When It’s OK To Say No

Whilst one of my New Years Resolutions for 2016 was to say YES to more things, I’ve come to realise the power and importance of doing the opposite and actually saying NO. Now before you brush this off as a close minded perspective, hear me out.We live in a day and age where all we’re trying to do is schedule people into a busy lives, but at what cost? Of course I’m open to new experiences, being spontaneous and making the most of every day, but some days, you can’t do everything. It’s not humanly possible. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves and it’s important to listen to our minds and bodies to ensure that when we say YES, we can make the most of it.

So in my books, it’s totally OK to say NO when…

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My idea of a lazy Sunday. Source. 

You’re low on money

Sure, we all love going out for dinner and drinks. But these days, a dinner and drinks combo will cost you a minimum of $30 (and let’s be honest, as if you’re only going to have 1 drink). Whilst it’s nice to do it every now and again for special occasions, if you’re on a tight budget like me, it’s not a feasible option to always be going out for dinner and drinks. It’s definitely OK to say no.

Alternative…

Of course you don’t want to miss out on friend bonding time. Instead, you could suggest buying a cheap bottle of wine and making some delicious home made food and going for a picnic. Or you could suggest going out for coffee instead. Because money spent on coffee is money well spent.

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Coffee with friends is always a good time! Source. 

You’ve got a deadline

Whether it’s work, assignments, study, blogging… they don’t call it a deadline for nothing. You’ve got to get it done. Sure you’d love to stay out for that extra hour, have that extra glass of wine or watch that extra episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (don’t judge me, it’s the best thing ever!), but at the end of the day, you need to get your work done.

Alternative…

Prioritize your work and as soon as it’s done, you’ll be ready to go out! Just get in and get it done, no one wants deadlines hanging over their shoulders. Just think of how much better that glass of wine is going to taste knowing that you’ve got everything up to date?! AMAZING!

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If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will?! Source. 

You’re feeling under the weather

You know that feeling when you’re not sick, but your nose is a bit stuffy, you’ve had to take a few Panadol that day and your bodies a bit sore? Being under the weather or run down sucks. The last thing you need to do is push yourself! When you start to feel this way, this is your body’s way of saying ‘hello, up there… your brain is working overtime and I need a break!’ To prevent it getting any worse, make sure you tuck yourself into bed nice and early, drink lots of water and eat some fruit.

Alternative…

Fulfil 12 year old you’s dreams and deck your lounge room out with mattresses, blankies and pillows and have a Harry Potter marathon. Spend a night in sipping on tea and your body will thank you for giving it a bit of a rest. And the best thing is, if you’re too sleepy, you can just fall asleep. Just make sure you remove all permanent markers from the house to avoid becoming a canvas at midnight!

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Blanket fort goals! Source

When you just don’t feel like it

Let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything at all. You don’t need to justify yourself, or make up a lame excuse. Just say you don’t want to and leave it at that. Everyone needs time to themselves so be brave enough to say ‘No, tonight I’m doing whatever the hell I want to do.’

Alternative…

None. Because you do you!

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Love yourself. Source

I’m definitely not suggesting you should never go out, never spend money, or never spend time with your friends. These are some of my favourite things to do! But I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in going places, seeing people, catching up, being places and getting stuff done. Sometimes, we just need to take some times to ourself and say “nope, I’m going to sit this one out.” As the quote above says “happiness is an inside job,” so it’s ok to take time to ourselves. Because that means that when we say yes to awesome adventures coming our way, it’ll all be worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Month of Being a VEGETARIAN

So if you remember, in December last year, I wrote down a bunch of goals and things that I wanted to achieve in 2016. And one of them was to try out being a vegetarian. My reasons behind it are environmental because of the amount of CO2 the red meat industry is responsible for. Plus the amount of resources such as water that are put in to producing just the grains to then feed the livestock. For me – it’s a bit of a deal breaker. With a number of my friends that are already vegetarians and me personally never really buying much meat… I thought I’d give it a try. And this is what my first month of being a vegetarian has been like.

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Some amazing bruschetta I made!

Adaptation

Like any new habit, it takes a while for it to sink in and become second nature. For me trying to train my brain to not eat meat, I was off to a bad start.

So, I spent NYE in Melbourne and had a pretty great time. I also had quite a lot of alcohol, so you could imagine my mornings started a bit rocky. On New Years Day (DAY 1 of being a vegetarian), I got up earlier than all of my friends and I decided I would go grocery shopping to buy ingredients to make an awesome breakfast. I bought avocado, tomatoes, eggs, haloumi, mushrooms, bread and bacon. But I bought the bacon for everyone else knowing that they would love it and I would be happy with the rest of what I had bought. Breakfast was a breeze… it was in the afternoon that got a bit tricky.

It was about 3pm and I was starting to crash. I was tired and absolutely hungry. My friend and I were walking the streets of Melbourne, hot and exhausted. When suddenly, we came across a Nando’s! Hallelujah! Finally, some delicious food that I need to get me through the rest of the day. So we went in and bought so much chicken, went back to our apartment and went into a food coma.

Later that afternoon we were out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and I was going through the menu and I said to my friends ‘ah that looks good but I can’t have it, it’s chicke-‘ and then I paused. OMG! I had just eaten a massive thing of Nando’s only a few hours earlier! So incredibly embarrassing and hilarious!

So technically my month of vegetarianism started on the 2nd of January. But it just goes to show how hard it is for your brain to be active in reminding yourself that ‘hey don’t eat that, that’s meat’ or to learn a new hobby. It’s hard and it took me a while! But a month in and I’ve pretty much accustomed myself to it now.

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Munching on fruit all the time. Can’t complain with that. Source
Eating Yummy Foods

Because I’ve now taken meat out of the equation, I’m always looking for something to substitute it for my meals. So I’ve been trying to get a bit creative with my cooking. Using lentils, cheeses, falafels, spreads like hummus, and sprinkling meals with chilli and lemon really give whatever it is that I make an extra kick.

Eating Lots of Yummy Seafood

OK so I’m not exactly vegetarian, but pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish and seafood). I made this decision because I love seafood and I need to have some sort of balance of protein and it’s a good way to get my Omega 3. Plus, I LOVE stir fries with prawns and I just wasn’t ready to give them up just yet. I try to eat fish at least once a week. Along with eating lots of yummy seafood and fresh fruit and veges, I feel a lot healthier within myself. I know it’s only been a month but I feel that I have a lot more energy than I usually have. We’ll see how this goes long term.

Saving Money

Going out to dinner is generally the only time I have issues with being a vegetarian. I look at the menu and see the specialty lamb burgers and think ‘damn.’ But – the vegetarian options are usually cheaper and jam packed with amazing flavours!

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Source. 
The Down Side

It was quite interesting to see how the people around me reacted to me becoming a vegetarian. There’s a pretty well known stereotype of vegetarians and vegans always telling anyone and everyone about how they’re vegetarians. I do not do this. And neither do my friends who are vegetarians. Just sometimes it comes up in conversation – like ordering food. The negative vibes wore off eventually but I was pretty surprised by the amount of slack I received from a lot of people around me. Well it’s stopped now so I must of convinced them how good it is 😉

So that’s been my month of being a vegetarian. It’s been interesting and I’ve learnt a lot. I started off committing to a month and I’m planning on continuing it for at least another. We’ll see how we go – and of course, I’ll keep you in the loop!

Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Do you have any suggestions on how to keep going and find tasty new recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

How to deal with conflict

I used to hate conflict. Try to avoid it at all costs until I went quiet and just had to leave the room. Sometimes, these urges and old habits come back and I just want to run and hide under a rock. But I think as we grow and learn more and more about ourselves and our values, you don’t want to do this. Instead, you want to stand up for yourself and deal with it in a healthy and productive way. This is something I’m still learning and trying to master, but conflict and awkward moments are just something we all have to deal with. So here are my ways to deal with it effectively and with as little drama as possible like this guy below.

What you want to avoid. Source
What you want to avoid. Source

Respect. It’s important to respect the other person you’re talking to. Yes they may have different opinions or perspectives on things but that’s OK. It would be boring if we were all the same. You want your opinion to be respected to it’s vital that you acknowledge their point of view.

Understanding. Along with respect is understanding. You need to understand that everyone comes from a different family, background and way of life. By understanding and trying to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll ensure that you’re not attacking them.

Confidence. Speak with confidence and conviction. If you believe that LGBT people have a right to marriage, then say it loud and proud. If you’re interested in a particular issue, you’ll arleady know a lot of information about it (a recent protest or march, a celebrity that advocates for it, the positive effects it will have on society…).

It's OK to express yourself. Source
It’s OK to express yourself. Source

Educate. If you’ve already done the above things, try and educate the other person about why Viola Davis winning an emmy is such a significant thing. If the other person is respecting you and trying to understand where you’re coming from, they’ll be more than happy to listen and learn from you. As long as it’s reciprocated.

Stick to your beliefs. Of course it’s difficult when someone is questioning and criticising what you believe in. However that doesn’t make it any less valuable. If it’s something you truly believe in and advocate for, then one persons criticism really wan’t effect that.

Walk away. If you’ve covered all of the above, and the person you’re talking with is still attacking your words, questioning and criticising what you’re saying, then just leave that conversation alone. You don’t need to make everyone believe what you believe and think what you think. You’re just trying to share some light on why you’re passionate about feminism or One Direction, you’re not trying to brainwash them. But if the other person isn’t respecting or trying to understand you, then maybe they’re not worth talking to.

Don’t hold grudges. Holding grudges doesn’t get anyone anywhere. There’s no use resenting someone becuase they said they hated French movies that one time. Just accept that everyone is different and will have different opinions on which colour jelly bean is the best.

So remember, it’s totally fine to have heated or intense discussions. They’re stimulating, interesting and allow you to express how passionate or concerned about something you are. These are just some of my little tips to do so in a productive and respectful way.

Do you have any tips of tricks that I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

Running the City2Surf

Fitness and sports has never really been my thing. I love and value being fit and healthy, but my GAP year in London somewhat destroyed any ‘fitness’ I had. And then I came to uni and decided I needed to get back into it. I started playing netball, joined the gym and did yoga classes at least once a week. And then in August last year, my Dad (who’s in his 50’s) ran the City 2 Surf. And this was the point where I decided that I would add this 14km run from St. Mary’s cathedral in the city, to beauitful Bondi beach with UOW.

The determination is real
The determination is real

And today… I did it! Honestly, my only goal was to finish without dying. I was lucky enough to race with one of my friends, Liam. It was a beautiful sunny day, the atmosphere was incredible and there’s nothing quite like that burning feeling in every muscle as you stumble towards the finish line. So, here’s some of the thoughts, feelings and words of advice that I’ve come up with/I experienced whilst running (beware, when I was approaching 9kms, I was getting pretty delusional).

Beautiful Bondi
Beautiful Bondi

Have a running buddy. I ran with one of my friends Liam, and I’d definitley recommend it because they push you along when you feel like you can’t take one more step.

Thinking to myself *this is the longest kilometre ever* Enough said.

Motivation, inspiration and determination is a magical thing. I didn’t know I was capable of running 14kms in one go (OK so I walked some of it, but you get my gist). The music that’s pumping from DJ decks, the people cheering, clapping and shouting you on, the amazing sign that said ‘run like Channing Tatum is at the finish line…’ It pushes you beyond any physical boundaries. And it made me realise the true power the mind possesses and how important it is to believe you can do it.

At the finish line soaking up some sunshine
At the finish line soaking up some sunshine

Train, train, train… This was probably my biggest problem. I’m great at procrastinating and managed to make up 101 reasons why I didn’t need to go running after work, or uni, or whatever else I was doing. Definitely make sure you work on your stamina and your core strength. It will make it a lot easier I assure you.

Make sure you arrange a specific point to meet people afterwards. I was lucky that I ran with my friend, but when I tried to meet my Dad last year, my gosh it’s merely impossible!

Make a good running playlist. When the music isn’t blasting from onlooking houses, make sure your running playlist is on point. You want bangerz to keep you pushing through the pain. Any song that would be played at retro night will get you in the mood.

Liam and I finished the race
Liam and I finished the race

But the most important thing is to make sure you have fun. It’s a rare chance you get to run through the main streets of Sydney with 80 000 other people. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really inspires you to train more, push harder and make the most out of every opportunity life throws at you.

xxx A

10 Reasons to add YOGA to your weekly routine

Looking for a way to get a good work out, de-stress, relax and do something good for your mind and body? Then look no further than Yoga. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it and my week just isn’t complete. So here are my top 10 reasons why you should start too!

(More or less because I can feel my face go red and I’m sure I’m pulling a funny face, I’ve never attempted to take a photo whilst doing yoga and I definitely don’t feel professional enough at it either, so I’ll use some professional photos that inspire me to get better and stronger. And also save myself the embarrassment).

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1. It’s a work out. Despite what you may think or know about yoga, you use muscles your didn’t know existed and you use them until you start shaking. It’s all about core strength, muscle development, awareness and flexibility.

2. And on that note, it does wonders for your flexibility. I’ve always been relatively flexibile due to my dance experience and it’s something I really want to maintain throughout my life. I don’t want to be middle aged and struggle to put my shoes on or other daily struggles associated with ageing. So keeping flexibile will not only keep you young but you’ll also be able to impress everyone with your ability to do the splits.

3. It’s good for your mind. Sometimes life gets stressful and your mind gets caught up on insignificant things. Relaxation is a big part of yoga and whilst you might think ‘how is relaxing a work out?’ you can’t expect to get the most from your body until you can get the most from your mind. You have to be kind to your brain up there. It works pretty damn hard day and night to keep you moving and the best you can be, so the least you can do is give it a bit of a break every now and again.

Flexibility is fabulous! Source
Flexibility is fabulous! Source

4. It gets you to the gym. If like me, your yoga class is held in a gym then you literally have no excuse not to go. If I’m feeling extra motivated, I try to do a 30-45 minute work out at the gym before my yoga class so I can work up a sweat, get some cardio in and then stretch it all out and keep the blood flowing. Then before you know it, you’ve spent nearly 2 hours at the gym and tah-dah…

5. Guys do it too. I was so pleasantly surprised to see just how many guys do yoga. And it’s even better when they’re young and attractive. Hello future husband.

6. No one else cares about how good or bad you are. Apart from the occasional eye contact with the hot guy across the room, no one else really gives a shit as to how you’re doing. The first time I went to yoga, I felt so intimidated, and thought thtat everyone would judge my ability. But fear not, everyone’s off in their own little bubble. There’s absolutely no judgement once you enter the yoga room.

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7. It’s important to take time for yourself. In today’s busy hustle and bustle it’s easy to just keep going and going and never taking a minute for yourself. At the end of the day, it’s important to look after yourself and rewarding you with an hour of loving and rewarding yourself (yep, I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true).

8. It keeps you in touch with your body. By activating the different muscles in your body and focusing on your breathing it creates more of a connection between your mind and body. Your body is with you for life and it’s important to look after it.

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9. It makes you appreciate all the little things. Because your mind has been refreshed, you tend to look at things from a new perspective, and it makes life that little bit more sweet.

10. It leaves you ready to conquer the world. Once the lights are switched back on and you go back out into the real world, you feel rejuvinated, re-energized and refocused. You’re calm and warm and just ready to get life happening!

So what are you waiting for? I can guarantee that after a yoga class, you’re going to feel like a new person with a fit new body.

You’re welcome!

xxx A

Summer Lovin’ (The Best Things About Summer in Australia)

It’s officially Summer here in Australia and I couldn’t be more excited! There’s parties to go to, people to see, food to eat (and lots of it), places to go… it’s just three months of sunshine and good times! I missed out on an Aussie Summer last year (instead, spent the majority of it Eastern Europe and Iceland in the middle of Winter), so here’s the things I’m most looking forward to this Sun Season!

Taking some Australian traditions to London
Taking some Australian traditions to London

Fresh and Delicious Fruit – Mangoes, watermelon, honeydew, grapes, bananas, pineapple, strawberries… with a bit of muesli and a drizzle of honey, it makes for the perfect summer snack! And speaking of fresh fruit, try cutting the top off of a watermelon and pouring in some Midori and Malibu… perfect for an afternoon spent on the beach with a few drinks. Hey, at least it’s healthy!

The Beach – What is Summer without spending the majority of it at the beach! My hometown is the perfect place to do this, with over 10 pristine beaches located within a 10 minute drive from my house (and one across the road). Just remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, drink plenty of water and be prepared for sand to be EVERYWHERE!

Australia Day with mates
Australia Day with mates

Christmas – Yes, in Australia Christmas is in the middle of Summer, and it’s brilliant! A typical Christmas day for me involves being woken up at some ghastly hour by my younger brother and sister, opening presents, giving presents, snacking on some chocolate, and saving our stomaches for a big lunch at Grandma and Grandad’s house with the whole family! After our food babies settle down, we duck down to the beach and soak up the sun. It’s a pretty brilliant way to spend Christmas!

It’s hot – OK so sometimes this can be the bad thing about Summer. I’m a red headed girl with a pale complexion, I was not made for 40+ degree days. A nice 28-30 degrees is perfect for me!

Never gets old
Never gets old

Minimal clothing is totally acceptable – When you’ve got a scorcher of a day, it’s completely acceptable to walk around in your bikini everywhere. Minimal clothing is great, especially when checking out all the hotties at the beach, until some 60 year old men decide to wear their speedos and your eyes a permanently scarred.

I get a tan – Ok, by tan I mean all my freckles come out. Even though I’m constantly reminded of how white I am, I can see I’ve got a fair bit of a tan going on (if I squint really hard and don’t forget to apply my tanning moisturiser).

Sunsets are beautiful
Sunsets are beautiful

New Years Eve – I love New Years Eve in Australia! Don’t need to take a jacket out, everyone’s drinking ice cold beers, we go out on a friends boat, watch the fireworks and then go for a midnight swim.

Australia Day – Australia Day is on the 26th of January and is generally celebrated at the beach or a friends house with a pool, listening to Triple J’s top 100 countdown, drinking beer and hanging out with good friends!

Everyone’s happy – It’s Summer, what’s there not to be happy about!

xxx A