Wednesday 31 July 2019

What am I loving?

Sliver of a moon at sunrise
It's been a difficult week, with some bad news so I'll keep it short.
What am I loving about life this week? Life, I guess.
We get to immerse ourselves in nature, even if it's just a dog walk and appreciating the flowers in the gardens we pass.
We get to eat good food from around the world, even if we have to make it ourselves from a packet.
We get to speak out and be heard, if something is not fair.
We get to help others, when we can.

In life, no matter what is going on, there are moments when you can make it joyful or magnificent. No matter how small a moment it is.

Linking with #SkyWatch

Sunday 28 July 2019

Share my snaps! Exmouth

For those that aren't following me on Instagram (why aren't you?!), and were wondering where we've been, we spent 6 days in Exmouth, to swim with the whalesharks. It was indeed, as fabulous as you'd expect. 

 But underwater activites aside, it was a really great holiday and so different to our 'norm'. Australia really is an amazing country and Western Australia is a genuinely under-rated destination for those of us in the east. The beaches are superb and the nature is completely different to all that we see on our side of the continent.

 There's detailed posts to come on my travel blog so stay tuned for more photos there.

What amazed me was how far the backpackers and families had come - at Coral Bay the beach was full of French famillies and on our plane up were Germans and Dutch that had just landed on an Emirates flight. It made our 7 hours with Qantas seem small.

One of the highlights for me was the emus in the wild - one ran over the road in front of us, the same way a roo bounds in front of your car this side of the country. Sunrise and sunset were also my favourite times of day - with sunrise being a civilised 7am.
If thinking of a holiday destination, all I can say is head West!
Linking with #NaturesNotes #SkyWatch


Having had three weeks off, with an idea for a story buzzing in my head, I'm a little unsure where to start back in blogging - or a little unmotivated, to be honest.

I'm lucky to have travelled to an amazing corner of the country, I'm grateful that the whale sharks came out to play on the day we went out to swim with them - and scored not one but two different ones.

I'm glad my eldest and doggie that stayed home were fine.

I'm grateful our broken washing machine is getting replaced today as all the trips to the laundromat were killing me (I did try to get it repaired but that appears to be a lost cause).

I'm grateful to have time to breathe momentarily, before the next onslaught of difficulties.

What are you grateful for?

Linking with #Lifethisweek and #Nanahood

Saturday 27 July 2019

Haunted - return.

Long time readers, if there are any, will remember my phase of making every day things look haunted. I got such enjoyment out of it on walks. And then I stopped. Why? Who knows? I just moved on...

Yestderday I was walking the dog and an urge just struck me to transform a gate into something haunted. And so, for the first time in 2 years, I am back on the trail....the new hashtag is #Haunted2019 for anyone who wants to join in.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, there are previous collections: #Haunted2017, #Haunted2016 and #Haunted2015 and this is where the photo challenge started.

Do you make collections of photos from every day life?
Do you ever pick up neglected hobbies from the past? (You should, there's a strange familliar joy in the return!)
Why do we stop doing simple things that give us pleasure?

Linking with #PictorialTuesday #SayCheese #WanderingCamera #TwinklyTuesday and #Nanahood

Thursday 25 July 2019

Figuring it out

I was sent a meme

I, in turn, forwarded it to a friend with other stresses (same, same but different). She replied she was not quite figuring it out. But this is the beauty of life. You are either figuring it out (active verb) or have figured it out (completed action). There is no in between. You haven't failed if you are figuring it out. You just haven't found the solution. You haven't figured it out just yet.

It's daunting and at times distressing and feeling insurmountable, but just remember, you're still figuring it out.

And probably doing a beautiful job doing it.

Linking with #ParentPower because children will cause lots of problems or difficulties that you need to figure out. But no matter how large, you will.


Thursday 4 July 2019

Taking Stock - July

I'm now off on holidays!  I will return late in the week of the 22nd.  We're off around the country so there may (or may not) be some pretty Insta shots to see.

Cooking : Stew. I'm so over winter.

Sipping : Negroni's, of course!

Reading: Loving Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes and just got word that the new Herman Koch should be in my hot little hands before we board the plane, so I am VERY happy!

Looking: Old and tired. And also looking at where we can go in Jan with limited time and funds.

Listening:Bit mad for Kav Verhouzer at the moment. This one's getting me dancing in the mornings.

Enjoying: Handmaid's Tale. Feeling very relevant.

Waiting: For Jon Ronson to write a new book. PLEASE hurry up!!!

Watching: A lot of theatre - just by coincidence, it all fell in the last few weeks. Loving it. Such a luxury.

Wearing: A hoodie because I'm cold all the time.

Sorting: Tax. Done the EOFY, got the STP compliant (I think! The ATO haven't made it easy by not answering the phone for the last 3 days.). Still trying to sort out why Xero won't pay the right pay rates...and they don't get back to you...

Opening: Bills. So dull.

Giggling: with Comedians. Loved Nick Offerman and have high hopes for Ronny Chieng.

Feeling: A bit blah to be honest. Hopefully the holidays fix that.

Loving: My FB memories. This is the collage for my Autumn memories - one picture is actually booked for the future (and off the hotel website), but the images just make me smile! 

So drive safely everyone, have a nice break or enjoy the quiet if business as usual.

Have you taken stock lately?

Linking with #KCACOLS and #Lifethisweek

Financial Stress and Mental Health

Please note there is a trigger warning for suicide and depression.

A few weeks ago I went to a talk on financial stress and mental health put on at UTS with the Banksia  Project, and as this government seems determined to put a good 60% of Australians under severe financial stress over the next decade, I thought I'd share a few tips. The main speakers were Brad Kane and Jamie Pride who told their personal experiences and the wisdom they'd gained from it. They both had been hugely fiscally successful, but it had come at a cost, crashing down with both their health and bank balance depleting to zero. In generously sharing their stories, it was easy to see how quickly this can happen to all of us.

In recent studies in Australia, 22% of employees are financially stressed. This will rise considerably over the next few years.

One of the key lessons was to look after yourself. Look at how much sleep you are getting. Consider how long you can sustain your current pace? Look at what you are doing to cope. Sometimes you have to do the opposite of what you want to do (not drink, don’t eat the junk, don’t go out and stay out late) - What you want to do when you are stressed is often counter intuitive to what is good for you. If you are doing unhealthy things to cope - drinking too much to be able to sleep or to relieve the stress, perhaps you need to reassess what you are doing in the first place.

Get help when you need it - don't wait to hit rock bottom. MoneySmart on the Asic site has a free counselling service as well as a section on managing your debt (Note their second tip is get help if you need it).

 If your work place has EAP, EAP has a financial support branch too. It's not admitting failure, it's a positive proactive step. Consider it the same as seeing a doctor for a minor injury. 

The Growth Rooms of theThe Banksia Project helps get the skills in order before disaster hits, so you're better able to cope if it does. One of the speakers likened running a business the same as playing sport. Ask yourself 'How ‘match fit’ are you?' 

What was clear form the two stories, was that nothing was insurmountable., even being declared bankrupt or losing everything.  It was also clear that early intervention would have avoided a lot of health issues.  The rock bottom creeps up on you if you don't value capacity over capability. You might be able to keep the balls in the air for awhile, but if what you are doing is unsustainable, eventually you will physically or mentally collapse and it will all come crashing down.  Realising things are getting out of control can save a lot of stress later on.

It is worth noting, 8 Australians take their life a day, and 6 of those are men. Another 240 will make an attempt. We are not okay as a nation. We have a responsibility to be vigilant of those around us. One of the speakers said he hadn't really thought about suicide but decided one day to leave the house and not return. That's how easily it can sneak up on you.

One of the tips that applies to everyone was to think now of your three people that you would call in a disaster. Have that already in your mind so you don't need to think about who to talk to when you aren't thinking straight. Put Lifeline in your phone (13 11 14) so it's there as a contact and you know you ALWAYS have someone to call. Note Lifeline also has a 'chat' option and a text option if you can't quite voice the words out loud.

One of the speakers made everyone put Lifeline in their phone. Because statistically, there were many of us in the audience that will one day need it.

There is no shame in seeking help. When Brad Kane made the phone call to declare bankruptcy, he said it actually felt good, surprisingly. A weight lifted off him as someone else took control of the debt management.

“Never let your ego get in the way of asking for help when in desperate need. We have all been helped at a point in our lives.” 
― Edmond Mbiaka

To finish, I want to thank the speakers for sharing some pretty tough and painful experiences for them, but to know that it will have been a survival guide to others. Seeking help and helping others are the two sides of the coin. As a nation let's keep sharing our experiences and reaching out when we need to, or we will all pay the price one way or other.

Linking with #OpenSlather

Monday 1 July 2019

Rocket Man

If you had asked me what my favourite Elton John songs were, I would have said Island Girl or Tiny Dancer but the morning after seeing the movie, I had Benny and the Jets in my head, so perhaps that is my subconscious favourite?

When I asked that question on Facebook, the diverse list of songs was long. I had to google some as I'd never even heard of them.

In the process, I stumbled across a new to me favourite.

It's been on high rotation ever since.

What is your favourite Elton John song? Were you a fan?

(As an aside, later in the year I will be selling tickets to the ICC concert on Monday 23 Dec in Sydney - if you're interested, I'm selling them for face value, no mark up. Just incase you want to go to the ICC not the bigger venue. Email if interested, can't sell yet as tickets have not been sent by Ticketek - just fyi at this stage. But no need to worry about being legit. I'm going on the Saturday now!)

Linking with

My other new fav which I somehow missed when it came out is Ghetto Gospel - a Tupac song that samples Elton's Indian Sunset. The rolling piano works so well with the beat. Beautiful song but very distressing film clip.