A fierce redhead who loves nothing more than chatting about failures, occasional achievements, how to live life to the fullest, to be happy, explore far and wide with a sense of curiosity, empathy and adventure.
Brooke Blurton’s season of the Bachelorette raises important questions about biphobia, bi-erasure and queerness in Australia.
I usually roll my eyes when I see the glossy promo’s of a new reality TV dating show. But seeing Noongar-Yamatji woman, Brooke Blurton take the reins as Australia’s first Indigenous and bi/pan sexual Bachelorette… my little bi eyes were wide open!
We’ve been demanding a more diverse, inclusive and authentic representation of young Australian’s on Australian TV and damn did Channel 10 finally deliver. While yes, there’s no denying I’m a little tired of the overproduced formula of a show like the Bachelor, showcasing the strong, confident and gorgeous voice of Brooke Blurton was a viewing experience like no other.
The consultation with First Nation’s people and queer advocates was evident. From the beautiful Welcome to Country that opened the season that left tears dotted in eyes across the country, to the respect and acceptance of queerness among contestants, to conversations about the majority of Australia’s ignorance when it comes to Indigenous issues, this season covered a lot of important issues.
As a bisexual woman, I was equally excited and scared for Brooke. I couldn’t help but think, she’s damned if she chooses a man at the end, and damned if she doesn’t, and many bi women will empathise with.
Many bisexual and pansexual people have experienced biphobia and bi erasure in their lives, and seeing it play out in the media and in the comments section of social media, was a sad reminder and reflection on the long way to go before genuine respect and understanding are built in Australia.
Biphobia is generally born out of harmful stereotypes including ‘being a halfway house’ or ‘being greedy.’ Bi erasure often stems from the insecurities of people, including those within the LGBTQIA+ community. Again, based on harmful stereotypes that ‘it’s a phase,’ or ‘they’re not really queer,’ these messages degrade and undermine the experience of what it means to be bisexual.
It can also mean that people are mislabelled, further erasing their identity as a bi person. I am currently dating a man and people assume that I am straight and in a heterosexual relationship. This heteronormative narrative permeates society, which means I’ve had to come out as bisexual more times than I would have ever thought.
The same thing applied when I dated a woman. It doesn’t inherently mean I’m gay or a lesbian. I’m just Adelaide navigating the tricky world of dating, love, and relationships.
Bi people often describe not feeling safe or accepted in LGBTQIA+ spaces as they don’t appear ‘queer enough.’ People may talk it down as ‘not as hard, or not as important as “real” LGBTQIA+ issues,’ but this is real issue that affects all bisexual and pansexual people around the world.
It’s about being seen, heard, respected and valued.
Being bisexual doesn’t change who I am because it’s just part of who I am.
Of course, watching this season, I found myself wanting Brooke to end up with Holly, because um hello Holly was an absolute gem! But also because we hadn’t seen it before, it was new, fresh and real which just shows how lacking we have been in getting adequate representation (give us more please!). And as we now know, Darvid won Brooke’s heart and their connection was so beautiful (and damn are they not just the most gorgeous couple?!). Upon reflection, it’s unrealistic to expect that Brooke has to show the world and represent the full complexities of what it means to be bi. Just let the woman love who she wants.
Ultimately, coming out and being your true authentic self means that you feel safe and free to be YOU. You shouldn’t have to be you for anyone else, to prove a point, or make a mark. When we allow and respect bi people to be their true, authentic self, maybe then we will see more inclusivity and diversity on our screens.
Before I wrap up, I wanted to touch on labels. While bisexual is often criticised for being discriminatory against those who are non-binary, gender fluid or transgender, the name emerged during a period of time that gave people a name and label to identify with.
Pansexual is another label that is used to describe people that are attracted to people not because of their gender, but for who they are. Commentators of Brooke’s season of the Bachelor often used the label bisexual, however was sometimes labeled as pansexual. Some people may feel comfortable switching between the two labels as Brooke told the ABC here.
To wrap up, I’ll leave you with this quote,
“Sexuality is so fluid, like why do we have to define ourselves by the people that we’re attracted to? Or why do we have to label ourselves by people that we’re sleeping with?”
Labels can be freeing and liberating to some, and isolating and restrictive to others. Ultimately, as many things in life, we should let people take the lead and set the tone of how they would like to be referred to.
Thank you Brooke for being such an incredible role model for many young queer people across Australia. I’m in absolute awe.
The best time of year has finally arrived and I couldn’t be more ready for it. November has come and gone in the blink of an eye and some rest and relaxation sounds like an incredible end to another wild year.
This month has been a big month of thinking about what the future and next few months look like. This year has been a bunch of short term contracts and feeling in a constant state of flux trying to figure out what your next move is. I feel that 2021 started so strong then quickly went downhill, so I’m ready for 2022 to enjoy Canberra to its full extent. I’m a strong believer in timing and even when it feels like all of the odds are stacking up against you, you never know what will fall into place and when – let’s just say, I might have something exciting up my sleeve.
As we race to get over the finish line, I hope you can take time to go slow and steady, be intentional and be present. I already know that the next two months will absolutely fly by and before I know it, I’ll be starting a new job and back to the grind. Make the most of it, go easy on yourself, enjoy some sunshine (fingers crossed) and do what makes you feel truly happy.
Let’s take a look at the fun month that was November.
Tour de Gong
It would appear that my love of the Gong has reached new heights because my housemates in Canberra were sick of just hearing about it and were ready to experience it for themselves. And believe it or not, it was a year ago (nearly to the date), that we embarked on our first tour de gong pub crawl. So I thought it was only fitting to implement Tour de Gong 2.0. And boy was it a hit?!
We started off at the stunning Scarborough Hotel to take in sweeping views over the Pacific Ocean, before heading down to The Fitz in Bulli (certainly a crowd favourite). After a few fancy cocktails, we headed to Resin, a brewery in Bulli to get some tasty beers before jumping on the famous 90 bus to head to Dagwood. Everyone else in the Gong seemed to have the same idea and was out on the town. So we headed to Dicey Riley’s to wind down.
The Gong has such a special place in my heart and it was so nice to share it with people I love for a big ol weekend together.
After nearly 6 months of not seeing my family, they were finally able to come down to Canberra for a weekend and wow it was SO AMAZING to see them! We celebrated Isaac finishing uni (woo) with some noodles, a BBQ and some nice cocktails. I’m SOOOO looking forward to Christmas to hang out with my family by the beach and relax!
We also got to head up to Sydney for the first time in SOOOO LONG! It has been over 6 months and the biggest teller of time was seeing how big baby Jack is now! My goodness. We had such a great weekend in Sydney, hanging out and playing with Jack, watching movies, going out and about in the city for Michael’s birthday and drinking copious amounts of coffee. I absolutely adore the Chapple family and am very keen to hang out in Sydney with them over summer for wine, adventures and sessions in the pool!
I also had a visit from my spicy love, Tishia. After months of being separated due to COVID, we were finally reunited and we spent the weekend going out and about in Canberra. It’s always such a nice feeling knowing you don’t have to entertain your friends, you just have to be. And I love just being with you always!
Sly Withers These guys released their Like A Version several months ago but damn I have had this on absolute repeat lately! It’s so powerful and punchy and I absolutely cannot wait for their tour!
TSwift Well Taylor Swift has officially taken over the world – and my TikTok for you page. It’s so funny suddenly becoming a big TSwift fan, I was never into her earlier so it’s hilarious that I’m now low key obsessed. I absolutely adore her new song with Phoebe Bridgers and have certainly had it on repeat.
Tiny Little Houses I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for an album to be released! Finally! They have been teasing it for what feels like all year and my eyes absolutely lit up when I saw it was out… hoping this means there is a tour on the cards.
The Country of Others, By Leila Slimani I felt inspired to read some books from international authors set in places and times I didn’t know much about – and then I stumbled across this gem. It’s set in the 1940s, Morocco and tells the story of Mathilde, a woman from Alsace who falls in love with Amine, a Moroccon soldier fighting with the French forces. It’s an incredibly gripping story which I believe is set to be the first of three. Would strongly recommend this one.
Love and Virtue, Diana Reid I could not put this down and would recommend to anyone who is interested in friendship, university culture, dating culture and the age old question ‘what does it mean to be a good person.’ I absolutely loved this book, the way it was written, the characters, the situations they created – just wow.
The Inner Self, by Hugh Mackay I borrowed this one from my housemate and was nodding profusely while reading it. This book explores the 20 things we ‘hide’ in to distract ourselves from our true inner self. Things like ‘busyness, work, and anxiety,’ all of which I’m guilty of hiding in. While I would have loved for this book to go a little deeper and hit a little harder, it’s a great book to get you thinking about what your true inner self is.
Yellowstone Jumping on the basic bandwagon and jumping on the Yellowstone train. It’s certainly not what I expected to be loving but here I am. I often roll my eyes, think it’s problematic and violent af but here I am thinking ‘maybe I should go and ride a horse.’ The real question is, when can I get a cowboy hat and boots?!
Too Much Time Alone, By Brooke Saward Also known as World of Wanderlust, Brooke has launched her new podcast that reflects on the time she has spent alone over the past few years while travelling the world. It’s light, fun, and talks about travel and romance in a real and raw way.
The Culture, by Osman Faruqi I cannot recommend this podcast enough! It’s a critical examination of pop culture in Australia and around the world. I particularly love his episodes on ‘Why do millennials love Sally Rooney?’ and ‘Why Kanye West can’t be cancelled.’ You will feel even more intelligent after listening to it too.
Converse hi-tops I landed myself some Converse hi-tops during a 30% off sale on the Iconic. And let me tell you I AM OBSESSED! They are ridiculously comfortable, add a nice bit of height and go with everything. Keep an eye out on the Iconic for these bad boys.
December you are looking FIIIIINNNNEEEE! I am beyond excited to spend some much needed time at home with friends and family, head off on an adventure with Johnnie, eat eat eat, get some serious beach time and take a deep breath in and out. 2022 is just around the corner and I am so ready!
Well well well what a turbulent month October was. As parts of Australia started to open up and lockdowns eased, life went from 0-100 overnight. Needless to say that my social battery needed some recharging which meant I often opted for nights in doing face masks and reading my books, over heading out.
This month I also hit a bit of a wall with work. I had been working huge days to deliver some events and campaigns and I think my body just told me ‘Adelaide, you need to stop.’ It’s moments like this I’m particularly grateful to have such a wonderful psychologist who could help me manage these seemingly unmanageable times. I’m also proud that I was able to put the brakes on with my boss and say that I couldn’t continue under the pump. So I hope this can inspire you to set boundaries and put the breaks on when required. We’re not machines and aren’t meant to work like them.
As the days become longer and warmer, there’s a bit of magic in the air. The diary is quickly filling up with end-of-year festivities and I’m whipping out the sunscreen for ultimate sunny days (and maybe some cheeky gin). As we quickly approach the end of another turbulent year, I hope that you are able to go at your pace, connect with loved ones and prioritise your health and wellbeing.
Leaving the bubble
Wow driving more than 15 minutes out of the Canberra bubble – what a feeling! As soon as we could, John and I hit the road to get some Vitamin Sea! And who better to soak up some sunshine than with Miss Chantelle. While it may not be the ‘North Gong 10 min walk to the beach,’ being able to do a day trip to the coast was an absolute highlight of the month. The drive from Canberra is so doable and if you stop halfway in Braidwood for a coffee and pastry – or in our case, some Nepalese food, and beer – then you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
The first outing (beers and coffee)
I promise to never again take for granted the pure joy and bliss of having a beer or coffee brought to you. Wow-what a gorgeous feeling it was! And even better, I got to share it with loved ones out and about enjoying the Canberra sun. Whether it was finding the ultimate parmi at a pub around the corner or heading the the Ruck for the first time (what a moment), it felt surreal to be out and about with people enjoying themselves with mates.
I kind of love how even as restrictions ease, I’ve often found myself gravitating towards ‘lockdown’ vibes in the first instance. Whether it’s a picnic in Yarralumla, dinner nights in with mussels, chips, and wine, face masks and sex and the city, falling in love with Silo croissants, bike riding and coffee walks with my friends, and taking polaroids on random Saturday afternoons.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s moments like these that I am so grateful for such beautiful relationships with housemates, friends, partners, and family. I know that moving forward I will continue to prioritise these slow and more simple moments to truly be present and soak up all the good vibes coming my way.
I was on an absolute reading spree this month and smashed through 5 incredible books! When I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unsure, reading always grounds me and allows me to be fully present and immerse myself in a new world they’ve created.
The Survivors, By Jane Harper I read ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper last year and absolutely loved it. I had heard so many good things about The Survivors so I had to include it in my book haul for the month. I love reading books that are set in Australia – though absolutely kicking myself that I am yet to go to Tassie! Loved it and would definitely recommend.
How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? By Pandora Sykes Oh my goodness I could not put this book down! I was a bit hesitant as I honestly only knew Pandora through her podcast with Dolly Alderton. I have read Dolly’s books and thought, how can Pandora’s be different? Let me tell you it is different, it is unique and it is excellent. It’s well researched which leaves you feeling informed and talks about important issues in a really nuanced way. I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend for anyone in their 20s or 30s with questions about work, relationships, body and beauty. 10/10 from me! Can’t wait to read more of Pandora’s work.
Animal, By Lisa Taddeo Ooft this is a dark one. I read Lisa’s ‘Three Women’ last year and absolutely loved it. This one is a bit darker and a bit more suspenseful, leaving you wondering where it’s going and what drives the main character.
Beautiful World Where Are You?, By Sally Rooney Ah Sally you’ve done it again! After two incredible novels, this highly anticipated book had quite a lot riding on it. I went into it a little skeptical and critical and found myself whisked away to the Irish town it’s set in. I absolutely loved it and absolutely enjoyed getting inside the minds of her characters. This is a truly beautiful read and perfect for a summer holiday!
P.S Can you tell I was kind of obsessed with crispy chicken salads this month?! Obsessed!
Sorry and Bliss, By Meg Mason This book had certainly been doing the rounds and again, I went into it a little critical (you have to make up your own mind on whether you love it or not). I started reading it one night and as I turned the light out I realised I was already halfway through. It was a harrowingly gorgeous read and thought the way she captured the complexities of — was incredible. It absolutely lives up to the hype and it is well worth a read.
Maid One of the best drama series I’ve ever seen. This show exposes the sinister experience of domestic and family violence and poverty in the US. The main actress is absolutely incredible and thought it shone an important life of the decisions that women escaping abuse are faced with and the challenges the system creates.
Squid Game Do I really need to say much about this series? It’s Netflix’s best series to date and I was absolutely captivated by it. It’s dark, it’s hilarious and it’s a raw commentary on inequality. You’ve likely already seen this one so I guess all that’s left to say is – I wonder if there will be a season 2?
L’Opera This is the ballet, drama I have always wanted to watch. Set in Paris at the National Opera, this drama series tells a non-cheesy story of two dancers. One at the beginning of her career and one nearing the end – this series is perfect for those of you who love Paris, dance, romance and grit.
MollyMae Classic ‘I had no idea who Molly Mae was until I heard about her on Shameless podcast and now I’m obsessed.’ Molly has a huge backlog of content that will keep you occupied for just enough time for you to fall in love with her!
Danielle Carolan Danielle is someone I’ve been following for quite some time and since she’s moved to New York I cannot get enough. I must admit, it’s certainly low brow but I’m not ashamed to say how damn impressed I am by her hustle and grind. Plus I’ve been obsessed with her fashion which I may have been influenced by…. eyes off door for the next parcel…
Stuff the British Stole, Blood Art I’ve been tuning in and out of Marc Fennell’s ‘Stuff the British Stole,’ but was absolutely hooked with this episode. I knew absolutely nothing about the ancient culture of Benin and found it absolutely incredibly fascinating. It’s an incredible story and would highly recommend if you’re interested in art, culture and beautiful, significant artefacts.
This song just sounds like summer and good times! Yes yes yes – I hope this means a second album is on the way and if so, I thoroughly look forward to singing along during Triple J’s hottest 100 next year because surely it’ll be up there.
Bare Minerals, Complexion Rescue I was looking for a light weight BB cream-type product for the summer months. I stumbled across some great reviews of this online and thought I would give it a go. Despite buying several shades too dark by accident (oops), I absolutely adore it. It’s super glowy, light, with SPF, and gives a really nice coverage – in my instance with it being a tad dark, I look very sunkissed, but I think I can just make it work.
November I am so damn excited for you! For that warm air, diaries filling up with fun events, getting away, getting back to the ocean, reading some more wonderful books and putting the breaks on a little. If I conquer this hayfever (when will it end?!), then I think November is sure to be AMAZING!
Well September came and disappeared. What a blur of cold mornings, hints of summer in the air, crunch times at work, boozy Saturday afternoons on our back deck and collecting parcels from kind a regular posties.
Usually this section is filled with, ‘this month I did this, then that, with this person, then went here….’ and we all know there wasn’t a whole lot of that happening this month. But it didn’t mean I didn’t make the most of it. John moved into his new place and celebrated his 26th birthday, I went walking, drinking and riding with Em, had a picnic with Nikki and Lewis, drank too many frozen margaritas, ran about 60kms, and ate about 15 bagels.
Lockdown has certainly forced us to slow down, be mindful, patient and present and I couldn’t have been happier. Yes things have felt repetitive, stressful and uncertain but damn am I lucky to spend lockdown with these legends.
Facetime, facetime, facetime…
There’s nothing quite like a good ol Facetime with a good ol friend. In a time where I happen to be separated from most of my friends and family, I’ve loved connecting with my loves whether it’s been for 5 minutes or 2 and a half hours…. ahem… Charline. It’s a hard time and it seems there’s finally an end in sight. It’s nice to know that a friend is just a call away.
First ladies on SBS On Demand This six episode documentary series tells the story of the women behind several Presidents of the US. While it’s not exactly hard hitting or critical, it tells the often unheard stories of the First Ladies. I particularly loved Hillary Clinton’s, Michelle Obama and Jackie Kennedy.
Season 3 of Sex Education This is the wholesome goodness I needed this month. My goodness I just about smashed it in a day. I’m so obsessed and it makes me want to consume more sex positive, body positive content.
Lorde’s Maori EP Wow. Just wow. When Solar Power came out I thought, mmmhmm ok not bad Lorde. But when she released an EP in Te Reo Māori, I lost my mind. It is truly beautiful to hear music in Indigenous languages and while I know there is a lot of commentary and criticism of Lorde doing this, I think the fact that she has showcased Indigenous language on a global stage is really important. Plus it is just gorgeous to listen to.
WILLOW I was already in love with her latest album and yes loving this song may make me TikTok crazed and basic but seriously I CAUGHT A VIBE!!!! I’m so in love with her look, her vibe, her voice and the emotion she conveys (especially watching her performances). I’ve been listening to this non-stop and hits differently when you’ve got your roller skates on.
Sentimental in the City This miniseries appears in Caroline O’Donoghue’s podcast called Sentimental Garbage and features the one and only Dolly Alderton. If you have watched Sex and the City and are familiar with the episodes and characters, you will absolutely love this! I found myself giggling out loud as I walked down the street. I felt like I was talking with Caroline and Dolly because I too feeeeeeeel the most about Sex and the Cityyyyy!
After Work Drinks This Aussie/Kiwi duo have been on repeat in my ears over the past few weeks and I’m truly loving their podcast. They’re fun, witty and raw. The best thing about discovering a great podcast is when you realise there’s a huge backlog of episodes to catch up on.
Everybody Knows An intriguing yet unsurprisingly sad series about sexism, assault and power in the Australian music industry. In the light of #metoo that swept Hollywood, why did #metoo fall short in Australia? Host of Everybody Knows, Ruby Jones, aims to answer this question while delicately navigating Australia’s tough defamation laws. As much as I loved it, damn did it make me angry at how our system is literally designed by privileged men in power to protect privileged men in power.
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid Ooooh Taylor Jenkins Reid you’ve done it again! What a lovely book to escape into. I love how her characters develop and you become immersed in their world. The battle between the past and the present is glorious and that nostalgic 70s feel dances around her pages. I finished it with a beer in hand on the balcony and couldn’t have thought of a better way to devour such a gorgeous book.
Emotional Female, by Yumiko Kadota Wow this book is INCREDIBLE and a must read. It tells the story of Yumiko’s pursuit of medicine and her tumultuous journey on becoming a surgeon. It talks about intersections of sexism and racism, I even felt a little anxious reading it because it truly immersed me in her world. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Yumiko speak about her book in person (earlier this year) and can truly say I would absolutely recommend this for any woman who’s been told she’s too emotional.
I joined the basic bitch club and reached new heights when it comes to lockdown and bought some roller skates. They are beautiful and I’m absolutely in love with them. I’ve loved skating around the back yard, especially in this gorgeous sunny weather we’ve been getting a taste of. I’ve stacked it a few times too to keep me humble. If you want to check them out, you can pick them up from Surf Dive and Ski (be sure to get the protective pads too – you will need them).
Well October you’re looking a little brighter, warmer and connected. I cannot wait to start seeing my family and friends and damn I can’t wait for an epic date night sitting across a table from Johnnie. I hope you’re all safe and well, and until next time… big love.
So it’s somehow September and it’s been two months since I’ve updated you on what’s been going on (my bad). If you live in NSW/ACT, I guess you would already know that with the COVID-19 wave, that it’s felt like a whole lot of nothing. As things gradually unfolded with the Sydney lockdown, it felt like the Canberra bubble was protecting us. It was certainly a surreal experience being able to go out to bars, pubs and clubs, living a ‘normal’ life, while my loved ones were in lockdown unable to leave their houses.
Of course July and August didn’t go according to anyone’s plans, including ours. I had planned a big snow trip for some friends and I for my birthday, and while I was lucky to be able to hit the snow, it sucked that my friends in Wollongong and Sydney couldn’t come. Then Elizabeth and I had a two week trip to Western Australia booked – think vanlife, swimming with whale sharks and beers galore – yea would’ve been nice hey. I guess Western Australia borders had other ideas. Then we decided to getaway up to North NSW for a week to soak up some sunshine and relax – also sounds nice hey? Then Newcastle went into lockdown. While I was lucky enough to get away down the beautiful South Coast for a few nights and be reunited with Johnnie (yay), that trip also got cut short to make it back to Canberra for the ACT lockdown. The moral of that story is, resilience is key to booking holidays in 2021.
Of course, we know that the Canberra bubble was eventually popped as we had our first case in over 12 months. And into lockdown we went. Back to working from home and losing our minds over poor internet connections. While the past two months have certainly been challenging, I’m using this time to look back and reflect on all of the good times (big and small) I’ve been lucky enough to have. Caught up in the craziness of it all, I’ve obviously neglected my blog (sorry). So here’s a bit of an update on what I’ve been up to for the past 2 months… I hope wherever you’re reading this from, you and your family are keeping safe and as happy as can be during these times.
Starting a new job
July was a huge month. I said goodbye to my colleagues and friends at Women’s Health Matters to commence a role at WorkSafe ACT. It’s been a big and quick change which I have 100% loved. I’m lucky to work with incredible people and apply my skills and experience to the world of work health and safety. My Dad worked in WHS for over 20 years and the irony of me starting in this space is certainly not lost on me. In a short period of time, I’ve created work that I’m really proud of. I’m incredibly grateful for the support of people near and far who have helped me get to where I am today and I’m excited to stick my head down over the next few months and focus on my career.
A visit to the coast
While I’m slowly getting over my beach-separation anxiety, the best thing about living in Canberra is that the beach and my best friend are only a two hour drive away. One weekend when I was in desperate need of some Chantelle time and Vitamin Sea. There’s something so lovely about winter in a small seaside town, so we got the fire roaring, enjoyed some wine and cheese and went exploring and spotted some playful seals. There’s nothing like a sleepover with your bestie and I would give anything for that now.
Well guess who’s officially in their mid to late twenties! I was lucky enough to bring in 27 with some close friends and loved ones. My housemates made me an awesome bday brekky before I headed off to work. That night we headed to one of my favourite pubs in Canberra, the Old Canberra Inn.
Each year I try and pick a word that encapsulates what I want the next 12 months to be. 27 to me is going to be marinating. Taking it slow and soaking it all up. I feel like the past few years have been go go go and working hard for the next BIG thing. I don’t know whether its COVID-19, age or border restrictions – possibly a combination of all three, but I’m very excited to slow things down and enjoy what I’ve been working for. So watch out 27, I’m ready to soak it all up.
Back in February when I found out I was moving to Canberra, I decided that for my birthday I wanted to get a group of friends and family together to head to the snow. I found an amazing AirBnb and was so excited to get around that fire and hit the slopes with everyone. Oh how naive I was… it turned out that over half the people I invited couldn’t come due to the Sydney and Wollongong lockdown. And as much as that sucked, I was lucky to get some amazing people together to celebrate.
Echo dine in night
I was lucky enough to be invited to Isaac’s dine in night at ADFA. One of the best things about being in Canberra is being closer to Isaac. It was awesome to get dressed up and hit the town with my little bro and my friends.
To substitute my Western Australian trip, and our trip to Kingscliff, I was committed to getting away for a mental break. The South Coast seemed to be the only untouched place I could go to escape COVID so I booked a beautiful AirBnb in Bermagui for a week. I was lucky enough that John could join me after his quarantining and after 2 months of not seeing eachother it was absolutely incredible to see him again! It kind of felt like meeting an internet boyfriend after all of the Facetime calls. It was the prefect reset I needed and even though it was cut short because of the Canberra lockdown, I’m so grateful I got to enjoy some sunshine, beach and splendid times with Johnnie.
As the month ends in what seems like never ending lockdowns, I’ve been reflecting on all of the special moments I had over the past two months. Whether it was hitting the town, the Polish Club, the slopes, parkrun or getting the fire blazing, I feel so lucky to have amazing people around me to make these hard times easier to get through.
Search Party Wow I can’t believe the last time I stayed up til the early morning to watch a TV show. After a seriously strong recommendation from Em and Kieran, I buckled in to see what it was all about. It’s about a woman that becomes infatuated by an acquaintance who goes missing. Once I started I couldn’t stop. It’s seriously addictive, strange and hilarious, and will seriously have you hooked.
Starstruck If you’re looking for a light and entertaining watch, then look no further. Set in London, it features a vivacious Kiwi who unknowingly bangs a famous English actor. If you’ve ever lived in London as a poor expat, you will absolutely relate to the lifestyle and struggle of navigating London – minus the falling in love with a rich actor.
The Chair Not that I need to say more than um hello Sandra Oh! But if you need more convincing, this is a great miniseries set at a University in the States. It’s honestly hilarious given my experience working at a University for 7 years. My colleagues and I always used to say that the things that went on at uni would make for a great TV show and I guess someone did it. It’s a great show and if you’ve ever worked at a university, you’ll think it’s brilliant! I kinda binged it in a day so goodluck trying not to watch it all in one sitting.
Supernova If you’re looking for a movie for a good cry, then this is for you. This is a beautiful movie about love, loss, family and setting your loved ones free. Plus it will also make you want to buy a van and travel around the UK.
I Care a Lot Rosamund Pike strikes again. This wicked film is kind of unlike anything I’ve seen before. It will keep you guessing til the end and it takes twists and turns you don’t expect. If you’re looking for a movie where you don’t exactly know where it’s going… this is the one for you.
Heartsick, by Jessie Stephens Elly treated me to this book for my birthday and damn was I excited to read this! I listen to Mama Mia Out Loud from time to time and have always found Jessie’s voice very interesting. When I heard the reviews I was super keen to get my hands on it. And once I did I couldn’t put it down. It was cleverly written and I was incredibly invested in the characters. Would totally recommend!
Daisy Jones & The Six Oh damn what an incredible book! I read this so quickly (in the sun on the grass in our backyard – isolation holiday mode) and LOVED it! My love for it has grown even further since listening to the Shameless Book Club’s episode on it as well. I’ve read the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and am absolutely in love with her characters and style of writing. So I’m on a mission to get my hands on the rest of her books ASAP. Love love loved this!
One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston Thank you Rosheen for the ultimate holiday book. A fictional book that takes a rather unrealistic twist into time travel, this novel is an absolute delight. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t stop imagining these vibrant characters of an evening.
I recently splurged on an order from Adore Beauty and treated myself to the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (Lavender). It is absolutely gorgeous and extremely hydrating. It feels absolutely delicious to put on your face and the lavender scent is perfect for dozing off peacefully. For $44 from Adore Beauty or Sephora, it’s a steal.
Well friends, I hope you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones. I hope you can find glimpses of joy and lightness in these uncertain times and I hope you are proud of yourself for doing so well. I’m hopeful (but not expecting) that we will get out of lockdown in September ready to enjoy Spring out and about in all of Canberra’s spring glory. Sending big love to you.
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!