Our Little Road Trip

When I say it’s been a while, it’s been a long while! Talk about consistency? But I’m not going to dwell on that fact and rather get straight into what I had intended to chat about.

I feel like a little explanation of what’s been happening in my life is due for this post to make some sense. Last year I travelled to America and met this amazing guy, Austin. To save the mushy details, we fell in love and had such a great time we decided to stay together and have a long distance relationship. Although this was a challenge, especially as our time zones weren’t in our favour (he was often waking up as I went to bed), Austin obtained a year work/holiday Visa and finally landed in Australia just before New Year’s. We spent New Years in Sydney, which was amazing, something we had never experienced before.

Once we had arrived back home, considering I had a bit of time off work at the start of January, I thought a road trip would be a good way for Austin to see the coast. We travelled over 10 days down the coast stopping in the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Although I have seen these parts of Australia before, it was an even better experience doing it with someone who has never visited the country. It felt like I was seeing and doing everything for the first time again. We spent every morning swimming in the surf and ending each day hiking to watch the sunset.

Anyway, I have been reminiscing on these photos over the past few weeks and thought I would post them on here to share!

Austin trying his first Australian Meat Pie!

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Managing your time when studying and working

Hello everyone 🙂

Having just finished my second year of part-time university study, well kind of, part-time study means I complete 2 subjects a semester over a 6-year period, although this sounded like a ridiculous amount of time to me, so I usually study the trimester of Christmas, so I can then complete my degree over a 4-year span! The reason I chose to study this way is that I work 4-5 days a week. My job can be pretty crazy sometimes and always involves something different each day. I am a personal assistant/office manager for an awesome lady called Brooke, who runs 4 businesses of her own. While I love my job, sometimes after work I really don’t feel like coming home and jumping on my computer to study. I know there would be some people out there who can study full time and work full time, but If that’s you, I would really like to meet you and ask when you find time to sleep? Ha-ha.

In my first year I found I struggled a little to manage my time well, as I mentioned above that If worked all week and preferably made it to the gym every day, the last thing I felt like doing after working on my computer all day was coming home to write an assignment into the night, but if I didn’t complete this on weekdays, it then meant I needed to schedule out my weekend. While this always sounded like a good idea, it usually led to me being social ALL weekend and madly catching up on Sunday evening. SO I needed to find a good balance and this last semester I felt as though I had a good one! I wanted to offer a few tips on time management and how I try to be more productive 😊

 

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Wake up early in the morning to read textbooks and watch lectures

When it comes to absorbing information my brain usually works best in the mornings when I first wake up. On days that I know I need to watch a lecture or have a textbook chapter read, I wake up at around 5:30am and study until about 7, as that’s usually when I need to start getting ready for work. If I can get this work done during the week it spreads out the workload and leaves my weekends to do my assignments.  I used to work out in the mornings but have adjusted to going after work. I know then after I finish in the gym I can just come home and chill. I am lucky that I’m not a late-night person, I love the mornings. I have always been in bed by 9:00pm/10:00pm, so it’s generally easy for me to wake up. I know for a lot of people that is not the case, eventually, your body forms routines and it does become easier. If you have trouble getting to bed early, see my post on how to wind down after the day, here.

Learn to say no more often

Sometimes on the weekend, I have a habit of saying yes to everything and suddenly every day is full of plans. Obviously, I would much rather go to the beach with my friends than sit at home doing an assignment, but I have started to say no to a few more plans during the day which then allows me to really enjoy the evening as I know I had a productive day.

I also have started saying no more often to staying out until 3:00am drinking. Being hungover and sleepless really wastes a full day the next day. While I have had some really good times out with friends, this isn’t that hard for me anyway as I have never been a big fan of late nights.  If I do want to go out, and I know I have to study the next day, I try to take myself home at around midnight. This way I can still enjoy the night with my friends but also have a semi-good sleep (I know, I’m that grandma friend). I’m such a morning person though that I would rather spend Sunday morning going for an early morning jog and having a smoothie anyway!

Start assignments at least 4 weeks before they are due and do a little bit every few days

I try to start my assignments a few weeks out before they are due. I find starting something the hardest part, but it feels so productive once you do, even if you just get the introduction done, at least you have started. If you do a little bit each weekend for a few hours over a span of 4 -5 weeks, it doesn’t feel like such a big workload or stress. Even though I find myself still working a little harder when the due date does come up, at least ¾ of it is already completed and I just have to refine it. This does take some self-discipline on weekends but it’s worth it. I would rather lose 2 hours on a Saturday and Sunday than spend a full weekend cramming and stressing at the last minute trying to get it done.

Hide your phone

This seems so simple, but it really is very effective. This sounds so bad, but I usually put my phone downstairs or hide it somewhere I know I won’t be bothered to get it. This way you don’t even get the temptation to get distracted by social media. Also, recently I have deleted the Facebook App off my phone, so I can no longer scroll and have to log into my computer if I want to check it. This really helps as I only check Facebook about once a day now. While I enjoy using social media, I find it a massive time waster.

Work from a desk

Sometimes I take my laptop into my bed in the morning or on the weekend, I work for about 10 mins and then either get distracted or have a nap. While it sounds like a comfy place to work, it’s not as productive as sitting at a table or desk. If I need to get something done quickly, I know now to just go straight to my desk first.

I hope these tips will help you if you are also juggling a few things at once! 🙂

Kate x

Travel Anxiety Tips

Hi everyone,

I am sitting here on a winters evening all cozied up with a glass of wine and a blanket and just felt like writing a little something! It is also uni holidays at the moment which gives me a little bit of extra time.

I returned from the USA 3 days ago, I had a fantastic time! Although today I have experienced a tiny bit of holiday blues as reality is starting to hit, but that’s okay I am trying to stay positive!

But what I wanted to chat about was travel anxiety. This was my first time travelling internationally on my own and I’m not going to lie I was very anxious about it before I left. When I was a child I hated flying, it terrified me. The unknown about a how a big heavy metal object could stay in the sky used to blow my little mind! To this day I still don’t particularly enjoy getting on a plane, but I have found ways that help me get through it as my urge to travel was stronger than my fear.

 

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If you are like me a struggle with flying, here are a few little tips that helped me get through the long flights…

  1. Download relaxing apps on your phone. 
    When I am trying to fall asleep on a plane, I don’t like listenting to the loud noises the plane is making so to drown them out it helps to put on a meditation app or a relaxing sound app with your headphones in, this also helps you zone out and not think about it too much!
  2.  Ensure you pack little things in your bag to make the trip more enjoyable. 
    Although I usually try to eat the healthy majority of the time, it helped me to pack comfort snacks in my bag. On the way over I packed a bag of Maltesers, Pringles and Gummy Bears! This way I could look forward to watching movies on the plane with my snacks! It sounds odd but having little things to look forward to really helps.
  3.  Chat with people on the plane. 
    Not everyone likes to be chatted to randomly so I guess pick the vibe of the people you do chat to, but if I start to get a little on edge, it’s nice to get out of my seat and walk around. Usually, there are people also up and about stretching. Ask where they are from and where they are travelling too, you may meet some interesting people, it also passes some time!
  4.  Purchase that expensive neck pillow!
    Last year when I went to Europe, the entire way over I refused to buy the expensive $40 microfibre neck pillow as I thought I wouldn’t need it, but after discovering how uncomfy sitting on a plane for 14 hours + is, I decided to make the purchase. Having a comfy neck pillow that allows you to get at least a few hours of shut-eye is totally worth it, I was very thankful for mine over the past few weeks.

    5. Alert your airline you are travelling on your own. 
    On the way over to LA, I let the lady know at check-in that I was travelling on my own and was a little nervous. She was able to find me a row towards the back of the plane that was empty, so I was able to have a full row to myself. This was great as it meant I could lie down (I mean being bumped to business class would have been more ideal but you can only hope!) even though this doesn’t always change anything, it is still always worth mentioning.

Overall, I was super proud of myself that I didn’t let my anxiety stop me from doing something amazing.

I hope that if you are like me, and flying makes you anxious, these little tips help you!

Until next time,

Kate x

New Years Resolutions? (my very late edition)

Hello everyone!

Okay, so I know it has been way too long. I wake up every day and put on my ‘to do’ list, start writing blog posts again, but I never do. I seem to talk myself out of it and think ‘well I don’t have anything good enough to write about’, but really I don’t think I need anything super amazing to happen to me every day to write. I created this space to share my thoughts so that is what I am going to continue to do, it is always great for my future self to read back on also.

So really other than to come on and have a ramble. I want to talk about new years resolutions (even though it is the 10th of Feb?!). This year I didn’t set myself any particular resolutions, I feel every year we go to make these negative expectations about ourselves such as, ‘get fit’, ‘eat healthy’, ‘work harder’, ‘stop drinking’ and at the end of January if we haven’t achieved this  resolution in the short amount of time we set, we instantly feel rubbish about it. Not that I think setting goals is a bad thing, but I feel it’s something that we should be consistently doing, not having this expectation to give up everything in January and fail by the time February comes along. We all go through stages, for a day I could wake up at 5:30am, have a killer workout and eat super healthy, other days I slump myself out of bed and have one too many brownies (today was one of those days if I’m being honest).  I think I am better at sticking towards my goals if I let myself fall off the wagon every now and then, as long as you know how to pick yourself back up again the next morning.

Back to the point, I didn’t set any resolutions in particular but I have a few new outlooks on my life this year that I want to stick to.

  • Make choices that put my happiness first
  • Be more adventurous ( I always say this, but if you are close to me you will know how much I have been putting myself out of my comfort zone lately and I feel I am getting so much better at being spontaneous and not over thinking it!)
  • Stop worrying about the future, work hard and have fun in the moment today. ( I have a habit of trying to plan every detail of my future, which is okay in moderation, but you can’t let that bring you down if you aren’t exactly where you want to be right now)

Its okay, I can already see the cringe on your face as to how cliche’ these are, but hey if you have read this far you must be intrigued, eh?

Sticking with my final life ‘motto’, I purchased this really cool (my definition of really cool is debatable) yearly planner from My Happiness Planner that enables you to write down each day what you are grateful for and what was the highlight of your day, with lots of other fun (again, using the word fun in an odd way) to do list type things to fill out, I find it is a great way to take some perspective at the start and end of the day. I have added some pictures below of inside for you to see.

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If I’m honest I don’t know what my next post is going to be about, but as always I am going to try and say I will post often as I do have lots going on in my life to write about, but instead of that unrealistic expectation, I am going to say I will post when I have the time between gym, social life (social life? I mean my one friend Claire), work and uni. So here we go, I’m going to give it my best 🙂

Love Kate xx

 

 

 

My 20th Birthday Weekend

So as most of you are aware I turned 20 on Friday. I know 21 is the big birthday but to be honest this is the most surreal feeling I have ever had when getting older. When I turned 18 I didn’t feel much different as I am not a big drinker, so nothing changed that much and you are still a ‘teenager’, but to me, saying I’m 20 years old, is a really weird thing!

And yes, I will be posting the photoshoot pictures on here, but that post is TBC! 😉

The rest of the weekend was really lovely and spent with close friends and family. We went to dinner last night at a new Italian restaurant in my town and the food was amazing!

Below are some pics I took last night.

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Hope you enjoyed this little snippet of my weekend, thank you to all my beautiful friends and family for all the lovely messages, calls and Facebook posts, I felt very loved! The only thing missing from my weekend was my brother who now lives in Melbourne, you were very missed Peter.

Love Kate xox

 

Sunday Baking: GF Coffee and Walnut Cake

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Mum and I made this cake a few weeks ago and I forgot all about it until now when I found the images I took on my computer. As most people know I am gluten free and it definitely doesn’t stop me from baking delicious cakes, that you would’nt even know are gluten free!

This recipe is really easy to make and it tastes amazing, especially for coffee lovers. 🙂

Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients:

Cake:
200g Butter
6 Large Eggs
350g Muscovado Sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
270g gf white flour
100g almonds
4 tsp baking powder
150g walnuts

Filling:
3 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 cup strong black coffee
225ml whipping cream

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
2. Melt butter and let it cool. Using an electric mixer, beat your eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together until tripled in volume (6-7 mins). Drizzle in butter, whisking well.
3. Sift the flour, almonds and baking powder over the mixture and fold in carefully not letting any air out. Fold in the walnuts.
4. Scrape the mixture evenly into the tins and bake for 35-45 mins.
5. Once cakes are cooked and a skewer comes out clean from each of them, cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes and then turn out and cool on rack until completely cool.
6. To make the filling, stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved. Turn the cakes over and poke small holes in with a skewer and brush in the cooled coffee ensuring you have around 4sps of coffee mixture left over.
7. Whip your cream and fold remaning coffee through cream. Place one cake on a plate and use cream to sandwich the cakes together and top with coffee buttercream (icing sugar, butter and coffee!) Decorate with walnuts to finish.

Happy baking!

Kate xo

Original Recipe from: River Cottage Gluten Free book, although recipe altered by me.

Ways I like to Unwind and Relax at the end of the day.

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Sometimes it feels that you have days where nothing goes right or maybe you just look in the mirror that day and just feel bleh! (even if you’re a person with lots of confidence, everyone has days like this!)

I have put together a few things that I like to do at the end of the day to make myself feel better and more relaxed.

Take a bubble bath

I loooove bubble baths. Nothing is better when you are a bit stressed than dropping a Lush bath bomb and watching the colours swirl and sizzle in the water as you light some candles ready to close yourself off from the world for an hour or two. While in the bath I either like read a good book or I put my iPad at the end of the bath and watch Netflix/YouTube. It really is my favourite way to relax as it feels like my time.

A pamper evening

Joining with the first point, if you have the time, having a pamper evening is a great way to unwind and make yourself feel 100% better. I like to shave my legs, put on a facemask and hair mask, use lots of lovely smelling body wash, exfoliator, moisturiser and then finish with some self-tanner and I can guarantee you will feel like a shiny new person when you’re done.

Logging out of Facebook. 

This is one thing I have been trying to do recently each night before I get into bed. Because I work on a computer all day at work, I have already been staring at technology for around 7 hours that day, so I feel that logging out of Facebook before I get in bed resists my urge to stay up and binge scroll for hours, and it gives my brain a break. I don’t just mean close the app, I mean logging out, this goes for any type of social media that you may be addicted to, scrolling on etc. such as Instagram, Snapchat, twitter. Trust me, it will remind you not to go on it if you open it by accident, as you will already be logged out and not tempted. Reading a book before you sleep is much more relaxing.

Plan the next day

My boss recently gave me this idea. Sometimes I am just staring at the roof awake thinking of the things I need to do the next day (even if it isn’t that much, I still tend to overthink). So before I go to sleep I like to plan the next day and make bullet points of what I need to do. I feel that this clears my head, and I can sleep better knowing that I won’t forget anything that I need to get done the next day. I have this great planner that I got online that lets me meal plan, plan your workout, track your water intake as well as having a check list. I recommend it if you want to stick to a routine.

Stretch

Normally after I work out in the morning I don’t have much time to spare to stretch out my muscles, so at night in bed I like to stretch. I normally just use this video by Blogilates (her workouts are amazing too, if you are stuck for time) . Even though I already know how to stretch I like to use video tutorials because it makes sure that you stretch out each muscle for long enough. I find that by stretching and relaxing I feel ready to go to sleep after I finish. I also find that I don’t normally wake up sore from my workouts if I take time to stretch properly each day. I know people say meditating is great for relaxing, but I still haven’t mastered that, I don’t have enough patience to sit still for too long. (I’m working on it!)

I hope this post has been helpful for those busy people out there, I would love some suggestions if you have any other ways you like to unwind.

Kate xx