Goodness gracious May, where did you go?

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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 🙂

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Green with envy – the pitfalls of jealousy.

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I’ve fallen into the trap of social media envy lately – that ridiculous self-imposed jealousy you feel when endlessly scrolling through happy snaps of people travelling and living (seemingly) fabulous lives. And even though we all know the version of people portrayed on social media isn’t real, there’s some part of us that still feels down when we see images of gloriously tanned people, sipping on cocktails by the beach in exotic destinations. So why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we even bother looking on social media sites when we know, more times than not, they leave us feeling like our own little bubbles somehow aren’t as wonderful or glamorous as others?

For me, I think I’m personally suffering from some mild seasonal depression as well. Winter in Australia is officially upon us which means no bikinis, no little sundresses, and no swimming (unless you’re really adventurous, or just drunk). Life in summer is what makes my soul sing… give me sweat, sand and sunshine every day over snotty noses and socks. So as I sit here in ugg boots with a eucalyptus oil diffuser cleansing the air, I can’t help but feel a little envious of those basking in summer on the other side of the world. I’ve recently been bombarded with images of friends in far off places like Mexico and Cuba, looking like they’re having the time of their lives. Meanwhile I’m stuck here in a small town, with less friends that I can count on one hand, working in a pretty mundane job.

But I’ll stop myself right there and metaphorically slap myself on the face, because in actual fact – I’m setting myself up for a wonderful future. I’ve returned home for a ‘gap year’ of my own choice, and in 4 months I’ve managed to save $7,000.00 in a casual job which is something I should be really proud of. I’ve (slowly) recovered from some debilitating anxiety issues, and while I know there’s still a long road ahead in this regard I’m fully committed and positive it’s something I can now manage. And lastly, I’m going to Bali in a few weeks for a holiday with my beautiful friends, where I’ll be doing the exact same thing – creating social media envy for others. And while this is not my intention of course, it’s become part and parcel in our digitally connected world, and something we must all learn to live with.

So let’s give ourselves a break from feeding the jealous monster within that sometimes wreaks damage on our happiness, and commit to living in the moment – especially the moments in between those ‘happy snaps’ posted on social media. Those are the real moments – the raw, honest and authentic experiences we all go through. Cheers to that 🙂

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Photo credits – amin_ramzi & hvmansouls

 

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_