Old Photographs part 3

Hi, hey, hello! I’m sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately, I’ve been letting the stress of life and other issues get me down. It’s not productive or positive. It’s disheartening and overwhelming. I hope you can all forgive me with late entries. My mothers anniversary of her death was on the weekend and it’s generally a hard day for me, this year was the 4th year without her. It’s not something I want to dwell on physically but mentally it drains me for a while. Lots of emotions and memories all flood back you know. 

I thought I’d lighten things up with an old photograph entry because they’re always a good way to share a hobby of mine and my Twitter followers always vote highly of them in my polls.  These are a mix from Adelaide, Melbourne ans Brisbane. I hope you enjoy! 

Thank you for viewing this entry and I hope you’ve enjoyed these! I hope to continue to share lots of my old photographs with you all. I love capturing life and as soon as I can I’ll be taking more and uploading them for you all. 

My gratefuls are: 

  1. I’m grateful for my gut instincts. For trusting in myself. It’s a journey but I am getting there. 
  2. I am grateful for my Dad. Although I’m not sure he fully understands what mental health issues I deal with he always finds the right words of advice to give me. 
  3. I am grateful that my rent is paid for a fortnight and my fridge/pantry are full. 

Until next time. Talk soon x 

Advertisements

Life Update: June/July 

Hi, hey, hello! Today I thought I’d give you all a little life update. How have you all been? Lots of things have gone on lately but at the same time it feels like nothing is happening. 
I have been working on my health of course. I’ve been exercising more and making a conscious effort to eat better/less (portion control) It’s not always easy and it’s not something I can do everyday because my motivation is fleeting. Which can be very frustrating and defeating. I always feel better after making better health choices and I think that’s what keeps me feeling motivated most days. It’s always been an uphill battle and I am willing and prepared to do the work I need to, to get up said hill. It would be cool to have a workout buddy or someone who will supportively push me, I’m definitely not one of those people who respond to yelling or negative instructions, to be perfectly honest if someone tells me I need to do something (anything) it makes me want to not do it or take as long as possible to do it! I guess I’m just stubborn in that regard (lol
I have been feeling a bit up and down in regard to my anxiety but that’s normal for me. Good days, bad days and those weird in between days. With my mum’s death anniversary coming up it’s a struggle but I’m sure everything will be ok. 
Making “grown up” choices has always been difficult for me because I overthink everything. I can’t do that because it’ll make this person feel bad or I won’t get to do this if I choose that etc It was always such a cycle of overthinking and ignoring my gut feelings. Lately I’ve been ignoring my inner critic and listening to my intuition! I know, finally right? I can’t keep justifying making choices to make other people happy and leaving myself miserable for it. I can’t sit around while people walk all over me because I’m an easy target. Feeling like a “subpar adult” isn’t something I want anymore. You know how most 20-something’s don’t feel like grown ups because there is always someone more grown up than you to fix things? I don’t want to be like that anymore. I want to take control of my life, my time, my reactions. Learning to trust myself and my gut & knowing that it’s OK to make MISTAKES because that’s how we learn in life. It’s an age old theory and my mother drilled it into me but I guess it went in one ear and out the other! I can feel myself changing, I can feel myself deciding that “not every action needs a REACTION” and that it’s ok to speak up for yourself and DEMAND respect as an equal as a human being, not a scared little half grown up who will just agree to keep the peace (lol
I am still on the job hunt. In a town with one of the highest unemployment rates it’s very difficult but I am positive that something will come my way soon! I’d love to be able to make money blogging but that’s a bit of a goal for the future I think. I’ve been tossing up between a lot of things as far as career paths go. It’s difficult when there are a lot of ideas and you have to try and decide which is best. It just ties back into trusting my gut and trying something new. 
How is everyone reading this doing? What’s been happening in your world? 
My 3 gratefuls are: 

  1.  I’m grateful for my constant positive inspirations. Whether it’s a person or a song or artwork. I may not always notice them but I know they’re there. I am grateful for those things for keeping me going. 
  2. I’m grateful for my sisters. I’m such a hard time coming up, I am so thankful that I have them to help guide me and love me. 
  3. I’m grateful for my home, my health, fresh water, clean and warm clothes, for the money I have in my bank. I’m grateful for the material things I have. I never take these things for granted. 

I hope you’re all enjoying your day/night wherever you may be. I love catching up with everyone and having a bit more of a chill entry. 
Until next time, talk soon x

25 Binge Worthy Netflix picks! 

Hi, hey, hello! Today’s blog is about my must watch Netflix picks! This was voted by my Twitter followers. With school holidays just starting in Australia right now and many people on uni break I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite additions to the ever so addicting Netflix selection! Of course this is based of Australian Netflix but I’m sure some titles cross over to US, Europe, Canada and such. 

  1. Billy Maddison – A 20 something rich kid has to re-do school from prep to grade 12 in order to take over the family business. 
  2.  Happy Gilmore – A failed hockey player turns golf pro with a huge drive. Motivated by money he finds just that and love. 
  3. Skin Wars – A tv series showcasing some amazing body paint artists. RuPaul Charles is also a judge on this show. 
  4. Orange Is The New Black – A show about women in a minimum security prison in Litchfield in the USA. You follow a variety of characters through their hectic life in prison. 
  5. Summer Heights High – Chris Lilley plays a variety of character in this show. It is very funny and is based in a school in Australia. Highly recommend. 
  6. Ja’mie Private School Girl – Chris Lilley again pulls from his character Ja’mie and tells the story of her final year of High School. With a lot of popularity comes a lot of drama, which he perfectly depicts in this show. 
  7. Pretty Little Liars – drama, drama, drama! This show has enough twist and turns to keep you addicted. 
  8. F is for Family – an Angry Dad, 2 kids and a clueless mother. What more could you want from an animated show? 
  9. El Dorado – This has always been a favourite of mine! 2 guys on their journey to find the city of gold. Are they Gods? Watch to find out. 
  10. The Longest Yard – Prison just got interesting with a famous football player. The warden thinks a game between guards and prisoners is a sure thing but will the guards really Come out on top? 
  11. Hurricane Bianca – Drag Queen Superstar Bianca Del Rio stars in her quirky comedy. Amazing performance. Highly Recommend. 
  12. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On – This is such an eye opening documentary about the sex/porn industry, online dating etc. So interesting. Highly recommend. 
  13. Slasher – A horror/thriller tv series about a copy cat killer that appears in town when the original killers first victim does. Her parents were killed, and she was cut out of her mothers stomach. With the murderer in prison, who is out killing now?
  14. Texas Killing Fields – A drama/thriller following police in a small town as they try and track down a killer. Will their personal lives suffer at the hand of this case? 
  15. Untraceable – This movie is about cyberstalking & online murders. It is a race against the clock to find the victims before the killer broadcasts it for everyone to see. 
  16. The Craft – A 90s classic, new school new friends. A girl finds herself making nice with a group of girls with a different energy. Will this be a burden or a prize? 
  17. Sharknado – if you want a laugh then this is for you. These movies are over the top, outrageous and totally unbelievable. They make for a great, horrible movie choice. 
  18. Blackfish – a documentary about the bad treatment of killer whales in Sea World USA. It will tug on ever heart string you have. 
  19. Planet Earth – David Attenborough is EVERYTHING. Any of his docos would be a great choice. 
  20. Zootopia – a complete animal world, with the smallest police officer determined to prove she’s got what it takes. 
  21. Hocus Pocus – the best Halloween movie out there. It’s funny, spooky and is appropriate for the whole family. Cats, spells, candles, a book with an eye. 
  22. The Nightmare Before Christmas – This is a movie you can watch from Halloween to Christmas and have it fill the mood. This is an animated masterpiece. Amazing soundtrack. 
  23. The Fundamentals of Caring – a heart warming story, a big adventure. A happy ending. 
  24. The Mist – a movie depiction of of a Stephen King novel. It is action packed! A thriller with monsters, butting heads & of course the mist. 
  25. A Series of Unfortunate Events – This is a tv show based on the book series. NPH makes an excellent Olaf (even though Jim Carey will always be Olaf, watch the movie version of this show!) it is a dark, humorous yet series show. 

There are 25 recommendations for you to binge or the holidays! Alone or with friends/family these will not disappoint. What are your favourite Netflix choices? 
Until next time, talk soon x 

These are a few of my favourite things…

Hi, hey, hello! Today’s entry is a quick fun one. I am listing a few of my favourite things for June! (they change always but at this moment these are it!) 
1. Music

At the moment, and as It has my whole life music is always present and I am loving just chucking on my headphones and zoning out! After Laughter by Paramore, Harry Styles’ self titled album, Lemonade by Beyoncé are my top 3 on rotation! 


2. Tea 

I am crazy about tea. I drink it every day and am not ashamed to say I’m addicted. My favourite is English Breakfast tea with soy milk and 2 sugars. I love to try different flavours too! I’m trying to cut back on the sugars I have but I do love a sweet tea I can’t help it. 
3. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 

Now if you know me, you know that this is my favourite movie. I watch it as much as I can. It’s just something about the songs and the Magic and message of it all that speaks to me. I am obsessed with anything Wizard of Oz themed! Whether it’s pjs from Peter Alexander which I unfortunately didn’t get or a musician who themed their album and stage show around it I cannot get enough! I even went as Dorothy Gale for my 21st dress up Halloween party. 


4. Kmart

Ok ok, who doesn’t love Kmart?! I recently got some new bedding from Kmart and it was so cheap – $24! I got a fitted sheet, doona cover and pillow cases. It’s not 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton etc but for someone who likes a bargain or is living on a budget it’s great. I love my new pink sheet and polka dot covers. They’re keeping me nice and warm in this cooler weather. 
5. Zucchini Chips 

I am 100% obsessed with the zucchini chips at Grill’d. I have always been a fan of Grill’d as I can get myself a gluten free/dairy free burger that tastes amazing and it relatively healthy. I always chose the normal potato chips which are delicious but recently I cannot get past their zucchini chips! They are so delicious and also gluten free! With their tomato relish I could eat them all damn day. 
6. Fry’s Family Food Co.

I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I am trying to cut back on meat. They make awesome nuggets, burger patties etc that are vegan (and some gluten free products too) I have a friend who is vegan and she got me onto them. Normally Woolworths have a deal of 2 for $10 which is not bad in my eyes. They’re delicious! I can’t get enough. 


7. My cat, Harry

Ok, yes I am obsessed with my cat. He is a 5 year old Maine Coon purebred. He is ginger and extremely fluffy. I’ve had him since he was 16 weeks old. He’s my little (big) baby! Maine Coons are one of the largest breeds of domestic cat you can have. He is currently small for his breed but is still larger than the average cat. He’s very vocal and wakes me up in the morning by meowing at me. He sleeps on the other side of my bed every night too. He’s not too exciting and sleeps a lot but I love him anyway. 


So there’s my 7 favourite things at the moment. It was harder to think of than I thought it would be! What are some of your favourite things right now? Let me know in the comments! 
My 3 gratefuls are: 

1. I am grateful for the money in the bank. I am grateful that I can buy food and pay bills. Many people cannot and I am grateful that I can. I do not take it for granted. 

2. I am grateful for warm clothes and blankets. It’s Winter in Australia and it’s cooling down. I am thankful for the roof over my head and the warm clothes I have to make me comfortable. 

3. I am very grateful for my father. He is always there for me when I need him and always helps me when he can. I’d be in a whole different situation if it wasn’t for him and I can’t thank him enough. 
What are you grateful for? Let me know! 
Until next time. Talk soon x 

My Mum, My Best friend, My Carers Story. 

Hi, Hey, Hello! Today entry is a serious one. I have been writing, rewriting, fighting and putting off this entry. It’s something that is very personal and incredibly close to my heart. This entry is giving an overview of my personal experience in being a full time carer for my terminally I’ll mother from March 2011 to July 2013. In the few weeks before her anniversary on July 1st I thought it was appropriate to share this. I’ve always wanted to write down how I felt at this time, how I dealt (or didn’t deal) with everything and how it shaped me into who I am. This is my own experience and I do not wish to upset family or friends who may read this so if you’d rather not hear nitty gritty details or relive what was indescribably terrible time for our whole family then please stop reading now. *I cannot speak for anyone else. I am speaking for myself and my experience. That may be different from other people’s eyes but this is mine* 
So, my mother. Tracy without the E. She was short, had curly mousey brown/blonde hair, on one hand she had the tip of her middle finger missing from an accident she had with one of her 8 siblings! She had an odd love of burnt toast, Diet Coke and chocolate, anything sweet really. Tiramisu was her ultimate but she made the best brownies you’ll ever eat. Her favourite animals were elephants and cats, she loved reading and listening (and singing) to music. She’d watch any genre of movie but science fiction, period dramas, horror and action were her favourites. She had a contagious laugh that we all likened to the cluck of a chicken. She was a woman of many words, many laughs, many tears and many struggles. She was the mother of 4 girls. She was the wife of 2 men in her lifetime, both marriages came to an end. She was always there for us, she was always there to help if you needed it, if you were stuck or scared or upset she was the one you could undoubtedly go to. 
In 2010 she started getting symptoms of disease called Motor Neurone Disease, commonly know as MND, ALS, “the disease Stephen Hawking has” or Lou Gehrig’s disease. She would lose her balance, fall over, lose feeling in her legs, laugh or cry uncontrollably and have swelling in her legs to name a few symptoms. She went through a lot of tests through our general hospital which if you’re a public patient yourself you know all too well how long it takes for things to get done. My Grandad who, rest in peace, was quite a believer in fairness and not “putting up with anyone’s bullshit” was a real help when it came to getting tests and results. The day we found out was a blur. I didn’t go with my mum or my sister to the hospital because I didn’t understand what was happening really. They both came home and were very upset. I didn’t really understand even after they explained it. How could my mum be sick? She’s my mum. You never expect your mum to get sick, and not just sick but terminally ill. 

(Mum with an ALS Fighter shirt! She sure did fight) 

In 2010 I was a senior in high school, I was 17. I was bullied and only had a few close friends. I passed all my subjects except Maths which was never my strong suit. I remember wanting to drop out 2 weeks before graduating but mum said “you’ve come this far, you can do this!” Sometimes I felt like she was my biggest cheerleader. I graduated in November of 2010 and was an active job seeker until March 2011 when I then became my mum’s full time carer. At the time mum didn’t want a stranger, a nurse or to go into a nursing home. My 3 older sisters had lives, 2 had children and they were in no position to offer to do it. I stepped up and did it. I didn’t think twice. She looked after me for my whole life and now it was my turn to look after her. We had to move from our home to a new, disability friendly house. The new house had wide door frames, low benches, rails in the bathroom. It was a small place, only 2 bedrooms. That’s all we needed – just us two. 
At first mum had a walking stick. She could still walk around the house, she would need help getting out of her arm chair (until she got an electric one) and help getting in and out of bed. Her MND started in her legs so over time she went to a walker, shuffling around. She fell a lot more with the walker, by no ones fault but because her legs just wouldn’t do what she wanted and she was a little (a lot) stubborn. Mostly we went to doctors appointments, saw family occasionally, watched A LOT of movies and Foxtel. Then she needed a wheelchair. Just a normal push one, she could kind of manoeuvre it herself. I helped her in and out. Tried to keep on top of the house work, gave her her medication morning, noon & night. Made appointments, cancelled appointments, made our breakfast lunch and dinners. It was a gradual decline in health. They always said it would be a dip and then stop for a while, then dip again. I started showering her and helping her use the toilet short after she started using the wheelchair. Privacy wasn’t even a concept anymore. She hated that. 
I had experienced anxiety from a young age and depression in my teen years so the symptoms weren’t new to me. 
I was always fine
Everything is fine. Today? It was fine thank you. Mum is fine. I am fine.  
I used to get up by mum calling my mobile phone in the morning. Then we’d get up, use the bathroom, have breakfast and watch tv together. I used to sleep a lot during the day. If I wasn’t helping her I would sleep. Depression really knocks it out of ya! I never really thought I was depressed while looking after her. I never felt like my behaviour was anything bad or wrong or unusual. Until I started self harming and drinking alcohol regularly. I used to hurt myself out of guilt and frustration. If I forgot to give her medicine at a certain time, if I missed her call to wake up, if she felt sick, if she was sad. My cousin and I would get drunk a couple of times a week for fun but I would get absolutely plastered and then get a few hours sleep, throw up, be hungover and get up at 8am and do it all over. Bathroom, breakfast, medicine, tv etc. I knew there was something wrong then but I didn’t have time for it. I didn’t even have time to scratch my own head. I was either completely occupied with mum or I was sleeping/distracting myself from my reality. 
My reality of: My mum, my best friend, my everything is dying. I am looking after her and it will end eventually. Not because she’s getting better but because she will die. 
For a long time she was the only person I could count on. I used to think once she died I would be all alone. I felt very isolated and alone during these few years. There was a bit of conflict between my family members during these few years. It was hard for everyone. Lots of tears, messages, emails and even more tears. It’s hard to forget those times, but I refuse to hold onto negativity. It’s pointless and not how I want to live my life. It’s in the past now. 
Not everything was bad though. We used to laugh a lot, every day at least once we would make each other crack up. We laughed mostly at our cats, they’re such characters. We watched a lot of scary movies together and not good ones! We loved horrible B Grade scary movies. My cousins, mum and I would have scary movies nights with snacks and so much laughter. I cherish those memories. I cherish the good times. We used to play video games and mum would coach us through the tricky levels whilst reading her book pretending not to be interested. One cousin would bring over a episodes of her favourite show so her & mum could watch them together, I used to “rest my eyes” during the show because I couldn’t stand it. I’m grateful for those little breaks. To my Nana who would come over with my Grandad to help me with housework and cooking. To all the stories her and mum would tell from when she was a young girl. 
I remember having a huge anxiety attack when I had to learn to use her hoist because at that stage she needed an electric wheelchair. She couldn’t use her legs anymore and her arms weren’t very strong anymore. She had to get a port put in her tummy to feed her because she couldn’t chew or swallow food very well. Her favourite food towards the end was chocolate custard. She used to eat that more than anything and drink Diet Coke a lot. “I’m dying so I’ll eat what I want” who can argue with that? 
I’m not saying I am a saint and that I did the most perfect job. I’m not saying I’m the only one who was effected either. You could ask 20 different people and they’ll have 20 different views/opinions. I did the best I could as a teenager with what was put in front of me. Everyday was hard but everyday I did all I could for my mum. 
I am beyond grateful I got to spend so much time with her. Even if she was sick and I wasn’t always mentally present. I am grateful for the bond we created. We were close before this but it brought us a lot closer. But 19 years wasn’t enough time to be with her. 19 years wasn’t enough time to get to know her. 19 years is, selfishly, all I got. 
I remember the day she passed away. It was early morning, she was in the hospital already because she had some breathing problems/pneumonia. I got a call from my sister saying that she wasn’t doing well and that we should go to see her. We got there and she has her eyes closed, she was breathing and making a deafening noise. Like each breath was harder than the last. They were keeping her comfortable but there wasn’t anything else they could do for her. It was hard to believe that this was it. How was this it. Family members were in the room and we were all crying. I held onto her arm and tears just fell without any effort. Then the breaths didn’t come anymore, there was silence. She passed. We all said a little goodbye. She looked like she was sleeping peacefully. Finally, peace. 

I feel sad about the last time I saw her alive. Two or three days before she passed away she was talking and alert, we were talking about the movies we had to see when she came home. I remember saying goodbye that night, it was a quick “see you tomorrow love you mum”. We left. I wish I had stayed. I wish I had been there with her for longer. I wish I had noticed she was sick sooner. I carry guilt around with me for not noticing sooner. I know there was nothing I could’ve done better or sooner or anything. I know she was already sick and this was a common complication of the disease. I know that. It doesn’t make it easier. 
Almost 4 years later and I don’t think about that time often. I get too upset and angry and sad and disappointed. I think of all the things she will miss, my wedding, my children – my life. She will miss all my important moments and my insignificant ones. She didn’t meet my first love and she won’t meet my last. She couldn’t comfort my first heartbreak. She can’t hug me when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m sick. She isn’t a phone call away. She isn’t just down the road. I miss her with every fibre of my being. It’s hard without her guidance. It’s been so tough without her. I never knew I’d be so lost. I am envious of people who got more time with her. More lessons and advice and laughs and moments. Sometimes I forget what her voice sounds like and her smell. My sisters are good at telling me stories about her, so are my aunts and uncles and my Nana. I am even crying while writing this because I hope she’s looking down and is proud of me. Proud of how far I’ve come, who I’ve become and what I’m doing. I hope she’s ok with me sharing this story. I hope she’s not sick anymore and she’s surrounded by our other passed relatives. I hope she’s so happy she has sore cheeks from smiling so much. Mostly I hope she’s close, that whenever she may be it’s not far from me. 
Do I have regrets? No. Would I go back and say no to it? No. Would I change a few things? Yes. But we can’t all see the future can we. 
If you have questions feel free to ask. I am an open book and don’t mind answering anything. If you are concerned or hurt or upset by what I’ve written, I’m sorry. 
If you read this, thank you. Thank you so much for allowing me to express myself and let this out. I feel lighter and more free just writing this. 
If you or someone in your family suffer or have suffered from MND please know my heart is with you. It is cruel and unforgiving. I am with you. I am here for you. 
Thank you for allowing me to share this. 
Until next time. Talk soon x 

An average workout for me looks like…

Hi, hey, hello everyone! As voted for on my Twitter this entry is focused on my exercise routine! I am in the process of getting referred to an exercise physiologist and dietitian to really make sure I am on the right track to getting healthy. I don’t do anything extreme or strenuous as I have been advised to take it slow and easy. I do experience swelling in my legs and joint pain when exercising so I don’t do anything to make that worse.  

For my legs I normally do 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 jumping jacks and repeat 2-3 times. Then I do 20 minutes of stretching or simple yoga. As I said I don’t go too extreme as I don’t want to aggravate my swelling or joint pains. 

For my arms I tend to fill up a 700ml water bottle or use a 1KG bag of rice to lift behind my head for 8-12 counts, then I do the same with some arm curls and also lift above my head. I repeat this 2 times because my arms aren’t that strong so I’m working on that. 

I like to go for walks in the afternoon if I can. I go around the block which is typically 1-3km depending where I go. 

Easing into this is easiest for me because I’m not used to doing exercise. I’m not used to intense physical activity and I really want to avoid injury. 

I hope to share a proper routine with you all once I’ve seen the exercise physiologist sometime in June/July so I can be more focused on specific things because at the moment I’m just kind of making it up as I go. 

It doesn’t seem like a lot and it’s not but I’m trying and I think that’s what’s important. As long as I keep moving! Please don’t hesitate to give me some tips, tricks or suggestions! I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments. 

My gratefuls for today are: 

  1. I’m grateful for my home. It’s not much but it’s mine. It shelters me, keeps me warm and safe. 
  2. I’m grateful for my friend and family who make me feel loved and understood. They make effort to keep me involved in their lives and that’s important. 
  3. I’m grateful for the money I have to pay bills, buy food and experience different things. I’ve always got enough and it’s something I never take for granted. 

Until next time! Talk soon x