Australia

Expecting Mindfully

Pregnancy is miraculous, a gift, an honour and a marvel which is hard to believe. It is also hard freaking work!

I’m now in my seventh month of my pregnancy (with my first babe) and ooo boy, I was not prepared for all the weird and wonderful surprises during this journey!

Our pregnancy was planned and long-awaited and when we found out I was pregnant, I honestly felt as though my heart was going to beat out of my chest.

2020 has been a time of awful uncertainty in the world, and to some degree it has been a real conflict to celebrate and talk about this baby, knowing the struggles and the pain Earth and her inhabitants are going through.

For my own mental health I’ve been keeping a mindfulness journal, intermittently – but I want to make a conscious effort to keep it up during this last trimester.

This is a little spot for me to write about my pregnancy so far, and pregnancy ahead. Primarily this has always been a travel blog, and then a mental health blog, so I am hoping the transition makes sense.

I would love to connect with other mums-to-be and especially other mums who have experienced peri/post natal mental health battles.

Courtney x

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Self Improvement · Wives, Husbands and Marriages

I made the mistake of not saying ‘No’…

A couple of years ago I decided that I was going to say ‘No’ more, stand by my decision and not feel as though I had to justify my response. It served me well, particularly in my personal life. Saying no to outings I did not want to go to, saying no to having people in my space, saying no to things that did not please me or make me feel happy.

Sounds tricky right? It isn’t, not really. Once you let go of the guilt or assumed expectation that you ‘better’ have a good excuse. Truth is, you do not owe anyone your time, or pieces of you aren’t willing to share.

A couple of weeks ago I was put in a position where I couldn’t say no. I wanted to, with every fibre of my being. I knew full well that I would come home feeling like absolute trash. I tried to trust the experience like maybe it was not going to be a complete and utter waste of time. That I would be left raw and exposed. Of course, it went exactly how I expected it to. I went in with the best intentions, tried to leave my suspicion at the door of the intention behind the entire thing. Within an hour I could feel the judgement being cast upon me. Which is always rich when it is coming from someone who would be better off minding their manner and attitude.

So I sit here a fortnight later, still annoyed. I still feel as though I was made to expose a part of me which I was fiercely protecting. I tried to go to this event with solidarity with my Partner and instead what I suspected came true. I was the commodity. I was not welcomed, I was judged and I left feeling as though I had put myself into a position of judgement.

I now feel like the life I have tried to hard to justify and protect was left wide open for the criticism of people who, quite frankly, mean absolutely nothing to me.

Sometimes we cannot put our foot down, we find ourselves in a position of compromise. When you are in a relationship and you love your partner, you can sometimes ignore your gut instinct. Just like I did. I tried to push aside my suspicions and that awful feeling in my stomach. I tried to embrace the potential for new connections and (heaven forbid) acceptance.

It would seem that even seven years on, I still let the opinions of nobodies and those who are so far removed from being important in my world, hurt me.

Next time I will say no, and I will be firm in my response. I did for so many years, was challenged and ridiculed for it. Yet, when I finally backed down, I ended up in a space of hurt and sadness.

So I ask you, what do you do to reclaim your space, your purpose and your self-love when there has been a speed-bump you have gone crashing into? How do you leave yourself open to your partner and new opportunities, yet closed to criticism or judgement from others?

Courtney x

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · personal growth · Self Improvement

Protecting your own Self-Peace & Energy

When do you stop farming out your own energy, at the cost of your own self-peace just to be hurt or to have it thrown in your face?

I spent my twenties spread too thin. Constantly trying to juggle the number of confusing friendships and competing priorities. Only to have most friendships dwindle away.

My thirties have always been about protecting those friendships which are precious to me. Regardless of where our lives take us. Marriages, travel, families, interstate moves, building houses. Whatever it was, it would never be enough to break these long term friendships up. However you long for your friends. You miss their cuddles and your heart just isn’t quite the same without their laughter.

Food for thought…

I watched my husbands younger family member Skype her friend and text her at the same time and I thought it was overkill. Then I realised how much I missed my friends. What I would have done to be with them and see their faces. It’s true that you can experiencing heartbreak away from those you love. I made a solid effort at growing my friendship group but mostly I just feel disappointed.

New friends rarely work out. Everyone wants something from you, some people like to keep you close especially if you’re life is complicated, or you’re a natural problem solver or in a position to help them. I’ve tried to fight those thoughts recently, but have ended up burned once again.

I’m sure it’s possible to develop new friendships as you age, but the screening process is so much more complicated. I find myself at the moment looking around at several people who a year ago I considered close and now I barely speak to them.

I can’t be everyone’s big sister. I can’t keep being the work mum.

My friendship is not one sided. I have needs as well. I’m consistently trying to help others. I end up a free and over utilised source of psychological counselling. Only to find myself turned inside out, feeling exposed and exhausted. Yet, because of the strong personality people are so prone to point out, I am very rarely asked if I am okay.

I am not okay. I am tired, I am worn and I am confused. I have stuff going on, my needs and wants are valid and I too need a listening ear.

As I approach my mid-thirties and race towards a massive change in my life, I’ve started thinking about how I can reclaim my space, my time and start putting me first. I still want to be a good friend, to those friendships that nourish me but I need to learn how to close the door on non-serving friends.

Any advice on how to do this effectively and kindly, while protecting my own space and peace is welcomed. Thank you x

Courtney

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · personal growth · Self Improvement

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

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Self Improvement

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

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · personal growth · Self Improvement

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life happens. Life gets in the way.

IMG_2892

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

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Father’s Day – when your Dad is no longer here <3

Today is the eleventh Father’s Day without my Dad and on Thursday it will be the eleventh anniversary since he passed. I almost lock myself into a room the week leading up to Father’s Day. Every t.v ad, social media, shop signs, the radio. It’s everywhere.

Is it Father’s Day for those of us without Dad’s? Guess what? – for all of us out there who don’t have our father’s anymore – its still Father’s Day for our dads too.

Dad. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for being my hero and warrior when I was little. Thank you for giving me your height and confidence, but not so much for the skin and feet.

Thank you for teaching me how to ride a bike on the cricket pitch when I was 5, and how to read a clock/watch when I was 6. Thank you for teaching me the art of telling stories and having a laugh.

Thank you for showing me how important family is, it took us a while but my sister and I are now the very best of friends.

Dad, thank you for instilling in me pride for being Australian, for being tall and for looking different to others. I miss you saying “pacifically” instead of specifically, I miss how cranky you would get when you would bust us cheating at monopoly.

My brother has so many of your traits. As does my sister. But I got your looks. I have your tenacity, Irish-Australian temper, stubbornness and confidence but I also share your fears and concerns for the world. How DO we keep our loved ones safe? WHY is the world such a mess? I too am dwarfed by the same things you were.

I have travelled the world, knowing you didn’t get a chance to. I still go for your footy team, I was sad when they stopped making spearmint leave lollies and I laugh whenever I see the classifieds ads. Every now and then I watch a Clint Eastwood movie and eat a cheese and jam sandwich – just for you.

Dad, I love you and miss you. We all do. You were gone too soon. We are doing our best to make you proud of us. I hope you’re happy and although not in person, in your own way watching over us.

Love, your eldest daughter.

Courtney

X

Australia · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Wives, Husbands and Marriages

Why I love being a Bonus (Step) Mum

The expectation when you are growing up is to meet the guy/girl of your dreams, and build your life together. For some people (not all), that dream extends to having children. To building a family, and loving that family, hard.

While I was growing up, I never had those marriage fantasies. I dreamt of far away places, of travel, of writing or creating movies. There was a small period of time where I actually tried to change my name to something horribly embarrassing. Most people laughed at me, my best friend Meagan backed me and immediately started rolling with it. Because she is amazing.

The thing is, I didn’t dream of my wedding. I didn’t dream of the family. The white-picket fence. Being pregnant. They all seemed like great things but they just weren’t on my ‘list’.

I had boyfriends. I had love stories. I had break ups. I did the thing. I have a lot of wonderful memories. The love of my life was always travel. I would work myself into the ground, saving every $ I had. Creating travel plans. Dreaming of my escape and throttling those holidays by the neck when I was on leave.

When I started to head towards thirty, something changed. I wanted that special someone. I wanted the text messages and the calls. The cuddles and the kisses. Holding hands. Being nauseatingly in-love in public, pissing-off all who saw.

I made a list. My now-Husband doesn’t know about the list. Because let’s face it, the list is something all of us girls keep hidden. Whether it’s in your diary, on your blog, in your notes, on your phone or just in your head. We ALL have the list. If you say you don’t, then you’re lying.

For me, my list looked something like this.

Taller than me. Has a job. Brown hair. Kind eyes. Great sense of humour. Likes to travel. Is honest. Is respectful. Hasn’t been married. Doesn’t have kids.

Your list might look like mine, or it may not. No judgement, #womensupportingwomen.

On my 27th birthday, I was out with my girlfriends, far from home. I met a man. He was the perfect man for me. We hit it off straight away. To say it was love at first sight, is an understatement. I KNEW this was the man I was going to marry.

The list wasn’t so much as a role-call as it was a guide. Find a man who doesn’t treat you like shit and wants to hang out with you and only you. The rest, was completely negotiable.

Fast-forward five years and I’m a Step-Mum. My dream man has two kids. Two gorgeous, intelligent, funny and loving kids. It was an adjustment. It wasn’t easy. For any of us. There are many extenuating factors when it comes to being a step-parent.

As much as you love them, you haven’t been a part of their firsts. You haven’t watched them grow. They aren’t yours. Now before you read that as a negative, I need for you to know that it isn’t. It’s anything but. Being a step parent is hard. It’s challenging, heart breaking and rewarding. All at the same time.

Do you know why this love feels insanely pure? It feels pure because there is no biological link. Your steppies are not a part of you. You are not biologically wired to love one another. The maternal instinct cannot be compared to that of a mother. That would not be fair. Unfortunately we have Cinderella to thank for the awful banshee portrayal of a step-mum. Step-dads are painted as self-serving, violent or cruel. Step-mums are painted as jealous, baron, nasty bitches.

We aren’t. When you choose to love children that aren’t yours- it shows dedication, commitment and intentional love. They are an extension of the person you love. When you look closely, you see the physical similarities, you also see the biological traits which do not match your partner. A reminder of where and from whom they were created.

You know what though? Children are innocent. Children do not choose where they come from. They don’t choose their future and they certainly cannot be expected to navigate the complexities that blended families bring.

So, in a painfully long-winded post, let me tell you this. Never shy away from a challenge. Never think that someone with children has “baggage”. You are only doing yourself a disservice. It means you have someone who can love others more than they love themselves. They are raising, loving and protecting kids and that is noble and attractive as HELL.

So….

To my two bonus-kids. I love you. I am proud of you and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. Consider me part of your cheerleading team. We all want the best for you both. I love your Dad and I love you. I could not be prouder to call you my bonus-kids xxxx

Are you a step-parent, are you a step-kid? I want to know!

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! 

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Australia

Be a sunflower, stand strong and follow the sun!

A post dedicated to my beautiful little sister, CG <3.

IMG_9206South-East Queensland has had some super cheeky weather of late. Typically February is the hottest, muggiest and most unpleasant month of the year for me. However, I actually wore a cardiagan last week which is unheard of!

So here we have bee, gloriously skipping along thinking for some reason or another Australia has decided NOT too cook us all alive. It turns out we have been lied to. Australia has been tricking us!

On Saturday I finally decided to head out West and go on the famed ‘Sunflower Trail’. I have left it much too late in the season but I just have not been able to go out west before this weekend.

Southern Queensland country = sunflowers. I have long wanted to visit them myself. When I lived in Central Queensland, we would often drive from Dysart out to Emerald and the sunflowers would face us on the way there and by the time we made the drive home in the afternoon, their beautiful yellow faces would be looking at us again on the way home. It is one of my favourite memories!

The most ideal time to go sunflower hunting in South East/West Queensland is December to February – BUT – I would say Feb is just a smidge too late. If you follow the ‘gram, you would have seen Jan as peak season for 🌻🌻.

Our trip started in South Brisbane and we drove our towards Toowoomba, with a couple of stops for coffee/loos/cuddles with my little (nearly) four year old Niece 😊.

Once we hit Toowoomba after a couple of hours we grabbed some lunch / picnic food and continued our drive out to Nobby, QLD. This took us another forty or so minutes. It was HOT!

IMG_9160We had our picnic in Nobby and had a lovely older gentleman come up and explain the towns history and he pointed out all of his favourite buildings. I think one of the sweetest things in the world is the pride locals take in their smaller communities. We had he pleasure of growing up out West and it’s there that you truly appreciate the saying “salt of the Earth” people. Have a chat with someone if you can, you will always walk away more knowledgeable and with a friendly smile and a wave.

After our lunch and playground evacuation negotiation skills with little L, we drove another five or so minutes out of town to the sunflower fields. Unfortunately we were far too late. They had dropped their last petals and were no longer beaming up at the sun.

IMG_9286At first we were disappointed but really, we had had an amazing day together and we knew we were pushing our luck given it was mid-Feb.

We jumped back in the car (which was no longer red and was more a unique dusty-brown shade) and as we were about to turn around we thought we would maybe just dive a little further.

Another five mins down the toad and we found some sunflowers! Not too many but more than we thought we would! One last little field. We walked up and down the edge of the field, took some pics, watched the cute bees and imagined the hardships our Aussie farmers face each season.

If I could mention something though (and I’m going to), it’s for travellers, grammers and visitors to be respectful. These are not wild sunflowers. These are farms. There are wonderful, hard-working people behind these crops. Don’t just stomp your way through the fields, grabbing the flowers and forgetting that this is someone’s crop. Be respectful. This is private property. If we could explain this to a four year old – then I think your group of ten stomping all over the field with drones and selfie sticks can also work that one out?

IMG_9260Ideally we would so this trip again in January. We would leave earlier in the morning and not pick the middle of the day. However in saying that, for a last minute spontaneous trip out west – I think it went pretty well!

See you next season Sunflowers 🌻.

x C x

For more info on our beautiful Southern Queensland Country click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

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