Why does nostalgia give us the warm and fuzzies?

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You hear it now and again, that funny saying ‘Everything old is new again’… So what does it actually mean? For tangible things like fashion, music and décor it obviously references the continuous cycle that we go through as a society, with ‘trends’ coming and going through the decades. A social media ‘influencer’ will wear a 70’s style outfit and low and behold, every 16-24 year old is suddenly dressing like Stevie Nicks and taking up smoking. For futuristic thinkers caught up in a tech bubble lifestyle, there’s no time for the past. For me personally, I think it’s a beautiful thing to look backwards – as long as you know when it’s time to come home.

I could easily spend my weekends wandering through Antique markets, imagining the lives of all the people who have parted ways with their little trinkets, velvet couches and wooden stools. How many cups of tea were shared amongst these porcelain sets? How many bedtime stories were told across these fading books? How many loved ones were lost? The feeling of nostalgia one gets while surrounded by memories, objects and things is hard to describe. It’s like a warm bath, a long awaited hug, or a roast meal. It’s a sense of comfort, contentment and appreciation. It’s a moment to be grateful for, and a moment to just BE in. No distractions, no emails to answer, and nobody waiting on you.

Every time my Nana has a garage sale I shed a silent tear for the things she’s giving away. For the Encyclopaedia’s I grew up looking at, now gathering dust on the shelves. For the bright orange containers, green vases and cane chairs. For everything that was my childhood, and hers, that will now be someone else’s. But I guess that’s the beauty of it – what’s old is new again. Objects are funny things – they go from family to family, house to house, all the while remaining the same (with a little wear and tear), while people change and move on. I look forward to the day where I can pass on items from my childhood to my own grandchildren, and explain the history behind them. While they might not completely understand, I hope I can transport them there for just a moment. For now though, I hope to live more presently in the now and appreciate what time I have.

“How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present?

You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more”
Milan Kundera

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Photo credits – bryanadamc & theseafiles

This Christmas, take a minute to appreciate just how lucky you are.

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As I sit here in the comfort of my air conditioned lounge room on a Friday night, having just shared a lovely meal with my Grandparents, I have to pinch myself and smile. I am so darn lucky. How can I justify complaining about silly things like feeling tired, or having to go to work, when every night I get to sleep under a roof, and every fortnight I get paid? How can I complain about being hot when at the flick of a switch I can be cool, or go and jump in a pool? (That was absolutely not meant to rhyme by the way). Point being – the little things that annoy the majority of us, are the things that some people wish they could complain about.

This Christmas I challenge you (and myself) to stop and think before you go to complain about something relatively insignificant. There are people on every street, on every block, who don’t know how they are going to afford the rent this month. Who don’t have anything to buy their children. Who don’t know what they’re going to eat on Christmas, let alone tomorrow or the next day. Yes, you’re tired. You’re probably exhausted from working hard to ensure everything is done by Christmas so you can enjoy a couple of days off. You’re probably feeling guilty about over-indulging in festive treats and after-office drinks. You’re worried that your Mum won’t like the gift you got her, or that you got the kids the wrong colour. You’re wondering when you’ll have time to walk the dog, or buy the groceries. But just STOP for a minute and appreciate how lucky you are, because you really, really are.

Every day I feel so incredibly blessed to have my grandparents still with me, to share simple moments with them and (hopefully) learn from them as well. Watching my Pop grow to love the new puppy in our life, after initially not being too interested, has been a beautiful transition to see. Every time she comes over she runs straight to Pop’s feet for a belly rub, and the love between them is hard to miss. Seeing Nana fret over her too really melts my heart. From making sure she has a little bowl of water and plate of warmed mince, to worrying over her head getting sore from the way she sleeps with it all tucked into her belly, just really makes me smile. I could complain about little things like our puppy still having accidents in the house, or barking at the postman, but in all honesty she’s been a light in my life this year. It’s the small moments that count, and seeing the magic in every day has been something that I’ve learnt to appreciate.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

Bob Hope. 

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Photo credits – stylemagazines & minimalliving

‘Tis the season to be merry… So what does it mean to you?

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Christmas means something entirely different to everyone on the planet, whether you’re well off or struggling, young or old, in love or heart broken. Depending on your current circumstances, your fading memories and your near and dearest, the ‘silly season’ is more than just a day in December. For two women in my life, one of them my boss and one of them a close friend, both of them have sadly lost their fathers this year. I imagine Christmas will take on a completely different meaning from here on in, with the sadness of them not being there a constant reminder of the fragility of life. For those of us with large extended families, half and step siblings, cousins, aunties and grandparents, it can be an overwhelming time to make sure you’ve got everyone something under the tree. There’s also the annual decision making of whose house is designated for roast pork festivities, and which parents won’t be seeing their children this year. Oh the drama!

But let’s just take a step back and appreciate Christmas for what it really is; a time to be grateful for everyone in your life, to show your love and support for those in need, and to live in the moment. Too many times we work like crazy until the big day, making sure everything is in order so that we can relax for a few days before jumping back into things come New Year. Too many times we run around the stores in a frenzy trying to tick everyone off the list, and end up regretting half the things we buy. Too many times we don’t even enjoy the day – it goes past us in a rush of people, gift wrapping and food leaving us completely exhausted by the end. When will we learn?

I can proudly say that as of today, December 3rd I’ve completed all my Christmas shopping and it’s sitting nicely wrapped under the tree. What the? I don’t even know how I managed this to be honest, I’ve been completely flat out with work and travel the past few weeks but somehow managed to find something unique and personal for all the loved ones in my life, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. Now that I’ve got that sorted, I’d actually like to look into ways in which I can donate or volunteer to those in need this Christmas, to make this time a little easier for them. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
Norman Vincent Peale

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Photo credits – threelittleblackbirds & ourmoodydays

Don’t sweat the small stuff… And it’s all small stuff.

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A close friend once gave me a book entitled ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.’ It’s funny how you look back on things in life and wonder why you wasted so much time stressing over little things that didn’t really matter. Of course, they mattered at the time to you, and try as we might humans haven’t mastered the art of hindsight to apply it in real time. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learnt to stress less, live in the moment and let things happen naturally. Don’t get me wrong – this method of living is still a work in progress and I get caught up in ‘small stuff’ all the time, but the point is I’m trying. And that’s all we can really do, isn’t it?

The other night after a long (and hung-over) day at work, I was looking forward to a nice sleep in a comfortable bed, snuggling my little dachshund. Naturally, things didn’t go as planned. I got home late and in addition to my little Audrey smelling like the lamb bone she had been chewing on all day, she proceeded to go to the toilet all over the fresh sheets on my bed. What did I do? I could have been really upset and annoyed at her (and trust me I was for about 5 minutes), but after seeing her sad little eyes looking at me after getting yelled at, my heart melted and I realised that it didn’t matter. The sheets could be washed, and so could she. What mattered was that we were both happy to see each other, and she felt safe and protected in her home. Laugh it off I say. There’s absolutely no point getting worked up over things that aren’t even going to matter in 10 minutes.

“Where’d the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn’t stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall”
Paolo Nutini

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Photo credits – lensofourlives & hellolunchlady

West Coast Wonders ~ My trip to the other side of the country

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If you haven’t made it to the West Coast of Australia yet where the Indian Ocean meets a stunning coast line, the sand is as white and soft as a dream and the sunsets are to die for, I highly recommend you book yourself a ticket ASAP. Having just returned from a lovely 5 day trip with my boyfriend over to Perth and the Margaret River, I’m left with great memories and a full belly. Having treated ourselves to a variety of wines and gourmet cuisines over the last few days, our waistlines are a little tighter than usual, but our smiles are also a little wider.

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We sampled everything from pork belly, whiting and cod, to beef cheeks and venison cooked five ways, complimented with beautiful fresh breads with olive oil, dukkah and balsamic. Just writing this is making my mouth water! Seriously, Western Australia is a foodie heaven. With open plan breweries in the port area of Freemantle, numerous cafes and restaurants throughout the city and dotting the shoreline, Perth and the Margaret River region are my top picks for a taste overload.

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While you’re over there a must-see are the wineries approximately 3 hours south of Perth, and with around 200 to choose from you’re bound to find a bottle that speaks to your soul. As a reluctant red drinker, I was surprised to find quite a few that I actually really liked, and can’t wait to further explore the red wine market. To name just a few, we went to Arimia Winery for lunch (incredible food), but be warned – you can actually see the little piggies that they use on their menu! I’m all for the whole farm to table trend, but I still feel a little uneasy seeing what I’m about to order alive out in the paddock! Call it blissful ignorance, but that’s just me. We also checked out Aravina Estate, an incredible winery with a beautiful selection of vintage cars and surfboards on display. To be honest there is something special and unique about each winery in the region, with lakes, bridges, fireplaces, boats and floral displays providing a visual feast for the eyes.

Already looking forward to my next trip to this beautiful (although slightly isolated) part of the world 🙂

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G’day mate… What’s not to love about Australia?

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This month I’m lucky enough to be doing quite a lot of travel – from the small mining town of Moranbah in Regional Queensland, across to the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia, to the picturesque Whitsundays for my 28th birthday. To be honest I’ve been living out of a bag all year, dividing my time between Nana’s, Mum’s and the boyfriends house, so spending the next few weeks living out of a suitcase is going to be pretty normal. What am I most looking forward to? Seeing what this beautiful country has to offer and discovering local secrets. You can’t just sit in your lounge room watching life go past on a TV screen, you’ve got to get out and enjoy it… and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

So here I am 4 days into my ‘rural’ experience in Moranbah, about 2 hours drive inland from Mackay. A town that was built to accommodate families working in the coal mining industry, full of reliable locals and tradies in high visability work wear. There’s a certain peace to the town, an orderly silence and comfortable pace. People keep saying to me I’ll get sick of it, and maybe I would. But since I’m only here for a week I plan on making the most of it, exploring the outskirts and getting a glimpse of this multi-billion dollar industry: coal mining. To say you live in a regional area fuelled by the mining industry is one thing, but to see it in action is another. My boyfriend took me for a drive into the centre of his mine site, a trip which took nearly half an hour alone and that’s only covering half of it. To see an operation of such epic proportions is pretty eye-opening. This gigantic earth moving equipment is like something out of a Star Wars movie, and while I don’t feel that comfortable actually seeing the ground ripped up and displaced, it’s something I appreciate being shown.

Next on my tour will be a 6 hour flight over to Perth, Western Australia for my third visit. I honestly cannot get enough of this stunning place, from the gorgeous coastline to the funky suburban cafes, to the bushland wineries and gourmet cuisine, Perth has something for everyone. I’ll be catching up with one of my oldest friends over there, someone who has had my back since about Grade 5. We’ve gone through big life changes together and sometimes fall out of touch, but every time we get together it’s as if nothing has changed. We’ve booked a dinner and drinks cruise along the Swan River, and a half day wine tour (with cheese and chocolate stops along the way!). If you haven’t ever thought about including Perth on your bucket list, I strongly recommend you do. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Lastly I’ll be wrapping up the year by celebrating my birthday with 2 nights in Airlie Beach, a quaint coastal community known as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. My plans include cocktails on the water, and not a whole lot more. This time last year I was in a really bad place, so I’m incredibly grateful to be feeling this optimistic and excited about things. There’s nothing quite like the support of family, friends and your partner to lift you up, but ultimately the fighting spirit must come from within – the most challenging and important lesson I’ve learnt from this year. Thank you to everyone who has made my year 100 times better than the last, and looking forward to more wonderful times ahead 🙂

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On losing yourself in a relationship…

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Having just gotten into my first serious relationship – something I literally can’t stop grinning about, I can’t help but feel a little wary of losing my identity and interests amid the excitement of wanting to hang out with this person ALL the time. I’m sure everyone who has transitioned from single life into the dating phase and then ‘made it official’, has gone through similar concerns. You’ve suddenly gone from spending all your weekends with family (and having deep and meaningful sessions with your pets), to wondering what those other people in your life are up to because you’ve been so busy with this new person. So many places to see! So many cafes to try! I know…. I sound like an ungrateful brat. OF COURSE, I’m completely stoked to actually have someone to do things with (and snuggles are what life is made for)… all I’m saying is I don’t want to lose myself, which is apparently pretty easy to do.

I’ve seen it happen to friends and colleagues time and time again. They get a boyfriend or girlfriend, and suddenly they’re spending every second night together and then weekends too. It’s all they can talk about, they literally don’t care about anything else that’s going on in other peoples lives let alone the world, and they can’t go anywhere without bringing their new boo. It’s exhausting trying to have a conversation with someone in a new relationship, because no matter what the subject they will always find a way to relate it to their person of interest. And believe me, I GET IT. New relationships are insanely exciting –  they’re a mixture of nerves, emotions, thrills, adventures and more. It’s a chance for you to relate to someone on a deeper level than your friends and family, and that human connection is something we all crave. I want someone to hold my hand when I’m scared or upset, to make me a coffee when I’m tired, and to surprise me with little gestures. I want to do the same in return for my special someone, but I also want to be the best version of myself for a healthy relationship to work – and that involves taking some me time.

So while I can’t wait to see my boyfriend again (it feels so weird saying that), I’m going to make sure that I’m also paying myself some respect by doing the things that I love to do. Going down to the beach for a coffee with my dog, reading a book and listening to my favourite music – these are the small things that keep us sane. Whatever your interests may be, remember that before you became part of a relationship – you were a living, breathing individual. You had thoughts, friends, family and dreams. Don’t let them go! Nothing in life is certain, and at the end of the day we’ve got to be strong for ourselves  🙂

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Photo credits – rose_and_heart & visualambassadors