Tag Archives: friends

Stu’s Birthday & Dreadlocks Update

It was Stu’s 33rd birthday a couple of weeks ago, as you may have read in my previous post I’m not rolling in pay cheques at the moment so I wanted to make his birthday really fun without splashing the cash.

I decided I would make him an Alien cake as he is so into UFO’s Aliens and the unexplained. I looked online for some inspiration and found  beautifully crafted realistic (as can be I suppose) Alien cake.

It definitely didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped and was a bit more out there than I was going for but hey these things are supposed to be fun! I had fun making it, although I did cheat and made the sponge from a box mix as I wanted it to be red velvet inside to resemble the inside of an aliens head. You can see his reaction in the video I made below:

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If you have been to or live in Australia then you will know how breathtaking the Whitsundays are. I pinch myself every day waking up to another day in this place! On Stu’s birthday we did pressies, played with our housemates dog and then went down to a one of our favourite local Bowen beaches (Grey’s Bay) for a morning swim. Showered and changed we then drove out towards a beautiful (I’ve heard) beach resort in Gloucester Passage called Monte’s, and it was closed! We were gutted as it was 40 minutes out of our way and we were absolutely starving, but instead we went to Dingo Beach Pub, only 10 minutes from Monte’s. It turned out really nice there, and Stu still enjoyed the birthday lunch he was looking forward to.

We were pretty tired by the time we got home after an early start so we had a quiet one, with the guys enjoying some alien cake after some traditional happy birthday-ing.

Happy birthday to my fave human around!

We also decided to cut Stu’s dreadlocks, well he decided that he wanted them to be shorter, they were way past his bum and causing his neck and back to hurt (plus they were dangerously close to dipping in the toilet!) so we took 10 inches off each dreadlock! They are still long but it definitely relieved him of some of the weight!

I decided I was tired of being stuck with the one hairstyle a few months before and finally I brushed out my dreadlocks, which is definitely a better option than shaving your head! It is more time consuming, but so is growing hair!

I enrolled a very kind friend Emma who helped me brush some out and then every day I would tackle a good handful by myself, a LOT of hair came out but apparently that is the hair that would have otherwise naturally fallen when you brush your hair. It was super frizzy and broken, I don’t have any pictures but I do have photos of my hair now post dreads. I would say it has taken about a month after brushing the dreads out for my hair to feel super soft and shiny and healthy again.

Me being me, I put a semi permanent blue dye through my previously blonde bits cos I can’t handle too much beige in my life.

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I loved having dreadlocks at the time, but now I look forward to having more versatile hair style. Sleeping was definitely a problem, and especially living in such a hot climate as North Queensland, it is truly delightful to dip your head in the ocean sans dreads.

Having dreadlocks was a cool experience and part of my journey but now I look forward to some loose hair adventures!

If you have dreadlocks or are thinking of getting them then please know that it doesn’t have to be for forever.

Much love,

Hippy Hoo Ha

x

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HAPPY. CONTENT. POSITIVE. SHOULD BE STRESSED?

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Grey’s Bay, Bowen

Lately things have been kinda stressful, especially if I take a step back, looking from the outward in, but from my point of view, (especially or mainly due to the daily yoga practice I’ve been doing since January 1st) I don’t feel stressed, although I know there are some pressing matters that I should probably feel pretty darn stressed about.

Do you ever feel like you should feel stressed, like almost society says you should be stressed out by something and so you kind of play it out?

I haven’t done that so far, apart from acknowledging that I am in a potentially stressful place if I choose to accept it. I’m going to be brutally honest here.

16559132_10155123903552868_13656560_nI have less money in the bank than I am comfortable with, although I have no debts, no credit cards, no mortgage to pay off, so in many ways I am in fact free-er than the average home owner. (except I don’t have the joy of owning a home!)

Last year I earned more money than I think I have any other year of my life, I felt rich! I had a steady income, worked my butt off and was very happy. I’m glad for that as it helped me to make so many precious memories and journeys. I have lived work-free on and off for many months, living a life of luxury!  (Mainly because of lack of work not from choice!)

However, I have a visa to renew before November costing nearly $7000 aud.

It is looming over me.

I am working to a bit of a deadline, but there is a need that I must fulfil, I have to make it happen as no one else can. So, here goes, I’m gonna do my darnedest to create the life we want.

The biggest problem I’ve faced so far is that being on a working holiday visa, commonly known as a backpacker visa, means that any full time work I apply for is instantly rejected and so I am constantly applying for jobs, and if I get far enough then going to interviews and finally  being rejected when they find out my visa situation. It gets slightly disheartening, but I won’t stop trying!

It’s a catch 22 situation, no work because of my visa and no new visa applied for yet, because I don’t have the money to apply for it.

Anyway, my point is that I am trying out this new thing, called “Not freaking out about things.” I am just trying my best, staying positive, and taking whatever casual work I can to keep us afloat, which will hopefully lead to something more permanent. I have found that keeping tabs on my positivity levels and staying happy and thankful for what I have, makes me way more productive and likely to be able to get through any challenging times.

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Murray’s Bay, Bowen

After my visa comes through (Please accept me Australia!), we have big plans for the longterm. Buy a property to renovate eventually, (possibly where we are living now, in Bowen, possibly not) have our own boat and live in North Queensland with some beautiful dogs in a GORGEOUS place near to the beach that we’ve made our own. Our door always open to parents, siblings, friends and naughty nieces & nephews to visit.

Oohhh I can just see it all!

Side Note: (Say HELLO to ZEUS, the little puppy we are adopting, who will be ours on Saturday!)

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Our new family member, Zeus

So that’s the dream! We’ve found our little piece of heaven in each other and now it’s time to make it our home!

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Dingo Beach

Definitely a time to remember that making your dreams a reality isn’t always easy, but it’s worth a try.

You just gotta take it one step at a time.

My top five stress relieving tips:

  1. Daily exercise routine. No matter how much time you have to spare, take a little time out of your day even if it’s just 10 minutes to do a short relaxation yoga or meditation video on Youtube, or going for a short walk. You’ll often want to do more than you’ve planned on once there, and if not that’s okay. This will also help you sleep better as it really clears your mind and is a natural stress reliever. I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene’s videos.
  2. Following on from the last point, Sleep! I can be a terrible sleeper especially when I know I have something important to do the next day. It always seems to be once my head hits the pillow all of my worries crawl out of the shadows. I try to encourage a good nights sleep for myself by being productive during the day, keeping a notebook and pen beside my bed to jot down anything I remember I need to do and preparing what I’ll need for the next day – even just laying out my outfit and shoes, or re-organising my handbag helps me. A cup of tea also helps me to unwind and chill out. If I wake up in the night or can’t sleep, I go to the toilet, drink some water, write down whatever is bothering me and try again.
  3. Talk to someone. I find just voicing my fears or troubles to someone close to me can help to understand things from another perspective and it also helps to feel supported, receive suggestions and to help come up with solutions. It really helps to feel less alone. Everyone gets stressed out and if you meet up with a friend to do something fun such as go out for a walk or lunch for a chat, or have someone over for movies or drinks, then you can feel some clarity whilst having fun, which can help to eradicate negative emotions surrounding you. You may also realise that your positive friend has some stressful situations going on in their life and that can put your issues into perspective
  4. Tidy up your life. If you’re already stressed, it certainly doesn’t help to be surrounded by chaos, and I find that organising my clothes or even just hoovering and cleaning a little helps to make me feel less stressed out. You know where everything is and it feels calming to be in a nice environment and while that certainly doesn’t fix the reason you are stressing out, it definitely helps you to focus on what is important. Writing lists, making a bullet journal, buying a fancy new notebook to make plans in or even just pampering yourself a little can definitely help. I bought a new Doona cover the other day from Woolies on sale for $10, it has brightened up our bedroom and I definitely have been feeling happier and more relaxed from such a simple difference.
  5. Change it up. As Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” I’m a big believer in moving out of your comfort zone, even if you don’t like it, at least you tried. If you are scared of flying then maybe book a fun trip with friends, if you  hate your job or where you live then why not go volunteer or teach abroad for a few months, if you are sad about being unfit why not join the gym or make up your own fitness regime. Sadly it can be easier to come up with excuses. Something that sometimes helps me, as strange as it sounds to say it, I think of life like a challenge. I don’t want the game to be over and for me to still be on level one. I want to have felt emotions, been places, met people, been scared, got stronger, pushed myself. There is a danger of living a slightly boring existence full of regrets if you don’t push out of your comfort zone. And remember that it is NEVER too late to start. Sometimes when life is frustrating and you feel you are getting nowhere, you have to light it up yourself. You’ll be waiting a long time if you expect anybody else to make a change happen aside from you.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope it helps if you are feeling a little stressed out at the moment.

Lots of love,

Hippy Hoo Ha x

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Saying Yes and De-Stressing

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It has been nearly 5 months since my last update and there is so much to catch up on!

We left Darwin in late October for the Sunshine Coast and travelled down over the course of about four days. We left Darwin in a little bit of a hurry as Stu had a job offer down the coast and we needed to arrive within five days. He got the phone call at about 2pm that day and we packed up all of our belongings into the car and left the next morning at 6am to been our 3500km journey.

Here’s a video I created documenting that trip.

We were headed to Stu’s friend Simon’s home, which he shares with his wonderful wife Judy ( Who at this point I had never met, and now I consider a good friend) & their three children. They were kind enough to offer us their spare room in their lovely house in Currimundi near Caloundra, until we found our feet.

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Simon & Judy on Christmas Day

The feet didn’t take long to get found and we ended up only staying with them for one week, after we found a beautiful Queenslander on the gorgeous Bribie Island to stay in with the owner, a lovely lady called Chloe and her Kelpie cross Border Collie pup, Boris.

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Boris

The location was beautiful and it was handy to still meet up with Simon and Judy at the weekends as Bribie Island is only around an hour away from Currimundi. Bribie Island is a little piece of heaven, a beautiful island off the Sunshine Coast near(ish) to Brisbane, connected to the mainland by a large road bridge and easy walking distance to all your amenities. In fact the majority of Bribie Island is made up of National Park Land. The downside to this being that it is a very desirable place to live, especially for the older generation, and the people and houses are all compacted down to one end. In fact as beautiful as it is, it is known as an above-ground graveyard within the surrounding area.

It proved near impossible for me to find work, being a small place with far more people than job opportunities, plus the fact I definitely feel employers are put off when they see the applicant is on a working holiday visa.

I felt depression creep back into my life whilst living there, which is quite remarkable considering it was such a beautiful breathtaking place. I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to live there, but not being able to find work really took its toll on me. I felt like I had failed.

Eventually after eating into our savings for nearly a month,  Stu & I decided it was time to move on. He no longer wanted to stay working a job he didn’t like for a poorly run business  and to be honest I was happy and excited to hit the road again.

It was now mid-November, We spent around a week trying to find work somewhere new, basically anywhere in Australia, (although we really wanted to stay in Queensland if possible) and after searching all over the internet on every job website, dozens of emails and phone calls later we found a job working for Manbulloo mangoes who provide Mangoes to Coles (One of the biggest supermarkets in Australia). This job opportunity meant us driving from Bribie Island to a (tiny) place called Giru nestled somewhere between Ayr and Townsville in North Queensland, around a 1300km drive. With no idea where we would stay or what the work would be like we took a chance, packed our lives up into the car once again and took a big dive into the unknown.

I was looking forward to seeing a new place, and meeting some new faces, I was determined that I would make the most of this adventure and pull myself out of whatever rut I had started to fall into.

We decided this time to do an all-night drive, so we spent the day packing up the car, drank copious amounts of coffee and finally we left around 10pm that evening. Around about 5am the next day Stu was getting extremely tired and he doesn’t like me driving on long journeys, (that’s a whole other story though) so we pulled into a rest stop for an hour. He had a nap and I have to admit, I was so incredibly grumpy on this trip. I’m sure any member of my family could tell you that when I haven’t slept I am a very grumpy lady. Public apology to anyone who has encountered sleepy Morv! I felt like I had to stay up to keep Stu awake, so I consumed way too much caffeine and it prevented me from sleeping at all the whole trip.

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Leaving Bribie, crossing the bridge to the mainland.

At one point we were coming over a steep hill at around 3/4am and there was a massive road train behind us, he had been sitting right up behind us for  a few kms and then on a blind hill he decided to flash us (we were doing the speed limit), and then begin to overtake us not knowing if anything was coming the other direction. There was a steep drop off to our left, I totally panicked, and Stu slowed down, as we were pretty much forced to. This driver then pulled himself in front of us rapidly and his back end nearly whipped us off the road, I am not even joking, I thought we were gonna get swept off the road, we pulled back and he narrowly missed us by a hair, our hearts were racing as we came over the top of the blind hill and then see another truck coming on the other side of the road. If it had come a few seconds sooner, I swear we’d all have been dead.

How irresponsible. What a selfish act of driving. Maybe the truck driver has children, would they want people to do that to a car with their children or partner inside? He/she put everyones life in danger that night and we were shook up for the remainder of the journey.

Everyone makes mistakes though, so hopefully it was just an error in judgement.

Here’s a video I made of the trip from Sunshine Coast to Giru (via a one night stay in Bowen) where we lived and worked for a month.

We went via Bowen, where Stu grew up as it was on the way and he gave me a quick tour. As we had made good time, we arrived there around about 1/2pm we decided to set-up-swag in the Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park as you are not allowed to free camp anywhere around Bowen such as on beaches etc.

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Enjoying a beer at Horseshoe Bay after a very long drive overnight.

I absolutely loved Bowen! We stayed one night and then the next day we had to drive to Giru, further North. We sussed out where our new work place was and then called up places looking for some cheap accomodation for the upcoming month. The cabins in caravan parks nearby were charging ridiculous rates per week, for the same money you could have rented a 5 bedroom Queenslander near the beach. As Giru is in the middle of nowhere, it’s just off the main highway with a large sugar cane factory works (sugar cane processing stinks FYI) there’s not too many options unless we wanted to stay in Ayr which we did not and we definitely weren’t willing to stay at a backpackers hostel, no offence to  those who do, both me and Stu have done it before, but we value our own space and freedom too much now to go back to it  (plus, I’ve heard some horror stories).

We managed to find an absolute gem off the highway, a crumbly sign for an Eco-Tourist Park looked intriguing and was only 10 minutes from the mango shed. As we drove in, it was certainly eco – thousands of wallabies everywhere, a little run down but it sat under a beautiful mountain range and was lush and green and more importantly away from too many people. Here we met Fred, originally from Germany, a 90 year old man who had cleared this piece of land with his young family when he was in his 20’s. He was such a genuine, straight up, wonderful man. He told us many a tale of his past, showed us through old photo albums and told us that we were the most respectful, nicest couple he had stay in the park for over ten years.

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At nearby Billabong Sanctuary

 

He had only one caravan available on site, it looked pretty big and had a massive canvas annexe attached, as we stepped inside it was clear it had been empty for a while, it had a smell about it that I still can’t put my finger on, but hey, who cares we thought, we’ll take it! After a fair amount of Nag Champa had been burned, floors had been swept, everything cleaned and dinners had been cooked, it no longer smelt stale, and we had our own little cute pad for the next month.

We also made some pals in the park, all of which were furry. Possums regularly woke me up in the night climbing on the caravan, one of which had made his home between a tin roof and the top of the caravan, which I’m pretty sure is why he crawled inside the annexe desperate for water a few times. It got real hot here, and I’m glad we could help the wee guys. We fed the wallabies and possums mangoes that had gone too soft for eating, and they became regular fixtures at our front ‘garden’. We really enjoyed living here and Fred was excellent to have a chat with each week when we went in to pay our rent. Most of the other residents here were contractors we never really saw anyone to speak to them, everyone was doing seasonal work and was either working or sleeping, which made it such a beautiful and peaceful place. We took some time out after work one day to go for a local bush walk to the local rock slide, and that was amazing.

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One of our possum pals who came to see us for some water

We worked at the mango shed until around the 20th December by which time we were both so over it. At some points we were doing 70+ hour weeks and getting paid really awful wages, especially since the more you work the more you get taxed. One massive bonus of working there though was the amount of delicious mangoes we got to consume, and we made some delicious mango chutney to give as Christmas gifts, which went down very well with Simons family!

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Stu enjoying playing guitar in the spacious annexe

I painted this picture to give to Fred the Eco-tourist park owner, we had many chats about the commercialism of Christmas and as we wanted to give him something, I decided on making him a gift using up some of the paints and canvasses that we have been carting around Australia with us! He loved it. His eyesight is not great so I think he really appreciated the bold lines and colours.15665964_10154966618922868_1580557610874393212_n

We decided we would go back to Bowen for Christmas, so once again without knowing too much about where we would stay, we packed up our lives and headed to Bowen. Luckily I looked on Gumtree and I found an old advert from September still up, from a guy looking for a housemate in his four bedroom Queenslander. I took a stab in the dark, as it was the 23rd December at this point, I messaged him and he said he would be happy for us to drop in and see him.

Feeling a bit like Mary & Joseph, we did, and he let us move in that day.

We are extremely lucky to live with the aforementioned, Liam, we’ve been on a good few adventures so far, lots of snorkelling, bbq’s and a boat trip. It is so nice to live with someone and have that social aspect there too.

Thanks Liam!

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At Mother Beddick in Bowen

Stu knows his friend Simon from Bowen, as they were a pair of bloody terrors when they were kids, running rampant around the neighbourhood, or so I’ve heard, so Simon and Judy (who’s also from Bowen) were coming up for a big family Christmas. We were lucky enough for them to invite us along for Christmas Day with the whole family which was just lovely and so nice to see everyone again. We spent the day by the pool and the night dancing our butts off.

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Judy & I having a girly day eating lunch and drinking pints!

We organised to meet up with our awesome friends Anna & Trev, who we worked with at TFS the Sandalwood Plantation in the NT, for New Year, and decided to head to Hydeaway Bay. They brought one of their older dogs Buster, their teenage pup Boogie, and their new lil’ baby pup Trip. We had an awesome weekend with them down at the beach, snorkelling and camping.

A brilliant way to bring in a new year!

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Trip hitching’ a lift

We were sitting on the beach around 8.30pm on New Years Eve (Saying “Hogmanaaaay” was a running joke at New Years as my Aussie friends had never heard of it before) with a fire burning and two men began to approach us, we were the only people on the beach, so we thought maybe we would get told to put the fire out, but instead they asked if it was okay if they set off some fireworks near us. We were front row seat to a show of fireworks at 9pm, and luckily we had chilled Prosecco to pair it with.

It was so perfect.

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Happy to be here

Then I had another amazing surprise happen! My darling friend Louise who I met whilst travelling in South America, and with whom I ended up travelling with for three months AND who became a HUGE part of my life messaged me to say she was in Australia and could she come visit me. It was so lovely to have her stay for a couple of days, and really made me realise how many amazing people I have been lucky enough to meet and be able to call my friends.

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Louise is a beautiful mermaid

Stu and I are still currently loving life in beautiful Bowen, and awaiting the next adventure to unfold. I’ll keep you updated.

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NYE kisses

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Murray’s Bay, Bowen

My observations for 2016/2017

I have had an amazing start to the New Year, which kind of just rolled over from the whole of 2016 being so bloody interesting and exciting.

After we finished work at the Mango shed, I really wanted to get back into my fitness and so once we were back in a place with some reliable fast internet, I started doing yoga workouts with my favourite instructor Yoga With Adriene from the comfort of an air-conditioned spare room. I started to do around 3-4 sessions per week, and I also signed up for Bowen Parkrun, of which I have only done one (on Christmas Eve) as it is so hot even though they do them early in the morning, it was the hardest 5km run I think I have ever done!

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Feeling pooped after the Parkrun on Christmas Eve

Then, Yoga with Adriene created Yoga Revolution which is 31 days of daily yoga videos from the 1st to the 31st of January, I got really excited and signed up straight away. It has been so interesting to do yoga everyday. At one point in fact I wanted to go to India ( I nearly did & still do want to) to do my yoga teacher training. It’s had a wonderful effect on my mind and my body. I like to do it in the mornings and it really sets me up for the day in the best state of mind. Even when I don’t feel like it, I still turn up to the mat and never have I once regretted doing so (we’re on day 23 so far).

16266228_10155074686477868_874726978339231300_nYou can still do Yoga Revolution at any time, and just work your way through from day 1 to day 31. I really recommend it and you can go as hard or as gentle as you like.

I’ve noticed something that’s changed in my life in the last year too, I used to be a kinda messy/lazy person. I’m not really at all like that anymore, don’t get me wrong I have lazy days, but I love to keep everything clean and tidy, I get such satisfaction from a clean kitchen, a tidy room, a hoovered floor and organisation, it makes me feel more at peace. I don’t feel stressed out about where things are, I can find everything in its place and it’s all clean and ready to go when I need it. I wish I’d discovered that one a good few years ago! I like to be spontaneous, so if someone wants to do something last minute I can just say yeah sure give me 5 and I can easily have everything I need to go ready. It’s made a huge impact on my levels of stress.

I’ve decided not to make any New Years Resolutions. I just know I want to feel good this year like I did the last, I’m not going to define things too definitely by years either as I suppose really there is literally one second between them.

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Stu looking hawt

I definitely agree that it’s good to see your progress and track it somehow, so it makes me thankful to have this (slightly neglected) blog on which I can reflect on life, and see how things have changed over the years.

What are your observations of positive changes to your life over the past year? I’d love to hear other peoples points of view!

If there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would be to definitely do things that scare you. They are usually the things worth doing. Follow that little desire at the back of your mind, which seems impossible now, and make steps towards it becoming a real experience. 

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Much love and thank you for reading!

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Much love from my Wombat friend

Morv x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living the happy life.

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Mindil Beach Sunset, Darwin

As our four month anniversary of ‘donga’ living (basically a small container with enough space to swing a carrot) whilst working on the Sandalwood plantation drew closer, myself & Stu began to feel more and more claustrophobic and grew tired of the repetitive work on the plantation. The planting season had passed, and the novelty of a five or six hour round trip each weekend to the nearest supermarket had worn off. The work available to me fizzled out slowly as I was not willing to work or be exposed to a chemical (Glufosonate) used widely in farming (which in my opinion should be against the law for it’s detrimental effects on the environment and it’s inhabitants.) However, the company we worked for were understanding of my choice and did make a huge effort to provide alternative work for me in the last couple of weeks. Finally, during one of our trips to Darwin (most weekends from the plantation at Douglas Daly), we managed to organise a place to stay and a part-time job each. We handed in our notice, and bundled up/organised four months worth of accumulated nonsense from camp into ” Lil’ Rover”

We now live in a beautiful house on stilts in the Stuart Park area of Darwin. It is within a 20 minute walk of the CBD and a cycle away to anywhere I could dream of going in Darwin due to it’s pocket sized city status and plentiful cycle paths. I just had to buy a bike! A $50 Gumtree bargain, AND it’s purple with a basket on the front!

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Date night at Nirvana, Darwin

Darwin is an excellent city, it is still catching up with the rest of the world as far as vegan options go in my opinion, ( although it is exciting to think maybe we can maybe get together with others to organise a vegan food/beer festival next year) but saying that, there are many options at the local markets, and I seem to always miss the chance to get to them! I am also eagerly awaiting the day that I am in the right place at the right time and get to try one of Petra’s Raw Cakes: They look out of this world! (Stu if you are reading this…it’s my birthday next month..Please get me a slice! ) I haven’t made it around a lot of the cafes which have vegan options as we usually just eat at home, but I did have an outstanding Acai bowl at Cafe Eco one morning, and a beautiful meal at Nirvana, my new favourite restaurant. I have also organised a vegan potluck down at the beach next month, something a few years ago I would feel too low in confidence or un-motivated to do! Darwin is definitely working for me!

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Cafe Eco: Delicious Acai Bowl

Since moving to Darwin, I have gone out by myself to gigs and events by myself a couple of times, something I would never do back at home, and through doing this I have made many friends. The funny things is, since my last blog post who would have thought we would be where we are now?!It acts as a great reminder that keeping these blogs going is such an excellent means of keeping tabs on my progress over many weeks, months and years! I definitely recommend starting a blog to anyone who feels they need somewhere to put their thoughts. I have so many drafts of things I just had to write down at the time, but will probably never share, and sometimes if I feel I want to, I go back, finish or edit my drafts and publish them. For me it is very therapeutic.

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At Chippo Live, a brilliant music venue in Darwin

I have also been making videos of my time here, and even made a video for a charitable cause to help publicise a friends charity event. If you’re interested in seeing my videos, my Youtube is here, and I intend to film and upload more of my adventures. I really enjoy the process of creating these little snippets of life and look forward to having them to look back on at a later date.

On that note, I also have been thinking a lot about what it is I really want to do. What really makes me happy. Travel is definitely up there, and I’m definitely doing that! The whole genre of creating things is also where I’m at, I love making something that wasn’t there before. I was thinking about how I want to find a tattoo apprenticeship again as i had a bad experience back in Scotland at a studio I worked for. For some reason I let this one bad tattoo shop owner belittle & bully me for how I looked/ my tattoos etc until I left my apprenticeship and it has forever tainted the whole thing for me. I know in my heart it is what I want to do, it is my dream job and I know that I am good enough and have the skills to do it, so I am going to. I don’t quite know where or how, but I am putting it out there and I am being pro-active, and currently working on creating a proper sketchbook of my art. My 30th birthday is rapidly approaching, and rather than let the feeling of age-ing hold me back, I am going to embrace it and put everything I have into creating the life that I wish for.

Thanks for reading, I hope you follow your dreams too. Don’t forget to put your wishes out into the universe!

Love, Morv

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If you wish to see my artwork my Facebook art page is here.

 

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When did it become okay to tell someone you don’t like how they look?

NEVER.

It never became okay!

I’ve noticed a recent increase in people commenting on how I look and giving me their quite frankly unwanted opinions on my personal decisions.

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So let me clear this up: this is for all the unwanted hair-touchers, prodders and outspoken opinion makers who I’m sure we have all encountered, and maybe if you realise you have done this you can see how rude and inappropriate you have been.

Respect is the biggest lesson to be learnt here.

Here’s 5 things all arseholes don’t realise:

  • Touching a strangers hair is inappropriate & unwelcome attention.

I cannot really find anyway to make touching a strangers hair an appropriate way to greet someone, so first of all please don’t  do it on a whim because you don’t understand it, and second of all please just don’t ask to do it. Go home and Google it or something. Most people are happy to answer any questions you have, but please don’t interrupt my private conversations. The amount of times I’ve been interrupted by a random hair toucher is unreal! I would NEVER interrupt someone to ask a dumb question so STOP IT NOW!

  • Just because I look different doesn’t  mean I want to talk to you about it

You cannot comprehend how many times I have been asked ‘What do your tattoos mean?’

I don’t ask what your hairdo means or your clothes, really please just leave me alone.

To me it’s mainly decoration, and any that I have that do mean something, what do I owe to you to tell you?

It’s not a strangers business so back the fuck up.

  • People with tattoos think its a way to relate to me:

Okay, so you have tattoos, I have tattoos, that’s great, I still don’t want to talk about mine, so please stand here and tell me for hours about how and when and where you got yours and I can try slowly slither away out of earshot. Holy Christ. I don’t wanna talk about it.

(This one is probably the bane of my life.)

  • You don’t like my hair/tattoos/piercings/image/style and feel an unbearable need to let me know:

I don’t judge you or comment on your life, so please keep your thoughts to yourself. I have a partner and I am very happy and content. I don’t need your approval and I am very aware of my life choices. It doesn’t bother me if you don’t like something about me, but I would certainly never feel the need to tell anyone friend or stranger something about their image that I personally didn’t like. Keep it to yourself! How rude of you! Live and let live!

  • You need to let me know that I’m probably going to regret that:

Oh yeah, so I never realised until you mentioned that it’s permanent.

Yeah I’ll totes regret it.

I hate your face!

(jokes)

So, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand why people think its okay to comment, is it because they think I want the attention? I genuinely think that some people assume that if you have tattoos and piercings and ‘mad’ hair you are doing it for attention, well you are very wrong.

I along with most other people who are seen as alternative are just being who we are.

I understand why people ask about these things but most of the time I get asked in a very rude manner. I worded this post in a jokey manner to try keep it fun. I am never rude to people who do ask me about things, but I would live a simpler life without this hassle as I’m sure a lot of people would too.

I choose to live my life this way and I like to decorate my body, I would never dream of asking someone why they don’t have body modifications so please give us a break and realise that we don’t all live our lives  in the same way!

* as a back note I’d like to say that I understand genuine human curiosity and that I can respect that and I can tell the people who are genuinely curious from the invasive rude people! Most of you are just lovely, it’s just a small percentage that lets us down.

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“I am a Master Pretender”- First Aid Kit

(Firstly. I wrote this listening to this song on repeat. Put it on or your most insirational tune and then begin to read for the full effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51BgWFciimQ or type into Spotify First Aid Kit – Master Pretender)

Like most people I can really suffer from low self esteem.

For some it is extreme and for others sometimes it’s just a wee dip, but we all feel a wee bit of low self esteem sometimes.

Over the years I have developed techniques to make me more confident and I’ve tried to compile some of them for you.

First off, the most important thing is that YOU LOVE YOURSELF, but of course you don’t feel like you do.

So now we have to pretend a bit.

I like pretending, we were all really good at it as kids.

By this I don’t mean lie. I mean we can pretend we have confidence until it becomes more natural.

Who seem to be the most naturally confident people? Famous people! Many who are ACTORS  and models. Being a pretender is their job! They’re pros!

So here’s some tips.

Remember, that it’s not selfish,

You deserve a wonderful life.

It isn’t selfish at all.

You are a unique and beautiful being.

Walk with pride and embrace that your thoughts, movements, ideas, aims, are different from others round you.

Everything is perfect.

You can be anyone or anything you want to be.

Carry yourself high.

Be proud of yourself.

Here are the things that I really like to do:

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  • If it doesn’t inspire you, tidy it away: Leave things around your home that remind you of people you are proud of or honoured to have as friends and who know and who respect you. If you cant find anything or don’t have photos like this, then put up a certificate or a reminder of something you have achieved. Make it prominent.  If you have made things, display them, if you have tickets or memories of good times put them out on display on the wall or on a notice board.  Get creative and make sure that when you wake up everyday you are reminded of your greatness, no matter how small importance it may seem. I have definitely surprised myself with how great it feels to see a picture of a happy time on my wall in the morning and I think, “Wow I remember way back then, I remember, how I never knew that I could ever be where I actually am now in my life, and now, look here I am, and look at all I have accomplished.” Sometimes that is all it takes… Sometimes our past achievements can feel like dreams. It’s almost hazy and we wonder how we ever did them… Keeping them out and rotating them every so often keeps this fresh and keeps us WANTING to do more to change it! I like to put my own art in my house, and I have a notice board in my kitchen which I put photos of my close friends and family, or just even random good times. I rotate this every month or so, and put new and often old photographs of fun times up. Sometimes it really helps you to remember to get in touch with someone you had forgotten about or remind you how great your friendship was. I like to hang jewellery I love that inspires me, in areas of my house, I only use mugs that are bright and colourful, I try to only be surrounded by positive objects and everything else is tidied away in cupboards/drawers. These things inspire me, and make me happy so they are displayed.

 

  • Have a music supply readily available in the areas of your home that you spend the most time in: I find that when I wake up and head to the kitchen to put a kettle on, hitting the ON switch on the radio is the best thing. I listen to tunes first thing, I have a wee sing song and a dance round in my Pj’s. I salvaged a digital radio last year that my mum was gonna fling out and it is now my favourite. I set it to a good reliable station, so there is always nice positive background noise, and personally I find this ESPECIALLY important first thing in the morning. It sets the mood for the day and is always great later on as the kitchen is the social area in my house, where everyone gets together and has a good laugh. It reminds me of laughter and good times. It makes me feel social even if I’m by myself. I even respond to the radio presenters. Ha! Personally this makes me feel like I have company when I don’t and builds my confidence for the day.

 

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  • Get a pet: I am very lucky, in that I can have a dog, and don’t get me wrong, it can be really hard work, but I chose a very mellow, chilled out breed well (Greyhound in case your interested! ) Having her around can be really helpful for my self esteem.  This wee pooch loves me and gets excited by my return to the house. She wants to hang out with me, share my food and my bed and basically we are best pals cos I wanna hang out with her too ( I’ll skip on sharing her food or bed though!) You don’t need to feel bad though if your circumstances mean you can’t have a dog. I also have a fish.  She’s a character. She murdered the other two fish in the tank. ( I did have three!) She also gets excited by my presence as the food dropper. It’s therapeutic. You can buy a fish, it’s something to concentrate on, put a little energy into. You make a friend, you have a wee character in your life. I have ‘Sharon the mad wee fish that ate Seana & Dan’s eyeballs out’! I can leave her for days and she’s cool, she doesn’t need walked, but she’s there and she needs me and that’s great for self esteem. She’s over there right now as I write this in my kitchen and I don’t feel alone at all.

 

 

  • Create a cosy, welcoming environment: Whenever I’m feeling down, it is reflected in my house and/ or bedroom especially. When life feels manic, my room is insane. Creating an organised system and having a friend to help you out at first if it seems too hard/overwhelming by yourself to manage is brilliant. When my house is tidy. everything seems better. I sleep better, I know where things are and it’s easier to keep that way. Never be ashamed to ask a friend for help or to explain to them you are struggling to keep on top of things. We are all only human and think how you would respond and if they were in the same position. My best friend Micaela would often come round and help me tidy when I was in a really bad place.

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  • Clear out unhelpful clutter: Bad memories and bills etc can really clog up your energy so store everything unhelpful away, give them a place, make it a drawer and keep  them so they aren’t out on show. This also counts for clothes, or keepsakes that have a negative memory. Throw away clothes that do not fit you. If you lose weight do you really wanna wear something that has been sat in your wardrobe for three years. No. Throw it out. Treat yourself to something new.  Do you really wanna be reminded everyday of your past heartaches?  No. Keep them, respect them and put them aside in storage. I like to keep memory boxes, I fill them and store them away and when I feel ready I like to have a look through at old photos and memories. Sometimes it’s good for a cry. Then you put them away again. No point in torturing yourself.

 

  • Love your body: Appreciate your body. It is a beautiful vessel. Look after it and respect it. I can be pretty lazy sometimes, but I do try to eat well most of the time. Everyone has their own thing. Something I have learnt is to stop worrying about thinking . FULL STOP.  If you worry you’re too fat or too thin to do something, or that people are judging you based on that,  I know for a fact that I have been stick thin and worried that people thought I was too fat and I have been hanging out with really ‘cool’ people thinking I wasn’t cool enough. What are we thinking!??! ALL, AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE BLOOMIN’ ONE of my friends are my friends because they are the most lovely people.  I  could not give one care to what they look like/ how cool/skinny/chubby/awkward/awesome they look because I love them and I love WHO THEY ARE. It really actually doesn’t matter, no one is thinking about us what we think of ourselves, and even if they are, so what?! Let’s get over it! Somehow I still struggle with this one. I often feel awkward  and this is where I normally put the next bit of advice into action.

 

  • Positive affirmations:Look at yourself in a mirror before you go out, and complement yourself. About anything. Your clothing choice, your smile, your nice teeth. your cute squinty nose. Find something, anything about yourself that you think ‘That is actually pretty cool, and it’s unique to me!’ Find it and have a wee laugh in the mirror and feel high that you are you, even just laugh that you are sitting in front of a mirror doing this.  Learn to laugh at yourself. embrace bad photos where you don’t look great because the memory was good. You can write down your affirmations an put them somewhere you will see them daily. Even simple things like ‘I am a good person.’ I also made a ‘Treasure Map’ which is a collection of images that I compiled to create one large image of how I want my life to be and the things I most value and seek. I set this as my desktop photo on my laptop, so I see it everyday and I am reminded of what I am aiming for. I noticed a massive positive shift in my life since I did this.

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  • Fuck them: My big sister taught me this. She probably doesn’t know that I use it as often as I do. But I call it ‘The Fuck You!” She told me that when she felt vulnerable in the street late at night, if she clocked some lurkers in the street, she would play ‘Rage Against The Machine- Killing in the name of’… in her head, and stride to it, with a bit of feist in her eye. Well, I like to do this, but I’ve expanded it’s use, I use it when people make me feel intimidated, or try to hurt me, or are mean to me, I put on the biggest goddam smile and I sing that song in my head and I stride away as the better man. With a great tune in my head. And ten times outta ten I forget I was even mad or feeling vulnerable. Plus, I’m smiling.

 

  • Smile and laugh: When times are hard, I like to force laughter. I chat away to my dog, I make daft videos, I send funny messages to people, leave ridiculous voicemails, I try to cheer others up. Take the focus away from yourself. Find an activity, find new people where the chat is lighthearted, if your relationships with friends are stale and negative, then change it up for a while. Start something new, sometimes friendships are so close they become negative because you are so comfortable. Have some time apart. Book an adventure. Be better at something. Organise a meetup, create a new group of friends. Don’t let fear hold you back.

 

I know I am a good person. I know you are too. You know you are, really deep down too. What makes you feel good? Do it more. Find more things and more things that make you buzz! Writing this makes me feel good about me.  This is my release.  And so I have one more….My last, last, very last tip to help boost your self esteem is to help other people:

  • Admit you’re wrong even when you really don’t feel you are.
  • Tip people/ give someone the last of your change that you might need.
  • Give random people compliments.
  • Instead of making up an excuse, tell the truth about something that scares you.
  • Listen.
  • Appreciate your friends and be there for them.
  • Ask questions about others in conversations and focus on other peoples lives during catch ups rather than your own.
  • Smile.
  • When you laugh, let yourself go.
  • Experiment with laughter, laugh loud, laugh little, laugh high, laugh low.
  • Have fun, I came outta the shower last week and danced round the kitchen naked whilst my flatmate sat there giggling. Life’s too short. I wasn’t worried for a moment about the size of my butt.
  • Wiggle, jiggle, laugh, relax, have fun.
  • Make others laugh, don’t worry about looking silly.
  • Give something back, become involved in your community and positive about where you call home.
  • Share everything you have. You will always get it back tenfold. Give food, give laughter, kindness, generosity, your truth, give in to everything. It is the most empowering thing you can do.

 

Thank you for reading this.

I actually wrote this blog in particular for a few of my girlfriends who are going through a hard time. They are beautiful strong women and I love them and I haven’t been able to be there quite as much as I maybe should have. Each one of them has taught me a part of this. Mostly to laugh wholeheartedly and to smile and care and share…

I bloody love these girls.

Raquel, Kayleigh, Gaynor, Chelsea, Mac

 

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Thanks Neil!

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One of my oldest pals Neil made and sent me this yesterday to cheer me up.

He always knows the right thing to say.

Thanks pal.

You can find and buy Neil’s other work online:

http://www.neilslorance.com/

He draws stuff like sloths playing the banjo.

Perfection.

Check out his travelogues and comics.

Thanks you Neil for being a lovely friend.

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Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. – Greg Anderson

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Often we are made to feel that our achievements are merely the end result of our hard work when, in fact the most enjoyable,  meaningful and memorable parts of our lives are often not the milestones themselves, but rather, they are what we discover during the process.

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I don’t know many people who would talk about the day they graduated as the best experience of their lives. On the contrary, I know many, many people including myself, who would talk about how much they loved their time as a student, the friends they made, the nights out, the partying, the laughter at their failures, looking back at the foolishness of leaving assignments to the very last night before they were due, the exam panics, their frantic love lives, nights in, nights out, the joy of student discounts, working out how to pay bills and wash clothes without mum, summer holidays, wearing the same (hoodies & jeans) clothes most of the time, surviving mainly solely on cheap pasta and lager, keeping fit by walking all over town up and down stairs from class to class, not worrying about too many responsibilities and just being happy & grateful to make it through to another school year.

Some things never really change, we keep going through the same challenges our whole lives, always hoping one day we’re going to make it. There’s no end though. What are we looking for? You could have the longest most impressive CV ever written, you could have climbed up snow topped mountains, parachuted out of planes, or cycled across the Arabian desert (that one would be really impressive)!

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If you didn’t live within that moment though, if you didn’t stop to take a deep breath, if you didn’t focus on the present, let yourself go and immersed yourself in it, with no flicker of guilt of what you did yesterday, and no worries of what could have happened tomorrow. If you spent your time dreaming of what else could be happening, wishing you were somewhere else, younger, older, fitter, kinder, meaner, faster, more successful, more like that guy you heard about, more like your mums neighbours daughter who’s jet setting all over the world on a huge wage for a successful company, feeling jealous, feeling like the grass is greener elsewhere, dreaming about “if onlys” then you really haven’t made the most of the present. It doesn’t matter. We should be trying to be bettering ourselves not trying to be better than others.

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We’ve forgotten that in fact nobody has reached their destination. Every body is on a journey. Focus on that journey. Trust me, its the best part. If you’re unemployed, spend your time wisely and make the most of your spare time because trust me when you have a job you will pine for the times you didn’t have to work, and will wish you had made the most of it. As is true from the other perspective, as money does not provide us with happiness, but quite often a unique purpose does and we are too often reliant on others to provide ourselves with a purpose in life. The most fulfilling thing you can do is to get up and give yourself a purpose, use your potential. It doesn’t have to be a massively impressive purpose. Feed it and it will grow.

Believing that “Once I have a baby, my life will be better” or convincing yourself that “Getting married will fix our relationship”,  that bagging your dream job, losing the last of that Christmas weight or winning a huge sum of money will make you happy will not help you to succeed in seeing the full potential in yourself. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting these things, but if you are looking for these things to add more to your meaning in life without being already able to see the beauty in your life NOW then it is likely to be a short term gain. You will still have the same issues, and the lack of coping mechanisms. It is just as hard to be a failure as it is to be a success. You deserve to realize your potential now. Let’s stop worrying.

“Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

 

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“Writing, someone said, is turning blood into ink. Whatever, the idea of suffering is so natural to both writers and runners it seems to be a common bond.” – Running and Being, Dr George Sheehan

A few weeks ago, my brother’s wife Sarah shared a link online about a challenge called 5×50. I looked up the website www.5×50.org to see what it was all about. This challenge meant signing up to a website and then agreeing to run, jog, walk (or equivalent) a 5 kilometer distance every day for 50 days. It sounded a bit overwhelming!

I didn’t want to sign up to the website, (that’s my inner rebellious streak showing) but I decided straight away that I wanted to do this challenge myself!

One of the reasons I didn’t sign up to the official challenge is because I wanted to show how it’s possible to challenge yourself and use your own progress as an incentive. I also wanted this to become a habit in my life, so if I was doing the official challenge maybe I would feel relieved for it to be over after 50 days, whereas this way, I can use my intuition  and I know that I am finding ways everyday to make sure I fit my life around my workout. Also the faster and fitter I get, the less time my workout takes up out of my life! Only around 2 weeks in and I already feel like I now need to get out for my wee run or a nice long walk everyday to function properly!

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I downloaded  the Map My Run app for my Samsung (Android) phone and I started using it straight away! The actual 5×50 challenge started officially on Sunday the 30th March, so although i started a week early trying and testing all the walks ahead of time to make sure I felt I could commit to it, I’m officially 13 straight days into it so far!

If you want to see my progress/ keep up to date/ join in then you can find my app uploads on www.mapmyrun.com by searching for Punk Morvs. You may need an account to access all the information though, but it would be great if you have an account, then add me as a friend! I’d love some running buddies, wherever you are in the world!

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I got my Nike running shoes, my super comfy and warm black leggings/ yoga pants ( with reflector detail) and my cute little training socks all at Sports Direct on Paisley High Street. My sports bras were pretty good value too from Primark. I usually wear any old t-shirt with the rest of my gear, plus I tie my hair up in a cute bandana so it’s outta my face. You don’t need to break the bank buying running gear and you don’t need to wear nasty sportswear ( I love my tacky pink and blue trainers!). You can still totally dress like yourself, which in my case is just a bit strange, but who cares! As long as you feel comfortable that’s the most important thing!

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Myself (looking very sleepy!) with some lovely ladies, including my sister Cat, just before we ran the Barcelona Half Marathon last year!

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I would never have thought I could run a half marathon, nevermind a marathon (which definitely seems more realistic now!) so it was a really fulfilling experience! If you just sign up to these things, even just a 5km race or 10km race with your friends you will get through it and feel so proud!

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I just recently moved house so it’s been great to get out and about to discover the local area, plus with the GPS function on my phone the app it shouts out tells me when I have completed each kilometer and it records it really easily afterwards, uploading it online to the map my run website with the simplest push of a button. It records a full map of my route, saves the route in case I (or anyone else) want to do the same route again, and records all of my splits too so I can see what areas of a workout need to be, well, worked on! Plus, if I ever feel lost I can easily work out on the map where i am and feel free to adventure knowing i can get home okay and vaguely how far away I am.

You can view some of my routes here.

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Lola relaxing in Barshaw Park after a long walk. Greyhounds are notoriously lazy!

Lola (my rescue greyhound) is excellent company during our long walks and she can certainly sprint when given the opportunity, but 5km+ runs are not her bag, so if I feel I need some quality time with my girl or if my legs are tired, I just walk with Lola for between 45minutes and 1 hr & a half to get in our daily walk instead of a run. Lola’s a major sniffer and stops a lot to do so, so she makes walks very slow, whereas a 5km run can take as little as 25-30 minutes out of your day when you are alone and focused.

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I think the other lovely thing is that it feels as if spring has sprung! The weather has been so beautiful and I hate sitting about in the house when its so beautiful outside!

It is hard. It’s really hard. The key is to stop thinking. Just put on your shoes, get excited about the breeze in your face and THAT feeling you get afterwards. It’s not about being the best. It is about doing the best for yourself. I read a really good article about the fact that it is hard or uncomfortable when you are running at times, but if you just keep going from that point and don’t give up, you realize it never gets worse than that, you just get used to the feeling, or it goes away/ becomes less important and then you lose yourself in the moment. It’s a bit like taking out the rubbish, after a run I feel like I’ve thrown all of my worries and tension into a bin and it’s no longer my trash to carry around!

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My sister Cat & I after the Nike Cursa Bombers in Barcelona a couple of years ago. It translates as the Fireman’s Run, where the firemen of Barcelona run the full 10 km race in their heavy fire fighting suits. They must have been boiling, it was so humid! I made wee silly fiery hair accessories for it and covered my face in glitter, so they would chase me ( justified this in my head that I would maybe look on fire and that they would chase me trying to put me out)!

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It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”George Sheehan

The one other important factor for me personally that I am reluctant to mention too much, but which I think others may find helpful, is the effect on my mental health since I started making a real effort to spend time with myself doing physically and/ or mentally demanding things everyday. My self esteem has increased, as has my self worth. My symptoms of past problems have pretty much been shot out the water because i have no room in my life for silly problems anymore. I am full of natural highs and a feeling of being connected to nature, my old negative and unhelpful thoughts barely cross my mind anymore. There’s an awful lot to be said for losing your thoughts whilst running through nature. It’s about taking the bins out every day and not letting the rubbish mount up in your mind or on your shoulders.

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When I lived in Castelldefels near Barcelona, my favourite runs were either the run down to the beach where you were rewarded with the sea breeze and sandy feet or the cooler more secluded run through the forest with all of its hills and trees shading the sun.

Whilst in Barcelona, I also participated in a really fun session of Laughter Yoga during an Improvised Comedy weekend getaway with some pals. It was basically hours of full on playing like children and getting back to letting yourself be free of judgement of others, allowing your creativity to flow like it did as a child. It was brilliant fun, we were so sore from laughing so hard and absolutely exhausted too!

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Laughter yogis after a sticker fight.

I found it really fun and useful and I have found some classes in Partick, Glasgow, with a place called Joyworks. I’m not sure if they will be taught in the same style as in Barcelona but I’m definitely excited to try it!

There’s a class on next Thursday night (17th April) if any body is interested coming along with me?

The details of the event are here.

Leave me a comment or contact me through the contact page if you have any questions.

Thank you so much for reading and I really would love to hear if I’ve inspired you to get out and about in nature or just out and about more aware of the present moment.

I really hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog.

“It is never too late to become what you might have been” – George Eliot

 

 

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