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.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Don't Tell the Guests; Our Honeymoon

I feel somewhat jipped out of the honeymoon phase.

You see,  we had our honeymoon 4 months after our wedding.

In that time,  I'd changed jobs, my husband had taken on extra projects for friends and the only time I really saw Mick was when we flopped into bed totally exhausted at the end of the day.

It wasn't the marriage that took the shine off of the wedding and the just married glow... it was just this busy little thing that we call life!

But let me tell you,  by the time the honeymoon did come around we were superly dooperly excited to escape reality to create our own little piece of loved up coupley shupley down time together discovering hidden treasures and adventures in New Zealand.

So in February we set off for the long white cloud that just so happened to be a quick flight over the Tasman to our destination. 

As with all overseas holidays it started with my husband watching some hilarious manly comedy while I bawled my eyes out to yet another Julia Roberts thriller on the airplane while sobbing and giggling into beers and beverages.

We landed in Auckland all pumped to pick up our motor home,  quickly referred to as Kiwi, for our 3 week meandering around the country side.

We headed straight up North through the heart of the North Island to the Bay of Islands;  a tropical hideaway nestled between the crevices of the mountainous country and right on the fringes of the gorgeous lapping ocean.

In every country that we visit we go in search of some kind of big fish that Mick has firmly ingrained on his bucket list and New Zealand was no different;  we were to land a King Fish.

Needless to say,  I managed to snag the biggest catch of the day but just so that my husband didn't turn completely green with envy I "let him" slip off the line and back into the safety of his precious reef.

We then road tripped it down the east coast in search for the scenic route, eager to catch a glimpse of their beaches and to sink our toes in the sand and bodies in the sea.

Along the way we discovered many little treasures and were quite surprised by the beauty right before us.

Our next stop after was the Waitomo Caves where we maneuvered clad in a very tight wetsuit up a valley with giant white gum boots....In summer, towards the hidden entrance to an underworld experience light up by the illuminating green bums of glow worms.  Inside the roof sparkled like a calm summers night sky and we paddled through water,  launched ourselves into Tyre tubes and drifted through the wonderland that left us in awe of the Stalelectights and Stalectmites that had formed over many years.

As if that adventure wasn't enough,  I then dragged,  I mean happily waltzed hand in hand with my husband to Hobbiton!  So I'm not a die hard Lord of the Rings fan but I certainly took every possible photographic opportunity to capture myself in the miniature directors super creative yet slightly overly pedantic mini Hobbit village. Mick was happy that there was a pub that served chilled beers but I just soaked up every minute!

Next we were off to Reakoroua I mean,  Rotorua for some hot spring action.  It didn't take us long to coat ourselves in mud and convince ourselves that it was infact, good for our pores and youthfulness!

Mick even got to try his hand at the Hukka after he was selected to preform at our cultural dinner full of singing,  dancing,  scarily long tongues and hungeys.

Then we set forth for the South Island,  very excited about what adventures awaited us.

We were firstly drawn to the Marlborough wine region where surprisingly for me after after hating white wines in Australia,  fell in love with the crisp,  fruity flavors famous in that area.

Our journey continued down the East Coast where we stopped into a road side caravan parked on the beach for a feed of freshly caught crayfish and green lipped mussels washed down with our newly found love of NZ whites.

We pottered past Hamner Springs ogling the snow capped mountains and the exaggerated land scape that constantly kept you guessing what you were going to find around the next corner.

We then made our way down the west coast, with the Fox Glacier in our sights but stopping for a pitstop at the Monteith brewery in Greymouth.

What awaited us in the Fox Glacier blew our mind;  we took a helicopter ride up to the Glacier and trekked around the jagged ice,  searching for hidey holes and caves while straddling crevices and avoiding brittle ground.

My highlight would definitely be slip and sliding through the ice caves that reflected a beautiful blue from the sun.

Next up was the gorgeous Lake Wanaka where we indulged in wedges,  beverages and reading on the banks out soaking in the sun.

We then took the scenic route down into Queenstown, potentially the most beautiful city that I've even laid eyes upon (except Paris, Paris is just well Paris!) Everywhere you looked there was natural beauty in abundance from the yellow blanket of flowers over the mountains to the White powder lazing about on the peaks, to the glittering diamonds on the lake and greenery of NZ in Summer.

We tried our hand at White water rafting,  that really ended up being like floating down a river in a giant inflatable raft because silly me failed to realise that it probably wouldn't be a grade 5 after Summer!

But we loved every minute.

Our final destination was cruising down Mitford Sound on a nature cruise before making tracks on our massive mission back up to Christchurch where I managed to convince Mick to pick up hitch hikers along the way (it's illegal in Australia so was abit of a novelty!)

All in all the 21 days of technology free,  grey nomad living in a white maggot (really slow,  road hogging can as local New Zealanders called them) was utter paradise.... except if my husband farted one more time in that confined space he might have been one of the back packers!

We loved every minute of our adventure and spending 3 weeks of quality time together.

My biggest tip would be to try and have your honeymoon closer to your wedding if you can afford to.

After the hype of the wedding it would've been lovely to continue being wrapped up in the bubble for awhile longer and zipping off for some romantic time straight after instead of running right back into reality.

But it was what worked at the time!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Did you go straight away?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Blissfully Naive or Blissfully Ignorant?

Did you know that in Australia,  more of our youth die from suicide then car accidents?

A scary statistic isn't it?

So why don't we hear more about self harming in the media?

Because we're scared of "copy cat" incidents?

To be quite frank,  the statistics prove that desperate times call for unthinkable measures and those in desperation will go to any lengths to end their pain,  with or without media attention.

Another scary thought?

There's still people out there,  who despite  the statistics,  still choose to believe that mental illnesses don't even exist.

They're made upin a person's headSurely you can change your thoughtsthey are your thoughts after all. And what do people have to be so unhappy about?

Blissfully naive or blissfully ignorant?

Blissfully naive because they've been kept in a sane mind bubble that has never before been exposed to the debilitating illness through friends,  family and their own mind? 

Totally unaware of just how serious the struggle can be to stay alive against your own brains attempts to slowly drive you to taking your own life?

Fortunate enough to have lived their life in control of their thoughts,  feelings and actions and never even contemplating what life would be like if everything you took for granted on a daily basis became an assiduous task because they've had no reason to?

Or are people choosing not to accept mental health because it's easier to remain blissfully unaware.

If I don't believe it,  then it doesn't exist?

If I can't see it,  then is it really real?

If others don't accept it,  then it's okay if I remain complacent too?

If society doesn't address the issues,  then I have reason to believe that others also,  question the possibility?

If I don't accept it,  then it can't happen to me?

The frustrating thing is that the statistics don't lie.  We all want facts to be able to base our beliefs upon.  Think about evolution versus faith.  People use evolution as an argument against God because there's scientific proof to support the theory behind the existence of everything living.

So how do the suicide statistics differ to evolution in that they remain non conclusive for some people?

If people dying isn't proof,  then what more do people need to rationalise that mental illnesses exist;  they're real and they're destroying lives?

The more we understand mental health,  the greater our compassion and empathy grows for everyone affected; from an individual to a whole community level.

If we knew more about the illness then we wouldn't be surprised by the statistics.  Overwhelmed,  saddened and horrified by the statistics,  but not surprised.

Just like we aren't surprised that so many are killed in car accidents because we're well aware of the causes;  fatigue, stupidity,  drink driving, other road users and conditions,  we wouldn't be surprised by suicide statistics because we could also learn about how people must feel and think when they are unwell.

One in five people suffer from a mental illness.

Chances are that one of those five are much closer to home then you may think,  but they might be hiding their feelings in fear that you won't give them justification and the support and care that they need.

I don't blame people for not understanding.

The truth is,  some times we are blissfully naive because if we worried about everything out there that could kill us,  then we'd all be anxious messes.

We live our life through our experiences,  and if you have never experienced mental health problems,  then of course you can't comprehend how it must feel.

But all I ask is that you keep an open mind when thinking about your own and others mental well being.

If you're fortunate enough to go through life without experiencing it yourself,  then awesome;  that's fantastic!

But acknowledging that the illness exists gives other people who aren't so fortunate the opportunity to receive the care,  support and love that they deserve.

We'd all save a life if we could; imagine if it was as simple as accepting that an illness is real so that as a society,  we can take the necessary actions to prevent the sickness from becoming so serious.

Do you believe in mental illnesses?

Maybe think about the reasons why you do or don't?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Don't Tell The Guests; The Things I'm Glad We Didn't Skimp On

With the average Australian wedding tipping $50000, there's little wonder that there's quite a few monetary decisions that need making when planning your big day.

Each wedding is different and each couple is going to choose what's significant to them and where to splurge and slash spending.

Some are food enthusiasts and will choose to focus on providing silver class dining for their guests while others might opt for buffet style or plate drop scenarios to try and keep the reception costs down.

You and your partner might be car crazy and decide to go the whole hog for your wedding and hire that amazing limo to feel like celebrities or you might not be fazed by your mode of transport on the day so you borrow friends cars.

There's girls out there who have had their heart set on a designer label must have wedding dress so they'll save until they have it in their grasp and there's others who have found their perfect gown on the Internet for next to nothing.

You might be a flower fanatic and have your eye set on gorgeous fresh flower bouquets that light up the room,  or you might be happy with fake flowers that you can keep forever.

Some might have a friend who is happy to photograph and film the day while others desperately search to find the perfect photographer who will deliver the shots and capture the atmosphere of the day in a unique way.

As you can see,  people choose to focus their finances in different areas when it comes to wedding days.

Our story

Right from the start we knew that we wanted to have as many of those who have impacted our lives at the wedding so we knew we'd be catering for a large number.  My husband wanted delicious,  filling food and an open bar and I desperately had my heart set on a photographer who I had worked with for other friends weddings.  We both also agreed that the music played a huge part in the overall atmosphere and ambience of the celebrations and we wanted to encourage a dance floor so we had set our minds on finding a band that would play abit of everything.

It was so handy creating these focuses right from the start because it might it easier to be budget mindful of things that we weren't really fused over;  like decorations,  cars and flowers.  Let's face it,  you can go nuts on a wedding, and the possibilities are endless but we kept reminding ourselves of what was important to us.

We're both so incredibly glad that we did because our 3 big focuses definitely made our wedding day unforgettable for us.

Yes our photographer cost $3600, but we're constantly giggling over our guests letting their hair down in the photo booth,  it's fab going over to friends houses and seeing their print outs from the booth on their fridges,  our photos have been printed and hung proudly around our house,  we have our photo book on our coffee table for guests to flick through and we have beautiful memories captured forever.

The wedding is one day but the photographs will last a life time.

Our band also set us back $2000 but we had 160 people boogying on the dance floor. We also have a video clip of our super fun,  spur of the moment wedding dance that wouldn't have been made possible without the quick thinking of our band.  They played relaxed music over dinner and pulled out some classics over the night including the Nut Bush which had our guests line dancing.  We both loved being able to celebrate, laugh,  dance and jive with our family and friends and to also have fun with the band.

Our last minute decision to hire a video grapher also paid off.  The day flies past and no matter how hard you try, there's moments that you can't remember amongst the emotion and chaos! Our video allows us to replay the speeches and the ceremony and to really sum up our day.  I love watching it and I know I'll force our children to watch it one day.

And last but not least,  our big guest list.  We had a theory that just because you're family you don't necessary get right of passage to our wedding;  you must play a part in our lives.  Thankfully we stuck to our guns and were surrounded by the faces and people who we see and speak to frequently.  It was amazing to be able to have old and new work mates,  friends from all walks of life and of course,  both of our precious families there on the day.  The bar was kept busy with their thirst quenching abilities and their bellies were kept full by afternoon tea,  entrĂ©e,  mains and cakes!  It wasn't silver class dining,  because we're not that fancy,  but it was delicious.

My biggest tip would be to discuss with your partner right at the beginning what is important to both of you.  If you have those things present on the day,  then you'll be grateful for the rest of your life.

They are worth every cent that you spend; even if while planning you're left umming and arring over the cost, my tip would be to lash out on those few things!

The rest you can be more blaze and hip pocket deep with!

What things are you grateful that you lashed out on?

Look after yourself and those around you,
Kirsty xxxx

Our amazing photographer was the one and only camera craftsman James Field. Check out his website http://jame.com.au

The Masters behind the music were the incredibly loveable and super hilarious band Jazz It Up. Check them out here; http://www.jazzitupmusic.com.au

Monday, 7 April 2014

My Inspiration

"You have cancer."

Many of us couldn't even fathom just how heart breaking it must be to hear those three little words that can flip a life right on its head.

For one of my good friends it became a reality around new years abit over a year ago.

She was 24.

I still remember meeting her at the beach soon after she had had the mole removed as she couldn't swim. We didn't really think much of it.  She was super excited to be celebrating Falls over New Years.

Not long after I received a text;  "I've been diagnosed with melanoma."

I remember the shock as I read the words again and again.

What am I going to say as my reply?

I probably made up some you're a tough cookie look out cancer you're going to kick it's ass type of reply while feeling fairly flat by the whole thing.

I remember visiting this girl in hospital while she was receiving treatment and found it difficult to hold back tears as my once full of life friend who would carve up the netball caught and dance all night long with me could barely make it to the end of the hallway.

She was exhausted from the treatment but was looking forward to getting the hell out of hospital.

Once given the clear, she was given the opportunity to undertake Interferon treatment. This form of treatment tries to stimulate  the immune system of the patient to fight against melanoma cells. It won't stop cancer ever coming back but it helps to deter it.

On the flip side the treatment made her incredibly sick.

I remember receiving a message from her saying that she had started another battle; anxiety.

Well I wanted to kick anxieties ass for rearing it's ugly head during her healing time.

My love for this girl only deepened during this time.

To see a great friend up against two terrifying illnesses at once,  and still be able to have a giggle,  do some retail therapy and to be able to go on facing life as positively as can be given the situation was a real inspiration to me.

She has fought a physical and mental battle and she's doing so well.

I was fortunate enough to be able to send her on a holiday while I was a travel agent.

To see the glow and vitality that had returned to her presence upon her return was truly heart warming.

It was super exciting to receive the news that she is now cancer free,  and can move on with her life, although,  I'm sure,  now with an even greater appreciation for her health and an empathy for other cancer and mental illness sufferers. 

Cancer affects so many lives but it's not until someone you know it's diagnosed that it really hits home.

There are so many brave people out there fighting, that it makes you really appreciate life and being healthy.

To Megan,  you are incredibly speshwal and I'm so proud of you.  I'm sure you've inspired so many other people in your life and I know that you're going to celebrate and enjoy the simple pleasures in life so much more now x

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Always in a Rush

Do you ever feel like you're always in a rush?

You could be rushing to hit the snooze button in the morning,  rushing to get ready because you hit the snooze button 3 times before work and now you have 15 minutes to get out the door,  rushing to fit in your 50 million jobs on your to do list on your half an lunch break,  rushing to get home from work to go to such and such meeting or training or to get tea on because your starving?

Always in a hurry to fit everything in, in such a small amount of time?

Are you feeling exhausted from this fast pace life you have created?

Or who is it,  that creates this life?  Do you feel like you're expected to be busy?

How many of the things that are making you feel rushed,  activities that you want to participate in versus things that you feel obliged to do.

It's scary to think about what we might be missing out on when we're 50 million miles an hour all of the time.

Are we missing out on feeling enjoyment from the activities we engage in because we're so overwhelmed with what's next on our to do list?

I've really found that they #100happydays has helped me to slow down my life because it's teaching me to find enjoyment in my surroundings and to stop and do something that I want to do for no one else's happiness but my own.

I don't want to stop one day and feel as though my life has passed me by in a blur of fatigue.

I want to know that I took the time to enjoy life,  and not just live it.

Is your life passing you by?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx