Australia · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

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.

VoomeVoome is brought to you by the amazing team who also ran the 12WBT (Michelle Bridges) program, which I have had success with before. The have a Kickstarter program which is $39.95 and provides you with Lifetime access, you can Start Anytime and it includes Exercise and Nutrition. Or another option (and one which I have myself) costs $6.99 per week and is your fast and effective workout videos and workout descriptions; or your nutrition plan. You can combine both and save 25% from the whole package. You can start your 7 day FREE trial here.

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

#redmondtraveldiary18 · Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · Norway · Travel

Travel Diary (Day 14) – Sogndal & Flåm

Day 14 – 3/10

This morning we woke up and the night before we had changed our minds about driving to the Geiranger Fjord as it would have resulted in an eight-hour trip (without stops), so we decided that unfortunately would not be seeing this famed Fjord as we had also missed the season of going into this Fjord on our Hurtigruten cruise.

IMG_2452Instead we decided we would catch the ferry back across the Sognefjorden and visit Flåm. With the ferry crossing we were there within an hour and a half and it was like driving into the little town of every persons dream!

This sweet little village of Flåm has since the late 19th century been a tourist destination. It currently receives almost 450,000 visitors a year and if you’ve ever researched the tourist destination spots of Norway, then it is more than likely you have seen pictures of this wonderful spot!

During our original plans we had initially thought we would do the Norway in a Nutshell tour but again the price was incredibly expensive so we decided not to. Once we got to Flåm we decided it was time for hot coffee and maybe a picnic. We had taken our own food for the day, so what we did buy was two coffees (from a machine) and it seriously nearly cost us $20. Glad we had our picnic!

We figured since we were at Flåm, and as we had saved money by taking our own food, that we would splurge on a round trip on the Flåmsbana. Now the fare itself per adult return did set us back $780 NOK (or $150 Australian each). Which, to be honest is super pricey, unless it is something you really have on your bucket-list it’s not necessary but I really wanted to ride the tail and visit Myrdal.

Here are some fun facts about the Flåm- Myrdal railway:

  • The journey will take you from stunning Fjord landscapes up to beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks;
  • The journey explains to you the history of the area and gives you a wonderful background of traditions which do date back to pagan times;
  • The journey is 20km and the scenery does meet the tourism promise of dramatic scenery;
  • When you reach Myrdal, you are 866 metres above sea-level.

As you leave the azure waters of Aurlandsfjord you will pass the beautiful Flåm Stave Church (have you worked out our love for churches yet?), and this beauty dates back to 1667!

My favourite stop was the amazing Rjoandefossen waterfall, magnificently hurling herself 140m straight down the mountainside.

Rather than building bridges, the engineers actually opted to run the river through tunnels underneath the railway line. It is incredible! There is evidence of rockfalls and avalanches throughout the entire journey and it just reminds you again how brave and incredible the people who created all of these places we get to explore now really were.

IMG_2396There is a decent 1,320-metre tunnel, the Nåli tunnel, and past this you stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall. Now I’ve had some pretty amazing train + waterfall combos in my time, but I can honestly say this one was the BEST! Especially with the fresh snow all around us!

I don’t regret the expense or the experience at all, when it comes to travel it all comes down to what you are okay sacrificing in order to splurge elsewhere. For me and thankfully for my Husband as well – we are happy to smash servo sandwiches and filtered coffee in order to spend money on experiences. For others its fine dining. For some it’s shopping. Don’t let anyone dictate to you what is it is not a waste of money. It’s your holiday, you do you x .

After our Flåm adventure we hit the road, made it back to our ferry, crossed the river. Went through that bloody 24km tunnel again and then we were home. Home for our last night in our gorgeous little boat shed loft.

Somehow, the tiny village of Sogndal has a burger and gin joint which basically screams ‘Welcome Courtney‘, so we had our last dinner there – delicious. Although there was an odd man across from us who was participating in our conversation, without being in our conversation. If you know what I mean?

I don’t think we could have utilised our time any better than what we did and I am just so thankful to have a travel partner who travels the way I do. We take turns both in being in charge or navigating or having melt downs. It’s how it should be. For those of you who travel solo, I think you’re amazing. Seriously.

My tips for the Flåm rail:

  • Choose the return trip up to Myrdal;
  • Don’t panic if you cannot get a seat on the right hand side, your view up the mountain will not be “as good”, but that’s okay – I’ll tell you why in a minute;
  • Sit nearer the doors – the train will stop for a few minutes at the Kjosfossen waterfall, you want to be one of the first off your carriage and up to the barrier for the waterfall. If you move quickly you’ll get a few snaps in before the swarms make their way!
  • The train, regardless of how crowded on its way up, will NOT be that crowded on the return trip. Many people are doing the Norway in a Nutshell, which means flicks of your fellow passengers are getting off at Myrdal. You will then have the seat of your choosing! Swap sides from where you were on the way up and have a different perspective!

For more information on Flåm you can click here.

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

Australia · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Wives, Husbands and Marriages

Why I love being a Bonus (Step) Mum

The expectation when you are growing up is to meet the guy/girl of your dreams, and build your life together. For some people (not all), that dream extends to having children. To building a family, and loving that family, hard.

While I was growing up, I never had those marriage fantasies. I dreamt of far away places, of travel, of writing or creating movies. There was a small period of time where I actually tried to change my name to something horribly embarrassing. Most people laughed at me, my best friend Meagan backed me and immediately started rolling with it. Because she is amazing.

The thing is, I didn’t dream of my wedding. I didn’t dream of the family. The white-picket fence. Being pregnant. They all seemed like great things but they just weren’t on my ‘list’.

I had boyfriends. I had love stories. I had break ups. I did the thing. I have a lot of wonderful memories. The love of my life was always travel. I would work myself into the ground, saving every $ I had. Creating travel plans. Dreaming of my escape and throttling those holidays by the neck when I was on leave.

When I started to head towards thirty, something changed. I wanted that special someone. I wanted the text messages and the calls. The cuddles and the kisses. Holding hands. Being nauseatingly in-love in public, pissing-off all who saw.

I made a list. My now-Husband doesn’t know about the list. Because let’s face it, the list is something all of us girls keep hidden. Whether it’s in your diary, on your blog, in your notes, on your phone or just in your head. We ALL have the list. If you say you don’t, then you’re lying.

For me, my list looked something like this.

Taller than me. Has a job. Brown hair. Kind eyes. Great sense of humour. Likes to travel. Is honest. Is respectful. Hasn’t been married. Doesn’t have kids.

Your list might look like mine, or it may not. No judgement, #womensupportingwomen.

On my 27th birthday, I was out with my girlfriends, far from home. I met a man. He was the perfect man for me. We hit it off straight away. To say it was love at first sight, is an understatement. I KNEW this was the man I was going to marry.

The list wasn’t so much as a role-call as it was a guide. Find a man who doesn’t treat you like shit and wants to hang out with you and only you. The rest, was completely negotiable.

Fast-forward five years and I’m a Step-Mum. My dream man has two kids. Two gorgeous, intelligent, funny and loving kids. It was an adjustment. It wasn’t easy. For any of us. There are many extenuating factors when it comes to being a step-parent.

As much as you love them, you haven’t been a part of their firsts. You haven’t watched them grow. They aren’t yours. Now before you read that as a negative, I need for you to know that it isn’t. It’s anything but. Being a step parent is hard. It’s challenging, heart breaking and rewarding. All at the same time.

Do you know why this love feels insanely pure? It feels pure because there is no biological link. Your steppies are not a part of you. You are not biologically wired to love one another. The maternal instinct cannot be compared to that of a mother. That would not be fair. Unfortunately we have Cinderella to thank for the awful banshee portrayal of a step-mum. Step-dads are painted as self-serving, violent or cruel. Step-mums are painted as jealous, baron, nasty bitches.

We aren’t. When you choose to love children that aren’t yours- it shows dedication, commitment and intentional love. They are an extension of the person you love. When you look closely, you see the physical similarities, you also see the biological traits which do not match your partner. A reminder of where and from whom they were created.

You know what though? Children are innocent. Children do not choose where they come from. They don’t choose their future and they certainly cannot be expected to navigate the complexities that blended families bring.

So, in a painfully long-winded post, let me tell you this. Never shy away from a challenge. Never think that someone with children has “baggage”. You are only doing yourself a disservice. It means you have someone who can love others more than they love themselves. They are raising, loving and protecting kids and that is noble and attractive as HELL.

So….

To my two bonus-kids. I love you. I am proud of you and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. Consider me part of your cheerleading team. We all want the best for you both. I love your Dad and I love you. I could not be prouder to call you my bonus-kids xxxx

Are you a step-parent, are you a step-kid? I want to know!

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! 

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

Australia

5 Activities to do in Brisbane this weekend…

Spring has sprung! It won’t be long now until those beautiful Jacaranda’s start blooming, the cardies are no longer needed and the air changes. Seriously, is it just me that smells that beautiful change in the air?!

There is so much happening in Brisbane in September, it is a shame I will miss a good portion of it, but there is no reason why you should!

So, here we go – my roundup of my favourite upcoming events:

1. Boaters & Beers at Newstead House Brisbane – a pretty unique Father’s Day idea or really an amazing relaxing day for anyone in the Brisbane area. Celebrate Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence with one of the best views on the river.

2. Wildlife Photographer of the Year at BRISBANE POWERHOUSE. Not only is the exhibition free but it has 100 award-winning images – this event goes back to 1965 all thanks to the BBW Wildlife Magazine competition.

3. Valley Fiesta is on again, bringing you five days of live music, theatre, food, workshops, visual arts and performances across the Val’s laneways and in more than 40 venues.

4. Seadeck, Brisbane is heading out tonight, Saturday and Sunday for its cruise along our river. Tickets start at $25 and you are guaranteed a fun time on this 42m luxury floating oasis.

5. Ballistic Beer is having their Dogs Go Ballistic festival tomorrow! It is a festival with beers and dogs guys and prizes and events. I cannot make this one, but I would love to see the pictures if you DO go!

If you do get to any of the above or for any other activity / festival you attend, please tag us in Our South-East Queensland #ourseqld !

~ Courtney Gaye ~

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Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Lifestyle · Travel

The danger of #begpacking

city man person people
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference ~ Kevin Heath

I have often said that if you cannot afford travel insurance, you cannot afford travel. I work my arse off to save and pay off my trips, sometimes this means a lot of sacrifice and sometimes it can result in two years between trips. Do you know why I don’t deserve your pity or empathy on this one? Because it is completely my choice.

That being said, I want to talk about “beg-packers”, entitled Western travellers who head overseas with no more than a flight and maybe enough money to carry them through their first week in whatever hostel they are staying in, who then have the audacity to sit in the likely third-world country they are in and beg for money to continue to fund their travel.

When you have had the luxury to fly to another country for travel, this actually puts you in the top 1% of the world, financially. So to sit in a country in which you should be contributing to the economy and then beg for money is, ridiculously tone-deaf and ignorant. Let’s not minimise the actuality of poverty.

photo of children forming line lane
Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

It goes along with GoFundMe pages for generic things – I once saw a lady asking for a bowling ball, gym shoes and a treadmill – perhaps GoFundMe was in her eyes, the grown up Santa-list?

The ethical implications of being a guest in a country without any financial security or means to support yourself, is further damaging that countries economy. How do you set up outside of an airport and beg for money with your gear and passports and camera/phone (to put your #begpacking on social media, obviously), in a country which has 1.2 million homeless children (Philippines), 180000 people living in informal settlements (Cambodia), 78 million people -0 including 11 million children (India), 30 000 homeless (Mexico City) & 15000 homeless people – 4500 of which are children (Buenos Aires); is….disgusting.

backpack bag blur commuter
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Your international travel is not the responsibility of others. We are living in a time where we are far too quick to put our hands out and say “help me”. Please do not travel if you cannot afford it. please do not make your financial burden become that of your host country. Give YOUR money to those who need it. Be prepared. In case of emergency, make sure you have travel insurance. If you cannot afford to stay abroad and need to come home and start again, then that is what you need to do. Our world needs our help, if you are reading this – remember we are the top 1%. You may not think it, but we are the most fortunate people in the world. It is our job and luxury that we are in a position to help.

To donate (every dollar helps!)

Australia – StreetSmart – Action Against Homelessness – https://streetsmartaustralia.org/donate/

WorldWide – Homeless World Cup Foundation – https://donate.homelessworldcup.org/au-en

Cambodia – Habit for Humanity – https://www.habitat.org/donate/?keyword=header

Bali Children’s Project – registered non-profit in Bali, helping children escape poverty through education – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/BCP

If you see any of Australia’s friendly ‘Big Issue’ distributors and you have cash, please purchase one of these for $7. For every magazine sold – the distributor keeps half. Say hello to them, they all have a story to tell – they’re people like you and I. Give where you can & be thankful for how fortunate we are.

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

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