Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Don't Tell the Guests - Bridesmaid Dresses

I have always joked that I would force my bridesmaids to wear 70s styled, puffy sleeved, shoulder padded, multi layered, pure delightfulness dresses on my special day.

Trust me, it was super tempting to surprise the girls by going bridesmaid dress shopping to an op shop, but I thought it wouldn't go down too well (giggle!)

So instead, we bought our bridesmaid dresses online.

Never ever had I ever bought any form of clothing online, but it only took 2 hours of looking in shops for the perfect dresses for me to direct the girls to the pub instead, and to decide to continue my search on the internet.

Let me clarify; my girls weren't bitchy, or difficult, it was just that well, I have 8 bridesmaids, who vary in size and shape, and I really didn't know what I wanted.

I had an idea in my head, and when we were shopping I was still leaning towards each of the girls having different dresses that suited their shape, and well, I guess the mixture of so many girls and no real idea of what I wanted ended with one frazzled bride opting for a beverage over an in store dress purchase!!!

To be honest, I always had this image in my mind that bridesmaid dress shopping would be fun, easy and stress free but to all future brides out there, it can actually be the exact opposite.

I found it difficult because I'm so chilled about the wedding, so when my girls starting firing all of the normal questions at me like what length were you thinking? What colour? Were you thinking of silk, lace, patterned, spotted, plain, the same for all, different for each, with what kind of hair style, flat or high heels, one shouldered, strapless, halter neck, earrings, studs, or a necklace, and everything in between, my head started spinning and I just didn't know what to say other then, ummm I haven't given it that much thought!!!

I guess at first I wanted each of the dresses to be different for each of the girls, to symbolise how their friendship and own personal styles and quirky behaviours form the different friendships that we have, but it just became a bit tricky because it meant that the dresses were open to interpretation, opinions and price, rather then me just making a decision and the bridesmaids going with it.

So after our failed attempt at shopping, I decided to take matters into my own hands and to post a Facebook status asking for websites with gorgeous yet affordable bridesmaid dresses.

To my surprise, there were so many out there, catering for all different sizes, styles and budgets.

One friend suggested a website called Modcloth

As soon as the web page had loaded I knew that I had struck gold! Every dress that appeared in front of my eyes suited the classic yet laid back style that I was looking for!!!

After searching through the pages in anticipation, I found THE dress!!!

The biggest bonus? It was only $100 including postage.

I quickly forwarded a link to the girls and asked them to measure themselves, taking into consideration the American sizing.

Within a couple of clicks of some buttons, my dresses were on the way!!!

It only took 10 days for the dresses to arrive.

I was so nervous because I really wanted them to live up to the photos online...and luckily enough for me; they did!!!

It was like Christmas when they arrived, and it was even more exciting when each of the girls tried them on and they suited everyone!!!

To be honest, I think I breathed a huge sigh of relief!!!

Bridesmaid dresses were done and dusted!!!

I know online shopping isn't for everyone, but it meant that I got to search for the dress that would fit the theme of our wedding, in my own time, without worrying about opinions of others, and managed to score a super affordable dress for my girls!

Having been a bridesmaid in weddings before, I know just how expensive bridesmaid dresses can be (although I've been pretty lucky and never had to pay over $350!), but I also know that they set the tone, style and colour theme for the big day, and therefore most brides have a fairly good idea of what they are looking for...which can sometimes make it harder to find the perfect dress that suits everyone!

I also know that it can be extremely difficult to find dresses that suit everyone, particularly when you have girls of all shapes and sizes. No one wants their bridesmaids to feel uncomfortable on the day, which is why I guess, more and more girls are opting to have different styles but in a similar colour or a mixture of a couple of girls in one dress, and others in another, just so that they can find something that suits everyone , and avoid one girl popping out of the dress, or feeling frumpy.

I think the most exciting thing about bridesmaid dresses is that every bride is going to like different colours and styles, and that's what makes weddings unique!

I haven't kept it a surprise about the colour (royal blue), although I know many girls chose to just to add to the anticipation.  But me, I'm an open book, and with bridesmaid dresses being bought online and in regular stores now, it gives the guests a heads up about what they should avoid, just in case they happen to rock up in the bridesmaid dress on the day (how awkward would that be?!)

I can't wait for my girls to strut their stuff in their gorgeous dresses on the day!

Now all we have to do is find shoes and jewelery to match!!! Yay!!!

Where did you find your bridesmaid dress?

Did you find it stress full/stress free?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xx

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Too Much Pressure on Year 12 Students?

Today I welcome Belinda-Jane back to my blog to speak about a topic that I too, am very passionate about; the ridiculous pressure on 17/18 year olds to make a career decision "for the rest of their lives", during year 12.

Having worked at a university, and been a university student who "changed my mind about my career in my fourth year of study", I now know that it truly is a minority of people who choose the degree and a career that they pursue, right out of school (on average people change careers 7 times throughout their lifetime!)

 I'm up to career change number 3 and I'm 25 AND I couldn't be happier with the experiences I've had since school!

Take it away Beej.

We’re coming to that time again when year 12 students have to make choices on what they are going to do after school. Some lucky students have their lives seemingly mapped out, because their passion for a particular topic or career has driven all of their choices and they are beyond ready to jet off down that path. Others have been tossing up idea after idea, week after week, and are really feeling the pressure to decide; afraid they are going to fail if they don’t make the right choice.

Excuse my French (that I studied in year 8) but what a load of crap. Year 12 students are not even adults, so why should they be feeling the pressure to decide where their life is going to go? Why is going to University shoved down their throats, when Tafe or an apprenticeship is a better option for some individuals? Why can’t we tell them how there is more than one way to find your career path? Well, I’m about to.

I was good at writing at school; in fact, I got a perfect score for English in year 12. According to my teachers, I was destined to do writing at University. Because I hadn’t made a choice on my career goals and felt pressured to do so, I just went with what they said, answered the end of year school magazine profile with ‘When I grow up, I want to be the editor of Cosmo’, and accepted my university offer to do a double degree in Journalism and International Studies.

I cried every day of my first week.

I felt like I was going to vomit when I told my parents that I wanted to quit. I should have known that they only wanted what was best for me, and had no objections to me deferring for a year if that was what I really believed was best for me.

That year I went to work for a Private Investigation company. I learnt the ropes, worked my way up from where I started, and discovered what the real world was actually like. I still admired my friends working hard in Uni, those who were loving their courses and were definite about what they wanted – I was happy for them and their excitement!

I took on some study myself, and working full time I still managed to complete a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing – it was exactly what I wanted to do. It was more creative than political, it challenged my thinking and my skills, and I learnt about the many types of writing (for the Web, for PR, script writing etc) – things I never would have learnt in my uni course, but were truly what I wanted to learn about.

When I moved to the Eyre Peninsula, I was given another opportunity to grow, stepping into a Grain Marketing company and learning about the industry, making use of my writing skills in our marketing and communications and getting specialised training in that area, as well as taking on another course that I am near completing – an Agribusiness Management Diploma, which is going to be perfect for my life on the farm.

Today, I work at the Cummins District Community Bank Branch (https://www.facebook.com/CumminsDistrictCommunityBankBranch?fref=ts) 3 days a week which appeals to my sense of fulfilment. Growing the bank means growing the community I live in, with over $2.38 million put back into the community through grants, donations, sponsorship and scholarships in just over 10 years, all thanks to our customers.

The other 2 days a week I have the privilege of working from home, contracting as a Marketing and Communications Manager for Jade Norwood Photography. (www.jadenorwood.com) . I am able to put together everything I have learnt in my short years, further develop my skills and do what I enjoy – be creative and grow with the business!

2013 is my 7th year out of school. I have had a number of jobs and gone above and beyond in each. I don’t have a University degree but I have 1 diploma and another just a few months away. I am a Justice of the Peace and an active member of my community. I have had an article printed in the Sunday Mail, and a poem printed in a collection of Australian Poems. I have proven myself to my different employers who have given me a chance. I have brought a grown man to tears as he said his goodbyes when he left the workplace, as he told me how proud he was of the woman I had become in 2 short years. I have had employers express their thanks for having worked with me, and their wish that there were more people like me out there.

I am not defined by what is written on a piece of paper, whether it is a certificate or a resume. I am defined by my drive, my willingness to trust my gut feeling and follow my heart, my ability to grow and adapt, my kindness, my integrity, my passion.

I am all of these things because I did what was right for me, not what someone else did, or what I felt I had to do.  I didn’t map out this path in year 12 and I couldn’t have envisioned the opportunities I have had, yet each choice I have made has led me here, everything has ‘come together’ and I am truly happy, fulfilled and thankful. I couldn’t tell you whether I will still be in the same job in 3 years from now, or if I will be elsewhere; all I know is that if I follow my heart, the decision I make will always be the right one.

So year 12’s, don’t think that your choices now define the rest of your life – your opportunities are endless and aren’t restricted to your early 20s. Have as many jobs as you want, study different subjects, try something different, travel the world. Do something bold, do what excites you; just do what makes you happy and you will always have made the right choice.

Belinda-Jane x

Thanks Beej, I honestly couldn't agree with this more!

Life is full of surprises, and not knowing where your life is going to take you is all part of the fun!!!

Look after yourself and those around you (particularly if you have a year 12 student in your family/friendship group),


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Don't Tell the Guests - Wedding Budget

Did you know that the average cost of an Australian wedding in 2011 was $48,296? 

This figure is based on the average price you can expect to pay per head at a reception ($111) with the average amount of guests being 96 people and the total reception costing $10,000.

Needless to say, prices and guest lists have increased since then!!!

I know what people must be thinking:

That's extravagant! As if, I could do it wayyyy cheaper! Whatever, no one ever pays that amount! Only if you have a rich daddy! What a rip off, I could do a backyard BBQ cheaper! No way! That's why I'm never getting married! Must be a totally over the top wedding!!!

How do I know this? Because I used to think this way, yup, in the pre planning a wedding days!!!

Check out this "real life RECEPTION" budget.

Picture this - a gorgeous country wedding in 2011, with 116 close family and friends, bought together to celebrate the marriage of two people crazily in love!

In total, the reception cost came to $10,956, which is roughly $95 a head but that includes everything below:

  •  catering ($3850), alcohol ($3900), cake which was used for dessert ($470), hire of cutlery, crockery, glassware, tables etc ($1000), hall hire (190), band ($1200), cooler van hire ($200), and soft drink & water ($140).

And that's at crazily cheap country prices...in 2011!!! It's easy to see how quickly prices could jump for city folk with even less then what this price included!!!

My partner and I never wanted anything big and extravagent; it just isn't us. We aren't fine silver class diners, we don't care about the label on the champaign as long as it gets us tipsy, we never wanted every tom dick and harry to be invited; we were happy with a marquee, a pig and lamb on the spit, and a raging dance floor!!!

We thought we could do it all for $10,000; piece of pie!

Boy were we shocked!

As I have spoken about in an earlier blog post (insert), our idea for a cheap wedding under a marquee out amongst the gum trees on the farm, surrounded by our closest friends, lite up amongst fairy lights, with the smell of freshly shucked oysters and spit roasts tickling our noses, soon became too much of a headache and far too expensive ($5,000 for the hire of the marquee alone!!!)

So back to the drawing board we want.

We set a new budget of $20,000; basing that on $100 per head for food and beverages to feed and wet the mouths and bellies of our guests, for roughly 130 people, leaving $7000 for 'everything else.'

$20,000 to us, still felt like a lot of money to spend on just one day, but we just had to accept that that was what we were going to have to pay, in order to have the things we wanted.

We agreed on the two things that we wanted to 'spend big on'; the reception and a photographer, and the rest we weren't too fussed about!!!

Here's a break down of what we've spent so far (just to show how quickly it all adds up, where you can expect to spend money, and what things you need to think about!!!)

Our itemised budget (to date)

Reception; food and alcohol for 130 guests at $100 per head = $13,000 (to be confirmed but what this is what we've budgeted).

Wedding dress; Spurling Bridal = $1,400

Wedding rings; both his and hers, Michael Hill Jewellers = $2,534.90

Michael Hill is the designer of my GORGEOUS engagement ring and our wedding bands!
Photographer; James Field, inclusive of an engagement shoot, photo booth with automatic prints, 15 hours on the day, and photo disc $4,500

James is the genius behind this AMAZING engagement photo shoot shot!
Celebrant; Carol Cabot = $300

Wedding cake; Cake Dreams by Wendy, 3 tiered, two chocolate, one lemon = $425

Our gorgeous wedding cake that we are going to tweak a little bit!
Fake flowers; Artifical Wedding Bouquets, 9 bouquets and 13 button holes = $612

These aren't our flowers - but this is a creation by Artifical Wedding Bouquets! STUNNING and FAKE!
Decorations; Fairy Tale Weddings, white material to hide the walls = $480

(We are hiring the white material in the background of this photo to cover the walls!)

White table clothes; x15 = $85 (most venues do not include tablecloths)

Accommodation; English Rose Cottage, night before the wedding (for bride and 8 bridesmaids) and night of the wedding for the bride and groom = $740

The gorgeous cottage that we have hired for the weekend!
Music; still to be confirmed but budgeted $1,000 for a live band.

Hair and Make Up; Studio 243, hair and make up for 9 girls = $900

Ceremony venue hire; Boston Bay Winery, = $300

Reception venue hire; Port Lincoln Yacht Club = $650

Save the date invitations = $150

Total costings to date; $26,596.90

The scary thing? There are still a whole heap more costs to go yet (shoes, suits, car hire, table decorations, wedding invites, menus, table seating plans, and I'm sure the list goes on!!!)

Yes, a couple of things may seem "excessive", perhaps to an unmarried person, but overall, we've been comparing prices like mad people between businesses, opting for fake flowers, choosing to use friends cars over hiring, paying country prices per head for a fairly average sized guest list, doing some DIY wherever possible for table decorations and invites, pulling strings with people we know, offering blog sponsorship to save money, and well, at the end of the day, gritting our teeth and realising that's just how inflated costs are the minute you mention the magical word wedding!!!

So yes, we've been saving our little butts off and going without in order to bring our special day to life *as well as fluttering our eyes at our parentals in hope they might cave to our puppy eyes!!! (Haha).

But what we've both quickly learnt is that you don't have to be excessive for the cost of a wedding to slowly creep up on you!!!

I can now certainly see how the price of a wedding in a big city can easily be $42,296 without scoffing and making silly remarks!!!

Crazy town!!

What budget did you have for your special day?

What things did you spend more or less on?

How did you keep the cost down?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Art of Doing Nothing

Is this girl insane?

What does she mean by the 'art of doing nothing?'

Surely it's not a carefully crafted, time devouring, thought provoking, conscious effort, happiness attracting task to do nothing?

Isn't that laziness?

Isn't doing nothing boring or a waste of precious time?

Wouldn't you rather be hanging out with friends, playing sport or creating something over doing nothing?

Maybe 'the art of doing nothing' needs to be explained further in order to fully appreciate this activity.

The art of doing nothing means; to be able to sit and do something unproductive, with the use of no energy, and to feel completely content with this state of being.


Please give us some examples.

Okay, getting home from work, ripping off your bras, putting on your trackies, cooking tea, and then sitting on the coach, putting up your feet, gluing your eyes to a passive TV program, AND, very importantly, NOT feeling guilty or like you should be doing something more productive with your time or thinking about your to do list that is as long as your arm.

The art of doing nothing involves not thinking about anything else but what's on the TV and simply switching off but feeling completely content in doing so.

Sound stupid? Sound easy to do? Sounds like your daily routine?

Well some people find it hard to do nothing. Zit. Zelch. Just sit and relax.

I used to be one of these such people.

"I didn't have time to sit around and do nothing".

I would get peeved at my partner who would get to the weekend and would just want to do 'nothing.'

I thought that it was a waste of my precious time to sit and watch TV. Instead I would busy myself with doing the house chores, ringing friends, organising the weekends social events,  writing to do lists, and well, thinking of better things to do with my time to stop myself from doing nothing.

The fact was, that I quickly found out that our body needs time to do nothing.

We aren't machines; we can't be functioning at 100%, every waking moment.

I had to learn to master the art of doing nothing.

I had to convince myself that it was okay to sit and watch TV, snuggling on the coach with my partner, and to stop my mind from drifting off and away from the plot of the TV show that we were watching.

Luckily, my partner is a pro at the art of doing nothing (which is probably why he seems so relaxed, at ease and happy most of the time!)

I had to change my attitude about the art of doing nothing.

As soon as I did, I started to envy my partner who could 'do nothing' and not feel guilty. I learnt to appreciate his ability to switch off from the day he'd had at work, and into relax mode.

Now I crave empty spaces in my Calender so that I can do 'nothing'.

I have created a rule for myself that I must spend at least 3 week work nights at home, pottering around the house, and giving myself TV time.

I long for the Sundays when I literally drag myself out of bed and onto the couch for a movie marathon (when before I couldn't think of anything worse to do on a Sunday as I wanted to be off socialising and going on adventures!!!)

Maybe I'm just getting older, but one thing is for sure, I truly appreciate that I have learnt about the art of doing nothing; it truly is good for the sole!!!

Are you any good at the 'art of doing nothing?'

Trust me, it takes practise and a conscious effort to 'do nothing' for those people who cram something in every precious minute; but once you stop and smell the roses, you'll feel a new sense of life and a revived sense of energy for when you do have something on!!!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Don't Tell the Guests - Flowers

How are gorgeous are these? LOVE the colours!

I love everything about flowers; the aromic smells, the beautiful patterns in the leaves, the soft feeling of the delicate petals, and the amazing rush of excitement that you get when sending or receiving them to or from someone special to you.

So when it came to choosing the wedding flowers, it should've been a no brainer; my favourite oriental lillies, freshly cut, arranged and tied together with a beautiful ribbon by a wonderful florist.

But unfortunately my experience wasn't quite like that. It wasn't that the florists weren't helpful and lovely, nor that I doubted my flowers of choice, it was just the cost that shocked us. A couple of quotes later soon taught us that flowers were a whole lot more expensive then you'd think!!!

Just stunning!!!
As I learnt more about the whole arranging technique, I came to appreciate just what goes into making a bouquet look beautiful, including having to wire the stems to stop them from wilting and breaking easily. So we could definitely see where the money went in terms of the time that it took the florist to make our flowers perfect.

Mick and I just couldn't justify paying an arm and a leg for something that was going to wilt, lose it's leaves and petals and eventually die (sounds morbid, but hey, when you're planning a wedding you soon learn to prioritise spending money on things you really care about it, and cutting costs on things you don't!)

And that's when we started to think about different alternatives.

Love love love these! Would you believe that they are fake?
I have to laugh when writing this because at one point, my partner had even googled how to arrange a wedding bouquet, and had sourced the different flowers that I wanted, explaining to me that it'd be easy to grow them and tie them together ourselves!!!

Many different ideas were going through my brain; should the girls just hold parasols or umbrellas instead or should I order live, love, laugh, dream, cherish, honesty, family, respect, believe and relax painted wooden signs for the girls to carry down the aisle?

Decisions, decisions.

We are looking at oriental lilies, babies breath, and a couple extra little secrets!!!
In the end, one of my lovely bridesmaids asked me if I had thought about fake flowers. My aunty, who runs a bridal business, had mentioned them, but I hadn't really given it a second thought.

Being open to suggestions, I thought I'd give it a go.

It turned out that the lady was so lovely. My bridesmaid and I were welcomed into her home, and spend a good hour or more, flicking through her photo albums, feeling the different types of 'real to touch' flowers on offer, gawking at flower displays that she had, and then selecting the flowers that I wanted.

Luckily for me, the florist had the fake flowers that I wanted on hand, and was amount to mould, bend, and design the flowers into an arrangement that tickled my fancy!!!

Her creativity opened my mind to the idea of having different textures within my bouquet, including beads and pearls; something my limited imaginative brain wouldn't have thought of.

Just so simple yet elegant!
By the end of it, I was sitting on her carpet rug, owwwing and adding over just how clever she was, and the never ending possibilities for my flowers.

My bridesmaid even got to practice a mock walking down the aisle, holding the arrangement in her hands!!!

It was loads of fun.

In the end, I scored 8 bouquets for the bridesmaids, a giant one for me, 5 button holes for the groomsmen, a slightly different button hole for my sexy groom, and 6 delicate button holes that differentiate from the bridal parties for our parents all for $612!!!!

One of the best parts? We'll get to keep the flowers forever, we don't have to worry about the flowers wilting, dying and looking dehydrated in the photos, we can use the flowers at the reception on the bridal, cake and present table, and I get to see the flowers in advance, and don't have to worry about sending someone to drive around like a mad person on the morikng of the wedding to deliver them safely.

I'd highly recommend Karen's business, and fake flowers to anyone.

Of course, everyone is different, and some people simply want real ones, but this is just another option to keep in mind!

Check out all of the different textures that you can have in your bouquet!
I can't wait to see them all carefully arranged and ready to walk down the aisle with!!!

What flowers did you use for your special day?

Fake or real?

Check out Artificial Wedding Bouquets facebook page! All photos used in this blog post are carefully crafted by this amazing lady!!!

The oriental lillies and little white babies breath is what we're going with (doesn't look like this at all, but the flowers are the same apart from the roses!!!) Via
Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Monday, 13 May 2013

Depression: Picking the Early Warning Signs


 A good friend asked me the other day about what the early warning signs were for the onset of depression and I knew straight away that I needed to write a blog post about it.

Just the word depression, still brings tears to my eyes.

Depression; that horrible, dark, life devouring illness that changes your life forever, but, as with my case, not always for the worse.

So, it got me thinking about a blog post that I could write to alert people to the signs and symptoms that they should watch out for, not only in themselves but in the people around them.

I am very aware that everyone experiences different symptoms when it comes to depression, so this post is purely a reflection on my own.

If you are at all worried or concerned about any feelings that you may be experiencing, please seem your doctor asap. Do not be ashamed!!! Everyone needs help from time to time; some physical, some mental.

So...these are the symptoms that I experienced.

I could never 'turn my brain off.' My thoughts were racing through my head faster then a Holden race car on the final lap of a circuit neck to neck with a Ford! Yup, 24/7 my brain would be contemplating things, and 99% of the time, with a negative focus in mind "why did I say that?" "I'm not good enough" etc

 As a result of my racing brain, I had permanent bags under my eyes because I couldn't catch a wink of sleep at night. I would toss and turn, grunt and groan in frustration, and even swallow sleeping tablets in desperation for an hours sleep.

I lost my appetite. This was a huge thing for me, the grazer who is rarely caught without food in my gob. I just lost interest in food and as a result, lost lots of weight.

I started withdrawing from things. It started slowly at first. I wouldn't return a text. Then I wouldn't answer my phone. Then I would bail on dinner dates, netball training and anything that involved leaving the house.

I was incredibly emotional, and not just crying, I was just always on edge, and incredibly moody, irrational and agitated (probably because of the lack of sleep).

I had no motivation for anything at all, infact, most days I couldn't even get out of bed.

I felt like I was carrying a giant lead weight on my shoulders, weighing me down and even making putting one foot in front of the other an impossible task.

I couldn't concentrate on anything. At work I was having to read the same line in an email one hundred times, and through my anxiety, blurry vision and panic, it still wouldn't sink in.

I started throwing sick days, one after another, after another.

I felt hallow and empty, like a shell of my old self.

I felt like I had lost my voice, and second guessed everything that I said.

I felt like everyone could see the pain that I was feeling, just by looking at me. I almost became paranoid about keeping up a happy composure so that people wouldn't know that I was unwell.

I lost interest in sex.

I didn't care about my appearance.

I would spend days in my tracky pants.

Having a shower was 'too much effort'.

I couldn't sit still. I was very fidgety.

I didn't want to be around people, but at the same time I didn't want to be alone, and I certainly didn't trust myself being alone.

I started having suicidal thoughts.

I experienced extreme anxiety; my palms would feel sweaty, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, my vision would go blurry, I'd feel faint, I couldn't concentrate and I'd feel like I had a massive fever.

As I've said before, these are just the things that I felt, and became aware of.

I know a friend of mine experienced some very different symptoms, like sleeping all day everyday (when I couldn't sleep at all) and weight gain.

I guess the important things to look out for is a change in your or someone else's behaviour, attitude and thinking.

Don't put off seeing a doctor; at the end of the day, it's always better to be safe then sorry and it could save your life.

Have you ever suffered from depression?

What signs and symptoms did you have?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Right Place at the Right Time

Have you ever experienced a moment when you stop and think to yourself 'I'm so happy right now?'

You know, even just for a second, you acknowledge that deep down, you have made the right decisions and you feel as though you are where you are meant to be, right here, in life, with all of the big scary adult decisions that you make, and you can feel it in your fingers, that yup, right here, right now, is where you are meant to be?

Well it happened to me Sunday night. As I was sitting on the couch, all snuggled up like a bug in a rug, my partner by my side, my candle burning, ugh boots on, turtle swimming around happily in his tank, with my iPad on my lap writing this blog post, I thought wow, I'm so incredibly happy, lucky and content with where I am, right now in my life.

Anyone who knows me well, would know how massive that is for me.

Things over the past couple of years have not been easy. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you would know that two years ago, I was far from where I wanted to be in fact, I was in the lowest place that I've ever been, struggling with depression.

Since then I have battled like a warrior to overcome my fears of depression returning, tried to come to terms with the pain of the memories, stopped blaming myself for the pain i put others through during my difficult time and tried to turn my experience into a positive one, by writing and speaking openly about it to others.

On top of that, my partner and I made a life changing decision to move from a city of 1,000,000 people to a town of 1,000, away from my best friends, leaving a permanent position that I loved, a house that we'd worked so hard to renovate, and a netball club that I adored.

It wasn't easy.

But no matter how hard the decision was, and the anxiety, worry and stress that surrounds a big decision, leaving something familiar for the unknown and change, it has been totally worth it for how I am feeling right now, as I write this blog post, with the warmest of warm fuzzy feelings of greatfulness.

I know in my heart of hearts, that I'm exactly where I am meant to be, and with that comes a very content heart, and a massive smile.

I am happy.

Have you ever had to make a difficult decision but come out on top?

Have you ever had a moment like I've described?

Life is too short to be unhappy and to dwell on worries; if you're not happy, make a change, no matter how hard it may seem at first, I'm sure it'll be worth it in the end.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Truth About Writing (For me)

I find writing draining.

There, I've said it.

Fun, adventurous, exciting, adrenaline pumping, thought provoking, at times challenging, but very much so draining.

But I guess, draining in a good way, and probably because of all of those things that I have just mentioned.

Sometimes I will sit and smash out 3 blog posts in a row.

Other times I will have an idea for a blog post, quickly write it down, and then never return back to it because 'all of a sudden' I feel like I have to write it, and let's face it, when we feel like we have to do something it takes all of the fun out of it.

But, the overwhelming sense of joy that I feel from writing far outweighs the draining, exhausted feeling that I get after pouring out my heart and soul into a post, even when writing comes 'naturally to me'.

So why then, do I choose to write?

Because I love it. Because I'm doing something for me. Because I'm opening minds of others. Because it's challenging. Because it makes me stop and think. Because I laugh while writing my funny posts. Because I cry, and 'let go' while writing my difficult posts (obviously notably my depression discussions).

Because I always knew, deep down, that I'd teach, and I've finally found a way that I can combine all of my passions; writing, making people laugh, sharing stories, learning from others, and educating people about the importance of the unspoken conversations that really need to be said.

People have asked me where do I find time to write?

The answer is that I make time.

Yes, I work full time. Yes, I have a house to keep clean and tidy. Yes, I coach and play netball. Yes I have a social life, but yes, I still manage to make time for myself.

I must admit that it is getting harder, especially now that I have moved home.

I no longer have a half an hour bus ride to and from work to be able to smash out a post on my iPad, instead I drive to work, and I no longer get a one hour lunch break to be able to sit by the Torrens and write in the peace and quiet.

But, because I love writing, and because it brings such an immense sense of achievement, pride and joy to me, I still create the time to sit and write.

So what's the point of this post?

Well it's to;

Show people that it's fun to grab life by the balls and to step outside of your comfort zone to start a hobby that you've always wanted to do.

Encourage people to make the time in their busy lives to do the things that make them happy, satisfied, fulfilled and challenged.

Demonstrate how you can make time in your schedule to achieve your goals, and that you can still volunteer, work and maintain relationships at the same time as doing something for yourself. Sometimes all it takes is recognising what it is that you love to do, and perhaps taking something off of your plate that you don't like doing, and is a bit of a chore, to be able to schedule in that time for yourself.

By the way, I'm not saying that you need huge chunks of time to accomplish things, in fact, I probably only spend half an hour on each blog post that I write. So yes, if that means giving up half an hour of passive, brain numbing TV time to do something that I feel energising, then so be it.

You must make time.

Acknowledge that it's okay, and not selfish to do something for you.

Accept that hobbies don't always 'come easy' and can sometimes be quite energy draining, but, if it's something you truly love doing, then seeing the finished product is always worth your time.

And finally, to explain to people that it truly is never easy to speak honestly and openly about topics that are quite difficult, especially if they are reflective of your own personal suffering. Anyone who has ever written a guest post for me would probably back this point, because writing stirs up memories and emotions, but it also helps you to accept, deal with and move on from the past.

My blog has taught me so much more then I could've ever imagined. It has helped me so much more then I could've seen possible. It has bought me more joy then anything else that I have chosen to do for myself, and, it has taught me the importance of following your guts and taking the time to do something for yourself.

So, what hobby have you always wanted to start, but never had the time or energy or any other excuse that you could think of to delay your progress?

Go for it; I promise it'll bring you so much joy.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Why Gen Y?

Times have changed, and the pressure on gen y to be everything, yet nothing, to obtain success and status, yet only in good time, to be married, yet youthful, but not too old, to have a family, but not before a career, and not without your career getting in your way of starting a family, and to maintain a loving relationship while juggling all of life's pressures without falling victim to divorce aka what some older people would say as 'young people giving up too easily' is really starting to grate my nerves.

Wow, that really is a lot to take in.

Let's break that down.

What peeves me about peoples perceptions and expectations on gen y?

Pet peeve 1: the narrow window. What on earth do I mean by a narrow window? Well, you know that time frame that is socially acceptable to 'do things'? You know, how if you are under a certain age, let's say, 23 and are married and or have children, then sometimes it's seen as too young, naive, and inexperienced, yet if you dare leave it until 26 and upwards, then your biological clock is ticking, your career shouldn't take the place of starting a family, and all of the good fish in the sea have been baited and caught? Wait a minute, so society is saying that there is a 2-3 year, well maybe 10 year tops 'age window' where gen y's should be getting married and having children to be socially accepted? What? Unrealistic expectations and contradiction in beliefs and opinions much?

Pet peeve 2; juggling a career and family for women. To add to this 'window of acceptability' is the pressure for women to have a career. Let's face it, if a gen y, 17 or 18 year old female told her teachers that all she wanted was to get married and have babies soon after school, then she'd be looked down upon. As sad as it is, now that women have choices, and feminists have fought so hard for women to be seen as equal in the work force, it is no longer socially acceptable for women's career goals to be solely raising a family. Therefore do women really have a choice? Yes, compared to gen x and baby boomers, gen y's have more career options, but on the flip side, the choice to become a young stay at home mum, before a career, has almost been taken away; society just doesn't provide the financial support and incentives for couples to start families young (just think about the costs of housing and child care!) Maybe I should ref raise this, it's not that gen y's can't start a family young, I think it's just way more difficult then it should be, both financially and receiving respect and encouragement to do so.

Pet peeve 3: caught in the middle of expectation. Many older generation people hold the belief that young people 'get things given to them on a silver platter' and don't work hard for what they have. One gentleman even said to me 'that young people want, what took us 50 years of hard work to get' ie brand new cars, houses, and the latest technology. But, on the flip side, if people choose to buy dilapidated houses that need renovating, second hand cars that need some fixing, and opt out of buying the newest gadgets then there also seems to be prejudice out there. New debates arise like the need for cars to be reliable and safe, the cost of completing renovations, the comparisons between people with old and new belongings, and the lack of respect and care that some people show towards anything that isn't brand spanking new. So how do gen y's win? If they are looked down upon for buying everything new, and on loans, without working hard to save for them first, but if they do buy second hand items, then they also cop slack for being cheap and nasty, then what is socially acceptable for the obtainment and quality of gen y's belongings? 

Pet peeve 4: that gen y's give up on marriages too easily. Nothing peeves me more then this. Yes, divorce is now a legal option to leave a marriage, but for many young people that I know, in their minds, divorce isn't an option at all. Yes, gen y's suffer different pressures to previous generations - they are juggling larger mortgages on single wages while they try to allow the mum to stay at home and raise their children, or, both parents are working in order to literally survive, pay the bills and put food on the table. Yes, there's more expectations for people to travel and have nice things from the get go, and to be able to afford all of these things. Yes, couples are placed under immense stress to run a house hold, maintain a career, spend time with their children, play sport, keep fit and healthy, volunteer at clubs, and still somehow manage to find time and energy for their marriage. But no, I don't think young people give up too easily; if anything, now that it is more socially acceptable to talk openly about marriage struggles, people seek help and pull out every stop before heading for divorce.

Pet peeve 5; that gen y's don't know what hard work is. Excuse me? Now, more then ever before, people are working longer hours, in fact, most full time employees work 40 plus hours a week, for 48 weeks of the year. On top of that, both people in a relationship are usually working full time, and still needing to complete all of the tasks and duties, to the same standard as the generations before them, on very limited time frames. Full time work does not stop couples from starting families, but it sure makes them work a whole lot harder to have a work life balance.

In no way am I saying that gen y's have it any easier or harder then any generation before them, i respect and amire the challenges and struggles of gen x's, baby boomers and everyone before that, but what I am trying to show is that gen y's deserve the respect and appreciation that those before them have had.

Let's cut gen y's some slack.

What do you think?

Have you struggled with any of my pet peeves in your life time?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx