Friday, 30 December 2016

Follow the Light in 2017


Another year over and a new one just beginning. 2016 was the year of "Be a Beginner" and I certainly learnt many lessons on being a beginner.

Becoming a mum to Star Boy was the biggest life changing experience in the universe, my entire life was flipped upside down, shaken about and tossed around pretty much on a daily basis. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been a crazy ride but it's the best one.

I've learnt so much about myself and what I am capable of achieving. I made plenty of mistakes and took a few knocks, but I got back up, dusted off and tried again. Being a beginner is hard but it takes so much pressure off as being a beginner you aren't meant to know it all so it's makes it okay when it doesn't go to plan.

I'm going to continue with this theme always but for 2017 I want something new.

"Follow what lights me up" - I follow my calling by following what lights me up 

I often get caught up with what I think I should be following or pursuing and not paying attention to what actually lights me up. I discovered this year I like reading non-fiction and there's nothing wrong with that, I don't have to like stories, I can like what I like.

I want to do more of this, what interests me, not what interests others, my passions not others passions, my dreams not others dreams.

Follow what lights me up without a reason or an end goal insight, just for the sake of it. There doesn't need to be a motive behind all that I do, do it for the joy that it brings.

So 2017 bring on the LIGHT!

What's your theme for this year?

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Book Review – Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell


I’ve just finished a fantastic book called ‘Light is the New Black’ by Rebecca Campbell and I just had to share the love.

Rebecca Campbell is an author, intuitive guide and spiritual mentor who encourages others to shine their light, answer the calling of their soul and do what they are here to do.

Light is the New Black is Rebecca’s first book and it had me hooked from the beginning. The whole way through Rebecca encourages you to really listen to your soul and delve deep within. The journaling prompts that are littered throughout the book really help you discover what your soul is trying to tell you – if only you would stop and listen.

Personally I love journaling so I found this really enthralling and the questions helped me really get inside my head and connected me with my soul. By helping me realise what lights me up, what’s holding me back, what are my gifts, what drains me, what am I fearful of and much more.

I discovered answers I always knew but never really had the courage to confess. I really want to be an inspirational writer but so much is hold me back and what’s holding me back is ME, my fears, my worries, my doubts not anyone else – ME!

We all have this ache in our souls that’s niggling at us every day to be fulfilled and to shine. Most of us are afraid to shine as to what will others say or think of us but by shining we are lighting the path for others to see and give permission for them to shine.

The book is broken up into a few sections, Rebecca starts off by sharing her own soul discovery journey then helps you discover how to turn your own light on, how to work your light, then how to live in the light then lastly how to be the light.

You don’t need to be perfect to shine your light or by a lightworker (which is anyone who shines their light) as that’s what really the world needs someone who is imperfect, doing their best and showing up day after day following the calling of their soul.

I love the way Rebecca writes, it’s as if she’s sitting across the table from you having a good old chat. I think that’s why it hit me so hard her words as they flowed so easily and effortlessly like a real conversation.

It’s a wonderful book and I can’t wait to read her latest book ‘Rise Sister Rise’ which just came into the library today – very excited.

Please answer the calling of your soul today, only you can fulfil the position and the world needs your unique vibrations. 

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.                      Photo my own.

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

The tryhards guide to be eco - in the bathroom


Today is part two of my series “The tryhards guide to being eco”. What did you think of part one about food? Did it get you motivated to make changes? If so what changes did you make?

This time we are focusing on the bathroom. There is so many products to be had in tiniest room of the house, but everything we use can make a difference.

First up cleaning products. I’ll admit we do use cleaning products in the bathroom as my husband is a self-confessed clean freak and has quite high standards of cleanliness (I don’t always meet it) so he does most of the cleaning which means in turn he’s more in charge of the cleaning supplies. We do buy most of Earth Choice products which are a slightly better option out there on the market but he will let me use bi-carb and vinegar to help clean the muck that gets caught up in the basin drains. You pour a generous amount of bi-carb over the plug hole leave to sit for about 10-15 mins then pour over some vinegar then wash it all down with boiling water and it cleans up quite nicely.

Toilet paper you can buy in partly recycled varieties or you buy Who Gives a Crap (love that name) which is 100% recycled. I personally haven’t used any of these myself as we get our toilet paper for free (a client my husband works for owns a cleaning company so we get given boxes of it) but I have heard from people that do use it that it's very good and quite well priced.

Beauty products can be quite detrimental not only to the environment but also to your health. I try to put the least amount of chemicals on my body as I can. I use Melrose Botanical shampoo, Vegesorb face cream, Moo Goo deodorant, Lush lip-scrub and Ere Perez lipstick and foundation which are all free from chemicals. I use arrowroot power instead of talc and I buy Tilley Australia soap from the chemist which comes package free (extra bonus). I make my own body lotion which is so easy. A 1:1 ratio of coconut oil and cacao butter – melt together in a saucepan, whack in the fridge till it sets again, pull it out and let it soften a bit then whip it up in the mixer (I use a whisk attachment) and pop it in a jar (you can add a few drops of lavender oil if you like after the melting process before you put it in the fridge).

I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to use a menstrual cup or reusable pads, I just haven’t quite gotten there yet but I use the brand TOM which is organic and better than most of the other brands out there.

I’ve tried bamboo toothbrushes but haven’t enjoyed the taste of them (they taste like the wooden stick the doctor sticks in your mouth when you say ahhh) or that feels like it cleans properly. So I do still use a conventional toothbrush until I can find one I’m happy with. Same with toothpastes, some of the natural brands I found didn’t keep my teeth white or leave that clean mouth feel, I’ll keep looking – anyone know a good brand to try?

You don’t need a blow-dryer as you can just let your hair naturally dry and it feels great on a hot day to have wet hair anyway, so you save on electricity and less plastic crap in the bathroom taking up space and damaging your hair.

Yes there is more I could do in the bathroom when it comes to being eco but I’ve made a few little changes which are better than none at all and I do need to work in with my husband who isn’t as big on the eco train as I am.

See you next time when we tackle the topic of clothes.

What eco things have you tired in the bathroom? Do you have any tips to share with me? 

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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Finding Time for Self


As most people would know once you have children you wonder what you did with all the time you once had. Yes time alone and with ones self are few and far between but I’ve discovered it’s vitally important to make time for it even if it’s only 5-10 minutes.

When Star Boy is sleeping during the day (roughly 3-4 naps) I’ve usually got 20-30 minutes before he wakes up again so by the time I have a loo break, get something to eat and drink, there’s only about 15 minutes left. I fill these 15 minutes with my legs up in the recliner reading a book (it can take 2 days to finish a chapter) but its soul satisfying to do something that’s me. Sometimes I get out my journal and do some writing which I’ve found fantastic for getting out all the thoughts and worries inside my mind out, especially on those rough days when you think you’ll snap in half. Occasionally I'll use a yoga app and do a 15 minute quick session, except it's kind of funny when you are doing the calm meditation part at the end and you hear a baby start crying.

Yes the house looks like a bomb has hit it and there’s toys, books, clothes, dishes everywhere – they all get sorted once he’s in bed and my husband is lending a helping hand. But those few moments where I get to reconnect to myself and my passions are shining diamonds and are appreciated more than when I had the whole day to myself (except you can add that to your Christmas list if you’re looking for ideas for me– ha ha!)

Recently I borrowed “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte from my local library and I slowly worked my way through. I discovered through the soul searching prompts and directions given in the book that I’ve got a passion and drive for writing – inspirational writing to be exact. It lights me up and fills me up with love. I’ve never felt so strongly about something in my life. My goal is to one day get paid for writing and even write an inspirational book.

I would never have realised this if I hadn’t taken the time out and reconnected with myself and found those few snippets of time for myself. Yes it did take me 2 weeks to read and work my way through the book (heck this blog post took over 2 days to write with all the stops) but it was better than never making that time at all.

Motherhood is a crazy vocation and you can easily lose your identity and become just a mum. But do yourself/your kids a favour and reacquaint/discover who you are and stay true to that person. Model what you want your children to become – a happy individual who is passionate – fill your cup so you can fill theirs with the over flow, they will thank you for it one day.

Do you make time for yourself? What do you do for yourself? How do you fill your cup? 

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Sunday, 20 November 2016

How to have a more mindful Christmas


The silly season is upon us once more and the celebrations will be starting shortly, but is it possible to stay mindful and present during the Christmas season?

Yes you can with a few minor tweaks you can have a much more mindful and in the moment Christmas.

Remember everyone has their own agenda.

This is a big one I’ve had to learn hard over the past few years. Everyone one has an image of how they want Christmas to be, including what food, what presents, what people talk about, how everyone will act, what photos will be taken etc. A lot of families clash over Christmas because everyone wants it their way. We need to drop the expectations and just go with the flow, see what happens on the day. If everyone wants to play “Cards Against Humanity” then go with it, if a family member can only show up for an hour than let them and enjoy the hour they’re there instead of laying on the guilt trip, if the computer doesn’t connect to the Internet to call overseas on Christmas Day try again later and enjoy the company of the ones who are in the house, if someone wants to bring a dessert but you want to be the centre of attention with only your food on show just get over yourself and let that person bring the damn dessert especially if that dessert took hours to make and they enjoy making Christmas food (all examples of Christmas past in my family). People put so much pressure on having the perfect Christmas, the perfect Christmas is enjoying each other’s company and dropping the expectations they will act a certain way – they don’t know how you want them to act they cannot read your mind.

Do you really need presents?

Presents are becoming so overrated. People trying to outdo each other, or you go out of your way to get someone what they want and all you get is coloured socks and a tissue box cover (worst present ever). We all have more than enough stuff in our homes and most of us just go and buy what we want when we want it anyhow. The last 2 Christmas my brothers and I haven’t been buying each other gifts instead we all go out to lunch in the January (sans kids). It’s been so nice to have a day where we all catch up instead of just giving each other gifts cards or exchanging money. If there is something you really want ask a few people to combine together. One year I want a new camera so my family and inlaws all went in together and combined both my birthday (only 4 days before Christmas) and Christmas and I was able to get one present that I really wanted. This year my 2 of brothers are going in together for my birthday and getting me a massage voucher and my parents and inlaws are combining together to get me a custom made dress and skirt. That way I’m only getting 3 presents over the whole lot but its 3 things I really want. Also buying experiences for people is a great idea, I love getting my massage voucher every year and my inlaws love getting a dinner voucher from us to a different restaurant each year. One of my brothers buys my parents musical tickets, this year he’s getting them Aladdin tickets. We got my dad last year a season pass to the Waratahs games, he loved it as he got to enjoy it for weeks instead of just adding some new trinket to the shelf.

It’s your Christmas too

I think some parents forget it’s the kids Christmas too, as thing have been done a certain way for so many years. Now that we are all older and married and have kids, it’s becoming harder to fit everything in. Last year we went to church then lunch at my mum’s but could only stay about 1.5 hours as we needed to get over to MJ’s family as they were having lunch too and half the family was leaving about 4:30pm to head to another family dinner. We were so dead by the end of the day that I struggled to enjoy any of it as I was rushed off my feet (didn’t help I was 5 months pregnant either). This year I just had to say no we cannot come on one day to everyone it’s just too hard and my sister-in-law said the same (she’s got 3 kids). You need to do what works for you as well, yes be flexible but you can only do so much. Thankfully this year we are visiting one family on Christmas Day and then the other family Boxing Day so our little Star Boy will end up with 2 Christmas this year.

You don’t have to do it all

If you have lots of friends and family spread it out and push some into January if you can. Try to space them out and allow a few days in-between if possible. Relax, sleep, bake at home, journal, and exercise – take care of yourself too.

The most important thing you can do this Christmas is relax, go with the flow and have fun. Remember what Christmas is all about – the birth of Jesus. Don’t get snowed under (pun intended) with all the trimmings and trappings of Christmas, connect with your heart and keep God as the central focus and the rest is just icing on the top of a wonderful yummy Christmas cake.

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Monday, 14 November 2016

The tryhards guide to be eco - with food


When it comes to being eco/sustainable I’m such a little tryhard, I want to do the best I can but I can only do so much with the resources, situations and circumstances that life throws my way. Basically I do the best I can every day, yes I can do more but I’m starting. So I’ve decided to start a new little series call “The tryhards guide” where I’ll share my little tips on how to be a little bit more eco in your daily life.

I’ll start the series off with “How to be more eco with food”

Food is a tough one as so much of it comes in plastic and there are oodles of imported fruit and veggies out there. Just small changes can add up and make a big difference.

1. Menu plan and make a shopping list

Yes I know so many people tell us this but it really does work. Knowing what you are going to eat for dinner every night really takes the stress out of “what’s for dinner?” and prevents food wastage as you only buy what you need. Yes sometimes when I go to the shops I’ll spot a few items that I forgot to put on the list and it’s tempting to get that chocolate block that’s half price, but by having a list you go straight to each aisle you need and have a more streamlike focus. I’ve started taking this one step further, since having Star Boy it’s been hard to go and do our big weekly shop so I now do a bigger monthly shop of all our staples with Coles online and have it delivered to the house. It’s great as it’s stopped that impulse buying, I can order any time of the day or night and pick a time that’s convenient to me for delivery. Then when we need little top ups my husband works near a set of shops and he’ll head up on his lunch breaks or when I take Star Boy for a pram walk I’ll pick up the odd items we are missing. Since starting this I’ve found we are buying less food and using up more of what we have already in the cupboard.

2. Farmers Markets are your friend

Farmers markets are fantastic, not only are you eating more seasonal fruit and veg, you are eating local not imported food. We have market that’s a 10 minute drive from our place and it’s so much fresher, nice and taster than the shop bought stuff. You know your eggs are fresh when there’s feathers still attached. Only thing, there is now a trend with some markets of plastic but it’s not hard to take your own bags we’ve all got those reusable bags hanging around the joint, keep them in the car. The one I go to you have to use the plastic bags to get your produce weighted in but afterwards I just transfer it over into my own bag and hand the plastic bag back. I’ve gotten a few strange looks from the seller but I just tell them to reuse it for the next person. Most of the time the produce is either cheaper or on par with the shops and 80% of it is chemical and pesticide free.

3. Recycle your soft plastics

I have spoken about this before, you can recycle your soft plastics at your local Woollies or Coles. Cereal packets, plastic bags, frozen veggie packets, muesli bar wrappers etc can all be recycled. Just keep a bag in your laundry and fill up with all your soft plastics and next time you’re near the shops take it along with you and add it to the bin at the front. They get remade into new items. Yes it is better if you can avoid getting soft plastics in the first place but thankfully we can now recycle the ones cannot always avoid.

4. Freeze baby freeze

Use the freezer to your advantage by buying sustainable meat choices when on special or organic veggies, just wash them and freeze in meal portion sizes. I do this with organic kale, I wash the kale, strip off the leaves and portion them out in zip lock bags (yes zip lock bags are plastic but I already have heaps in the cupboard from years ago that I just wash out, dry and reuse over and over). Spinach works well with this too, also when I make Star Boy’s food I freeze up all the pureed veggies ready to just grab and go.

5. Skip the multi packs

Buy individually if you can: this is good with foods such as apples, plums, peaches, kiwi fruits, potatoes, onions, tomatoes etc. We were always throwing out so many potatoes and summer fruits because I would buy the big bags, buy only what you know you’re going to eat. So say for example you need only 5 potatoes for the week for recipes then only buy 5 potatoes. Peaches and summer fruit can go off quite quickly so only buy a handful of them. I’ve sometimes just bought one of each, yes you do get the odd comment about it but it doesn’t really matter because you are not throwing the off fruit out later or wasting the money you spent on it either.

6. Buy in bulk

Yes I know the point above is skip multi packs but certain items are better if you can buy them in bulk as it reducing the packaging and the many trips up the road for them. We buy rice in a 5kg bag then decant it as we need it. I would love to live near a bulk food store that you can use your own bags like the store Naked Foods but there isn’t one nearby. We buy bulk items from Costcos and there’s no plastic bags at the checkouts which is a thumbs up.

Every little step and change helps, it’s better to be doing little than nothing at all. What do you do to be eco with food? Do you have any other ideas to add? Let me know as I’m always on the hunt for new ideas. Next time we’ll see how you can be a tryhard in the bathroom.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Disconnected


Disconnect

It’s such a strange feeling, you are there but you are not really there either. You are completing the action but action is far away and not a part of you. It’s separate, spilt away, outside looking in. Filled with immense sadness and immense relief. Heavily weighting on your heart but knowing its part of the journey and part of growing and letting go.

My breastfeeding journey has been a painful one since the start. Overproducing, under-producing, mastitis, lumps, latching issues, hitting, biting, screaming, wrestling matches, the works – 6 months of feeding hell. Added with a month long battle of bottle refusal (as he needed to gain weight), every feed was ended in tears most days – mainly my tears (so much pain). Then a complete about-face and bang one day just takes the bottle and within a week no longer wants breastmilk.

The sudden stop was a shock to the system – mine not his, he hasn’t looked back – engorgement, lumps, concrete sitting on my chest but that’s not what has hurt the most. The emotions that have surfaced are crazy. Yes I’m relieved as the pain and fighting are over but the sadness and disconnection have been almost too much to bear. There are many positives to this now, I can wear more of my wardrobe, my husband can help out with feeding time, going out it easier (no more feeding tops) and of course no more wrestling but it’s as if a piece of my heart has been pulled out and the stitches aren’t keeping it together.

Feeding now feels so foreign and separate. This too shall pass I know, I’m not pushing the feeling away but allowing space and presence for it to just sit there and be (a big change to my old ways). A taste of what is to come with being a mother how to let go and mourn the losses but to move forward and embrace the next stages.

A week later Star Boy was ready to move into his cot in his own room, no longer sleeping in the bassinet at the foot of our bed. It’s almost felt too much too soon another “bang here we go next phase please”. Motherhood is a delicate balance of knowing when to hold and when to step back something I’ve been learning this month and yes I know he’s only 6.5 months old and still needs me a great deal but it’s only going to get bigger from here on out. As he ages he’ll become more and more independent of me but my arms will always be out stretched so he can run back into them at any moment.

How do you cope with your child’s changes?

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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Educate The World


I'm currently reading "Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

"Half The Sky" is such an interesting but quite a sad book, I never realised how badly women are treated worldwide - I knew it was bad but didn't know it was that bad. Sex trafficking, rape as a weapon of war, disallowed medical treatment, forced marriages, forced pregnancies, refused education, beaten, infanticide for just being a girl, the list goes on and on. I want to scream, cry, rant and rave all at once, I feel so powerless to help and feel so privileged to live in Australia. Why are we treated so differently just because we have different genitalia, it's complete madness.

If you educate a woman, you educate a nation is so true. By educating women, they then have more say and more knowledge. They can delay children, delay marriage, earn money and create change. Are countries so scared of what women are capable of? Imagine what the world would be life if there really was gender equality? Some of the poor nations might just not be so poor and the changes that could occur would be life changing - world changing even. Is this why there is so much oppression against women because of the potential changes that would occur?

We are so blessed to be allowed to gain an education in this country and be given chances to study whatever and wherever we want, some girls overseas never see the inside of a classroom and if they do get a chance it's only for a few years and then they're forced to leave so that money can be spent on the boys education or medicine or food. It breaks my heart to know that girls would love the education that I got even though it wasn't really the best by Australain standards and I was your average grade C student that got told she'd never amount to anything.

We need to start valuing education for the worth that it is, by educating ourselves with knowledge so we can then get behind education for the world. Supporting and donating to worthy charities and raising awareness so that more and more people can start to value education too and give woman a voice.

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Monday, 12 September 2016

Happy Birthday Milhouse


Happy Birthday dear Milhouse, you would have been 2 today.

I still hold you in my heart and think of you plenty.

I wonder what you would have looked like and if you were a boy or a girl.

I think about your smile and what colour your eyes may have been.

I try to imagine the sound of your voice and how your laughter may have sounded.

I think about you often and still wipe tears from my eyes, even though you were only a part of me for such a little while.

You made me grow up a little more and see the world from a different point of view.

I know you're looking down on me and smiling upon your new sibling, I think you would approve of him.

I know one day we'll meet again when my time on this earth is done and I'll finally get to throw my arms around you like I've wanted to all along. But until that special day arrive I'll keep you in safely tucked inside my heart.

I'm grateful for your lessons and what you've shown I'm capable of. I shower your little brother in love every single day, and today together we wish you a happy birthday.

Love Mumma
xoxo

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Book Review: “21 Days to a Happier Family” by Dr Justin Coulson


I’ve been hearing some buzz about Dr Justin Coulson’s newest book “21 Days to a Happier Family” so I decided to give it a read for myself. I found it quite an interesting read, it’s always fascinating to hear people’s opinions on raising children as everyone comes at it from a different angle and perspective.

I’ve taken away a few good pointers and tips for when it comes to raising Star Boy as he ages. The discussion around discipline was quite good it talks about discipline as being teaching and instruction not punishment, our aim should be not to punish but to teach our children good ways to act. Punishment and rewards ignore the root of the problem and focus only on short-term results. Instead, seek collaboration, perspective, understanding and problem-solving.

Children emotions can become quite contagious, we can and do catch our children emotions and they can catch ours. So to effectively discipline – that is, effective teaching and instruction – we cannot do this when emotions are high so we need to wait till the heat is out of the situation before we tackle that side of things.

One point that really struck me was young children are prevented from doing something they want to do every few minutes – of course this is understandable for safety – but the most common reason we say ‘No’ is what is convenient for us as parents rather than our children’s protection. I know I’ve done this with my niece and nephews at some points, I’ve said no to them doing things because I was tired or just couldn’t really be bothered with what they wanted to do.

I don’t feel all the points in this book would work for every family as everyone is different and have different circumstances in life but I do feel it gives you a good insight and tips into what could help your family become happier. If there is only one point from the book to take away it’s this: “If you can only do one thing as a parent, be emotionally available”, because really that’s all that our children really want/need is us, they just want our love and attention.

What parenting tips have you found helpful with your family?

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Dust off and try again


I struggle when meeting new people. I need to psych myself up, I prepare myself by thinking of questions to ask, topics to discuss, how will I present myself etc. Once I'm there and talking I'm okay and I can be myself but the lead up can be extremely painful and full of anxiety.

The other week Star Boy and I went to our first playgroup day at church so we could be meet some other mum and babies. I'd been preparing for several weeks and was as prepped as I could be. The day arrived and first up we were late getting out the door then got stuck in traffic (why do people feel the need to slow down and stare at car accidents). We arrived about 40 minutes late, which I thought that's ok it ends at 12pm and it's only 10:40am so there's still time. Once inside we ended up in the wrong room with a music group and we got directed to the right group thankfully. There were 3 other parents in there, I felt terrible I couldn't understand 2 of them when they spoke, I tired really hard but struggled. The lady I could understand was more interested in her phone than anything else but we did try which is good. Then at 11:10am the organiser goes let's pack up and go home. I'm thinking "what - I've only been here 30 minutes". I asked "what time does it normally finish?" "Oh 12pm but some days we finish early". It was so much effort to get there for only 30 minutes of awkwardness - I cannot do that every week, if it was only up the street fine but not a 20 minute drive away.

I felt so disappointed and discouraged afterwards as I had been prepping for so long and it just fell to the floor on me, I may have even teared up a bit - okay a bit more than a bit - but I let myself feel that emotion, I didn't push it away, I let it happen (once I was home of course). Then afterwards instead of my usual "that's it never trying this again" attitude I can have, I took a deep breath and started looking for another group. Which I did, there's one just 5 minutes away from home, so I rung up and got the details and we'll be going next week to see what that one is like.

Yes I've been prepping myself again for this new meeting but I'm willing to put myself through this fear again and again, to get up and dust off and try again. I need to show Star Boy that not everything goes well and yes you can have fears and worries but you can push through and keep going. We never know what might happen at this next group, it could be great or not great but we'll only know if we try and turn up. Star Boy needs to learn how to interact with people and the only way he can do that is if I teach myself how to interact with others and show him what confidence is. It's a tough gig being a mum when you have such fears yourself that you don't really know how to handle but I'm willing to learn and teach myself so that I can pass on these lessons to him and he doesn't need to teach himself at the age of 31.

Fingers crossed for next week, wish me luck.

What fears or challenges have you had to teach yourself to face as an adult?

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Where's the compassion?


Since the invention of the Internet troll I've noticed compassion is falling to the wayside. You only need to read the news websites to see that half the articles now are Twitter comments of people demeaning each other in 140 characters or less - it's become a competition of who can slander the fiercest.

A child is hurt - "where were the parents?" "how could the parents be so dumb" "why were they watching them?"

A girl is assaulted - "why was she walking there?" "what did she say to them?" "what was she wearing?"

A car accident - "I bet it was a P-plater"

A TV personality is struggling - "That's what you get for being famous, serves you right"

We are all so ready to tear each other down at the click of a keyboard. Would you say those things to the person face-to-face? Would it be so easy to tell someone to kill themselves while looking them in the eye? You can so easily type horrible messages to a woman who has lost her child to a crocodile attack but could you say it to her in her lounge room while watching her mourn? Why do we think we can say these things via a message and they not cause harm? Or do we know they cause harm but just don't care?

Growing up we were told "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" - where did that disappear to? Is it left in the past with our dignity?

We all have different opinions but why is it when one differs from another there's an explosion of hatred and words like bigot and racist get thrown around like confetti. Let's debate but at the end of the day we all need to agree to disagree. We are not all going to think the same but express your opinion with consideration not bitterness.

Are we all just so hurt in our own lives that we need to spit that hurt onto others? Spread the bitterness around so we not the only ones bitter?

I stand here today ready to start a compassion revolution. I want to help reverse the cycle of hate and start a cycle of light instead. So who's with me? Who's ready to start spreading some more compassion today?

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Asking & Begging


Recently I've been reading "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer, it turns out to be a biography, I've never read a biography before and it's different to read actually. Her main theme is about asking as the subtitle declares "How I learned to stop worrying and let people help". It got me thinking about "What's the difference between asking and begging?" - are they different or are they the same thing?

I was out walking the other day and it came to me "Asking is hoping for a yes but okay with a no. Begging is demanding a yes and refusing a no".  When you ask for help of course you want a yes but you can live/survive with a no, whereas begging you want a yes but you refuse a no and demand a yes.

Asking is a hard thing to do in our society as we don't want to be seen as not enough or weak and we don't want others to think we are begging, so we hold back, close up and remain silent. We are so frightened as being seen as weak but I believe it takes strength to ask for help because you are putting yourself out there and showing your vulnerability. "It's better to ask and be told no, then to never ask and not know".

I do struggle to ask as I have had it used against me "oh but I helped you", but I'm starting to see that shouldn't stop me because not everyone is like that and some people are just jerks. By asking for help I have gotten to be form new relationships that I never thought possible.

The more you ask the more you give others permission to ask and open up and starting showing people that asking isn't weak at all but in fact quite empowering. As a collective we can achieve greatness we just first have to ask for it.

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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Welcome Star Boy


Well it's been 6 weeks now since the miracle that is our little "Star Boy" entered into our world. What a 6 weeks it has been, our lives have been completely rearranged and I'd have to say for the better.

Star Boy, is such a good little boy. For us all this being a new thing he's doing well at coping with life. He has the most amazing smiles and then his shifty eyes as he's trying to work it all out.

We have all learned so many lessons and I know there will be many more lessons and trials to come, but we wouldn't change any of it for the world. I'm still pinching myself to see if this is really real or just some magical dream.

We've discovered a strength inside ourselves we didn't know was there and a heart of love we could never have imagined in a million years. The feeling of love is an amazing sensation, one that cannot be describe even with all the words in the world.

Every day is just going with the flow and establishing some form of a routine so as to keep a hint of reality and normalness into our lives. Sleep is gotten when possible as it's too hard to resist just starting at him all day.

I will still be keeping this space open here on 30 Days of Smiles, I'll post when I can as there are new habits to be formed now with a little one in tow, but I still want to keep my voice alive and keep a sense of me existing. I will keep writing about anything and everything as I have no boundaries or limits on my writing. I'll occasionally share snippets of Star Boys life but it will not be the main focus.

Looking forward to my new life and seeing where life takes us now, not as a couple but as a trio.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Gender Equality: Is there really such a thing?


There's so much debate going on nowadays about gender equality and a lot of what I read is about which sex is the best, a whole battle of the sexes kinda thing. That's not what it's all about, it's about being fair and treating each other as equals not as opposing forces. So I've decided to share my 2 cents on the issue as it's something that I'm quite passionate about.

If we look about over history we see that in the beginning God created man in his own image, male and female he created them. God created us in his own image so he first created us equal. It is humankind that has created us as unequal. Humans desire for power, control and dominance has driven a wedge between males and females and cause tension, friction and turned us against each other.

Males and females are different from each other, what one lacks, the other makes up for. We both have our faults and we both have our benefits. You need us both to keep the population alive. One cannot live or survive without the other. We need both sides, both sets of skills, both thoughts, opinions and input to make the world work. We need to support each other instead we have turned on one another and treat each other terribly by attacking, name calling, back stabbing and tearing each other apart.

We need to address the issues as it's a disgrace that one can look upon another human and see only a possession, a belonging, a sex toy, a baby machine, a nothing, unworthy, not deserving of education, medical treatment, a voice, someone to use, abuse, forget and neglect. It's horrific that we can do that to one another and we have to stand up for these women around the world that are treated like that. But we also need to look into our own backyards and address the issues of affairs here too.

If I do the same hours, same work, have the same education, same certificate as a man then I should be paid the same amount of money and shown the same respect. If I have an opinion I should be able to speak up and share it without being told I'm a bitch, I'm hormonal, I'm too emotional, I'm too whatever. I should not be used as insult "you throw/run/fight/catch/jump/play etc like a girl" - have you seen our Australian women athletes, they can seriously kick ass. I am not here for you amusement, I am not here to pick up and clean up after you, you have two hands - use them. Yes I am not as physically strong as you but that does not give you the right to use your strength against me.  

I've had men use their strength against me often, thankfully I've never been abused but it's been used as a weapon. Growing up with 3 older brothers, one in particular quite enjoyed using it to his advance. His strength was used to put me in my place, he wanted a chair that I was sitting in, I was thrown out of it and told "you're just a girl get over it". Had my ponytail pulled out, my bra strap snapped, my TV show changed, constant teasing and just told "you're a weak little girl, what are you going to do about it?". If I spoke up I was stood over and told "must be that time of the month, you're too emotional, this is why I don't like women as they can't take a joke". No you hurt me and I have a right to defend myself and stand up for myself and be treated fairly. I grew up with a belief that women were lower than men because men could get away with so much more. I was told to be "the good girl, smile, don't make a scene, don't make a fuss", never encouraged in a career mostly got told about getting married and having children.

We have so many double standards in this country (and around the world). I've been asked to leave interviews because they didn't want someone who might have kids in the next few years. Most interviews I've been to, the moment they see my wedding ring ask if I've got kids. It's none of your business if I've got kids, I'm here to work thank you.

But what I have found it's ourselves (women) that seem to have the most double standards. I'm guilty of this too, I am getting better but patterns laid out in the past are hard to break. Where I worked (before maternity leave) we had 2 supervisors, one male and one female. The male supervisor would say something and people might go "rude jerk" and just get on with the job. The female supervisor would say something and people might go "rude bitch, how dare she, she's got it in for me, cannot believe she said that" then the whispers would start circling and it would still be remembered weeks later where the males comments were long forgotten. Another example a good looking/attractive man would walk into the office and most of the women would stare, smile, laugh, make comments, including sexual comments out loud. A good looking/attractive woman walks in and a few men's head turn and the females call out in disgust "get a good look?". Ellen plays in the lunch room where there is half naked men on screen dancing sexually on stage or on the audience, all the females crowd round to watch, a guy says he feels uncomfortable and gets told to "get over it and leave". One of the ladies is wearing a lovely dress for Melbourne Cup and sporting a new hair do and a male colleague makes a comment that she looks really pretty and the hair cut suits her, which everyone then turns and looks at him, so he then feels strange and apologises if that wasn't appropriate.

If we want respect and fair treatment, we need to show respect and fair treatment too. Do not complain and say "typical male" but a man say "typical female" and all hell breaks loose. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot treat men like crap and expect them to treat us like gold. Reality shows like "The Real Housewives, Dance Squad, Dance Mums, Little People, Next Top Model etc" are really only about the bitch fights and the dragging down women do to each other, showing no respect for one another or taking each other seriously.

Yes females are pushed around more then males but lets start treating not only ourselves but other females and males with the respect and the dignity we want to be shown. We cannot make change happen if we are not willing to make change within ourselves. Everyone has a right to be treated fairly and each one of us (males and females) need to put aside our differences and our double standards and start showing each other respect and treating one another fairly. Only then will we start to be equal again.

(side note I found this link about the history of gender equality in the workplace and education, it's a good timeline to see how far we have come. This isn't sponsored or anything, just a good link) 

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Reflections


It's a gorgeous sunny blue sky autumn day today, I'm sitting in our back room with a breeze blowing while I'm typing away on the laptop. It's a prefect day for reflecting and enjoying the moment.

I'm currently 39 weeks pregnant so pretty much any day now we'll have a lovely little bundle to cuddle and love and call our own.

The past 9 months have been an up and down journey. Filled with much sickness, stresses, pressures, anxieties, confusion, breakthroughs, courage, love and power. I've had to face fears head on, challenge the norm and realise truths I never thought were there. I have now got a better understanding of myself and always of those around me.

Facing truths of changing people and others that don't want the world to change. Separating my issues from others issues, realising I'm not who I thought I was and I'm better than I thought I could be. The world has pushed, pulled, shoved and knocked me about. My heart and mind has done the same. It's easy to pin the blame on others and throw up your hands and say "it's all your fault" but truth be told we are in charge of our mind and heart and we can make the change, we can break the chain.

Breaking the chain as been a common theme as I come to terms with long lost memories, truths and hidden issues. I am a new generation that can take and learn from the old but doesn't have to repeat the same patterns from the old generation, I am the break in the chain. The old patterns that didn't work are being set free and the discovering of the new patterns is both highly scary but exciting nonetheless.

This little bubba that hasn't even breathed a breath of air yet has already taught us so many about ourselves, where we need to bend and where we need to break. We've been drawn closer together in love, support and comfort, we are there for each other in ways we never were before. Our faith in God has grown stronger as we've fought and embraced this road together. We are a united force.

As we wait in patience for B day to arrive I continue to breath in the love of this bubba, the love of God and the love of my husband everyday. It's a strange feeling waiting for the day as you never know when it might be but thank you bubba for all that you have taught me so far and all you are differentially going to teach me in the future.

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Saturday, 26 March 2016

What the Frack is Fracking?


As I'm becoming more environmentally aware I've been trying to educate myself more and more on environmental issues and I noticed "Fracking" coming up a lot.

But what exactly is Fracking?

I use the word Frack a lot as a swear word (thank you Battlestar Galactica) so it got me curious as to what Fracking actually is.

According to Google:

"Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well". 

The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture. It allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas. So I take from that we are drilling into the earth to release/get out of the ground resources for ourselves to use. It got me thinking maybe there's a reason those resources are difficult-to-reach.

Fracking is quite controversial because it uses huge amounts of water (which have to be transported into the site), there's chemicals in fracking solution (including known toxic, allergenic, mutagenic & carcinogenics), and chemicals can escape and end up in the groundwater supplies (which depletes groundwater supplies). Fracking can also cause small earth tremors like it did back in 2011 in Blackpool UK with two earthquakes measuring at 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude, which resulted in the testing site being suspended.

There are pollution and toxicity concerns for the environment, air, groundwater and it's effects on our health.

We are currently fracking in Australia over in Western Australia for shale gas and tight gas.

From what I have read and understand fracking is only a short-term solution. We are depleting resources for future generations and once again polluting the planet for monetary gain. We are only seeing instant results and not looking ahead to the long-term ramifications.

It's once again man's lust for greed, power and control. We don't seem to learn that we cannot live like this any more, our planet is struggling to contains us and our demands. We can only take so much before it's all gone.

Info from: 
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

Photo from here

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Book Review: The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer & Jim Mason


I've been doing a lot of reading this year and reading a lot of different things to what I normally would. So when I came across this great book review by Katie from Sustainability In Style for "The Ethics of What We Eat" I just had to read it for myself - thanks Katie (by the way Katie's page is fantastic so go and check it out)

I found a copy at my local library and delved in. It was an interesting journey indeed.

It's all about the food industry and the ethics that are applied - particularly to the meat industry. Yes I am a meat eater so I wanted to find out more about the impact that my meat eating has on society and the environment.

This book was written back in 2006, so there could be newer and more up-to-date information available now but it does give a great background story about the modern food industry which I'm sure hasn't really good much better in the last 10 years. Also they used a lot of American information but there were some Australian statics in there but I would like to find out more about Australian practices.

The ethics covers everything we eat, what we put in our mouths is a vote for the world we want to live in. They go into depths about how the animals are killed in factory farming. I did feel quite ill reading some sections of that, I actually had to take a break from reading sometimes. The chickens is what go to me the most as the demand is so high for the meat that they cut corners and sometimes the chickens aren't actually dead when they get to the boiling stage - yuck!!!

We are treating animals with such disrespect and the companies say it's done this way to keep the meat cheap. But what I found interesting is it's not really cheap at all cause the costs are passed on in other ways. Cause the companies are cramming in so many animals and of course the animals produces waste, factory farms are polluting the air, the ground, the waterways - so much environmental damage. With so much environmental damage the residents nearby these factory farms are getting physically ill from the smell and the wash off. It's destroying human health, which means more money is spent on medical, drugs, clean water etc so we are paying the price there. Also since there is so many animals crammed in they get sick so to prevent sickness antibiotics are needed plus hormones to make the animal bigger (some chickens end up so big their legs break on their own weight) so there's more cost again, which also affects us as the antibiotics and hormones are passed onto us through the meat and causing health issues. So there really is no such thing as cheap meat.

Fishing is one of the worse, we are draining our ocean dry. Some fish species take up to 10-25 years to reach sexual maturity to keep the breeding cycle alive and we are impatient creatures and are catching and eating them before they have a chance to keep the generations alive. Also it was alarming to read the amount of grain grown to feed the animals and the amount of fish caught to feed the fish we eat.

There's got to be a better way. I know there is 7 billion of us but it's the developed nations that are creating the most demand. We have become spoilt and demand 24/7 access to whatever food we want. We want to eat seasonal food all year round and meat at every meal. There's nothing wrong with meat per say but it's our insatiable hunger for it and lack of willingness to go without as we demand it's our right to eat everything in sight.

There are more ethical forms of farming emerging and are starting to create a demand for products that are better for animal welfare, environmentally sustainable and better for our health.

Peter Singer and Jim Mason the writers are both vegan and in their perfect world everyone would be vegan and that's a wonderful vision to have but people are not going to drop old habits and ways overnight, small steps are required to get to that goal. When we push for more ethical farming that creates a demand which makes companies stand up and notice. We start making a change and more people then start to get on board which then changes more practices and ways and we can slowly work towards better farming etc. Who knows where this could lead, maybe in 50 years a large percentage of us will be vegan. But it all begins with the first step, start out small and get our voice heard and move from there. Together we can create a more ethical world for the animals, the environment and us.

They used a term called "Conscientious Omnivore" - I find this a great term and I resonate with it quite well. I feel like I'm doing the best I can with the resources available to me, while learning what I can and changing where I am able.

Remember we can all make a difference no matter how small.

Have your read this book? If so I'd love to hear what you thought.  

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

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Friday, 4 March 2016

What exactly is creativity?


Creativity is whatever the heck you want it to be.

It can be:

- writing
- cooking
- exploring
- photography
- singing
- dancing
- looking after your family
- cleaning

It can be anything, and it belongs to anyone and everyone. There's no such thing as the elite or talented. Yes there are some amazingly talented people out there but talent really is only what we make of it. I might think one painter is extremely talented and you might think they suck.

I've just finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert recently, and while some parts of the books lost me, other parts did stand out to me. Yes I felt a lot of her book did talk about the arts part of creating but a few key aspects stood out to me:

"You don't need anybody's permission to live a creative life" - you are the only one that needs to give yourself permission to create, no one else has that right. You were born into this world and you belong here, you're here for a reason so go and create.

"Most things have already been done - but they have not been done by you" - yes how many times have you stopped yourself from creating something because others have done it before you? I know I have. But so what if it's been done before, it hasn't been done by you and you are different to all the other people out there so go on and put your spin on it.

"You will fail" - yes you will fail and it stops so many of us from doing so much - stupid fear. Yes we need fear but we let it take the drivers seat and take us where it wants to go not where we want to go. Failure is part of life, you can only get better by trying, and if you still keep failing at something, try something completely different. Creativity doesn't have to be perfect - there's no such thing as perfect anyhow. Just go out there and create - the outcome doesn't matter, all that matters is you are fulfilling your creative desires.

We are a creation of a creator so we are creativity personified - so go out there and own that creativity as it was born into you - all of us.

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Friday, 19 February 2016

You're more resilient than you think!


"You're more resilient that you give yourself credit for"

I've never heard anyone say that to me before until last week and it really got me thinking.

How do you become resilient?

Not sure about you but most days I don't feel very resilient, in the moments I feel like I'm drowning, struggling to stay standing and buckling under the pressure. Do you ever feel that way?

Then some how you look back and realise you did make it through, you got to the other side and you are still standing and you are still breathing. That's resilience. That's showing up each day and keeping on keeping on. That's what is meant by resilience, you wake up every morning and do the best you can with the resources at your disposable and then go to bed every night hoping you've done your best and you tried your hardest, then you get up the next day and do it all over again.

Then months or years down the track you look back over your life and your moments/experiences and realise you are stronger because of them. You have become more capable to handle moments then you were back then, you're still not sure how you did it but you did. You are strong, you are courageous, you are capable, you are magical, you are amazing.

I'm telling you today you are resilient - you are powerful - you are everything and more. It's might be hard to believe, I sure as heck know how hard it is to believe but you have the capacity to do it. Yes the moments will be tough and you will feel like you are breaking but you won't break, you'll stand up again and you will create some magic.

I believe in you!!!!  

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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Book Review - Quiet by Susan Cain


"Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

What a fascinating read!

It talks about the differences between introverts and extroverts, how we actually need both qualities throughout the population but how we focus too much on one spectrum - the extrovert.

The extroverts in our society are levelled up and are consider the ideal persona, while in a lot of cases the introvert is made out to be less than, anti-social, shy or not the ideal. It's just that people have different styles and approach matters at different speeds and angles. There's nothing wrong with that at all but society only wants one style, one approach - the extrovert style.

Our business world is set up this way - open plan offices, consistent teamwork and collaboration, the loudest get noticed more. Our schools even - group work majority of the time, group desk, constant participation required, the quiet get left behind.

Introverts are living in a world that tells them there's something wrong and negative with them, made to feel inadequate cause they work differently to others.

My report cards said the same thing my whole school life "hard-working but shy and needs to talk more". At home if I didn't want to talk, my mum would ask me "what's wrong?" or at social gatherings I was called rude for not speaking up. It's not that I didn't like people or the event or anything like that I just enjoyed observing more than participating. I've always believed there was something wrong with me that needed fixing and I would try to act and be different but it just didn't fit well. Over the last few years I've started to accept this quality of mine and have felt happier and more myself in the process.

Quiet helped me understand that's there nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert and nothing wrong with be an extrovert, we need both sides to make the coin. Yes I do need to draw on extra strength when I have/need to do extroverted things/projects but that's just how I function.

Susan delves into both the scientific and physiological research behind introversion/extroversion which is both numerous and fascinating. I found the fact that people can actually be thin/thick skinned and thin skinned can be more sensitive to circumstances, which explains why I sweat so much when I'm nervous in an uncomfortable situation even if I appear to look conformable. Also introversion/ extroversion is a trait we are born with, yes personality, nature, nurture, free will, environment and society can all influence it to a degree, but it's built with in us from day dot.

It's always good to work on extrovert skills but it's also good to honour yourself and recharge when you need to. We cannot force people to change or fit our mould but we can work on adapting and accepting each other and ourselves. Approach each person as they are, to use an analogy some people are like slow cookers and take their time to warm up to situations whereas others are like microwaves and warm up in a flash. We need both types and we need to respect and honour both, neither one is better as we need both to make the world go round.

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Pregnancy Meltdown


I'm just going to call it was it is - a meltdown!! There were tears, sobs and struggling to make sentences. It wasn't pretty but it happened and it was honest.

Truth be told I'm struggling being pregnant, I don't particularly like the process - there I said it out loud. I love that I'm having a baby and really want this baby with all my heart. I just don't like or enjoy the process that's required to get said baby.

What I'm struggling with the most and what caused my epic (as MJ called it) meltdown is the extra weight. I'm currently carrying about an extra 8kgs to what I was pre-pregnancy and I feel huge. I know technically I'm not huge but the extra weight feels so heavy, so awkward and just plain yuck. I use to be this weight a long time ago but it was spread all over my body not centred in one location.

I'm finding it difficult to not only carry but thoughts are playing up in my head (don't you just love how the mind works - not) about how big am I going to get? how are you going to cope? you're struggling now so what will you be like in a few months? I'm so scared about how big I will get in the future (I'm currently 30 weeks) as I've been continuously told by so many people that you stack on weight in the last 2 months.

As much as you try to ignore what other people say, it really does get you down sometimes. After hearing how big you've gotten for the 10th time at work in a day and having a few of those people say it 2-3 times to you in that same day, it really just tires you out. I know others are just excited and what to be part of the journey etc and it's not personal but what I've discovered is people don't quite understand what they are saying or doing. They think they're being nice and are meaning well by it all but don't realise the words can really get under the skin and stay there, becoming all itchy.

My darling husband in the midst of my tears and sob placed his hands on my belly and told me: "you'll be okay, it's not fat, it's our baby, it's only for a little bit of time not forever, you will go back down again". Gosh I love that boy, he helps me through so much even when he doesn't quite understand what's wrong.

I know I'll get through this and I'm sure with more moments but I cannot wait to meet this little blessing that's kicking around inside, the countdown is on - April 8th isn't that far away now.

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

101 list is no more


If you've been following me for awhile now you might remember my 101 things in 1001 days list (see here).

I've decided since reading "Better Than Before" and getting to know myself a little better that I will not be continuing with my 101 list.

Why?

I've started to realise that deadlines haunt me. When I'm given a deadline I only seem to start at the last minute and struggle to keep myself accountable (my obliger tendency coming out). Plus I find that deadlines put pressure on the task at hand and take the fun out of it, making it feel like a duty instead.

Don't get me wrong I still want to do the things on my list plus many much more but I need to take the guilt off myself and work toward these things at my own pace and in my own time, that way I'm not pressuring myself to be something that I am not.

Also I was finding myself feeling guilty for doing different tasks other than the ones on the list (which is just silly), plus I keep disappointing myself for not achieving things within a certain time frame.

Have you ever started something you thought was great and then changed your mind about it?

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

You'll always disappoint someone


I hate disappointing people and being unreliable, I like people to know that I'm there for them and I'll always show up. Lately since being pregnant I've been finding it harder and harder to be there for people the way I use to be. I've been sick, tired, unwell and just plain don't have the energy to be able to be who I was beforehand. This has really been getting me down and frustrating the heck out of me. So last week I spoke to my psychologist Suzie about it and gave me the most interesting insight:

"You'll always disappoint someone"

I'd never thought of it like that. Suzie went on to say: "you'll always disappoint someone no matter what you do. You'll disappoint them or yourself or your husband, no matter what choice you make, someone will be disappointed. The more you know that and learn to sit with that knowledge the less guilty you'll feel."

I feel terribly guilty when I disappoint someone, as it's not nice to trouble someone else. But I've started to realise that by pushing myself and my body to be there and do everything for everyone, I'm actually disappointing myself as I'm not giving myself the time that I need and I'm disappointing my husband MJ because I'm giving everyone else the time and energy and have none left for him.

Yes I don't want to become selfish and disappoint people for the sake of it of course. I need to keep working on healthy boundaries and realise that someone is always going to be disappointed with my life choices and I cannot let the guilt of that rule my life.

How do you feel about disappointing people? Do you struggle with guilt? What boundaries do you have?

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Monday, 18 January 2016

Book Review - Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin


“Better Than Before – Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives” by Gretchen Rubin

I was given Better Than Before for my birthday in December by my husband MJ, I've read 2 other of Gretchen’s books and I really enjoy her style of writing, so in depth yet so easy to read.

Better Than Before didn't disappointment me at all, I couldn't put it down. I underlined so much as it was full cover to cover with fantastic insights in the nature of habit formation.

If you want to try and start a new habit, change an old habit or work why you have the habits you do, this book is differently for you.

What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. You need to know “what habits serve us best” – because what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Because “while I'm not much different from other people, those difference are very important”.

You need to know yourself so you can build the right habits for you and have the right foundation that will work for you.

Are you a lark or an owl? I'm a lark (morning person)

Are you a marathoner, a sprinter or a procrastinator? I'm a procrastinator.

Are you an underbuyer or an overbuyer? I'm differently an underbuyer

Are you a simplicity lover or an abundance lover? I love simplicity

Are you a finisher or an opener? I'm a bit of both

Are you a familiarity lover or a novelty lover? I love novelty and trying new things.

There a four tendencies that make all the difference when forming habits.

Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel – each one forms and keeps habits in a different way. I realised I'm an obliger. I can meet external expectations and obligations to others but not so easy to myself.

Pillars of Habits include: Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, Accountability and more.

Are you an abstainer or a moderator? Abstainers find it easier to give up something altogether than to indulge moderately. Whereas moderators find the occasional indulgence helps them. “For abstainers, having something make them want it more, for moderators, having something makes them want it less”.

I found quite a few thought provoking statements in this book that have really helped me not just in my habit formation journey but my life in general.

The first one is one of my biggest downfalls with habits – rewards. “A reward teaches me that I wouldn't do a particular activity for its own sake, but only to earn that reward”. That’s so true, I really undermine myself so often and only do things for the reward – “the reward for a good habit is the habit itself”.

Second one is what are my values: “The clearer I am about what I value, and what action I expect from myself – not what other people value, or expect from me – the more likely I am to stick to my habit”. I'm always looking at what others value and think that’s what I'm meant to value, not always, I might value something completely different. I need to understand and stick to my values.

The last one that really hit me throughout this book was: “Not everyone is like me” “I cannot convince people, they must convince themselves” “No simple, universal solutions exist”.

I'm alike to people but I'm also different to people, there is no one size fits all solutions out there, I can only change myself not others.

This book is a great insight into human behaviour (which I find absolutely fascinating). If you want to learn more about yourself and how you tick and also how others tick, this is a great book to read and find out so much more than you expected.

Thank you Gretchen, you've done it again, look forward to your next book.

Have you read Better Than Before? What did you think of it?

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

It's all connected


Over the past 2 years I've started to learn more about sustainability and what it means to be sustainable. But it’s really been over the past 6 or so months that I’ve started to develop a passion and a heart for it. I do get passionate over things but it normally quickly fizzes out and I become bored as I don’t give it the time (see last post – be a beginner). 

Sustainability has been very different not only has the passion stayed around but it’s gotten stronger and stronger. I was curious as to why was this different to all the other things over the years, so I sat down and journaled it out. This was my conclusion:

“It’s all connected. What I put on my skin, what I put in my mouth, what clothes I wear, what I buy, the waste I create it all makes an impact. It either helps or destroys the planet and its resources. As a Christian I view this planet as a place God gave us to look after and take care of. So by treating the world with respect I see it as a form of praise/worship to God. Once again it’s all connected – body, mind and spirit. All levels are intertwined.”

I cannot believe I've never made the connection before, I didn't see it till now.

The clothes I wear: How were they made? Are the workers paid right? Treated right? Are they exploited? Are the girls sexually assaulted? What resources are used? Are they renewable? Are they wasteful?

The food I eat: Is it local? How many pesticides were used? Is it GM free? Is it in season? Farmers paid fairly? Animal treated fairly? Added hormones? How much packaging?

What I put on my skin: Harmful or safe? Chemicals? Recyclable packaging? Animal testing? Resources used? Workers paid and treated fairly?

Products/Items I buy: Recyclable? How do I depose of it if it’s not? Resources used? Packaging? Safe or harmful?

So many questions but it’s all connected, nothing escapes it. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and just think what’s the point it’s all too hard. Yes it is hard but it’s worth it. All you can do is take it slow and go one step at a time. I get easily overwhelmed but I realised I cannot change it all in one go, all I can do is with each new purchase seek out the best possible source I can and that’s within in my budget. We don’t have a very high income at all but I can learn to DIY, buy secondhand (which I do a lot anyway), borrow etc. Sometimes I won’t be able to buy a better alternative as it’s either not available to us or out of our price range, but that’s ok, it’s a start and a step in the right direction.

Plus the wonderful world of the internet is full of amazing people and blogs that have really helped me learn and discover more about sustainability, go check them out, they’re fantastic and you’ll learn so much and get great ideas and knowledge.

The blogs I love to visit are:

Katie at Sustainability In Style

Jennifer at Eco Warrior Princess

1 Million Women

Erin at The Rogue Ginger

Lindsay at Treading my own Path

Plastic Free Tuesday

If you know of any others I’d love to hear about them and go check them out.

Also please let me know your thoughts on sustainability.

Also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest

Photo source here
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