08 December 2014

Happy birthday to me and my blog! Giant giveaway!

It's my birthday today! Yay! I'm 33. I never work on my birthday but this year I'm going to work for my birthday because I've had a few days off lately. I joked that working on my birthday is my present to the team. And then I'm off for dinner. I bought myself a MacBook Air - I'm so proud to have become good with money - I bought this outright using some prize money from this blog. Here's a cheesy birthday themed photo - a boudoir photo as Adam called it.

32 really was a great year! Maybe the best. I started work in an amazing communications role and team, spoke at many events and participated in The Guardian's diverse writers program. I've lost a few friends but gained many more. I went overseas for six and a half weeks - saw eight countries and met some wonderful people. I bought a new car and a MacBook. I talked to Darren Hayes on his podcast. I was named as one of Australia's most influential women. And most importantly, I got engaged to the most caring, loving man - and bought my wedding dress.

I can't wait to see what 33 has in store.

Next Tuesday my blog turns five! Here's my first post. And here's five of my favourite posts over the years.

When I got engaged

Ichthyosis Awareness Month and 2013 and 2014 (ok that's way more than five!)

When I talked to Darren Hayes

My skin hunger series

Talking about appearance diversity in the UK

I love blogging. I love starting out with a blank screen and making something nice for you to read. I love moving people with words - making them think and laugh and sometimes cry. It's an utter privilege to have people read my writing, and to continue to do so, and to leave comments. Thank you. And I love the connectedness - meeting people online and in real life that have become close friends.

I've grown so much. I've come to know myself through my writing, and through the relationships I've made with others. My blog started off as a diary, and then I became focused on appearance activism and Ichthyosis awareness. I was single when I started, and now I've got this amazing fiancé. I graduated from my Masters degree and gone on to work in a communications role in my day job - my dream role. I wanted to be published in the media, and now I have a great freelancing writing and speaking career that I created because of this blog. I made it happen. I've got an amazing readership and communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - I love seeing these communities grow and become more engaged.

To celebrate my birthday and my blog turning five, I have an enormous giveaway for you! Because it's you - my readers - who have been with me, supported me and helped me achieve things I'd only dreamed of. Thank you. And the best kind of presents are those you give others, right? And all the goodies are very me - I love cooking, eating and handmade!

This post hasn't been sponsored - there are no affiliate links and I haven't been paid to write this. I disclose that I was given a some items to keep - some kitchenware from House, clothes from St Frock, a Summerlandish book and a bracelet from The Jewel Collective. I have met many amazing people through blogging and many of them are creative business types who I approached for the giveaway. They have been very generous. Please stop by their sites and say hello!

So here's the giveaway. You can enter here.

Tell me what you've enjoyed most about my blog, and what prize you'd like to win. (Competition details below.)

Brunch with me!

Three blog readers are invited to have brunch with me (paid for by me) at a cool cafe in Melbourne in the new year. I love meeting readers in person - though most of the time it's in passing that we never get to chat properly. Brunch is my favourite meal and I'd love to have your company one day soon. You'd have to be in Melbourne or get yourself to Melbourne for this one! I can't pay for your airfare I'm sorry!

Bowls and necklace from Misskelly Made in Tasmania

Miss Kelly Made in Tasmania makes gorgeous bright vessels and jewellery. I'm giving away a set of three faceted bowls and a round necklace.

Miss Kelly Made in Tasmania has an online store, and Facebook and Instagram accounts.

A baking pack from Jason who blogs at Don't Boil the Sauce.

My friendship with Jason started out when I found his recipe for slow cooked baked beans. Seriously amazing. We chat a lot on Twitter. We've gone out for laughter filled lunches and dinners many times since - most recently to Maha where we met Shane Delia.

Jason has generously donated this prize pack.


He says:

"No birthday is complete without cake so this prize pack will have you well

on your way to blowing out the candles.....candles not included.

Prize pack includes: 1x 21cm loose base round cake tin, 1x mixing bowl, 1x set of measuring cups, 1x mini sieve, 1x mini whisk; 2x cake boards, 1x cupcake oven mit, 1x 145g cake toppers (CAKE BLING!!!), 1x Skype call with Jason from www.dontboilthesauce.com to talk about cakes and all things home baking - Valued at $40"

He blogs at Don't Boil The Sauce and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Go show him some love!

A bakery candle and earrings from Aacute

I LOVE candles but Adam thinks I have too many. I bought a couple of candles from Melbourne crafters Aacute at recent markets - a lemon friand and a chocolate brownie. These smell like the real thing. I also bought some earrings as a gift for a loved one.


The lovely ladies from Aacute are giving away a jam donut candle and a pair of drop earrings. The winner can choose any colour combination of earrings.

Check out Aacute's Website, Etsy store, Facebook and Instagram.

A Blog With Pip e-course

Pip Lincolne is a blogging crafting creative goddess and I LOVE HER! I did her Blog with Pip e-course this year - it's designed for new bloggers and crafty types - but I got so much out of it - design, writing prompts and most wonderfully, a great community. I love connecting with them in the Facebook group and meeting up with them at real life events.

Pip is giving away one place in her course, plus some vintage goodies. You'll get so much out of this e-course.

Check out her blog, Facebook, Instagram and the course details.

A Garnier pack

Sometimes I go to an event and get a goodie bag. Most of the time it contains makeup which I cannot use. I got a heap of Garnier products from the Kidspot party last weekend and I'm giving these to you!!

The pack contains Perfect Blur cream, BB cream, Goodbye Damage shampoo and conditioner and Micellar cleansing water. I'm also throwing in some other samples.

$120 Food Challenge Book

My dear friend Sandra - a blogger turned cookbook author - is giving away her fantastic book. It's filled with recipes to cook on a budget.

Sandra's cooked for me a number of times this year - hosting an amazing high tea as well as bringing me food when I was in hospital. Her food is just wonderful.

Sandra's blog can be found here, and she's on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A kitchen pack from House Essendon

I've got a friend who manages the House stores and she's seen my love of cooking. House has kindly donated this prize pack to give away - it contains an Alex Liddy dip and server, an Alex Liddy tree serving platter, three Alex Liddy star bowls and a Baccarat salad spinner. I'm throwing in some food magazines so you can get cooking straight away!

Check out House online and on Instagram Twitter and Facebook.

Brooches and earrings from Blossom and Cat

Last week I went to the Etsy night market and grabbed some Christmas presents. I fell in love with the glittery pineapples from Blossom and Cat - buying a brooch for me and another little treat for a gift.

Helen from Blossom and Cat has put together a lovely pack for a winner.

Issue 17 of Tickle the Imagination Magazine - Rock, Paper, Scissors

A glitter pineapple brooch

A hand painted watermelon brooch

Hand painted pineapple earrings.

You can visit Blossom and Cat's store - and say hello on Facebook and Instagram.

The Jewel Collective

My friend Sian has just started the Jewel Collective in November. She sent me a lovely bracelet from her boutique a few weeks ago - it features rose good stars - I love it! The packaging was also to die for. Sian is giving away some earrings to one lucky reader.

The earrings are from the Andromeda collection and are made from pink sapphires and rose gold vermeil (rose gold plated sterling silver). The RRP is $125.

You can see the collection at http://www.thejewelcollective.com or follow The Jewel Collective on Instagram or Facebook.

Be Awesome banner

I met Deb through the Blog With Pip course and found out about her amazing crafting abilities on Instagram. I bought a fruit salad brooch which makes people smile when I wear it. Deb has made this cute banner for the giveaway - it's worth $45.

Deb blogs at Sew Crafty Goodness. Visit her online shop, Etsy Shop, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

A CurlyPops brooch

I met Camille in 2010 because we both used to write for the same website and we're both bloggers. She's become one of my best friends and I'm so pleased to announce she will be my chief bridesmaid when I marry.

I am giving away one rainbow brooch to a lucky reader.

You can check out her blog, store, Instagram and Facebook.

Three Summerlandish books

Summer Land is a blogger and author of the very not so serious memoir, Summerlandish: Do As I Say, Not As I Did. Her writing has appeared in Elle Australia, Women's Health, Cosmo Aus & UK & Mamamia. She's giving away three signed books. She dresses like her name!

I met Summer Land at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year. We were on a panel together. We bonded in the green room of the Toff In Town, counting the number of Dick and Balls on the walls. We never drew our own there. I read her book on the plane and laughed out loud.

Find Summer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

$100 St Frock voucher

My friend Sandradee is a superb business woman. She run St Frock, an online store. I met her three years ago through this blog, and I caught up with her and the team in October.

She gave me some clothes including these amazing pants!

I am giving away a $100 St Frock voucher. People who want to win this voucher are asked to sign up to the Frock Club - let me know if you do in your entry!

Shop at St Frock online, or say hello to them on Facebook, Twitter or Instragram.

One Rulitos handcrafted necklace

I came to know Nerea through her mum, who worked with me. Nerea is a silversmith - creating beautiful jewellery for her store - Rulitos.

She's giving away away a necklace, designed especially for this blog birthday.

Nerea says:

"I have created a pendant to celebrate your blog's 5th birthday. It's an eco friendly piece that was created by melting little pieces of recycled .925 sterling silver then rolling the piece down over and over into a thin sheet which I then sawed the design out of. Due to the process, it's a bit rustic... 'imperfect' even... but I believe there's more charm and beauty in imperfection.

The pattern I printed was inspired by the 5 years of your blog, I think of them as dandelions or candles, something to make a wish upon :)."

Check out Rulitos' store, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

One $50 and one $20 voucher for Red Phoenix Emporium

I found out about Willow and Lotus and their jewellery store through superstar blogger Faux Fuchsia. We met over three years ago and have been friends ever since.

Red Phoenix Emporium are giving away two vouchers - one $50 and one $20 voucher. They've got plenty of items that are under $50 including tassel earrings, bags, scarves, bag tassels, bracelets and homewares.

Visit the Red Phoenix Emporium website, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

So, those are the prizes up for grabs. Please stop by their social media sites to say hello, or buy something from them if you want to. Enjoy! And thank you again!

How to enter:

You can enter via this form. Tell me what you've enjoyed most about my blog, and what prize you'd like to win.

Entries are open from 7.00 am 8 December AEDST to 5.00 pm 16 December AEDST. Winners will be notified by email around 20 December. I cannot guarantee you will receive your prize by Christmas day.

Each winner wins one prize pack only.

International readers can enter.

Your personal details including email and mailing address will not be passed onto any third party unless you are the winner. I will contact you via email to confirm you've won and then pass on your details to the prize provider only.

Your email address will be placed into my email address book and used when I develop my newsletter. For now, I have no idea. I promise I won't spam you.

If you want to brunch with me, you have to be in Melbourne or be able to get yourself to Melbourne. I can pay for the brunch but not your travel costs sorry.

If you want to enter the St Frock completion, they have asked you sign up to the Frock Club on their website. Let me know in a comment on on the form that you've done so.

If you win the Red Phoenix Emporium prize, you'll have to sign up to their website to use the voucher.































  1. Happy Birthday Carly.. I hope you have a fabulous day ! xoxox

  2. A very happy birthday to you Carly - living your 30's in style :)

  3. Happy birthday. I cannot wait to see how this next year tops your 32year seems pretty amazing to me. But lets hope this time next year you will have even more amazing events in your life. Have an amazing day and year. You deserve it

  4. Hi Carly, Happy birthday! I have been a reader of your blog for years now and felt compelled today to let you know how much I enjoy it and how much admire you as a person. I turned 30 this year and have recently realised how much I've 'held back' from doing things I've wanted to do in my life (perform music) because I've struggled with my appearance. I have 2 annoying skin conditions that make me look different and cause me pain and anguish. I am really grateful for your blog opening up the dialogue and advocating about facial difference and disability. Thank you so much and I am certain you will achieve so much more in your years to come. Have a lovely day. X Zoe

  5. Happy birthday Carly! Hope you have the best day. xx There are some beautiful giveaway prizes there.

  6. Your blog has opened my eyes to the way disability is viewed by our society. It has made me smile and laugh at the wonderful things you have achieved and made me cry when hearing about the cruel way ignorant people treat you and others with a disability. I have learnt your language and regularly drop terms like "appearance diversity" into conversations now. Your blog has not changed how I treat people because I have always worked hard to treat everyone with respect but I love that I now have a better understanding of the difficulties faced by those with a disability. I also feel so fortunate to have made a new and very dear friend in you.
    This amazing giveaway speaks volumes about the way you touch people- so many generous and beautiful donations.


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