Wednesday, 29 January 2014

to smile..

This week's 52 weeks of memories photo prompt is....


(Totally stole this super cute pic of my nephew from my sister for this week!
 Bet you can't look at it without smiling!)

Monday, 27 January 2014

to go back to work..

I must confess.... I am not looking forward to going back to work...

Probably not a big confession in the grand scheme of things but it has to be said.

Technically I have already been back at work for 3 days but tomorrow is the first day back with students and I am not excited at all. I think I am suffering from a severe case of workitis. The holidays seem to have flown by and to be honest I have done very little. I bought home work to do over the holiday, just some reading (nothing major) but it still sits in my bag. I spent a fair amount of my holidays on the couch, often flicking between the tennis and the cricket.

It's not that I hate my job, I don't.... I don't wake up dreading going to work and thinking of a reason to not go, but I don't love my job either...perhaps that's my problem.. It's just my job, I get up and I go and more often than not I feel nothing, it's like I am running on autopilot most of the time.

Perhaps it's just that there is so much to love about holidays. Sleeping til whenever o'clock, strolling to the gym and taking my time with my workout, lunching with friends, going to the movies, staying up late, cruising off to the coast mid-week because we can, my time is mine and I am not constantly rushing and trying to stick to a tight schedule!

Despite everything I just said though, I am looking forward to getting back in to a routine, when I am on holidays it seems to be so much harder to stick to my healthy eating routine. I find myself constantly going to the fridge/pantry hoping that somehow things have changed in the half hour 10 minutes since I was there last. I find I pick all day and with all these friend catch ups over coffee and cake and eating out my weight does go up.

When I was still a classroom teacher, I must confess the night before school started was always a nerve-wracking one. Believe it or not I would lie awake thinking of what I was going to wear, what I would say, what we would do those first couple of hours, nervous about meeting the parents and hoping they would like me and be glad that their child was in my class. This year it's a little different. Being in a High School now and not working in the classroom I imagine my day will be a little less nerve-wracking. To be honest, I have no idea what I will be doing. I have a few kids to check in on but given that it's only our year 8 and 11 students in tomorrow am hoping it will be pretty low key. Despite that I still went and got my nails done today and have a new outfit all ready to go! (and am hoping for a full nights sleep tonight given that 'nanna naps' are no longer an option!)

I have enjoyed the slight career change I have taken over the last 12 months but I still feel like there is something more out there I could be doing. I am not sure what that is just yet, but am hoping to work it out...soon!

So I must confess...this year I hope to work out what it is I want to be when I grow up!

How do you get back into the swing of things after a holiday?

Linking up with Kirsty, off topic this Monday for I Must Confess..

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

to play

The 52 weeks of memories challenge prompt for this week was Play...

I play this game way too much and after weeks, actually probably more like months, of failing this level I decided to delete it...It was not fun, it was not enjoyable, I was getting frustrated beyond belief and I thought why am I doing this....?

So Candy gone with you!

Linking with Finding Myself Young, My Little Drummer Boys and Twinkle in the Eye .

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

for my first book review.

In case you missed it, I am doing a reading challenge this year. I have joined with many other reading lovers to complete the 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge, where we read, review and promote stories written by Australian Authors.

My goal is 6 books for the year and so I am so excited that I have finished my first one as I am such a slow reader!

Book number one was actually given to me as a Christmas present from my sister, she chose it after I told her I like to read real life stories and country romance novels. Well this book ticked both those boxes.

The year was 1959 and Mary Groves was just fourteen years old when her parents uprooted their family from Melbourne and moved to Mataranka; a small, isolated town in the Northern Territory, to run the Post Office and General Store.

This autobiography follows Mary's journey from Melbourne to Mataranka and beyond. She was just 17 when the handsome horse-breaker, drover and rodeo rider Joe Groves wanders into the store and catches her attention. Despite him being 15 years her senior, their relationship develops and not everyone is happy about it.

We travel through the relationship with Mary and Joe as they bunny hop their way around the Top End working on, managing and sometimes owning cattle station after cattle station. We see the birth of their 4 children and follow the trials and tribulations that come with being in such a remote part of Australia in the 1960's and 1970's, often living in little more than a caravan, as they pursue their dream property and dream home.

The stories she recalls are set in a time in Australian history that I think many people would know little about. A time of such change and development for our white society, but more so for our Aboriginal people and Mary treats these changes with, what I think, is a great deal of respect.

Whilst I did not find this to be a book that 'you can't put down' I did find Mary's stories interesting, her life intriguing and it kept me turning the pages ready for the next yarn til the very end.Anyone with an interest in Australian history, the Outback and rural life in general will find this story appealing.

Linking my review to Essentially Jess for IBOT but also to the Australian Women Writers page.

Monday, 20 January 2014

to confess my hatred of photos..

I must confess.... I wish I was more photogenic...

There are people in my life, who I am extremely jealous of. They are not supermodels (although some of them should probably think about it!), they are not movie stars, they don't have personal stylists and makeup artists at their house each morning (at least I don't think they do!) but yet with each and every photo they post they look amazing!

We all have those people in our lives I am sure, some of you reading this are those people! Doesn't seem to matter what they are wearing or what they are doing they seem to take really really amazing photos. I am NOT one of those people.

However, it appears Google begs to differ.. Doing some intense research for this post, Google tells me that everyone is photogenic...There's even a website called 'Everyone is Photogenic'.
Wikihow says that 'Being photogenic is not an inborn talent, but an acquired skill that can be learned through practice'.. So one would think that after having had my photo taken for the best part of 34 years I would be as photogenic as all hell!! But truth be known, I must confess, I actually really do NOT like having my photo taken, as it is a rare occasion that I actually like the end result.

Perhaps it's because all this time I have been doing it wrong and it is my hatred extreme dislike (hatred seems so harsh) of having my photo taken that is resulting in me being unphotogenic (totally a word...I'm sure!). According to the Wikihow article 'How to be Photogenic' I can be more photogenic in just 3 simple steps:

1. Clarify my skin - Apparently you need to have clean beautiful skin to be photogenic. Considering acne and uneven skin tone is something that I have struggled since puberty hit me at a young age and spent oodles of money on over the years, I am yet to achieve this and not sure I ever will...

2. Focus on what makes me unique - mmmm... not sure about this one, apparently photogenic people are confident in their appearance, but when you struggle to meet step 1 then step 2 is difficult!

3. Show your emotions - supposedly it's easy to tell someone who is posing compared to someone who is photogenic. You have to always smile your natural smile and not fake it. When I smile my top lip seems to disappear, I really don't like my uneven teeth, I almost always have red eyes and look like the devil and when I do the 'squinch' the eyes trick, it seems to just emphasis my bags! (and I have an unbelievably 'sleepy eye' in photos)..  The advice says that I need to spend some time perfecting this in the mirror!

It is also said that fear of having your photo taken is what can make you look unnatural and not happy with the end result.

Now Kirsty has asked us to be brave and share some of our photo shockers and she has no idea how much this is making my stomach turn, but, not wanting to be a spoil sport I am prepared to share just one photo..

I absolutely hate this photo of me, despite it being taken at a time when I was very happy and enjoying the live tunes of my beloved Keith Urban.....

Adult acne sux!!
Now head over to My Home Truths to link up your photo shockers!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

for sleep..

Week 2 prompt over at Finding Myself Young 52 weeks of Memories.... Sleep.

My twin nephews Fletcher and Bradey exactly 5 weeks old in this picture and (finally) sound asleep..

Also linking with Twinkle in the Eye and My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, 13 January 2014

to set my 2014 goals!

I Must Confess is back! Yay...My Monday linky has been absent for a while with Kirsty and family travelling overseas but we a back for the first time in 2014..

This week we are confessing our resolutions, hopes and dreams for 2014. This is something a lot of people have already written about so it's been good for me to read others and get some ideas.

I must confess I am not one for New Years Resolutions, I do get how starting a new year can be considered a great time for starting (or stopping) something and using the new year as like a clean slate, but I am also a strong believer of "if you want to do something just do it, why wait for a new year, new week, new day"...

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I had never seen this quote until just now but I love it!

Anyway, I have come up with 5 goals that I want to work towards in 2014... In no particular order and as you'll notice most of them all link together, so doing one will help achieve another

1. Run a half marathon

Of course I couldn't find one with kms on it!

This has been something that has been on my mind since I started the 12wbt at the beginning of last year and I wrote it down as my 12 month goal then. I am looking at the Gold Coast Half Marathon as it falls in my school holidays so I can make a bit of a trip of it and not have to rush back to work the next day (although rushing anywhere after a half marathon is not something I think I'll be doing anyway!). I also still have another 6 months of training and whilst I know I am a slow runner and not aiming for any time in particular I am confident I can finish and at this point THAT is my goal! Have been checking out blogs and tips and training programs to get myself as prepared as possible.. Please leave any and all tips below!

2. Step away from the iPad/iPhone
Again with the American pictures! haha.

If you haven't seen the video clip on that surfaced on Facebook recently about the impact mobile phones are having on our lives then please, do yourself a favour and watch it here .
The clip is filmed from a woman's perspective where everyone else around her has a phone while she doesn't and tries to go about her daily life. I found it very powerful! The amount of time I spend "connected" has been something I have been thinking about for a while, in fact I am sure I have even blogged about it from time to time. I live in a townhouse and for the last few months I have been leaving my phone and ipad downstairs when I head to bed and read and relax before going to sleep. I was finding I would 'go to bed' but then would flick through Facebook, Twitter, play all my goes in Candy Crush and Pet Rescue, tend to my Hay Day Farm, and then by the time I did all that it was time to go back to Facebook and Twitter because I may have missed something and before I knew it another hour had passed and I was still wide awake. I was also concerned about the amount of time I was spending staring at the screen and what that's doing to my eyes and sleep. Now, whilst I might miss the odd text that comes through after I've gone to bed, I figure my sleep is more important and it will still be there in the morning, if it's an emergency they'll call! I have also taken a bit of a step away from Social Media and want to continue this this year as well. It's a bit of a catch 22, Social Media is a great platform for me to share my blog and increase my readers but then I find it so frustrating and time consuming and get sick of reading all the drama that some people like to share - I mean seriously some could give the writers of Days of Our Lives a run for their money! This year I want to focus on me so am stepping back.

3. Make more effective use of my time

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I often whinged in 2013 that I never had enough time but if I really sit back and reflect, I have plenty of time, if I use it effectively! I think of the minutes... who am I kidding HOURS.. I have spent on the above mentioned and what I could have been doing instead, I shudder. Yes it's good to have those things as relaxation activities and while I would not say that I have a serious addiction I certainly have spent more time on them than necessary. I have no husband, no children, I have plenty of time and I need to stop making excuses, especially when it comes to exercise. When I am on holidays it is great, I wake up, I excuses..but when I am working I think that I don't have enough time, when I do! Especially if I cut out the 20 minutes or so that I spend sitting at the kitchen table after breakfast playing those silly games! I have also been on the opinion that I don't exercise at night and when I get home that's it, I'm home...well that needs to change as well, and the first step I have made to making that happen is signing up for a bootcamp that is going to be run from my attitude and schedule is going to have to change!

4. Meditate

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Such a great way to relax and switch off it was something that I used to do a lot of, but again, other things took over. My only struggle with this one is that I have downloaded a fantastic app on my iphone that I would love to use before going to sleep but then that would mean taking my phone to bed and therefore undoing number 2... Will have to come up with a plan b for that one I think.

5. Travel

There are so many quotes about travel that I just love but when this one popped up on Pinterest lately it's definitely my fave at the moment!

Last but certainly not least I want to add a few more stamps to my passport this year. I am not sure when or where just yet but am thinking a mini holiday somewhere close by in September, Vietnam has been on my hit list for some time now so perhaps there. Am also thinking it's time I utilised my 6 week Christmas holiday break a little better and head overseas, the USA has also been somewhere I have wanted to go but the thing with that time of the year is all the places I want to go are having Winter then and I hate being cold on holidays! Am certainly more of a Summer traveller!

A lot of people have talked about having a theme word for 2014 and I have had a few running around in my head but if I had to describe what I want out of 2014 then I have decided that my word is...
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I need to stop procrastinating, stop putting things off, stop waiting for things to happen and just do!

Another little piece of motivation and mantra that I am going to use for 2014 came via my best friend (love how she just 'gets' me!)..She say this on Facebook and new straight away it was something I needed to see. I have printed a couple of copies off, one for my wall, one is now stuck on the cover of my diary and I have one to hang in my office at work for my students to see!


So I guess in a nutshell I have decided to be a 'HAPPY PERSON' in 2014!

Head on over to My Home Truths to read about other people's goals and dreams for 2014.

Good luck with whatever you are aiming for in 2014 - I look forward to sharing the journey!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

for a new smoothie recipe!

I have joined the Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories - It's a 'once a week photo challenge' for those of us who find the photo a day challenge a little bit overwhelming!

This week's prompt is "NEW" and this morning I tried a new smoothie recipe! Frozen Berries (I used a frozen single pack of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) 1 banana, cup of yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt), 2 cups of Spinach (which I only ever considered a salad ingredient!).

Check out the weekly prompts here. You don't have to have a blog to join - link up on instagram using the #fmy52weeksofmemories

This photo challenge will be live every Wednesday which is also perfect as it coincides with my Wordless Wednesday link up! (I know I haven't been very wordless today but I promise to be in the future..

Check out who I am linking with today... Finding Myself Young...My Little Drummer Boys... Twinkle in the Eye

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

to turn 100...

I have spent a lot of time over these holidays on blogs, reading blogs, discovering new blogs, commenting on blogs, googling blogging tips, sussing out designers for blogs, playing around with new templates and redesigning my blog, but what I haven't spent a lot of time doing is actually blogging!

Late Sunday night when Ms Mystery Case put the call out that she would be hosting the I Must Confess linkup in Kirsty's absence my immediate thought was "huh...what? is it Monday?" (one of my great loves of holidays is I totally lose track of what day it is!) and so without much thought I slapped together a quick post and linked up following her theme of Movie Choice Mishaps. 

In my haste I neglected to realise that that was in fact my 100th post!

YAY!! Happy 100th post to  me!!

I am sure (hopeful) that I will meet many milestones with my blog but it's nice to know I've made this one. When I started this blog I really had no idea where the journey would take me, had no idea if I would even make it this far but it is enlightening to know that people have found what I write worth reading/commenting/following! Every bloggers dream I guess! Funny to even think I have come up with 100 things to write about really!

To celebrate this little milestone, and while redesigning my blog layout and theme I enlisted the help of the WONDERFUL Felicity and Pursuit of Felicity Designs to create me a new header, button and signature (there were just some things beyond me!) and luckily enough she contacted me today to tell me my design was ready to be uploaded!! What a way to celebrate! If you have even had an inkling to get some pro to do some of your design blog for you please, do yourself a favour and check her out! So helpful and professional and did I mention WONDERFUL! I could not be happier with what she has developed for me. I do have one question for you though....Should I keep the photo strip there or not? Just have one piccie over on the sidebar?? Am torn so am taking the vote to the public, what do you think?

I have read a lot of posts recently about people's goals for their blog for 2014 and I must say, a lot of mine are the same, increase traffic, find 'my' voice, write more scheduled posts and drafts so I am not writing one at 5:30pm on the day of the link up (like I am right now!) etc. I would love to start a series of posts but am unsure of a theme or topic? Any ideas? Give me some topics you'd like to read about in the next 100 posts!!!

Of course it's Tuesday and you should know what that means!? IBOT time!!

Monday, 6 January 2014

to confess..

Kirsty from My Home Truths is off exploring the wonders of NZ so this Monday we are confessing over at Ms Mystery Case and I have decided to follow her confessional regrading movies choices...

I must confess that when it comes to movies, more specifically DVDs, I give it 20 minutes...

I give a movie 20 minutes and if it has not intrigued me/sucked me in in 20 minutes I figure it's not going to and will turn it off! To be honest it hasn't happened often as I am usually pretty selective in what I watch and usually go with something that has come highly recommended or something pretty popular at the time.

I will also confess that I rarely watch a movie twice - unless I really love it! I'm a 'seen that why bother again' type of person and rarely buy DVDs and most of the ones I do own have been the result of gifts. There are movies which I do love and can watch over and over and over....Bridget Jones, Sweet Home Alabama, The Heat, Sex and the City, Pitch Perfect, The Wedding Singer to name a few!

One of the worst movies I have ever been forced to sit through came as the result of an off the cuff "I don't mind, you pick" statement that I have learnt to never say again!

I was a young teacher in my early 20s living in a remote North QLD town. I had met a young local lad and as we had only not long met and knew our relationship was possibly not going to be welcomed by some, we were keeping things quiet. One Friday night we had arranged for him to come over, I would cook dinner and he would bring a movie. Imagine my shock horror surprise when he showed up all excited, with this.....

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Yep..... 119 minutes of my life I am still trying to recover! (Perhaps it should have been a sign right there to run!!). As I was trying to impress I forced myself to sit through it and it took all my strength to watch the timer tick past the 20 minute mark and not stop it.

So, confession time....What's the worst movie you've forced yourself to sit through for a date??

Linking up this Monday Confessional with...

Ms Mystery Case

Thursday, 2 January 2014

for a reading challenge..

I saw on Facebook that one of my blogging colleagues was participating in a reading challenge in 2014 and thought that I would join her.

Reading is something that I absolutely love and don't do anywhere near enough of, especially once the iPad came into my life, but lately I have been leaving the iPad in the kitchen when I go to bed and making sure I read before bedtime. I am yet to be converted to reading on a tablet/kindle/iPad as I think you just can't beat the feel of a good real life book. And besides, when you fall asleep reading a book it doesn't hurt anywhere near as much or break when you drop it!

So the challenge that I have signed up for is the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Basically it's a way of promoting Australian Women Writers as you nominate how many books you are going to read and then, if you want to, you can review them as well and share your opinions with other readers through blogs, social media and the Australian Women Writers Website.

I am aiming for 6 books in 2014.... I am a sloooow reader though so while that may not sound like many it will certainly be a challenge. I have a few books already in mind to read but would love to hear any recommendations you may have!

Better still join me in the challenge!