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

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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

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!

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*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 :).

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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.

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Christmas + mental health

Not another mental health post, some of you may be thinking. Where are the pretty travel pictures and travel stories, others of you may ask.

They’re here. I’ve got them. I cannot wait to share them, but with only nine days to go until Christmas I have something else on my mind.

Mental health. Not mental illness, not mental disorder, and certainly not mental problems. Mental health.

Christmas to my family is incredibly important, we love Christmas. We love being together and cooking and sharing thoughtful gifts, blasting Christmas music and wearing silly hats and telling terrible jokes from our Christmas crackers. My favourite memory of many of my christmases will always be that moment when I simply could not continue, I was full and exhausted, I’d had a day of fun and it was finally time for bed. I will always hear my mum and dad saying Merry Christmas darlin’ as I headed to bed each year. That is my favourite Christmas memory.

The holiday season is not always a happy time for some, for some people it brings with it memories of loss, a time of grieving, feelings of sadness and confusion. For some it means nothing but anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts.

Christmas is hectic. The holidays can be a real trigger for many people out there and we have a responsibility to check in on others.

For one of my friends, she lost her Mother on Christmas Eve. Another lost her best friend to depression on Christmas Day. Some people no longer have anyone to put their tree up with them. There are families who cannot afford to eat. Families without homes. Families doing their best to keep everything together, even though it seems impossible.

My favourite Big Issue vendor in Brisbane, Nathan is someone who stands outside of the 7/11 on Adelaide Street and wishes a Merry Christmas to ever single person who walks past him. I always make the time to stop and ask him how he is and have a chat. December brings with it a lot of hurt and sadness to his life. Not only is he homeless, but he lost his Mother, Step-Dad and his brother in various December’s. Still he wishes you a Merry Christmas. When I see people ignore him or even scowl at him I feel nothing but disgrace for the human race.

Last year, the week before Christmas, Nathan was telling everyone it would be his last week in Brisbane, he was moving to Hervey Bay to be with his son. His happiness was contagious, he hadn’t been that genuinely happy in months. I was silently rooting for him.

When I saw him on that same corner in January, my heart broke for him.

Missing out on the Portman’s dress you wanted for Christmas is not a tragedy. Working Christmas Eve instead of partying with your friends is not sad. Spending Christmas with your family-in-law or annoying Uncle / Cousin / Sibling is not depressing. They are all circumstantial situations.

I want you to enjoy your Christmas, be kind to everyone. Forget misgivings, remove toxic people from your life. Remember the reason for the season and practice kindness. Smile at your Big Issue vendor, if you have $7, buy a magazine. Chat with them. Ask how are you and be ready to listen and to mean it. Be socially aware.

Christmas is not shopping. Christmas is not presents. Christmas is not enduring Christmas with family, it’s an honour.

Christmas is love.

Practice love, always.

So, this is thirty….

Something a little different today, because we aren’t always travelling – sometimes we are saving, exercising, working and waiting for our next escape! This can get monotonous and boring though and it can be all too easy to slip into bad habits!

Women’s Health Australia performed a longitudinal study on Women’s Health starting in 1995 and assessing over 58,000 women around Australia. The study was performed via surveys every three-years and it looked at chronic disease, health service use and systems, social factors in health and well-being, health in rural and remote areas, women and mental health, roles and relationships, intergenerational issues, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, weight, nutrition and physical activity, mental health, ageing, health service usage, formal and informal work patterns and work-family balance, caring and reproductive health. The study is ongoing and the results have really spot-lighted the gaps in Australia for women’s health.

I thought I would try to summarise what I know to be key points for women in their 30’s to build a foundation of good health. We are all so unique and individual – but these are what I have heard time and time again. At a quick summary – here are the basics…

  • We need to maintain a healthy weight
  • We need to keep our skin looking fresh and youthful
  • If we have any reproductive issues – anything from getting pregnant – or not – to dining appropriate and effective birth control
  • We need to prevent bone loss; and
  • We need to reduce stress.

It is not that simple though – we also require bi-yearly (and sometimes annual) pap-smear checks, we perform our own breast checks, we need to monitor our energy and iron levels. We run homes, have careers, maintain our relationships and attempt to have a social life – as well as be there as a carer, counsellor, lover, partner, parent, finance controller and admin assistant in every avenue of our lives.

Oh – and our metabolism slows – so its an uphill battle with an exercise program and diet. PLUS we have wrinkles, thanks to our skin cells now forming slower – so don’t forget the proper cleansing process twice a day.

If, like me, you have not yet had children yet – then you start to feel the pressure from those around us, the media and medical information. Too bad if you are aiming for good health, want to be financially secure and possibly be established in your career/relationship and self; because guess what? Your eggs are going one by one and that clock is a-ticking!

Watch your teeth, your diabetes risk, your eyes, your pelvis, your breasts, your blood pressure, your sexual health, your thyroid, your skin (skin cancer risk), your weight, your immunisations, try to avoid the flu and make sure you are getting enough sleep.

However for stress levels it’s probably pretty important you just go with the flow and be a calm and happy ball of sunshine – you know, whilst remembering absolutely everything else.

So – lovely women of the world – what are your tips? How do you manage? What is your best advice? Lay it on me, I want to draw from your knowledge and experience!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Lifestyle Post – Goodies & sale items I love or am trying…

So… Christmas is next month. Which of course means I have once again done the complete opposite throughout the year and gained weight, not saved money and not meant the goals I had hoped to throughout the year. Ah well. Nothing like a last-minute dash towards goals, am I right?

SKIN SPECIALS

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Sand & Sky – Natural Australian botanical goodness – my sister got me on to the Australian pink Clay Porefining Face Mask and honestly, it is gorgeous. So is their Exfoliating Treatment. With summer here basically already – it is time to get summer ready! From 15/11 – 21/11 you can get 25% off their Exfoliator kit, 35% off their Mask Holiday Kit, 35% off the Combo Holiday Kit, save up to 40% on general products! What have you got to lose? No nasties and beautiful, soft and noticeable results.

Lady Bits & Pieces

190840ae-81fa-4687-a64c-34436755e33a[1]Boody Eco Wear –  I am going through a real eco-friendly change and I have been a long-time lover of bamboo and hypoallergenic gear. Boody Bamboo wear is eco-friendly, ethical, antibacterial, anti-fungal and fits well. They also have more than just underwear, they have underwear, active-wear, baby clothing etc. With a sign up for Boody news and receive 10% off your first order and in Australia, you will get FREE express shipping on all orders over $100 and free standard shipping on all orders over $60.

2d8440be-3115-4f35-b6e9-dc8760f0f89dModibodi – Again, here is another brand I love, particularly when it comes to sustainable and absorbent, sweat-proof, curve-friendly and super absorbent underwear. Say goodbye to ugly period-panties and guess what, they are Aussie designed and owned! They are currently having 15% off storewide all day on 13-November with the code QUICKLICK and 15% off store-wide on 11/11 – Single’s Day with the code SINGLESLOVE. You can also get 10% off orders over $100.

Health & Fitness

180 Nutrition – I don’t know about you but when I f7fed75a-5e31-4251-b484-364b0b4863c5want protein or other blends, I do not want it to be full of nasties, no point getting results if you are poisoning yourself. 180 Nutrition originally began working with a small charity for people with chronic diseases, and so was born an incredible group of products without chemicals, artificial flavourings and sweeteners. My favourites? The Organic Greens Plus and the Low-Carb Vegan Protein bars (seriously, delicious!). You can save $92 with a box of super-food at the moment (8 x 1.2kg bags of superfood + free shipping!).

5.45.4 – I first came across 5.4 when I was attending my Hypoxi sessions and for macro-nutrient controlled meals they are delicious. Their meals are designed to improve wellness, increase energy and burn fat. They are protein packed, low carb (or good carb), low sugar and low saturated fat. The meals are snap frozen and have a 12-month shelf life. My favourites are the Shredded Mexican Chicken and the breakfast egg bites! Also you can use ZipPay! From 12/11 – 14/11 you can purchase a meal plan (as a new customer) and get $25 off any meal plan with the code CLICK25. You can also order a meal plan and receive 7 Free breakfast meals with the code EGGS.

Take a break..

 

9fc82e16-5a45-4d4e-bbd5-a92f683d9401P&O Cruises – honestly I love P&O, I love that you can go on a 3-day cruise up and down the coast of Queensland and barely need any time off of work to come back feeling refreshed! I love that we can get the all-inclusive package, I love the staff, love the ocean, love the trivia and bingo, love it all! For my Christmas present to Grant a couple of years ago, I bought us a three-night cruise, it was the best. They currently have a sale on a select group of their 3 Day cruises and for cruises of 7 nights or more, you can book and receive your free premium drinks package (this is so worth it, we have done it twice!).

contikiContiki – do not be intimidated by the age-demographic of this one, you can travel on Contiki up until 35. I have been on three separate Contiki trips, each a completely different trip to the other and I was thankful to have everything organised for me. I also met some of my very best friends in the world on my Contiki trips.  They have some amazing specials at the moment, with 30% savings & flight and trip deals.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x