The Artist’s Way

I came across Julia Cameron’s book in my late teens/early 20s. Back then I was an aspiring musical theatre actress. I did acting classes, auditioned for Opera Australia and even did some dance classes. Over the last few months I’ve been feeling really uninspired. I know that some of that comes from being genuinely unwell, but I know that part of it comes from just feeling a real disconnect with myself.

If someone asked me if I thought I was a creative person, I would say, yes, yes I am a creative person. Not the MOST creative, but certainly creative. In my last two years at school, I chased my artistic dreams – I sang, painted, sketched and read and wrote. For a while, that was ok, until I found myself craving mental stimulation – which is why I chose to chase a science degree.

After that, my creativity took a back seat. I sang, but not as much as before, and not seriously – just karaoke – even though I am a classically trained opera singer who completed grade 5 with the AMEB.

I’ve dabbled in some creative writing, tried my hand a ikebana, origami, video editing, I’ve played with Lego, started bullet journals and sometimes have a play with doing my own makeup.

Over the last year I’ve been ignoring my creative impulses. ‘It doesn’t pay the bills, so its a waste of time’ I would tell myself ‘You’re not even that talented – you’re just average – and you’re spread too thin, people who are really creative and good at what they do only have one focus and you have way too many interests – no one is interested in what you can do if someone else can do it better.’

BOOM – I just did one of the exercises from Week 1 – which was to identify what my limiting thoughts are – and now I have to do the affirmation thing.

I have a good life, and I am very lucky that I have so much time to myself. Over the last week, I watched the ‘Good Place’ again and again and again, and as I did I wondered – why? why am I watching this again and again, what am I trying to tell myself. I decided to listen to the ‘making of’ podcasts – it was just filled with the comments of the writers and the actors talking about their creative process and it jogged something inside me. Finally I understood what I’ve been trying to communicate to myself.

I want to be more creative. I want to explore my talents outside of work – and I have a lot of them – I’m not super fantastic at any of them, but I am capable, artistic and creative and I want to share it.

Being creative is important. When I am at my most creative, I am at my most generous and empathetic. When I am creative I can give more of myself to others. I am creative for me and I while I share my talents with others the reason I share it is to document my journey.

So I picked up Cameron’s book again today and I decided I’m going to begin by writing my morning pages and taking myself on an artist date and doing one of the exercises of the week. I think perhaps the morning pages and the artist date once a week are going to be the things I’m going to commit to for now. Today’s morning pages are complete and I also managed to complete my artist date as well, which was a couple of hours writing the lyrics to “Rewrite the Stars” – that song has been in my head for ages now and I’m just obsessed with it . I want to see if I can record it and put it on my Instagram. That would be kind of cool.

Books with Strange Plots

I’ve read two books with strange synopsis. Yangzhe Choo’s “The Night Tiger” centered around trying to reunite a dead man with his amputated finger while A.J. Pearce’s “Dear Mrs Bird” is set in the midst of London during the bombing raids in World War 2 and centres around a girl who is secretly responding to people’s mail in the women’s weekly against the express wishes of the editor.

I think I am drawn to both these stories because their synopsis’ are so odd, but I am fascinated at how just having a simple goal can really tie the story together. It never occurred to me that a story doesn’t need lofty goals such as “saving the world”, “find love” or “solve a murder” to say something meaningful

In fact, the simpler the goal it seems the easier it is to connect and relate to the characters and the more invested and upset you become when something takes a turn for the worst. I’m going to try this in my own writing.

Jess’ Last 5 Purchases

So as I’ve written before, Jess and I have been trying to embrace minimalism. Part of becoming more minimalist is being more aware of what you buy and how much of it you purchase. Earlier I completed a blog where I evaluated my last 5 purchases – the exercise was very useful and inspired my sister to do her own write up and here it is:

Jess Blog Pic

  1. Black bodysuits

I actually bought 3 black bodysuits and I’ve returned 2 of them. It was my idea to make the theme for Vanessa’s hens ‘lace and leather’ so I wanted a black lace bodysuit to go with a burgundy leather skirt that I already have. I wanted a very specific looking black lace bodysuit. I bought 2 different ones here in the UK, but they didn’t look how I wanted them to look when I tried it on so I returned them. I couldn’t find what I was looking for on my usual online shopping haunts, so I turned to Polyvore. I finally found one that was exactly the look I was going for… only to find that it was from an Australian store. So to avoid the £9 shipping fee (and the VAT I would’ve had to pay to collect it when it did arrive in the UK) I sent it to mum and dad’s house instead! Unfortunately, that means I can’t try it on and the hens is the night after I land in Australia, so I still need to find a suitable Plan B option here. But I plan to buy something closer to the date so I can return it if Plan A works out fine. #firstworldproblems I know!

  1. North Face windbreaker jacket & Merrell hiking boots

I have to group these things items together because I bought them at the same time for the same reasons. Nina invited me to a spontaneous weekend at the Lake District (Northern England) and hike with alpacas. The Lake District is one of the largest National Parks here in the UK, known for its beautiful lakes (hence the name), mountains and forests. I had always wanted to go, so I immediately said yes! Later I asked Nina if the hike with alpacas was a “serious” or “fun” – i.e. can I get away with my gym trainers and athleisure wear? She said the alpaca hike would just be a “fun” one, but we would be doing a “serious” hike on the first day. So not having anything remotely appropriate for a “serious” hike, I had to buy at least a windbreaker jacket and proper hiking shoes. I know these things are usually quite expensive, and I wanted to get reputable brands (but not pay full price either). I managed to get both on sale (both were at least 50% off) and in total cost under £100 for both items. The “beast from the East” brought a particularly bad snow storm across Europe the week prior, so the “serious” hike we did ended up being more precarious than it usually would be because the snow hadn’t yet melted away and in many places was still knee-deep. The hiking boots probably saved my life a half a dozen times on that weekend alone, so money well spent! I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend hiking through nature and reaching the top of the Catbells. It was a welcome change from my usual European city breaks. And now that I’ve got the proper gear, bring on more hikes!

  1. ASOS oversized bomber jacket in black

This was definitely an impulse buy. I already have a regular (non-oversized) khaki bomber jacket. But I had a fashion epiphany that a black oversized bomber jacket would look really cool. I looked through ASOS and found one that I liked (except for that I wish the inside lining was orange). But I thought, I’ll just buy it, try it on and if I don’t like it, I’ll return it. I tried it on, and I really liked the fit and look of it, so even though I knew I shouldn’t, I kept it. I paid for it using my cashback, so it didn’t come out of my pay at least.

  1. Return plane ticket to Seville, Spain with Ryanair

Travelling around Europe is a big part of why I moved to London, so I’ll never regret spending money on a plane ticket! There are so many places in Spain that I want to go to. I’ve only been to Barcelona so far, but Seville is on top of the list now. Prior to buying these tickets, I think I actually made money from flying with Ryanair. Between two flight cancellations and one 3 hour+ flight delay, I’ve received over £500 in flight vouchers and flight compensation. So who knows, this flight may still pay for itself down the line!

  1. Britney Spears concert tickets

I remember back in 2008/2009 when Britney’s Circus album came out and she toured Australia, I really wanted to go! But all the girlfriends I asked to go with me said no because she lip-syncs”. Months later, well after the tickets sold out, it came up in a conversation with Nina and I told her about my struggle to find someone to go to the concert with me, only to find a kindred spirit! She had been looking for someone to go to the concert with too, only to suffer the same rejection as I did! If only we had asked each other… sigh. Almost 10 years later and both of us now living on the other side of the world, what pops up on my Instagram feed: Britney’s Piece of Me concert is coming to London this summer!! Screenshot that shit, sent it to Nina saying ‘Interested?’…Of course she is, it’s Britney, bitch!! (P.S. this is the only time I’ve ever been grateful for Insta advertising)

March Towards Balance – Week 2: Less is More


I’ve already started my week on a good note. I went to work today using public transport –  (I have made it a point to take public transport to work at least ONCE a week) so that’s ticked off my list! I took some time this morning to complete a 10 minute meditation before starting my day so that set me in a good mood (since I only have to tick off ONE meditation a week too). Then, during my lunch break – all of which I spent OUTSIDE the office  – I went  off and did some full body strength exercises at the gym. I also left work bang on time today and got everything I wanted done.

I know that I’m only making very small changes and once a week seems like nothing, but you know what, a lot of my healthy habits now, started off this way… a little at a time.

As I think of all my good habits, I can’t help but give myself a high five for the habit of:

  • Eating breakfast everyday
  • Checking that I have my jewellery and wear it everyday
  • My skin care routine

Today I’ve added a couple more new things to my daily habit checklist. The first is doing a gratitude journal once a week – according to the podcast “Crappy to Happy” by Cass Dunn and Tiff Hall, completing  gratitude journal once or twice a week can be more effective than doing it everyday. To my daily activities I’ve added that I have to be in bed by 11.30pm.


Blogging & Burn Out

I’ve always wanted to maintain a blog. My dad knows I’ve started a few, but have never really gotten past the second post. Perhaps it’s because what motivated me to blog before was a general dissatisfaction with my life and the need to share that dissatisfaction.

This time my reason for starting a blog comes from a strong desire to know myself more and a need to focus on the part of me that is not the ‘work me’.

I’m obsessed with my job. I’ve always known that I would be. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Speech Pathologist). Even as a young girl, I wanted a career and the money that went with it. I still remember the shock on my high school best friends face when I told her that when it came to children I could take it or leave it as long as I had a good job.

Having a good job that I enjoy is how I defined success then and it is a large part of how I define success now.

Of course many things have changed about what I think a ‘good job’ is. As a child, I imagined myself as a doctor, as a teen I imagined myself as some sort of non-descript middle management type. I didn’t even know what speech pathology was until I started the course, and even then I was ambivalent about wether or not I wanted a career in this field as I did not like the idea of working with children.

After becoming a qualified speech pathologist I felt somewhat dissatisfied by the pay and by the lack of upward mobility. I hated that speech pathology was such a feminine job because it meant that there was no money in it.

Regardless, I stayed and continue to stay in the industry because in the end I love what I do and I am awesome at my job.

I found ways to engage in my job more holistically so I could stop focusing on the low pay and lack of upward mobility. I sought opportunities to learn more specialised topics (like paediatric feeding), networked (with Rotary and NSW Speech Pathology Australia Branch), and pioneered new projects (like HUSH and SPArty).

Getting all this stuff done as you can imagine was really time consuming and tiring, and I did all of this stuff while also attempting to provide quality therapy to a full clinical caseload and having a life outside of work too. So it is no surprise that I have, on occasion, burnt out in a pretty spectacular fashion.

The first time was in 2014. The stress completely knocked me out from doing anything – I woke up one morning with flu symptoms, an ear infection and conjunctivitis. I was down for two weeks straight.

The second time I burnt out was around the end of 2016. This came in the form of large amounts of fatigue. I would leave work, get home, sleep, wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks – which I didn’t know at the time were anxiety attacks – go back to sleep again – wake up – go to work only to find that by 11am it was so hard to keep my eyes open, so I would make coffee – which would usually get me through until I could go home and go straight back to sleep again. One Friday, the coffee didn’t kick in; I felt that if I didn’t lie down my heart would just decide to stop functioning altogether and I would collapse. I had to sleep under my desk that day for as long as I could in order to be able to function long enough to take the train home.

After that, I went to the GP to get my iron checked. I always see these ads on the doors of public toilets saying women who are chronically low on iron have lots of fatigue so I assumed this was my problem. I was surprised when my blood tests came back telling me that my iron levels were fine. I was also told that the kind of fatigue I experienced was ‘normal’ – you know part of my hormonal cycle. This upset me, because I didn’t want to feel chronically fatigued once a month for the rest of my life.

So, I decided to learn about my hormonal cycle. I started with a short book called “Quit PMS” and it was here that I found the answer I was looking for. What I was experiencing was called Adrenal Fatigue. I felt relieved, now that I knew what it was, I could take steps to fix it.

I took on as many suggestions that the book gave me as possible given my fatigued state – I abandoned the pill (which was messing with my hormones), got myself a menstrual cup (because apparently the pesticides in the cotton tampons and pads can also mess with your hormones) and tried to reduce my stress levels by meditating and dealing with things that were stressing me out.

This blog was born out of that need to reduce my stress, a way for me to get out my feelings and share my journey on how I am trying to become a better, healthier person.

Having a blog has definitely helped reduce my stress and has also led me to many insights about myself. I found out that I like writing for an audience – no matter how small. Writing for an audience allows me to reflect in a way I wouldn’t have if I was just writing for myself.  It’s given me a way to be accountable for the ‘non-career’ things I do because I share them and therefore have to follow through. Writing a blog reduces my stress and allows me to slow down, synthesise information I’ve learned and move forward with purpose.


Balancing Act

I suck at balance. For the majority of my adult life I’ve spent a large amount of my time on my career and career related activities. The idea of investing time in things that are not directly related to my career seemed counterproductive. So it’s probably not surprising to find that I am someone who’s burnt out pretty often.  (Trust me, when it happens it becomes a massive problem.)


I’m 30 now; I’ve moved out of home,  I’m eating better, exercising more, keep a gratitude journal, meditate every now and then… I keep a budget that I try to stick to, I try new things like pole dancing, schedule quality time with my SO and family and I make a fairly good attempt to keep ‘work’ at ‘work’ both physically and psychologically.


That being said, I still experience burn out. This can’t continue.


I suppose that’s why I’m writing this blog – I want a place to document my story about improving my health, fitness, relationships and my environment so that I can be happier and more productive person.