Friday, May 17, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Another week down and only two more weeks of prac left, it feels surreal to almost be finished studying and that this chapter of my life will soon be over.
This week has been hard on me and I have come home at the end of each day of prac and just crashed (or as was the case on Monday and Wednesday gone to the gym and then crashed). Of course being the person I am I signed up for a Wednesday night talk series on challenging convictions being held at a nearby church and it's been really good but it's the last thing I want to do and made getting out of bed yesterday a struggle. This week's topic was on sexuality and it was such a good talk, I had a good conversation with one of my friends after it and we both agreed it was an amazing talk and wasn't being to forceful or giving us expectations that aren't practical. Last week's topic was on identity and how society likes to force different identities on us. Next week it's euthanasia and the final week will be about abortion both of which I am really looking forward to (if only I can stay awake).

I've kinda given up on applying for jobs at the moment and am just trying to focus on getting through prac. I am still looking but it's not active and more a quick glance if I have the chance once I get home. I know God has plans for me and I'm tying to ignore all my anxieties surrounding it and praying about it.

Tomorrow is the election and this is my reminder to everyone that you need to vote or risk a fine. I actually did a postal vote a couple of weeks ago as I am working at the election as a polling assistant, I did it a few years ago and the money is good but I am expecting to be exhausted by the end of it.

Onto Friday Favourites...

Kikki K Leather Trim Pouch Large: Luxury - so the other week I happened to stumble into Kikki K when there was a 30% off members sale and this pouch ended up coming home with me (among other things). I already have a couple of these pouches and I find I use them for so many things, from toiletries and makeup to storing my phone and lipbalm in when I go to the beach to keeping pens in. So I couldn't resist buying another, the colour is so cute and I love how bright it is so it means I will be able to find it easily. I also bought it in the smaller size so I have a set to use which will be good.

Rosie Luxe Top in raspberry - I tend to wear darker colours in the Winter months wearing scarves for pops of colour, but I came across this top in Jeanwest and loved it. It's such a fun colour and I find myself feeling confident when I wear it. I really like the luxe fabric that Jeanwest uses and have a stripy top that I bought last year in the same fabric that I love, I just find it has more weight and feels really nice.

There You'll Find Me movie production - one of my favourite books is There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones (I probably read it yearly as I do with all her books) so I was thrilled when Jenny posted that it was being made into a film. I have been following along on Instagram and love all the weekly posts and seeing the book come to life. I am really hoping that they do the book justice and I can't wait to see the Ireland scenery. It's due for release a year from now and I am hoping it gets to Australian shores.

Dusk Laser Lighter - I have a lot of candles and I like lighting them of course there are times when I struggle using lighters (this one is my favourite and the only one I
don't have trouble using plus you get free refills) and I have a love/hate relationship with matches as I am paranoid I will get burnt, but I have a solution! This lighter is super easy to use and it's rechargeable too which is great so it doesn't need refilling, and there's something about using a laser to light candles.

The Year After You by Nina de Pass - this book was such a good read and one I highly recommend. The blurb reads:
New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t.

Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.

Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to.

The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.

I actually haven't had much time to read lately and when I do it's a few minutes here and there, but this book got my attention and I found myself setting aside time to read it and not wanting it to end.
Cara was an amazing character and I could really feel her throughout the book, she didn't feel that she deserved a second chance and it wasn't fair that she lived whereas her friend died. Survivors guilt is something not many of us think about but for some people it's a reality and this book captured it. I also liked how it showed triggers for Cara that were unexpected such as a dress taking her back to the night. I loved the characters of Ren and Hector and found they complimented Cara and loved that they each had their own struggles but it didn't take away from Cara rather allowed them to find common ground with her.
The setting for this book was magical and I loved the whole idea of a boarding school hidden in the hills and found it was the perfect backdrop for the story carry out.
This book is well worth a read and I highly recommend it.

Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter - I love Denise Hunter and this book was such a great read, I
actually read this in January down by the beach which was the perfect location to read it. The blurb reads:
Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe’s love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram’s maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven—nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy’s heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

Once again Denise has written a great book and I loved how it wasn't focussed on romance, while there was romance themes it was really focussed on sisters rebuilding their relationships and forgiveness. As one of three girls I can't imagine not being close to my sisters and I liked how this book gave me another perspective on my family dynamic.
While I will say this book focussed on Emma and Connor, I didn't feel that Nora and Maddy were left out and enjoyed how their struggles were also focussed on. There is definitely a lot more to their stories than I first thought and I enjoyed seeing how their stories were all intertwined and tangled.
I also like it when books have a setting that has played an important in the history of the characters and Sea Haven was a place where there was a deep history with the characters while also being a neutral ground for them to move forward on.
Overall it's a great read and I found it was the perfect beach holiday book and I loved every chapter of it.
Summer by the Tides is out of May 21st

***As always both of the above books were provided to me in exchange for my honest review thanks to NetGalley

Friday, May 3, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Another week over! I handed in my last class assignment on Wednesday and found out I passed it on Thursday so I am officially over with class assignments. I will go into class for a couple of hours on Thursday but a part from just needing to do 3 weeks of prac and my prac booklet I am done. It's bittersweet for it to be almost over on one hand I can't wait to get out into the industry but on other hand I really don't want to say goodbye to all the amazing people I have met and what I have learnt. I don't particularly want to back to dealing employment agencies, so I am looking for jobs and praying about finding a job now. I do know that God has it all planned out and he will guide me to the right job at the right time it's just a matter of praying and giving it all to him.

I've spent the past 2 weeks doing media release stuff for ReachOut which has been fun and a bit messy. As it's all for Raise Dough (more on that later) I have been getting messy in the kitchen and one of the shoots required me to be covered in flour. I am SO thankful that I get the opportunity to do these media releases and get to share my story.

Now onto Friday Favourites...

Raise Dough - I love baking and over the years I have found it a way to use up the anxious energy I often harbour. I also love ReachOut so of course it seems natural to get involved with Raise Dough to help raise some funds for ReachOut. What I love about it is that there is so many ways to do it and it can be as big or as small as you want it to be. I've already started filling orders and I am hopeful that I will reach my target amount ($300) in the month of May.

ReachOut postcards - at JB hi-fi you can now buy postcards for $2, where proceeds go towards ReachOut. There's 8 designs to collect and they have been drawn by JB hi-fi employees. Grab one and send it to a friend, to show them that you care.

The Next Step A Troupe Extended Ropes Dance - so last week I binged all of season 6 of The Next Step (in order to start preparing for the concert in October) and I loved this dance. The choreography was amazing and I love the song so much so that I downloaded it off of iTunes and it's been on repeat ever since. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of these dancers in person in just over 5 months.

Sweet on You by Becky Wade - I just finished this book and really enjoyed it. I will say that it took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was a good read. The storyline was interesting and I enjoyed getting to know more about Britt and Zander and their history together. It's a book that's about taking chances and also realising that the past shapes people more than you think.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review thanks to Netgalley
The blurb reads:
Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who’s spent the past eighteen months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him–Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

Nude by Nature lip icons moisture shine lipstick trio - on the days  I don't want to wear a bold colour on my lips but still want to wear lipstick, I grab one of these. I really like the shades and how natural they look, they go on smoothly and I get decent coverage with one swipe, the staying power varies between which shade I use but it does last decently considering its natural. They keep my lips moisturised and I love the slightly citrussy scent. Something that I don't often think about when I buy beauty products is the packing and whether they will cope with me throwing them in my bag and dropping them on slate floors, but the metal packaging is really sturdy and I love the magnetic lid so I know I won't have the lid coming off.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Friday Favourites (but on Thursday)

Another week almost over I figured that as tomorrow is Good Friday it feels like the end of the week so I have decided to do Friday Favourites today instead.

I have survived two days of prac and it's going ok, I have come home at the end of each day exhausted and I am so thankful that I am only doing one day a week instead of going fully into it. A part of me wants to be excited about it but honestly I am just going through the motions and counting down the days until I am finished.
I'm also trying to focus on the end goal of finishing my Diploma and applying for jobs. I have yet to hear back from the interview I had two weeks ago and it's not actually crossed my mind much which is nice. I just know that God is in control and he lead me into studying Community Services and he will lead me to the right job, so for now all I can do is apply for jobs, pray and trust in him.

I am looking forward to enjoying this long weekend and it's looking to be family and chocolate filled. Of course we also get our first taste of Winter with storms and cold tempts forecast for tomorrow so I will be trying stay warm and dry. Tomorrow I have church and we have some friend coming for dinner, I am also planning on baking some Easter cookies. On Saturday we have an extended family breakfast which is always fun and it's nice to see everyone plus enjoying yummy food is always a bonus. Then on Sunday it's church again and eating all the chocolate.
I hope everyone has a good Easter and enjoy themselves, onto Friday Favourites....

Sherpa Llama Throw - I always get cold at night in Winter, I kid you not I have at least 5 blankets on my bed at all times during the cooler months plus 2 heat packs and a cat. I saw this throw and figured it was the perfect blanket to go with my quilt cover and you can never have too many blankets around the place. Of course when I bought I placed it on the floor in my room until I could figure where to store it and Rikki has decided it's his and spends most of the day snoozing on it and has turned it into a nest (I swear it was neatly folded!).

Heat Pack Llama - while we're on the subject of llama's I also picked up this heatpack when I got the throw because it was too cute not to purchase and as I said before I need heatpacks. I really love Bed, Bath and Table's heatpacks and find they are the best, I actually have their owl and fox ones and I use them all throughout Winter. I am fussy with heat packs and find that they need to hold the heat well and evenly and these ones do.

Live Nation The Next Step concert - so a few years ago Megan and I saw The Next Step in concert and when they announced their new tour, Megan told me we were going (she actually invited me to the Facebook event haha!). So I signed up for the pre-release tickets and we managed to get great seats (3 rows from the front in the middle), so Megan is now counting down. We reall.y enjoyed them last time and I was in awe of their talent, so even though I don't know all the dancers this time round I'm sure it will be a good concert.

Planet Shoes Mirr boot in black - I live in boots in Winter and this upcoming season a new pair was needed. My last pair were also Planet Shoes and they lasted two years and let me tell you I am not kind on my boots so they were a good investment! I needed a pair that were going to be supportive in the ankle area and could also be dressed up or down (because I wear them everyday). I ended up with the Mirr boot and I really like how classic they are. I have yet to wear them but I am looking forward for the first cool day I can.

Kikki K Metal Twist Ballpoint Pen: Inspiration - so I have a slight stationery addiction and when I saw this pen I just knew I had to have it. I really like how it feels and how smoothly it writes, it's a the type of pen I can see myself using time and time again. It's also refillable, which is great and plus it's just a nice looking pen.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Another week down, this past fortnight has been full on and I wish it would slow down but I don't think it will until next Friday.
Last Wednesday I had my ingrown toenail operated on and it's a relief that it's done, due to genetics
ingrown toenails are just something that I am prone to. When I was 11 I had the right side of my right big toe done and in a lot of circumstances doing one side of toe will prevent the other side of it getting ingrown but not in my case. So after many years of dealing with it and it flaring up recently which required antibiotics I decided to just get it dealt with. The procedure itself doesn't take long, it's more the numbing that takes 30 minutes then the procedure takes 10-15 minutes and after getting it bandaged you're good to go. I then had to drive home with a numb toe, which was interesting to say the least.
Then on last Thursday after class I went back to the doctors to get the bandage changed to a less bulky one and for it to be checked up on, thankfully it was healing nicely and I don't need to go back to the doctors. I've been keeping it covered and not wearing enclosed shoes (I am aiming to start wearing enclosed shoes on Monday as it's a requirement for prac) and so far so good.

I have been working on assignments non stop and thankfully I am passing them all (touch wood), I have the next two class days to spend on assignments and get help from my lecturers if I need to. I also need to participate in a Debriefing role play and do a powerpoint presentation for my Communication's class but I am planning on getting them down this Wednesday. Then I only have to do the second half of my policy assignment and my prac booklet (and my prac hours) and I will be done. It's crazy to think about how close I am to finishing this course and I never thought I would be loving studying so much of course I am relieved that the end is in sight. I also start Prac on Monday but I haven't had much time to think/obsess over it as life has been so busy. I don't think it will really hit me until I am there.

Today I had a job interview, I have been applying for jobs just because as you never know what will come up. I applied for this job last Friday and on Tuesday I had a call asking me to come in for a group interview today. It was a strange interview as there was 6 of us sitting around a table with 2 interviewers and they would ask the group a question and then we answer/discuss it. I am unsure how I went and while I am qualified for the job a part of me isn't sure about it. I figure I will leave it up to God to decide about it and try not to obsess over it too much and know that he is in control.
So that's been my life lately, now onto Friday Favourites:

Laila Flutter Sleeve Top - another Jeanswest purchase, I am slowly getting ready for Winter and I am always after some nice tops that I wear under jackets. This one caught my eye but after trying the navy alone I was hesitant to buy it though I still liked it, so I returned with mum and tried it back on it along with the pink (which looks white online and its more an off white in person) and she really liked them (sometimes you just need a second opinion!). I ended up buying both as I figure it will be a good one to wear on prac as it can be dressed up or down depending on what I wear.

Five Feet Apart (movie) - I saw this on Sunday with my mum and we both thought the movie was great! I am always hesitant to see movies after I had read the book, but Five Feet Apart was true to the book and really well done. I think it helped that they had tried to make the film as medically accurate as possible in regards to Cystic Fibrosis and the treatments that they do and it shows that they had Claire Wineland (a youtuber and inspirational speaker who had Cystic Fibrosis and passed away due to complications from a lung transplant last year) on board as a consultant. I know many people think this film is the next 'Fault in Our Stars' but I can honestly say that it's not, while it may not be based on a true stories what the characters go through is real for those with Cystic Fibrosis. I loved this film and highly recommend that you go see it.

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck - the blurb reads:
When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.
Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House. 
This book is another beautiful story by Rachel Hauck and I loved reading it. The moment I finished reading the book I was speechless as it was such an amazing read. I loved the character of Beck and how she is struggling with so much in her life and afraid to face her challenges head on, even though in order to move on she has to. I loved the story of Everleigh and how despite not wanting her challenges to hold her back they were but once she found the courage she realised just how strong she was. This is a story of two women decades apart finding their strength and courage to move on from their pasts and create the amazing futures that they deserve.
The house plays such a key role in the book and there were times where I wished the house was real so I could walk through it and soak up the history within the walls.
This book is a must read if you are after something that will stay with you long after you have finished the story.
***I was provided with a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler - the blurb reads:
The trace amount of alcohol in her bloodstream. The tremendous amount of guilt on her shoulders. A severely scarred face that is a daily reminder of the car crash that killed her sister. But when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died, the shocking truth might be as jarring as the crunch

of metal.
It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in a car crash that killed her older sister, Rachel, and left her own face terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it is quickly consuming her.
As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the café down the street. There she meets Fig—blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious—who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends—including Cooper, the artistic boy who’s always on Mia’s mind—she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia starts to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the awful night Rachel died.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this book but I found myself really enjoying it. All the characters had their scars (some visible some not) and I loved how they embraced them and each other. Mia was a really likeable character who was trying to figure out what happened on the night the car crash happened while also trying to get to know this strange women who is her grandmother and has her own guilt. I loved Fig and how she took Mia under her wing and didn't ask questions or expect anything in return. It's a story about finding yourself but also helping others and realising that we all have scars some just more visible than others.
***I was provided with a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hemp Hand Protector - I never thought I would be one of those girls who applies hand cream and actually enjoys doing it. I found myself noticing dry patches and calluses on my hands and realise maybe I should moisturise my hands only all the hand creams I have used in the past don't absorb and leave my hands feeling sticky. I went into The Body Shop and asked what they recommended as I love their shower gels and body butters, the girl pointed me to this product and after I had tried it I was sold. It's thick but absorbs quickly and has beeswax in it so it doesn't leave my hands feeling sticky after using it. I apply it before bed most nights and I am noticing a huge difference.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Can't believe another week is over!
Today I fortunate enough to catch up with K one of the directors from ReachOut who was over to give a speech, so we got lunch today which was nice. I loved finding out what was going in the ReachOut office and just chatting in general.
After not being on antibiotics for over 10 years until a few months ago (for an ear infection) I am back on another round of antibiotics this time due to an ingrown toenail, which will hopefully be (finally) dealt with on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully as one side of the nail has already been done (when I was 11), it should be a minor procedure and not too bad, of course I won't be able to wear enclosed shoes for a week but all things considering I'm not going to complain.
I have also been dealing with dizzy spells, which are really not fun. I did think it was a side affect from the antibiotics but after a call to my doctor and being told that it's not, I am just hoping it's just a passing virus.
I start doing one day week of prac on the 8th of April, which means during the block placement I will get to do 4 days instead of full time for 4 weeks. I find between my anxiety and dyspraxia I don't have as much stamina compared to most people so 4 days is plenty plus by easing in, my anxiety levels should be minimal.

Onto Friday Favourites:

ASICS Gel Flux 5 Womens T861N 9601 (shoe) - so this year I have started going to the gym, 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes and so far so good. But I noticed that after every session my ankle would ache and it wasn't just an ache because I had gone to the gym ache but a bone ache that reminded me of when I first broke it. I soon realised that my shoes were the culprit, I had actually bought a pair of skechers runners in the mid year sales last year so it wasn't because they were old, they just weren't supportive enough for my workouts (which aren't exactly intense). I decided a new pair of shoes was needed, preferably a pair that had good ankle support, so I went to my local Jim Kidd store as they were having a sale and asked what they recommended in my price range and I ended up with this shoe. Since wearing them my ankle is happier and isn't aching, they are supportive and I have to admit I like the colour combination (grey and a pale turquoise).

The Village (TV show) - this show is really good and heart warming, I had tears in my eyes watching it multiple times. I just love how all the characters lives are intertwined and how supportive they are of each other. I'm looking forward to seeing how storylines develop and what happens next.

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink in Lover - I treated myself to this lipstick the other day as I needed a pick me up and I loving it. The colour is really nice and a nice dark pink and perfect for a pop of colour. This lipstick is really lasts all day, as in I apply it at 9.30am and by 9.30pm it still looks decent, plus its not too drying either like some matte lipsticks. I will say it can be hard to remove but with micellar water it should come right off.

Audien & Echosmith: Favorite Sound -  this song has been on repeat for me lately and I am loving it, it's catchy and the lyrics are great too.
The Afters Lighting - another song that has been on repeat, it's such an upbeat song and has a bit of country feel to it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Speaking Up - My experiences with Cyber Bullying

I try to be vocal about my struggles, I have openly posted about my journey with anxiety and then later my experiences with bullying. But I still struggle with going into specific areas within those journeys and for me talking about my experiences with cyber bullying is really hard and I am ashamed of it.
So for me to agree to do a media release with ReachOut and sharing my cyber bullying experience is a big deal, so it only made sense to share it here as well.
My original post about my experiences with bullying is here if you want to read it first.

It happened 9/10 years ago, Facebook was still relatively new and my only experiences with knowing what cyber bullying was was from reading a young adult novel (Destroying Avalon). I remember reading the book and feeling relieved that it was the one type of bullying I hadn't experienced as it sounded horrible and soul destroying. With in person bullying I knew I could escape to home and hide, it was my safe space and the one place that I could shut out the world. With cyber bullying though it brought it into my house and my safe space and I couldn't shut it out.

I didn't have a smart phone and they weren't something that everyone had, I didn't see the need to be connected to the internet 24/7 and it was a good thing. The computer we had was in the main living area, which meant that my parents could see what was happening as they walked by and there was no privacy. I had only just gotten Facebook and as was the case you were friends with everyone from your grade at your school, this meant I was Facebook friends with the person who bullied me.

The person who bullied me had his own issues and decided to take it out on me, we had science class together and other students took notice of us talking - he was a bit of an outsider and I was being nice. The students then thought I had a crush on him and started to jokingly tease me and him about it, I brushed it off and thought nothing of it.
I remember logging on Facebook and seeing that I had a message in my inbox from this guy and without hesitation I opened it. The words that filled the screen and  my mind were horrible and made me want to hide. I kept rereading them and the more I did the more they sank into my mind and I started to believe them. I didn't respond and I could feel the colour draining out of my face. My parents took notice of what I was reading and tried to contact the school but as it was a Friday afternoon they couldn't get through. On the Monday morning they both went in and said that something needed to be done but as it was the first incident of cyber bullying they had experienced they said they couldn't do anything as it was happening out of school hours (despite being between two students regarding events happening during school hours). I spoke to the principal and was told to be civil to this guy and to pretend like nothing had happened.
The students continued to tease me and this guy, about my supposed crush I had on him and each time he would lash out at me on social media. What was upsetting was at school this guy was civil to me and acted like nothing was wrong but on social media he was dark and his words would cut me. He sent a message that was rather long and terrified both me and my parents (I have blanked out exactly what it said) so my dad screenshotted it and emailed it to the school demanding that something had to be done about it. The boy's parents were brought in and they handled it along with the school, which meant the bullying finally stopped but the damage had already been done.

While the bullying had stopped happening to me, this boy got crafty and proceeded to bully more students over the Summer holidays using a fake Facebook account. It was reported to the school and I (thankfully) haven't seen this guy since and I hope I never do.

The cyber bullying experience has had lasting damage on me and I kept it hidden throughout the rest of my high school years (and beyond). I was getting bullied through a computer screen which was embarrassing, and honestly shouldn't it have made it hurt less as I wasn't dealing with it all face to face? With cyber bullying it brings it into your safe spaces and it gets in your head as you can't seem to pull away from the words on the screen. You can also clearly see who is bullying you face to face but online you never quite know and that makes it worse as you have no idea who you are up against.

Even now, I have this fear of Facebook messages especially if they are from someone who I haven't spoken to in a long time or aren't that close to. I guess it's always in the back in my mind that someone I thought I knew could do something similar.
I sometimes wonder if I had spoken up about it at school and told other people, if the guy would've stopped the cyber bullying and other kids wouldn't have had to deal with what I did after he had moved on from me. Thankfully the school put better policies and practices in place after that year and they learnt how to handle it better. In a twisted way I am thankful that it happened to me, someone who had strong support networks and parents who could advocate for me and weren't afraid to make some noise to get something done about it. 

1 in 4 young people will be bullied and just over a third of them will experience cyberbullying so what can you do to prevent it? 

  •  Talk to them about what is cyberbullying. Many young people think that cyberbullying is just mean messages and comments repeatedly but it's not. It's comments that can be taken the wrong way, getting excluded from events, and being tagged in cruel memes. One thing to realise is that things can be interpreted in different ways over social media and we need to understand that things that may have been done with a good intention can be taken the wrong way. 
  • Be friends with them on their social media accounts like Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If that's crossing a line or not something you (or they) don't want to do, ask a family friend or extended family member to keep an eye on their accounts for you and let you know if they are doing anything out of character or there's anything that doesn't sit right with them. 
  • When media stories come up about cyberbullying or concerns about social media talk to them about it. Ask if they can relate and let them know you are there for them, remind them that no one deserves to be bullied over the internet or in person. Use this as a learning opportunity and a chance to educate them and yourself. 
  • If they are in still in school, ask about where their school stands on cyberbullying and what their policies and procedures are. If they do experience cyberbullying know what can be done about it and where you may need to step in to provide guidance and support. 
  •  Educate yourself on support services that are available there's: ReachOut, Headspace, Lifeline and Kids Helpline. All of which have programs and services available to help teens and young adults going through tough times. 
The important thing to remember is that just because the bullying stops doesn't mean that the damage goes away and it won't have lasting effects on the victim. By talking about it more we can stop it from happening and help those who have gone through it. I am done with hiding my experiences and I am finally almost ten years later ready to speak up about it.

SBS interview is here and the Channel 10 interview is here   

Friday, March 8, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Happy International Womens Day! Hope everyone found a way to celebrate and acknowledge all those awesome women in our lives today :)

I think I am finally recovered from last weekend! I had so much fun and it was a great experience, you can read all about it here.
This week I handed in two assignments, had a psych appointment and just tried to keep my mind busy. I am due to start my prac in a couple of weeks and as I am doing it part time I need to start it early, my plan is to do Monday and Tuesday as prac days then Wednesday and Thursday are class days and on Friday I will do some self care in the morning followed by assignments. I'm trying not to think about it and will cross that bridge when it gets closer.

I'm also in the process of writing a major post that will (hopefully) get published on Monday, I'm in the editing stages of it now and if everything goes to plan it will be live Monday.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Northern Rescue - this is one of my new favourite shows on Netflix and it is SO good. It's Canadian show all about family and has so much depth to it. I am halfway through and trying to savour it as there's only 10 episodes (hoping for a second season) but it's well worth a watch.

Sculpey - not a new favourite but one I have been using a lot recently. I love making things out of polymer clay and this the brand I use. There's so many colours and it's perfect for playing around and experimenting with. I also find it's great for all the tiny things I like to make and it holds small detail well. I have been asked if it leaves a chemical smell in the oven and it doesn't smell in the slightest while baking nor does it leave a chemical smell in the oven.

LOQI reusable shopping bags - with plastic bags now non existent I am finding myself needing to always have a reusable shopping bag on me, of course space is at a premium in my handbag and it's another thing to carry. Thankfully LOQI shopping bags solve my problems, they fold down flat, only weigh 55grms, can carry up to 20kg and are water resistant as well plus they come in adorable patterns as well. I actually now have two on me one with cats on it and this one that I bought on my trip as I loved the pattern and hadn't seen it around. They cost between $15 and $20 but the quality is great and I am always happy to spend more on something I know I will use.

Pinata Quilt Cover - this was actually my Christmas present from my parents and even now I still love it the day I put it on! I don't like change but after almost 10 years I wasn't feeling my old quilt cover, so I started to keep an eye out for a new one. I had been keeping an eye out for a few months and had yet to see anything I like but everyone in the stores had told me you will know when you see it. One of the issues I had with any quilt cover I got, was that it had to match/compliment the feature wall in my room which is pale (apple) green. Then one day we (Mum and I) were walking by Bed Bath N Table and saw this one on display in the window and we both loved it plus it had the right green in it. I love the embroidery (and my charm bracelet has yet to get caught on it, as it's done so tightly) and it really matches my room, it's also 'grown up' while being fun and the llamas on it are a nice touch.

Kikki K Canvas Tote Bag: There She Is - I find canvas bags are great for various purposes (book bag, beach bag etc.) and I always have a few around, and use them regularly. This one is part of the new range at Kikki K and it's a great bag, the straps are sturdy and I love the print and positive message on it. I actually use it when I go to the gym to carry my water bottle, keys, phone etc.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Media Release Weekend Recap

What a crazy weekend all for 20 seconds of fame, not that I am complaining :)
This was my fourth trip over east for ReachOut work and I like to think I have all the details down from arriving at the airport to catching a cab from the airport and making sure to get the most out of my trip.

I spent Friday morning doing an assignment and trying not feel anxious about flying out that afternoon, I left for the airport at 1.30pm and flew out at 3.20pm. The flight was fairly uneventful, I watched 1.5 movies and chatted to the person sitting next to me. I arrived at 10.30pm and caught a taxi to my hotel, but it turned out within 1km of each other there was two hotels of the same chain with a similar name. I got directions to the other hotel and decided as it was so humid and there was lots of people around I would walk, of course I quickly got lost (no sense of direction) so I managed to flag down a taxi and eventually got to my hotel and checked in. I was feeling very sticky due to the humidity so I grabbed a shower and went to bed.
I struggled to sleep as my body clock was telling me it was far to early to sleep but I managed to get a few hours.

The next day I woke up and got dressed, I had all of Saturday to explore and I wanted to make the
most of it. In my mind I knew what I wanted to do but at the same time I wanted to go with the flow and see what happened. I looked up directions to a museum on my phone and figured I would grab breakfast along the way as it didn't open until 10.00am and it was only just after 9.00am. I stopped at a café and grabbed a ham and cheese croissant and sat down to enjoy it, while responding to some Facebook messages. I continued on my way to the museum and found it easily, I paid the entrance fee and started to
explore. It was four stories filled so many awesome and interesting things, everywhere I turned I saw something interesting. I spent the morning there before exiting through the gift shop (I purchased a small vase and reusable shopping bag) and deciding to enjoy lunch at the museum café.

I had no idea what to do after lunch so I started walking and tried to get my bearings, I walked through china town and eventually found a Coles where I bought a drink and a couple of other items.

I walked back down to where my hotel was and realised that there was large park/square bordered by cafes and restaurants next to it, so I walked there and grabbed some gelato before sitting down to people watch. I eventually made my way to the Maritime Museum and checked that out, by this point my feet were killing me and I just wanted to sit down. At the playground there was this stream where kids were running through and parents were sitting with their feet in the water so I took off my shoes and put my feet in the water and it was amazing. I eventually made it back to my hotel for an hour or so before I went out to dinner.

I was trying to find a place on the square where a solo diner wouldn't look out of place that wasn't too
expensive and casual, I eventually found a burger place and it was amazing. I ended up ordering the classic fried chicken burger and fries and both were amazing. The fried chicken didn't taste oily and was crisp which made the burger and the fries were freshly made (not frozen like the ones you get at McDonalds) and were the best I have had. I wanted to try one of their frozen custards but I was so full so I had to pass.
I came back to the hotel and decided to have a quiet night as I knew that the next day would be full on.

The next day, I got dressed ready for the media release, I had been told not wear anything too bold or
with too many patterns so the safest bet was to
wear my ReachOut shirt, jeans and black flats. I walked to a café for breakfast and ordered the 'breakfast bruschetta' which was really nice and filling, especially as I wanted to have something substantial for breakfast as I wasn't sure how long the media release could go on for.
I checked out of the hotel and took a cab to the ReachOut offices as I had to be there at 10.30am. I caught up with the CEO Ash, T the media release person and met Bec the other person who would be sharing their story. I had been told that there could anywhere from no TV stations to 5 TV stations in the office, so when 2 TV stations showed up it was a relief. We had a quick briefing with how the release would go and then it started.
Ash spoke to both of the TV stations together and gave a statement to do with stats regarding the research. Then afterwards the TV stations set up in 2 separate areas and Bec and I each gave an interview one on one with them. I went with SBS first and was asked various questions about my experiences with bullying and who I turned to for help. I also had to do some 'acting' like pretending to work on a laptop.
We then switched and I went with channel 10, which was much the same questions along with some 'acting'. All in all it probably took an hour - an hour and a half from start to finish and I couldn't believe how much work goes into behind the scenes of a media release.

As I wasn't flying out until much later that afternoon I decided to catch a cab to check out some markets near the harbour and did some more shopping.
I caught a cab to the airport and started my journey home, the flight was fairly uneventful and I arrived home at 6.10pm ready to settle back into my routine.

I had so much fun and I am SO thankful to ReachOut for flying me over all for my 20 seconds of fame and getting to share my experiences.

SBS interview is here and the Channel 10 interview is here    .

Friday, February 22, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

I meant to post this two weeks ago but at the end of the week I crashed and it never happened.
So much has happened lately and I can't believe that next week it will be March which is crazy!

I am settling back into TAFE and this semester feels a lot less material wise or maybe it's because it's my 3rd semester and things aren't as overwhelming.
I'm on campus Wednesdays and Thursdays but the days aren't as long as last semester (I actually don't have to do a unit as I did it in Cert. 4 which means I finish at 2.00pm on Thursdays instead of 3.30pm)  though I do find myself still exhausted and wanting to hibernate. My anxiety levels have been relatively low considering but they are peaking when it comes to thinking about my prac placement. I have a new course coordinator who is really pushing for us to have our placements by week 7, which is great except I have no idea what I want to do. I like the idea of doing student support but it's hard area to find a placement in and a part from that I just feel lost. For my Cert. 4 I went to a local community centre which was great and it showed me how diverse a community centre can be and the impact it can have on the community. I enjoyed it but found I spent quite a bit of time sitting around not doing much when there wasn't any programs running. Then last semester I did ReachOut forum moderating which is what I filled out my prac booklet with and G Team for the in person. The ReachOut moderating was easy as it was what I already do and the G Team was way out of my comfort zone but I really enjoyed it and you can't experience anything else like it.
I guess I find myself feeling lost with it all as I have no idea what direction I should be looking at, I am also starting to get anxious about finding employment at the end of the course. I have said all along though that God guided me to this course and he will guide me into the right job. If you guys could please pray about my prac placement and future employment that would be great.

Next weekend is going to be interesting as I fly over east to help ReachOut with a media release. I am super excited about doing it but also a bit nervous, thankfully the media person at ReachOut is really nice and will be with me every step of the way.
I am unfortunately missing church camp because of the trip but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there will be other camps, but I am sad to be missing all the fun! I was meant to be hosting the quiz night which is my job but as I am unable to be there I am giving responsibility to someone else, mind you considering I have done all the work (including writing the questions, doing the power point and putting together the answer sheets) it's still my quiz I just won't be the one calling out the questions.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Scrubs - I LOVE this show so much, it's the only show that has made me cry of laugher and cry of sadness. It's probably up there in my top 10 favourite tv shows and I am always up for rewatching it so when Stan recently put up all the episodes at the start of the month just when I was going back to my studies it was the perfect way to unwind and deal with my anxieties. If you're going to watch it for the first time my advice is to treat the 8th season as the final season and then see the 9th season as a spinoff as it makes more sense.

Vanilla, Musk and Sandalwood Tahitian Flower candle - I went into Dusk the other day for a quick look around and came out with two of these candles (one for me and one for my sister, it was cheaper in my mind to buy 2 for $60...). I LOVE this scent and when I smelt it I had to have it, it kinda reminds me of this perfume but better and with more layers. I love Dusk's soy candles (the bulk of my candles are their soy ones) and find they burn cleaner plus they all smell amazing and the scents linger after you've used them.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Clear Skin and Acne Control Kit 3 Pack - my skin really responds to tea tree oil and I've been using the medicated gel for a long time. But after some unexplained breakouts I decided maybe I should try some of the other products in the range and came across this kit. I've been using the face wash (or wipes) followed by the moisturiser and the gel on any breakouts each night and so far so good.

Jeanswest Tummy Trimmer Slim Straight Jeans - hands down my favourite jeans ever, they are so comfy and I live in these jeans. I have a bit of  stomach and can feel self conscious about it at times but these jeans being high waisted mean they flatter and control my figure. Each year I buy two pairs in black and indigo and they last me all year (sometimes I get splits in the inner thigh area but I just sew them up and no one notices). Jeanswest currently has 40% off store wide at the moment so it's a great time to buy them (and the cardigan below).

Giselle Waterfall Cardigan - is it weird to already be thinking about my winter wardrobe? I was after
a new black cardigan and this one caught my eye and the moment I tried it on I knew I had to have it. The fabric is the perfect weight and doesn't pill which is good, plus it just looks super flattering and will be great for when it starts to get cooler.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

It's been a crazy week and I have been recovering from catering the youth group camp, which was fun but really tiring.
I have just under 2 weeks until I go back to TAFE (I go back on the 6th of Feb) and something that has been on my mind is employment after I finish my diploma. I really don't want to go back to unemployment and find it really anxiety inducing just thinking about it. I'm giving all of my worries to God though and he lead me into Community Services so I know that he will lead me into the right job, but it doesn't stop me from worrying about it.

Next week is looking like a fun week, I am going to friends house on Monday afternoon for a BBQ as it's a public holiday. I am bringing along my famous caramel slice as it's always requested and if I don't bring it, I am pretty sure I will get disowned from the friend group haha.
Then on Thursday we are going to the science museum, despite not being a science minded person I really love going to see the exhibits and find it so interesting. I am definitely a hands on learner and always leave having learnt so much.
On Friday I am hoping to go the movies to see the film The Hate U Give as I loved the book and it looks like a good film.
It's looking to be a fun week before I get back into the studying mindset, which I am actually looking forward to if I am being honest so remind me of that when I am doing 5 assignments at once...

Onto Friday Favourites:
Tarte Amazonian clay 12 hour blush in Exposed - I rarely wear blush (for me its either blush or lipstick never both and I always pick lipstick) but I do wear it on special occasions and I wanted a new blush that wasn't too bold or intense (or would clash with one of my many lipsticks and make me look like a clown haha!). I decided to give Tarte's best selling blush a go and grabbed it in Exposed. It's good pigment and blends in great, I really love it goes on and it gives me a healthy glow without being to in your face.

Smash Bento Box - new year new study accessories! I am back to study in just under two weeks and I thought a new lunch box was in order. This lunch box caught my eye and I have a couple of other smash lunch box products that I use and love. I love how this box has compartments and the size is decent but not too big. I got it in in turquoise to match two of my other smash lunch containers and I'm looking forward to using it.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing - I am picky when it comes to carrot cake (or maybe I am just a purist?) in my mind carrot cake should not have dried fruit, pineapple or even coconut in it, unfortunately almost all of the recipes I read contain at least one of the above but in my mind it should be carrots and walnuts that's it. This recipe popped up on my Facebook feed and it looked perfect to me of course some carrot cake recipes can be too oily or dry and can be lacking in flavour so I held my breath as I was making it but it turned out amazing. It tasted great and was a super easy non complicated recipe, the hardest part was grating the carrots. I did use half the amount of walnuts specified as that's all I had (I actually doubled the recipe) but it still turned out great, if you are after a carrot cake recipe them I suggest making this one.

Coroner (TV show) - I love Canadian tv shows and when I heard of this show I had to start watching it and I'm really enjoying it. It feels like a more realistic version of the TV show Bones but not as bloody. I love the focus on the mother and son relationship and their struggles, I though maybe they would ignore that storyline after the first episode but it's been great to see that remain in focus so far. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes and see what happens next.

Five Feet Apart (book) - I loved this book so much and can't wait for the movie to come out in March (I have already told Jocelyn I am dragging her to it whether she likes it or not). It was a great story and I love how it brings light to a chronic condition that isn't well known. While I have been aware of Cystic Fibrosis, I didn't know just how serious it could be and the complications it can have on someone's life. It's definitely a good read and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Youth Group Camp Catering Recap

I have just gotten back from catering the youth group camp and I am exhausted but I thought I would do a recap before things get fuzzy.
I catered last years camp to much success and then I offered to cater this years camp if I was able (which I was). I was actually more stressed catering this time round as it was more people and it wasn't at the church unlike last years. I also didn't know the exact numbers until the Monday afternoon before. I ended up catering for around 35 (including myself) and that included 22 teens and the rest were leaders, all with varying appetites!
The camp went from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon and I had to do 2 dinners (we got fish and chips for dinner the first night), 2 lunches, 3 breakfasts and snacks.
I sat down with A (the organiser of the camp) Monday before the camp and told him my menu based on last years menu with a few tweaks and differences. I actually typed it up in a table along including what ingredients I would need and prep required, he was really impressed with my organision and couldn't believe how well thought out it was. 
A bought the things I wouldn't need prior or would require refrigeration and I did the rest of the shopping on Thursday and then spent Friday prepping and doing as much in advance as possible. I shredded the chicken for Sunday lunch, grated carrot (in the food processor), shredded lettuce, baked brownies, pre weighed ingredients for the cinnamon scrolls, made nacho mince and did a few other things that helped make life easier.
Also the camp was nut free to make things easier and the only other dietary requirement was one person who was pescatarian (doesn't eat meat but eats fish), so I did a vegetarian nacho mix for her on Sunday night and fried fish for her on Monday.

This was the menu:
Breakfast - cereal and toast
Lunch - chicken and salad rolls with avocado.
Dinner - nachos followed by cinnamon scrolls.

Breakfast - bacon, eggs and toast
Lunch - salami, ham and salad wraps
Dinner - sausages, potato salad, garden salad and a crunchy salad (bought from Aldi) followed by brownies

Breakfast - cereal and toast

Snacks (morning tea and supper) were a mix of the following:
cookie sticks, fruit (grapes, apples, oranges and watermelon), microwave popcorn, shapes biscuits, jatz crackers, hummus and carrot sticks and rice crackers.

We brought down everything except the bread, bread rolls and milk which we bought down there so they would be fresh.

Breakfast was at 8.30am, lunch was at 1.00pm and dinner was at 6.00pm. I spent the mornings doing stuff in the kitchen and then during the afternoons I would hang with the teens before starting dinner at 5.00pm. Night times I would put out the supper and then do whatever depending on what was required.

The camp was at a church campsite 2.5 hours away on the beach and the kitchen had an amazing view of the beach which was nice. It was also very hot on Sunday so it was great to be down on the coast.

The theme of the camp was Mission Impossible and I was impressed by the activities that were put on. The leaders had profiles written about them, with various characteristics (that they were required to fulfil throughout the camp) and the teens had to figure out who were the three moles. This was done through challenges and cracking codes.

The mornings they had talks and a few games that helped them earn points for their teams (which there were three of).

The first night they had a session followed by supper and the kids played spotlight among themselves.

On the second day (but first full day) after morning tea they had 5 (I think) stations they had to move through but if they failed one they had to go back to the previous. These were gross challenges and I was happy to be in the kitchen and watching from afar. One was playing ultimate frisbee using bananas, another was crawling through flour and water mixed together (thankfully these challenges were done on the beach) and there were a few others.
After lunch we drove to another beach where some inflatables obstacles were set up not far from shore and they all had fun climbing on those before we grabbed an ice cream and they did a photo scavenger hunt in their groups.
After dinner  and another session, there was meant to be a big capture the flag game but a lot of the teens were exhausted so they played board games instead.

The third day the morning was the same but instead of going anywhere we stayed at the beach and the senior pastor brought down his boat for the day and the teens went sea biscuiting (I went on the boat) until we went to one of the best ice cream places for ice cream and ultimate frisbee.
That last night there were 3 stations and one of the stations required them to work out a code and use it to "hack" into a computer which would give them more clues. Of course this was challenging as they had to try not to get caught by the leaders and provide excuses as to why they were in these areas. Two of the leaders had accents, one a German one the other a Russian one and it was hilarious seeing them interact and the teens had no idea what to think.
Another station involved a VR headset and defusing bombs and the other station required them to dodge lasers and compete in challenges.

The final day was clean up and the winning team was announced before morning tea and heading home via a lunch stop.

I arrived home at 2.30pm and immediately unpacked and did a load of washing before hugging a very clingy ginger cat then collapsing and eventually heading to bed early.

Catering a camp is no easy task but thankfully the leaders and teens made things a lot easier and were always so eager to help and thankful to me for doing it, which makes all the difference (also I may not have stashed some lollies in the kitchen haha).

Friday, January 11, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

This week has been a bit of a lazy one and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I got back from a trip away on Tuesday - recap here and I really tried to disconnect and silenced a lot of group chats and did minimal social media.
The antibiotics while they did help my ear it is still inflamed so I am now on ear drops for both ears as they are both inflamed. Thankfully I had to see my doctor anyway to get a referral so it meant I didn't need to book another appointment and could just bring up when I was already there. I was told that maybe I shouldn't have put my head under the water when I went swimming ooops.

Mary Poppins Returns - I grew up watching Mary Poppins and I remember my mum introducing me to the film when I was home sick from school one day. I was in awe of how they combined animation and real life and wanted to jump into the film. Of course my mum and my sisters had to go see Mary Poppins Returns as soon as it came out. It's a beautiful film and Emily Blunt plays a great Mary Poppins, they also tried to keep the style of film as close to the original as possible and it shows. It's a great film for the whole family and one that is worth seeing.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater  - sometimes your face just needs a refresh or a mid day pick me up and this spray is amazing. I love the scent and it really does refresh and hydrate your skin. I also discovered it can be used as an after sun spray, when you get a bit sunburnt at the beach and forget to bring your aloe vera gel.

Instant Family - Another movie that I couldn't resist seeing the movies. Its a film where you will laugh and cry and will really tug on your heartstrings. Overall it was an amazing film based on a true story and one that's well worth going to see and great for the whole family.

Leather Purse Gold Detail: Pink - Jocelyn got me this for me Christmas and I love it. I was able to get rid of my bulky purse and free up a lot of space in my bag. It's a good size and fits quite a bit in it, the leather feels nice and its great quality.  She also got it monogrammed for me which adds a great personal touch and makes me love it even more.

Every Hit Song From 2018 Mashup - I love these mashups and this one was so fun and well worth a watch.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Beach Holiday Recap

I have just spent a lovely week down south enjoying a family holiday :) It's been a few years since we have all been together for a week doing whatever we want and relaxing.
My church is fortunate to be able to hold a campsite for a week each January for those who wish to come down and stay for however long as they please. It's dorm style accommodation with a shared kitchen, games room, tennis courts and ablutions and it's located within metres of a our own private beach. There's actually lots of campsites that back onto this stretch of beach and it's been nicknamed the 'Holy Mile' by the locals. Different church denominations and not for profit groups have a campsite and throughout the year various groups can take advantage of the facilities. I am actually going down there next Saturday to cater our Youth Group's camp and in March we have our annual church camp there too.

On Wednesday we drove down to the campsite and were the first ones to arrive, we actually took two separate cars which made things easier. It was Jocelyn, Mum and I in her car and Megan and Dad in his. We arrived down at 2.30pm despite making a detour via a shopping centre where we got side tracked with the sales at Peter Alexander and to grab lunch for the road. A few other families were arriving that night too and we ended up combining our resources for dinner and we made Nachos there was 19 of us and it was great to have a big family meal to kick things off.

Thursday the weather was cool and Megan and Dad went into town to grab a few things so Mum,
Jocelyn and I along with 3 others went into a town near the wine region. We got to walk along the main strip and explore all the little shops with different wares. I bought a pair of silver earrings which were locally made and some fudge from the fudge factory.
On the way back we stopped in another little town that had statues of cows all through it, we grabbed lunch at the local bakery and looked in a soap store and another gift shop.
At 3.00pm everyone who was staying at the campsite met at a local ice cream shop for an afternoon treat, it was super packed but as always the ice cream was worth the wait.
At night after we dinner and the kids were in bed we would play board games and chat. Bannagrams was the popular choice but I always ended up reading as I never felt like thinking much.

Friday the weather still wasn't great so Dad suggested we go explore a cave, when we got to the cave to pay for the tour we were told the next availability wasn't until 11.30am so we bought tickets for that session and went into a nearby surf town to grab a drink and watch the surfers catch waves. We eventually returned to the cave ready for the tour, the actual tour portion wasn't that long - about 15 minutes and we were able to explore the cave at our own leisure. Megan does not like steps or confined spaces so we bribed her down with hot chips afterwards and she and Dad stayed together and didn't go to far from the entrance while Jocelyn, Mum and I explored the cave. At the deepest point the cave was 37 metres and there was a lot of stairs and walking through tight spaces! It was a fun experience and it was honestly like a whole different world down there. It took us about an hour to walk through all the cave and we were exhausted by the end of it. As we had bribed Megan with chips and she had succeeded in doing the cave we decided to stop off at a fish pub on the way back for fish and chips. It was a lovely meal and we all enjoyed it, before going back to the campsite for a much deserved rest.
Our afternoons always included sitting outside either on the grass near the beach or in a shady spot somewhere reading and relaxing. We also did lots of walks along the beach and I collected lots of tiny shells for a craft project. I read 3 books during the holiday and all mentioned the beach at some point during the stories which was amusing.

Saturday the weather was finally starting to improve  and Jocelyn, Mum and I went to some markets at a town hall nearby then we dropped Jocelyn off back at camp before going into the town closest to the campsite to meet Dad and Megan. We shared two pieces of vanilla slice and Mum and I did some shopping. I ended up buying some bathers as I needed a new pair and it was easier said than done! There was a bather shop in the town which I really like and had often looked in, being big busted finding bathers that are supportive, modest, that I like  and don't break the bank can be hard. I tried on so many bather tops before eventually settling on a royal blue tankini top with black bather bottoms. I ended up spending $125 in total but I maybe buy bathers once ever 3 years if that so it's justified.

Sunday we went to church followed by grabbing some more groceries and in the afternoon I actually swam at the beach. I'm not a huge beach person, so I maybe swim at the beach once or twice a year if that, but the weather was warm and the beach was perfect so I didn't need much convincing to swim. A lot of people were leaving Sunday as they had chosen to come down for a few nights or just for the weekend so the campsite was rather quiet and there was only 10 of us at the campsite that night compared to almost 30 on previous nights!
That night we saw a lot of wildlife including: 3 possums that loved to jump and play on the roofs of the dorms, 3 frogs one of which decided that the ladies bathroom was a nice place to hang out and a lizard (it was super small so we think it was a skink) when we were showering after the beach. We also saw a stingray that came into the shallows while we were swimming, though we had seen a few previously but they were from a distance  

Monday was our last full day the campsite and Megan, Mum, a friend and I decided to go the cheese factory followed by the chocolate factory in the morning. The region where we were is known for amazing food and wine but as none of us are big wine drinkers we had to settle for the food side of things. I bought some yummy brie cheese which was super creamy and perfect. I bought a 250 gram wheel of it to save for later and 150 gram wedge of it that we enjoyed that night. Then we went to the chocolate factory and lets be honest we really went for the free samples as I can't tell the difference between it and normal Cadbury dairymilk haha!
I also went for my second swim of the holiday and I ran into someone I did G Team with who was staying at one of the cottages on the campsite and it turns out she is married to my Mum's second cousin (so extremely distant relative) and was there with her husband (my granddad's cousins kid) 3 daughters, son in law and granddaughter. It's such a small world and it was great to see a familiar face and chat about our experience at G Team.
That afternoon we did one last trip to the ice cream shop before coming back to the campsite to enjoy our last night.

Tuesday we left the campsite at 9.00am to head home and we arrived home at lunchtime. It was such a lovely holiday and sometimes you just need to take a break and recharge, but there's no place like home and I missed Rikki (he also missed me to from the looks of things) and my own bed.