the stork has arrived!

I know, it’s been a bit quiet on the fly girl front – brewing a baby really took it out of me. Not to mention that he stayed in to cook for an extra two weeks! But he’s finally here, so I’d love to introduce you.

little Stirling Alan

little Stirling Alan

All the clichés are true. How can you not wake up every morning wanting to do more, be better, and feeling absolutely inspired (even on a couple of hours’ sleep!) when you wake up with this little face beside you?

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ch-ch-ch-changes

So, I have caved and unofficially signed up for a “31-day-blog-challenge”. I haven’t done one of these before but I’m hoping it will force me to post more frequently. Today’s topic (technically day two’s but I’m gonna play fast and loose with the rules, baby) is “How I’ve Changed in the Past Two Years”… controversial! You can find the lovely Amy’s blog here (the challenge was her idea). Here we go:

1. I’ve grown the hell up.

I’ve fallen in love with a guy, moved in with him, got engaged, planned a wedding and generally experienced the highs and lows of what it means to be committed to another person – for life. I’ve also changed my priorities when it comes to the life I want to live. I’ve made some big sacrifices in the short-term in favour of happiness in the long-term. I also did a few fun grown-up things like buy a fancy new car, fly business class to the other side of the world and raise a puppy.

2. I’ve seen how “the other half” live.

I spent time in South Africa and went to a township where I saw first-hand what life is like living in a shanty-town. It was a reality check to understand that when I come home after a day working in my safe, OHS-compliant workplace and walk into my solid brick house, turn on the lights and my heater or air-conditioner, I am well ahead of the majority of the world. But what I also saw was a sense of love and community; when there is precious little to go around human nature dictates we stick together. I don’t even know my neighbours but in the townships people form strong bonds.

3. I’ve gained, and lost, a lot of weight, and learned how to treat myself better.

When I first left uni (just after I got a new boyfriend) I was reasonably slim having recently lost a bit of weight. However, when I started my new job in travel I sat on my ass all day – something I wasn’t used to. The stress of this job was something I wasn’t prepared for and I found myself skipping lunch and eating lots of chocolate! In the lead up to the wedding, I’ve managed to lose about twelve kilos and I’m still going; more importantly I’ve realised I need to be healthy and happy within myself to be a good wife and, eventually, a good mum.

4. I got to know myself again

For a while I forgot who I was. I saw myself in terms of comparisons with others: who I was didn’t matter as much as whether I was bigger or smaller, smarter or dumber, prettier or uglier or whatever than someone else. Now, I remember exactly who I am: an intelligent, passionate, driven young woman who has so many good opportunities ahead. I’ve remembered what I have to offer the world and finally understood why I’m loved by the important people in my life.

5. I’ve learned the mantra “no man is an island”

I’ve finally worked out that it’s okay to rely on others. For so long I didn’t want to open myself up completely; I felt a need to be strong and overly independent. Now I know the value of teamwork and I’m happier because I can share my highs and lows with someone who can do the same with me. I’m a much more sane person for it!

So there you go, that’s my list. How have you changed in the last two years?


Hanging with the locals, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa

the countdown is on

So we have just over four months to go until we jet off to Fiji to get married… it’s an exciting yet daunting thought!
It’s stressful putting the whole thing together… Ceremony, reception, decorations, dress, travel arrangements etc, but what has really blown us away is the reaction we’ve had from our friends and family.
We kind of thought no one would really come other than our parents because it’s a bit of a hassle, especially in early December, but the support we’ve had for our decision to marry overseas has been overwhelming. So many of our friends and family are coming over to share this with us and I think this is what makes it so special for us. As well as a wedding, it’s going to be a reunion too!
Most of Fiancé’s family are in New Zealand so he doesn’t get to see them much, and so many of our friends are now living interstate or overseas (everyone’s growing up and getting careers!). Some of our parents’ close friends are coming too, which is not only very exciting for us but also a testament to the effect close friendships have on our lives and a reminder of how important these friendships are.
The Sofitel Resort and Spa in Denarau is the perfect venue and the ceremony and reception are nearly all organised. We have the amazing photographers at Kama Catch Me and the beautiful Liza Emanuele has nearly finished my dress… I feel like a princess. Sarah at Simplethings Press has designed some stunning invitations for us and we can’t wait to send them out in the next few weeks.
I’ve lost 10kg so far – “wedding photos are forever”! If possible I would like to head over with a new bikini for every day and wear them with pride… but of course I need to make sure I’m not burnt to a crisp on the day. Fiancé is looking pretty fine too but hey, he always does (don’t tell him, but that’s why I’m marrying him).

Other than that all I can say is… This really is going to be the best week of our lives.

                                  

Kava Ceremonny and Port Denarau. Images from Sofitel Fiji.

wedding bells

A while ago, I wrote that I was planning on taking Boyfriend to Fiji sometime. Well, there have been some developments since then!

Firstly, I am very happy to announce that Boyfriend is Boyfriend no longer… He is Fiancé! As much as I should stay calm about it, I have to admit I’m at a pinch-myself-is-this-real level of excited right now, particularly for the next bit…

We’re getting married in Fiji! We wanted something relatively low-key that gave us an opportunity to be “us” and Fiji is perfect. Our little white chapel on the beach also gives us the perfect compromise between the church wedding I want and the beach wedding Fiancé wants.

Planning it is sometimes hard, confusing, frustrating and all the rest… All I want is to stand in front of the people who matter most to me and tell everyone how much I love him, and for them to be there with us as we promise our lives to each other. I don’t care about the details!

I know it will be magic, and the countdown is on. I can’t wait!

here it is – where we will be getting married!

how i knew

I sat in the Beach Bar at Byron last weekend, taking it all in. The rugby was on and All Blacks were playing Ireland. Boyfriend is a Kiwi and thus a mad All Blacks man and I’ll admit it makes for tense World Cups.

For some reason though I wanted them to win. Even though I’m of Irish heritage (who isn’t these days?). Even though my favourite color is green. Even though Kiwi pride bloody annoys me!

I realised it’s because I’m so in love with Boyfriend. It’s puke-worthy. It’s gross. It’s “Un-Austrayan”. But he’s so cute when his team wins and it’s the best feeling in the world to see him so happy.

So go All Blacks! (until the next World Cup anyway)

an "inspirasianal" escape



The time has come to make a decision on what to do with my annual leave in August. We were originally planning on spending some time in China and Hong Kong (both places Boyfriend has been to but I haven’t) yet for some reason, as much as I knew it would be a great trip, it just wasn’t exciting me as much as it should have been.
Now, we have decided to cut back on the budget as we’ve had some big expenses this year and we would like to start planning for the future a bit more (we know there will be more massive expenses to come!) so back to the drawing board we went.
Working in my industry has some advantages and disadvantages. It’s great because I have so many options and resources at my fingertips, but it’s hard because the last thing I want to do when I get home is plan a holiday. Work kind of sucks the fun out of that! On top of this, after the last 12 months I’m not sure I can even be bothered getting on a plane… but the important thing is to spend time with Boyfirend, explore the world together, grow as people and create new memories. So that’s what we’re going to do.
It seems we’ve settled on Cambodia. No matter how many times I visit South East Asia, it seems I cannot escape it’s pull. It’s toxic – in the nicest possible way but, in some cities, the literal way too. The way affluent Western influence merges with centuries-old Eastern traditions and beliefs never fails to enthral me. The happy-go-lucky attitude of its people and the way no question is off-limits makes me feel so alive and complete.
I will never forget as an 18-year-old who had never been overseas walking in to Ben Tanh markets in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City so unprepared for everything I would experience over the next two weeks. Not least my first full conversation with a Vietnamese person: she simply grabbed my boobs with both hands and asked, “why so big?!” I really had no answers to give her.
A lot has changed in six years. I’ve grown up a lot and had a lot of experiences, both at home and abroad. I feel I understand people better and I understand cultures, religions and ideas better than when I was 18. I embrace differences and I like to make the best of them.
I’m looking forward to getting away again; to spending time with Boyfriend and experiencing new and exciting things with him, and also to learning about myself some more. I think that really is the most important thing in life because if you don’t know yourself, who do you know?


arabian sleepless nights

It’s happened again. The day before I’m set to head off on a mind-blowing trip I have a feeling that I shouldn’t go, like something bad will happen while I’m away. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why I feel this way which kind of makes it worse. 

It’s Mothers Day tomorrow and I feel like I should be spending time with Mum, which is definitely needed because I really don’t spend enough time with her these days. I’ve also been going through quite a bit of upheaval at work, so I can’t stand the idea of not being in the office next week because there’s so much to do and I feel like I have a point to prove. I also feel a bit guilty for travelling so much while Boyfriend stays at home; it’s all very well to be galavanting around the world but if I had a different job, these trips might equate to extra money in my pocket – which could go towards a house deposit or some other big item or event.

Lately I’ve also noticed that these trips make me incredibly nervous. Perhaps it’s because I don’t really know many people going, or because the destination is so unlike anywhere I’ve been before that I don’t know what to expect, or maybe I’m worried that I’ll do something stupid and embarrass myself or get in strife. Overall though, it seems to me that I’ve lost a certain sense of “whatever, let’s jump off the deep end” that I used to have. Call it wisdom or call it anxiety, I have no idea.I wish I could get it back somehow, but maybe it’s just part of growing up.

I am, contrary to what you might think by reading this, extremely grateful for the travel opportunities I’ve been given in the past 12 months. I am starting to realise, however, that travel isn’t just about the stamps in your passport or the number of countries you can tick off the list, but about the journey, the experience, the knowledge you gain and the memories you take home. I am definitely aware that this time of my life is the perfect time to be doing as much travel as I have been, and once I settle down with a mortgage and kids it will be so much harder, but I think I just realise that it’s the people who make the memories, not the places.

Everyone knows that deep down I’m a hopeless romantic, and one day I want to be able to tell my grand-kids about the feeling I had watching Grandpa feed an elephant or something, and how happy I was in that moment because I could see how happy he was, too.

In 24 hours I will be flying out to Dubai, a place I’ve dreamed of for years. I can’t even comprehend what this place has in store for me and I know it will be one hell of an adventure. It’s also teaching me, though, what’s important in life and I think after this one I will sit down and re-focus, reconsider my priorities and start to make a life that includes a special someone else, not just myself.





he’s the man

A picture tells 1000 words, so rather than tell you how much I love The Boyfriend, I thought I’d share a few pictures. I could tell you the hundreds of reasons why he’s so important to me, but all you need to know is this: he makes me want to be a better person, and every day life is better because he’s by my side.