Friday, May 31, 2013

SO I'M FEELING PRETTY GROSS...


The worst part about that photo (aside from the fact my own dog is repulsed by me) is the acne that has all of a sudden taken over my cheeks and jaw. I'm wearing makeup in this photo, so the full extent of it you cannot see. I never had skin like this as a teenager. A huge, red, pimple (singular) that appeared smack bang in the middle of my forehead - that used to be a regular occurrence. This beard of clogged pores is so much more frustrating. Even when I was a smoker *shudder*, I didn't have skin this bad.

It's coming from the inside out, I just know it. I've also got the bloat. And the whites of my eyes, well, how could I even call them whites when they're just not?
All these complaints I've got, don't people always find are alleviated when they do a juice cleanse? I wouldn't know because I've never done one. In fact, these days I find myself forgetting to drink water, all the while satisfying hunger with coffee and giving into late night sweet cravings. I've brought it upon myself, I'm sure of it.

Some of you might swear by juice fasts, others might think they're a fad. I can't chime in to the dialogue until I've tried one, so that's what I intend to do. I've chosen the Juicer's 72 Hour Detox I found on The Skinny Confidential. It goes like this:
8oz (roughly 230mL) of juice every hour for 8 hours (each day a different blend)
Light, clean, protein-rich meal at dinner time
Plenty of water/herbal tea in between

... And that's it. Straight to my bloodstream these nutrients are supposed to go and I hope I'll come out of it sparkling! Of course, there has to be a commitment afterwards to keep up the clean eating and it seems a juice cleanse is always a good way to kick start that type of regimen - who'd want to undo all that hard work, after all?

I'm going to get the ingredients tomorrow night for a Sunday morning start. Let me know if you've got any juicing experiences or tips you'd like to share. I'm really keen to hear from anyone who has done a juice cleanse and what you thought of it!

MY BELIEFS: CHALLENGE DAY 18

I believe in kindness 
I believe in soulmates
I believe in the good in people
I believe in forgiveness
I believe no-one should endure embarrassment

I believe if you think something nice, you ought to say it
I believe if you have a question, ask it
I believe that if you love someone, you should show them and tell them, just to be sure they know
I believe that when you are walking along the street, you should walk beside the ones you love, not in front of them. Kids especially have a harder time trying to catch up, their stride is much shorter than ours
I believe it's wonderful if we can remain childlike. That is, remaining fearless, open, excited, the first to say hello, quick to make friends, not concerned with what others think of us (if a child's desire is to wear a cape to the supermarket, they will wear a cape to the supermarket!)
I believe in not planning too far ahead: life is unpredictable
I believe in being grateful for today
I believe books, films, music and your own imagination are often the best company
I believe the tough lessons are often the most important ones
I believe it's so much easier to judge others, to think of our own thoughts and actions as right or superior. It's more difficult to examine ourselves. Sometimes what we find will confront us but we shouldn't punish ourselves for it. The most important thing is making our next step better than our last

And here's what the great Steve Martin believes...



One more thing I believe? I believe my younger brother Alex is his Doppelgänger:




Thursday, May 30, 2013

HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS: CHALLENGE DAY 17

THE HIGHS:
Getting engaged
Seeing most of my family over the new year (herehere, and here)
Seeing my brother after he had been overseas for so long and meeting my soon to be sister-in-law. (We're all travelling to their wedding in Mexico very soon!)
Welcoming Elsa into our home
Having my sister stay with us in Sydney
Having my brother and his partner visit too!
Weekends with James' family
Growing, learning, delving deeper, finding strength I didn't know I had

THE LOWS:
Pudendal Neuralgia
Support group friends are really suffering
Injury prone shins
My dad losing his dad
My mum losing her mum

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

MY VIEWS ON MAINSTREAM MUSIC: CHALLENGE DAY 16


^^One of the world's most popular songs, how could anyone not love it?^^

When I define "mainstream" music, I generally consider it to be the music that is frequently played on popular radio stations, television, and frequently bought by consumers. Some of it I love, some of it I like, and some of it I truly dislike. But the same goes for any other form of music. There's classical music I love and play on my iPod quite frequently, but if a classical song comes on the radio that doesn't do anything for me, I change the channel. Often a great deal of airplay can ruin a song for me. Perhaps I loved it when I first heard it but if it's in every store, on every movie soundtrack, on every radio station and I've aggressively played it on my iPod, chances are I'll soon turn right off it. Overkill.


I know that many people don't want to be considered part of the mainstream. Unfortunately for those who want to live outside of the mainstream, good ideas - such as an arrangement of tones - are always at risk of becoming discovered and loved by the majority of the population. I had a squiz at the iTunes "top singles" chart and found one or two songs that I quite enjoyed when I first heard them. They'll soon be played to death and I won't want to hear them for a long time and may even one day dislike them but I can't deny that they are mainstream and I have enjoyed them. I hope that spiel has adequately explained my relationship with popular music for you.

What about you? Where do you sit on the music spectrum?

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'VE BEEN PHOTOSHOPPED!

I was curious to know what my face would look like if I had a perfect celestial nose, like this one on everybody's favourite British belle, Emma Watson:


While I really do love the look on me, I am going to take Michael's advice on this one. I had a long think last night and have decided the biggest change I need to make is to stop thinking that I'm not OK as I am. If it's not the nose I'm giving myself a hard time about, it's the legs, or the hips or the hair or the skin or whatever else. It's tiring. And not just for me but probably anyone that has to listen to me! 


This ol' nose has provided me one of my greatest abilities and I think I ought to stop this recent "thing" of being mean about it especially since my snozz was never a big issue for me before! Having said that, I am incredibly impressed with some people's photoshop skills! Undetectable, right? Which made me realise that perhaps those models/actresses/bloggers/whoever else and their features I covet might have had a little digital, if not real life "help" too. And I could have help too, if I decided I really wanted it that much. But this week, I'm going to start talking back to that mean little voice in my head and just see what happens x

MY EARLIEST MEMORY: CHALLENGE DAY 14


I'm not entirely sure which of these early memories is actually the earliest, but I am guessing they all occurred between the ages of 3 and 4 years old:

1. I remember being in a bedroom belonging to another child. I had never been in this house before and never returned there. As far as I could sense at that young age, my parents didn't know these people that well. I recall needing to go to the bathroom but not feeling comfortable enough to say so and ended up wetting myself! When all the parents came to the bedroom to tell us it was time to go, they didn't say anything about my accident but, looking back on my behaviour (acting cool; trying to conceal spot on carpet I had been sitting when accident took place; in an unusual hurry to leave) and their behaviour (so sweet and polite), I am sure they must have known.

2. I have a faint memory of looking over our backyard fence. I am not sure how I got there but knowing the child I was at 3 or 4, I would have found a way to scale that fence. Ever since I was a child, I always considered this my earliest memory but I wonder if it's more plausible that the above memory is earlier, considering poor bladder control might come before climbing fences?

3. I also remember not having met my baby sister yet and my mother talking about the fact we would have a new baby in the house soon. I also remember knowing I was to have another sibling coming into the world soon and dreaming about what this baby might be like. Shortly after, I met my sister for the first time. 

What is your earliest memory?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

SOMEWHERE I'D LIKE TO MOVE OR VISIT: CHALLENGE DAY 13

Hi guys, I didn't post my challenge yesterday, which was "bullet your whole day". Though I did actually bullet most of it, it was such an incredibly boring thing to read! We went house hunting, attended auctions, had a look at our wedding destination, walked a lot and watched a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars. Not much to write home about, I assure you.

Anyway, today's challenge asks me to share with you a place I'd like to move or visit. This one is so easy for me because I have desperately wanted to take James to the UK and Europe for so long. I often wonder whether, because I am a UK citizen, if we were to move over there and have our babies they might be able to become UK citizens too? If someone can answer that question for me, I'd be grateful! 

I actually lived over in Scotland for a short time and it was incredible how the moment I set foot in that country, I felt at home. I think Glasgow and Edinburgh are gorgeous cities and the people are one of the best things about it. I really want to take James there to visit my family and see the sights. The first two photos are of Glasgow, the next two are of Edinburgh.


Source

Of course, I'd love to soak up London life too. I got a taste of London, really enjoyed it and have always wanted to return. Here's a little picture I took when I was there. Do you know where this is?






And of course, if we were to travel to or live in the UK we'd have to see France. A lot of France. I've been a couple of times now but it just isn't enough! I can understand why some individuals make an annual pilgrimage to France. It's a beautiful country and I think French people are the greatest. 

You've heard from me now... Where is it that you would like to move to or visit?

***UPDATE: I can't believe I actually forgot to include ANY Nordic country or Switzerland in this list. Ever since I started to see into the lives of bloggers from these places I have been so intrigued. The cities, country landscapes, and the mentality of the people really appeal to me. I'm always seeking out films made in those countries and blogs from people living there because it's as close as I can get to actually being there! I think I would like to stay for longer than just a holiday so I might need to pick a place and language, then start taking some lessons!

Friday, May 24, 2013

THE MOMENTS THAT MADE INSTAGRAM THIS MONTH #3

Discovered Elsa won't walk on wet grass / She met her Doppelgänger / Having a rest on James's belly

Detox food / Two products, infinite uses / Picked Kate up for the airport and did a "Chief Wiggum"

 Rocked grey this month and fell in love with James' hoodie (centre)

Did a whole bunch of walking while Kate was here / Us girls treated ourselves to lunch at Balmoral / Kate bought me the most beautiful flowers 
Met this gorgeous creature / Househunting selfie / Another use for coconut oil: hair treatment

I PUT MY iPOD ON SHUFFLE AND HERE'S TEN SONGS THAT CAME UP: CHALLENGE DAY 11
















Thursday, May 23, 2013

MY FIRST LOVE + FIRST KISS: CHALLENGE DAY 10


This picture hasn't got anything to do with today's challenge but I thought it was so cool I had to share. It's a hypothetical image of what a female child of ours would look like based on pictures of us as kids morphed together. Isn't she cute?

Anyway, onto my first kiss: It was at a school dance. A chap had asked me to dance and I said yes. Little did I know that at school dances, if you dance with someone you have basically agreed to kiss them too. I wasn't prepared. It was sloppy, somewhat prickly and overall just not good. I'm sure I wasn't a slice of heaven either and I trust that we've both improved since then!

First love: He's about 6ft tall, dark hair, blue eyes. Has, hands down, the best butt in the history of the world. He's also got this incredible gift of total recall. For instance he can remember every word of full conversations, even if they happened ages ago. He doesn't just remember the general gist of things and maybe a few things that stood out, he remembers almost EVERYTHING. He's a genius and crazily good at any sport he's ever tried. And did I mention he's hilarious? He can make me cry laughing. One thing he hates is unfairness. He is also fiercely protective of the ones he loves. He's great at solving problems and knows the right questions to ask to get the answers. He'd make a remarkable journalist/interrogator/lawyer. He's never been a "man about town", is always true to himself and has very, very neat handwriting.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

HOW I HOPE MY FUTURE WILL BE: CHALLENGE DAY 9


I'll make this brief as I kind of touched on it on day two of the challenge:

1. No more pudendal nerve problems! That means successful treatment, no recurrence in pregnancy or ever again, for that matter. 

2. Married for a long time, til death do us part. Buried in that statement is obviously good health for James and me.

3. Our families will be around for a long time, we'll see them lots and have tonnes of new additions!

3. I hope I'll be a mum. I want our kids to be happy, to possess confidence in themselves and know they have parents who love them.

4. Contributing to a better society. I'm only one person but I know I can do a lot. 

What do you hope your future will be like?

Image Source

GUILLAUME AT BENNELONG


Guess where we went to celebrate James's birthday last night? None other than within the incredible, historic walls of the Sydney Opera House. Guillaume at Bennelong, to be specific. Neither of us had been to this grand, fine-dining institution but we had walked by a number of times and both acknowledged that it did look like the kind of place we really ought to eat at one day. So yesterday that's exactly what we did! 

The only acceptable photo of me from the night: 
ye olde self-portrait using the instagram medium

Just look at those baby blues!!! 

I don't eat out a whole lot anymore, but when I do, I want to feel treated. I roll at two speeds with my "treats": most of the time all I'm hankering for is a burrito or a burger, the rest of the time I want to dress up in something new, then go out and have my senses spoiled rotten. Guillaume at Bennelong did a whole lot of the latter. From the floor to ceiling windows commanding views of the city and harbour to the soft classical music that set the pace and tone, this place was quite a luxury for us. And the food. Oh my, the food. That autumn menu is a cracker! This is what we ate:

For the cold starter, I had the Royale: peas, speck, truffle and James had the Yellowfin Tuna with basil, soy and mustard seed. Mine was out of this world. I also had an incredible glass of Perrier Jouet. It was the first time I had ever tried this champange and I hope it won't be my last!


My warm entree was pine mushroom with ouef mollet (soft boiled egg), gnocchi, tomato and salsa verde (if I could get the recipe for that gnocci, I'd be enormous) and James had the scallops with cauliflower, spinach, shiitake and balsamic.

And for mains, neither of us could go past the beef with shimeji mushroom, spinach, shallot and merlot.

Again, dessert was a no brainer. This is the Nougat glace, peanuts, caramel ice cream and banana. It's like a pastry, ice cream sandwich and banoffee all in one!

We ate like kings and got to experience the Opera house in a very special way. And the birthday boy enjoyed his night, which was all I could have hoped for.

After all this treating my tastebuds, I think it's time I tried doing a juice cleanse. First timer here, who wants to do it with me??? I think a buddy system might make this challenge a little easier to get through!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BIRTHDAY BOY


I woke up bright and early this morning, excited to give James his gifts. It's always hard for me to hold back on either giving the surprise away ahead of time or saying "It's midnight! Let's open your presents now!" I did briefly mention the idea of staying up 'til 12 but James wouldn't have any of it. 
Back to the gifts. I can't let an occasion go by without buying something that goes in the wardrobe. This year I got him a tee and hoodie, both from Industrie. If you recall, he has the same hoodie in an oatmeal colour but since I am always stealing it, I thought it best to get him another one. He put them on straight away - that's them in the photos below.









At Christmas time, we discovered James is a natural on the guitar. Rach was teaching him some basics and was astounded at how fast he picked up the skills. So I simply had to get him a guitar this year - can't let this potential go unrealised! After he opened his gifts, we had coffee and spent some time on youtube learning chords. I emailed a chap about lessons and I think James is looking forward to one day being able to play a few of our favourites. When he finishes work today, we'll be heading out for dinner. I plan on taking more photos then! 







HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES + DAY 8 OF MY 30 DAY CHALLENGE!


^^Isn't he gorgeous? He hasn't changed, he's still that sweet-natured boy^^

It's a very special day today: the day the love of my life was born. Which ties in with day 8 of the challenge: a moment you felt most satisfied with your life. Easy. It's every day since we stood face to face 2 1/2 years ago. It was a short conversation, but it was life-changing. Life is infinitely more worthwhile. I can't explain it but if it's happened to you, you'll know what I mean. At the same time, life feels like it's going way too fast and I've never been so terrified of the day when one of us draws our last breath. I love him and I love my life because he's in it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

DOES MY ZODIAC SIGN FIT MY PERSONALITY? CHALLENGE DAY 7


I'm born on August 20, which makes me a lioness. Sometimes when I read about the Leo astrological profile, I cringe. Words like "overbearing" and "narcissistic" aren't words I'd use to describe myself and they paint a pretty rotten picture of the old Lion. "King of the Jungle" and "Regal", well, who wouldn't want to identify with those?! 

There's a number of websites that have varying profiles of Leos, some which I feel are more accurate of me than others. The most accurate ones I have ever found are the ones that look at your actual birth date, not just your zodiac sign in general. One profile in particular is the most accurate (and super specific) one I have found. It's really long so I have cut it right down and made bullet points, in case you can be bothered to read them!

  • Especially warmhearted and quite sensitive. 
  • Inclined to feel the sadness or negativity of others very quickly and deeply, directing them to occasionally overreact to situations. 
  • Often outraged by injustice. 
  • Despite a slight self centered ego, makes an excellent, kind and considerate friend.
  • Career-wise, will commonly consider a lower paying position if it means that they will be doing something they enjoy and feel part of. 
  • Managing finances is a task they can find difficult; they tend to regard budgeting as boring and tedious. Frequently fare better with age but finances can be regularly strained by a proneness for frivolous spending. 
  • Ordinarily brilliant at forming close friendships but will usually put a protective shield over their emotions that is hard to penetrate. It takes someone rather special to captivate their love interest enough for the consideration of a permanent committed love union. 
  • Disagreements and arguing are pet hates therefore it is rare they will deliberately initiate them in a loving partnership. 
  • Has a fondness of glowing with healthiness and looking good. Food options are for the most part carefully chosen and a common keenness for cooking directs them to be knowledgeable about nutritional benefits. When it comes to exercise they are not as keenly interested and possess a tendency to shy away from such activities unless it involves a fun element. 
  • The personality weaknesses for those born on August 20th are often exposed when they are currently in negative or stressful circumstances. These weaker traits focus on their egotistical, impulsive side and can manifest as lonely escapist behavior or an angering of their hidden temper causing episodes of tantrums or sulking.
  • Being born on the 20th of August gives them an intense yearning to do all they can to accomplish their deepest wishes. A touch of impatience could cause delays, setbacks or a fear of failure when attempting to fulfill cherished goals.
  • They do not appear to always set time limits on desired achievements as this can further dampen their enthusiasm and motivation. 
  • Their expressive communicative disposition guides them to be basically frank and open while their kindness, mental analysis and understanding encourage them to be notably compassionate too. 
I really recommend you look up your astrological profile based on the actual day you were born. Some people I know have read theirs and couldn't believe how accurate it was! Obviously these things aren't gospel but they are a lot of fun to read. What's your star sign? Do you think your astrological profile sums you up well?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

30 INTERESTING (?) FACTS ABOUT ME: CHALLENGE DAY 6


1. I could walk all day and not get tired
2. I could speak to no-one all day and not get bored or lonely
3. I always forgive and forget. I often wonder if I could actually hold a grudge.
4. I read really fast. People ask if I learned to do this but it's always been the case, I actually inherited this trait from my mum. 
5. I am terrified of flying. There have been times when they close the doors for take-off and I have asked to remove myself from the flight, citing "gastro" because I think it's the only way everyone won't get mad at me for delaying take-off for them like that. 
6. I've had Botox... But only to my pelvic floor muscles as a treatment for pain. Modern medicine, eh?
7. I used to "add up" words in my brain. Each letter would have a corresponding number (i.e, A=1, B=2 etc). For example, my name would have a value of 30. This used to make me frustrated because I couldn't switch it off.
8. Now I find myself mentally arranging words into alphabetical order.
9. I'm a hypochondriac. Considering I get anxious a lot, I think most people would feel uncomfortable if they lived in my skin. I only realised this when I took anti-anxiety medication and realised "this is what normal feels like".
10. Once I took a job as an admin in a dating agency. I had just moved to Sydney and was a bit green. It turned out to be a whole lot more seedy than my naive, romantic idea of "matchmaking" and I quit soon after. 
11. I think I'm almost a bit too sensitive to people's feelings. I tend to feel other people's sadness/disappointment/hurt more than I do my own.
12. I find repetitive tasks therapeutic.
13. When I'm nervous, I talk a lot. Because of this, people often mistake me for an extrovert/social butterly.
14. Similarly, when I'm quiet I'm usually at my most peaceful but often get asked what's wrong.
15. I get mildly irritated when celebrities don't own up to nips and tucks. Only because too many girls and women compare themselves to a product that has usually had some help that they haven't had. Plus it's lying to your fans, the people who feed and clothe you, which is never cool.
16. I don't have a nickname and never have. Though I do get "Anna Banana", but adding a word doesn't a nickname make, right?
17. I am a great procrastinator.
18. There is not a pair of shoes on this planet that will not give me blisters, UGG boots included. My feet take ages to get used to a new pair of shoes.
19. I have never surfed, despite growing up in a coastal community.
20. I have an unhealthy salt habit. I don't sprinkle, I pour it onto my food. My whole family is the same.
21. In my youth, I did a lot of theatre. Acting was one of the greatest passions I have ever had. 
22. Though I have learned to show gratitude when I receive a compliment, receiving them makes me feel uncomfortable. 
23. I love waking up when most of the world is still asleep. Being in a city when the shops haven't yet opened and the night shift workers are heading home is the best (as long as I can find a coffee shop that opens early).
24. I am one of five kids. We are all the best of friends. 
25. I haven't found my "calling" career-wise. Is it wrong that I don't care? I don't think so.
26. I'm really good with my hands. I think I have a steady hand and can do really intricate tasks.
27. I hate making statements like "I am good with my hands" or "I'll see you in 5 days" in case I tempt fate and one day my hands won't function or I won't be around in 5 days. I have often deleted things in blog posts like: "I'll post about it tomorrow" because of this. Would you call this being superstitious?
28. I am pretty intuitive about the way to fix things around the house that stop working.
29. I believe I might have a sixth sense/psychic abilities. I won't frighten you with the details!
30. When I was a little girl, I used to fear the world ending. Things like predictions from Nostradamus or my teacher telling me it would only take "one push of a button" to wipe us all out with a nuclear missile sent me into a panic and I found it hard to enjoy life at times! I still get this fear from time to time.


... Reading over this and I realise how incredibly odd I appear. Maybe I am really peculiar and just haven't realised it yet! Can you relate to any of my Dirty 30???

MY LATEST DISCOVERY: PERFUME SAMPLES AND DECANTS


I'm an addict. A perfume addict (I can't stop drinking the stuff!!!) But in all seriousness, I buy too many perfumes to actually use up. I fall in love with one, buy a bottle, then get used to it and not reach for it as excitedly as I did when we first met. So I go sniffing around for another one. 


I discovered a way to ensure I don't have the problem of 3/4 full bottles, forgotten about because some other fragrance blend came by and flirted with my nose. This discovery also allowed me the opportunity to have a great variety of fragrances at my disposal without having to spend a lot of money to acquire them all.

I couldn't afford to buy all the perfumes I was lusting for recently - 2 were Hermes, the other was Chanel - but I desperately wanted to enjoy the smell of them on my skin whenever I wanted. It was a simple google search of "buy sample fragrances" that took me to Surrender to Chance.

I know you might be thinking "I can eeeeeasily just get a sample from the department store" but, my friend, I'm going to have to tell you that you are wrong on this one. Often they don't have them in stock, especially if they're super exclusive, niche or even just discontinued. But the real selling point for me personally is the actual size of the bottles. They range from your usual 1mL right up to 30mL so, in reality, you can buy more than just a "sample" of your favourite fragrance. As for cost, it's an efficient way to pay for the spray - often 30mL here will cost you less than the 30mL bottle in store.

I chose these 8mL samples (perfect for ye olde handbag), which apparently give me 115 sprays each. By the time I've used them up, I'll know which ones have become too familiar and which ones I'm going to need to invest in... I think I'm onto a good thing here, what do you think?



Saturday, May 18, 2013

A TIME YOU THOUGHT ABOUT ENDING YOUR OWN LIFE - CHALLENGE DAY 4

I have not experienced this type of thought, but I believe mental health is something we need to be more comfortable talking about. I once had a period of depression in reaction to difficult life event and one of the things I remember was my parents urging me to speak to my GP. I really hadn't considered that as an option before. When you're at the lowest point in your life, it is easy to believe that no-one can possibly understand or help you, but unless you seek help, you can't possibly know that. Sometimes that prescription, that dialogue, that plan a therapist helps you implement, can make the biggest difference to how you feel and how you cope in tough times.

It's the same with my PNE (Pudendal Nerve Entrapment) - I see a physio and doctors every few months so they can see how I'm progressing and what we need to do moving forward. There's medication I know I have to take, exercises I need to do and lots of tears and venting in between. I wish this was the way we treated mental health; that we would realise it is just as important as our physical health and that if something isn't right, we can see someone about it.

Neglecting our mental health, just like our physical health, can have life or death consequences, so it seems obscene that we aren't taking it more seriously. Most of us experience depression at some point in our lives, so we have to ask why we aren't more candid in discussions about it? And what if it's someone we know that seems like they could be experiencing depression? If there was a suspicious looking mole on their face, we'd ask if they'd had it checked, urge them to get it checked, even. Why not mention if you've noticed a change in their emotional state too? 

As you will see below, suicide rates in Australia are a significant issue. But I know this is something we can all do something about. Sometimes it's as simple as just really being there for someone. I'll leave some links at the bottom of the page that I think are really useful and that we should all take time to read.

Friday, May 17, 2013

MY VIEWS ON RELIGION (CHALLENGE: DAY 4)

I've found myself talking about topics I normally wouldn't address on my blog in this 30 Day Challenge. I'm not one to feel the need to express my views on such personal things as religion, politics or people's lifestyle choices in real life. As such, I hope you will take my beliefs here in the manner that they are intended, that is, I am merely sharing where I stand now because the challenge asks me to. I am not telling anyone who thinks differently to me that they are wrong, as I don't believe anyone on this earth is qualified to judge whose beliefs are right and wrong.

Today's challenge is to discuss my views on religion. Religion is a word that carries a lot of meanings and connotations, isn't it? I differentiate religion and organised religion because I believe you can have a set of beliefs that guide your life (your "religion") without being a member of an organised religious group. 

I find it very difficult to feel part of a group that holds certain beliefs that they won't change unless a majority of that group agrees they should. I generally feel it is far better to try to understand than to judge and often I feel that these organisations tend to come across as being judgemental. Some of these judgements I don't feel comfortable with and hence I can't say that I subscribe to their "religion", their interpretation of the bible (or other religious texts). This might explain why there are many different churches around that you can join or not join depending on what you believe.

I truly believe the bible to be one of the best guides to life ever written. Personally, I don't think it was meant to be taken literally. For instance, I take "God" to be a metaphor for a state of being. That is, God is wisdom, compassion, love, etc.

I haven't had a lot of exposure to other religions but I am sure their texts are similarly enlightening. I believe Jesus is no more divine or perfect than you or I have the potential to be. And I think Jesus Christ might have believed that too.

My approach to life is to do my best to make the world a better place. I love people even when it's hard to; I try to be compassionate and not judge people. I don't think I need to be a member of an organised religion to do be the person that the great teachers Buddha, Muhammed, Jesus etc told me I could be. This pretty much sums it up for me:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

MY VIEWS ON DRUGS AND ALCOHOL (CHALLENGE DAY 3)

I love these 30 Day Challenge posts because not having appropriate accompanying photographs gives me an excuse to share my favourite music on the blog. 

If there is one thing I can say about illegal drugs and alcohol it's that they can be harmful to your brain. I am all about looking after one's brain: it's your very best asset! For some people, the short and long term effects of drugs and alcohol will be worse than for others. I know even after one drink, my memory isn't anywhere near as good as when I am sober. Marijuana is not for me personally - I've had it a few times in my life and most times it made me paranoid and fearful. But I do know that it isn't as addictive as any of the other drugs, including coffee (which I am addicted to).

I think Australia has a terrible culture of binge drinking.
I know people who can drink in moderation, who can say no to another glass, who don't change at all after a drink. But for every moderate drinker I know, there are a good half dozen binge drinkers and I know plenty of people who have struggled with alcoholism. I think that alcoholism goes undetected in a lot of cases because drinking to excess or on a regular basis is seen as normal in our country. I have seen a lot of ugly sights when it comes to binge drinking in Australia. I've seen countless fights, some that end in blood and bruising. I've seen people vomiting in the street. I've seen young girls in the emergency department, too drunk to walk, legs wide open, vomiting all over themselves. It's a state no-one wants to be in, but it happens every weekend to vast numbers of people.

Alcohol can tear apart families in the same way heroin can.
I've been in AA meetings and Alateen meetings. I've heard children of alcoholics tell their stories and seen the heartbreak on their faces. I would like to see more conversation about the way we drink in Australia. I would also like people to understand that alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs out there and what it really means to "drink responsibly". 

In the same way we have changed our attitudes about tobacco and junk foods, we need to do with alcohol. I think one of the best things in my childhood was the fact that my parents never drank when we were growing up. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like as a child to see them change under the influence. It was in my early teens that they actually did drink in front of us and I honestly wish they held out for a few more years because I think we got used to seeing drinking/drinking behaviour and didn't see it as an issue by the time we had our first drinking experiences.

As well as taking an ice cream scoop to your brain, you might as well put a gun to someone's head somewhere along the drug trail every time you take illegal drugs.
The more people buy illegal drugs, the more they perpetuate cartel activity, violence, corruption...

I fear that legalising drugs increases access to them and their potential ill effects. Not everyone is a responsible user. Not everyone can exercise moderation. We can't predict what will happen to each individual when they consume drugs. Having said that, I believe that marijuana has been proven to be excellent in managing many illnesses and I don't have a problem with it being made legal for medicinal purposes.

Drugs such as ice, heroin and cocaine I really wish did not exist at all. Alcohol, marijuana and pills aren't anywhere near as addictive as these things. You might think "just this once" but when you invite them in, sometimes there's no turning back. I know lots of people who can't have a night out without having a craving for cocaine. If they've got easy access to it, most people who have tried once will want it again. Same goes for heroin and ice. Very troubling stuff.

Drug addiction is one of the saddest things to ever witness. I have met a guy who stole from his own grandmother, a woman who sold her body, to fund a heroin habit. Can you imagine watching your father, mother, sister, brother or the love of your life going down this path? It has to be one of the most depressing things in the world. You don't need me to tell you about the sadness or angst that people experience when someone they love is gripped by addiction. You've all heard the stories of mothers and fathers answering the door to the police, who are there to tell them that their son or daughter is now dead from a drug overdose.

I think, as a society, we need to have more open conversations about drugs and alcohol. People from all walks of life take recreational drugs "just for fun" but no-one talks about it. Some people feel drugs are unnecessarily stigmatised, while others could tell you about the weird/dangerous/shameful/regretful things they've done while under the influence and put you off for life. I don't think we should be afraid of letting these conversations take place, if only for the comfort in knowing that people will be better equipped to make informed decisions.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WHERE I'D LIKE TO BE IN TEN YEARS

It would have only been a few years ago that I'd have answered this type of question with career and travel ambitions right at the top. Nowadays, my priorities just aren't the same. In ten year's time, I'd really like to be living pain-free and have my old functionality back. I hope the pain and distress of PNE will be a very distant memory. It goes without saying I want to be married to James, have a couple of kids, and that they are all healthy and happy too.


(I didn't have a picture to accompany this post but yesterday I heard this song and it reminded me of the experience of having to live with sickness or pain: how am I going to be an optimist about this? ... if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing's changed at all?)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

CONSIDER YOURSELF PART OF THE FURNITURE


Swap those wedges for a pair of white trainers and I'm Jerry Seinfeld today! Comfy, comfy! And I match the couch and carpeting - could I be any more homely??? 
Oh my goodness, I just noticed Elsa's tennis ball hiding under the sofa in that picture... I was wondering where that thing got to!!! 



Anyway, this outfit post really is only to show you my new sweatshirt, which I am obsessed with. Isn't it a lovely colour? Before I got it, I was wearing a hoodie James owns in a similar colour for about a week. Ob-sessed. I got this one from All Saints and the ribbing detail you see has been inspired by the classic biker jacket, which I think is pretty neat. What do you think?