The subtle art of saying no

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.’

Image result for i'm busy gif

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.

Image result for no thank you gif

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 do.

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 doing
  • 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 specifically?
  • 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!

What I’ve Learnt in 24 years

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?!

tenor.gif

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.

img_0151

I’d love to hear your thoughts…. let me know in the comments or on social media!
Until next time – Ciao

 

An Open Letter to My Friends

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.

cee293c448af673464e141f593c00b1c.jpg

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.

 

 

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL 2021

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.

Easter adventures

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?!

Flicks

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.

Tunes

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!

Books

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.

What Alice Forgot eBook: Moriarty, Liane: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

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!

Product

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!

Forerunner® 735XT

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!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: MARCH 2021

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.

Elly’s birthday

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!

Canberra shenanigans

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!

House Warming

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!

Books

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.

Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Tunes

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.

Flicks

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.

Podcasts

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!

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: FEBRUARY 2021

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.

Sydney adventures

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!

Isaac’s 21st

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!

Farewell Wollongong

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.

Hello Canberra

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!

Flicks

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.

Tunes

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!

Books

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!

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture - Pan  Macmillan AU

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.

Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl - Penguin Books New Zealand

Product

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!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JANUARY 2021

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.

Tattoo time

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!

Friend Christmas

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.

Family time

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.

NSW Roadtrip

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.

Shenanigans

As always, here’s some extra pics from the months of Jan and Feb with awesome people.

Books

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!

Image result for dolly alderton ghosts

Flicks

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!

Tunes

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.

Product

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!

Sunday Riley - UFO MINI

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

Get Excited About Ageing And Other Life Lessons I’ve Learned

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.

I recently wrote a post about 26 things I’ve learned from my Grandma and Grandad (my Mum’s parents), and with a milestone birthday like 80 and 86, I thought it was the perfect occasion to share 26 things I’ve learned from my Nan and Pop – because I’ve known them for my 26 years on earth.

26 Things I’ve Learned From and Love About My Nan and Pop

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Trains are awesome
  4. So are tattoos
  5. Reach out to the people you love. You can always rely on Nan to leave a supportive comment on a Facebook photo of yours
  6. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, Nan will find a way to wrap her arms around you
  7. You’re never too old to pop a bottle of champagne and get cut off at the bar
  8. There’s nothing like snuggling up next to a fireplace in winter
  9. Nothing will ever come close to Nan’s caramel slice
  10. You don’t need a car, you can get anywhere you need with kind people around you, determination and patience
  11. 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)
  12. There’s nothing like sitting in the sun on your balcony reading a book
  13. Ordering stuff off the internet is addictive
  14. Knitting is witchcraft and I don’t know how you do it so quickly
  15. There’s nothing quite like one of Nan’s knitted creations
  16. There’s no one quite like the Haynes’
  17. Nothing beats hot chippies
  18. Piggybacks are an effective form of transportation, though it might break your back
  19. You can never have too many dogs
  20. iToy is a form of cardio
  21. There’s nothing Pop can’t fix
  22. There’s nothing Nan can’t cook
  23. A coffee down by the lake is one of the best things you can do
  24. If I won the lotto I would buy an apartment on the lake for you (THEN you will have really made it)
  25. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best
  26. 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!

Stories from my grandad: PART I

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.

  1. It’s perfectly acceptable to drink wine that comes from a cask
  2. You can get by with just one eye (though using a gun made by yourself and your brother is not advised)
  3. Learning is fun and cool
  4. 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)
  5. No matter how far or wide you move, your parents will always track you down and come for an extended visit
  6. It’s important to stay on top of technological advancements so you can Facetime and avoid email scams
  7. October Sky is the best movie ever made
  8. Little Beach and Shoal Bay Beach are the best on earth
  9. Marry someone you’re still obsessed with 65 years later, and deeply, madly, truly in love with
  10. Being a storyteller is a great thing to be known for – it brings people together
  11. Master the art of listening, especially if you end up with a storyteller (see point number 10)
  12. There’s nothing quite like a nice cup of tea and a biccie
  13. 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)
  14. You can’t get rich off of spock found in the depths of Cooper Pedy
  15. Something as iconic as the Warrnambool kiss can never be forgotton
  16. Travel far and wide, take lots of pictures
  17. The most traumatic thing you will go through is being stuck at preschool ‘All Day Mumma, All Day’
  18. Gifting someone one of your pens is possibly the best gift I could give
  19. Pickles belong on burgers – even though Grandma is willing to dive across the room to pull it off
  20. No one has a better memory than Grandma (except maybe Elly)
  21. Travelling around Australia in a caravan is the ultimate adventure
  22. There’s nothing Grandad can’t fix
  23. Shepard’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food
  24. Asking questions and being curious is a great asset to have
  25. It doesn’t matter how many days or months, you’re always there for a cuddle and to listen to my stories
  26. 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.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: NOVEMBER 2020

Can you believe it’s December?! We made it! Who would have thought we would finally be graced by the good vibes of Summer kicking in, daylight savings, and that sweet taste of optimism as 2021 approaches. November was an absolutely awesome month! With weekends filling up, people wanting to get out and about and the good vibes rolling in, I’ve been feeling like one of the best versions of myself. Surrounded by friends, family, getting outdoors, getting sweaty, I’ve been trying to enjoy everything as much as I possibly can – what else is life for?

On the 1st of December (yes I know this is a November favourites post but bear with me), I got two tattoos. I had been wanting some new tattoos for a long time now and had been putting it off for my next overseas adventure (I’ve got both of my other tattoos overseas – Ireland and Mexico – and was looking forward to adding Mongolia to that list). Suddenly three years had passed since my last one waiting for the right time, the right moment and the right adventure. I realised I don’t want to wait for this perfect situation to arise because as it currently stands, we won’t be jet setting anytime soon. And I guess this translates into so much more, why wait or delay what you really want? Perfection and the ‘right time’ may never come. So I took this as a sign to be proactive and chase what I want, create and control what I can. Which took me to a tattoo shop in Corrimal with my (amazing) boss where we got inked up.

I got a beautiful little swallow on my arm and the French word ‘insouciante.’ I absolutely love them and as I sit here typing, looking after them to make sure they heal properly, it’s a nice reminder that we have the power to take steps to create the life we want each and everyday. It starts with an idea so follow through, make that inquiry, ask questions, figure out what you want and run with it. I don’t want to waste my time waiting for my dream life, dream tattoo, dream [insert anything you want here]. Life is messy, unplanned and we’re all just winging it – now I’ve got some beautiful wings on my arm to remind me to take off and chase it.

Before we launch into the festivities of December, let’s have a look back at the month that was November.

Blue Mountains

Another month and another adventure to the beautiful Blue Mountains. With so many incredible hikes and adventures on its doorstep, each visit makes you feel like you’re entering a new world. This time we went adventuring down Wentworth Falls, complete with an icy swim at the bottom (I have literally never been colder in my life – be prepared). It’s always a joy spending some time away, especially with my sister and Dad. We survived the Valley of the Leeches (be careful if you decide to hike after a storm and everything is wet) and our legs were only half dead from the dreaded stairs!

Ocean Alley – the return of the gig

Sweet jesus, hallelujah! Gigs are back baby and what better way to ease back into it than to see Ocean Alley with my bestie Tish. While I may have completely sprung it on her, we had the best freakin time! Despite the sitting down and buying an ugly beer cooler (thanks Tish hehe), it was so incredibly amazing to see live music again. We both had a really profound moment of appreciation for all the gigs we’ve moshed around at prior to COVID, but also immense gratitude that we were able to actually go to a gig in 2020! Bring on more in 2021!

Shenanigans

Basically I just wanted to share these photos that make me so damn happy. I’m so fortunate to have such beautiful people in my life. This year certainly hasn’t been easy but it’s meant the world that I can be silly, be fun, be adventurous and have legends to share it with!

Bloggers, vloggers and podders

Stuff the British Stole
Marc Fennell can do no wrong and this podcast is no exception. If you’re a history nerd then this podcast is definitely for you. I know it’s a bold call with only two episodes out, but they are a great two episodes! I love that it makes you think about the British empire and the ‘contested history’ behind some of the most iconic artifacts now sitting in museums in the UK and around the world.

Music

Omar Apollo
Ooft hello Omar – thank you for bringing this beautiful album to my ears. While exploring Spotify I came across this album and dayum it is good. The perfect kind of album to listen to when you just want to chill out, feel a bit sexy and take it easy for the evening.

Clairo
And also, hello there Clairo, why has it taken me so long to fall in love with your music?! It’s the perfect chilled afternoon album when you’re tidying your room and makes you feel like the ultimate protagonist in the story of your life.

Tired Lion
As if I needed more good music this month, Tired Lion did a number on me and released this badass album. I’ve been playing their album when I’ve been going for my morning runs and it always motivates me to push harder and channel any negative emotion into my running. Singing this out loud will also just make you feel amazing!

Flicks

The Odyssey
If you’re looking for a cinematic French film then look no further. Based on the true story of Jacques Cousteau and his boat the Calypso, it tells the story of Jacques quest for adventure, exploration and money. Jacques invented the aqualung, whose invention took him to the depths of the ocean to explore a new world under the sea. It’s absolutely gorgeous and would highly recommend (there’s not too much dialogue so it’s not overwhelming in its French-ness). You can watch it on SBS On Demand.

Enola Holmes
If you’re looking for a light, adventurous, wholesome movie to watch then look no further. I absolutely loved this movie and thought Millie Bobby Brown was an absolute delight in this. I love a spin on a classic story, especially when it has a badass lead woman!

Season 4, The Crown
I have been waiting patiently for this season to come out and man can I tell you, it was certainly worth the wait. Like every other twenty-something, I’ve fallen in love with Princess Diana. I was also fascinated to learn more about Margaret Thatcher (of course, do your own research on the facts) and the way Gillian Andrews played her was so remarkable (your majesty). I loved the imagery of the Queen, Diana and Thatcher and thought they did a wonderful job and comparing and contrasting these dynamic women. Cannot wait for Season 5!

Books

No is not enough, by Naomi Klein
In the midst of the US Election, I felt compelled to find out how we got in this mess. I was drawn to Naomi’s book because of her incredible expertise and insight into climate change and policies, and brand superpower. The themes she touches on in this book are pretty incredible and paints a crystal clear image as to how Trump was elected in 2016. I may have been pessimistically trying to prepare myself for a world where his reign would continue but thank the lord Biden won. A fascinating look into capitalism, the climate crisis, the rise of brands and ‘super marketing,’ and how it intersects with 21st Century politics.

Naomi Klein | No is Not Enough

Believe Me, by JP Delaney
My sister has been raving on about this book for what feels like years, so I finally picked it up and read it. To her credit, it is actually quite interesting and certainly keeps you on your feet. I’m not usually drawn to suspenseful books so it’s not something I’d usually go for, but I’m glad my sister insisted. It was easy to read, had me questioning how it was going to turn out and I quite enjoyed it – thanks Elly!

Believe Me by JP Delaney - Books - Hachette Australia

The Coconut Children, by Vivian Pham
I’ve heard so much about this book and when I was looking for an Aussie fiction book to read I just couldn’t go past it. Set in Cabramatta, it tells the story of young Vietnamese-Australian teenagers navigating high school, family, relationships and culture. I absolutely loved it and would LOVE to see this turned into a Netflix miniseries! Plus Vivian Pham wrote this book while she was still at high school! THE TALENT!

The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham - Penguin Books Australia

Product

Fujifilm Instax Polaroid camera
Honestly this little beauty continues to deliver the goods. I know a lot of people seem to save it for special occasions but honestly, whip is out at your next dinner/drinks/walk/thing you’re doing, and snap some pics. They’re such a lovely way to capture a moment, share them with friends, and pop them on your wall. Can’t get enough and I can’t stop taking little snaps with this beauty!

Well November, what a month you’ve been. Let’s keep the good vibes going into December. Let’s go slow and calm, let’s seek joy and happiness, let go of the stress and anxiety and let December be the best month yet! I hope you all stay safe, happy and healthy over the festive period. Go easy on yourself, take the pressure off and just enjoy the end of the craziest year!

Navigating Uncertainty and Workplace Insecurity

I recently found out that I’m losing my job. Which honestly didn’t come as a surprise given the economic impact that has hit higher education institutions across Australia. And whilst I am so grateful to have maintained my job throughout the pandemic, and realise how fortunate and lucky I have been to have a consistent income throughout this time – especially when millennials have been disproportionately impacted by job loss across Australia – it still sucks.

I’ve been working at UOW for almost 7 years, which is crazy to say. I studied there, worked there, created a network, friendships and a second family there. So it’s pretty crushing when you hear that the rug is being pulled out from under you. At this time, we’re still figuring out what this all means, and logistically what it will look like. One thing is for certain, there will be job cuts and our little work family is being broken up.

So how do you navigate times of immense stress, especially when your job and associated income is on the line? With so many questions, and little to no answers, how do you know which way is up? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers, but here are a few things that have helped me over the past few months navigate job insecurity and shifting uncertaintly.

Talk, rant, express yourself

Keeping all of these thoughts, feelings and emotions in, no matter how big or small they may seem, will not help you. If you have a colleague or friend that you trust and know that you can be completely open with, this is the person to call.

It’s important to do this because once you’ve said everything you need to say on the topic – you can move on. You’ve released it into the universe, let the universe take that stress from you now.

Control what you can

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a lot in the world out of our control. And whilst decisions are being made around you and it feels like you have no control over your career, life and path, realise that you do have control over what you do next and how you react.

I won’t lie, I spent several days being incredibly upset and in shock processing these changes. But after speaking to a friend, she reminded me that all we can do is control how we respond and carry ourselves forward. By shifting my attitude and perspective slightly, to look at opportunities available, it completely re-framed how I felt about the change.

Support your colleagues

While it might seem overwhelming being bombarded with Webex messages or emails with ‘are you ok?’ it’s nice to know that I have not only colleagues, but friends out there who care about me. It makes me feel like what I have contributed and what I bring to the organisation matters and hasn’t gone unnoticed.

So reach out, even if you’re not sure what to say, just knowing that someone is there to listen and is going through it with you is sometimes enough to not feel alone.

Have a day or two off

Sick leave and mental health days exist for a reason. When you experience change and an overwhelming sense of what feels like rejection or ‘not-good-enough-itis’ the emotional response results in physical responses. After I was told the news I was absolutely exhausted for several days afterwards. My body flooded with adrenaline and then crashed. I took a few days to feel it all, put things in perspective, and think about what was important to me.

This meant I could come back to work feeling more positive and inspired and actually motivated me to bring my best self to work.

Get sweaty

Go for a run, walk, swim, anything to get your heart pumping. I’m always surprised at how good I feel after a run and how I’m actually not able to think about all the stresses in life because I’m too busy concentrating on breathing.

Plus, channeling your energy into moving your body, physically releasing that stress that’s built up is hugely beneficial.

It’s shit and it’s ok

I’ve come to realise that anxiety, stress and shit times aren’t an Olympic sport. There’s no ‘winner’ (or in this case, loser). While yes, I can realise and acknowledge my luck and privileged position within society and be grateful for that, it doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to complain, cry or be affected by such a significant change in my life.

Change + challenges = growth

While it might be hard to see at the time, challenges and change we go through make us stronger, more resilient and help us grow. I know that it can sometimes feel like you’re running uphill, not making any progress, but maybe this hill will be even bigger and better than the last one.

*

At the end of the day, when all of this is said and done, I am more than my job. I am a whole, complex person with interests, hobbies, friends that actually define me.

There’s always a time to dig deep, work hard and hustle, but during times of stress and change, your own goal should be prioritising your health and wellbeing. Take time to reset, focus on what’s important to you, think about your next move, control what you can and let go of what you can’t.

To all my friends and colleagues who have been through, and are going through change, we’ve got this.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER 2020


Thank you for coming October, what an absolute smash hit of a month. Daylight savings is here, the days are getting longer and warmer, and everyone seems to be running around with some extra spring in their step. This is the first month things have started to feel ‘normal,’ and I say ‘normal’ in quotations because I recognise the immense privilege that comes from being able to work from home and not be under a strict lockdown. We still have a long way to go in this global pandemic and complacency is the enemy. I’m so lucky to live in a safe environment and I’m so damn grateful to have the opportunity to meet up with friends, travel regionally, and figure out what this ‘new normal’ looks like.

I think our world, or if not, our psyche has completely altered after the events of 2020, and it’s still not over. I ran into a friend this morning getting coffee. I hadn’t seen her in several years and when retelling what I’d been up to this year, I realised that I had gravitated towards comfort and cosyness. And I realised a lot of my turmoil is a result of being frustrated with myself that I’ve accepted comfort in my mid-twenties. But this month has taught me that there’s ways to push your comfort zone to keep growing, while operating within a space of comfort and safety. I don’t think I’ve quite figured it out yet, and I’m certainly still on that journey – but you know me, I’ll let you know how I go.

But before we jump into the unknowns of the future that triggers an existential crisis in all of us, let’s have a look at this comfortable/push the comfort zone month that was October.

October Long Weekend

Hallelujah – thank you for blessing us with a long weekend topped with AMAZING weather! I had honestly been looking forward to this long weekend for months and honestly, it was everything I wanted (and needed) and more. I spent the weekend with my long time best friends, in Newcastle and Port Stephens, exploring rock pools and caves, drinking beer and soaking up sunshine. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but seriously couldn’t have been more happy and grateful to spend a weekend with amazing people.

A Solo Vacay

If you missed it, I spent three nights at an airbnb on the Central Coast on my own. It was just what I needed, do some soul searching, It was so refreshing to go slow and put myself first. Do what I wanted, when I wanted – which mainly consisted of getting up early for a run, grabbing a coffee, spending hours by the pool, drinking wine and reading books. If you haven’t been already, I would absolutely recommend checking out Ettalong Beach and Palm Beach (you can get between the two via a quick 30min ferry), the perfect destination for a little getaway.

Blue Mountains 2.0

Back to the mountains we went! After our last visit, with zero visibility at the three sisters, it was a pretty amazing sight on the Friday afternoon when we arrived, to head on down and take in the amazing view. After a picnic with pizza and beers and a good nights sleep, we headed off on a 13km hike. There’s nothing quite like being out in nature, having some good old chats and exploring more of what this beautiful country has to offer. To top it off, we spent our afternoon drinking and eating pizza. I always appreciate the balance I get from a weekend away with my fam.

Shenanigans

It’s imperative to have shenanigans each and every month – so here’s to the shenanigans we got up to this month. From countless sunrise swims, to eating pizza watching punk bands in Sydney, from North Gong schnitty’s to dog walks, from hikes to nights out in Newcastle, this month has been pretty damn awesome. I’ve never felt more myself and whilst I’m not exactly thrilled that all of my weekends are literally filling up weeks in advance, I’m so grateful for the good times with old friends and new ones.

Books

So I somehow read 6 books over the course of the month; The House of Spirits, by Isabelle Allende, Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles andThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid were great reads and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. But these three books are my, as this post goes, my favourites.

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
I saw the trailer for Rebecca on Netflix and it looked epic. So I ran down to the book store and picked up this beauty. I absolutely loved it – I read it in a few days and honestly couldn’t put it down. The writing was stunning and the character development was incredible. I was so gripped and absolutely loved it. I watched the Netflix movie and while it is visually gorgeous, I feel it missed the grit that this book captures.

Book Club: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - Henpicked

Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman
This book was the Summer holiday whimsical read I needed. I read it in a day and I honestly was transported. It felt like I was in Italy, I could almost feel the sweat drip down the back of my neck. It perfectly captured that feeling of Summer romance and holiday flings. That feeling of lust, curiosity, desire, intensity, getting to know someone, exploration and connection. I couldn’t recommend this more and I absolutely loved it.

Call Me By Your Name eBook: Aciman, Andre: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

The Dry, Jane Harper
I picked this one up from the local library and wow. Something I loved about this book was the pace, which may sound a little strange, but it just flowed so organically. I loved the themes it covered and it was great reading a book about regional Australia. I read it in a few days and it was absolutely awesome. A movie adaptation is due to be released this year and I cannot wait to watch it!

The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper

Flicks

Season 4 of the Good Fight
Yes yes yes! It’s back baby! This show is seriously AMAZING! I’ve been looking forward to this coming out for AGES! It’s on Stan and thank me later.

The Good Fight' Season 4 Review | IndieWire

Tunes

Middle Kids
Sometimes you just have an album on repeat for weeks on end, and all of Middle Kids’ albums have been soundtracks to my months. Honestly, I have nothing to say but how damn great are they?! Bring back gigs and festivals – I cannot wait.

Cigarettes After Sex
Ooft, this album is so sensual and gorgeous. I’ve recently adopted a pretty great night time routine than involves diffusing lavender oil, reading my book and playing this album until I fall asleep. Add this one to your list when you want some zen.

Product

Lanolips, mint
If I wasn’t already obsessed with Lanolips, enter the minty version. Seriously I cannot leave the house without lip balm – it’s an addiction I know – but damn this feels and tastes amazing all day long. You can pick it up from Mecca.

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm Minty - Lanolips | MECCA

October has been one of the best months of the year. It feels amazing to feel a little more like myself, a little more adventurous and a little more sure of what I want and where I’m going. And I’m fucking blessed to have amazing people around me to support me on the way. November, let’s see what you’ve got.

Go on a solo trip, thank me later

We all know that 2020 has been a pretty tumultuous year. Things have been moving so quickly yet painstakingly slow. Everyone and everything is uncertain, and the world has changed in ways we didn’t see coming. So when it came to taking a week off work, the only thing that could possibly be nearly as enticing as an overseas holiday, is the thought of spending a few nights, by myself.

Since my return and my attempt to remain in the hazy, daydream of a cloud I felt I was floating on, lots of people have asked me about my time away. The overwhelming majority of people were shook that I would book an airbnb to myself, quickly followed by, ‘wow that sounds serene.’ I’m here to tell you – it was serene and these are the reasons you should book a little getaway for yourself as soon as possible.

When was the last time you did nothing?

Seriously, think about it. When was the last time you didn’t have somewhere to be, someone to meet, some timeline or deadline? When you can do what you want, when you want. When was the last time you laid on a pool chair and gazed up at the clouds floating overhead? Where you watched how the light turned from orange to pink? When you felt the cool change wash over you body as the sun set? When was the last time you just let time pass? No podcasts, no music, no phone calls, no pressure?

Daring to be present

There’s a lot of talk about being present and gratitude. Which can often take the back seat when we are stressed at work and in life. Being truly present can be scary, especially if you’re on your own. Sitting with and facing all the thoughts and feelings that you had pushed away, or weren’t quite ready to confront. It’s emotional, it take courage and it’s truly transformative.

What kind of cult did I sign up to where I thought that work was the be all and end all of everything?

Life is more important than work

What kind of cult did I sign up to where I thought that work was the be all and end all of everything? Having worked from home since March, there’s been a blurring of professional and personal life. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my job, for the people I work with and the fact that I’m able to work from home. But in 2020, work has become stressful, tiring, exhausting and taken over (it’s literally taken over my dining room). Why is the thought of turning on ‘out of office’ emails for a few days so radical?

By stepping away and taking a deep breath, I’ve realised the crazy idea that life is fucking important. Put yourself first. In 10 years time will your boss remember the time you stayed back an extra hour? Unlikely. Get your work done, work hard, make yourself proud, then log the fuck off and get outside to enjoy your life.

If you need a day off, take it. If you need to take an extra long lunch, do it. Work-life balance is supposed to be give and take, but work is greedy. Take time back for yourself.

Do what’s important to you

The best thing about a solo trip away, is that you don’t need to think about what anyone else wants to do. No compromising on whether you want Italian or Japanese, no having to wait around or rush along, no having to consider anyone but yourself. In life we’re always juggling what we want along with what other people want. What makes other people happy. Well forget about it darling, this trip is all about you and making yourself happy. Want to sleep in til 10am and get a bacon and egg roll for brekky? Do it! Want to go for a 10km walk? Do it! The moral of the story is that you get to do whatever you want to do. You’ll be surprised at how foreign and good it feels.

Let your mind run wild

I realised that I didn’t speak to anyone except the person I ordered coffee from, for 3 days. How did I fill the time you ask? How did I not go crazy? I let my mind run wild. I felt like a kid again, someone who was coming up with crazy, big ideas, who was looking at things with a fresh perspective, someone who was curious and driven. In everyday life, we’re so bound by time, deadlines an commitments… suddenly having none of those meant that my mind could explore thoughts and ideas I hadn’t had the chance. And not just explore but actually change the way in which I fundamentally think about things (like why do I try so hard for everyone to like me?).

The most important thing…

Now that I’ve convinced you that you need to book a solo trip away, let me just say this. Look after yourself. Stay safe and prioritise yourself. It’s not often we’re given permission to do so, but sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to take deep, true care of yourself. 3 nights away was perfect, I think if I spent an additional 3 nights away, I would have got even more clarity from my past and directing me in the right direction for the future.

Do yourself a favour, book a solo trip. You’re welcome.