Have you ever been asked to do something that you really
don’t want to? And you spent hours, if not days, trying to conjure up an excuse
as to why you can’t do it? And not just any excuse, but a plausible excuse.
Family events, a friend’s birthday, a reunion, a prior commitment at a prior
venue that you simply could not skip on. Alternatively, we begrudgingly say yes
and complain that we have to participate in this random thing that we’ve been
asked to do, so that we don’t offend the person asking us.
We’ve all been there. Making up excuses, searching for excuses, before finally giving. But to be quite frank, I’m pretty sick of doing things that I don’t want to do. What better excuse of not doing something than simply, ‘I don’t want to.’
I think from a young age, we are programmed to please people. Especially as a woman, we’re expected to be obedient, to play along, and do whatever it is to please the people around us. It means sacrificing our time, energy and effort to keep the peace and keep everyone happy. Whilst this isn’t the end of the world, and saying yes can be a great thing, there’s something terrifyingly empowering about saying no.
This is not only apparent in our personal lives, but also in
our professional ones. As a young professional, I have been brought up in an
environment where I feel the need to prove myself. That I couldn’t possibly
have earned my position because I’m too young. So I find myself holding
incredibly high expectations of myself, pushing myself and putting my hand up
for everything to prove how deserving I am of having the opportunity to have
this job. This is a pretty self-destructive notion that will quickly lead to
burnout and feeling unrecognised for the extra work you’re pushing yourself to
I used to think that saying no was saying no to new
opportunities, to miss out on growing, to limit yourself and ultimately hold
yourself back. And whilst sometimes saying yes to things that make you feel
uncomfortable is freakin awesome and does facilitate growth, saying no doesn’t
mean you miss out on that opportunity.
I’ve recently come to understand that time is one of the
most precious things we have. And it’s important to protect it at all costs. As
our lives get busier and busier, our weekends get booked out months in advance and
seeing friends becomes a series of cancellations and rescheduling, the last
thing you want to be doing is spending your precious time doing things that you
don’t really want to do.
I’ve found myself asking, how the heck do I say no? To a
friend, a family member, a colleague, a boss, a partner… so here are some
little phrases and sayings.
That’s not really my scene
Thanks but there’s other things I’d rather be
That’s not really up my alley
I’m going to have a ‘me day’ instead
Can you elaborate on why you need me to do it
Can I think about it and get back to you?
I can’t commit to this at the moment
At the end of the day, saying no is an empowering thing. Saying no can set new boundaries. It can challenge people and get them to seriously think about what they’re asking you. It is self-care by honouring and respecting your time. And at the end of the day, you’re just one person. You can’t possibly do everything for everyone, and if you can, then maybe it’s time to start putting yourself first. Say yes to saying no!
So it’s my birthday month which means I am queen and center of attention (as if it’s not like that every other month). So whilst I’m on my high horse feeling all wise and regal like Beyonce (one can only dream), I have done a serious amount of reflecting on my past 24 years on earth. I’m turning 24! 24!! What the heck?!
Aren’t 24 year olds meant to have their life together? Aren’t they meant to have acne free skin and know what they want to do with their career? Aren’t they meant to be saving for a deposit on a house and know how to bake cakes from scratch? Well maybe I’m not your average 24 year old and I’m more concerned with where to find the best espresso martini, adding new stamps to my passport and spending an afternoon sinking beers. But believe it or not, I have come to learn some valuable lessons during my 8760 days on earth and I thought I’d share them with you.
✈️ Travel far and travel wide
I am SO incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to travel to 24 counties in 24 years (wow that’s a coincidence!). It’s something that I hope to always be able to do and cherish. Travel has taken me skiing in Austria to diving in Belize, I’ve immersed myself in French culture and became somewhat fluent in the language, I stayed with Mayans in Guatemala and learnt sewing, hiked a volcano in Iceland, partied in Prague, got a tattoo in Mexico, road tripped around California, called Canada home, sipped Sangria in Spain and survived toilet troubles in Thailand. These experiences have shaped me as a person. They’ve influenced my ideas, values and aspirations. They’ve taught me that the world is a beautiful place and has inspired me to learn as much as I can about it. They’ve confronted me with the harsh realities on inequality, poverty and political instability. And they’ve most importantly made me realise that I am a global citizen. I care about what’s happening in the world and I want to create a better one for us. Travel is the best education and I hope to keep on learning.
🔑 Honesty and Respect are key
For nearly as long as I can remember, there’s only been two things I’ve ever asked for from anyone; honesty and respect. And the two are interconnected. They’re the two basic things I try to show everyone in the hope that they return the favour and go about our lives peacefully. I’ve found that this has taken me far in life. It’s kept me grounded, kind, cautious and compassionate. I’ll always carry these values with me and maybe you might even try it out for yourself. Along the way you’ll find you’re more honest with yourself and in turn, have a new found respect and love for yourself.
👋 Don’t waste your time on people that don’t value you
How many hours, days, weeks have you spent worrying about texting someone, not getting a reply or tip toeing around a delicate situation? If you’ve ever played the dating game, then I’m sure you’ve experienced this situation before. I cannot tell you how liberating it is to simply reject this notion altogether! It’s pointless! If someone really won’t text you back, are they really worth your time? Hell no! You deserve to be with someone who wants to text you, see you, hang out with you, kiss you… not someone who is ‘too cool to text.’ Fuck that life is too damn short.
🍸Tequila shots are never a good idea
I thought maybe by now I would have realised that tequila is the devil hidden at the bottom of a shot glass. Alas, I continue to indulge in the devils games and wake up with a killer hangover. On that note, hangovers get WORSE! Worse I tell you! Does this mean I’ll stop drinking or doing shots of tequila? Nope. It just means the complaining will increase – I warned you!
On the topic of alcohol, espresso martinis are always a good idea and beers are your friend. Maybe I’ll learn one day!
💋 Being sexual doesn’t make you a slut
I remember growing up thinking that sex was an inherently shameful, dirty thing. That if you had sex you shouldn’t be proud of it or talk about it with people. Maybe that’s why I love talking about all things love, relationships and sex because I feel a little bit cheeky doing so. But in my 24 years, I’ve come to realise that sex, nudity and being sexual is a completely natural, beautiful thing. It’s a shame that we live in a society that still places so much pressure on people (especially girls) around these topics.
For me personally, I feel incredibly empowered by my naked body. I feel stronger as a woman once I’ve taken the time to understand and enjoy sex. And once I embraced my sexuality, I became an even better version of myself. Sex doesn’t make you a slut. Society gives people that label and I say fuck that label. There’s nothing more sexy than a woman who is confident in herself.
❤️ Look after yourself
Listening to yourself, is an art form that we’re always trying to perfect. Listening to your gut instinct and following your heart is SOOO important and I wish I started doing it earlier. That way you can never let yourself down.
Looking after yourself means being brave enough to say, hey – I think I just need a night to myself. Or to cook a nice hearty meal for yourself, take yourself out for lunch, buy a new dress, something that is for you and no one else. It’s being selfish every now and again to reset, realign and remind yourself just how amazing you are.
👗 Yes, not all men but yes all women
As a woman I’m often painfully reminded of the inequality, discrimination, assault and fear experienced by all women at some point in our lives. Whether it’s walking home from work after dark, going for a girls night out, waiting for a bus, women experience sexual harassment on a daily occurrence. The sadder reality is the number of women who experience violence, assault, rape and abuse. Gender inequality is entrenched in our society.
From a young age we are taught to believe that men are stronger, more powerful and more important. For decades women have been frightened into line. Until one badass realised just how strong, powerful and important women are and said that we have had enough. While we continue this important fight for equality, I have sadly heard far too many stories of women remaining silent, scared and afraid. I don’t want to live in a world where I see powerful women reduced to a statistic. I want my sisters of the world to be able to go to school, play sport, get paid the same as a man for the same job, travel safely on public transport, not be called ’emotional’ when calling someone out and be believed when she states someone has violated her body. But most importantly, I want a future where we can live without fear. Yes, not all men do this, but yes ALL WOMEN have experienced this and it’s time it changed. It’s a sad thing to learn, but it sure is powerfully motivating not to sit still.
😨 Do things that scare you
I think I’ve come to realise that this has an entirely different meaning to what I originally thought it meant. I thought it meant go skydiving, bungee jumping or backpacking around Europe. All of which are pretty awesome and pretty scary. But now I interpret this as everyday choices and decisions that challenge you to question yourself and your abilities.
This year I’m doing my Honours thesis in International Studies and damn am I scared. I’m scared I’m not smart enough, I’m not capable, scared I will let my supervisor down, let myself down, scared I have no original thoughts and scared that I know nothing.
This year I’ve also started a new relationship, which is hella scary. I was scared that people would think it was too soon, that I wasn’t serious, that I was lost. I’m scared of getting hurt and betrayed again, I’m scared of loss and I’m scared of loving someone so much.
These things are scary and yes there is the possibility that I might get hurt or might not get the mark I want. But don’t you think it’s worth the risk if you instead produce a thesis you’re proud of, or end up falling in love? It’s hard, heck sometimes impossible to get those negative voices out of your head. But those negative voices aren’t going to get you that mark, or help you fall in love. It’s these everyday scary choices that allow us to find something pretty damn magical (and I’m not talking about my thesis here). Life is scary because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone. You have to listen to your heart, take that leap and hopefully you’ll fly.
🌊 The Ocean is nature’s medicine
If I’m ever feeling down, worried, sick, anxious… I go for a walk or a swim and nature has a magical power of taking it all away. It’s so reassuring to know that no matter what life throws at me, I have my own personal therapist right out my window. It’s something I’ve tried to make more and more time for lately. Being at one with the earth, taking a deep breath, feeling the sun on your face and realising your place in the world. Sometimes there’s not better feeling.
🌞 Happiness really is the most important thing
You light up the whole room when you’re happy. Your energy is contagious, your smile infectious and light unstoppable! It’s easy to get caught in the trap of work, study, work out… ticking things off your list to earn money. And whilst money is important, it’s true what they say, it really can’t buy happiness.
Happiness comes from real, unbreakable connections with people. It comes from sharing intimate moments, thoughts or emotions. It comes from taking the time to clear your mind, look up at the sky and smile. Whether it’s little or big things, investing in your happiness is the easiest way to guarantee your life is fucking amazing.
💪 Be fierce and unapologetically YOU
There’s only one of you on earth. Yep, just 1 in over 7 BILLION! You’ve been given this life, this body, this mind, and this chance for a reason. Make the most of it! Carpe fucking Diem! Live every day with as much energy and excitement as you can give it. Take risks, believe in people, believe in yourself! Do you really want to spend your precious s wanting, wishing, longing for something you don’t have or can’t have? If you can change it, go and grab it. And if you can’t change it, embrace it, flaunt it. Show the world what you’ve got and don’t hold back for anyone. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I am Adelaide, red hair and all, and I will live a purposeful, passionate life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…. let me know in the comments or on social media!
Until next time – Ciao
The past few months have been pretty challenging. A bit of a bumpy ride with some ups and downs and what can we say… such is life. I like to think I’m pretty strong and resilient, but I think I’ve come to realise that this strength is ignited by the people around me I’m lucky enough to call my friends. It’s funny when you move out of home, away from your family, that you strive to create a ‘family’ of your own. To surround yourself with people that push you, inspire you, lookout for you and cuddle you.
You’re so passionate and interesting.
Like seriously, you guys are doing such incredibly awesome things! Whether it’s planning to work at a summer camp in Canada, babysit your niece, learn Spanish, learn to surf, experimenting with photography, rock climb, secretly talented at karaoke, volunteer with a community organisation, teach dancing, make rings from old spoons, volunteer in Nepal, know how to twerk, road trip around Australia in a van, doing your thesis, intern in the Netherlands… you are all involved in such interesting projects that continuously inspire me. I always want to hear about everything you’re doing because it pushes me to be a better person, to try new things and just get involved to make the most out of life!
You listen to me rant and preach.
Whether I’m happy or sad, angry or passionate, you nod your head and listen to my thoughts and feelings. I generally don’t filter anything I say, it goes straight from my brain to my mouth. Talking things through is how I try and make sense of my feelings and the world around me. The fact that you want to listen and make sense of this nonsense with me, makes me feel so accepted and wanted. It’s completely amazing!
You’re always down to get a coffee or a beer.
We all know that friendship is built on a foundation of coffee or beer (or tea, or juice, or cider, or vodka for my friends that don’t like coffee or beer – side note, you still cannot be trusted). There’s nothing like pressing pause on life and taking a few minutes to sit back and sit across from someone you care about to talk shit.
Time is unstoppable and so is true friendship.
Whether it’s been an hour or a year, you know that you can kick off right where you started. This is especially a shout out for those friends I only get to see a few times a year… or even once a year (Jess… why do you have to live the dream in Europe?!). It’s so crazy that throughout all of these years our friendship has not only survived but strengthened, and after everything we go through in a year, you still make time for me once a year to spend time together and catch up. Even the people I live around the corner from, you understand that I’m busy and have commitments and sometimes need to spend some time alone or focusing on some other priorities, and the fact that you are so supportive of that is so incredible.
You live in the coolest places (which I will one day come and visit).
Somehow some of my best friends live on the other side of the world. When I stop to think about where they all are I get so excited that I know people from the most incredible parts of the world; Canada, America, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Albania, Nepal, Morocco, Hong Kong… honestly I love meeting people from all over the world and the fact that I get to call you my friend is so freakin aweseome.
Work friends understand each other on a next level.
This is a shout out to all of my work friends. The people I see every day and are there to complain to, talk to and grab coffee with. We problem solve, deal with workplace politics together and keep each other updated on one another’s lives. I never thought I’d be so lucky to work with such kind, caring and considerate people. The fact that these people make going to work exciting is pretty damn amazing and I want you to know what a positive impact you make on people’s work lives (which is really important).
You intervene and pull me up for my wrongdoings.
I know I’m not perfect and that I make mistakes. But having friends who love you so much and are brave enough to sit you down and have an honest, genuine discussion about things you’re doing that may not be quite right, is the definition of consideration and respect. It’s not an easy conversation but the fact that you’re putting my wellbeing above any awkward thoughts of feelings you may have is ridiculously generous. I can say that in these moments I’ve had overwhelming gratitude for these people and their words and kindness that I’ll never forget.
You stick your hands down my throat when I need to throw up.
OK so that’s only happened once, and that friend knows that she’s the ultimate human because I don’t know anyone else who would sacrifice a night of dancing for drunk, can’t navigate us home, Adelaide (thanks girl).
Bottom line is that I honestly don’t know where I would be without each and every one of you. I feel like that sentence doesn’t even begin to grasp just how much you all mean to me. I mean it in the sincerest way possible, that you have all helped shape me to be the person I am. It’s incredible to know such inspiring, positive, kick ass people from all around the world and I feel so honoured to have such beautiful relationships with each and every one of you. I want you to know that I am here for you, I love you and let’s take this world by storm.
What a bittersweet way to end what was a great month, a lockdown which means I’m separated from my boyfriend in Sydney and friends in Wollongong. It’s awful that this virus is putting people at risk, and I wish there was a world in which we were all vaccinated, but, here we are. I’m glad that we can take steps to protect our community, but at the same time, we can confidently say, this sucks.
I’ve been reflecting on how I was feeling during lockdown and restrictions in 2020. And I’m not sure about you but in the early stages of last year, there was a kind of novelty to it. Masks, social distancing, hotspots were all words that made a grand entrance into our vernacular. Now, I’m fucking over it. It sucks that it’s impossible to make plans, to see loved ones, and figure out what you can and can’t do. It sucks that life can be so ‘normal’ one minute and chaotic and out of control the next. You think you’re taking one step forward but feels like you’re being pushed 50 steps back.
The thing that keeps me going through these times of uncertainty, is my complete belief that this is making me and us stronger. That with each setback, I’m challenged in new ways to step up. We are all making sacrifices to protect each other. COVID has changed our world in ways we couldn’t have expected. Our community has banded together in ways we never have. We’re thinking more like a collectivist society, putting our individuals needs, goals and dreams to the side while we consider how our actions might affect others. And that’s kind of special if you ask me.
It’s hard, it’s shit, it’s scary, and who knows when it will end. But I know that when it does, those hugs with loved ones will feel even better and we will be stronger together.
Pre-COVID outbreak in Sydney
A weekend at home
Before Madyy’s wedding I spent the night at home in Port Stephens. There’s nothing better than going for a walk up Tomaree and being reminded of just how gorgeous home really is. Elly and I even went for a dip to get the heart racing and it was truly spectacular.
Madyy and Rocco’s Wedding
My beautiful cousin Madyy tied the knot with the very lucky Rocco on a beautiful June afternoon. You honestly couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day in Winter with a couple more perfect for each other. It was so lovely to see my family and be a part of such a gorgeous and beautiful day! Love the Martins!
Sydney fun feat Angry Angus’ infamous pizza
A fun weekend in Sydney made special by Angus cooking up a storm and making us pizza and espresso martinis. John kindly hosted and we had a little fire pit going, an epic cheese board and great catchups with some beautiful people. No house party is complete without D+M’s (thanks Michael).
Writing this in July, it makes me so happy I got to have a big bang of a last weekend in Sydney for a while. I’ll be back to party with you very soon.
After many weekends away, it was really special to take some time to enjoy what Canberra has to offer – I guess you have to be careful what you wish for because I won’t be leaving anytime soon. But it was the perfect time to be reminded of how beautiful Canberra is and the amazing people I get to share it with.
Whether it’s going to the pub to watch the footy or grab a parmi, go for a hike or parkrun, start up the fire and spend the afternoon drinking wine… I’m so glad I got the chance to embrace the many joys that Canberra has to offer.
I had my first snow adventure with no other than the ultimate snow bunny, Erica! Eri came down on a Friday and we hit the pub and went out for some dinner and wine. We set our alarms at an ungodly hour on the Saturday to head off to Perisher and were treated to a gorgeous sunrise. After a bit of traffic and a big ol trek down the road (parking was insane) we finally hit the slopes!
It was SO MUCH FUN! I haven’t been skiing in what feels like forever. It was snowing the entire day which was pretty magical. We explored some of the mountain and tried not to fall over. It was bloody beautiful and I’m so glad I got to have my first day on the slopes with Erica.
Sadly, it was at 2pm that day that it was announced Greater Sydney was going into lockdown so our little Canberra hangout was cut short but it was so much fun while it lasted. Can’t wait to go again with ya gal!
It’s A Sin I have no words for how hauntingly beautiful this show is. It’s only 5 episodes but each episode will make your heart swell while simultaneously breaking it. This show tells the story of a group of young queer men living in London in the 80s and 90s during the AIDS crisis. If you don’t know much about this time, you will find it truly disturbing and heartbreaking. You will fall in love with the characters as they did such justice to the complex lives of young queer men in such a terrifying time.
Broadchurch One hungover day in Sydney, John and I watched the whole season of this show. WOW! It is so incredible. It’s a British murder mystery set in a small town, where the murder of a young boy exposes the towns secrets. It will have you guessing the whole time (though I did manage to guess it correctly).
Sly Withers Umm a big hello there! Who are these guys, where did they come from and when are you touring so I can release my inner punk goddess?! Sly Withers have been on my radar for some time now, to the point that I was eagerly anticipating their new album and damn it does not disappoint! The whole album is pure magic! They even covered Colplay for Like A Version and it is seriously incredible.
Fave song: Sleep on the weekends
The Happiest Man On Earth, by Eddie Jaku John’s sister Steph has great taste in books, so I was stoked when she leant me this one. It was one I took my time with because as easy as it is to read, a lot of the simple parts are very profound and I wanted to let it sink in. It’s a gorgeous read and as the title suggests, it will leave you feeling optimistic and happy no matter what challenges you face.
Who Gets To Be Smart, by Bri Lee Power and privilege in the Australian education system? Where do I read more! Well look no further than Bri Lee’s incredible new book examining education in Australia from primary school to universities. As someone who is a fierce advocate for public schools (and product of one), plus someone who studied at university and worked in tertiary education for 5 years, I found it beautifully tying together many points I had already encountered. While some schools spend funding on much needed maintenance like flooding bathrooms, others (private schools) are spending public funding on building orchestra pits and Olympic sized swimming pools. This is something I’m really passionate about and am keen to explore more and I thank Bri for starting such an important conversation.
I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a recent event hosted by the Australia Institute with my friend Vanessa. It was so great hearing her speak and elaborate on some of her points – it was even better when someone mistook me for her and I had to awkwardly explain that I wasn’t (thanks for the compliment though!)
Alpha H SPF 50 moisturiser I was after a new daytime moisturiser for winter when I came across Alpha H. I thought I would go out on a limb and try something new and I’m pleasantly surprised by this product. While it’s certainly not enough SPF to provide enough protection to your face, it’s perfect for my short winters days in Canberra commuting to and from the office. It’s fragrance free, slightly oily but I think it gives a nice glow. It’s sits really nicely under makeup and means I am hydrated and protected throughout my day. It’s on sale now at Adore Beauty for $55.80.
I’m writing this sign off a few weeks into July and my optimism is certainly being challenged with the currently situation – as I’m sure many people’s are. My goal is to focus on the small things that I can control, find joy nearby, reach out and connect with friends and take it one day at a time. I know that we will be reunited soon (hopefully fully or partially vaccinated) and life will one day again look a little more familiar.
What an aMAYzing month it’s been! It’s been a crazy busy month with literally every weekend spent galavanting around this beautiful state. From a romantic seaside getaway, to a fine wine time in Jindabyne and trekking through the snow, gigs in Sydney and a girls trip away to the Southern Highlands, this month reminded me of how fortunate I am to have loved ones around. Despite the crazy schedule and the overdue desire to sleep in my own bed, I loved spending time away with friends and family. With a lot of stress and uncertainty at work, it served as the ultimate distraction in being able to throw myself into my social life and connect with people I love.
A seaside escape to Mollymook
While long distance relationships are certainly not the easiest thing in the world, the plus side is getting to be creative with when and how we see each other. After a cold snap hit, John and I booked a weekend in beautiful Mollymook, where we explored the pubs, enjoyed some oysters, wine, cheese and biccies and watched cheesy 00’s movies. I think I’m going to have to write a blog post about ‘long distance’ relationships because it’s pretty fascinating (even being one half of one myself). It truly felt like a little holiday escape with the hardest part being having to say goodbye at the end.
Jindabyne + snow magic
I’ve done the classic ‘I’ve just moved to Canberra and am going to go to the snow all the time – just bought a season pass’ move. Ahead of a busy ski season ahead, John and I went with Nikki and Lewis to Lewis’ home town. We had planned for a relatively relaxed day of walking and exploring but with some fresh conditions hitting the mountains, we were treated to snow! And not just settled snow but actual snowfall! My god it was pure magic and so damn exciting! We ate amazing food, drank amazing wine, watched a shit movie (thanks John) and took in the beautiful views from their beautiful lakehouse. It got me so damn excited for the snow season, so if you’re keen to hit the slopes, hit a girl up!
A few months ago, Josie, Catherine, Chloe and I decided to get together in a few months time (this is how we maintain adult friendships now – book a random date in a few months and lock it in). Well while it came during the middle of my endless weekends away, it really came at a great time to reconnect with my girlfriends, drink wine, eat too much cheese and just chill out. We booked the cutest airbnb in Tallong ‘The Orchard’ complete with a fireplace and plenty of room for the four of us. It was perfect weather to snuggle up in a blanket, read a book, fall in love with baked brie and garlic dip (you’re welcome Catherine). Already looking forward to next years reunion!
Sydney long weekend
I’m not sure if you knew this, but the ACT has the most public holidays in Australia. So at the end of May, over another ACT long weekend, I spent the perfect long weekend in Sydney with John. We went exploring through the Royal National Park, made some delish dinner and went to arguably the BEST GIG EVER – Middle Kids. I feel like going to a gig in COVID times is always a bit risky and uncertain, but they absolutely pulled it off and nailed it. It was so moving and awesome – I think I’m not in love with the lead. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a slow weekend!
A month just isn’t complete without some shenanigans! We won our netball grand final, my housemates and I cooked up the ultimate roast lamb and took an awkward self timer, and Johnnie and I drank shit beer and made the best tacos ever!!! I don’t always take photos of the inbetween moments (dinners, coffees, walks etc) but they mean just as much to me as the big weekends away.
See What You Made Me Do There’s not many show that I watch and for the following weeks I can’t stop telling people to watch it – but this is it! It’s confronting, it’s awful, it’s terrifying and it’s the reality of too many women who experience domestic and family violence, where tragically, one woman a week is murdered in Australia as a result. This show is a must watch for all Australians.
Self Made I’m not sure how I missed this show but damn is it amazing!! I came across this on Netflix while searching for the ultimate show to watch in the bath, and friends, this definitely hit the spot. The cast are incredible, the costumes and sets are incredible and it’s based on an incredible true story. Did I mention it’s incredible?!
Handmaid’s Tale Oh boy it’s back and I’m not sure I’m ready. Thankfully this show is only coming out week by week because I need to space out the depressing times this show gives. It’s the final season, I’m ready for June to absolutely fucking lose it and for Gilead to crumble!
The Sure Thing This is an epic mini-series that I smashed out in a long day of driving. It tells the true story of two young Australian men who constructed and (nearly) pulled off Australia’s largest insider trading scam. It’s a really interesting look at the psychology of young men, particularly around taking risk. Couldn’t recommend it enough!
Julia Stone’s Sixty Summers album Oh damn I have had this album on REPEAT!!! I was never the biggest Angus and Julia Stone fan (of course, who didn’t love Big Jet Plane?!), but this album has given me a whole new love and appreciation for her talent with singing and songwriting. Love love love it!
Ok this is a weird one but hear me out. I NEVER used to use a hairdryer. I would go to bed with wet hair, go out with wet hair, do anything with wet hair, I just didn’t really care. That was until I moved to Canberra where one night I went to bed with wet hair and woke up with a splitting headache becuase my head was so cold. So I guess it’s true what Grandma always said, don’t go to be with wet hair. Watch out, there’s a new me in town.
As the temperature dropped, my trusty old Lorna Jane tights just couldn’t stand the cold. Luckily it coincided with the Iconic’s winter sale where I snagged these Running Bare thermal tech tights for 30% off. You wouldn’t think good, thick, warm tights would make too much of a difference, especially because once you start running, you get hot and sweaty anyway. Well my dear, I’m here to preach about them. Not only do they help in keeping my body warm, but the quality of these tights are amazing. They keep me supported and the phone pocket in the legs don’t droop (and actually support my phone while running!) I’m slowly expanding my winter athletic wardrobe but I’m definitely going to look at adding another pair to my collection. Love love love them!
As I write this, it’s nearly the end of June which I guess accurately sums up the busy days and packed weekends I’ve been having. I’ve been leaning on excercise a lot lately to help process my thoughts and connect with my emotions which has been helping a lot. I’m working on reminding myself that I can’t do everything at once, and that it’s important to do one thing at a time and do it well. I’m working on not being so hard on myself and setting reasonable expectations, rather than unrelenting standards. It’s all a work in progress, but hey, it’s still progress.
I hope you’re all keeping warm, telling your family you love them, and making time for the things that matter to you.
Everyone refers to their twenties as the selfish years. The years in which you travel, make mistakes, fall in love, get your heart broken, party, make more mistakes and ‘create yourself.’ And while my early twenties certainly consisted of all of the above (more than I’d like to admit), referring blindly to your twenties as the same decade misses the mark of the complex, confusing and chaotic period which is your twenties.
In my first few years of uni, I would stay up until 5am partying, drinking, talking D+M’ing, going for nudie swims under the cover of dark, go clubbing, dancing and sleep in until 1pm. Now I don’t think that’s physically possible. I’ve somehow transformed into a morning peson who gets up at 5:30 to go to yoga or for a run.
What does this change mean? Is it biological (my body screaming at me to please please please have babies), is it societal (watching my friends get married, buy a house and have gorgeous kids), is it economic (thinking about how much super I will need to retire), or is it a natural progression of getting old and boring?
I recently picked up Nell Frizell’s debut book ‘The Panic Years,’ where she explores this overarching period of a woman’s life that ultimately results in panic. Whether you’re in your twenties, thirties or even fourties, most decisions are made in a state of panic. Frantically looking around and comparing yourself to your peers and friends, driven by the underlying question of ‘do I want children and if so, when do I have them?’
There’s a myriad of reasons why this simple question is so loaded and not so simple. And as someone who feels well and truly in her panic years, in the flux, at any given time I’m likely considering the following;
How will I know when I’m ready?
How much money do I need to have a baby?
Will my employer be flexible and will I have enought support for maternity leave?
How many more jobs do I want to have before I’m ready to plateau for a little while?
Where do I want to live? Where can I afford to live?
Am I ok with renting or do I want to buy something – how the hell does anyone afford to buy something?
How much do those cute little baby socks cost?
Do I need health insurance? What if something goes wrong?
Will my scoliosis worsen during pregnancy leaving me with a Quasimodo hunchback?
Am I fertile, can my body physically even have kids?
Is my womb even a nice little uterus where a baby could make a home for nine months?
Could I deal with the possibility of miscarriage – after all it happens in 1 in 4 pregnancys?
Do I really want to bring a child into the world that is arguably burning?
I understand that these are all privileged thoughts, many women don’t have the space, choice or freedom to have children on their own terms.
Lying under all of these questions is the dilema of career progression, personal goals and ambitions (can you raise a baby in Mongolia? I still really want to go there!), personal relationships, family… no wonder it’s called the panic years.
To me it’s insane the comparison and contrast between my early twenties, someone who was quite opposed to having children and was very present-focused. Within the past 12 months I feel I’ve undergone a total transformation of my outlook on life and what’s important to me. I’m so much more future focused and thinking about all of the things (see above), my family (which I’ve always loved and thought was important) have become even more significant in my life and play a much larger part in my life. I’m careful with how I spend my money and time, and following up at the doctors with all these little health concerns to make sure I can live a long and happy life. Maybe a positive take from the pandemic was making us quickly realise what’s important and not to put faith in the future just happening because we all know it can change in the blink of an eye.
This transformation has caught me completely off guard as I grapple with the loss of my early twenties Adelaide but a quiet confidence as I navigate my mid-late twenties. It’s a privilege growing older, I just can’t believe how much you can grow, change and learn in such a short amount of time.
This post isn’t just about when I can have an adorable little red headed baby… but about trying to understand this period of time that I see a lot of my friends move into and navigate. The time where once in a blue moon you can stay out til 5am partying, but where you’re also researching investing in stocks and getting your skin checked regularly. So when I picked up Nell’s book, I knew immediately what it was about – this. The future-focused, somewhat responsible, somewhat decisive, somewhat confused mid-late twenty woman riding the panic and embracing the flux.
When I was about 16 years old, I wandered through a careers fair in a non-descript gymnasium in Newcastle. I was the kind of high school student who loved everything. English, French, Geography, Music, Science… what kind of career involved all of those? And better yet, what kind of career did I want to have, where did I want to work, what did it all mean? So like any 16 year old at a careers fair, I took my share of booklets, free pens and magnets and thought I’d deal with all of those big questions at a later date, after all, I already had my one-way ticket to London booked.
When I got home, I looked through some of the booklets with my parents, flicking through the similar glossy pages and scanning course guides trying to find the one with my name written all over it. That’s when I picked up the University of Wollongong’s booklet. I was immediately drawn to this thing known as a double degree (I’d always been one to try and over achieve). It was perfect. International Studies with Communications and Media. I hadn’t seen another university offer the same kind of degree and something about their prospectus seemed edgy and authentic (nice job marketing)- plus it was basically ON THE BEACH! After only ever visiting Wollongong once, I put it as my first preference in UAC, sat the HSC and headed off to London, more of less forgetting about school and uni all together.
When I arrived back in Australia, and the reality of trying to figure out my life hit me, I was overwhelmed by where I actually wanted to go. I had offers from multiple university’s and it was really my choice. Then I got a call from the infamous Stephen Brown who was then the Head of Students for the Faculty. He rang me to congratulate me on my ATAR and offered me a Dean’s Scholar program. I was pretty delighted that a professor had called up little old Adelaide and thought about what my life in Wollongong, as a Dean’s Scholar might look like.
After a year in London, I was pretty over cities. They’re crowded, expensive and noisy, so Sydney was off the cards. I considered Newcastle but that meant I’d only be a 45 minute drive from home (not far away enough). A lot of my friends went to the party destination of Armidale but thought I couldn’t handle the cold. And Melbourne seemed a bit too far away, plus the dreaded 4 seasons in one day thing. So back to the idea of Wollongong I went. I was overjoyed when I found out that one of my best friends from high school would be studying there too and with that my decision was made – Wollongong I was coming for you!
In my first year in Wollongong, I lived in International House. Having just come back from travelling around Europe, I was pretty excited to be living with people from all over the world and all over Australia. We had dorm parties, discovered Wednesday night schnitty night at North Gong hotel and learnt that having dinner at 5:30pm was completely acceptable (you wanted to get the best food you could). I’m still friends with people I met at iHouse and I’m incredibly lucky I got to call it home for my first year of 2014.
My first job
I landed my first job on campus as a Student Rep, which hardly felt like a job at all. I got to visit local high schools and talk to students about their study options. As someone who loves talking and is passionate about education and pursuing your dreams, I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do this. I attended career fairs (I got to hand out those course books and magnets) and work at big events like Open Day and Discovery Days. It was my first taste of the inner workings of UOW and university. I loved it because I was sharing my experiences, my observations and connecting with my teachers and peers. It set me up in a way I couldn’t have imagined at the time.
Uni friends are a different kind of friend
Moving to a new place and starting university can be pretty overwhelming, but I was determined to make as many friends as I could. Before we event started, I sat a French placement test (which I actually failed) and met my now best friend Erica. While buying my French textbook I met my friend Anna. And in my first French class I met my mate Pete. OK maybe it was French that set me up with some amazing friends but I knew it was more than that. Connecting with people over a common interest in French, careers or travel at university was like nothing I had experienced before. We had all committed and chosen to spend our time (and money) here. In my lectures, tutorials and in the corridors of building 19 I met so many incredible people that I would continue to cross paths with and forge friendships with. These moments certainly set me up for years of expanding my network and knowing I always had someone to go to the UniBar with. They say the people you meet at uni will be friends forever and I couldn’t believe it more.
Kooloobong Village and LHA Central
In my second year of uni I moved to Kooloobong Village (also known as KB). I lived in Unit 10 with people I’m lucky to still call friends. I turned 21 that year and was diving deep into uni, expanding my friend group, and apparently bought a selfie stick (remember those things?!) It’s also the year I really started to invest in my blog, not just as a personal reflection but as a professional tool to connect with people around the world. I’m lucky I’ve had people support me throughout my journey to push me to keep creating and keep writing.
In 2015 I started working at LHA Central, a job I absolutely loved! I became great friends with Mark and Lauren and I learnt the art of admin, customer service and relationship management. I loved that I worked in an office, had an email signature and my own personal phone extension. I worked there for 4 years and was lucky to balance work with my studies throughout that time.
The ‘Carrie Bradshaw moment’
If you’ve set foot onto the UOW campus, I apologise, you’ve likely seen my face on promotional posters. While yes you’ll find me on the website, course guides, flyers, posters and videos… nothing can top the moment my face was blown up on a bus!
Exchange and travel
If it wasn’t already apparent, travel is something I absolutely love. So when the opportunity to study AND travel arose I jumped at it. 2016 was a big year for that. I completed a short course at the University of La Rochelle through AIM Overseas studying French language, history and gastronomy (hello beautiful wine!). You can read about my time in France here. Living with a French host family, and speaking French non-stop, my French improved drastically (you’d hope wouldn’t you). I befriended a group of students from America (which I later visited in D.C) and was just so happy to live out my dream of eating baguettes all day long. This experience later inspired me to change my French minor to a major with the support from the best French teacher you’ll meet, Anu.
After my time in France, I headed to Montreal for 6 months to complete a semester abroad at Concordia University. I thought I’d be able to apply my newly acquired confidence with French but Quebecois French is something else entirely! It was here that I met incredible friends, studied Canadian history, politics and geography and survived -28degrees. I was lucky to study abroad with some fellow UOW students and had friends come to visit as well. Even on the other side of the world, people manage to connect and be present in your life.
Finishing uni, research assistant and more travel
After nearly 8 months overseas, it was time to come back to Australia and get back into finishing my degree and working at LHA Central. I was asked by one of my Politics teachers, Nori, to be his Research Assistant for his work on the 457 visa in Australia. This was a time I felt that my research, writing and curiosity skills could actually take me in an interesting direction (more on that later).
It was 2017 and I was due to complete my degree early at the end of the year. Because I was eligible for another Overseas Help Loan from the Government, I thought why not study abroad one more time. I found a short course in Mexico City that was all about human rights, immigrants,Mexican culture and history. I had taken an interest in immigration through my classes and thought this would be an incredible way to learn about this issue in a country that was facing a border crisis in the US, with Trump only recently being elected.
You can read about my experience here but it was certainly one of the most profound experiences of my life. It inspired me to trust and follow my curiosity to understand how the world works. I later contributed towards the UOW student magazine about immigration and it also gave me the confidence to undertake my Honours year.
Honours and Digital Marketing
2018 was a wild year. I was enrolled in my Honours course with Nori as my supervisor. As no surprise to anyone, chose to do my thesis on the topic of the ‘everyday experience of “illegality” in the US’ and examined the historical development of US immigration policy. It was by far one of the most challenging things I have ever done.
In the same year, I was approached by the LHA Marketing team to help out with managing their social media channels and website project. I worked with the dream team several times a week and fell in love with all things digital, marketing and communications. It’s here that I found what I loved to do. Create engaging content and bring people joy.
Professional Adelaide coming through
After finishing my studies I really wasn’t sure where I was going or what I wanted to do. I landed a casual position with the Advancement Division supporting their social media, websites and events. I was lucky to work with them on a casual basis until mid 2020. Through this I met incredible people and was able to pitch stories, conduct interviews, contribute and support with editing of the Outlook magazine… the list is endless and I loved every second. A highlight was certainly the 2019 Alumni Awards where I took to social media to provide live updates throughout the night which was so much fun!
I was over the moon when I landed a permanent roll in the LHA International Unit supporting international student recruitment, mobility and fostering a sense of community for our international student community. I have learned so much in this role under the incredible leadership of Kate and Lily and wouldn’t be where I am without the support of incredible colleagues like Rosheen, Ian and Simone. In 2019 I travelled to India to represent UOW which was such a pinch me moment I’m still in disbelief it happened.
So we know that COVID drastically changes our lives in every aspect. Though I felt incredibly priviledged and lucky to have had my job, apartment and family close by, my heart broke for those international students who have been separated from their families with no end in sight. Particularly as COVID cases around the world continue to worsen, we are truly living through a traumatic global event, the effects of which may not be felt for some time to come.
Unfortunately for myself and my colleagues at UOW, Australian universities got quite comfortable with getting their revenue from international students. With borders firmly closed, it put enormous finanical pressure on univerisities across the country. This meant money saving initiatives had to be introduced which ultimately resulted in jobs being cut.
I waded out a very rocky 2020. Working from home for 12 months, a restructure, huge proposed job cuts and navigating uncertainty in the international student space. At the beginning of 2020 I had planned to move and work overseas in Mongolia (of all places, yes… but that’s a story for another time). So with the promise of a new year, in 2021 I was committed to finding a new job that would spark joy, push me out of my comfort zone and take me in a new direction.
In February I found out that I had landed a communications role at a Women’s Health organisation in Canberra – not quite Mongolia but it does get cold – and I knew my time was up.
Parting is such sweet sorrow
Leaving certainly was bittersweet. UOW was the place I grew up, personally, professionally, academically. It was the place I came to understand the world around me, meet people that have shaped me, overcome challenges and adversity and figure out what I want to do with my life.
People might say ‘it’s just a job,’ but my time at UOW was far more than that. It was pivotal in figuring out who I am. While universities across Australia continue to face many cultural and financial challenges, and it’s certainly not over yet, I choose to look back on my time at UOW with pride, joy and accomplishment.
The friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime (I got a tattoo with my boss – that friendship is indestructalbe!), the skills I’ve gained will propel me forward and most importantly I’ve learnt what kind of leader I want to be and how one person really can make a difference in a big organisation. Be authentically you and you will inspire people to do the same.
Only time will tell what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, I’ll be back. Whether it’s as a student (again), as a staff member, an academic or the Vice Chancellor, UOW will always have a special place in my heart, and one that I’m incredibly grateful for.
So somehow it’s May… when did that happen?! I think I lost track of time between long weekends, stressful work days and smashing some personal bests with my running. This month I’ve been really proud of the way I’ve been able to step up and take initiative and stand up for myself. I’ve been having a pretty challenging time at work, adjusting to a new workplace culture, new management style and a new role (all in a new city). I’m super grateful for my incredibly kind and supportive colleagues, but I’ve certainly been questioning my capabilities which has taken a toll on my confidence. It’s hard not to spiral when your confidence falls, questioning why you’ve made these decisions and questioning where you’ve ended up.
I’ve been really grateful for the incredibly supportive people who have reminded me of who I am, what I contribute and how I am valued. While it may sound like a cry for validation, positive reinforcement, it’s so much more than that. It has meant the world being able to reconnect to my values, my skills, my experiences and what makes me special. I am special and so are you – if anyone makes you feel like you’re not special, you’ve really got to consider whether you need that person in your life or not.
While the past few weeks have certainly been challenging, I’ve dug deep, been brave and stepped up so that I can get through these challenging times. I feel like I’ve grown an exponential amount, being able to communicate clearly and confidently to attempt to resolve conflict, while also making the concious effort to not take certain things on, because it doesn’t fill my cup.
At the end of the day, there will always be people out there who do not want the best for you, question your intentions and attempt to bring you down. As the beautiful Michelle Obama said, when they go low, we go high. So higher and higher I will strive to continue to fly.
Hands down one of the best things about April is the number of public holidays we’re able to squeeze into the month! So over the glorious Easter long weekend, John and I headed up to Port Stephens to enjoy some sunshine and celebrate my Mum’s birthday! It’s always nice going home and even nicer to celebrate such a special and beautiful woman like my Mum.
Some of John’s friends joined us at Murray’s Brewery for a much needed beverage in the sun and we spend the evening on the balcony eating cheese and drinking beer. On Sunday we were treated to some glorious weather and we went exploring to our secret island, and honestly is there anything better than jumping off a rock into the water? I love love loved it and love brining people to enjoy the beauty of Port Stephens.
After our weekend in Port Stephens we headed to Sydney to spend time with John’s family. We headed to Manly for lunch and soaked up the beautiful vibes of being by the beach. It was such a lovely day out spent with John’s family – I even got a few cuddles from little baby Jack!
Yours & Owls
The festival we never thought would happen finally happened! Scheduled for October of 2020, I think I bought tickets over a year ago and with all of the cancelling and rescheduling, I’d considered my ticket a donation to Yours & Owls. Despite countless challenges, the legends at Y&O managed to pull off NSW’s first COVID-safe festival and boy oh boy was it great! Two days of back to back bangers was so much fun! Big shout out to Elly for letting us have pres on your front balcony. I had my first chip on a stick (I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life) and we boogied away to Lime Cordiale, Smith Street Band, Hayden James, Tones and I and Slowly Slowly – oh and Blue was obviously the superior section!
ANZAC Day long weekend
And another long weekend rolled around. ANZAC Day is always a special day in our family, not only with Isaac currently serving but with a lot of family members having served. Our family came down to Canberra so we could go and watch Isaac march out in Captain’s Flat. It was so lovely to have everyone over – including my beautiful Grandma – for brekky and dinner. Then I discovered my new favourite pub, the Old Canberra Inn. We headed there (with a bit of an embarrassing detour of my behalf) to play two up, eat some schnitty and down some pints! An absolutely epic long weekend and I couldn’t be more grateful for my family for coming together and enjoying eachothers company.
Celebrating our 30th
While I’m not quite 30 myself, the organisation I work for celebrated its 30th birthday! I was respsonbile for pulling off our 30th birthday (which, if I say so myself – went pretty damn well!). It’s always hard starting a new job, let alone being handed the responsibiltiy of delivering a milestone event. While it was certainly a bit of a whirlwind, I’m so proud that I not only pulled it off, I kinda nailed it! Shoutout to my awesome colleagues who got me across the line and helped me make the magic happen.
Colours of Autumn
Just thought I’d share some of these gorgeous photos of the beach, the river, the lake and the trees I’ve been soaking in. Isn’t Autumn just the best?!
The Serpent You know that I’ve been loving shows that satisfy the travel bug within me. The Serpent certainly does that (but in a bit of a messed up way). It’s a bit of a slow burn but absolutely worth it! It’s an epic show based on the true story of a French serial killer throughout the ‘hippie highway’ in the 70s. 110% recommend!
A Fantastic Woman I bit the bullet and tried out my first bath in my new place – despite the lukewarm water (seems we’re having some hot water issues… not ok as we are about to enter winter!), I lit a candle and set up with my laptop to watch this gorgeous movie soaked in bubbles. This took a turn I really wan’t expecting and thought was beautiful and heart wrenching. It tells the story of a trans woman who experiences severe isolation after the passing of her secret boyfriend in Chile. It’s in Spanish but hey – I think you’re brave enough to overcome the subtitles for this incredible film.
deja vu, Olivia Rodrigo Yep, basic bitch status has been achieved. But seriously Olivia girl who hurt you?! At such a young age she is absolutely killing it and producing absolute bangers. I’ve had her songs on repeat and believe she’s about to release an album… she’s certainly on my radar!
R U High, The Knocks and Mallrat I have had this banger on repeat. Such a good tune to listen when you’re on your way home from work on a Friday and getting pumped for those after work drinks!
What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriaty So I was a bit slack on reading this month (oops) and I think it’s because I got stuck on this book. For 400 pages it just didn’t really do it for me. Nonetheless, I persevered. It was nice. That’s all I really have to say. I’ve got some much better books on my to read pile, so check in next month for those updates.
We Are All Burnt Out, The Cut
I have been recommending this episode of the Cut to everyone and anyone who will listen. I was listening to this episode on a drive up to Sydney and I honestly felt like it was specifically addressed to me. It is a MUST listen. It talks about identify and who we are when we place so much value on what we do (our jobs), how toxic workplace culture can affect you and why it’s so important to have things outside of your job that spark joy!
It’s actually an oldie but I’ve never had so much appreciation for it – my Garmin watch! Ever since getting it I’ve been getting super into my running and think that I can finally call myself a runner. My goal this year is to run a half marathon (21.1km) and this month I smashed my longest run of 10kms! Despite the below zero mornings, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to run to the lake and get my heart rate up and get sweaty. I’ve also beat my parkrun 5km PB and I’m nearly at my goal of doing it in under 30 minutes.
Might be a strange one, and also may not be entirely because of my watch, but I’m so proud of myself for pushing myself and really dedicating the time to improving my style, strength and endurance. So Garmin if you’re reading, I’m happy to be sponsored by you!
I picked up my Garmin from Rebel when it was 50% off so keep an eye on their website for some pretty awesome deals!
Well, April what a month you were. I feel stronger, professionally, mentally and physically, and I’ve never felt more connected to the people in my life who matter the most. The next month is pretty full on with LITERALLY every weekend booked out for the month. But hey, I’m going to take it slow, take time for myself and take it easy.
I hope May is kind to you, I hope you’re kind to yourself and remember to make some time for fun and joy!
This post is dedicated to my beautiful Grandad, who sadly passed away this month. May his watchful eye guide us from heaven as he rests in peace.
So, is this what loss feels like? A dark sadness in knowing you won’t get to have another conversation again. Relief knowing your loved one is out of pain and finally at peace. Joy that they’ve been reunited with friends and family in heaven. Existential crisis in knowing how much they shaped the person you are today, what does it mean now that they’re gone? I think these are some of the questions I’ll be asking myself over the coming months. Grappling with big questions, and hopefully, with my Grandad guiding me (as he always has), reminding me of what is important in the short time we’re blessed enough to have here on Earth.
Long story short, my Grandad had a full life. He has always been my inspiration for wanting to travel, make the most of every opportunity and come back with a good story to tell. So in true Grandad style, this blog, this monthly ‘favourite things’, is my way of reflecting on what I’ve done in a month, receiving it all with gratitude, thanking people for making my month so special and thinking about the direction I want to take my life. I’ve been doing these monthly recaps for years now and sometimes I’ve wondered why I do it. It’s moments like this, to be able to look back on all of the wonderful people and things I have in my life that put it all in perspective, that make it all worth it.
This month has been tumultuous indeed. The loss of my hero, navigating a new city, starting a new job, visiting friends and spending time with my boyfriend while everything is new… quite frankly has been exhausting. Mentally and physically. While I wouldn’t change a thing, I think it’s a reminder to protect your time and energy. To spend your time and energy with people who fill your cup, who make you feel special and loved, because spreading yourself thin will only leave you feeling sad and tired. If my Grandad taught me anything, he taught me that spending time with the ones we love, and investing time to create more friendships, is what it’s all about.
So as I look back on March, I’m so incredibly grateful for the people who supported me through what has got to be one of the hardest months I’ve experienced. In true Grandad style, let’s take a look back on the month that was.
Little Elly turned 25 and we had a big old birthday bash to celebrate! We headed up to Newcastle for some fun in the sun. Little Elly had a bit too much fun and found a makeshift bed on a rather hard surface. It was such a great weekend spent with friends and family all to celebrate the fun, vivacious, gorgeous and hilarious Elly!
Yea the gals
Have you ever started a group chat with some of your closest girlfriend’s to organise a weekend away, only to realise that the only weekend you’re all available is 5 months away? Yea me too. Turns out that 5 months ago we chose to have our girls weekend away during a once in a hundred year flood. So while we didn’t exactly have the beach weekend we had hoped for, we certainly had a grand old time! Yea the gals!
One week into my new job at a Women’s Health Organisation, it was International Women’s Day. A historic march took place outside of Parliament House and it was amazing being there with colleagues and listening to incredible women sharing their stories and experiences.
For my first proper weekend in Canberra, Johnnie came to visit, and boy did we paint the town red. Well maybe just Kingston. We had the best time exploring the foreshore bars, and infamous Kingo pub, hiked up Mount Taylor, watched a pro ultimate frisbee game, and road electric scooters!
After a month of slowly warming up our new house and getting acquainted with Narrabundah (the good side apparently), it was time to spice things up with a little old house warming. It seems my housemates (Liam and Connor) have a different definition to what ‘little’ means because at one point I think we had over 100 people in our big ass backyard. And to be honest, it was one of the best housewarming parties I had ever been too (and I was hosting it!). Of course it was country themed and of course we stayed up til 2:30am singing ‘country road’ until our neighbour marched into our house to disconnect the speakers – I’d call that a success!
To back it up, we attended Wine Machine the next day. After a much needed greasy brekky, we headed off to the first festival in over a year – and boy oh boy was it FANTASTIC! Did it rain? Yes. Was it freezing Canberra rain? Yes. Was it awesome? Hell yes! While it was kind of strange to sit down every now and again and stay in our squares, I somehow ran into a big handful of beautiful people (classic festivals) and lost my voice singing along to some bangers! WHAT A WEEKEND!
Honeybee, by Craig Silvey This is a book that once you sink into it, you can’t stop reading. I thought this book was truly gorgeous, a story about identity, love, a desperate search to fit in, belong and be yourself. Treat yourself to this over a weekend, you won’t need the whole weekend to finish it because you won’t be able to put it down.
Serotonin, Girl in Red Ooooooh baby I have had this song on repeat! Whether I’ve been at work, running, on the way to work, it’s the perfect upbeat tune to listen to.
Middle Kids new album “Today We’re The Greatest.” Oh my god the album I so desperately needed! This album has been powering my drives between Canberra and Sydney and honestly what a masterpiece. I’m obsessed with Bad Neighbour and Stacking Chairs… Bring on May when I get to see them in concert!
You Me At Six My inner punk rocker chic has been tapped back into as I’ve been playing You Me At Six on repeat. It’s kinda crazy that 10 years ago I was obsessed with them and saw them at Soundwave (haha yes Soundwave… what a throwback). I’ve been loving their new album (yes they’re still releasing music) and LOVE their song Glasgow… ooooh it is so damn sexy and powerful! A little treat for you is their Orchestral version – you’re welcome.
Behind Her Eyes I watched this whole series in a day (a very sad and rainy day) and OMG I am OBSESSED! It was amazing and honestly will have you guessing the whole way through. The ending, whilst a bit out there, was epic and my jaw seriously hit the ground when the end credits rolled.
Ginny and Georgia Another series you can smash over quickly, except this is a lot more light hearted. I absolutely loved the characters and felt that it explored some really important themes and issues. Honestly I don’t think you could pay me enough to be a teenager in our society nowadays (teenage years were hard enough) but this show reinforces important messages of mental health, support, friends and connection.
Freshwater Five (The Guardian, Today In Focus) This is a must listen series! An investigation that looks to uncover one simple, yet one big question… are these five fisherman from the Isle of Wright guilty of attempting to import unprecedented amounts of cocaine into the UK? You can find the 6 part miniseries in the feed of The Guardian’s ‘Today in Focus.’
Well March, you have certainly been one of the hardest months. It’s been challenging being a long way from home, feeling a little lonely, a little isolate and a lot overwhelmed. It’s all part of life I guess. I think the ups and downs of the past month have really made me prioritise my relationships with loved ones, taking time for myself, and reaching out for support. Life isn’t always easy (in fact, sometimes it’s shit) but it does help us grow, learn and figure out this crazy thing we call life.
I just want to say a huge thank you to all of those loved ones who have listened to me and supported me over the past month – it hasn’t gone unnoticed and I’m beyond grateful to know you’re just a drive or a phone call away!
For the shortest month of the year, February sure threw a lot our way. In 4 short weeks I quit my job, moved to Canberra, explored new parts of Wollongong and Sydney, and spent long, warm evenings with people I love dearly, people who have shaped me over the past 7 years of living in Wollongong. I’m writing a whole blog post about how UOW specifically shaped me (watch this space), but honestly it’s the people I’ve been lucky enough to forge friendships with in Wollongong that have made it so special and memorable.
I always knew it would be hard leaving Wollongong, but I didn’t think it would be this hard. As I drove out of the driveway (praying the car would make it – another long story), I could barely see the road in front of me because my eyes kept filling with tears. It’s a strange kind of happy/sad when you leave a place you love. I know that the friendships I have will last a lifetime and I know that I’ll be back sooner than expected for a visit. I think it’s something more than just saying goodbye to a place you called home. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a part of me that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to let go of.
As I cruised down to Canberra, watched my first sunset from my new balcony and sipped my first beer, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Which is a wild and wonderful feeling. I’m only a few days in to life in Canberra and a whole lot of new things happening, so before I get too ahead of myself, let’s take a look back on the month that was.
Resigning from UOW
I’ve worked at UOW for 7 years… and I finally handed in my resignation. It was one of the most liberating and stressful things I’ve ever done. As I mentioned, I’m writing a post about this and looking back on how UOW has shaped me (hint: in a big way). If you’ve ever resigned, especially from an organisation undergoing immense change, then you’ll know the mix of emotions that come with pulling the plug. Guilt, freedom, escape, opportunity, loss… it’s a strange mix but at the end of the day, you always have to make the best decision for you and your career. I took a leap for me and my career and whilst it’s too early to say how it will work out, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I was lucky enough to explore some more beautiful areas of the Shire this month across some stunning Summer’s days. The first day I explored Cronulla with my sister and damn we couldn’t have picked a better day. The water was crystal clear and Croatia coastline blue, we had some overpriced avo on toast and devoured some chippies by the Salmon Haul. It was the perfect beach day and I’ll certainly miss beach adventures with Elly but there will be plenty more I can look forward to!
On Valentines Day I explored the other side of the channel. John took me to Bundeena, a place I’d been wanting to visit for months! Again, we were spoilt with a gorgeous sunny day and it honestly felt like I was on Peter Pan’s island as we climbed down to what felt like a private beach. The water was sparkling and it was such a beautiful day. We had an awesome picnic, complete with some cheeky beers and my favourite cheese. Of course, right as we tried to take a picture it started to rain, but it honestly made it even more special. I love the adventures I go on with Johnnie and I’m so excited for many more to come!
The baby of the family has made it to 21 and I’m not ok with it. Little Isaac also lives in Canberra and needless to say it was a bit of a shock when I told him I would be joining him in calling Canberra home. Coincidentally, we had already planned to spend the last weekend of February down in Canberra to celebrate his birthday, for me it just meant I was permanently staying (hehe). The fam and I had an awesome weekend. We played lawn bowls in the blistering heat, I met Isaac’s friends and hopefully snagged myself and invite or two to some upcoming parties (sorry Isaac) and enjoyed some time walking around the lake and sipping delicious coffee. I couldn’t be prouder of everything you’ve achieved in 21 short years – I’m so proud of ya and I’m so glad I’m closer to you!
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but before the sorrow I was determined to create a sweet little shindig. All of my amazing friends came to help me say ‘see ya later’ to the Gong, complete with cocktails, gin, beer, dominoes and pulling some fortune cards to top it all off. I was only left with a minor hangover which, courtesy of strong kiosk coffee and a dip in the ocean, didn’t ruin my spirits.
My last morning in Wollongong was forecast to storm and rain. But I refused to accept such terrible conditions, so I gathered the gang together for one last sunrise swim. And boy oh boy did the sunrise gods deliver! It was one of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever experienced. My eyes were puffy from the night before (I low key cried my eyes out at the thought of having to say goodbye to my bestfriend), but it was exactly what I needed to get my spirits into gear for all of the unknown, and all of the possibilities that were to come my way.
With the help of my trustee movers (also known as Dad and Isaac), I pulled off the move to Canberra! Moving in with strangers you meet on the internet isn’t the easiest thing to do (or probably safest) but I trusted my gut instinct and I couldn’t have asked for a better house with better housemates. While it’s still early days, I’m loving where I’m living (it even has a working fireplace!) and I’m so excited to call this beautiful red brick house my new home!
Lupin Ooft what an amazing series! It’s in French but don’t let the subtitles deter you, you’ll be hooked. It’s about an art heist (and honestly if anyone’s down to conjure up a plan to steal an expensive necklace, hit a girl up), from the Lourve. Omar Sy is just a legend and this storyline is so playful, witty, and gritty. Would 100% recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not into French films/cinema.
Firefly Lane OK, this show received so much criticism and I’m kind of surprised. Was it revolutionary? No. Was it unique and original? No. But was it fun, heart warming and a gorgeous story about female friendship that had me hooked? Absolutely. I really loved it and the different timelines that weaved through the narrative. An easy, chick flick watch for sure!
Babyteeth I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for a long time and I finally got my hands on it (thank you YouTube movies). I watched it with Mum and from the trailer, you really couldn’t tell exactly what this movie was about but what a beautiful little flick it is. It’s an Australian ‘dramady’ set in Sydney so the familiarity of the streets, trains and schools are gorgeous to watch in an indie film. It’s quirky, fun, rebellious and a lovely Australian film.
Alexander Briggs Go to this song on Spotify, start radio, you’re welcome. I’ve been loving this song and had it on repeat for most of the month. It’s the ultimate chill, feel good, emotive song you need on a chilled afternoon while enjoying a beer or two.
Creatures at Leisure Boys… please consider this an official plea… get back together and get performing! I was lucky enough to catch Pete at a gig in Cronulla this month and boy oh boy what a throwback to uni gig days!
Queer Intentions, by Amelia Abraham My awesome housemate Clare bought me this book for Christmas and damn what a read it is! Each chapter looks at a different queer identity as she follows the lived experiences of people navigating their queerness in a predominately anti-queer world. Loved it, would recommend!
Man’s search for meaning, by Vicktor Frankl Voted as my mate Pete’s fave book, I thought it was time to read some books based on other people’s recommendations. And what a book this is! Despite it only being around 130 pages long, it took me weeks to get through this one. I found myself thinking deep about a number of issues raised, so it took me a long time to get through it. But I think that’s the aim of this book. To get you to stop, think, reflect and construct a world and life that brings you and others happiness and meaning.
You know you’re getting old when you get excited about nice kitchen products. For Christmas I was treated to a set of goooooooooooood knives and damn what a GAME CHANGER!!! So I’m using this space to shout from the roof tops, treat yourself to a nice knife. Seriously. It makes chopping pumpkin/sweet potato/any near impossible or near misses with your fingers, a thing of yesterday and so damn easy. Yes I’m still in my twenties and yes, next on my list is some nice cookware… I don’t know who I’m becoming but it seems I’m turning into someone who has nice kitchen appliances.
Well, seemings we’re half way into March (oops), you’ll be seeing another post shortly. All I can say is damn time is absolutely flying, my social calendar is full (speak to my assistant if you want to see me) and I’m so excited to dive right into Canberra life! Watch this space and I hope March is lovely for you all!
New year, new me! Just kidding, I quite like the me I’m becoming and turning into. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year, and it’s pretty incredible to see how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come in 12 months. It’s usually a result of a significant life event that results in growth and change, well, at least recognising it. But what’s even more surprising is looking back on how far I’ve come during the ‘unprecedented’ year we had and thinking ‘yea baby!’
I think it’s one of the greatest joys in life, to feel like you’re growing into and creating the best version of yourself. It’s even better when the people around you bring out the best of you too. I’m not sure if it’s the new ink I have, the adventure I’ve just been on, the people around me I love or the things I hope to achieve this year, but damn I feel good. So G’day, I’m Adelaide, I’m totally feeling myself at the moment and cautiously sliding into 2021 with my best foot forward.
I’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time and I’ve finally done it! I got a swallow on my arm and the word ‘insouciante’ on my wrist. In January I got a mermaid on the inside of my bicep and some flowers on the back of my arm. When I list them all at once it sounds like a lot but they’re ones I’ve been planning for a very long time. I just finally bit the bullet and got them done! It’s strange how much more ‘me’ I feel after getting them. I think that’s why I love tattoos (and might have a few more planned). It’s a way to express yourself and show the world who you really are, what you like, what’s important to you and that you’re confident enough to be unapologetically YOU!
There’s nothing quite like getting your nearest and dearest together for some food, wine and good times. After the crazy year of 2020 we had it was so nice to spend an afternoon soaking up all the wholesome vibes! I don’t know what I would’ve done without these amazing people in 2020 and I’m so excited to see what comes our way in 2021.
The best thing about Christmas time is spending an extending period of time with loved ones. Over this period I was lucky enough to celebrate my Nan’s 80th birthday and spend Christmas with my beautiful Grandma and Grandad. It was a much overdue break after a hectic year and I loved being able to chill out with my family, eat, drink, catch up with friends and take some much needed time out.
Well it wasn’t exactly the Tasmania trip we had planned but travelling around NSW in a van was certainly AWESOME! I plan on writing a blog post about it with more of the details and what we got up to (so watch this space) but wow what an incredible adventure! I definitely fell in love with #vanlife and loved the excitement of pulling up somewhere new each day and looking at things with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Much wine and many beers were had and I certainly asserted my dominance at Monopoly Deal and pool (sorry John). I fell in love, I felt inspired, I felt loved and I felt 110% me. I couldn’t have loved our adventure more and I’m so excited for many more to come.
As always, here’s some extra pics from the months of Jan and Feb with awesome people.
Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I absolutely loved this and would recommend it to anyone in their 20’s or 30’s who has been down the crazy dating rabbit hole. It’s the perfect mix of light, emotional, fun and deep. Would absolutely recommend it!
Elle This definitely plays mind games on you but I was absolutely captivated the whole way through. The characters are complex and you’re kept guessing the whole way through as to what will happen next. You can watch Elle on SBS On Demand.
Trial of the Chicago 7 Ooh I absolutely loved this movie! It will make you angry and it will make your blood boil with the injustice of the ‘justice’ system. It’s witty, it’s all over the place and it’s a pretty incredible story you should absolutely check out!
Bump Oh my god YES!!! This show is awesome. It’s an Australian drama that isn’t (too) cheesy or over the top! The actors are phenomenal and I love how raw and real the aesthetic is. Add this to your list – you’ll love it!
Machine Gun Kelly Under strict instruction from Tishia, Dylan and I sat in her car and listened to this album the whole way through.Who doesn’t love some Blink182 inspired punk rock. If you’re looking for something edgy and grungy then look no further.
Noah and the Whale Seriously how amazing is this band?! If you’re looking for a pick-me-up and want to be left feeling inspired, jolly and whole, then just chuck on their music in the shower and you’re good to go. They’re an absolute classic and chucking on their bangers will instantly lift your mood.
In January I treated myself to the Sunday Riley UFO oil. I already had their CEO oil and I absolutely loved it so I thought this would be a nice addition to my collection – and boy oh boy was I right. I use this every other night before bed and I’ve found it’s incredibly hydrating and has helped even out my skin tone. Love it!
Well I may be posting this half way through Feb, but I promise to keep on top of my blogging and posting. There’s a lot of exciting big things coming up (like my move to Canberra!) and new job! There’s a lot of change coming which is scary, exciting, nerve wracking and overwhelming. And I’m sure there’s a lot of great times to come! Big love x
It’s my Nan’s 80th birthday today, and it was my Pop’s 86th birthday the other day. So this weekend we’re getting together to celebrate in style with champagne, food and family. Something I’ve heard since Nan’s 79th birthday has been “Aw I just can’t wait to be 80!” and “I will have finally made it when I’m 80” followed by “all my friends are in their 80’s and I just want to be able to say I’m 80 too!” (spoken in Nan’s iconic voice – if you know you know).
You could mistake my Patricia for a 17 year old anxiously and eagerly awaiting their 18th birthday. Her energy and excitement is infectious and it’s become a running theme in my day to day discussions – Nan’s anticipation for her 80th. My Nan is one of the kindest, most excitable and technologically savvy people I know. She’s renowned for many things: her caramel slice, her iconic voice, and when we drive out of the driveway, she won’t stop waving until it’s physically impossible to see each other – the best kind of send off you could imagine.
My Pop, often referred to as Jack or John – you get to choose, enjoys life’s simple pleasures. A good book, a good TV show, a good cuppa, a good biccie and a good cat or dog to pat and talk to. Pop is a man of few words, but when he does open up, it’s always surprising what kind of things he says. Despite having another woman’s name tattooed on his forearm (I think you inspired my interest in tattoos Pop – sorry I’m going to blame that one on you), Nan and Pop are gorgeous people who have taught me so much.
They have lived most of their lives in the same house in Toronto and I have the most vivid and precious memories of exploring the house, the backyard and the depths of ‘under the house,’ from when we were kids. Nan and Pop’s place was always a meeting place for Dad’s family so see my cousins and Aunties and Uncle. So I always look forward to going there and feel flooded with amazing memories.
26 Things I’ve Learned From and Love About My Nan and Pop
Get excited about ageing, not everyone has the privilege of turning another year older. If my Nan can be giddy with excitement about turning 80, then you can get excited about whatever age you’re turning
Ask and you might just receive. We were at the shops with Nan once and we asked for a tray of mangoes (far too many mangoes for three little kids). Nan bought the tray and it was one of the happiest days of my life
Trains are awesome
So are tattoos
Reach out to the people you love. You can always rely on Nan to leave a supportive comment on a Facebook photo of yours
It doesn’t matter how tall you are, Nan will find a way to wrap her arms around you
You’re never too old to pop a bottle of champagne and get cut off at the bar
There’s nothing like snuggling up next to a fireplace in winter
Nothing will ever come close to Nan’s caramel slice
You don’t need a car, you can get anywhere you need with kind people around you, determination and patience
You can smoke your whole life and still make it to 86 (though it’s probably not advised, it’s still a fun fact I like to remember)
There’s nothing like sitting in the sun on your balcony reading a book
Ordering stuff off the internet is addictive
Knitting is witchcraft and I don’t know how you do it so quickly
There’s nothing quite like one of Nan’s knitted creations
There’s no one quite like the Haynes’
Nothing beats hot chippies
Piggybacks are an effective form of transportation, though it might break your back
You can never have too many dogs
iToy is a form of cardio
There’s nothing Pop can’t fix
There’s nothing Nan can’t cook
A coffee down by the lake is one of the best things you can do
If I won the lotto I would buy an apartment on the lake for you (THEN you will have really made it)
Sometimes the simple things in life are the best
We’re so lucky to have the family we have, and thank you for being the leaders of our crazy Haynes bunch – we love you
Nan and Pop, thank you for your love, support and wisdom. I’m lucky to have benefited from 26 years of your influence. Pop, 86 is incredible. You have defied all the odds which just goes to show how truly stubborn us Haynes’ can be. And Nan, you’ve finally made it to 80! We love you and can’t wait to celebrate all the milestones coming your way (81, 82, 83). I’ll order the wine now!
For those of you who know the famous Peter Thompson, he hardly needs an introduction. But in case you haven’t had the pleasure, let me set the scene for you. My Grandad is many things, but in my mind he is first and foremost a storyteller. A great storyteller. And the key to a great storyteller is a fact checker – enter my gorgeous Grandma. Grandma has kept him accountable and kept him in line when he felt the need to take creative license with his stories.
Some of the other hats Grandad has worn is Dad, Grandad, Greatgrandad, entrepreneur, manager, public speaker, wood turner, friend, traveller, fixer-upper… the list is actually endless. Through these many hats, he has taught me a lot. As my Dad pointed out, he instilled an immense sense of pride in each of us and allowed us to strive and work towards excellence. I think this is where I developed crazy high standards of myself, because my Grandad believes I can do anything I set my mind to. I’m very grateful for this gift.
Memories of my Grandad when we were young include sitting and listening to his wild and crazy stories from his boarding school days in the Blue Mountains and being terrorised by Brother Malackey, to growing up in Corrimal, to driving a wooden caravan across the Nullarbor plain and getting stuck in a sandstorm.
Born in 1936, my Grandad has seen a lot, been through a lot and created a lot. And he’s created, well completed, a book of writing prompts. Towards the end of 2019, Grandad was diagnosed with cancer, an awful disease which he is bravely and strongly fighting. I knew I needed to capture some of his famous stories so I gifted him a book of writing prompts which he kindly gifted back to me for Christmas.
A few years ago, my Grandad wrote a blog post for a uni assignment, so I thought it was time to bring him back to the blog with some snippets of his stories, and his life.
Grandad… you’ve got too many stories to fit in one blog post. So while I busily type them up and craft them in a way that captures your adventures, cheekiness and energy, I thought I’d begin by sharing some of my favourite things about you and Grandma. I’m lucky I’ve had 26 years of knowing you both, though I don’t think anyone could have predicted my first beer would be before I learnt how to talk (see image above).
Here are 26 things I’ve learned from and love about you.
It’s perfectly acceptable to drink wine that comes from a cask
You can get by with just one eye (though using a gun made by yourself and your brother is not advised)
Learning is fun and cool
So is running fast and looking after your health (I’m still waiting on my pair of golden spikes for winning the 100m dash in my age group)
No matter how far or wide you move, your parents will always track you down and come for an extended visit
It’s important to stay on top of technological advancements so you can Facetime and avoid email scams
October Sky is the best movie ever made
Little Beach and Shoal Bay Beach are the best on earth
Marry someone you’re still obsessed with 65 years later, and deeply, madly, truly in love with
Being a storyteller is a great thing to be known for – it brings people together
Master the art of listening, especially if you end up with a storyteller (see point number 10)
There’s nothing quite like a nice cup of tea and a biccie
Be careful helping someone off the couch, you might just pull them onto the floor (I still can’t stop laughing about that one Grandma)
You can’t get rich off of spock found in the depths of Cooper Pedy
Something as iconic as the Warrnambool kiss can never be forgotton
Travel far and wide, take lots of pictures
The most traumatic thing you will go through is being stuck at preschool ‘All Day Mumma, All Day’
Gifting someone one of your pens is possibly the best gift I could give
Pickles belong on burgers – even though Grandma is willing to dive across the room to pull it off
No one has a better memory than Grandma (except maybe Elly)
Travelling around Australia in a caravan is the ultimate adventure
There’s nothing Grandad can’t fix
Shepard’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food
Asking questions and being curious is a great asset to have
It doesn’t matter how many days or months, you’re always there for a cuddle and to listen to my stories
That above all else, family is love and love is forever
So, Grandma and Grandad, thank you for taking the time to write down some of your stories, I know you’re still busily one-finger-typing the rest of your memoir, just as I’m busily typing out your stories (watch this space). You’ve been so generous with your storytelling so I thought it was my turn to remind you of how much you mean to me.