What’s in a name?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For your messages, calls, DMs. For your kind words and support. It means the world to me that you’ve embraced the concept of Sisu & Finn. It is an exciting, albeit very scary, adventure which is driven by wanting to give women of all shapes and sizes clothing options.

Since the announcement, I’ve had quite a few questions about the name; so here is the context.

The last two years have been particularly challenging for me. Through that process I’ve had to look into the black abyss that’s inside all of us and use sheer grit, and determination to overcome the challenges that presented themselves to me. With most things in life, nothing is absolute. So the process continues for me. However, I knew that to support my big, ambitious soul, I needed to create something which reflected me, my passion for pushing boundaries and serving the broader community.

With that in mind, the words which helped create the name were always going to play an important role in the overall ethos of the brand. And when I stumbled across Sisu, it instantly resonated with me and I loved it. It felt right. It’s a Finnish word (hence the Finn) which means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. It’s about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. Doesn’t that perfectly describe what’s needed to live an authentic life?

It summed up what was required of me the last two years, but on further reflection, my whole existence. Being what society hasn’t considered ‘normal’ has always demanded an extra level of grit and determination. I see that grit and determination in your words and faces too. And Sisu & Finn’s purpose is to help support you; to give you options and to be a place where you can be comfortable to express yourself.

So that my dear (petite, curvy, ‘normal’ and plus sized) friends is how Sisu & Finn came to be.

Feel free to check out the site. As it is a work in progress, feel free to send feedback to info@sisuandfinn.com.au and tell me what you want from the site. And if you agree with the ethos, please share the post with your friends and family.

An exciting new adventure

My dear long lost friends…..sorry to be MIA.

I’ve had a few things on my plate, of late. Surviving is one. OK, that might be slightly dramatic, but that’s how it can sometimes feel.

More excitedly, just shy of 6 months ago, I decided to start my own business. I am so unbelievably excited by this and since then, I’ve had this unfamiliar feeling of satisfaction, freedom and fulfilled. It’s also terrifying, but lets not focus on that.

As you know from my ramblings on this site, I have a passion for people and clothes.  So, I’ve decided to pull those passions together and build an online store for the plus size woman. For me, and for you.

It’s in the process of having final touches added but it should be launched within the next couple of weeks – don’t worry, I will let you know when it’s live.

After a LONG time debating a name, I chose Sisu & Finn. I LOVVEEEE this name and as soon as I understand what Sisu meant, it felt right. I was debating other names for 2-3 months before stumbling across the word Sisu.

Sisu is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. … It’s about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity.

It perfectly describes my last two years. My world has been turned upside down, back to front, pulled up and down. I’ve spent this time questing my identity and what’s truly important to me; maybe now there will be some purpose and peace. I want so much for myself, and for you too.

The site isn’t live at this stage, but please add your details into the holding page so that you can keep up to date with all the exciting new developments as they happen. I will still blog, so you will still hear about my adventures here.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Laters baby (if you can figure out the reference, I will send you a virtual kiss).

 

 

 

You’re Weird

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Image courtesy of the WWW

Have you ever been told you’re weird? Or that thing you did was weird?

I have. In some sentences, repeatedly so.

This is a tag I have decided to own and not be ashamed, embarrassed or withdraw from. I own this tag like a boss and wear it proudly like a badge. A big, shiny, badge sitting on my chest for everyone to see.

Is this statement…weird?

Weird is a term people use when they don’t accept, agree or understand you or your choices. Often it comes from a place of insecurity, ignorance or  judgement.

Knowing this is empowering.

Information is key. Typically, there are now three choices to make; you can either invest the time to bridge that understanding, let it be and agree people are different, or just walk away from the situation or relationship .

Each situation will require a different chosen path.

People will always have different view points on you and your decisions. A friend or family member might not like the way you cut your hair, the size of your ass, your new nose, sexuality, new boyfriend or holiday locations. The list is limitless and can be as petty or significant as one can imagine.

Some people will disagree with you, others will agree with you and the rest will accept those decisions as yours whether they agree or not.

If you’ve thought out your decisions, believe they reflect your real self and are in your best interest, then it is what it is.

Everyone is different and it’s time people start accepting it.

 

 

Q&A: Canna Campbell, Founder SASS Financial

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Canna Campbell is a remarkable woman. She founded SASS Financial in 2007 after a successful career in one of Australia’s major banks. Her vision is to help people build realisitic financial independence, so they can focus on enjoying what makes them happy – umm yes!

Through her Instagram feed, you get this sense of determination to help people reach their financial dreams – all supported by a feminine energy which is quite alluring and certainly inspiring.

I have followed her story for many years through Instagram. Her feed is full of photos with her young son Rocco as they explore the world in style. As you scroll through, you get this sense of her drive to build her business and create the life she wants for her herself and Rocco.

As I get older and my own ambition to build my own business grows, I am always fascinated to hear the story of how other women build their dreams. I hope you are too!

So Canna, thank you for sharing part of your story with us.

 

What inspired you to work in finance?

My father got me into investing whilst I was studying and working part time in a bar and studying Bachelor of Commerce…it wasn’t until I got my first dividend cheque that I had my big Aha moment. My interest grew from this point and I never looked back.

Financial independence has become a priority for the modern woman, what are your top 5 tips to ensure women are financially free?

  1. Know your flow – have a budget so that you know where your hard earned money goes and helps ensures that you live within your means.
  1. Stay out of toxic debt – credit card debt, personal loans, car loans etc. This type of debt holds you back, is energetically draining and an unnecessary distraction in stopping you achieve financial health and harmony for yourself.
  1. Have financial goals – you don’t need to have a goal to become a billionaire but just like we have health and fitness goals, having some financial goals is very empowering and motivating. Financial goals like paying off student loans, building up some savings or learning how to invest are all great achievements to work towards and come with great personal growth.
  1. Educate – learn about personal financial management. In school and Uni we are taught how to run businesses and read balance sheets but not many institutions teach us how to look after our own finances.

What challenges do you experience working in a male dominated industry? How do you deal with this? 

This has never really been an issue for me, if you surround yourself with inspiring, motivating and interesting people where you all help yourself it doesn’t matter if they are male or female.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am up early most morning at 5 am and depending on the day of the week, each day is different. However I try and squeeze some exercise in as a priority between client meetings, designing financial strategies and reading economic updates. Often I get my best ideas whilst on the treadmill.

What drives you to get out of bed every day?

I love what I do and am passionate about helping people make their lives less stressful. Also when we are at peace or comfort with our finances, we can give more…and this includes charities, which is something that I am going to be including on my channel.

Have you experienced online bullying, and if so, how do you deal with this?

If something upsets me, I will look into it and see if there is an element of truth and if there is something for me to grow and learn from. If not, I move forward.

With a thriving business, a son, and busy social calendar, what are your tips for keeping in shape?

I exercise during my lunch break…it is the only time that I get, so I make it count.

What’s the best thing about being a mum?

That moment when they wrap their arms around you. So sincere and special…

What do you find most challenging thing about motherhood?

The exhaustion…

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?

Going to our local cafe together with the dogs and heading down to our local park.

What do you do to relax? Exercise get into the ocean spend time with friends and family. Play with Rocco and my dogs…on and sometimes a glass of champagne helps!

How would you explain your personal style?

Classic, polished and feminine.

What is your must have beauty product?

A great moisturiser.

Favourite fashion and beauty brands?

Scanlan and Theodore and Mecca

What are your top 3 essential items in your wardrobe?

A pencil skirt, a classic cashmere jumper and a great stiletto heal.

Most loved item in your wardrobe?

My Chanel 2.55

Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?

I get inspired by so many different things I see, read and hear and all at different times. Sometimes the biggest inspirations comes from the littlest or simplest things.

 

Q&A: Shelly Horton, Journalist and Founder of ShellShocked Media

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Shelly Horton and Philippa Giles @ The Wine Library Woollahra

Shelly Horton is journalist with one of the bubbliest personalities in Australian TV; one of the most opinionated too.

At the end of 2015, and with nearly two decades of journalism experience under her belt, Shelly and her now husband Darren quit their jobs, moved house, got married in Mexico and founded a video proaction company, Shell Shocked Media.

The name, a play on her name, also fits with the type of clients the dynamic duo want to represent; those who are happy to be a bit controversial or need to shock to get attention. Her personality shines talking about topics that would make most people blush.

 

I have followed Shelly’s story through Instagram over the last few years. I love her boldness, and openness to share a variety of life’s challenges – including her challenge with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); a condition I have too.

I am so proud to have had the opportunity to sit down with her and share her story with you as the inaugural Q&A on A Quaintrelle Life Blog where we discussed love, work, family and PCOS.

Q&A: Shelly Horton, Journalist and Founder of ShellShocked Media

 

When did you launch Shell Shocked Media?

We launched in late January 2016 but I feel like I was working on the business for a year! I was surprised at how much went into starting a company – legal, website development, business names – it’s overwhelming. But six months in everything is calmer and we’re kicking goals!

Who are your first clients?

Our first clients are Target, Vagasil (because I love talking vaginas!) and the McGrath Foundation for its new campaign. I’ve also been brought on by Triumph bras as an ambassador to discuss minimizers (which I incorrectly thought were just for old ladies) It’s like shape wear for your boobs! Did you know you can choose your breast shape? You can choose to be round or tear drop! Who knew?

 

How does Darren deal with constantly discussing ‘lady issues’?

Well, it’s not just listening to it. He does all the video editing so he sees and hears it on loop. When we did the Vagasil video, he joked he heard the word vagina 4000 times in one day. He said never wanted to hear that word again. Poor guy. He has been amazing.

How has it been working with your husband in a new business? 

I love it but it has been a huge test on our relationship. During our four year relationship he has worked six nights a week which gave me plenty of me time. Now, we work together 24/7 in the same space. We work and live in the same loft so I cannot even slam the door and have some alone time. The bathroom is the only alone space we have. But we are ying and yang; I am on camera and doing various activities off camera, while he is the workhorse behind the camera. I am finding his work ethic is harder than mine, and I’m a workaholic.

How do you like working for yourself? 

It’s not all roses! But I like being my own boss. I have a bit of an issue with authority – I can be quite lippy! I’ve had a few jobs where I’ve felt I could do to the job of the boss but it wasn’t my dream to do so. Even when I had a team of 30 staff, I didn’t enjoy it – most of it was management work and I wasn’t doing the work that I love! So, my plan with ShellShocked Media is to keep it small and niche.

How do you manage the pressures of a new business?

We’ve only just started having one day off on the weekend because we were working seven days. I was getting quite antsy but my agent reminded me to breathe and have a day off otherwise I’d likely fall in a heap. If I collapsed what would the point be of having these dreams?

How do you unwind? 

We’ve starting going for a swim together at the end of the day. It’s so nice because the stress of the day is wiped off. During summer we did go down in the middle of the day but when you go back into the office, the work is still there.

What else keeps you busy?

We are also working on a travel series. We even did some work in Mexico while on our honeymoon. We did a story about the Day of the Dead, which is a really beautiful way at looking at death – it takes the sadness out of it. We then travelled to the Bahamas and did a story about swimming with the pigs – friggin giant, wild pigs! The story is awesome! The pigs have learnt to swim. You look at them and think, ‘what the hell’. I was actually a bit scared but some of piglets were cute.

When we went back to the Gold Coast over Christmas, we also did a story about catching sand worms with our hands. I grew up doing this, so it was really nice to relive a childhood memory. I interviewed my Dad, Kev. He was amazing on camera. Darren said, ‘Now I know where you get it from!’ Dad has the gift of the gab – his nickname is Captain Have A Chat.

With a large online following, is trolling an issue?

I typically only get trolled when I say something on TV and people don’t like it – they just attack and say the most horrible things. Doesn’t matter what I say, they will get really personal and makes comments about how fat I am. In one particular incident when we were discussing the dog laws, I had over 100 messages saying things like ‘I am going to bring my dog around and have it rip your throat out’.

Do these threats scare you?

I’m not scared people will follow through; I am more scared that it will affect my mental health. I was friends with Charlotte (Dawson) and she committed suicide two years ago because of online bullying. That’s where I am very aware and I have been very vigilant. So, if people put nasty comments up I delete it straight away. I used to leave it there because I thought people had a right to say what they want but then I thought no they don’t – it’s my page, my profile. Some of my followers would then defend me but I didn’t want them getting involved in those types of conversations either.

You’re confident and vocal about issues important to you – do you think that’s why some people follow you?

Absolutely. That’s why I have no problem posting photos of me beetroot faced at the gym or the one when my cyst burst and I had a massive hormonal break out – not many people would do that – that’s our PCOS life! And it sucks!

 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a topic you’ve helped bring to mainstream media. As it manifests differently in each person how do you manage your PCOS life? 

I would bleed for three weeks at a time. So many years ago I had an IUD inserted; it goes up your razoo and my period completely stopped. That was really good but then I was still getting the ovarian cysts and they were bursting, so I had three operations to help manage those. If you’ve ever had a cyst burst, you will know that it is horrendous! Your body freaks out because it thinks it’s bleeding internally; at one stage I was projectile vomiting and had diarrhea at the same time. The pain at times was also so bad. Since then, I’ve seen Dr Ginni Mansberg as she specialises in hormones and women’s health. She wrote a book called “How To Handle Your Hormones” which was really helpful, because I gave it to Darren for context. When we were really trying to lose weight I would lose 600 grams a month and Darren would lose 6kgs; I was doing more exercise than him! It completely destroyed me. So he came to Dr Ginni with me because I needed her to give him the medical advice first hand. He even asked Dr Ginni if I had secretly been eating mars bars! It’s clearly a hard situation anyway but particularly when that’s what people think.

Dr Ginni then put me on the pill and that controlled the ovary pain. I’m still getting the hormonal pimples, and back acne, which is charming! Really! It really is the most unattractive syndrome to have. Hair growth can also be an issue. Early on in the relationship with my husband, we were having breakfast at a local cafe and while he was reading the menu, he looked up to see what was on my face – it was a long chin hair! I was mortified and called my laser service straight away.

Why do you think PCOS isn’t talked about very often?

A lot of doctors don’t seem to understand it and it doesn’t help that the symptoms are so different in each person. My mum was never diagnosed but she had a hysterectomy at 32 because she had so many problems – now they have a definition for it. When I was 13 my doctors put me on the pill because of my extra long periods. Unfortunately what that did was mask the bigger issue, and just dealt with the immediate symptoms.

How do you deal with having PCOS?

It has been a long battle, and honestly, I still battle it with.

In addition to your intense gym sessions, what else do you do to build exercise into your daily life? 

Walk and talk meetings! Everyone has embraced it.

You recently got married, tell me about the dress. 

I bought mine for $187 from Etsy! It was a size 20 so I knew it would be too big and would require being taken in but it was exactly what I wanted. I also had to buy a corset, which meant going to a fetish shop in Newtown. As I’ve never had a waist in my life, it was awesome; even though I couldn’t breathe. I was so happy!

I paired it with a Viktoria Novak crown and as I walked down the isle, Darren was crying. The first thing he said to me was ‘It looks like you’re going to the Oscars’. And that’s why I married him!

Where was the ceremony? 

In Peurto Vallarta in Mexico. It was a gorgeous restaurant called Le Kliff; I changed into a reception dress designed by my talented friend Catherine.  I wanted something feminine that I could dance in. And boy did we dance.

How did you meet Darren?

I walked into a bar. I was invited to the Vanguard in Newtown for a themed Burlesque night  – batman Burlesque! So six of us turned up, I saw Darren and I was so shy I couldn’t speak. Me? Part of why I couldn’t talk was because he looks like my celebrity crush Michael Chiklis. Actually, Darren is better looking than Michael. I didn’t end up talking to Darren that night – I just smiled at him like an idiot.

What’s the most romantic thing Darren has done? 

Before we even had our first proper date, he asked to be my boyfriend. We were texting back and forth and before we had a proper date we knew everything about each other. He didn’t want to wait till date night, so he invited me over to his place for lunch and my first thought was ‘what do I wear to a day date?’ I got a blow dry and then messed it up so it didn’t look like I had been for a blow dry; matched with jeans, shirt and blazer. As I drove to his place, and turned the corner into his street, he was standing there waiting with a long stem, red rose. I wound the window down, and he kissed me without saying anything. WOW.

What’s the best present Darren gave you?

Darren peeled off the label from the first bottle of champagne we shared, dried the red rose he gave me on our first date, found the text where he first ask to be my boyfriend and then had a calligrapher write it out. He put it all together and framed it. 

Biggest potential dating mistake?

I nearly gave up the initial evening date with Darren to watch The Voice.

What do you drink?

I like red wine and champagne but I love an orange Bacardi Breezer.

Least and most favourite part of your body? 

My tummy. My boobs are awesome, massive but awesome.

What did the teachers say about you at school?

She talks a lot. A guidance councilor even said to me I was too opinionated – I decided then that was what I wanted to do!

Dating philosophy?

Be cruel to be kind.

Life philosophy?

Fake it till you make it. 

What’s your must have winter fashion item?

Knee high boots from Ted & Muffy made especially for girls with big calf muscles. I ordered them from London about five years ago and I still love them. You measure your calf muscle and give your foot size and they make them just for you.

In the cooler months, what’s your must have beauty item?

Moisturiser! I use Evidence Based Skincare (ESK). The bottles aren’t pretty, the product doesn’t smell pretty but it makes your skin pretty and with PCOS that’s what I need.

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Shelly Horton

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Shelly and husband Darren in Mexico

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Shelly in her reception dress

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Honeymoon: Shelly and Darren

NB: Images courtesy of Shelly Horton

 

 

 

 

 

RIP Muhammad ‘The Greatest’ Ali, boxing legend

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In Sydney, Australia the skies have opened as we mourn the passing of another great man; Muhammed Ali.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali was best known for his skills in the boxing ring; winning 56 of his 61 fights.

Modestly named “The Greatest”, he was acknowledged for his fight talk. I loved the way he knew he was as his nickname suggests – The Greatest. No maybes, or I’d like to be but rather, he was.

But, like many great people, he stood for more than boxing. He was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who pushed the boundaries of sport, race and nationality.

 

I admire anyone with passion, fierce determination and fights for causes greater than oneself. He was one such man.

Thank you for the wise words, Ali;  here are some of my favourites:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. 
I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.

Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.

There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

The Power of Perfectionists

The Power of Perfectionists

I recently saw an article on Goop titled The Power of Perfectionists. As the title suggestions it’s about perfectionism. Interestingly, and surprisingly to many, I have been called a perfectionist. It comes in many different forms and impacts people in varies different ways – sometimes positively, other times no so much. For some people, it’s about having the ‘perfect’ body, partner, lifestyle. For me,  it’s about having very high standards of my work and how I envisage my life.

At times, this can be really positive because it helps drive me to be a better person. Other times, I become really disappointed things are not as I had envisaged.

Maybe you will get something out of it too….


Q

The idea of “being perfect” is something that plagues many of us in our society, causing a lot of stress and feelings of inadequacy. Where does this idea that we need to be perfect come from? How can we come to terms with (and find the beauty in) imperfection?

A

The word Enneagram means design of nine and it’s a system that can be used as a map to journey into our own personality. According to this system, there are nine personality types, each with unique gifts, talents, motivations, sensitivities, and weaknesses. A complex system showing us our habits of mind, false assumptions, assets and liabilities, the Enneagram also delves into how we feel and behave when secure and when stressed. The perfectionist is the “Personality Type One” of the nine personality types.

The perfectionist embodies the gifts of being wise, principled, and conscientious; but, also runs the risk of being too idealistic and judgmental to the point of becoming critical, intolerant, self-righteous and, perhaps, punitive. Perfectionists have a gift for detail but also have an inner critic that finds flaws automatically. (Ask a perfectionist to proofread your work, they are naturals!) So the gift of great discrimination, authenticity, and appreciation of fine points holds the risk of becoming picky, fault finding, and difficult to please. No one is harder on the perfectionist than the perfectionist him/herself who lives with a constant inner critic.

“The downside of perfectionism is the risk of becoming chronically irritated, frustrated, discontent and, therefore, angry because things are not as they should be.”

The downside of perfectionism is the risk of becoming chronically irritated, frustrated, discontent and, therefore, angry because things are not as they should be. They can be truly intolerant of their own “warts and freckles,” let alone those of others. They may focus on fixing themselves, others, and the world around them, trying to right the wrongs of the world. What others may see as the perfectionist’s disapproval or anger may be experienced internally as the energy, determination, and enthusiasm for their cause and the focus on getting the job done right.

As children, they may have relied too much on themselves for guidance, structure, and wisdom before they were developmentally able to do so. Without the ability to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty, and mature discernment, the young perfectionist is too cut and dried and at risk of being way too harsh toward self and others.

“As children, they may have relied too much on themselves for guidance, structure, and wisdom before they were developmentally able to do so.”

So, what to do? Perfectionists can find their way back to their more genuine “true” selves by practicing acceptance and serenity. Serenity is well described by the Serenity Prayer—accepting the things we cannot change, changing the things we can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. In essence, it’s about striving for completeness rather than faultlessness. Listening to that inner critic with compassion can be painful but extremely rewarding and fruitful. It is also helpful to this personality to stretch into just trying on the other person’s shoes. While some other personality types may actually have a knack for this, perfectionists can find it extremely uncomfortable, as if it is bad or wrong. It takes an open mind and heart and lots of kindhearted practice and patience.

“It’s about striving for completeness rather than faultlessness.”

When perfectionists automatically judge or condemn, it is helpful to reflect on when they think they first came up with their opinions and, with lots of loving practice, they may stop and reflect with simple phrases such as: That was then, this is now. Would you rather be right than happy? Does it really matter? This is a process that takes time, dedication and patience. It goes against the grain for the perfectionist who is so convinced that their imperfections need to be fixed, preferably, eradicated; but, the wisdom and enlightenment that blossom from Enneagram work can be truly divine.

“Would you rather be right than happy?”

—Dr. Susan McNary, Ph.D is a psychologist with a home practice in Palos Verdes, California evaluating kids and young adults who are experiencing difficulties at school or at home. She is also an Enneagram scholar, having studied extensively with Riso/Hudson, Palmer/Daniels and Richard Rohr. She currently teaches Enneagram at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, you can take the short free personality test here and, at goop, we’ve gotten into Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson’s book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram.