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

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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 🙂

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Hugs from old friends; That warm, fuzzy feeling.

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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 🙂

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How chance meetings can really open your eyes…

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Just this week I went to a remedial massage lady in my hometown for some back and neck relief, and the experience completely rattled me. That’s to say, it rattled me in a good way (and not in the ‘Oh they massaged my bottom and it felt really strange’ way). I had previously noticed her advertisement while in the same area a couple of weeks ago and put it to the back of my mind, but just the other day it popped up again and I thought ‘Why not’. I’d given everything from chiropractic, bowen therapy and acupuncture a go, I might as well try something new.

Well let me say, if you’re after complete silence in a massage treatment then this is not your lady. I had unknowingly signed myself up for an hour-long counselling session, a chat with a stranger that was completely unexpected but overwhelmingly therapeutic. I left this massage treatment feeling completely refreshed, both mentally and physically. I had been going to Chinese treatments for the past few months where the only words uttered were ‘Ooo you are tight’ and ‘This too hard miss?’, so experiencing a wonderful massage coupled with some words of wisdom went hand in hand (pun intended).

Now it just so happened that this particular lady is also studying to be an addiction counsellor, and although I felt guilty for expressing my concerns over a loved one struggling through their own form of substance abuse, getting it off my chest provided some much needed clarity. In fact this lovely lady who I’d only known for about 45 minutes at this point, was able to give me some sound advice for helping my loved one, or at least trying to. Isn’t it amazing how crossing paths with someone can provide you with exactly what you were (unknowingly) looking for? I’m so grateful for that one hour session, not only for the benefits of the massage itself, but for the mental relief and unburdening of my thoughts. Opening up to people can be intimidating, but try to remember at the end of it all – we’re only human, and we were built to connect.

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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

Underneath, it’s all the Same Love.

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I sincerely hope that any Australian’s who have voted ‘No’ in the Australian Marriage Postal Survey, are feeling ashamed. I hope that last night as we watched the NRL pledge their support for Same Sex Marriage at the Grand Final in Sydney, that those people who voted No were squirming in their chairs. Watching the performance of ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore at last night’s final, I was covered in goose bumps and moved to tears. As the screens around the stadium pledged messages of support, rainbow coloured smoke covered the stage and children danced, I couldn’t help but feel an upsurge of emotion. If one of the most influential and ‘macho’ organisations in Australia, the NRL, could pledge their support for same sex marriage, then what the hell is wrong with the rest of you?

As a straight person, I realise I don’t have as much reason to fight for equality as those that this law will actually affect, but I certainly am proud to support Same Love. Having made countless homosexual friends over my lifetime, the majority of which are in long, loving relationships, I do feel a certain responsibility to fight with AND for them. Why the hell shouldn’t they have the same rights as me? Why do I have the privilege of being able to stand in front of my family and friends and make an ‘official’ commitment to my loved one, and they do not? How are my relationships and those of my other straight friends any more important than those of my gay friends? The fact that we even need to pledge our support and debate this as a nation is just a ridiculous embarrassment, based on archaic scriptures about marriage being between a ‘man and a woman’. This is 20-fucking-17! Wake up and smell the roses.

If your son or daughter committed suicide because of their feelings towards someone of the same gender, and what that means in society, then that’s a crying shame. But that is the reality of it. People are actually KILLING themselves over this issue…. let that sink in for a second.

We all know that when we develop feelings for someone, 99% of the time there is nothing we can do about it. Feelings are not something we have any control over. They are unexplained, magical moments in time where we are inexplicably drawn to another person, be it a man or a woman. We simply don’t get to decide who we fall in love with, and in a progressive first world country like Australia where freedom, opportunities and rights are abundant, this same sex marriage debate is simply a national disgrace. I understand that people may not have had much exposure to those in same sex relationships, and therefore may not understand how exceedingly NORMAL they are – in fact they are just like you and I. They wake up, go to work, have hobbies, win awards and take their dogs to the beach. They just happen to like people of the same gender. SHOCK! HORROR! SIRENS IN THE DISTANCE! Seriously, why should we even bat an eyelid to that?

To the people who voted No, shame on you.

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

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