Honningsvåg, the North Cape, fish ice-cream & the Aurora Borealis

Day 20 – Tuesday 9/10

Each morning we woke up, to the slow rattle and roll of our beautiful ship, the MS Kong Harald pulling into port, we knew another incredible adventure was ahead of us. We chose to travel in Autumn, so the fact we had seen as much snow as what we had, was incredible. There were many hours where we would lay sideways in our bed and just stare out of our window, completely amazed by what we were looking at.

EUROPE - 7270It was hard to believe we had already reached day 5 of our trip. It seemed that this amazing adventure we had waited so long for, was going past so quickly. We wanted to embrace each and every moment and with relative whiplash looking from one side of Norway to the other, our eyes were drunk with beauty.

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Today was the day we would get to visit the North Cape, Nordkapp – the beautiful home to Honningsvåg. As awful as this is going to sound, the relief we felt when we were able to get off the ship and board an English-speaking bus away from the mass population of incredibly rude, pushy, eyes-for-Christmas people we had spent nearly a week within our small quarters, was invigorating!

Honestly, I think we had the best tour guide, he was so passionate and absolutely nothing on this Earth grabs my interest and inspires me than learning about a place from a local with stars in their eyes. It reminds me that although some people think that taking tours is not ‘authentic’ enough, I disagree with you completely. Having someone who loves where they are from, enough to share it with you is the epitome of travel and experience, really absorbing the location you are in.

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Nordkapp sits at latitude 71°10’21” N and safe to say it is the furthermost North I have ever been, or am likely to ever go! We knew that in terms of tourism, this particular location is known as a tourist trap, and it is expensive but it is beautiful. As I write this, I can see my beautiful Sami-made Christmas decoration on my tree and I have absolutely no issues with the cost we faced to visit this place. It was AMAZING. Our bus trip was around 30-45 minutes up the mountain to the visitor’s centre. We were still completely blown away to see snow wherever we looked.

Nordkapp was eye-opening and I would have loved to have spent more time in the Sami-district, but seeing as we only had a day in the area, that unfortunately was not an option. Grant and I made our way away from the crowd when we got off the bus – heading straight out to the point and avoiding the visitor centre and the actual monument. With hundreds of people up there, we preferred to enjoy the beautiful view, have a view moments without interruption and avoid the reality that it was definitely a tourist butterfly-net. It was worth it, completely. It was completely overwhelming to realise where we were, what we were experiencing and to try and imagine all of the people before us over hundreds of years who had visited the area.

We only had a short time in Nordkapp but I can honestly say, that as we exited the bus and headed back towards the ship, I was really dreading leaving such a beautiful place, the most northern place I had ever been to and one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I think our kisses at the most northern point of Europe would stay with us for quite a while!

EUROPE - 6669This was also a pretty terrible day to realise that although my boots were great for hiking, they were 100% inappropriate for ice, I cannot count how many times I nearly completely stacked it!

So, some fun facts about Nordkapp, which we were told by our incredible tour guide:

  • Nordkapp is not actually the northernmost point of Europe, the neighbouring Knivskjellodden is 1457m further north.
  • In approximately 1664, the first tourist was reported to have climbed the plateau, he was an Italian Priest and it took him more than two years to make his journey.
  • The first group travel was arranged in 1875 for 24 participants.

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This destination is certainly expensive but it is absolutely beautiful and I figured that if we were going to travel all that way, only to stay on the boat and not go on the journey, it would have been a missed opportunity.

The entrance fee is 275NOK, which is around $45AUD – you will pay more to go on an organised tour, but the climb is steep and the tour guide is a local and is passionate – so well worth it if you can afford it.

Once we made our way back down the mountain and back onto the ship for our final leg of our Hurtigruten journey we finally tried the Brown Cheese and Stockfish flavoured ice-cream on board the ship (unusual, but not all that unpleasant), rugged up with warm drinks and waited for our chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

I had already been asleep for an hour when G came and woke me up once they were showing, I had the wrong lens on the camera and was totally out of it. However, you can see my very very amateur shots below!

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

x Courtney x

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Extreme Engagement, and why #couplegoals is toxic.

I treated Extreme Engagement the way I treat a packet of Tim-Tam’s, greedily, by myself and with audible exclamations.

Filmmaker, multi-award winning cameraman, journalist & television presenter Tim Noonan and United Nations award-winning reporter, producer, writer and news anchor together are the brains and (phenomenal) skills behind Extreme Engagement.

This show, which if you haven’t watched yet, get on it (!), premiered on Netflix this week and it is incredible. At first, I was a little worried I would be sitting down to some fluffy Bachelorette-typed love story with a couple swanning around to different destinations.

Wrong. There is no swanning. This is travel at its rawest and this is a couple who spent two years apart following their engagement. My husband and I were long-distance for around 18 months and when we were together we had struggled over small things. I can only imagine the volcano it would have been if we were in the middle of nowhere, struggling with language and not sure how to communicate with one another.

I know that I get the shits if he takes me somewhere he has been before, my mind kicks into overdrive – who was he here with, what memories does he already have here, why does he want to come back.

Sidenote: I am a far more jealous human being than either Tim or PJ, as is my Husband and so this 12-month experiment would have lasted approximately one week and I would have packed my bag and bailed out to the comfort of my home.

I think it is important to travel with your significant other. Not just on some all-you-can-eat, booze-infused trip, but head somewhere together where you are both out of your depth. This will challenge you to work together or work against each other. Take a deep breath before you lose your shit in the underground because neither of you speaks French and you can’t read the signs (me).

When I finished this show (and desperately wanted more), I realised that there is no such thing as #couplegoals, and there really shouldn’t be. We all have our own journey’s and our own adventures, arguments, highs and lows.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it was raw and realistic and I have never empathised with a couple more through the t.v. It affords you that very rare opportunity to see both sides of the coin and it challenges your beliefs, stand-point and any pre-conceived stance you may have.

IMG_2892When I was watching this it reminded me that fighting with your significant other does not mean we are compatible. It’s how you approach disagreements and troubles in your relationship that matters. Screaming and losing your shit doesn’t mean you don’t belong together. Choosing to work through it, work out your problem-solving approach and how you come back together after a disagreement is what matters.

I wouldn’t change my relationship for anything in this world, and PJ and Tim sharing their lives in this binge-worthy show only reinforced this for me.

I won’t offer any spoilers, but honestly, this journey was amazing from start to finish – I binged it over a Thursday night and finished it on my Friday lunch-break. It left me wanting more, I have the utmost respect for both Tim and PJ and I wish them all the happiness and love in the world.

Also, pretty sure my next holiday needs to be to Yanaba, immediately.

To watch Extreme Engagement click here.

x Courtney x

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

Picture credits: MEAWW / Netflix / Courtney Gaye

 

Organic Beauty Wipes – worth the hype?

I have long been the woman who uses her fingers to put makeup on, has the one brush for anything in powder form, and approaches skincare like a male farmer in his fifties (water and soap, right?).

I know that I should have started a skin-care regime years ago, lord knows my mother encouraged me too (sorry, Mum). Every now and then I have been somewhat committed but then, of course, I get bored with the whole thing. My bathroom is smaller than most people’s, the counter surface is minimal and the last thing I need is 50-thousand different products cluttering up the area, so anything deemed excessive or complicated gets the boot when I am cleaning.

Recently I decided to add to my collection of sewn products and try my hand at beauty wipes, and you guys I – AM – CONVERTED!

I have used these beautiful wipes for cleanser, exfoliant, toner, in applying and removing face mask products, I have even used them as nail polish remover pads.

If you are at all interested in making a purchase, I would be so thankful and chuffed! Free Domestic postage is available, Afterpay is available and $1 from each sale is going to Black Rainbow Australia for the month of June, I really want to crack my $100 fundraising goal!

x Courtney x

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Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post :).

Who do I think I am?

photography of tree
Photo by gypsyugal on Pexels.com

Genealogy has always been fascinating to me. I loved to hear stories from my Mum and Dad about where we had originally come from. You see, they were just stories passed down from generation to generation. I longed to have the family history I had read about in Looking for Alibrandi. I wanted to have family recipes, old photos, old love letters. Anything that I could build on, stories I could share.

When I met my now-Husband he had stories of his Dad when he lived back in Ireland, how he grew up, what he overcame, and of course how he came to live in Australia.

When I was little I knew that we were ‘Irish’, as in Dad’s family line had come from Ireland (a long, long, long time ago). I used to take this and my red hair would make sense to me (only one in the family!), I believed my pale skin and my freckles were as a result of my heritage. Having a name with a ‘y’ and an ‘e’ where they really didn’t need to be made sense. Our Mum would tell us stories that her Dad had told her, and his Dad before him – about the Scottish and Norwegian heritage on her side.

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I have managed to trace my Paternal side back to Patrick Byrnes, who arrived in Australia as a convict in the mid 19th Century, my maternal side is very well tracked due to the Service records held from WW1 and WW2. So whilst administratively I have been able to put together some form of a family tree, the genetic side of things has been much trickier. Like a good fiction book, I come from a line of ‘I am not your sister, I am your Mum’, ‘Yes your name is XYZ, but I had a baby before you and named them XYZ before adopting them out’, and ‘Oh yeah, your Mum died, so I married her sister, who has the same name as you’. Seriously – it would make one hell of a book!

This search was to determine our genetic roots, it was so important to me to be able to have a foundation to build off. When I have children of my own, I want to be able to pinpoint their heritage. It is harder when your people have been in Australia for as long as ours have. I am really excited to pull apart the results and go through them!

Have you done your DNA testing? Did you have any surprises?

x Courtney x

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

Instagram 

Facebook 

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

 

Lemon Delicious – my Paleo Lemon Curd 🍋 🍋 🍋

🍋 I adore Lemon Curd. Lemon Butter. Lemon Meringue. Lemon Tart. Lemon Water. Lemons. All of the lemon varieties.

There is just something alluring with the bitter + sweet collision any lemon desserts bring.

After consuming my body weight in homemade lemon butter before Christmas last year, I decided that I needed to find a better approach. I’ve tried other sweeteners, but I find the fake stuff to be too chemically in its taste and the natural sweeteners I find to be a little overwhelming with their taste.

So, I decided to try a few different kinds of honey. This has been a real trial and error process, but I can honestly say that my latest batch is my favourite. I was fortunate enough to be able to make this batch with organic lemons and organic free-range eggs from my brother and my Mum, which I think makes it even more special that this was the batch that finally worked!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest
  • .5 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 medium to large eggs
  • .3 cup of organic honey (you can use less for a more tart experience or more for sweeter. Remember that the honey is your only sweetener here so your taste will be quite personal)
  • 6 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil

Method

  1. Zest the lemons, placing the zest aside into one bowl
  2. Juice the lemons (trust me, you do not want to try and zest an already-juiced lemon)
  3. Place the eggs, honest and lemon zest into a small to a medium saucepan, whisk gently (be sure not to split the mixture, stir it gently and make sure your yolks have been separated)
  4. Stir mixture over the low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (the best way to test this is to lift your whisk above the pot and see if the mixture is slightly sticky as it drips)
  5. Once the mixture is a pale yellow and thickened (as above), slowly pour your mixture of oil & lemon juice in, one tablespoon at a time (a rough estimate from a pouring jug will be fine!), ensuring you continue to gently whisk the mixture.
  6. Continue whisking the mixture until it begins to gently bubble, this can take a while so no need to stir vigorously, just take your time and do not let the mixture burn.
  7. I like to can my curds, so if you are doing this, make sure you rinse any glass jars with hot water and sterilise in the oven before pouring your lemon butter into it.
  8. Make sure you strain the mixture before you store it, to ensure you have no cooked egg lumps or any lemon zest in your final mixture.

IMG_7420This mixture will last 2-3 weeks in your fridge, however, I am willing to bet it will be eaten before then!

If you try it, let me know!

Thank you for reading my post and supporting my charity-drives from month-to-month.

As mentioned on my Instagram, I am raising money this month for Black Rainbow Australia. This organisation is fantastic and you can read more about them here.

If you would like to donate to my fundraising cause for the month please feel free to donate through my PayPal account here:

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x Courtney Gaye x

Tired, Toxic & Stressed

At 33 to say I feel emotionally and spiritually congested is an understatement. I try to practice mindfulness, I read, I sleep, I stopped smoking, I eat relatively well. I exercise when I can but I still feel stuck.

I feel stuck in a way a car can be on soft sand not really able to go forwards or backwards (depending on the driver, if you ask literally any man near you). I feel congested. I feel emotionally and spiritually constipated. Which is a really feral way to word something but it is the aptest description of how I am feeling.

I want to feel clear, I want to feel light and I want to feel energised. I want to love myself. I know I need a detox, but of what exactly is beyond me.

I’ve tried massages and mostly just felt entirely freaked out. I went off the booze for several months and felt awful. I stopped eating meat four months ago and even that hasn’t made me feel any better. I just feel so heavy. I have no idea what would even work at this point.

This does not feel like a situation for a day spa, this is more…internal.

I believe in holistic help, I believe in Western Medicine, I believe in mindfulness, I believe in ghosts. I am really open to anything. So where do I go to seek assistance with my mind and my soul? I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a spa with indulgent procedures – my epidermis is not the problem here.

My pain is emotional, my spirit is disturbed and all of this comes out in physical ailments. I get sick, I get sad, my skin plays up, my hair falls out. There have been moments where I have nearly convinced myself that surely I am somehow possessed?

I have no clue where the source of the pain is, all I know is that this has been a long term drama. For the first time in my life, I am willing to push everything aside, drown out all of the naysayers and put my trust into someone who might be able to use some kind of intuitive healing or investigation into this problem within me. Is this a thing? Where does someone go for this type of help?

I am sure it is a combination of diet, exercise, inner cleansing, probiotics, massage, meditation, sweating or something but honestly. I cannot even begin to get my head in the right space to even try!

If you have any advice at all, I would love to hear it. How do I get my sh*t together when every method I have tried has not at all worked?

 

x Courtney x

 

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Gratitude Journal Day 5 – I am grateful I can hear…

Music

The sound of the Australian bush

The intro to my favourite tv shows

My little Niece and Nephew saying my name

The boarding announcements prior to an adventure

Campfires

The sound of an excited pet when you come home

The popping of champagne bottles

The perfectly executed high-five

The silence at the top of a mountain

The ‘I love you’s’

 

What are you thankful you can hear?

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 5 -Financially

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Financially

It is said you should not talk about politics, sex or money in public settings or with people you do not trust. I have had people absolutely freak out in the past when I have asked them how much they earn. I suppose given I am Gen-Y, I really did not consider it to be a rude question, I was curious, I also never became jealous at someone else’s wage. We weren’t doing the same jobs, we had different industries and qualifications, why wouldn’t I just be happy for my friends?

In terms of gratitude, I might take a different route here.

money pink coins pig
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I am thankful for how my parents taught me too look at and deal with money.

We were not rich, my parents worked two jobs each at any one time and my Mum was back at work within two months of having her babies. They worked so hard. They did not complain about it, it was instilling in us that there are no hand-outs. If you want something, you need to work for it.

When I was 14 and 9 months I started working. Here in Australia and back in 2001, that was the age you needed to be to start working. My parents had pretty high expectations of me in terms of being accountable with money. My first pay week I was paid $64 (such a strange thing to remember eighteen years later).

I remember paying $40 for a Billabong school bag, I bought a coke and a couple of magazines and that was that, pay gone. Yes, I said school bag. I had an old bag from a proper bag shop but I was 14 and I too wanted a brand-name bag. It was sky blue and gorgeous. It was completely impractical, squashed all of my things and was not comfortable but I was so proud that I had paid for it.

The next pay Mum and Dad let me know I would need to pay board weekly, buy my own toiletries and anything else I wanted. I had so many people around me freak out about this. They thought my parents were being unfair. Which they weren’t.

I have had a budget since I was 15, I know what needs to go where and when. I had an ING account at 16, long before it was easy to do so. That’s not to say I have been super responsible with money, I have absolutely blown the budget, ended up in debt, paid interest rates which would make your eyes water and purchased a stack of sh*t I in no way needed.

person writing debt on paper
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I’ve also travelled around the world. I own my car. I have a few clothes, not from k-mart and I have a photography kit I am very proud of. My spreadsheet is still going strong, I manage my money well, and I have such a healthy appreciation for working for your money.

I work my butt off, I have my side business selling accessories for a very small profit which I donate to charity. I married a man who treats income and money the way I do. We have goals and plans and we know that we are the only ones who will achieve them.

The world owes you nothing. You are responsible for your own financial situation. Of course, I am not including anyone who has been the victim of fraud or who has been financially dependent on someone and had that taken away, but from two people who were raised by four people who still work their arses off to live the life they want, just know that you can do it.

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My tips *not at all endorsed by any financial advisor or with any actual technical knowledge*

  • Short-term payday loans are a horrendous thing. Do NOT do them. You will absolutely screw your credit rating and if you are not diligent in your repayments you are looking at incredibly high-interest rates.
  • Afterpay is NOT responsible for your debt. You are. Afterpay has been set-up to provide a take-home lay-buy service. You read the T&C’s, signed on the dotted line and committed to your repayments. If you end up taking on more than you can repay, then I am sorry that’s on you. It is not a financial ‘trap’, there is absolutely no additional money you need to fork out if you make your repayments on time.
  • Do not avoid debt collector phone calls. They are legally obligated to strike a deal with you to repay your debt. Ignoring these calls does not make the issue go away. It becomes more expensive and you are seriously jeopardising your credit rating in doing so. Take the call, accept responsibility and come to an agreement.
  • Do NOT declare bankruptcy there are always steps before this. Declaring bankruptcy may seem ideal because in some circumstances they ‘wipe’ your debt. Do you know what else is wiped? Your right to travel internationally, work in any insurance or banking field or obtain any credit for who knows how long!

Ask for help, speak up – contact your bank. As for extensions, ask for help. Stop taking debt. Know that you have choices, always.

x Courtney x

 

 

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Gratitude Journal – Day 4 -Today I am grateful for

Is there anything you could be more thankful for, aside from being given the day to be asked this question? Even though some days are so incredibly difficult and dark – we are still able to answer the question.

For me, today I am thankful for having peace. My mind is at ease, my anxiety and depression are controllable and I am currently listening to two of my favourite people laughing in the other room.

I am able to sit and write, to go through photos I love, to plan for the future. To respond to my friend’s messages with ease and with want.

This week has not been perfect, my emotions have not been perfect but today, today I am at peace.

My Husband and I are making plans for the future, plans which are far more attainable than they were only 6 months ago. Our lives are improving every day, our relationship goes from strength to strength and we are surrounded by people who love us, love for us and love with us.

x Courtney x