Holidays and Little Adventures

 

A little over a month ago now I took two weeks holiday from my day job. Unlike other years when I’ve taken my annual holiday I have travelled overseas this time I spent 2 weeks with my family in Noosa. I was very lucky to be able to stay at my Grandma’s unit on the river. I hadn’t planned much for my time away I just wanted to allow each day to unfold and the little adventures to present themselves. What did end up unfolding was 2 beautiful weeks where 2 weeks felt more like a month and each day was filled with gorgeous little adventures. I’ve said it before but adventures don’t have to be huge overseas travels they can be little things that break the daily pattern. Even though this holiday was now a little while ago I wanted to write a recount like I have for my overseas adventures. I thought I’d share a little idea for an adventure you can do yourself so you can bring a little more adventure to your days and so you can see it doesn’t have to be something huge like hiking in the Rocky Mountains (though that would be cool).

Week 1

SUNDAY: I drove through some beautiful country scenery from my home town to Noosa and listened to The Melissa Ambrosini Show Podcast.

Idea: Take a country drive and listen to a podcast, learn something, see some sights

MONDAY: I ate breakfast while admiring the gorgeous sunflowers I had been given then walked to the little bookshop up the road to use my gift voucher. I then read my new book on the river for a while. In the afternoon I went for a swim with my sisters.

Idea: Venture to a book shop, read in nature

TUESDAY: On a spontaneous whim my sister and I decided to go stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the river. Before we got going I was a little apprehensive, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I had heard from that it was hard work. It turned out to be one of the best hours just paddling along the river chatting to my sister and soaking up the sights. It didn’t take me too long to find my balance and I only fell in the water once. It’s something I really want to do again. My sisters and I had some yummy pizza on the beach for lunch and I went for a walk with my parents in the afternoon.

Idea: Try something new/paddle boarding

WEDNESDAY: The day was all about me and my body and pampering. I started the morning off by going to the podiatrist to get my feet sorted,  when I’m standing on my feet for 40hrs a week for work it was time I paid a little bit of attention to them. I then got my haircut, I have been waiting until I’m visiting my family to get my haircut because we’ve found a really lovely hairdresser.

Idea: Treat yourself to a pamper session, get a haircut

THURSDAY: I want to give a little shout out to a pair of shoes I bought on this day, my very first pair of Birkenstocks, while they did give me blisters for the first few days I’m so happy to own a pair of shoes I feel like I could walk and adventure all day in. On this particular day I took my two sisters to the beach to eat burgers under my rainbow umbrella (if you don’t know I own a very very cool rainbow umbrella, you can read about it here). We ate, chatted and people watched then headed home for a movie afternoon.

Idea: Have lunch somewhere different, get outside

FRIDAY: One of my closest friends made the trip up to the Sunshine Coast for a catch up. We had breakfast out then caught the little fairy to Hasting Street where we wandered in an out of shops then had lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach. We had a swim in the afternoon then went on a spontaneous outing to a Tappas bar. It was my mum who encouraged the outing, not usually my scene but I actually really enjoyed it. I had a drink with two of my favourite people as the sunset over the river then tried some tasty tapas while listening to the live music.

Idea: Explore your local area, pretend to be a tourist, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the night life. (even if you go home by 7.30)

SATURDAY: My friend and I were up early to head to the Edmundi Markets. We took our time wandering around the stalls buying some little trinkets each. I got aranchini balls for lunch, my favourite market food. We also spent a lot of time in the bookshop looking through all the books, I walked out with only 1 book, quite an achievement for me. I said goodbye to my friend then spent the afternoon with my family in the pool hanging out.

Idea: Find a local market, browse/book shop

SUNDAY: I started the day off by going to the local farmers markets with my Mum, Dad and Grandma. Farmers markets always have a great atmosphere. For breakfast I choose a tropical smoothie bowl from one of the stalls and it was so tasty. We had lunch on the river until a shower of rain chased us inside and for a swim actually, there’s something about swimming in the rain. In the late afternoon we set off with camping chairs and an esky loaded with snacks to a little music festival on the river. There were so many people out and about enjoying the music and last few official days of summer.

Idea: Take things easy, find a farmers market and local festival

Week 2

MONDAY: In the morning I went to the movies with my sisters, we saw a movie from a film festival, it was a little slow and quite long but I still enjoyed it. I did a lot of reading this particular day, I had found a book that was so good I couldn’t put it down and the best part was I didn’t have to as I didn’t have anything else on. (Book: The fifth letter). I spent the evening hanging out with my siblings.

Idea: See a movie, find a book you can’t put down and make time to read it.

TUESDAY: It was my dad’s birthday this day. For my birthday a few weeks before I had been given a voucher to explore the Noosa Everglades and my dad decided he wanted to join me. At midday we set off in a boat suited for exploring the everglades with the rest of the family farewelling us. It was so peaceful cruising along the river and taking in the scenery and sights, being on the water gives you a whole new perspective of the local area. When we entered the everglades we got glimpses of near perfect mirror reflections of the scenery in the water. It was great to hear about the flora, fauna and local area and history and share the whole experience with my dad. We stopped for some afternoon tea before making our way back to Noosa then had a birthday dinner that night.

Idea: Book a little tour or experience and share it with someone. Learn about your local area, take photos, admire your surrounds.

WEDNESDAY: Today was the first of March and I began the new month by setting off on a road trip. I drove down to Byron Bay, which in itself was a little accomplishment for me, driving new roads. I checked into my little cabin for the next two nights, ventured into town to get some dinner and groceries and then watched a movie.

Idea: Travel somewhere new, tackle new roads, enjoy a good movie.

THURSDAY: I found the most gorgeous cafe to have breakfast at called Combi. The place had a lovely chilled vibe and I had a delicious acai bowl and fresh juice. I headed out of Byron Bay to the Crystal Castle, the drive was lovely through rolling green hills. It was a beautiful sunny day and I wandered around the gardens, did a little rainforest walk and joined in on some activities. I took my time with everything I did and did the things I wanted to do.  Heading back to Byron Bay I took another scenic drive then headed to the beach front where I ate ice cream and read under a tree for a few hours.

Idea: Go sight seeing on your own, make it a day just for you and what you want to do and explore.

FRIDAY: I was up really early Friday morning so I could head to the Byron Bay lighthouse to see the sun rise. There were so many people flocking to the lighthouse to see in a new day. It was a beautiful sunrise and I couldn’t believe it was the first sunrise I had seen for 2017. I had breakfast at Combi again, I loved it that much the first time then started my trip back towards the Sunshine Coast. Along the way I made a stop at Fingal Head where there was a tiny little lighthouse and a small version of Ireland’s Giants Causeway.

Idea: See a sunrise, soak up the beauty of a new day beginning. 

SATURDAY: The day started with a lovely walk along the river and some breakfast in a little cafe with my mum. I spent the rest of the day with my family hanging out. My sister and I made some delicious banana bread which we were quite proud of and ate for dinner.

Idea: Do some baking, there’s just something about homemade baking. 

SUNDAY: Being Sunday it was Farmers Markets day again, this time I got a fresh juice and warm chocolate croissant. After the markets my parents, two sisters and myself headed out for a Sunday Drive. We ended up at the Yandina Ginger Factory. We weren’t there for too long but we had lunch, wandered around and bought some gingerbread men. It was a really fun couple of hours being together and going on a little adventure.

 Idea: Spend time with your family. 

MONDAY: My last official day of holidays. I started the day with a walk along the river then met up with my sisters. We headed to main beach with my rainbow umbrella and a fresh juice each where we sat and read and chatted for a couple of hours. In the afternoon my brother took myself, my mum and one of my sisters on a scenic drive through Noosa to areas I hadn’t been to before. We ended up at the mouth of the Noosa river where we watched some boat action on the water and stood around chatting and laughing. My last night of holidays finished with a family dinner and a couple of games of cards.

Idea: Find joy in the ordinary, create your own adventure. 


Well there you have it, a little snapshot of each day of my holidays and the little adventures that made up the days. I really appreciated spending so much time with my family and exploring a part of my own home country. Who knows what little or big adventures my next lot of holidays will bring. What about you, are there any ideas I’ve shared that you’d like to try for yourself? How will you bring a little more adventure to your weeks? I’ve made a little list with all the ideas I’ve shared so you can download.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx


Beauty in this moment

I read a blog post many years ago with a key idea that has stuck with me. The post was called The 5 Most Beautiful Things Project, which you can read here. The idea was to stop every hour or so and take note of the 5 most beautiful things around you in that moment. Over the years I have done this little activity many times, it is something I have come back to it often when things are feeling a little funky or I need to slow down for a moment. While I was working more of an office type job a few years ago there would be times when things would be feeling not so great. In those moments I would stop, take out a pen and scrap of paper and write down the 5 most beautiful things in that moment. Even on days where I thought everything sucked I managed to write down 5 little things. The things on the list were simple like having a bottle of cold water beside me, or the single conversation with a customer that had made me smile that day. When I had finished my little list I would then tuck it under my mouse pad, by just having it there it would help remind me that maybe things didn’t suck so bad after all. I have written these little lists many times since including on my overseas adventures to help bring myself back to the moment and so I can fully appreciate where I am.

These days I don’t often have pen and paper on me when I’m at work but I still often stop to appreciate the little things and the beauty of life around me. Many times I have stood looking at a sunset or moonrise or smiled at the little kid watching as we prepare his meal. I may only stand there for the length of one breath but it’s a moment where I am consciously present and admiring the beauty around me, it also brings me from my sometimes crazy head and thoughts into my heart.

The reason why I’m sharing these little stories is because I recently did a Character Strengths quiz and my top character strength was appreciation of beauty and excellence. Which surprised me a little as I had never thought of being able to see beauty around me as a strength. To me it’s a little activity that allows the beauty of life to not go unnoticed. So here’s my challenge to you: take 5mins or even 10-30 seconds right now to pause and appreciate the beauty and simple things around. By doing this you can lift your mood, help to slow you down and bring you back to the present moment. It can also help you to see another side to things which previously you may of considered sucky. I’m definitely not a scientist or expert so I have no scientific evidence or research to back me up I’m just speaking and sharing from experience. I want to share this because I really believe that with a little practice and mindfullness this activity can do wonders, it can really help to make your day happy.

To finish off I want to share with you the 5 most beautiful things for me right now, 10am 20/2/17:

  • the sunflowers given to me as a gift
  • the gentle breeze of the fan on this warm day
  • a day ahead without any plans or appointments
  • sitting here allowing words to flow onto my screen
  • time with my family

Over to you now, what are the five most beautiful things for you in this moment? Extra points for writing it down, they are lovely lists to look back on. Maybe leave a little comment below.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx

Hey 2017

Hey There,

I know we are already three weeks into this year and I’m only just writing a blog post now but that’s okay, today is still a beautiful day of 2017, do I need a better reason?

Before I dive into my thoughts on 2017 I want to share a little of my reflections on how 2016 unfolded. Looking back over 2016 the biggest theme for me was Gentle, learning to be gentle with myself. When I did first begin looking back over the year all I felt I had achieved was lots of work with a few trips to see my family (who live at the beach) in between. I didn’t feel as though I had achieved much or even done much but when I started really thinking about the events of the year and how it unfolded I really had. The trick was to release the idea my year and basically how I live my life had to look a certain way. Truth be told I really, really liked how 2016 played out for me. Yes it was a year with full time work but work itself bought about so many opportunities for growth and learning as well as joy, laughs and a few tears. In between work I travelled to New Zealand, spent time with family and friends, mastered a cookie recipe, bought a new laptop, created, played, and lived life. So thank you 2016, you really were a pretty sweet year.

Now, on to 2017. In the lead up to the new year I knew I wanted to choose a guiding word for the year but nothing had really come to me. On New Years Day my beautiful aunt commented on an Instagram picture how the universal theme for the year was cherish, cherish yourself and the rest will follow. That really connected with me. In the tail end of 2016 there were a couple of times where things were a bit of a struggle mostly because I was run down due to not looking after myself first. I feel like 2017 is a time for change, I am realising how important it is for me to cherish myself and to prioritise this and then to share and shine my light next. I also want to cherish each day, friends, family and the little things in between, cliche I know but it sits right.

And if I needed any more confirmation on the importance of looking after myself first I received it during my recent chiro session. My chiropractors are all really great people and the guy I saw this week asked me what do I do for myself, we were talking about stress, I replied not really enough. He reminded me just how important it is for me to look after myself and do something for me every day, even if it’s just five minutes, we need recharging. So for me 2017 is a year of cherishing. (You can read more about the year of cherishing here.)

There’s a few other themes and ideas I’m feeling into for this new year. I have been inspired by my beautiful Emma Kate Co ‘Write your own adventure 2017’ planner to well write my own story, to live life on my terms and embrace all of it, the real, the messy, the joy and everything in between. (~Emma Kate Co).

I was also inspired by a video clip that I came across late one night last year, it left me in tears.

 

This song and video really hit home for me. How often do we stay in our same routine and comfort zone? I know over the years I have stepped out of my comfort zone and surprised myself big time, (6months solo travel in Canada when I was 20), but surprising yourself doesn’t have to be doing something big like jumping out of a plane, it can really just be facing a fear, making a choice that’s important to you, or trying something new even if it’s just a food.

Tying in with the them of surprising yourself is adventure. Adventure is a big thing for me, I even wrote a post about Little Adventures last year and how we can bring a little adventure into our everyday. I didn’t end up fully following through on the commitment I made in that post to plan an adventure for every week but I want make a slightly more flexible commitment now. I want to add adventure to the year wherever, however and whenever I can, whatever that may be.

So there you go, a year of cherishing and adventure sounds pretty good to me. I have know idea what this year will bring for me but I’m ready. What about yourself, have you chosen a guiding word or theme? How can you surprise yourself or include a bit more adventure in your days?

Here’s to a beautiful 2017 and may you cherish yourself and your days be filled with love, joy, health and abundance.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx

Simple Joys ~ A Collection

simplejoyscollection

A few months ago now I wrote the first post in a series I called Simple Joys. My first post was about my Rainbow Umbrella and the simple joys it bought being able to set it up on the beach and spend time with my two sisters. I haven’t written a post in the series since even though I planned on it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking note and appreciating all the simple joys life has had to offer recently. I thought I’d share 4 of my favourite moments and joys from the past few months.

Playing Games

At the end of September I spent two nights with my younger sisters in the city. We went to a concert together and spent our time exploring the city. My favourite moments of the time with my sisters was playing games together which made us properly laugh out loud. One of the games was Bingo, quite simple really, decide on something to find such as a person with a red shirt and yell bingo when you see it. There were also a couple of games of pocket Trivial Pursuit in the park soaking up the beautiful day.

A Fresh Juice from a Friend

A few weeks ago I had some things going on that were leaving me a little distracted and not myself when it came to being at my day job. One particular Sunday one of the girls I work with sent me a message before we started work offering to buy me a fresh juice from our favourite cafe. This girl had worked with me the days before and I think she knew I wasn’t quite myself. The simple gesture of buying me a drink that particular day meant so much to me in ways she will probably never realise. I relished the simple joy of that fresh juice all day.

Painting Workshop

As a late birthday present my friend shouted me and herself a create your own canvas workshop. Over the two sessions we had we both created two beautiful and different pieces of artwork. I hadn’t properly painted like that since high school but there’s something so simple and joyful about creating art with paint and being left with a masterpiece.

Surprising My Family

After not seeing my parents for nearly two months I decided to give them a surprise visit. Despite having a big week at work and an early start to go see them the joy of being able to surprise them kept me going the whole 3.5hr drive and it was so worth it.


While all this little things really are simple joys they have meant so much to me, they have reminded me:
~ Play and have fun
~ That small acts of kindness can bring so much joy
~ The beauty of creating and painting
~ How giving someone special a surprise brings joy to yourself

What about you?
How can you bring about some joy into your days?
How can you spread a small act of kindness, give someone a surprise or get in touch with your inner child and play?

 

Simple Joys ~ A Rainbow Umbrella

beach

I think I might make this a little series. A little series of good things, simple joys, things that make me happy. The understated things that can make a big impact. This is my story about a rainbow beach umbrella.

Last week I went to visit my family in Noosa. The couple of days I was there visiting the weather was absolutely beautiful. For the middle of August Mother Nature was really turning it on. The weather was the kind where it was begging you to be outside by the ocean enjoying all its natural glory. I had told my two sisters that we would be leaving home at 10.15am to go on an adventure, I had no idea what we were going to do but that was part of the fun. We made a plan as we went along which involved packing books and towels, buying smoothies and heading for the beach. I had it in my mind that I wanted to find something that could provide us with a bit of shade so we could sit on the beach for as long as we wanted without getting baked, I didn’t know what this thing would be though or where I would find one.

After wandering in and out of shops I was nearly going to give up on my quest for shade until I decided to give the news agency of all places a try and I was in luck. They had four umbrellas of various colours and sizes left. When I saw that one of them was rainbow it was love at first sight. I didn’t realise at the time just how big (or how much) it was but on a slight whim I turned to my sister and said ‘yup, I’m buying it’. Pretty sure I walked out of the shop with the biggest goofiest grin on my face. Do you know how awesome a rainbow umbrella is?

beach2

At the beach my other sister said more than once the umbrella was too big (and she was possibly thinking it was a bit ridiculous) but oh my goodness, once we worked out the best way to set it up it was awesome. Sitting on the beach under that rainbow umbrella with my two sisters chatting, reading, people watching and eating lunch was such a simple, beautiful way to spend a few hours. I know it’s not always possible to just move to the beach for a day but my story isn’t about that.

IMG_2762

Thinking about this beautiful day provides me with some lovely little reminders.

  • Sometimes when you don’t make plans life can unfold in magical ways
  • You may not know what you are looking for but when you find it you’ll know
  • Don’t worry if you look ridiculous as long as you like something that’s all that matters
  • Time spent with people you love is beautiful
  • Rainbow umbrellas bring out your inner child
  • Time in Mother nature can bring you back to the moment
  • Don’t let money stand in your way from getting something you love
  • Find and appreciate simple joys in each and every day
  • Take selfies, because why not
  • Sometimes a change in scenery is all you need
  • Doing things you find joy in with the people you love fills your cup up
  • Adventures don’t have to be big and extravagant

The little trip could be passed off as nothing all that spectacular but for the three of us I’d like to think it was a great adventure. It bought me so much joy sitting under a rainbow on the beach enjoying a beautiful day with lovely company. I’m off to the beach again this weekend and if you want to find me just look for the big rainbow umbrella.

I’ll leave you with a question. What’s one thing, person or place or combination of all three that has bought you joy in a simple and beautiful way?

A Happy, Sweet Day

  
Yesterday I had such a beautiful, happy, sweet day. It was so lovely that I wanted to write about it, for everyone to read and also for my future self. I started the day by pulling a card from Gabby Bernsteins’ deck Miricales Now. I set the intention to pull a card with a guiding theme for the day and the card I pulled was ‘I make time to recharge my battery. The world needs my energetic light.’ So beautiful and fitting, it was my day off and it’s been a month of learning and growing and moments that were a little sucky. The weather has also been cold, grey and rainy and I felt I hadn’t properly seen the sun for quite a while, I know it’s winter but I need a bit of sunshine to help fuel me sometimes. 
Over the course of the day there were 23 things (plenty of other little things) that made me happy:

  1. waking up to see blue skies
  2. making myself pancakes for breakfast
  3. chiropractic appointments
  4. being the only one in the park
  5. being in the park on a beautiful day
  6. wearing sandals and a t-shirt
  7. reading a good book in the sunshine
  8. working on a course that lights me up
  9. lunch with my nana in an outside cafe
  10. having dessert
  11. fresh juice
  12. kookaburras laughing
  13. chats with my mum
  14. chilling in my room
  15. eating a homemade muffin
  16. walking in a beautiful park
  17. reading under a jacaranda tree
  18. listening to Hamish and Andy on the radio
  19. having leftovers for dinner
  20. 23′ at 5pm in winter
  21. chats with a beautiful friend/cousin
  22. watching a trashy soap and eating chocolate
  23. going to bed with fluffy socks

 

  
You see I wanted to write about this because all of the things I’ve written on the list made me happy but they didn’t require a lot of effort or money, they we’re such simple joys that one by one recharged my batteries and filled my cup just a little more. The weather played a big part, blue skies and 23′ at 5pm, I’m lucky to live in Australia where this is a day in the middle of winter. 

One of my favourite movies is ‘About Time’, I’ve written about it before and if you haven’t seen it watch it now. (Possible spoiler alert) The quote that always gets me is: (PS he’s a time traveller)

“Tim: And so he told me his secret formula for happiness. Part one of the two part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else.

But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.

How beautiful! Yesterday was all about a simple mindset shift, I can’t travel in time and take all the suckiness out but I can choose to see how sweet the world can be and take the time to relish in the simple joys that make me happy with the day I’ve got. 

Future Caitlin remember this: when things are a little sucky and you’re struggling to remain positive remember you only live this day once, the not so great times will pass but make sure you do 1, 2 or 23 little things that help remind you how sweet the world can be. Take the time to do what makes you happy and that recharges your batteries, you can’t go running around on empty. 

So what about you? Are you letting the tensions, worries and weather stop you from appreciating how sweet the world can be. What simple joys fuel you and light you up? How can you make today happy? 

Something to look forward to…

lookingforwardto

I’m a big believer in finding the simple joys in life, making time for the little things, it’s something I believe in and thought I was doing pretty well at. The other day I visited my chiropractor, he was going through the general adjustments and testing when he picked up that I’d been stressing, I couldn’t deny that one, it had been a busy week for me at work with lots of learning curves hence I was also feeling rundown. The next thing he bought up I wasn’t expecting. He asked me how much rest do I get. My reply was probably not enough, I work 40hours a week in hospitatlity so my roster is all over the place and days off are rarely on weekends.

He then asked what do I do for pleasure? This one had me stumped. On my days off I usually am doing something I enjoy, or more so I’m not working so isn’t that enough? He  went onto explain that I need to make sure I’m doing things that I actually find pleasure in, things for me that will fill up my cup and keep me going until the next days off where I can recharge again. He also said I need to plan these things so that I’m looking forward to them during my work week. This threw me a little, I don’t like the idea of wishing away the days until something better comes along but then I looked at it in a different light. I wouldn’t really be wishing away the days, every day I could still practice being in the moment and flow of life BUT I could do with more things that I reserve just for my days off, activities and projects that will fill me up with joy and keep me riding on those good vibes when things get a little challenging at work.

That night I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this beautiful quote.

How true and beautiful, sometimes when things get a little sucky all it takes is a thought like ‘hey I’m having chocolate cake for dessert tonight’ and it can pull you right back to being ok with whatever is going on. On another level we need those bigger things to look forward to that fill us up, the things we find pleasure and passion in and time flies by while we loose ourselves in it.(I’ll write another post on that) It’s these things that in a funny way help us rest and recharge (not the actual doing nothing) so we are feeling more balanced and ready for whatever the week ahead may bring.

So it’s been a week since my session with my Chiro and as he suggested after my last days off I came home and planned out some things for my days off, getting creative, baking and social catch ups. I’ve been finding ways to get creative and baked a cake and you know what I think it’s going to work. For me simply getting in touch with my creative side, which I find great pleasure in, has been beautiful and bought me joy in an area I had let slide. Tonight as I go to bed after my days off I’m going to plan again.

So lovely let me ask you. Are you getting enough rest? What do you do for pleasure? What can you plan to look forward to so that you can fill up your cup and keep you going? Are you doing nothing and thinking it’s rest but feeling more rundown?

Get planning lovely and find one little or big thing to look forward.
Here’s to those things we can look forward to a a lovely week.