Sometimes, a dose of normalcy is just what the doctor ordered.

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I’m sitting here smiling with contentment tonight, having had a very simple, non-eventful day. No appointments, nowhere to be, and nothing in particular to do. How extremely boring! How exceedingly ordinary! Damn straight, and you know what? I absolutely LOVED it. In fact, sometimes all we need in life to re-group and just breathe for a minute is a day off. 24 hours away from the routine of work, meetings, appointments and people you’d rather not be stranded on a desert island with… you get the picture. So what does a dose of normalcy involve? Well everyone’s idea of a normal day is obviously different, but for a lot of us I imagine it involves simple things like cooking, doing laundry, walking the dog and eating dinner at a reasonable hour. So as I sit here paying respect to my annual viewing of the wonderful Love Actually, I can’t help but smile.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get that craving to go off somewhere exotic like Ibiza and spend my nights partying till dawn, fuelling my body with all sorts of chemicals and making one-night memories with perfect strangers. It’s like I’ve skipped that stage and gone straight to wanting a comfortable lifestyle that involves fresh sheets, cups of tea and long walks on the beach. Does this make me boring? Don’t get me wrong, I lived the quintessential University lifestyle in my early 20’s. I did the share-housing, the packets of cheap pasta and even cheaper wine. I did the binge TV watching, the shitty parties and nights that ended in kebabs in the gutter. But at some point I realised that I was living a complete lie. Everything that my friends and I were doing at the time seemed at complete odds with what I really wanted, and it was time to stop apologising for that. Perhaps it comes from growing up under the roof of my Nana and Pop’s, but needless to say – I’ve come to an age where doing what I want is a breathe of fresh air.

If only the beauty of hindsight could benefit us at the time where we most need it, a lot of us wouldn’t waste so much time trying to please others. I remember the nights where all I wanted to do was light a candle and listen to some music, but my friends would beg me to come out. Having said that though, I most definitely don’t regret a thing about coming to know myself. We have to go through those phases of young adulthood to understand ourselves, figure out our values in life and what actually makes us happy. I think the most important thing to take away from any experience or phase in life, is to simply treat it as a learning curve. It’s about the journey – not the destination, and finding that perfect balance can be the sweetest, most satisfying thing we ever realise.

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After wanderlust, comes a yearning for home.

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I’m sitting here rugged up in bed, having just returned home from a trip to Indonesia. It’s been 6 days since I landed back in Australia and I’m still completely exhausted… in fact I could quite easily sleep all day. I can honestly say though that I had the most amazing time in Bali and can’t wait to go back, one day. But for now – the comfort, routine and normality of being home is all I’m craving. Does anyone else feel the same? Yes, travel is awesome. Seeing new things, tasting exotic foods and pushing your boundaries is wonderful for self-growth and certainly broadens your mind, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of touching back down in your home country.

I realise I might sound like a boring old sod writing this, and maybe I do have some more boundary pushing to do in life. I’ve never been one of those people excited by the thought of back-packing or travelling for months on end, living on the road and not knowing where their next cup of tea is coming from. Call me narrow-minded or whatever you like, but some of us just like the simple things in life – a hot shower, clean underwear and comfortable bed. I tried the hostel thing last year in San Francisco and absolutely hated it. Sharing a bunk bed with complete strangers, everyone bothering the others with their noises and travel schedules, having to constantly lock your items up… not my idea of a good time. So many of my friends though have absolutely loved their hostel experiences, and I suppose I would have enjoyed it more had I not been travelling on my own. Sharing moments and adventures with friends is considerably more enjoyable than having to ask strangers to take your picture, but I did make the most of it.

As I sit here looking back at all my great pictures from Bali, I can’t help but smile. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things – snorkelling in the open ocean, getting on a scooter (probably just stupid, but none the less fun), getting my feet sucked by tiny little fish… these are the memories that will stick with me for a lifetime. Yes, my body now feels like it’s been hit by a train. Bali Belly, the flu and jet lag have all hit me in the past fortnight and I’m looking forward to the day I bounce out of bed with energy. For now though, I’ll light a candle, boil the kettle and rest my weary head. Until next time, wanderlust.

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Photo credits – pr0ject_uno & bohodestiny

My best friend is a dog, and I couldn’t be happier.

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There’s an age old saying that dogs are a man’s best friend, and I couldn’t agree more. Who needs human interaction and conversation, when there is an abundance of furry-faced creatures on earth ready to love you every single minute of every single day? I for one would be happier in a society where dogs are allowed to come grocery shopping with you (and taste test their food before you spend a fortune), or come to the hairdresser with you so you have something to pat instead of looking through trashy magazines. I know our gorgeous dachshund Audrey would love to come to the movies with me, curl up on a chair and nap in the darkness. At least I wouldn’t get judged for going alone seeing as I have approximately one friend left in my hometown at the moment, a new mum who doesn’t really have much time for nights at the cinema.

Seriously though – on my days off when someone asks me what I’ve got planned, the answer is usually ‘Oh I’ll just be hanging out with the puppy.’ This normally involves a sleep in and snuggles, lots of licking (on her behalf), lots of tickling (on my behalf), and generally just staring at each other wondering what the other is thinking. Then we’ll have a cup of tea under a blanket on the couch, typically followed by a mid-morning nap. Afternoons are usually spent together down at the beach jogging, looking for interesting shells and just enjoying the fresh air. Sunsets with her at the beach will forever hold a special place in my heart, both of us happy and content in the moment. Once a week or so I’ll subject the poor darling to a warm shower and shampoo so she doesn’t get too sandy, and even though she appears to hate it, I’m positive she’s thankful for feeling fresh once she’s dried off.

I honestly don’t care if it’s not normal to hang out with a dog so much or spend so much time thinking about them. It’s hardly an effort to ensure she has a happy life, in comparison to the joy she’s given me. On days where I literally don’t feel like talking to anyone, I’ll just lay in bed with her kissing her warm little belly and that’s about as comforting as life can get. I don’t think much compares to the endless amount of love that dogs can bring to your life, and when you get home and see their tails shaking around with pure joy – that’s precious.

” A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose ”

(Tom Wilson).

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Photo credits – anthropologie & folkgreen

The frost of Autumn approaches..

It’s finally reached us here in North Queensland; the inevitable freshness of a new dawn, a slight crispness to the air followed by a cool, refreshing day. We’re just over 4 weeks into Autumn, and most of us were starting to think it would be warm all year round. But alas, I had to pull out the socks this week when I awoke to a pleasant 16 degrees! My friends in London and New York laughed at me. ’16 degrees?’ they said, as they piled outside rejoicing in the warmth. Well yes, up here in the tropics we’ve been blasted with hot days for months on end now, so the cool change has been quite a surprise.

Not all surprises are unwelcome though, and to be honest I’m quite looking forward to the cooler months this year. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sun, sand and surf lover, and wholeheartedly embrace life in a bikini November through March. But there’s just something so bittersweet about the cooler months, teaching us a few lessons in resilience as we venture out into biting winds, teeth chattering and noses dripping. Homes aren’t properly insulated in Queensland, so even though we don’t get snow and sub zero temperatures – we still feel the frostiness ripping through our thinner walls. As we layer ourselves in singlets, T-shirts and cardigans, we promise ourselves that next year we’ll invest in a proper winter jacket (while knowing full well that’s not going to happen).

The great thing about cooler months is the guilt-free consumption of hearty meals, numerous hot chocolates and elastic waisted pants. Nobody enjoys being confronted with their pasty white skin during this time, so we simply refuse to look at ourselves naked in the mirror until it’s too late to do anything about it. They say summer bodies are made in winter… I’m still waiting for the self-motivation to get on board with 6am jogs while I’ve got numb toes and a blocked nose.

So this year I’m going to embrace winter with an appreciation for all the comforting things it brings. I’ve got a newly knitted blanket from Nana, soft flannelette PJ’s with cute little donkeys on them, and a dachshund who replaces a hot water bottle in bed as she snuggles in at night. A changed mindset is sometimes all you need to get through the day, and living to see another winter pass by should be good enough for us all 🙂

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Photo credits – naughtyteas, cabinporn & _justynaniko_