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

Family… That crazy, chaotic carnival ride.¬†

When I think about family, I think about what a wild ride it is that we’re thrown on, with no choice in the matter and no escape in sight. By sheer luck (or in many cases, misfortune), we’re lumped together with this random assortment of people, of clashing personalities and mood swings. The majority of us are genetically linked in some way, but then there’s the half siblings, step siblings, step parents and so on. It’s a melting pot of diversity, choices, journeys and above all – love. 

It breaks my heart when I think of a close friend of mine, whose recently had a falling out with her family. She has her own reasons and nobody can fully understand that but her and those involved, but I do hope they can work it out and rebuild some kind of relationship. You see, there’s only 3 of them in the ‘immediate’ family which I think is what scares me the most – there’s no backup. Sometimes I think I’ve taken my large family for granted. If one were to suddenly pass away, I’d feel secure in the knowledge that we would all get each other through it. But family isn’t a numbers game. Every individual person matters and contributes something, whether that be small or large. The dynamics exist because of our interwoven stories, and those dynamics are constantly changing. Someone leaves, someone is introduced. The story goes on no matter who is left filling the chapters, and the memories last even longer. 

After my family road trip this weekend I’m feeling very blessed. We’re a tight bunch, and while there might be times of tension and times of laughter, I can sleep soundly at night knowing that no matter what – they’ll be there for me through thick and thin. There’s just some things you can’t rely on your friends for, or perhaps don’t want to involve them in. For this reason I think we should all express our gratitude on a daily basis, and make sure our loved ones know it. These are the people who see you at your worst, but don’t think any worse of you. They know you inside out even if you don’t believe it, and hold a little piece of your heart in theirs. 

So take a moment to count your blessings today, and tell your family how much they mean to you ūüôā 

Photo credits – winterwillneverend & hannahargyle 

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_

And they called it puppy love…

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I must admit, I’ve been totally and completely converted into a dog person in a matter of weeks thanks to the addition of @audrey_the_sausage (follow her on instagram!) to our family. The cutest and cuddliest chocolate dachshund you ever did see, she arrived into my life at exactly the right time and I’m ever so grateful.

For years I’ve been all about the cats, the fluffy ones with huge eyes who just gaze at you and purr… who massage your tummy when you’re trying to sleep…. Yes, I still love them. But I didn’t quite realise my heart would explode with love for dear Audrey, who often leaves a puddle on the floor from excitement at seeing you each day. If that isn’t love then I don’t know what is.

Growing up I was always too concerned about getting dog saliva or hair all over me to take notice of the gorgeous bundles of joy that I’ve now come to love. SO glad I’ve gotten over that, I’ll now happily roll around on the floor with Audrey and appreciate snuggles 24/7. I love all her moods, especially sleepy Audrey. Her eyes can barely stay open so I just sit there holding her little paw, singing to her like a newborn child. Catholic hymns are my go to! WTF has happened to me?

For years, studies have shown the benefits to humans of having animals in their life; simply patting a dog is known to increase your endorphins. And how could anyone say that we don’t bring joy to their lives? When I see Audrey almost wriggle out of her skin with happiness in the morning, I just know that is pure joy. Recently I watched a documentary on dogs who are bred into fighting pits, absolutely gut-wrenching viewing (The Champions – available on Netflix). Most states in the US have a law where any dogs rescued from such fighting pits are put down out of fear for society. There are however, a handful of wonderful organisations dedicated to rehabilitating these dogs into loving family homes which is fantastic to see.

I could write for hours about how full my heart is after meeting Audrey, but I think the most important thing to note is that we should cherish these human/animal relationships for as long as they last. Treat all animals with respect and love, and they will return it to you tenfold.

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Photo credit – earthspirit

To the bride and groom (to be)

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Tis the season for a wedding, and a delightful wedding it shall be. This coming weekend I have the fortune of witnessing two souls say their I do’s, which is pretty special if you ask me. We have friends jetting in from London, Sydney and New York for the garden party, friends we haven’t seen in a while but it will be as if no time has passed. And what a beautiful occasion for us all to get together under the framework of love, that which can be so hard to find in today’s modern world.

When I think of a wedding, I think of nothing else but a pure celebration. A celebration of two worlds colliding, of chance encounters weaving into magic, and excitement for what the future holds. To bear witness to such a celebration is in my opinion, a great privilege. This is the day that two people commit to each other for life, for the roller coaster ahead, and what better way to do that than surrounded by close family and friends?

To the future Mr and Mrs Mulhern; may your garden always be full of vegetables, your house filled with animals, and your hearts filled with love.

Photo credit – floretflower