Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

Gratitude Journal Day 3 – Hometown

I actually don’t have one? I would say that Brisbane is home, but there certainly is not a suburb or town that I would equate with ‘hometown’.

By the time I was ten we had moved ten times and I was already up to my fifth school. To define a home ‘town’ is too tricky. So instead, I will write about home.

Home was always where Mum was. We had learned from a young age never to have too much attachment to a place, a room, a tree or a house. Our home was our family, wherever our roots were at any one time.

Home was where the sounds of music blasted when Mum was cleaning or cooking. Home was where the smell of Dad’s work shirts and Mum’s perfume was. Home was where the three kids fought tooth and nail for the first/last/longest shower. Home was where after dinner the three of us would battle over who was doing the washing up, the wiping up and the cleaning of the table and chairs and benches (washing up was the best because you were in and then OUT – I hated drying up).

Home is where our good mornings, goodnights, Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas’ were said. It is where our dogs, Lucy and Gina were. It is where the five of us built our lives, and more importantly, lived our lives.

Home is where we would steam our faces over Tupperware bowls with Eucalyptus oils when we were sick, or fight to the death over finishing the cake batter from these same bowls. Home is where the house phone cord would be dragged from one room to another, the curly curd under a closed door – teenage conversations ongoing throughout the night.

Home is where I dragged my suitcases of saved magazines from residence to residence throughout all of those years. It is where I would rearrange my bedroom as many times as possible. Where I would adorn every wall/ceiling and cupboard with posters. Where there was always a huntsman to find before it found you.

It was where the air conditioner was only used on Christmas Day. Where caramel sliced was sneaked from the fridge at all hours of the night. Where coffees were zapped in the microwave and corned beef was only made outside. It was where there was a mad dash to the spinach quiches

Home was where Chrismas carols were blasted from the TV and Christmas presents brought out to be placed under the tree. Where little hands would reach in the dark to Christmas sacks to try and work out if Santa had made it, and what had he left.

Where Sunday pikelet mix was made, Monopoly games were played and loud, happy and mental laughing occurred.

Home was and is where my family is. Always.

x Courtney x

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Gratitude Day 2 – Health

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

I guess that ultimately, given it is meant to be an essay on gratitude, this should be positive things about my health, so here goes.

I am alive and for all intents and purposes, I am healthy. I am able to get around day to day, I have no physical diseases etc., I have overcome several health issues, have gone under the knife many times and struggle with shoulders and knees and my spine – but in your thirties, who isn’t struggling?

I am thankful for my hearing, music and conversation are my main loves.

I am thankful for my eyesight. Nature and all of the things around me I love to look at. Always. Photography, reading and looking at those I love, I have my eyes to thank for all of these.

I am thankful for my height. I wasn’t always, I was gangly and tall and weird, sort of just standing out like a long, white-limbed, red-headed weirdo. I love being tall it taught me to stand up for myself, my posture is strong, I don’t need a little set of stairs or a stool to reach anything. I see more people. I observe others. I do not get lost in a crowd.

I love that I have the physical ability and more importantly, I am thankful for my physical ability. To be able to explore, to feel the grass under my feet, to wrap my arms around those I love. To feel the sensation of rain on my skin, wind at my back and sun on my face. How could we not be thankful for these gifts?

I am thankful for having a sense of taste, for a multitude of reasons. The sense of smell, possibly more than the sense of taste for me. The sense of smell is so unique to each of us. Memories which come rushing to the surface when we smell something we love. The ability to smell danger is also so important.

I am thankful for my heart and my soul for always being strong. For being determined. For marching forward despite their setbacks.

I am thankful for my brain for although she brings me trouble daily, she is doing her best to improve. I overthink, but I have the ability to think. I am sensitive, I overthink things and I am intuitive beyond a fault, but at thirty-three, my ability to sense absolutely BS and run the other direction is a wonderful thing to have. I although distressed, am as equally thankful for my brain’s ability to recognise distress as it is and try to pry its own hands out of its own clutch. To fight for normality. To fight for peace. To always fight to be better. Oh, dear brain of mine, you bring me so much confusion and yet I know that after thirty-three years you are doing your absolute best to grow with me, to support me and to love me.

We aren’t there yet, but we will never stop trying.

x Courtney x

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to my essay yesterday! I had no idea that a little reflection on my awesome-foursome family would get such a strong reaction! To be honest, I also had no clue that my essay would automatically share to my Facebook page, so it was quite raw and honest!

 

Gratitude Journal Day 1 – Family

About my family – who they are and why I am grateful for them.

I have a very small immediate family, there are four of us and we are fiercely protective of one another. There used to be five of us, but things change and disease can get in the way. It was a phenomenally rocky time. If I am honest, we all still struggle with it in our own individual ways each and every day.

I am thankful for my four. I have two siblings who would set this world on fire for one another and a Mother who has no idea how incredibly strong and amazing she is.

My family taught me to work for what I wanted. To be aware of how lucky we are to live where we do. To appreciate time with those you love, and to never expect anything. A sense of entitlement was not something which was bestowed amongst us. We valued each and every treat we ever received, we never complained about our parents being out of sight, because we knew that they were working hard to provide for us.

We all went through something uniquely traumatic and devastating, we came out the other side and met each other there, though our journeys were all different – we may have all entered the abyss together, but we all emerged from separate tunnels. Kicking, screaming, shocked. I have to tell you, for anyone who ever mutters the sentence ‘touched by cancer’ – take yourself away, rethink your sentence and have another go. There is no light touching involved. It is a demolition derby, created by fear and doubt and terror, wrapped up in an all-consuming and suffocating blanket of sadness. Followed by years and years of grief.

My family is kick-arse and I am thankful for all of them.

My Brother is a rock at all times, he may have intentionally moved as far away as he possibly could, prefers animals to people and is the only 27-year old I know who has no social media, but he is absolutely everything any and all of us need.

My Sister is the chalk to my cheese. We could not be any more different, and yet our similarities define us. We know what is and what is not important. We don’t hide anything under any rug. We rip that rug from the ground and expose all of the hurts and annoyances. We all speak a different language, have our own standing point and our own battles to fight, but if the battle comes from outside of our circle – then you will get all four of us defending who we are.

We are funny. We are arseholes. Our sense of humour is unique. Our Mum has barely been able to follow a conversation between her three children for twenty years. Nobody can quote a movie the way we can. We all have our Mother’s chin, tenacity, humour and resilience. We have our father’s approach to life (go now, look later), his looks and his confidence where it is rarely deserved. We love like both of them loved each other. We are the product of our parents and their love for us – our Grandparents had nothing to do with it. Our Mum and Dad made the choice every day to mark their own path, create new roles and display how they felt love should be displayed.

My family is small, but there is more love that could possibly be understood. We may be less one, but together we are five. Our spirit is unique, we are at the end of our family name, we all have different goals and adventures, but our love is the same.

Always.

x Courtney x

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life happens. Life gets in the way.

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Work.

Family.

Friends.

Bills.

Relationships.

Mental Health.

Physical Health.

Self-Worth.

The world.

Life happens, and life gets in the way.

How blessed we are to live it, to wake up each day and know that we get another chance, another 24 hours.

I have been having some pretty shocking struggles in the last six or so months. So rather than sitting here struggling to think of topics to write about, working out what rabbit hole to send my mind down instead of circling the drain – where to go intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Instead of uncertainty, confusion and the back and forth nonsense, I am going to focus on a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.

Wish me luck, and please tag me in your comments or share my posts and let me know what you think.

x Courtney Gaye x

2019 Autumn Trends

It is safe to say that nobody has ever accused me of being particularly fashionable or on-trend. Despite this small set-back, of having zero fashion sense, I am still interested in trends, styles and most importantly, colours!

As my little business continues to grow, I do have an interest in staying in touch with what the best hair trends are.

In terms of the next 9 big hair trends for 2019, as predicted by the experts (and referenced by Harpers Bazaar), they are as follows:

  • Blunt Bobs
  • Grey hair
  • Super-straight
  • Adult accessories (yay for Rock it Like a Redmond!!!)
  • At-home colour
  • Modern top-knots
  • Glossy hair
  • Big volume
  • Lilac makeovers

My hair is thick, heavy, dense and long. It is also red. So the thought of having a blunt bob is terrifying because in 1996 I attempted this and I looked absolutely ridiculous.

Grey hair can look absolutely amazing on some people, I just don’t think it is for me.

Super straight hair just reminds me of the smell of the GHD going through my hair for hours on end, only to go outside, be hit by humidity and putting my hair back up in a bun anyway.

Adult accessories are where I am at, given I am making scrunchies, bandanas, hair wraps and scarfs, I am pretty pumped that these are a real thing at the moment. Plus they look adorable!

At-home colour is pretty much how I spent many hours in my bathroom from 2001-2013, so the thought of dying my hair ever again is also out. I also always managed to bust through the gloves and end up with stained hands/neck/forehead – the works.

Modern top-knots. Look, I have no idea what this means but my hair has pretty much been in a bun since I was 8 years old and I am not about to change that. So I feel like I have this covered.

Glossy hair. Completed unachievable for me. My hair is like horse-hair. Only less impressive and less glossy. Power to all of you that have pretty hair, my jealousy is next level.

Big volume. I am there, no need to work on that! Also willing to donate hair to anyone who needs some. Seriously I could provide wigs for a family of four.

Lilac makeovers – I wish I could do this. I have loved looking at people with pretty pink hair and I hope I see more of the lilac colour!

If you are after any hair accessories, and you like to support charity, then please check out my shop – $1 from each item sold goes to charity, they’re cute as hell and you can be a part of the on-trend movement! #yay.

Shop Hair Accessories

What’s your favourite style?

x Courtney x

Baxter Blue Eyewear Review – Part 1

I spend way too much time looking at screens, not only with my social media, using my phone and running mybusiness, but I also work in front of a computer for 8 hours of the day, and that is just in my paid employment.

Often i will come home with eye-strain and headaches. I wear glasses at work, but that was to reduce glare, rather than as prescription. I have been seeing the ads for Baxter Blue glasses for a couple of weeks and Ifigured at a relatively affordable cost, it was worth trialling them.

I ordered them on Thursday and here we are on Monday morning and I have them, that is one hell of a fast turnaround! The style I was originally after were sold out, so I went with the ‘Clark / gloss black’ style – gotta love those strong lines and a classic style!

ACS_0575[1]My first impression is they are incredibly light and are a nice fit, I can actually feel (see?) the difference? My eyes feel less strained. I can see the difference looking at the screen, my eyes are hurting some, but I think that is because they are no longer straining, it will likely take some getting used to.

I will trial these for the week and see how I am at the end of the week, I go home with incredibly tired and itchy eyes most days, so if these provide even 10% relief, I will be thankful!

Baxter Blue provides a person in need a pair of reading glasses for each set sold – so seeing as 2019 is all about the year of giving for me, this gives me the warm and fuzzies. They have partnered with RestoringVision to provide this wonderful service, a not-for-profit organisation who has distributed over 7 million pairs of glasses to those in need since 2003.

My gorgeous new frames are going to: filter out 50% of harmful bue violet light, let the good blue light in, alleviate my digital eye strain, add contract to define characters on screen (I can see this already!),  fight reflections, avoid scratches and look pretty darn cute.

I will see how I go for the week, and provide an update for anyone who, like me, is heavily involved in digital screen time!

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

*This is not a sponsored post, I will always honestly review items which I have bought and am trialling for myself.

Kind February <3

IMG_0972[1]Being charitable should be a daily task, like brushing your teeth or having a shower. Sadly, we sometimes only remember to be charitable when there is a particular function/event/drive and there is a chance to promote a particular organisation or cause.

My mission this year is to be charitable every day, in many different ways.

In November & December, I littered our kitchen with canning equipment, trays of fruit, far too much sugar and sterilised jars.

As it approached Valentine’s Day, I can honestly say my Husband is ready to lock me in the backroom to stop me from dropping thread and cotton and pins throughout our two-bedroom unit, as though I am personally shedding these items from my body.

IMG_2609[1]I have no intention of slowing down with my creations, I may have a pretty solid case of #scrunchiethumb and hear the sound of my sewing machine in my sleep, but I feel so good about my creations!

So, how can you help? Well, first of all, Lee is holding a pretty bloody cute Pop-Up Kissing Booth with her dutiful and cuddly Aussie Bulldog, Derek. If you are in the South-East Queensland area, then this event is for you – the details can be found here.

Your gold coin donation will go directly to the support of vital medical research products funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

February and March, my donations will be going to Cancer Research Australia, an organisation I was made aware of through my friend Lee, who is fundraising for this incredible charity throughout 2019. I am hoping to reach the $100 mark for them, as I did for Orange Sky Laundry.

I hope to see all of your gorgeous photos taken with the kissing booth and there will also be a few prizes given out for the winning photo of each location! You will go into the draw to win a dog kerchief + scrunchie combo, created by Rock it Like a Redmond :).

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

My #instabreak (read: #instarelief)

A week and a bit ago, I decided to deactivate my travel Instagram page, @courtney_brisbaneblogger. It was a choice I battled with over and over and for the first couple of days, I honestly was not sure if I had made the right choice.

Now I can honestly say, I made the right choice. I am not waking in the morning and checking Instagram, worrying about the stats. Worrying that I am not getting notifications from the same people, being disheartened by the lack of engagement.

I miss the contact of several people, absolutely – but for the sake of my mental health, I have to tell you – it is the best choice I could have possibly made. I absolutely want to get back on there one day, although I wonder if there is, in fact, a way to clean-out my followers and those accounts I am following – without re-activating my account.

….

So I waited a week before I continued this post, just to see if my opinion had changed at all. It has not, thankfully. This last week I have been able to concentrate on my business, my work, and my I.R.L friends. I have not been caught up in algorithms and phony human-contact, hashtags, and scrolling through the same photos over and over again.

I can slowly feel my creativity coming back to me, I felt porous, leached dry of any genuine creativity when I was playing such close attention to my lifestyle/travel IG. There are quite a few people I have connected with, through text and message – those who genuinely understand the need for a break.

What I find to be completely amazing though, is the gorgeous woman who started our niche #gram tribe, also was going through the same thing! I had no idea when I was at our meetup (the night before I deleted/blocked everything) and looking at this incredible woman in the flesh, that she too was looking at taking a break. I’ve just checked and yep, this woman -who I really admire, has also taken a break from the gram.

The thing is, it is and is not real life, as much as any one thing can be both and both not something. You look at places, some genuine shots, genuine moments and then there are the pre-meditated, posed, screen-show masterpieces which are popular. It is fictitious, it is vacuous and do you know what? It is not inspiring. Not at all. It creates a breeding ground of doubt, of comparison and of an intrinsic sensation of failure.

I know there are people out there who are personally offended by my choice to delete my page or to stop communicating with them. All I can say is it is personal 100%. It was personal to me and I am feeling lighter, breathing deeper and my social media anxiety is fading.

Thank goodness.

Another thing to remember, social media is not real-life and other people’s actions are always made for THEM, not for you and that is A-OK.

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

 

 

 

 

#thegram – an update, it’s time to ditch

The other day I wrote about how I was feeling towards #instagram and my travel/blog account.

Yesterday there was an incredible meet-up, for a travel group I was heavily involved in and truly loved. Given my feelings lately towards Social Media, and Instagram in particular – I was tossing up whether or not to go. I really wanted to meet the woman who had put the group together and had been so incredibly generous, kind and inclusive to all of us. There were a few other local girls I had chatted to on the platform and wanted to meet.

Despite my anxiety being a 15/10, I went and it was so lovely to ‘meet’ these people I have spoken with for a year and a half. Sadly my anxiety got the better of me and I had to leave. I only lasted around 45 minutes and my need to leave and get to my safe-place, home.

captureLast night I was so worked up with anxiety and stress related to my Instagram page that I actually decided this morning to A) delete my travel page I started with another person and B) temporarily (perhaps permanently) deactivate my personal travel / blog page.

This is no reflection on the wonderful members of the community I was part of, however I can honestly say I feel better about it already.

It is time to go back to enjoying my writing, getting my business off of the ground and centering myself. Thanks to everyone who has supported me, read my posts and encouraged me. I may or may not reactivate @courtney_brisbaneblogger / @courtneygaye travels, but for now I think I will just take a break and get back to what I really love.

I hope to see you around the traps otherwise, take care and look after yourselves and the things you love ❤

Courtney Gaye Signature copy