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

The best 8 things I have learned at 30…

The best 8 things I have learned at 30…

IMG_0651• High school was 13 years ago. Do NOT freak out. High school is not a period of your life which you should ever let define you. Whether you were the most popular kid there or if you were mostly invisible. It’s been over for nearly half your life. Leave it in the past.

• There is absolutely no obligation to stay friends or in contact with people who make you feel like rubbish. Seriously. Take a good hard look at who you spend your time with. If they aren’t propping you up, supporting you or bringing smiles to your face – then these are not the people for you. Life’s too short. Cut your losses and move on. Just don’t be cruel or a dickhead about it.

• You can say NO! It’s amazing. Seriously. I spent my 20’s saying yes, feeling obligated to do so and basically silently suffering through a host of activities I had zero interest in being at. You do not owe anyone anything. You are obligated to be kind and gracious if you’re invited to something you don’t wish to take part in – BUT you are able to say “No thank you”, without an excuse.

• Work – Life balance. Say it with me. B A L A N C E. I spent my twenties absolutely going hell for leather to get my qualifications, get those promotions and work my arse off to get to where I wanted to be. And then, well. I realised I was exhausted. I realised that it isn’t about money, or titles. It’s about leaving the office and not feeling overwhelmed with dread for your return the next day. I remember completing a safety investigation over the phone at 12:30am on New Years Day. I was meant to be on annual leave. That was my New Years, after having worked through Christmas. Considering I was paid appallingly to live in the middle of nowhere and be on-call at all times, it just was not worth it. Just remember to have “you” time. Switch-off where you can and make sure you have some kind of self-love. Whether it’s music, Netflix, phone-free time, saying “no” or sleeping. You do you, babe.

• Travel, clothes, house stuff, açai bowls, avocado on toast, makeup, bottle-service and the latest iPhone are all great in your 20’s. Do you know what isn’t? Paying that same debt off in your 30’s. Don’t take that automatic pre-approved credit-limit. Don’t put everything on finance and live within your means. Have your fun – spend your money, but try not to spend the next three years of money before you’ve earned it. Also, pay your bills. Whatever you do – do not go into one of those debt agreements, you’re as good as declaring bankruptcy. Don’t ignore those calls if you owe money. Let them know that you need more time. They are legally obligated to assist you.

• Pyramid schemes are a joke. There’s nothing wrong with supporting your friends where you can, it’s amazing trying something new. Just avoid giving up a weeks wage for some start-up pack, selling things not only will your friends think you’re a jerk for contacting them for the first time in three years to sell your tea/face cream/juice/oils, but there’s a massive chance you’re going to lose that money.

• You are entitled to like / love whatever music, tv shows, food, form of travel, clothing, or socialising you freaking like. In your twenties you’re so busy being turned inside-out by what is and what is not ‘cool’ or ‘in’ that’s it is a complete waste of time. You finally become completely at-one with being who you are.

• Kmart. Is. The. Best. It’s actually considered a date amongst friend. You have pleasure unlike any other when you get to roam free in Kmart.

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

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

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

Father’s Day – when your Dad is no longer here <3

Today is the eleventh Father’s Day without my Dad and on Thursday it will be the eleventh anniversary since he passed. I almost lock myself into a room the week leading up to Father’s Day. Every t.v ad, social media, shop signs, the radio. It’s everywhere.

Is it Father’s Day for those of us without Dad’s? Guess what? – for all of us out there who don’t have our father’s anymore – its still Father’s Day for our dads too.

Dad. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for being my hero and warrior when I was little. Thank you for giving me your height and confidence, but not so much for the skin and feet.

Thank you for teaching me how to ride a bike on the cricket pitch when I was 5, and how to read a clock/watch when I was 6. Thank you for teaching me the art of telling stories and having a laugh.

Thank you for showing me how important family is, it took us a while but my sister and I are now the very best of friends.

Dad, thank you for instilling in me pride for being Australian, for being tall and for looking different to others. I miss you saying “pacifically” instead of specifically, I miss how cranky you would get when you would bust us cheating at monopoly.

My brother has so many of your traits. As does my sister. But I got your looks. I have your tenacity, Irish-Australian temper, stubbornness and confidence but I also share your fears and concerns for the world. How DO we keep our loved ones safe? WHY is the world such a mess? I too am dwarfed by the same things you were.

I have travelled the world, knowing you didn’t get a chance to. I still go for your footy team, I was sad when they stopped making spearmint leave lollies and I laugh whenever I see the classifieds ads. Every now and then I watch a Clint Eastwood movie and eat a cheese and jam sandwich – just for you.

Dad, I love you and miss you. We all do. You were gone too soon. We are doing our best to make you proud of us. I hope you’re happy and although not in person, in your own way watching over us.

Love, your eldest daughter.

Courtney

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

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

Personal Freedom & the human spirit.

The women in my family carry guilt and regret like you would not believe. In many ways, it is slightly ridiculous – you shouldn’t be thinking about something you said in 2006, at 2.30am on a Sunday night/Monday morning (as I was this week).

Personal Freedom – doesn’t it sound fantastic? The thought of it is absolutely liberating, how I would love to have better control of my emotions – to no longer be my number one enemy. I found my next book through a list on Pinterest or the internet somewhere, under the guise of ’20-something books you should read’ (apologies, I cannot remember exactly the context of the list, but it was generally along the same lines).

The Four Agreements (A Toltec Wisdom Book), by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997): A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. I borrowed this book from the library when I was feeling very down and disjointed, I thought maybe I could (as well as counselling and new medication), try to obtain knowledge on how to stop beating myself up so much. Don explains that Toltec knowledge has been embodied and passed on through generations, veiled in secrecy, ancient prophesies and it arises from the same essential unity of truth as many sacred traditions found around the world. It is not a religion as such, but it does honour spiritual mastery taught on Earth.

The Four Agreements[Thank you to Jill Conyers for the images – via Pinterest]

1Be Impeccable with your word – speak the truth. Speak the honest truth. Live your honest spoken truth. This is the hardest one to master and I definitely think after reading Don’s book, the hardest one to honour. It is the reflections you have with yourself and with others. Your word has the ability to permanently wound or lift another person up (or yourself). The words you speak, form agreements. What you say about yourself – becomes an agreement (you believe what you say). What you say to others is also an agreement. As Don very powerfully wrote – ‘the power of the word is completely misused in hell. We use the word to curse, to blame, to find guilt, to destroy. Of course, we also use it in the right way, but not too often. Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy and hate’. After reading this I most certainly will be more mindful of the ‘black poison’ I too spread both within myself and on others. Our spoken word becomes an agreement, the words/thoughts/message is out there. We all need to be a little more mindful, a little gentler and certainly more honourable.

2Don’t take anything personally – Nothing other people do, is personal. Other people’s actions are completely outside of your control. This goes for actions and spoken words. Don’s states that we ‘take it personally because we agree with whatever was said, as soon as we agree, the poison goes through us and we are then trapped with this’. Just remember – nothing other people do is because of us, it is because of themselves. Just remember ‘whatever people do, fee3l, think, or say, don’t take it personally’.

3Don’t make assumptions – As Don states and as we all know, we, as humans, make assumptions about everything. When we make assumptions, we then assume and believe this to be the truth. Don writes that all the sadness and drama we have lived is due to assumptions we have made. Whilst I am not prepared to blame all of my sadness and drama on assumptions, I ABSOLUTELY believe this statement to be, in part, the truth. The quote for this agreement I have noted is ‘Whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally; and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing’.

4Always do your best – Under any circumstance, just do your best. You cannot be criticised for not doing your best. Your best will change over time, and as you develop the above three agreements, this fourth one will also develop. My favourite quote for this one is ‘Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything, but it is the action that is going to make you feel intensely happy’.

So I myself personally, will be working on breaking my old agreements. I am striving for personal freedom, at the moment I am not free. I am not free from negative thoughts or destructive patterns, I am not free to be who I want to be, my spirit is not yet free.

I will continue to work towards this though and if you, like me, every suspect your personal freedom is at risk – then what have you got to lose reading this book?

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 · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Beautiful Boonah, a place of warmth and simplicity.

“They want me. I want them. I want this place. I want everything to be simple and beautiful and warm.” Jackson Pearce (Cold Spell)

I live surprisingly close to the city, which is pretty affordable and means I can get in and out of the city within an hour for the total trip. I love my proximity to the city and the heart of Brisbane, as much as I love living near the river and having pretty much anything I need right on my doorstep.

Day in, day out I start to feel just a little too claustrophobic. I work in the CBD as well and seriously, by the time the weekend rolls around I just feel trapped and want to hibernate in my bedroom and hide away from the world.

Scenic Rim 12

Given the chance to escape the city and get out into the country, I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. So excited was I to be hitting the M7 and heading far, far away from my house, I barely remembered to pack a jumper or even stop for a coffee on the way. Coffee is my morning elixir, so this provided to be a costly mistake. I had no idea where I was going, how far I would travel or where (even more troubling, when?) I would get my coffee. I drove from Brisbane out through Ipswich and it was not until I reached the very gorgeous Boonah (over an hour south-west), that I stopped, got out of the car, and realised I had no time frame. There was no reason to rush…*SIGHHHH*.

After a bacon & egg roll and a coffee the size of my head, I decided I would make my way out to the Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm, a place which I have wanted to check out for quite a while. Given it was not open until 10am, and I was up with the birds and had finished my breakfast by 9am, I decided to get back into Scarlett and just drive (Scarlett is my incredibly cute 2010 Mazda 3).

Scenic Rim 11

There is something about the country that calms my mind, gives my heart butterfly kisses and makes me feel at home. For a girl who had no real home and was moving every 2-3 years, I don’t have a ‘home-town’, I do however have a connection to the land. Where the skies are long and blue and the ground is brown – I am at my happiest. I don’t know why, it just is. I feel at home. I feel like I can breathe and I am more than happy to spend some time on my own.

I made my way out to Maroon Lake, set my tripod up and thought I would do some exploring. As I had my tripod in its place and not another soul insight (seriously, it was 9.30am on a Wednesday!), two cars rolled in and in a completely empty area – parked exactly in front of the tripod and stared at the camera. It was, strange? Let’s go with strange. So I hauled my gear to the other side of the lake but didn’t get the shots I was after. Not to worry, it was passed 10 and it was Lavender Farm time!

Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is a little over an hour from Brisbane and has a spectacular view across the Great Dividing Range. I arrived far too early for a meal or a wine, I did however try the lavender tea and some lavender scones and they were absolutely delicious! There is a stunning chapel where I daydreamed having our vowel renewals one day (a girl can dream, right?) and I spent a healthy amount of time weaving in and out of the beautiful rows of lavender and just enjoying the beautiful spot I was in.

Kooroomba has many award winning wines and host a five-star restaurant on site. It certainly is a location I am keen to return to soon. Once the lunchtime crowd started to roll in, I knew it was time to head home.

For under three hours of travel in total, I felt renewed by the time I got back home to Brisbane. The fresh air, the incredibly friendly people, amazing views and large blue skies and deep straw-coloured fields. It just feels like home, every time.

For more information on Kooromba Vineyard and Lavender Farm click here.

Queensland’s very own Scenic Rim is something really special, to see all of the wonderful things you can see and do, 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. 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