Happiness, a double-edged sword.

img_4781

I’m so happy right now (well not literally right now – I’ve got a mild headache and would rather be in bed), but figuratively, in my life right now – I’m happy. Claps from the audience! You did it girl! Well yes, yes and thank you. But happiness is terrifying! It could all come undone at any moment, life could suddenly turn upside down and then what would I do?

Shhh girl, that’s just the anxiety talking.

This week though I was thrown a curveball by one of my Nana’s friends passing away, a lady who was only in her 60’s with a huge family, massive impact on the community and strong involvement in schools and the music scene in my hometown. It was just so sudden, shocking and final. Death is something I’ve been fairly fortunate to avoid thus far in my life, and I’m so thankful for that. I know I will have my fair share in the future, and it scares the shit out of me. How will I react? Where will I be? Who will I lean on for support? I play these questions out in my mind constantly, like I can somehow control the outcome if I think about it enough. How stupid. If anything, it’s given me a huge kick up the bum to stop worrying about the little things, and spend valuable time with my family.

On a lighter note, would you like to know why I’m happy? It’s because I’m done living in the shadows of fear and worry. I’m done working in a red-tape environment where I can’t be myself or let my talents shine. I feel like I’ve finally found my voice, and I’m so excited. In two weeks I’ll be starting a new role as Marketing and Communications Officer at redhotblue Creative Agency, a role which will allow me to do everything I enjoy – writing, events, brainstorming crazy ideas… the list goes on. I just can’t wait to get started and throw myself into creative projects, where I can finally channel all these wacky ideas in my head into something tangible. The past 12 months have gone so fast, in a series of fantastic holidays with my wonderful boyfriend (and even more fantastic nights in, cooking and drinking red wine). The birth of my beautiful dachshund Charlotte and the chaos of raising a puppy. Family, friends and laughter. I feel like now is my time, and I’ve never been more ready.

Cheers to that 🙂

img_0561

Bucket list overflow!

img_4783

All I can think about right now is Europe.

Italy, Spain, Turkey, Croatia and Greece to be exact.

I just want to be travelling the stunning coast line, sipping exquisite cocktails and musing over what a wonderful colour blue that water is. Instagram envy much? My social media feed is absolutely swamped with people I don’t even know, jumping off yachts into the Mediterranean, sporting their golden tans and claiming to be ‘Living my best life!”. UGH. Give me pasta and cheeses, olives and Italian herbs, wine, wine and more wine! I’m done with winter, done with socks and scarves, and DONE with travel envy. The time is now! I’m getting a whiteboard and making a plan, and one way or another I will make this happen #justwatchme

img_4788

img_4790

European Summer here I come 🙂

Goodness gracious May, where did you go?

img_4283

Can somebody please wind back the clock just a little, because it honestly feels like I haven’t even had time to shave my legs yet since 2017 and somehow we are now on the cusp of June! But seriously, at what point are they long enough to get waxed? One centimetre? (Asking for a friend)…

Winter has been suddenly thrust upon us and before I even had time to register what was happening, my life now resembles a mad dash between ugg boots, dressing gowns, puppy toilet training, cooking and cleaning (in between work of course, but nobody ever seems to mention that). HOW DO THEY DO IT? Beyoncé makes being a superwoman look so effortless, while the rest of us are back here just trying to fit in a morning coffee. Something I actually have managed to make time for this month is getting back into reading, in a big way (at the mediocre rate of 1 book a week). I say mediocre because I (embarrassingly so), managed to finish the entire Twilight series in a matter of 5 days when they first gained popularity a few years ago. Shame on me. So what have I been reading this month? I’ll give you a hint…

“What does he do, Clarice? What is the first and principal thing he does, what need does he serve by killing? He covets. How do we begin to covet? We begin by coveting what we see every day.”  

You guessed it, I’ve just finished the entire Hannibal Lector series (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising) by Thomas Harris. Brilliant books! Not at all as terrifying and gruesome as you’d think they would be (if you, like me, got the absolute fright of your life watching Anthony Hopkins in character). If you love a good mystery / suspense ride then this series is a must, in fact I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to jump on board. I’ve exhausted all the Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connelly options so thought the Hannibal series would be a nice detour (Fun fact, Hannibal grew up in Nazi-era Germany and his baby sister was eaten by captors to stay alive through a brutal winter, so I’ll let you make your own assumptions as to why he enjoyed liver with fava beans).

***  This blog post was not intended to be a book review ***

BUT, I also read a brilliant book by Australian journalist and author Eileen Ormsby called The Darkest Web, a fascinating insight into the underbelly of the internet. Cyber crime, illegal drug trade, hit men for hire, child exploitation, you name it – she covered it. I first heard about her book while listening to an episode of Hack on Triple J, and I honestly had no idea that this entire world existed. I’d heard the term ‘dark web’ thrown around before, but always assumed it just meant people using the internet for dodgy stuff. Little did I know that you actually needed to download a separate browser (in most cases people seem to use Tor), so that you can surf millions of websites anonymously that are not available on your usual search engines like Google. Awesome read if you are interested!

*** Okay can someone pay me to read books and write reviews, this is an actual request #dreamjob ***

Or just pay me to stay in bed, because life is really hard on cold mornings. Until next time 🙂

img_0360

Finding stillness in the chaos.

img_2740

Today I took a moment in time to just sit on a log at the beach, with my dog, and breathe. Soaking in the sunshine, listening to the waves, touching the soft sand with my toes and inhaling that fresh, salty air. I could only steal a moment in time to myself amongst what has been a chaotic few weeks, but that moment was a simple re-fresh for the soul. With our litter of puppies turning 5 weeks old today, it’s an understatement to say things have been absolutely exhausting. You think raising one puppy is enough? Try 5 times the amount of poo and wee to clean up, 5 times the mouths to feed, but I won’t deny it – 5 times the love. It has been tiring, smelly and sleepless, but overall – amazing – and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve been wearing myself pretty thin lately and that strain has shown in my relationships with family, friends and colleagues. I would love to spend all day with my Nana and Pop like I used to, reading the paper, making endless cups of tea and chatting about the weather, but I simply don’t have the time. I would love to actually want to catch up with friends and feel that yearning for a get together, but as it happens now I’m always completely exhausted and running on fumes. I’d also love to be a more present girlfriend, but I’m on a constant cycle of cooking, washing clothes and doing the dishes. SIGH. Do I just sound like every normal person trying to fit their personal life around their work life while still getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food in? I seriously don’t know how people do it… and I don’t even have children yet!

So from this day onward, I’m going to look at ways of reducing the clutter and chaos in my life so I can have more moments in time like today at the beach. I don’t want to be running around only offering an exhausted and less-than-enthusiastic version of myself to the world. I want to feel energised, excited, and present. I know the simple things often make us the happiest – a home cooked meal with fresh herbs, an afternoon walk through the park, or a good book. Yes, I know this, but am I taking the time to appreciate? I think we can all aim to do a little better and practise the mantra ‘less is more’. Who would agree?

img_2738

Puppies, chocolate and red wine. And so this is Easter…

img_2671

Well how on earth did we make it through a quarter of the year in what seemed like the blink of an eye? I don’t even think I’ve gotten over my hangover from New Year’s yet and I’ve managed to fly down to Brisbane and Byron Bay, squeeze in a night or 2 in the Whitsunday’s, move in with the boyfriend, break my little toe, watch my herb garden blossom, and most importantly help my beautiful Dachshund give birth to 5 new puppies just in time for Easter! BREATHE. JUST BREATHE.

Or should I say more red wine please? No seriously, ever since returning from the Margaret River wine region in November it’s all I can drink. I won’t even look at whites, spirits, liqueurs, or cocktails. Red, Red Wine, thank you and good night.

Okay back to the puppies… Because seriously, what’s more ‘Easter’ appropriate than celebrating new life? In what was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had thus far, I had the privilege of assisting our darling Audrey push out 3 baby girls, and 2 handsome boys from 1am to 5am on Sunday March 25th. And in even more important news, I’m keeping one! After seeing little Charlotte hanging out of her mum in the birthing sac for an hour, worrying that all the blood pooling in this sac was surely going to result in a stillborn, I finally got to see her take those first breaths and felt an immediate connection. Holding something so precious and fragile in your bare hand, watching it squeak, wriggle and stretch is just incredible. This is what it’s all about. Birth, love and life.

Time has honestly just flown by these past 3 months, and I’m suddenly finding myself asking ‘What am I doing?’. I’ve been living in my hometown now for nearly 18 months surrounded by family, I’ve got a lovely boyfriend who has let me into his home (with all of my candles, shells and Balinese hangers), and I’ve made some new friends through work. I couldn’t be more happier, and it’s such a vast comparison to this time a year ago when I was just starting a new job, filled with daily anxiety and depression, struggling to forgive myself for packing it in and moving home. I now know there’s absolutely no shame in saying enough is enough, and when one door closes… well you know the rest. The one thing I’m looking forward to this year is working on my writing and creative outlets, as I’ve definitely let this slide lately. Things like doing the dishes and catching up on sleep have taken precedence over the things I enjoy, and there’s no time like the present to get back on track.

Hoping you all have a wonderful Easter filled with family, loved ones and a little indulgence 🙂

img_2728

Hugs from old friends; That warm, fuzzy feeling.

img_1936

I just came back from a brief getaway to Brisbane and Byron Bay with my partner, a trip full of catch-ups and gourmet dining. Along the way we managed to catch up with family (on his side), and some old friends of mine which was really, really lovely. There’s nothing quite like locking eyes with a friend across a room, and that knowing smile comes across your faces. The memories come flooding back, the laughter and good times you shared, and no matter how long it’s been you can pick up right where you left off. You don’t have to explain what you’ve been doing the past few months, why you might have been a little absent here and there because you know, deep down that these type of friendships last forever. These are the people who might piss themselves laughing if you fall over, but also help you bury a body if needed (fingers crossed it never comes to that!).

I’ve met many people in my working career and can honestly say I’ve never found such a tight knit group of friends that have managed to stay in touch. We all worked together about 4-5 years ago in varying positions and time frames, but having that one unifying bond has provided a life time of smiles. I think the real reason we’ve stayed so close is because our work environment was team-focused rather than individual-focused. There was a real sense of camaraderie and trust because in our line of work (front office team for a large hotel), you absolutely needed each other to get the job done. Since then I’ve worked in office environments where it’s every man for himself, and that sense of unity is sorely missed.

What I will say is this – cherish your friendships and maintain them. It doesn’t have to be a daily, weekly or even monthly check-in, but staying somewhat in touch through social media these days certainly makes it easier. Nothing can ever replace that face-to-face interaction though, so making the time and effort now and again to get together is absolutely worth it 🙂

img_0502

The never ending gift of travel

img_1453

As I sit here day dreaming about the next destination on my bucket list (Thailand), I can’t help but think back to the places I’ve been so far, and how they keep making me smile. Travel (in the broad sense) is such a fountain of never ending joy – from the moment you even think about going somewhere, through all the excitement of planning, to the actual adventure itself. What you rarely hear about though is the post-travel smiles, as we are inclined to focus more on the reality of back-to-work blues. Just recently I’ve discovered a whole bag of beautiful hand made items I bought in my travels to South Africa about 11 years ago, still in perfect condition. Putting them out on display in my room has been a lovely walk down memory lane, not to mention a colourful addition to my collection.

Something I tend to do after I’ve been somewhere of significance (for example the Bali Bombings memorial in Kuta), is go and read everything I can about it afterwards. You’d think that would be the smart thing to do before visiting a destination, but for me the real significance of a place doesn’t hit me until I’m living in the moment, staring it in the face. The complete sensory overload you feel when visiting somewhere iconic (whether that be a place of beauty or sadness), can leave you either awe-struck or overwhelmed. Whatever the case may be, I think it’s incredibly important to see as many places of significance in the world as humanly possible. Viewing life through the screen of a TV or mobile isn’t living, it’s simply cutting yourself short from engaging with other cultures, people and experiences that will make your own life richer.

I’ve been pretty fortunate to visit some incredible places so far, from China, Singapore and Hawaii through to Indonesia, California and Vegas. Some of my standout memories and items to put on your own bucket lists would include:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • Kruger National Park in South Africa
  • The Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa
  • Ubud, Bali (Indonesia)
  • San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Diego (California)
  • Pearl Harbour, Hawaii
  • The Road to Hana (Maui, Hawaiian Islands)

So here’s to turning day dreams into reality, working hard so you can play hard, and not letting life pass you by from the comfort of your couch. Catch me in the Emerald Cave in Thailand!

Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not things to show.

img_1445