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! 

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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.

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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.

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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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Australia · photography · Travel

Barefoot Farm Byron – Our Camping Adventure

Very little is needed, to make a happy life – Marcus Aurelius

Sometimes you just have to escape, am I right? Honestly it has gotten to the point where I am sure that G and I really only have quality time together at the end of the day, when we eat dinner and before we go to bed. I am incredibly thankful for everything we have and everything we continue to grow, but I have to tell you, I miss my Husband. So very much!

IMG_0329With only five or so weeks to go before our trip of a lifetime, and faced with our first weekend together in six weeks (seriously!), we woke up last Saturday and we just knew that sitting at home was not going to cut it. It just was not how we were going to want to spend out weekend!

The weekend I went hiking with my friend to watch the blood-moon, she told me all about YouCamp, an amazing Air BnB type platform, but for camping on private properties. Seeing as G had only just bought his new toy (the double swag), and faced with a particularly warm “winter” weekend we decided to hit the road.

G has gone camping many, many times before and as a man, he is quite comfortable just jumping in the car and going. I on the other hand, am really struggling to learn the art of ‘minimalism’. My Mazda 3 was packed within an inch of her life (her name is Scarlett by the way) and we hit the road. We had found the Barefoot Farm Byron, which is a gorgeous working pecan farm with a stunning Pantry on its property.

It only took us around two hours to get to our destination, that was with heavy traffic along the Motorway. We were warmly welcomed by Ash and Matt and shown around their property, honestly our excitement levels to be staying on such a beautiful property, for such an affordable price was beyond. To think we had thought of paying for a hotel somewhere for the night instead!

G had the swag up in a matter of minutes and then went off to prepare the firewood. I decided to take the drone out for a spin, which was all well and good before we lost lighting and I somehow landed her in a tree. Soooo, hopefully any day now my new blades and the blade protectors arrive in the mail! Practice makes perfect I suppose and better I crash her while we are in Australia and before our big trip overseas.

We spent the night by a beautiful fire, enjoying the Aussie version of s’mores and drinking whiskey (he) and wine (she). Having no electrical distractions (no reception) beyond our already downloaded music and the calming sound of the fire in front of us was perfection.

As for the stars, of my goodness – the stars! They were absolutely incredible and we were right under the path of the milky way. We had our first attempt at shooting star trails and it has given me enough confidence to try and work on it a little more before our big trip overseas.

I definitely could have packed a tenth of what I did and could have gone with the clothes on my back and maybe a beanie, but like I said – I would not know how to pack lightly if my life depended on it. I suppose the only reason I did not take more, was because my little hatchback was filled to the brim already!

We had one of the best sleeps we have in weeks, no barking dog next door or little girl across the road who is constantly yelling at her neighbours to play with her. No cars, no planes (we live super close to the airport and right under the path for landing). No doors slamming or fire alarms going off. Just the sound of nature, a couple of cows in the distance and the crackling of the fire. Absolute bliss!

IMG_0420I woke up to a beautifully cooked breakfast and fresh orange juice and the most beautiful morning breeze making its way through the swag. Coming home was incredibly disappointing, but having spent such a beautiful night away with my Husband, without distractions was unbeatable.

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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Australia · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · photography · Travel

5 beautiful sunrise quotes <3

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“When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” – John Lennon.

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“Come sit with me, and we can watch the sun stretch in the sky as our city wakes, ever so slowly, into a beautiful day.” – R.J.L.

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“Forever that girl that gets really excited when the sky is in pretty colours.” – Word Porn.

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“It was sunsets that taught me that beauty sometimes only lasts for a couple of moments, and it was sunrises that showed me that all it takes is patience to experience it all over again.” – A.J. Lawless.

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“The sun is a daily reminder that we too can rise again from the darkness, that we too can shine our own light.” – S. Ajna.

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