#thegram – an update, it’s time to ditch

The other day I wrote about how I was feeling towards #instagram and my travel/blog account.

Yesterday there was an incredible meet-up, for a travel group I was heavily involved in and truly loved. Given my feelings lately towards Social Media, and Instagram in particular – I was tossing up whether or not to go. I really wanted to meet the woman who had put the group together and had been so incredibly generous, kind and inclusive to all of us. There were a few other local girls I had chatted to on the platform and wanted to meet.

Despite my anxiety being a 15/10, I went and it was so lovely to ‘meet’ these people I have spoken with for a year and a half. Sadly my anxiety got the better of me and I had to leave. I only lasted around 45 minutes and my need to leave and get to my safe-place, home.

captureLast night I was so worked up with anxiety and stress related to my Instagram page that I actually decided this morning to A) delete my travel page I started with another person and B) temporarily (perhaps permanently) deactivate my personal travel / blog page.

This is no reflection on the wonderful members of the community I was part of, however I can honestly say I feel better about it already.

It is time to go back to enjoying my writing, getting my business off of the ground and centering myself. Thanks to everyone who has supported me, read my posts and encouraged me. I may or may not reactivate @courtney_brisbaneblogger / @courtneygaye travels, but for now I think I will just take a break and get back to what I really love.

I hope to see you around the traps otherwise, take care and look after yourselves and the things you love ❤

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The Art of Tidying – Day 1

Marie Kondo – the gorgeous, effervescent and mess-hungry Japanese genius, has inspired me (inspired/frightened) to attempt to simplify my life.

The art of tidying seems like a concept so far beyond what I am capable of that I am writing this to keep myself accountable. So, can it be done? I’m not sure (sorry, Marie). I am not dirty, but I am messy. I am not a hoarder, but I love my belongings.

I’ve attempted the occasional spring-clean, I like to get rid of clothes which I know I am NEVER going to wear again, yet the act of simplifying my life and being appreciative of less belongings, almost feels like I am throwing all of those belongings away irresponsibly. I do not live a ‘rich’ life, but I am well above the poverty line.I have debts to pay but I can certainly purchase the necessities in life.

My Husband and I live in a two bedroom, two bathroom unit. We have one small garage which stores the majority of our…’stuff’. G uses the spare room cupboard and I use the master bedroom cupboard. We have separate bathrooms for the most part and the spare room has our spare bed for guests and is quickly becoming my workspace.

Today I am going to try step 1 of KonMarie, I want to transform my space and I am certainly open to transforming my life. The idea and concept that I keep things in my possession which #sparkjoy only, is something I want to embrace. My Mum is a champion when it comes to throwing things that bring no joy – that woman can do a sweep of the house and an impressive tip-run with the snap of her fingers. Yet I carried around every magazine I had ever bought from ages 12-18 until I was in my mid-twenties. Even then they were only turfed because of the 2011 Brisbane floods.

So. Marie Kondo, #sparkjoy, tidying, what is the concept behind it?

Well – it is choosing #joy. There are six basic rules of tidying:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Tidy by category, not by location
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

Kondo is very clear about this process following a specific order. You MUST begin with clothes, followed by books, papers, miscellany and mementos.

So – today, Sunday 13 January 2019 – will be clothes.

Wish me luck!

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My 10 Favourite Christmas Movies

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Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Christmas movies, are there ever too many?! The answer is no, oh and that is a non-negotiable stand-point on the matter.

Christmas movies are the best, they are my favourite, some people wait for Bublé to crawl out of his cave, some wait for Mariah to step off that swivel chair she is dragged around on…I wait for the Griswold’s, the McCallister’s, John McClane, for Billy Mack to offend all that is Christmas music and for Aurelia’s family to think Jamie has come to kill her.

Christmas movies are my sugar-hit when it comes to December. That and putting up my tree, which looks freaking amazing this year just quietly. #rosegold for the win on that won!

So, without further delay – here they are, my top 10.

10. Die Hard

9. Office Christmas Party

8. Four Holiday’s

7. The Family Stone

6. Bad Santa

5. The Holiday

4. Home Alone 2

3. Home Alone

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

1. Love Actually

I have to know, what are your favourite Christmas or holiday movies?

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Christmas + mental health

Not another mental health post, some of you may be thinking. Where are the pretty travel pictures and travel stories, others of you may ask.

They’re here. I’ve got them. I cannot wait to share them, but with only nine days to go until Christmas I have something else on my mind.

Mental health. Not mental illness, not mental disorder, and certainly not mental problems. Mental health.

Christmas to my family is incredibly important, we love Christmas. We love being together and cooking and sharing thoughtful gifts, blasting Christmas music and wearing silly hats and telling terrible jokes from our Christmas crackers. My favourite memory of many of my christmases will always be that moment when I simply could not continue, I was full and exhausted, I’d had a day of fun and it was finally time for bed. I will always hear my mum and dad saying Merry Christmas darlin’ as I headed to bed each year. That is my favourite Christmas memory.

The holiday season is not always a happy time for some, for some people it brings with it memories of loss, a time of grieving, feelings of sadness and confusion. For some it means nothing but anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts.

Christmas is hectic. The holidays can be a real trigger for many people out there and we have a responsibility to check in on others.

For one of my friends, she lost her Mother on Christmas Eve. Another lost her best friend to depression on Christmas Day. Some people no longer have anyone to put their tree up with them. There are families who cannot afford to eat. Families without homes. Families doing their best to keep everything together, even though it seems impossible.

My favourite Big Issue vendor in Brisbane, Nathan is someone who stands outside of the 7/11 on Adelaide Street and wishes a Merry Christmas to ever single person who walks past him. I always make the time to stop and ask him how he is and have a chat. December brings with it a lot of hurt and sadness to his life. Not only is he homeless, but he lost his Mother, Step-Dad and his brother in various December’s. Still he wishes you a Merry Christmas. When I see people ignore him or even scowl at him I feel nothing but disgrace for the human race.

Last year, the week before Christmas, Nathan was telling everyone it would be his last week in Brisbane, he was moving to Hervey Bay to be with his son. His happiness was contagious, he hadn’t been that genuinely happy in months. I was silently rooting for him.

When I saw him on that same corner in January, my heart broke for him.

Missing out on the Portman’s dress you wanted for Christmas is not a tragedy. Working Christmas Eve instead of partying with your friends is not sad. Spending Christmas with your family-in-law or annoying Uncle / Cousin / Sibling is not depressing. They are all circumstantial situations.

I want you to enjoy your Christmas, be kind to everyone. Forget misgivings, remove toxic people from your life. Remember the reason for the season and practice kindness. Smile at your Big Issue vendor, if you have $7, buy a magazine. Chat with them. Ask how are you and be ready to listen and to mean it. Be socially aware.

Christmas is not shopping. Christmas is not presents. Christmas is not enduring Christmas with family, it’s an honour.

Christmas is love.

Practice love, always.

So, when are you having kids? Me: Just stop, thanks.

I am a 32 year-old, married woman, loving Aunty, kick-arse Step-Mum and a pretty good friend. I love my photography, love blogging, love travelling and just generally hanging out with the people I love. My friends and families love to ask about what the next trip is, how my photography is going, if I am still making jam (new hobby, loving it by the way) and how I am.

People who I do not know on a personal level, I work with or I am not close with want to know when I am going to have a baby. Do you know what my answer is soon going to become? That is none of your business, go away now.

Now this conversation or blog that I am writing does not extend to my inner circle, because at the end of the day I am comfortable to speak about this with you.

Is anybody else my age/gender/relationship status sick of being asked by strangers (or even nosy family members who are NOT as close to you as they think they are), asking you this question? When was the last time you were asked if and when you were going to get pregnant, or if you were trying or why you were waiting so long? Special mention goes to the guy at work who I did not know from a bar of soap who greeted me on my first day back from my Honeymoon with ‘You better not wait too long, or they might end up all munged up’. Charming.

I want to talk to my pre-baby peers, my fellow women out there who do not have children and are, quite frankly, sick of being asked about it. Nobody ever asks me about my period, or my flow, or my pre-menstrual pain. No-one seems particularly interested in my sex-life, my personal relationships, views on politics or religion, my diet or the type of car I drive. People don’t care about my career plans, stance on global warming or if I am an organ donor.

So – can someone please tell me, why my, why OUR wombs, ovaries, and our ability to reproduce or in their eyes, our biological responsibility to do so is up for conversation?

These things are private and I’m sure if I do have children one day, I’ll have a whole new post on what is or is not appropriate to ask a pregnant woman. For now though, that’s none of my business. I haven’t experienced that, it has not yet been part of my narrative or my journey.

I want you to think next time you go to ask someone if they are pregnant / are trying to get pregnant / or if you personally think they are risking the natural order of things in not having a child. Just stop, think for three seconds and if you are still sure (read: rude), continue with your question/comment/judgement.

Maybe we have been pregnant? Maybe we have had a baby and adopted it out. Maybe we can’t have children. Maybe we can and we don’t want them. Maybe our partners cannot have or do not want children. Maybe some of us have no genitals….

All I ask, that as I approach 33 and as we head towards 2019, that you please – just avoid asking us these questions. Be sensitive to those around you. The person you’re asking may be sick of defending why they aren’t having children. They may have had a radical hysterectomy. They may be infertile. Their partner may be infertile. They may have had or are having a miscarriage. They may have had a termination. They may be up to their fifth round of IVF. Or maybe it’s just none of your business and you could ask them literally anything else about their lives.

Maybe I am speaking on behalf of every other woman of my age who is sick of feeling uncomfortable, judged, or ridiculed. Maybe I’m not. All I ask is that you be sensitive, read the room, mind your business and be kind.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtney_brisbaneblogger

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

So, this is thirty….

Something a little different today, because we aren’t always travelling – sometimes we are saving, exercising, working and waiting for our next escape! This can get monotonous and boring though and it can be all too easy to slip into bad habits!

Women’s Health Australia performed a longitudinal study on Women’s Health starting in 1995 and assessing over 58,000 women around Australia. The study was performed via surveys every three-years and it looked at chronic disease, health service use and systems, social factors in health and well-being, health in rural and remote areas, women and mental health, roles and relationships, intergenerational issues, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, weight, nutrition and physical activity, mental health, ageing, health service usage, formal and informal work patterns and work-family balance, caring and reproductive health. The study is ongoing and the results have really spot-lighted the gaps in Australia for women’s health.

I thought I would try to summarise what I know to be key points for women in their 30’s to build a foundation of good health. We are all so unique and individual – but these are what I have heard time and time again. At a quick summary – here are the basics…

  • We need to maintain a healthy weight
  • We need to keep our skin looking fresh and youthful
  • If we have any reproductive issues – anything from getting pregnant – or not – to dining appropriate and effective birth control
  • We need to prevent bone loss; and
  • We need to reduce stress.

It is not that simple though – we also require bi-yearly (and sometimes annual) pap-smear checks, we perform our own breast checks, we need to monitor our energy and iron levels. We run homes, have careers, maintain our relationships and attempt to have a social life – as well as be there as a carer, counsellor, lover, partner, parent, finance controller and admin assistant in every avenue of our lives.

Oh – and our metabolism slows – so its an uphill battle with an exercise program and diet. PLUS we have wrinkles, thanks to our skin cells now forming slower – so don’t forget the proper cleansing process twice a day.

If, like me, you have not yet had children yet – then you start to feel the pressure from those around us, the media and medical information. Too bad if you are aiming for good health, want to be financially secure and possibly be established in your career/relationship and self; because guess what? Your eggs are going one by one and that clock is a-ticking!

Watch your teeth, your diabetes risk, your eyes, your pelvis, your breasts, your blood pressure, your sexual health, your thyroid, your skin (skin cancer risk), your weight, your immunisations, try to avoid the flu and make sure you are getting enough sleep.

However for stress levels it’s probably pretty important you just go with the flow and be a calm and happy ball of sunshine – you know, whilst remembering absolutely everything else.

So – lovely women of the world – what are your tips? How do you manage? What is your best advice? Lay it on me, I want to draw from your knowledge and experience!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Lifestyle Post – Goodies & sale items I love or am trying…

So… Christmas is next month. Which of course means I have once again done the complete opposite throughout the year and gained weight, not saved money and not meant the goals I had hoped to throughout the year. Ah well. Nothing like a last-minute dash towards goals, am I right?

SKIN SPECIALS

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Sand & Sky – Natural Australian botanical goodness – my sister got me on to the Australian pink Clay Porefining Face Mask and honestly, it is gorgeous. So is their Exfoliating Treatment. With summer here basically already – it is time to get summer ready! From 15/11 – 21/11 you can get 25% off their Exfoliator kit, 35% off their Mask Holiday Kit, 35% off the Combo Holiday Kit, save up to 40% on general products! What have you got to lose? No nasties and beautiful, soft and noticeable results.

Lady Bits & Pieces

190840ae-81fa-4687-a64c-34436755e33a[1]Boody Eco Wear –  I am going through a real eco-friendly change and I have been a long-time lover of bamboo and hypoallergenic gear. Boody Bamboo wear is eco-friendly, ethical, antibacterial, anti-fungal and fits well. They also have more than just underwear, they have underwear, active-wear, baby clothing etc. With a sign up for Boody news and receive 10% off your first order and in Australia, you will get FREE express shipping on all orders over $100 and free standard shipping on all orders over $60.

2d8440be-3115-4f35-b6e9-dc8760f0f89dModibodi – Again, here is another brand I love, particularly when it comes to sustainable and absorbent, sweat-proof, curve-friendly and super absorbent underwear. Say goodbye to ugly period-panties and guess what, they are Aussie designed and owned! They are currently having 15% off storewide all day on 13-November with the code QUICKLICK and 15% off store-wide on 11/11 – Single’s Day with the code SINGLESLOVE. You can also get 10% off orders over $100.

Health & Fitness

180 Nutrition – I don’t know about you but when I f7fed75a-5e31-4251-b484-364b0b4863c5want protein or other blends, I do not want it to be full of nasties, no point getting results if you are poisoning yourself. 180 Nutrition originally began working with a small charity for people with chronic diseases, and so was born an incredible group of products without chemicals, artificial flavourings and sweeteners. My favourites? The Organic Greens Plus and the Low-Carb Vegan Protein bars (seriously, delicious!). You can save $92 with a box of super-food at the moment (8 x 1.2kg bags of superfood + free shipping!).

5.45.4 – I first came across 5.4 when I was attending my Hypoxi sessions and for macro-nutrient controlled meals they are delicious. Their meals are designed to improve wellness, increase energy and burn fat. They are protein packed, low carb (or good carb), low sugar and low saturated fat. The meals are snap frozen and have a 12-month shelf life. My favourites are the Shredded Mexican Chicken and the breakfast egg bites! Also you can use ZipPay! From 12/11 – 14/11 you can purchase a meal plan (as a new customer) and get $25 off any meal plan with the code CLICK25. You can also order a meal plan and receive 7 Free breakfast meals with the code EGGS.

Take a break..

 

9fc82e16-5a45-4d4e-bbd5-a92f683d9401P&O Cruises – honestly I love P&O, I love that you can go on a 3-day cruise up and down the coast of Queensland and barely need any time off of work to come back feeling refreshed! I love that we can get the all-inclusive package, I love the staff, love the ocean, love the trivia and bingo, love it all! For my Christmas present to Grant a couple of years ago, I bought us a three-night cruise, it was the best. They currently have a sale on a select group of their 3 Day cruises and for cruises of 7 nights or more, you can book and receive your free premium drinks package (this is so worth it, we have done it twice!).

contikiContiki – do not be intimidated by the age-demographic of this one, you can travel on Contiki up until 35. I have been on three separate Contiki trips, each a completely different trip to the other and I was thankful to have everything organised for me. I also met some of my very best friends in the world on my Contiki trips.  They have some amazing specials at the moment, with 30% savings & flight and trip deals.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Travel Diary (Day 19) – Hurtigruten Day 4

Day 19 – Monday 8/10

IMG_7688Today is our Wedding Anniversary!!! Two heads married today and to start it at midnight, hunting for the Aurora Borealis could not have been a better way to begin!

Sadly the cloud cover was pretty heavy last night, as was the rain so our chances of seeing the Northern Lights, although at 55%, was drastically lessened by the weather itself. I am convinced that at some point my beautiful camera, Dotty certainly picked up on a greenish hue to the skies, however this didn’t last long and again with the cloud cover these photos hardly demonstrate the beauty these lights are known for. They were also completely hidden to the naked eye!

We woke up this morning around 9am, I think our gorgeous room attendant had the fright of her life when she came in to clean the room and I was, in the words of my husband not covered by the blankets with my bum facing the door (in undies, but still unsettling I am sure!).

F1CTXgl3RB6AHBxtX0yAagDragging ourselves to breakfast, the tango dance which is navigating yourself through the buffet of 50 people who are 100% in a different age-bracket to you. G and I are quick. We get in and we get out. we like to stay out of people’s way, we are polite – we generally are pretty mindful of others and personal space. Even though this is our fourth cruise, we seem to have absolutely forgotten that 80% of the population are NOT like this. It is so hard to ignore the habitual rudeness and gang-mentality of people without even the most basics of courtesy, but we are trying!

I have to say the staff on this cruise are amazing. Hurtigruten is professionally and beautifully ran and we are having the trip of a lifetime, so sometimes we can be quite horrified at how others conduct themselves.

During the night we docked at Stokmarknes, Sortland, Risøyhamn, Harstad (Hársttákcode), Finnsnes and we arrived into Tromsø at 2:15pm. Tromsø is a place which has been on our radar for a long time so we were chomping at the bit to get off of the boat. Unfortunately our budget does not allow for any more paid activities and we have had a pretty good run, so we were looking forward to taking a wander around town on our own.

When we got off the boat the first thing we noticed was the snow and how low down on the mountains either side of our ship it was! The snow fall is currently only 30m above sea-level, which is such a stark contrast to when we started in Bergen!

I wouldn’t say we lasted too long out in town, it’s certainly beautiful but it is very cold! We did what we do best and found a cute little pub and enjoyed a whiskey together (Grant is doing his best to get me on that Whiskey/Whisky train) ahead of our arrival into Scotland shortly! Now, about this pub – whilst our Norwegian is poor, we worked our pretty quickly that this place was basically a bar and served a variation of baked potatoes. It’s almost as though this place was made for the Redmond family. Seeing as we our shouting ourselves to a fancy dinner tonight for our anniversary at the a-la-carte restaurant on board, we refrained from the potato’s.

We made our way back on board ahead of the crowd which will be the returning optional activity crew, made our way to our room and decided on the whole Netflix & Chill approach to our afternoon. It’s 4 degrees outside and the view from our room is spectacular. So having some down time with one another is always the best.

Hurtigruten on its voyage north and south along the Norwegian coast will have on one night each a King Crab night, which happened to be on our Anniversary. Grant ordered the full King Crab experience, I on the other hand can only eat crab once it is out of its shell, otherwise I feel like I am breaking apart a giant scary spider (no thanks!).

img_0859It was definitely our fanciest meal of the cruise and it was nice to get dressed up and order a beautiful bottle of wine and just enjoy our anniversary. The staff also gave us complimentary champagne, which is really lovely!

It was a really unique and gorgeous way to spend our anniversary, I doubt we will spend it that far up north in the world ever again!

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x