My Implanon experience

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that over the last year I’ve had a bit of a struggle with birth control.  I came off the pill after more than ten years in an attempt to ease my chronic migraines.  I tried a Mirena IUD, which initially was great.  But my body expelled the IUD so I was back to square one. After a lot of research and debate, I decided to give the Implanon implant a try.

What is implanon?

Implanon is a long-term contraceptive option.  It’s a flexible plastic rod that’s about the same size as a matchstick. The rod is inserted below the skin on the upper arm.  Once inserted, the rod gradually releases hormones to suppress ovulation.  Implanon lasts three years.

I chose the Implanon for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, even though it’s a hormonal birth control method, it’s a  steady dose of hormones.  I already knew that my migraines were aggravated by the varying dose of hormones in the pill, and that they settled down when I was using the IUD.  So I felt confident that the Implanon wouldn’t trigger my migraines.

I was also keen to try the implant because it is extremely effective.  Implanon is more than 99.9% effective, making it the most effective birth control method on the market. I also liked that it was a “set and forget” method that didn’t require remembering to take a pill or get a shot regularly.  Implanon is also fairly cheap.  I paid $35 for the implant itself and then $70 for the doctor’s appointment to have it inserted.  So all up it was around $100 for three years of contraceptive protection.

Initial difficulties

I had a fair amount of difficulty getting the implant inserted.  I made an initial appointment with my doctor, who answered all my questions and gave me a prescription for the implant.  She explained that she isn’t trained to insert the device herself, but there are five other doctors at my practice who are.  For best results, it’s recommended that the Implanon is inserted on the second or third day of your period, because this reduces the likelihood of side effects.  My doctor instructed me to wait until I had my period and then call the surgery to make an appointment for the insertion.

 

Now, I live in a small country town, and it is very difficult to get a doctors appointment.  I usually wait up to three weeks for a doctors appointment. So I tried to plan ahead.  I got out my calendar and made an educated guess at when I expected my period to arrive, and then made an appointment three weeks in advance.  However I miscalculated and when that day rolled around my period hadn’t started yet.  I went to the appointment anyway but the doctor told me he couldn’t do the procedure until my period began.  He assured me that if I rang on the day my period arrived and explained the situation, I’d be able to get an appointment on the right day.

 

So three days later I got my period.  I immediately rang the clinic to book my appointment, and was told that there were no available appointments.  I explained to the receptionist that my doctor had told me I needed an appointment on this specific day, and that I’d been waiting weeks without contraception.  I asked if she had any emergency appointments set aside.  She said she did, but this isn’t an emergency so I couldn’t have one.  By this point I was fed up.  I was frustrated from the trial and error with birth control, sick of doctors appointments, tired of being anxious about accidentally becoming pregnant (despite being exceptionally careful) while I waited for long term birth control and angry that I wasn’t able to get an appointment on the day I badly needed one.  I burst into tears on the phone.  I think the receptionist was shocked and offered me an appointment the following day.  I tearfully accepted it.

 

Insertion

The day I had the Implanon inserted I was very nervous.  I was mostly anxious that the doctor would refuse to do the procedure again, and that I’d be left without contraception for another month.  But luckily for me, he was happy to put the implant in once I’d confirmed that my period had arrived.

 

The insertion process was very quick and almost completely painless.  The doctor had me lie down and remove my shirt so that my arm was exposed.  He then cleaned the inside of my upper arm and marked the spot where the implant would be inserted.  He gave me an injection of some numbing solution which stung the tiniest bit, and was the most painful part of the whole process.  After that he quickly inserted the implant using  the applicator it comes in. The applicator looks scary, like a plastic gun with a giant hollow needle poking out of it, but it really wasn’t anything to be frightened of.  Basically the needle went right into my arm, under the skin, he slid a lever across which pushed the implant out of the needle and into my arm and then carefully removed the applicator.  He then gently pressed on my arm to make sure that the implant was in there and in the right spot and let me feel it for myself.  Then I got a bandaid and a bandage on my arm and I was allowed to leave.

The results

After the numbing wore off my arm was a little bit tender.  I had some light bruising and I had to leave the dressing on for a few days.  My arm was a little stiff for about three days after the procedure, but not really sore.  I had a little puncture mark where the needle had gone in and I now have a tiny diamond-shaped scar.

 

I love the fact that I can feel the rod under the skin of my arm.  It feels very reassuring to know that it’s right there, doing it’s job.  And it’s a cool party trick to be able to show it off to my friends.

 

I haven’t had any side effects at all since I had the rod inserted.  Some women report itching at the insertion site, headaches, nausea and irregular bleeding.  I have had none of that.  The only thing that’s happened is that my periods have stopped, which is very common with the Implanon.

 

After all the drama I went through to actually have the Implanon put in, I’m so relieved to have found a contraceptive that is working for me without triggering my migraines.  I feel confident that I’m protected from unwanted pregnancy for the next three years, and I don’t even have to think about it.  I’d definitely recommend considering the Implanon if you’re looking for a set-and-forget birth control method that’s fairly inexpensive and very effective.

 

Have you tried Implanon?  Did you like it?  Do you have any questions for me about mine?

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What I wore: a birthday in Wonderland

For as long as I can remember, I’ve adored Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a child the story opened up a world of impossible creatures and grand adventures.  The older I get, the more I appreciate the surreal elements of the story and the riddles hidden within. Alice in Wonderland has also had an influence on my personal style and I’ve done a number of Alice themed outfits over the years.

When ACMI in Melbourne revealed that they were holding an entire exhibition devoted to Wonderland, I was keen to check it out.  And what better day to head along to this event than my birthday?  My lovely boyfriend David and his mum and stepdad came along with me to celebrate my 32nd birthday.

When I was choosing what to wear, naturally I knew that it had to be Wonderland themed.  I had two dresses in mind, one that reminded me of Alice and another that was more Queen of Hearts in style.  Ultimately I decided that on my birthday, I really wanted to dress in a manner inspired by the accidental heroine of Lewis Carroll’s tale, Alice.

I am wearing:

  • Vintage blue and white checked dress
  • Black bodysuit from Missguided
  • Razzamatazz polka dot tights
  • Black and silver flats (thrifted)
  • Vintage playing card bracelet
  • Teacup earrings from Disney Couture
  • Teacup ring from One Day in Paradise
  • Teapot ring from Equip
  • Crinoline petticoat from Vicious Venus
  • Kitty ear fascinator from Louvisa

I blended numerous Wonderland elements into this outfit.  I wanted to look like a pinup, rockabilly version of Alice.  I wore my hair up in a pomp and added my kitty ears as a nod to the Cheshire Cat.  I kept my shoes low and comfortable but added a pop of colour with bright blue polka dot tights.  My crinoline petticoat gave my skirt a full look, mirroring the way that Alice’s skirt poofs out when she’s drifting through space down the rabbit hole.

 

Fun cup and saucer earrings from Disney Couture to call back to the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

This playing card brooch was a gift from one of my friends last Christmas and I just adore it.  It’s so unique and it was the perfect adornment for a trip to Wonderland.  So much of the style of Alice in Wonderland is inspired by playing card motifs, from the Queen of Heart’s court to the guards that protect her castle.

I went with a 1960’s inspired makeup look, with a pop of blue eyeshadow, cats-eye eyeliner and nude lips.

David and I snapped a few selfies while we were waiting to go into the gallery. At this point I was so excited and I was rearing to get inside and see what the exhibit had to offer.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to an exhibition at ACMI where you have been allowed to take photographs inside.  I took quite a lot of photos but I don’t want to share them all because it would spoil the exhibit for any Melbourne-based readers who are yet to check it out.  There was so much to see and do, and the whole experience was very exciting and interactive.  There was a large section dedicated to Lewis Carroll himself, with original notebooks and letters in his hand.  The exhibit showcases costumes, props and artwork from many of the early Alice in Wonderland films as well as animation cells and concept art from the Disney version.  There are a lot of exhibits that show how certain visual effects were achieved and lots of props for you to take your picture with so that you look smaller or larger than usual.  My favourite part was a room filled with costumes and props from the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland, including Alice’s suit of armour which is just stunning.  The exhibit ends with a tribute to all the ways that Alice has permeated pop culture, from Gwen Stefani’s music videos to The Matrix.

I had so much fun at ACMI and it was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  If you’re an Alice fan and you’re in Melbourne between now and the 7th October, I definitely recommend that you check it out.

 

What would you wear if you went to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition?  Would you take inspiration from Alice or a different Wonderland character?

What I wore: Wall to Wall 2018

Every year, my home town of Benalla holds a street art festival.  For one amazing weekend every year, artists set up their paints, brushes, dropsheets and spray cans to create masterpieces on buildings and fences all over the town.  In addition to the artwork, there is live music, food trucks, market stalls and guided walking tours.

The Wall to Wall festival weekend is one of my favourite weekends of the year.  It’s so exciting to watch the artwork taking shape and trying to guess what each piece is going to be.  Last Saturday I dressed up nice and comfy to take a long, lazy walk around the main street and soak up the artwork.

I am wearing:

  • Captain Planet tee shirt
  • Denim shorts from Target
  • Converse All Star sneakers (thrifted)
  • Apple headscarf (thrifted)
  • Mistress D and Master Rick pins from Geeky and Kinky


I was particularly proud of my makeup.  It had been so long since I’d worn a Tank Girl inspired ombre red lip so I revived that look for the day.  It’s such a 90’s trend but one that I still enjoy wearing.


In addition to the street art, this year the Wall to Wall festival also features an art installation by Callum Preston called The Milk Bar.  Mr Preston has build a milk bar inside the Benalla Art Gallery complete with a Telecom phone booth and Australia Post red post box out the front.  It’s really quite incredible, as you walk inside through the plastic strip curtains you’re greeted by shelves and shelves of colourful products all lovingly hand-painted, a rack of magazines and a counter staffed by a very sweet woman with pink hair and a pinny.  I had such fun reminiscing about all the lollies that I once loved which are no longer available (remember Snap n Crackle bars?) and lamenting the fact that Bubbalo Bill ice creams seemed so much bigger when I was a kid.

The Wall to Wall festival is even bigger in 2018 than in any other year.  Best of all, the street art remains up for a full year so if you’re driving through Benalla you can stop off and take a gander.  It’s well worth the trip if you like awesome artwork in unexpected places.

New Years Resolutions 2018

The start of a new year always feels like a blank sheet of paper to me.  It’s clean and fresh, ready to be written upon.  Although I set goals and challenges throughout the year, new years resolutions always feel more charged and purposeful to me.  Today I wanted to take some time to review my 2017 goals as well as setting some new goals for the year ahead.

 

2017 goals in review

  1. Journal once per week

There was only one week this year that I missed journalling, and it was because I was ill with the flu and couldn’t even hold my head up.  I did a mixture of traditional day-to-day records, stream of consciousness work and journal prompts.  I really enjoyed taking that time for myself to put my thoughts down on paper.

 

2. Read all the books in my to-read pile

I didn’t even come close to achieving this goal.  Although I read a lot this year, I also got two bookstore giftcards, which inevitably led to the addition of about ten new books to the pile.  If I’m going to have any chance of working through my to-read pile, I need to concentrate on not acquiring new books just as much as reading the ones on the shelf.

3. Knit a whole garment

I knitted not one, but three jumpers for myself this year (and made good progress on a fourth).

 

4. Continue transitioning to a vegan-ish diet

I rocked this one and went full vegan this year.  I cooked loads of new recipes, tried foods I never expected to like and ate out at some fantastic vegan restaurants.

 

5. Declutter my flat

I got rid of approximately one quarter of all my possessions this year.  I was extremely ruthless and cleaned out every cupboard and drawer.  I was very honest about things that I was hanging onto out of guilt, or because it represented the kind of person I wished I were, rather than the person I am.  It was incredibly freeing.

 

6. Buy fewer things

I drastically reduced the number of “just because” purchases I made this year.  Although I did a fair amount of shopping still, I tried hard to be mindful of what I was spending money on and only bought things that were necessary or which brought me joy (and I went a bit nuts at Kinkfest and Sexpo….my bad!)

 

7. Write more sex positive posts

I’m really proud of the number of sex positive posts I published in 2017.  I completed my series on the ABC’s of BDsM, wrote about sex on Game of Thrones, reviewed some awesome toys including my glass tentacle wand, the Tantus Destiny and the Bootie plug and considered the performance of pleasure. I got a lot more comfortable writing about sex and talking about difficult topics.  I also attended Sexpo and Oz Kinkfest and met loads of incredible people at both events.

 

8. Build an aftercare kit

I had long wanted to build an aftercare kit for my BDsM needs.  I put together an awesome little bag filled with all the essentials I need to take care of myself after a scene.  It’s been super useful and it was truly therapeutic to consider closely the type of aftercare I need after a scene.

 

2018 resolutions

  • Close the gap on my long distance relationship

I’ve been dating my partner for almost two years now and we live three hours away from each other.  Long distance relationships are rewarding, but difficult.  By this time next year, I’d really like for my love and I to be living closer to one another.

 

  • Be able to do a forward split

My yoga practice has stalled a little this year, and I’ve noticed that my hips and hamstrings are especially tight.  I have still been practising but I’ve slacked off a bit.  So in 2018 I want to put more effort into regular yoga workouts and incorporating loads of flexibility training to allow myself to achieve a King Monkey Pose (or forward split) by the end of the year.

  • Learn colourwork knitting

It’s my dream to eventually learn how to make my own ugly Christmas sweaters.  But before I can do that, I need to learn how to do colourwork properly.  2018 will be the year of colourwork knitting for me.

  • 100 days of no spending

I’m trying hard to cut down my spending this year.  There are a lot of days when I will pop into the shops aimlessly during my lunch break or call into the supermarket on my way home without a clear idea of what I’m going to buy.  So this year I want to rack up 100 days where I don’t spend any money.  I think this goal will help me to cut down on those little “just because” purchases.

  • Publish one toy review per month

I have a stack of toys that are waiting to be reviewed.  I’d really like to get the ball rolling on more reviews and post one per month.

 

  • Catch up with one friend per month

I haven’t been terribly social this past year.  I realised towards Christmas that there are some people I adore that I didn’t see at all in 2017.  This year I want to make a huge effort to catch up with my friends more often, and arranging at least one friend-date per month will help with that.

 

So that’s my goals for 2018.  Cross your fingers and lend me your support as I work towards them.  And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss any of my adventures and reviews.

 

What are your resolutions for 2018?

Wall to Wall Festival 2017

Art and culture aren’t things that one typically associates with country towns.  But that couldn’t be further from reality when one considers my hometown of Benalla, Victoria.  Benalla not only has an awesome art gallery and a stellar performing arts centre, but it is the home to the annual Wall to Wall street art festival.

 

Now in it’s third year, Wall to Wall is responsible for some incredible pieces of artwork that are dotted around the town.  Last week, artists began staking out their spots and sketching.  On Saturday I took my camera for a walk to take a look at the works in progress.

 

This year’s offerings are varied and colourful, with a number of amazing 3D pieces included in the mix.  If you have the means to travel to Benalla one weekend, I suggest you do so and take a long walk and gaze upon the amazing works of art that are dotted around the walls and pavements of this town.

 

As part of the festival, The Wall to Wall committee organized a giant community paint-by-numbers.  Everyone was invited to come along and join in to create an amazing painting.  Sadly, I’d forgotten that this was taking place and I was a tad too dressed up to muck in with the painters.  I wish that I’d worn jeans instead so that I could have joined in the fun.

 

 

Do you have a favourite piece?

 

 

 

A year behind me and another ahead.

When the year begins to draw to a close, I start to get a little introspective.  It’s natural to look back at what has happened over the past twelve months, and this year when I peer in the review mirror at my life it’s hard to believe that so much could have happened in just twelve short months.

 

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Here’s a very short run-down of some of the big things that happened to me this past year:

  • I started a new job in January.  It’s been very challenging and different to any job I’ve had before.  But I’ve learned so much and I’m loving my work.  I work with a fantastic group of people and I feel so pleased with the progress I’ve made this year.
  • I came out as bisexual to my family and friends.  While I’ve known for a long time that I was bi, I had never felt the need to bring it up.  However, when I began dating more widely this year I felt like it was time to tell people.  The reactions I’ve received have been a bit of a mixed bag, and some have been hard to swallow.  But I’m so glad that I’ve been open about my sexuality as I feel that it’s given me more scope to explore it and I’m happy that I’m living more authentically.
  • I had my first (and probably only) polyamorous relationship.  While it was fun and I still care about my ex boyfriend and girlfriend, it simply wasn’t built to last.
  • I was present when a co-worker had a stroke at work and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.  Amazingly, she has now recovered completely and is back at work.  The whole experience made me feel extremely grateful for all that I have, and also showed me how strong I can be when needed.  I always expected that I would be a wreck in an emergency, but when the time came I was frighteningly calm and capable.  I’m proud of how I managed that day and so darn relieved to have my colleague safe and sound.
  • I started online dating and met loads of awesome people (and a few not so awesome ones)
  • I met and began dating my lovely girlfriend, Jac.  It’s been so wonderful getting to know her and I’m excited for all that’s yet to come.
  • I began attending classes at my local gym and met loads of great people.
  • I got an article published in Wellbeing Magazine which touched on two of my favourite topics: yoga and depression.
  • I ran my first craft fair stall in April and then did it again in August.
  • I shaved the side of my head into a sidecut, and I’m still so chuffed with this style.

As you can see, it’s been a massive year for me.  It’s also been a year with not a whole lot of blogging.  I’ve been debating lately whether I want to continue with my blog.  When I first started blogging, I was diligent about posting daily.  Then as my schedule became more hectic, I started posting only on weekdays.  And this year it was my goal to post three articles a week.  But that just hasn’t happened.  My life has gotten so big and so full that there isn’t always time to do all the things I want to.  I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t have a chance to blog regularly and I wondered whether it would be better to just shut down my blog.

 

But I really don’t want to do that.  Blogging has brought so much joy into my life.  I adore sitting down to put together a post and I have met some of the most amazing people through my blog.  So instead of trying to work to a blog schedule and posting a certain number of times a week, I’m going to be a bit more relaxed with my writing.  I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to put up lots of great posts, but I’m not sure how frequent my posting will be.  But rest assured that I’m not going to bail on this space or the amazing people who continue to visit regularly.  I’ll still be about, living and loving, and I’m going to make a big effort to fill this space with tales of my adventures, funny stories, fashion, advice and geekery.

 

I hope your year has been as full and challenging as mine has.  What did you get up to?

Confessions of a craft fair virgin.

Last weekend I finally took the plunge and ticked something off my bucket list.  For ages I’ve wanted to run a stall at a craft fair.  While I love my Etsy store, I was keen to try selling at markets as well. Selling in person has some distinct advantages: you don’t have to worry about crazy shipping costs, potential customers have a chance to touch and try on your wares and you can joke and chat with your customers.

I was extremely nervous about running my own market stall.  I was very worried that my crafts weren’t good enough or that nobody would want to buy what I was selling.  I was concerned that my social anxiety would make it hard for me to interact with my customers without it seeming forced.  I also felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that would be involved in running a stall.

So guess what… it was really hard.  I put in tonnes of work and preparation, I only made a single sale and I felt so nervous every time someone came to my stall.  But you know what else? It was totally worth it and I would definitely do it again.  Here are a few observations I took away from my first time as a craft-stall vendor.

There’s no one “right” way to run a stall.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time stressing over how I should set up my stall.  I looked at countless Pinterest boards for inspiration and ended up completely spinning myself out.  I was so unsure about how my stall should look, what type of displays I should use, how much stock to bring and so many other worries.  In the end, I went for a pretty minimalist look with a few displays and most of my stock spread out on the table.  And you know what?  It really seemed to work.  My colourful goodies really stood out from the crowd and loads of people were drawn to check out all the awesome colours and textures at my booth.

There were some really professional-looking displays at the market.  Some vendors had made their entire stall from scratch.  Others hired tables and used home-made or pre-purchased display racks.  But they all looked awesome and everyone was making sales.  When you’re trying to plan a stall, it’s best to stick with a few simple ideas that seem right to you, see what works and build from there.  Comparing yourself to other stalls will drain your energy and worth.

Talk to other vendors and learn from them.

I met some fantastic vendors at the craft fair.  There were some people who, like me, were relatively new to the game and others who were market veterans.  Everyone was really friendly and helpful, and I picked up some great tips to help me with my stall and my customers.  If you’re a newbie, these tidbits of info are so valuable.

And don’t forget, even if you don’t know that much about markets there might be some other areas that you have some flair in.  For example, the woman running the stall opposite mine has been thinking of starting an online store so I was able to give her some pointers based on what has worked for me in the past.  We swapped advice and it was a great learning experience.  It’s great when people are willing to help you out and learn as well as teach.  It’s the type of scenario that everyone benefits from!

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Bring business cards…and lollies.

Not every customer will be ready to buy on the day.  Markets can be quite overwhelming and some will be unsure of what they want to spend their money on with so many options on offer.  For that reason, it’s nice to have something that your potential customers can take away with them.  I made sure that each person I talked to took my card and a sweet treat.  If people wanted something I didn’t have, I highlighted the fact that I can make custom orders on request.  Offering people a card in a friendly way isn’t too pushy, and it gives them the opportunity to take a look at your shop when they have more time on their hands.

Pay attention to what your customers have to say.

Although it can be daunting to put your crafts out for display and potential criticism, it can also be a valuable learning experience.  I gained so much insight into the kinds of things my customers are looking for, which will be very helpful.  For example, I was able to take note of the items that were most popular, and which things people asked for which I didn’t have.  I noticed that there were a lot of children at the market shopping with pocket money, and that most of my items were out of their price range.  So next time I plan to have some small cheap items, such as headbands or crocheted brooches, which can be bought with small change.  I will make sure to have some of the sought-after items that people seemed to be looking for.  And I will put those more popular items in a prominent place so they catch the eye.  Even though I only made one sale this time, I feel more equipped for my next market.

Have you ever run a craft market stall?  What did you learn from the experience?