Green with envy – the pitfalls of jealousy.

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I’ve fallen into the trap of social media envy lately – that ridiculous self-imposed jealousy you feel when endlessly scrolling through happy snaps of people travelling and living (seemingly) fabulous lives. And even though we all know the version of people portrayed on social media isn’t real, there’s some part of us that still feels down when we see images of gloriously tanned people, sipping on cocktails by the beach in exotic destinations. So why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we even bother looking on social media sites when we know, more times than not, they leave us feeling like our own little bubbles somehow aren’t as wonderful or glamorous as others?

For me, I think I’m personally suffering from some mild seasonal depression as well. Winter in Australia is officially upon us which means no bikinis, no little sundresses, and no swimming (unless you’re really adventurous, or just drunk). Life in summer is what makes my soul sing… give me sweat, sand and sunshine every day over snotty noses and socks. So as I sit here in ugg boots with a eucalyptus oil diffuser cleansing the air, I can’t help but feel a little envious of those basking in summer on the other side of the world. I’ve recently been bombarded with images of friends in far off places like Mexico and Cuba, looking like they’re having the time of their lives. Meanwhile I’m stuck here in a small town, with less friends that I can count on one hand, working in a pretty mundane job.

But I’ll stop myself right there and metaphorically slap myself on the face, because in actual fact – I’m setting myself up for a wonderful future. I’ve returned home for a ‘gap year’ of my own choice, and in 4 months I’ve managed to save $7,000.00 in a casual job which is something I should be really proud of. I’ve (slowly) recovered from some debilitating anxiety issues, and while I know there’s still a long road ahead in this regard I’m fully committed and positive it’s something I can now manage. And lastly, I’m going to Bali in a few weeks for a holiday with my beautiful friends, where I’ll be doing the exact same thing – creating social media envy for others. And while this is not my intention of course, it’s become part and parcel in our digitally connected world, and something we must all learn to live with.

So let’s give ourselves a break from feeding the jealous monster within that sometimes wreaks damage on our happiness, and commit to living in the moment – especially the moments in between those ‘happy snaps’ posted on social media. Those are the real moments – the raw, honest and authentic experiences we all go through. Cheers to that 🙂

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Photo credits – amin_ramzi & hvmansouls

 

Currently exploring Tropical North Queensland… 

On a road trip with my Mum and Step Dad exploring Atherton, Kuranda and Cairns – thought I would share some snaps of our little trip. Gorgeous weather up here in the tropics… you certainly wouldn’t know Winter is just around the corner! Where the rainforest meets the beach, and dairy farms stun visitors with their country side charm. Yesterday we sampled some beautiful cheese and chocolates, before trying organic Chinese for dinner in a medicine/massage shop. Very authentic experience! While we all are battling varying degrees of the flu, spirits are high to be venturing into new places. There’s nothing like a mini-holiday! Sun, sea and sand is all this girl needs to smile 🙂 

Can’t wait to imitate this lovely creation at home with all the shells I have been collecting ! Of course I had to buy some fairy lights as well… you can never have too many. 

Parents enjoying a sneaky moment in the rain at Kuranda, surrounded by rainforest. Doesn’t get much better. 

‘You won’t find any wifi in the forest, but you will find a better connection’ 

Hope you all have a great weekend x  

When stress subsides, the other senses soar…

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Last year – my year from hell, I got into the habit of eating frozen bought chicken kiev’s with mashed potato nearly every week night. Bland, carb loaded and devoid of many nutrients, but it was easy. Lazy – yes, but easy. And at that stage in my life I had pretty much stopped caring about a lot of things, one of those being my interest in cooking and eating healthy. You see when stress takes over every inch of your body, you simply become focused on making it through the day. You don’t care about whether your dinner that night is going to be interesting, delicious or challenging to make. In fact I was shovelling my dinner down so quickly that I didn’t even register what I was doing, all so I could shower and get back into bed. As I slowly unwind this year I’ve found myself becoming interested in cooking again, and I’m really excited.

They say that your gut is your second mind and I wouldn’t have believed them until last year, when I experienced just how intrinsically linked the stomach and your mind really are. I was completely burnt out from my job, stressed to the max and experiencing daily stomach cramps, headaches and bloating. I would get home and need to lay down for hours just to let the pain in my stomach subside, and I had no idea what was wrong with me at that point. I got blood tests, scans, urine samples… the lot. I finally decided to try a gluten free diet, which I have been doing for about a year now. I can honestly say this helped a lot at the time, however I would notice that after particularly stressful days I would still be doubled over in pain. After much reading and investigation, I realised that when the body is stressed and in that ‘fight or flight’ mode, your digestive system basically switches off. This is because the body is literally panicking and preparing for action, in situations where it most definitely doesn’t need to be worried. So when I was fuelling my body with wheat products which are already difficult to digest, coupled with my inactive and stressed out digestive system, it was simply a recipe for disaster.

HOWEVER, after quitting this job in November and moving home to a caring, supportive environment I can honestly say that 5 months later my gut is making a comeback! I’ve dabbled with probiotics and expensive vitamins, cut out alcohol and caffeine, reduced my sugar intake and gone for bowen therapy and regular massages. Trust me, I’ve tried everything to get my body back on the mend. Over the last few weeks I’ve slowly been re-introducing regular old bread into the mix, pasta, biscuits, muffins and pancakes. Not because I want to eat these types of foods all the time, but because I believe balance is key – and I certainly don’t want to make myself completely intolerant to these food groups!

A few months ago I wasn’t even interested in going grocery shopping, I was content just eating whatever was in the cupboard. I was focused solely on getting through the day without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, and this took all of my energy. Now I’m excited to start cooking again, experimenting with flavours and enjoying the kitchen. I’ve just made a lovely pesto filled with basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Delish!

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Photo credits – chefmattmoran & ihavethisthingwithpink

Why am I so uncomfortable about being in a hospital? 

I’m sitting here in a blandly furnished, freezing room watching my mother sleep in her hospital bed. Nurses, doctors and trainees keep bursting in every 15 minutes to fiddle with cords, take notes and speak in riddles so we actually have no idea what’s going on or who is running this show. The constant noise of beeping, machinery, phone calls and trolleys wheeling by in the hallway means no rest for anybody. How is one meant to recover here? Sleep is a powerful restorative tool yet my mother is being denied this essential part of life. I’m frustrated and maybe just a little scared. 

When a loved one is taken to hospital for whatever reason, every stupid little thing you were worrying about ceases to exist. That person who you thought you offended? Who cares. What are you going to eat for dinner? Toast and baked beans will do. What am I going to do tomorrow? Let’s just make it through today. Survival, comfort and care kicks in and you drop everything to make sure this person is ok, and that they know you’re there for them. As I packed her bag last night with essentials and favourite items, I realised how useless these things were. After all in a hospital you’d expect to have access to everything you need to survive. But there’s a lot more to life than simply being able to breathe. That book she was reading, her favourite pyjamas, her toothbrush… these everyday objects become sources of comfort in times of need. Anything that reminds us of home must play some role in the healing process, in my opinion anyway. 

As I sit here wrapped in a blanket, watching my mother sleep I’m suddenly aware of the fragility of life. When your body is hooked up to needles and machines, it really hits home that we aren’t here for long and we’re certainly not made of steel. Everything about this place is foreign to me. The sharp smell of sanitisation is an assault on the senses, the bright lights make you feel crazy and the hushed whispers only increase the displacement. I want her to come home. 

Of course, I am grateful for the caring staff. It takes strong minded people to work in this environment, where worried family members and constant double checking must be the norm. I just want everything to be ok and I am sick of waiting, but I need to remember – this isn’t about what I want or need. This is about my mother. And so I will sit here, all day and all night if I must. Because family is all we have at the end of the day, and for that my love has no limits. 

Photo credits – rsa_vsco & rsa_mextures

Australia, you untamed beauty.

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We call ourselves the lucky country, and for very good reason. If you’ve had the fortune of visiting us Down Under, the first thing you might notice is how much space we have. Completely surrounded by ocean, Australia is dotted with coastal cities and beaches, rain forests, cane fields, cliff faces, natural water holes and stories of the Dreamtime. Wide open landscapes fill the country between our major cities, while smaller but charming towns fill our hearts with joy and glimpses of a simple existence. I love the fresh air here, the smell of sea salt on the wind and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Lara Bingle aptly put it, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ in this famous tourism advertisement, and she couldn’t have been more right:

I’m lucky enough to call Australia home and am currently living in North Queensland, the state based on the North/East Coast. I felt inspired to write this blog post after a beautiful morning connecting with nature at Cape Hillsborough National Park, about 40 minutes drive from the city of Mackay (my home). We arrived at the park just on dawn this morning where a small group of people were gathered on the beach, watching the majestic kangaroos dotted across the shoreline greeting a new day. This was truly an incredible sight. I’ve seen plenty of kangaroos in my life, but seeing them on this stunning beach at sunrise, hopping along with their babies without a care in the world was really quite breathtaking. As the sun slowly burst through a light cloud cover, my friend and I had a lovely little picnic completely at one with nature and more importantly – no WIFI signal! A truly spectacular morning that I won’t be forgetting.

I know the blogging community is stretched far and wide across the world, which is why I am encouraging those international readers to come visit us here in Australia. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

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Photo credits – organictravel & theblondeabroad

Why a series of small, pleasant events can make a world of difference…

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Having just come back from a morning outing with my grandmother and the family dachshund Audrey, I’m feeling rather at peace with the world. Us ladies simply relaxed in a small, quiet cafe sipping on our coffee of choice (Audrey nibbling some treats), observing the comings and goings of morning shoppers, bike riders and delivery drivers. This easy, uneventful start to the day is all I ask for in life. A peaceful moment to take in my surroundings, spend time with my loved ones and ease into the day. And that’s where I think life’s overall joy comes from – a series of small, pleasant events.

I used to think I always needed something big to look forward to – a friends birthday party, a trip away or overseas, the release of my favourite TV show or a new movie. More often than not though, these ‘big’ anticipated events would roll around and I’d be left feeling less than happy. You know those activities you look forward to for days or weeks on end, but when the time comes it’s the LAST thing you feel like doing? We build it up so much in our heads and then the tiniest thing might go wrong, or plans change and boom – we’re left feeling completely bummed. I believe we need to look for the little pleasures in everyday life, and simply roll with our moods and emotions. You can’t force yourself to be happy or have fun in any given moment, you just need to ride the wave.

From the moment you get up – be grateful for the small wonders of life, for the things you have that others less fortunate do not have access to. A warm blanket, comfortable slippers, and a kettle to make your morning brew. Appreciate your family members, friends, housemates or colleagues. Without you being conscious of it, they’re always there for you in little ways. Be thankful you have a roof over your head, a car to get from A to B in, and a device to read this blog on. Louise Hay has a wonderful morning meditation that I sometimes like to do – a really nice way to start the day and open your eyes to the world around you:

I hope this post makes you think about the things in your life that are sometimes taken for granted. As the saying goes, ‘Enjoy the little things, because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.‘ Amen to that!

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Photo credits – takemoreadventures & thefuturekept

Waiting for the eye to pass…

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As I sit here in the midst of Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossing the Queensland Coast, bunkered down with my Nana and Pop in our 1960’s (and probably asbestos ridden) house, a few things have come to mind. With the ferocious wind roaring outside and ripping the yard to bits, I can’t help but feel a little shaken, and stirred. It was a long, tense night tossing and turning in bed, trying to drown out the noise of our home rattling amidst various bangs and brief silences. We had our emergency bags packed and ready with the essentials – tea, coffee and sugar being of the outmost importance. For what crisis in life can’t be aided and slightly sweetened by a good, hot brew?

The reality of losing our home is something that’s hard to think about, but ever so possible. This is where I came home to after being born 27 years ago in the Mackay Base Hospital. I had my first birthday here, multiple Christmas lunches, BBQ’s, family memories and happy times. This house has been in our family since 1966 and has seen a lot of things. Despite my Nana and Pop never officially owning their own dog, there have been over 8 wonderful dogs pass through their doors (and 3 resting at peace in the back yard). They have always opened their doors to family and friends, with the promise of a hearty meal and warm cup of tea at regular intervals during the day. This is where I’ve come back to every school and university holiday break, with nothing beating the smell of Nana cooking scrambled eggs in the morning to wake me up.

I’m so lucky and blessed to have grown up with these wonderful family memories, and wish I could pause time to keep my grandparents in this moment forever. But as we all know, life goes on and one day I must inevitably accept that they won’t be here. Until then though, I’ll cherish my time with them, and rest peacefully knowing I’ve got somewhere to call home.

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Photo credits – airpixels & theophelia_