A Year in Review

A Year in Review

It’s that time again we say goodbye to another year and take a few moments to reflect on the year that has been.

For me 2014 was a year of change, filled with adventures and great people as well as some challenging times along the way. A lot can happen during a year but I found it funny when I thought back on previous years and found some reoccurring phases and promises made that no doubt will happen again in the coming year.

Raise a hand if you’ve quoted one of these at some point during a year…

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Wardrobe Wars

Wardrobe Wars

Sorry gents, this one is going to appeal mostly to the ladies. However if you’d like to feel better about yourself and your recent weight gain, read on…

I opened my wardrobe doors recently and sadly didn’t find the doorway to Narnia. Instead I found some clothes that once fit and a series of bad fashion trends.

Admittedly, I’m a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit above my ideal weight at the moment thanks to two months overseas doing zero exercise except walking to get hourly snacks from a range of food vendors including McDonalds, various German and Czech hot dog stands and English pubs to name a few. These few extra kilo’s took the “I have all these clothes and still have NOTHING to wear” argument to a whole new level. Even if I wanted to wear something I physically couldn’t fit into it. Just yesterday actually I wore a black pencil skirt to work (which had once been a bit big) and somewhere in between getting out of my car and walking to the train station my new set of fat rolls around my stomach had pushed down the zipper which left me skirtless by the time I had reached the station platform. Times were tough.

Realising I had ‘nothing’ to wear mustered up some motivation for a wardrobe cleanse.

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Stop, collaborate and reflect

I was on a ferry from Athens to Mykonos and was getting irritated by my magazine pages that were flying around and my iPhone 5 was almost out of battery with 2.5hrs of the trip to go. The magazine I was consumed in was Marie Clare and the article I was reading was ‘Meet Generation Entitlement’. It was a 3 page spread about how today’s society, particularly Generation Y (otherwise known as ‘Generation Me’) only knows and expects the absolute best. With technology the way it is, we get things faster and we have less patience. A lot of what we have now are things that our parents and grandparents didn’t have the luxury of 50 years ago. Probably worth noting also I am writing this in the middle of the Aegean Sea with my iPod in my ears and iPad in my lap. The universe was sending a message.

The article also stated that luxurious and lengthy holidays have become more of an expectation and less of an exception. Oh and hey, I’m on a 2 month holiday right now. I question whether this article was written solely for me. Wait, no, that’s me being a typical Generation Me…ironic? To quote the article, according to American comedian Louis CK, we need to go back in time “where we’re walking around with a donkey” to remind us how amazing modern life has become and suggests maybe then we can move from an entitlement era to an era of gratefulness.

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The art of small talk

The art of small talk

It’s come to my attention that on a daily basis, I am likely to spend more time with people that aren’t my family and friends and more time interacting with work colleagues and strangers on trains, at cafes or in elevators. I feel like this requires one to have a database of small talk conversation starters on the ready for situations where it seems necessary to talk about our general observations. Part way through building my personal database, it dawned on me that I’m not the best at small talk. For example, one time I mentioned something about how nice the weather was, and in reply the delivery man said “Not really, it’s raining…” An awkward and lengthy pause then followed.

On one occassion when I worked in retail, I started chatting to a customer about his children to which, like any other parent, declared that no one loves his children as much as he does. A few years ago, his son was very sick – to the point where doctors weren’t sure if he’d make it through the night. When he saw the determination on the face of his son’s girlfriend that night, he then realised someone loved his son more than he did. His son made it through the night and he plans on telling this story at the wedding (the wedding is next April FYI. Still waiting on my invite). Long story short, an hour passed and I was in tears on the middle of the sales floor trying to sell this man a vacuum. I’m not sure how I get involved in these sorts of conversations but I do and I love it.

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Financial advice for those in their early twenties from someone in their late twenties

Financial advice for those in their early twenties from someone in their late twenties

In response to my last blog post, 74 Thoughts You Have Between Pay Days, a friend has offered some wisdom to us young folk (or just me?).

You’re welcome to take some of this advice, all or none. But just don’t say no one ever told you so (I am directing this last bit at myself, ha!).

Here is what he has to say…

After reading Alison’s blog post on the perils of monthly pay and the endless cycle of spending, I thought the thing she needed was some worldly advice from someone older (a little), more sensible (obviously) and richer (just). In the words of the great Cat Stevens: I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy. Who’s Cat Steven’s you ask? If you don’t know, ask your parents. Or just Google it, whatevs. Did I just use the phrase ‘whatevs’?

Anyway, I pictured Alison writing her blog post. It was probably towards the end of a weekend and she was reflecting on the unneccessary shopping spree she treated herself to, the fact she had been out for every meal and the taxi fare she generously opted to shout everyone. She was clearly licking her financial wounds.

Here are a few facts that I needed to know when I was 23 and broke:

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Not another inspirational quote…

Not another inspirational quote…

I try to surround myself with positivity and good energy every day. I find that quotes and affirmations help me stay on my path and provide perspective.

These are some images I’ve collected from around the world along with some of my favourite quotes.

Enjoy! And please share any love & light these images might give you – x

Don't invite the present

Don't look back


Life will give


And the day came

I'm alive
…..And there’s more where these came from!

Let’s get this issue cleared up.

Let’s get this issue cleared up.

I’m talking about The Big Issue. A not-for-profit organisation that provides employment for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people around the world.

I didn’t know much about The Big Issue until earlier this year when I had the opportunity to work at The Big Issue Street Soccer Festival in January. I got to meet some great people and hear some inspiring stories. The people you see on the streets aren’t just homeless people trying to flog you a crappy paper, they are people who are working a real job, just like you and I.

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This week I saved 3 lives, no biggie…

This week I saved 3 lives, no biggie…

I’m not one of those wonderful people who work as a nurse, paramedic or a heart surgeon for example. BUT I do donate blood and that’s how I help to save 3 lives every time I do so.

There are so many people who generously donate their blood on a regular basis however the demand is still there so I encourage everyone to read on and give it some thought if you’ve ever been inclined to donate before.

I hate needles. I can’t even look at the blood streaming out of my arm and I often faint after my donation (don’t worry, nothing major – I’m just weird). Have I convinced you yet? Ha, probably not! Aside from all this and despite my vampire theories (ask me later on that one), what makes me keep going back every 3 months is that even though it’s slightly uncomfortable, it’s so important to so many others. It’s such a little thing that could mean so much for someone else.

Now I’ll bring out the big draw card, FREE FOOD! Oh Lordy, I can’t get enough of the little cheese and biscuits and don’t even get me started on the chocolate milk. It’s a glorious feast and a little reward for taking some time out to donate.

There’s another advantage too. Every time you donate you get a little health check. Your iron levels get checked and other important health things that I can’t list. I also learnt my blood type (O negative, FYI) which then led me to do some research on different blood types. Do you know that it’s said your blood type determines your personality? In Japan, blood type has big implications for life, work and love. Read about what your blood type says about you.

There’s a few boxes you need to tick before you can donate blood. Check to see if you’re eligible to donate.

Lastly, thanks to the kind people who work in the blood banks. Thanks for always ensuring I don’t faint and making sure I get home okay. You’re kindness is appreciated!

PS. Well done to Jay Tapscott who donated for the first time and drank two chocolate milks. That’s an example of getting. it. done.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy – Green Smoothies

Easy peasy lemon squeezy – Green Smoothies

Over the past year, I have developed a routine of having a green smoothie on an almost daily basis. I’ve recently had a few people ask me what I put in my smoothies so I thought I’d share some of my favourite recipes.

I can’t take all the credit for these delicious smoothies however. I joined a “30 day green smoothie challenge” about this time last year in which you were sent a different recipe everyday, along with shopping lists and facts on ingredients. Since then, I have developed quite a taste for strange vegetable and fruit concoctions.

What I’ve learnt about green smoothies..

  • It really doesn’t matter what you put in them! Just chuck in veggies and  a piece of fruit, like an apple or pear for some sweetness.
  • Although I’ve used measurements in the below recipes, it’s not entirely necessary. Just go with the flow!
  • Green smoothies are great for a meal replacement. I mostly have mine with breakfast or morning tea at work.
  • Although I love to use coconut water because it adds some sweetness, you can just use regular, tap water.
  • I bought a Cuisinart Compact Blender Stainless Steel which came with a variety of different sized  jars, including chopping cups (for making dips or chopping nuts, etc) and travel cups. The travel cups are great because you can make the smoothies to-go without even needing to pour it in to a different cup. Needless to say,  I am very happy with my selection.
  • I use a blender as oppose to a juicer because, 1) juicers are hard to clean – who can be bothered? 2) the majority of nutrients comes from the peel of fruit and veg.
  • After completing my 30 day challenge, I continue to have green smoothies regularly as I feel fuller and healthier.
  • I love adding ginger and garlic for a kick. They’re incredibly good for you and help when you’re feeling under the weather.
  • Lastly, I find making smoothies is really fun, especially mixing different ingredients together!

So here’s my top 6 favourite smoothies. If you’re missing an ingredient, don’t worry about it. Experimenting is half the fun.

Let me know which ones you like best!

Bright Citrus Berry (my favourite)

1 cup blueberries
1 orange
1 cup spinach
1 handful parsley
1 cup coconut or regular water

Apple Cleanse

1 apple
2 cups spinach
1 handful basil
1 lime
1 cup coconut water

Alison’s regular

1/4 Cucumber
1 Celery stick
1 Apple
1 Lime
Handful of Spinach
Cup of Coconut water

Healing Detox Smoothie 

1 banana
½ cucumber
1 rib celery
1 handful parsley
1 knuckle ginger
1 cup coconut or regular water

Berry Green Smoothie

1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
2 cups greens of choice
1 handful mint
1 cup coconut water

Young & Raw Smoothie

2 cups mango – fresh or frozen
1 lime
4 leaves kale
1 inch knuckle ginger
1 cup coconut or regular water

The challenge is a great way to get healthy and explore new ingredients. If you’re interested in green smoothies and health foods generally, head on over to Young and Raw.

That’s it from me..
Sending you love, light & health, Alison

PS. some picture of ingredients that I already had in the house – might provide some inspiration!