date with current events.

I am probably about the same weight and my headspace with regard to health, weight-loss and eating is slowly getting better. I am back at the gym with Mark. I am a little stronger and am committed to finishing my 100 Things to do list.

That’s about all really.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge

I am doing this challenge because everyone else was and I thought it sounded interesting. Also, it helped me with blog ideas when I was a little stuck. I also wanted to finish something!

From here I am going to do my
30in60 Challenge.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do Zumba

Late on Sunday night my sister text me from Sydney to remind me to update my blog for 30 Days of Me; I was surprised that she was reading it. I explained I was thinking of doing another challenge and she “politely” reminded me to finish one list before starting another. So we came up with 30 Things in 60 Days using activities/things from my original list from 2007.

I have tried to pick some easy and hard things to do over the next 2 months so that it is not all plain sailing. Once I get through the initial 30 by 27th November 2010 then I can select another 30 until I have finished my list. Any suggestions for things I could add are more than welcome!

Last night Andrea (@dlishblog) organised a Zumba Tweet Up at Viva Latino on Newton Road. They actually have a huge range of different classes and I would be interested trying some of these as well (Hip Hop classes are on my original list).

Karly and I joined Andrea and the rest of the class for a fun-filled 1 hour Zumba class. I was nervous about the class all day, however I felt really relaxed when we got there and the instructor was lovely!

My fitness is still quite low and I am pretty uncoordinated but I still really enjoyed the class. Many of the Zumba moves are classic aerobics moves i.e. grapevine; so in that respect it was easy to follow. However, the movement using the waist and hips had me stumped. It is something that I am really going to have to get the hang of! I was kind of fascinated by the instructor’s crazy black tassels on her hot-pink Zumba pants. To be fair I was looking at her butt because I was trying to understand which part of her body she was using to get her booty shaking like that!

The choice of hypnotic Latin beats certainly made me feel as though I was in another world. It made me envisage low-rider cars in the hot sun with radios blaring and children on street corners playing under water spray from fire hydrants.

Would I do Zumba again…DEFINITELY! It was high energy, high fun and I love being able to feel like I am at a nightclub without staying out until 2am! My boss even said I could borrow their Zumba DVD to have a practice. Look out people…I will get the hang of shaking my booty!!

P.S. I also believe that Zumba should be an option in Physical Education programs in New Zealand schools. As I child/teenager I absolutely abhorred running and would have much rather done aerobics, swimming or even a dance class. Seriously, New Zealand sit up and take note that we should be promoting exercise as fun and understand that not all children are built to do cross-country!

Day 26- What you think about your friends

I love my friends they are amazing and supportive. They are all very unique and beautiful. I have old friends that I have known for over 20 years and new friends that I have known for less than a year. They all have things to offer and I value them highly. I have had friends that have come into my life for a brief time to teach me things about life and myself.

"Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 25- What I would find in your bag

Asthma Inhaler
Bills to pay
2 x Books
Business Cards
Hair Ties
iPhone headphones
Purell Hand Sanitizer
Sanitary Pads
Sticking Plasters
Wet Wipes

Look at that list it makes me realize that 1. I would be a good parent and 2. I have loads of allergies or am a pharmacy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 24- A letter to your parents

Dear Mum and Dad,

I just want you to know just how much I love you both. You are both such incredible people. You have supported me throughout my life and shown me want it means to be part of a loving, caring family.

I do not spend as much time with you as I want to and really want to rectify that. Dad getting sick last year really made me realize just how short life is. I feel blessed that you are both well and still here!

Mum you inspire me constantly. You are 70 but you remind me that people are only as “old as they feel”. About 4-5 years ago you joined a gym and now you love it. I love that you went to university when I started school and completed your BA and then an MA. When you went to Africa in 1982 you chose to try and obtain the name of my birth mother in case something happened whilst you were away. I am truly sorry for all the hurtful things I said when I hit my teenage years; I cannot take them back but I can try and make up for them by loving you every single day. I love that you are a crazy Irish chick and really love St Patrick’s Day. You are a strong, beautiful woman.

Dad you have an amazing knowledge of the world and I feel blessed that you are my father. I remember once asking if you ever regretted not having a biological daughter, to which you replied “you are my daughter”. You also told me how disappointed you were after I flawed my first year of University and that prompted me to prove you wrong in my second year. I love how you get delighted when I bring you new bottles of wine to try. I love that you played a witch in a pantomime. I love that you get teary when you feel a huge amount of emotion. Dad you rock!

Mum, dad I am often flawed by your sense of humour! Often you both make me laugh so hard that I cry. You love a huge variety of television from ‘Crapston Villas’, ‘Green Wing’ to ‘Outrageous Fortune’ and ‘Gilmore Girls’. You get so much out of every movie you watch and often watch a movie 2-3 times plus the special features.

You are both extraordinary, kind people and I love you more than words on a page can show.

Love and loads of hugs

Vanessa Jane Liddell

Monday, September 27, 2010

30 Things in 60 Days

A few years back I made a list of 100 things to do in a year...suffice to say I didn't do them all. So once the 30 Days of Me blogging challenge is up I am going to embark on 30 Things in 60 Days. I am going to do 30 things from my list over 60 days and blog as I go.

Here is my
full list and I would like to add some more things to get it to 100.

The first 30 in alphabetical order:
At least one blog per week
Body Attack Class
Build a gingerbread house
Clean the car
Climb a tree
Create a new cocktail
Do 5 RPM classes
Do Zumba - CompletedEnter a radio competition
Get something published in any newspaper i.e. article or letter to the editor
Gilmore Girls marathon
Go to a Sh'Bam Class
Go to a Housie Night
Go to Garage Sales on a Saturday morning - Completed
Go to the driving range
Go up Sky Tower
Have a picnic in the garden with the cats
Hold a formal murder mystery dinner party
Learn to make homemade sushi
Learn to make meringues
Make an art or craft item and sell it on Trade Me
Make an outfit to wear
Make and decorate a cake or cupcakes
Plant a tree
Play softball (with MrTee?)
Prepare Tofu for Mark and get him to eat it
Read The Hobbit
Spend the day touring the Auckland Volcanoes (except Rangitoto)
Try Bikram Yoga
Try Pilates

Day 23- Something you crave for a lot

Food Cravings:
Chocolate – a few times during the month
Macaroni Cheese – total comfort food
Raw Salmon – Omega3
Chocolate Milkshakes – when I was pregnant
Good coffee
V Drink
Steak - from time to time I really want steak despite not having eaten it for over 10 years

Other Cravings:
A good book
Time out

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else

How am I different from everyone else? If I look at things/personality traits/facts etc. individually then I am not different from other people; however if I look at myself as a whole then I am unique.

I adore water and would rather be in the water than on it i.e. in a boat

I am 178cm tall

I am a Leo on the cusp of Cancer and I have traits from both signs

I am adopted

I am left-wing; but have only voted Labour once

I am of German, Samoan and Swiss descent

I am the only Vanessa Liddell (now Oldfield) that I know

I got married in Waipu Cove in the middle of winter (28th June) and I made our wedding party cross a freezing cold estuary in June

I hate boats

I have been happily married for 2 ½ years

I have been in love three times

I have no problems with women breastfeeding, but I do not want to breastfeed

I have two nieces, two nephews and another niece on the way

I love cats

I love living in New Zealand

I love my family

I want children

My cousin Rachel came to live with us when she was 14; she is the closest thing that I have to a sister other than my biological sisters

My oldest friends are Chev and Jen and I have known them since I was 14

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy

Mark and I do not have kids at the moment, but we have fur-babies; six to be precise. This was a good blog topic as I already wanted to write about the Oldfield-Liddell “crew”. To be fair Mark and I love them so much.

Daisy (aka Fatty) – Daisy is our original girl. She is a beautiful tabby-torti and has a streak of grumpy. She is obese and is currently on a diet. She has a think for laser lights and loves to play with hair-ties and plastic bags.

Ollie (aka gay boy) – Ollie is Daisy’s brother and he is such a sweet, gentle cat (except when bullying Kitty-Kat). He is a stunning ginger-tabby. His favourite TV show is ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ and he has cuddle time with me at night; in fact he is all over me like a furry leech.

Max (aka Bully) – Max was our very first rescue cat and is super intelligent and a bit of a bully. He is a huge (not fat) tabby and white cat. He loves watching motorsport when he is not napping!

Bob (aka pyscho) – Mark and I saved Bob from death as a furry little 350gm kitten. He can be a sweet little cat, but can turn in an instant if he gets a fright. He is cross-eyed and he’s Mark’s favourite; they have cuddles a lot. He has striking black and white fur.

Kitty-Kat (aka quiet one) – I knew that we would eventually keep Kitty-Kat when I cried every-time my friend Raewyn tried to find her a home. She is the cutest, most placid little girl and is a bit of a loner. She loves playing with my hair and playing under the long grass in summer. She is like a furry slinky, as you can do absolutely anything with her!

Whitey (aka Wooly) – When we moved into our new place Whitey just turned up one day and she has stayed with us ever since. She is pure white and often has oil splotches from the 4WD next door. She has grumpy moments and she only interacts with Bob, as we keep her separate from the rest. Mark calls her Wooly as her fur smells like wool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future

Vin Diesel???

But seriously, I am already married and will happily spend my future with Mark. It is not always perfect, but 9 times out of 10 it is.

Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them

I really only have one nickname and it is Ness or Nessa. Since creating the Twitter username @Nessliddell so many more people call me Ness.

I did not used to like Ness as a nickname and now it feels weird when people call me Vanessa.

Why – Ness is just shortened version of my name.

Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have

Plans - this relates to travel and seeing places around the world; check out my blog about "places to see before I die"

Dreams - to have a couple of children and have a happy life.

Goals - I just want to lose weight and be healthy. I would love to be able to save and am working on this at the moment. I have a list of 60 things that I want to do over 2010-2011 but I have not really done any as yet.

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

I might have to pass on this one, as I cannot decide if I want to be selfish (for me) or selfless (for others).


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 16- Another picture of yourself

This photo was from my 7th Form Ball at the Downtown Convention Centre in 1993...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play

1. I Know What Boys Like (from House Bunny) ~ Katharine McPhee
2. Push the Button ~ Sugababes
3. Flashdance (Oh What a Feeling) ~ Irene Cara
4. I’ll Stand by You ~ Glee Cast
5. One Night Stand ~ Mis-Teeq
6. Every Rose Has it’s Thorn ~ Miley Cyrus
7. Work ~ Kelly Rowland
8. Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) ~ Beyonce
9. Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) ~ US3
10. Ridin’ Solo ~ Jason derulo

Day 14- A picture of you and your family

1 - birth family.
2 - mum and dad and my cousin, her husband and daughters...the youngest is hiding behind her dad. My cousin is so special to me, because she was the closest person that I had to a sister growing up. Her daughters are like my nieces.
3 - Mark's family; nephew was in my sister-in-law's tummy.
4 - my sister’s wedding in March this year and shows my mum and dad, my new Amercian brother-in-law (*grin*) plus my birth family and my huge extended family. Being from a Samoan family makes my family HUGE!

I wanted to put our fur-babies up; but their photos are all at will update tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently

I was really reluctant to write a letter to someone who has hurt me recently. To be fair, most things I just tend to deal with by going inside myself until I can “heal”.

My one biggest failing is that often I cannot “tell” people if they have upset or hurt me.

Dear xxx,

You and the organization nearly broke me when I quit volunteering last year; I actually never thought I would recover. You accused me of putting my relationship with RT first and that, that affected my actions as a committee member.

I wish I had, had the strength to stand up to you like the bully you are and tell you that you did exactly the same things with your friendship with xx. You sheltered her under your wing and somewhat turned a blind eye to things that she did that went against certain committee policies. You hypocrite! Even 18 months down the track I still regret not saying the things (to you) that I really felt about the whole situation.

Sometimes I cannot believe I wasted 2 ½ years of my life which nearly broke me and my marriage. However, if I had not spent the time when I would have never met RT and never helped save and re-home the numbers that we did. So that is a huge positive.

I do not think that I am blameless, and accept responsibility for my actions that were wrong. Nevertheless, I am surprised that as an adult you could act like a teenager.

I want to move on and cast aside my hurt and hopefully this letter will help me on my way; because it is time to MOVE ON!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one

I have a Gmail account and wanted to create a blog. I decided to get rid of any other blogs (i.e. Live Journal) that I had at the time and just focus on developing one.

I created a blog because I felt that I wanted to write and I missed writing. Despite being a pretty open book for some reason I felt more comfortable sharing personal things with strangers than with friends and/or family. Now I have no problem with strangers or people I know reading my blog.

Sometimes I get stuck with what to write so if I think of blog topics I just put them into my "blog" word document until I feel like writing them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends

Mark and I with my Raewyn and her partner Roy.

Not much to say other than I love this woman so much. I have known her and Roy for just over 4 years and she is one of the most amazing women that I have ever met.

Had I not volunteered for LMA I never would have met her. So one good thing did come out of that!

Love you Rae. xx

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped or Mad

Anything by the Glee Cast
‘California Gurls’ – Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
‘Kings and Queens’ – 30 Seconds to Mars
‘Party in the U.S.A’ – Miley Cyrus
‘Ridin’ Solo’ – Jason Derulo
‘Yes’ – Merry Clayton
‘You Got Me’ – J. Williams feat. Scribe

‘Art of Love’ – Guy Sebastian feat. Jordin Sparks
‘Bathe in the River’ – Hollie Smith,
‘Carry on my Wayward Son’ - Kansas
‘Everytime we Touch’ – Cascada
‘Hate that I Love You’ – Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo

‘Fireflies’ – Owl City
‘Gettin’ Over You’ – David Guetta & Chris Willis feat. Fergie
‘I Should be so Lucky’ – Kylie Minogue
‘Morning Train (Nine to Five)’ – Sheena Easton
‘Work’ – Kelly Rowland
Anything by Queen or Meatloaf

‘Evacuate the Dancefloor’ – Cascada
‘I Gotta Feeling’ – Black Eyed Peas
‘I Know What Boys Like’ – Katharine McPhee
‘It’s a Party’ – Tamia
‘Let’s Go Crazy’ – Prince
‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ – Beyonce
‘Take it Off’ – Ke$ha

‘Deepest Bluest’ – LL Cool J
‘Hey Now’ - Xzibit
‘Ladiez’ – Sarai
‘Now I’m That B***h’ – Livvi Franc
‘Supermassive Black Hole’ – Muse
‘Wait a Minute’ – Ray J. feat. Lil’ Kim
Most Rap or Hip Hop i.e. Eminem, Nelly, 50Cent, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, and Lil’ Kim…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 09 and #CupQuakes

I decided to do something for the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal for all the lovely people in Christchurch. So along with a couple of others we baked about 40 dozen cupcakes and we were given almost 5 dozen from Delish Cupcakes.

I baked my final batches of #CupQuakes last night and today sent a mix of 30 chocolate-chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to Dave. I am not sure if I ever want to see another cupcake....well at least for a few days.

I have been overwhelmed by the support from the Twitter community and friends and family. Thank you for your words of encouragement, your retweets and unwavering support. xxx

At last count (Thursday 16th September) we had raised $805.50 ($194.50 off my target of $1,000)!! I will update this total if it changes. Once I have all the money in then I will do one huge transfer directly to the Red Cross.

For me, one of the most amazing things was that we were able to donate 100% of the money raised to the Red Cross. I know that people have worn a lot of the cost of baking to make this possible.

Given the short space of time that this was organised; I thought of it on Wednesday 8th I have been amazed by the response and support from the Twitter community, friends and family.

So I would like to thank the following people who have helped make this huge feat possible by giving their time selflessly.

Designing the #Cupcakes4Cantabs flyer:
The beautiful @MorganHerself

The bakers and decorators:
Your generosity and the time spent helping were greatly appreciated! @Teena2003, @Wendywings and Miss8, @omakiwi and @stockhausens. Also, to @claireatitc and her team of bakers at the International travel Collage (@itcnz); your support and enthusiasm were fabulous.

Tweeps who brought cupcakes:
@AdrianKitto @ActivePhysioAlb @jillporternz @CateOwen @venzann @nzdeany @blimeychrissy @Rachel_JC @cameocreams @andreawong_nz @cathmarygeorge @getageloc @rgoodchild and Dan

Tweeps who didn’t buy cupcakes but donated:
@bestblooms and @adagebusiness

Amazing Businesses
To @delishcupcakes who kindly gave us their beautiful cupcakes in a HUGE range of Amazing flavours and dropped them off first thing on Monday. If you want cupcakes these are the girls to go to!!

To @UrgentCouriers who wanted to do something to help the people of Christchurch and offered 5 Auckland deliveries to help get dozens of cupcakes to their buyers. P.S. all the cupcakes arrived safe and sound.

Check out some other New Zealanders raising money to help Cantabrians here
I hope this has inspired others to do a little bit to help out where they can.
PS I hope to try and make up the difference to get to $1,000 by selling some things that we no longer use at home.

List of as many bloggers (that I could find) doing the 30Days Challenge

List of all the bloggers (that I could find) on Twitter doing the 30 Days of Me Blogging Challenge. I used my own list and added any extras from @alikat2k @velofille and @pebblesy

@?? -
(not sure of Twitter name)
@?? - (not sure of Twitter name)
@agentK -
@aimeeshadbolt -
@ajobbins -
@akianz -
@alikat2k -
@amiemccarron -
@amylovegrove -
@annagconnell -
@ashbriar -
@bellaHM or @sic_blog -
@belletristnz -
@bexielady -
@blauerpunto -
@blissfulweds -
@bobsyauncle -
@br3nda -
@bronninator -
@cateowen -
@champagnelulu -
@chocfish -
@claireatitc -
@ClaireNicoleB -
@colestanley -
@computermusic -
@cre8d -
@danfrasernz -
@davidcole -
@dawn_hall -
@feralx -
@Floppie_ -
@g33kytweet -
@GetAgeLoc -
@gondwanaheels -
@greermcdonald -
@harrismint -
@honorarykiwi -
@i_am_dan_p -
@ilaeria -
@janerobertson -
@jesscann -
@jethrocarr -
@Jewel_Lia -
@josiecampbell -
@kahliarose -
@kassh -
@katemontgom -
@kathrynwilson24 -
@katinedinburgh -
@katjnz -
@kerrypayne -
@kimmiwyn -
@kittengloves -
@kristynmaxwell -
@Leahevansnz -
@LGnome -
@lilgin -
@LivvyMarketing -
@LouDxx -
@macropiper -
@mattdeevee -
@mcquillanator -
@mecha_ginki -
@MiramarMike -
@MissNickiBee -
@Mmimz -
@MrsLPikon -
@mummybrain -
@naly_d -
@natdudley -
@nenuphars -
@nessliddell -
@niceties -
@nightwyrm -
@nikalow -
@nz_pilot -
@ohsarahrose -
@pebblesy -
@rachel_a -
@redcantab -
@shocknz -
@shotbyrobins -
@simon_w -
@SmileyPies -
@smrtgirl -
@sokezwasthinkin -
@solangefrancois -
@songsinblue -
@splatdevil -
@spudmasher -
@stockhausens -
@sub_baseline -
@SurgeInWelly -
@swiftynz -
@tarasutherland -
@tellychc -
@threeeights -
@tomgeeknz -
@tortenz -
@velofille -
@wellreadkitty -
@wendy_lane -
@wildechick -
@williewox -
@xenojay -
@xoxbubbles -

@radhikabt -

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why

I am going to count my month as 4 weeks from today the 15th September!

Bring lunch from home – this is really about me getting organised and planning meals. Also, saving money would be a HUGE bonus. I also need to record everything I am eating!

Cutting my work and personal “to do” lists in half – because I procrastinate I tend to re-do my “to do” list’s rather than just getting things done. I want to cut my “to do” lists in half so that I can start October feeling much lighter.

Lose 5-10kg – losing 5-10kg will bring me that much closer to my goal of weighing less and feeling fitter and healthier.

4 Gym Visits per week – Since being sick in August I have been really slack with my gym visits. I want to get back into going at least 4 times per week so that my fitness increases much more quickly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

I have written a number of blogs about my adoption and my birth family over the past year.
Over my lifetime there have been a huge number of people and places that have had a huge impact on the woman that I have become; however 4 people have had the BIGGEST impact on me from day 1.

When I was a few days old I was adopted by my mum and dad who were so excited to have this precious little baby. They never made a secret of my adoption and explained it to me from a very young age. I love them more than words can express and they have helped shape who I am today.

My birth mother who made the hardest decision a woman has to make and decided to give me up for adoption and to my step-dad and his family who supported her throughout the pregnancy and birth. Without her I would not have been born nor adopted into an incredibly loving family.

At 14 my birth and adoptive families met and my life has been full of family, laughter and love. Both my mum and my birth mother absolutely adore one another.

I feel truly blessed to have a huge family who love each other.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 06- Favourite super hero and why

My favourite super hero would have to be Wonder Woman. I loved her as a child and played dress up with my “power” bracelets. I love strong female figures, and for me at 6 years old she was all that in cute blue hot pants!

PS Do not even get me started on Flashdance and my leg-warmers!

Also, after reading Ashleigh’s blog she did a quiz to find out which Superhero you are. Quiz here. Guess who I am!!
Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash

You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to

This was a photo taken when we went to St Kilda Beach in Melbourne in October 2007. What can I say; I love Melbourne and would definitely live there.

Melbourne reminds me a lot of Wellington it is eclectic and arty and I love the markets. There is something truly amazing about being able to go to a market to buy fresh meat, cheese, bread and a food lover it completely floats my boat and fills my HappyNess tank.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have

Just the one habit!!

I have a number of habits that I wish I did not have!

1. Procrastination – I am a total procrastinator; always have been. I try and force myself out of it and to do the things that I find the hardest first each day. To be fair I am aware that I am a procrastinator and that’s probably half the battle. One of the best books I have ever read (while procrastinating) was to “Eat that Frog”. If the worst thing you had to do each day was to eat a frog then you would do it first and get it out of the way. I even wrote a blog about Procrastination a year ago.

2. I have a touch of OCD – my books are all in order and I get stressed if that order is messed up. I have lists of everything i.e. books I own, want to read, have read. My CD’s and DVD’s are in alphabetical order. I hate dishes piled up in the sink and it makes me totally bat-shit crazy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 03- A picture of you and your friends

This is a photo taken after my friends and sisters had, had our hair and makeup done before my wedding (28/08/08). I love this photo as these are my closest friends and we all look so happy!

It is a photo taken in my favourite place in the whole world; Waipu Cove. I also love the water and the beach.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cupcakes4Cantabs Update

So I have had a huge response from Twitter and Facebook and also some gorgeous strangers regarding Cupcakes4Cantabs. I will do a separate blog thanking all the people that have supported this worthwhile #CupQuake fundraiser. << Download the flyer and send it to your address book!!

I wanted to do a quick update about what is happening.

Monday 13th September is Cupcakes4Cantabs day where I will (along with others) be selling cupcakes and cakes to raise money for the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. 100% of the donations made go to this appeal.

I just said to Mark this evening “you know if we lived in Christchurch I would be out there helping and cleaning up and probably offering our hospitality to people”. Living in Auckland has its limitations in terms of physical assistance, so money is definitely the way to go.

A number of people really want to be involved, but have felt that they cannot as they are not in Auckland. When I thought of this idea my “bigger picture” plan was that people from all over New Zealand could get involved if they had the time to make 12 or 24 cupcakes and sell them to friends, family and workmates. I baked 100 cupcakes for the SPCA Cupcake day and we made $200 and that was mainly selling to people that we knew. So I figure you do not even have to really leave the comfort of your office if you do not want to.

So my challenge to those people who want to help but do not live in Auckland is to bake a batch or 2 of cupcakes and get selling!! Even if you just bake 12 you could make $24 and to be honest, that could probably feed a couple of Christchurch families’ dinner, or replace their toiletries, or provide enough bottled water for 12 people.

If 100 people baked 12 cupcakes and sold them for $2 each that would be a whopping $2,400!! Imagine how many dinners, toiletries or bottled water that would buy! You get the picture. Besides, who doesn’t have $2 to buy a beautiful, homemade cupcake to help New Zealanders.

The details:
So if you want to help out selling, baking or buying cupcakes or cakes then please let me know or 021 525 691.

Twitter Username: @nessliddell
Twitter Hashtag is: #Cupcakes4Cantabs or #CupQuake
Twitvite is:
Facebook Event:
When: Monday 13th September 2010
Where: Newmarket, Te Atatu...other areas TBC
Cost: $2 per cupcake or 3 for $5. Additional donations are welcomed. Note: Money will go straight to the Red Cross.

So tell your friends and family and let’s try and raise as much money as we can!!

Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name

It is pretty basic really; just “bits and bobs” about me that people may or may not find interesting. The main reason I started a blog was because I was so inspired by amazing New Zealand (and some overseas) bloggers. I figured if someone liked or “got” something from reading my blog then it would be worth it. I also enjoy writing and it seemed like a good way to improve my writing skills and also I have found it rather cathartic.

NessasBLChallenge – this is a fitness and weight loss blog. My cousin and her close friends did a Biggest Loser style challenge to lose weight and change their lifestyles. I was inspired by their commitment and creative way of approaching these changes i.e. for my cousin’s birthday party they couldn’t just sit around they had to be active and play games and move. The result was a party that ended at around 2am after a huge effort on the High School musical dance mat! I was also motivated by the contestants in The Biggest Loser Australian Couples season that I decided to embark on my own challenge with some friends.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

1. I was an only child until I was 14 and then I got “instant” biological sisters

2. Most of my friends are people I have met online over the years

3. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer

4. I have only had 3 boyfriends and the 3rd is now my husband

5. I wanted to be an underwater photographer after watching Jaws

6. I was almost named “Marigold” by my parents

7. I used to call water “ortie”

8. I hate it when people eat with their mouths open

9. When I have PMT I want to hit bad drivers cars with a baseball bat

10. I have nearly had the same birthday cake every year since I was 2 (same recipe)

11. My favourite iPhone App is Period Tracker

12. I desperately want children and have to lose at least 30kg before I can even start trying

13. I love writing and wish I was better at it

14. I like some country of my favourites is Chris Cagle. Chris Cagle’s music makes me sing at the top of my voice out loud.
15. I don’t particularly like bananas as they make me gag...unless in a cake or a banana split

16. I am secretly a fairy princess trapped in this human body!

30 Days of Me - @Nessliddell

Quite a number of tweets have come through today with friends doing the ‘30 Days of Me’ blogging challenge. Because I am a follower I figured that I would do it too. Here’s the list of what I will be telling you, about me, over the next 30 days! (Thanks Ali)

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- Your favorite song

Some ‘other’ 30 Days of Me Blogs

PS: Check out Alikat2k’s Twitter list for more people doing the ‘30 Days of Me’ Challenge:


On Saturday 4th September in the early hours of the morning Christchurch experienced a huge earthquake. So when things stopped shaking; in the cold light of day it became apparent to most Cantabrians that the damage to buildings, their personal belongings etc. was pretty severe.

In the following days as people picked up the pieces and helped their friends and neighbours no less than 300 aftershocks followed. I have been blown away by the support and concern shown by the Twitterverse. One of the 1000’s of tweets that really summed it up for me was from @redcantab “Especially those of us who live alone. Twitter has been a real lifeline”. To me, that says it all!

Having never experienced an earthquake (other than the shaking house in Te Papa, Wellington) I cannot imagine what people are going through. Based in Auckland I feel like my hands are tied, as I certainly cannot help out on the ground.

Nevertheless, I have realised that there is something that I can do to send a little help their way. This morning in the car on the way to work I decided that I could bake cupcakes and cakes for a cause. 100% of the donations will go to the Red Cross Canterbury Earth Quake Appeal.

So if you want to help out selling, baking or buying cupcakes or cakes then please let me know or 021 525 691. I have also started a Twitvite!

Twitter Username: @nessliddell

Twitter Hashtag is: #Cupcakes4Cantabs
Twitvite is:

When: Monday 13th September 2010
Where: Newmarket, Te Atatu...other areas TBC
Cost: $2 per cupcake or 3 for $5. Additional donations are welcomed. Note: Money will go straight to the Red Cross.

So tell your friends and family and let’s try and raise as much money as we can!!