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Do you ever feel as though your passion is a hot air balloon?

I totally do.

It’s beautiful and buoyant. It rises above all other things and spurs you on to great heights. It’s ignited by a flame that burns deep within and floats dreamily along of it’s own accord, taking you along for the ride. This is the poetic facet of passion. This is the fun part. What people don’t tell you about passion is that it fucking sucks sometimes, too.

Hot air balloons catch on fire. They spontaneously combust. They get buffeted around in the wind and rides get cancelled when the weather is rough. This for me is parallel to my passion, which of course is writing. When the north winds blow a little too hard, the rain starts to fall and the hydrogen ignites, all my hopes and dreams tend to go up in smoke along with the balloon until Valentine Balloon Tours commissions a new design and we’re released into the wild once more.

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I hate this up-and-down pattern. When I’m in a stinking, fuddled, fermenting lull, my desire to write catches fire and burns like old film. When I feel as though I’m floating on clouds, lit from within by a fervent desire to create and filled with passion, the words just pour out. So how to strike a balance?

Usually, falling into a lull starts with something so, so small. Like missing a credit card payment, or having an argument with a sibling. I feel crappy for a while, but the problem usually resolves itself and I move forward with minimal angst. Then, something else happens. I might realise I’ve gained a couple of kilos, or forgotten about an event I was supposed to attend, or had an argument with Nate. Then I feel tired. Nothing major; nothing a coffee and a good night’s sleep won’t fix. I write it off as a bad day; I don’t bother writing and I collapse late into an uneasy sleep.

Next, something really crappy happens. Like losing a job, having a falling out with a friend, or failing a subject at school. I catch myself thinking, ‘If I had have just spent more time focussing on other things and not my writing, this wouldn’t have happened’. I feel guilty for not working, simultaneously feeling guilty for not working on the other areas of my life. This usually results in night after night of broken sleep, perpetual tiredness and an ominously oppressive feeling of overwhelm. But if I’m serious, I don’t really even think much about writing at this point. By now, I’m just trying to get from day to day.

And then, the Universe pulls out the big guns. I’m getting tea-bagged by the biggest cahounas there are – those belonging to the entire world. Knock back after knock back. Debt. Loneliness. Oppressive fear. Guilt. The guilt is the worst part. I believe that I am a champion of love, compassion and positive thinking. So when I can’t bring myself to love or think positively, I feel as though everything that I live for, everything I have worked towards, is a total lie. And then I rememeber that Christmas is just around the corner, sharply preceding New Years, and it’s all I can do not to book a one way ticket to Bali, crawl into a warong and live there forever, surviving on self pity and nasi goreng.

And then, today, I picked up a pen, found a piece of note paper with the corner ripped off, and started writing. And just like that, my hot air balloon service is back in business. I’m not even sure how it happened. I think maybe it was a higher power – the Universe, God, or something. All I know is, I was lying in bed crying my eyes out just because. And then suddenly, I wasn’t anymore. I wrote a letter to whatever it was that got me out of bed, got dressed, scrubbed out and reordered my office and made myself a proper meal. Which is far more than I’ve managed to accomplish for myself in the past couple of months.

If your passion is ebbing, your life imploding, your world evaporating – pick up your pen, put it to paper, and just write. I have no doubt that today, it may have saved me. And I know that things are going to be okay. Maybe not immediately, but for the first time in months, I have an actual plan. And it feels so, so good.

How’s your hot air balloon doing at the moment?

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There’s no big secret or crazy back story. It’s super easy to get happy right now!

  • Bake cupcakes
  • Watch 80′s porn (it’s absolutely HILARIOUS)
  • Write … following this sentence: “She smiles, because…”
  • Eat some chocolate
  • Eat some pasta
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Apply for your dream job
  • Buy a Scratchie
  • Listen to Paloma Faith speak in an interview
  • Call your Mum
  • Call your Dad
  • Pat your pussy (or puppy – HA, got you there)
  • Assign your pet a fictional celebrity human counterpart
  • Plan a fake holiday
  • Plan a real holiday
  • Drink rum
  • Swagger around as though you’re Jack Sparrow
  • Take a bath
  • Dishwashing detergent + water = bubbles. Everywhere.
  • Go to Google Translate and learn a new word in French
  • Go to Google Translate and learn a new word in Spanish
  • Go to Google Translate and learn a new word in Indonesian
  • Go to Google Translate and learn a new word in … you get the idea
  • Plan a sexy date for your new lover
  • Call your new lover
  • Buy some fairy lights
  • Make a batch of buttercream frosting and eat it out of the bowl
  •  … then eat some quinoa and kale
  • Revel in the fact that you don’t really like kale, and Google how to incorporate it into your meals because you know it’s good for you
  • Order pizza
  • Buy the album you’ve been wanting to on iTunes
  • Do your laundry and then give yourself a mental ‘check!’
  • Watch the Friends episode when they go to London and Monica and Ross give themselves metal ‘check!’s
  • Laugh about how crazy ‘check!’ing is, but really think about how smart it is too
  • Wash your bed linen
  • Put on your favourite upbeat song and dance like a complete weirdo
  • Call a friend who lives away
  • Get naked and walk around your apartment or your bedroom
  • Watch cat videos on YouTube

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I’m in the process of learning a valuable lesson. It’s a lesson that can only be learned when you’re ready to learn it; this lesson can’t be forced. You can’t wake up and just decide to learn this lesson – it’s a process of manifesting a change in your thinking and it does take time. That’s been my experience so far, anyway. Are you ready for it? The lesson is this:

Anger is stupid.

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Image by Piotr Pustul & Lukas Dziewic

I have always had a temper, but I’ve never been the type to explode at random. In the past, it’s gone like this: I’ve felt a flicker of annoyance, then a nagging irritation. It’s built into a compressing grudge, stayed overnight with heavily-weighing  spite and then finally arrived at really pissed off. It’s only after this point that in the past, I have truly exploded.

It’s always taken me weeks or months to fully manifest my rage. Of course, this has meant that I’ve tended to sit with blossoming feelings of negativity for a while before they’ve been  released into the wild. And when I release, I release. I’ve cut awful people out of my life. I’ve written abusive emails. I’ve screamed and wailed and cried. If it’s been really bad, I’ve fallen into depressive, spiralling slumps.

Over the past year or so, I’ve started noticing a shift in my thought process. I’ve noticed that it takes far less for me to feel a flare of rage, and then far less again for me to acknowledge those feelings and move on. It took a while for me to understand what’s been going on, but I think now, I actually get it: my rational mind does not respond to anger in the same way that my emotions used to tell it to. This, I think, is a really good thing.

Let me put it in a nutshell for you. I get angry less, and it lasts for a fraction of the time. I’ve been slowly training my brain to deal with anger better. And here’s the really great part: you can, too.

We’ve all heard the expression, ‘anger is a wasted emotion’. I used to think that was a load of crap. ‘We all have a right to feel angry about things!’ I’d think, denouncing the various self-love articles I’d peruse online every day. But I’ve come to learn that there is truth in that way of thinking. There’s a bunch of other emotional responses we can choose to feel instead of anger. And there are a tonne of things we can do instead of investing time and energy into anger over stupid, trivial things.

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Assess the size of the problem. If you stop and really, really look at your issue, you’ll understand. What you’re angry about is probably not a big deal. Missed the bus – so what? Sister stole your favourite skirt – and? Guy you met on Saturday didn’t text you – do you still have a face, and working limbs? I’m a firm believer that problems are relative, but you know what – the trivial shit is not worth your time or your effort. If your grandmother would laugh and tell you not to worry, it’s not a big deal. (Dear Gran – I love you.)

Ask yourself: Does this greatly affect the course of my life? If the answer to this question is no, then do yourself a favour and grow up. I’m serious. It’s tough love, but it’s true. If the stars didn’t align perfectly so that you were able to book the cheapest flight to Bali, it doesn’t actually matter. It’s an extra forty dollars. Who cares?

Everybody makes mistakes. Have you ever been really pissed at a waiter or a barista who got your order wrong? Why? Did it occur to you that maybe they missed the bus, were late, got yelled at by their boss and are terrified they’ll lose their job while they’re studying full-time and trying to pay their rent and bills? Get over yourself. We’re all human and we all mess up, all the time.

Think about what you’re grateful for. I preach about this all the time, but honestly, until you try it, you’ll never know how powerful it can be. Next time you go to punch out an angry text message to your friend who did xyz, open up the Notes application on your phone and list five awesome things you’re grateful for first. This will help to realign your thoughts and put things into perspective. Even if you still send your friend a message to explain why you’re upset, I guarantee the aggressive, psychotic edge will be gone – and you may just avoid World War 3.

Initiate a proactive discussion. So you’re seething, you’re offended, and you can’t let it go. I get it – trust me, I’ve been there. Instead of going on the attack, try to approach the conversation in a proactive, rational way. Instead of ‘I can’t believe…’ ‘How could you…’ ‘What the fuck…’ try: ‘I understand that you…’ ‘I wanted to clarify that…’ ‘Could we talk about…’.

Think about how people will remember you. I don’t mean in a morbid way like when you die – I mean, tomorrow. Next week. In six months. Will you be forever known as the person who rocked up to work seething and slamming folders down on desks? Or maybe, the girl who fired off and sent abusive text messages to anyone who didn’t rcok up for her birthday? Most people won’t even know why you’re angry in the first place. All they’ll see is a grumpy, unsociable weirdo who swears a lot. BORING.

Quit the bitching. Just QUIT the goddamn bitching. Want to know what bitching achieves? 0. No, not a typo. Bitching achieves 0, other than fostering a lot of unneeded, hateful energy. And never forget, that type of crappy energy manifests itself physically – so if you don’t want to wind up with aching joints, a cold or a freaking broken bone, hold your tongue. If a Nosy Nancy asks what’s going on, try replying with, ‘I’m just having a bad moment, but I know it will pass.’

Avoid mindless jobs. It was a mindless chore that inspired me to write this post, because while stuffing envelopes, I found myself gearing up for an argument that may not ever take place. Did you know that the shower is the number one culprit for fostering crappy thoughts? This is because when we shower, it’s one of the only times that we are silent (unless you have a playfriend along with you), partaking in a mind-numbing activity and are totally alone with our thoughts. Before you have to stuff envelopes at work, fill goodie bags for a charity event or step under a steamy hot stream, get your shit together and spend some time doing something constructive, like thinking about your future or making a mental list of what you need to buy at the grocery store. Reflect on this while you’re scrub-a-dubbing or persisting with data-entry at work. If you feel yourself slipping, gently bring your attention back to the things that matter – ie, the stuff that’s to do with YOU, and you alone.

End your correspondence on a positive note. If you really, really have to have your say and send a controversial email or text message, always finish with a pleasant sentiment. For example: ‘*various irritabilites and points-to-be-made* … I needed to express how I feel, but I’d love to move past this. I hope you’ll let me shout you a coffee next week’ OR ‘- I am looking forward to a proper catch up soon. X’ Trust me – and I know from experience – forcing yourself to force an encounter with whoever is making you mad reduces residual unpleasantness by like, a million percent. I believe that in the olden-days, they called it, ‘taking the high road’.

Friggin smile. Preferably at the person who made you angry. I do this daily to bus drivers, who are always late and consistently cause me to arrive tardily to lectures, appointments and social events. Just smile and nod. Because really – drumroll – crappy stuff just doesn’t matter. 

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Image via Design Scene, Hip Hollywood

I don’t know what it is about Melbourne. It just sticks to me like glue. It had been almost a year since my last Victorian adventure, so when my Blogcademy babe Brittany bought her first house a couple of months ago and invited me to stay, it was a no-brainer, really. The flights from Adelaide to Melbourne are so cheap, and I had a place to sleep – I said yes immediately, booked my ticket and began to excitedly fill my upcoming Melbourne days with people and plans.

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

Last Friday, the third day of my trip, Brittany and I met up with Natalie and Millicent for a Blogcadette’s day on the town. It was absolutely wonderful! God, I love these girls so much! We decided to spend the day on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for a spot of shopping, lunch, and general mischief making. And of course – we took a lot of photos!

After catching the tram over from the middle of the CBD, our first stop was a gorgeous vintage store called Hunters & Gatherers that I’d read about in an online review a few days earlier. As soon as the place came into view, I knew we were in the right place for an amazing day. There was a giant sale rack out the front, and jam-packed trolleys of gorgeous vintage gear inside. Bliss! I picked up a beautiful, lightweight, floral sundress for a mere $15. Bargain!

Our next stop was a beautiful homewares boutique that featured everything from French bulldogs wearing headphones to neon paper doilies to luxurious and beautiful bedding. This bedspread is officially on my Christmas list – if only I could remember the name of the store!

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

On from the homewares place, we stumbled across an accessories store – THAT WAS CLOSING DOWN. Everything in the entire shop was 75% off the already reduced price. You’ll see what I picked up soon enough (outfit posts are coming!) suffice to say, it is neon yellow. Oh yes.

At this point, we were starving, so we decided to go by Naked For Satan for lunch. Coincidentally, Naked For Satan was recommended to me by my girl Tash in Adelaide only a few weeks before, so I was really excited to check it out. Of course, Tash was spot on – the copper-and-wooden interior gives the place an incredibly warm and sexy ambience – although, that may also be attributed to the pictures of naked vintage models that plaster the walls leading to the bathrooms.

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

I adored Naked For Satan’s food concept, too – they lay out platters of itty bitty bread with delectable toppings (such as leg ham, creme fraiche and American style pickles, or garlic prawns and proscuitto), each speared with a toothpick. You collect as much food as you want (and a glass of wine from their AMAZING wine list) and then take all your toothpicks to the counter at the end of your meal when you’re ready to pay. Best part is – the toothpick portions are only $1 each. Amazing!

After we refuelled, we decided to wander further up Brunswick Street to try and find a vintage store that the Blogcademy headmistresses had visited when they were last in Melbourne. Most unfortunately, we were unable to locate the store – but happily, we did manage to find Wall Candy on our way back.

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The interior walls at Wall Candy are papered head to toe, showcasing some of the most delectable wallpaper I have ever seen in my life. It honestly looked so good that it was all I could do not to start licking the walls. Obviously, gorgeous wallpaper makes gorgeous backdrops, which is basically a blogger posse’s idea of porn. Needless to say, photos ensued.

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell (and why am I pulling such a weird face?!)

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

Lastly, we wound up the day with a stop off at Brittany’s favourite ice cream joint N2 for some (very naughty, delicious) dessert. I’m not going to lie, N2 is pretty extreme – check out their menu if you don’t believe me!

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Photo by Millicent Nankivell

I ordered the Brokeback Moment – honeycomb upon vanilla upon honeycomb upon vanilla, with a syringe-ful of caramel to inject into the gloriously gooey centre. I mean, really.

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Hanging with my blogger babes does something funny to my insides. It’s like a secret club that is the most fun in the entire world, and we all know it, and no one else does. We all just get each other. We encourage each other, we appreciate the same things, and we laugh. A lot. I am still so grateful to Gala, Kat and Shauna for bringing these amazing babes into my life!

Stay tuned for Melbourne, part two of three – and a BIG announcement coming soon!

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Hey hey gorgeouses!

A few weeks ago, my babe Sarah from Lace and Buckles and I went romping through a park to feed the ducks and take some outfit snaps. Despite it being a cold and blustery day, we had an absolute ball – and we even saw some baby ducklings (TOO CUTE!).

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I was able to tick ‘feed the ducks’ off my Bucketful of Magic list for spring, thanks to Sarah and Nick!

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