Brisbane, Australia – Contacting family, boating, botanic gardens, comedy and bars

Our first impressions were not all positive. Our immediate neighbourhood seemed, initially, a little drab and uninspiring. You know, lots of workman, sitting outside cafes and closed shops.

Thankfully, this impression soon changed. The shops came alive and we managed to find a decent cafe and ate a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato and toast for $6. We wandered back, settled into our Airbnb apartment and just had a day of recuperating in the serene, warm Aussie ambiance.

The next day, we spoke to our family over WhatsApp by video call. I’ve never done this before, and it is brilliant and so easy. Just go to the relevant contact and press on the camera icon at the top. Wait for them to answer and it is that simple. Couldn’t believe it actually worked from Australia to the UK!

After this joyous catch up, with our family, off we set towards to city. We went on the train one stop and upon arrival became immediately immersed into the vibrant atmosphere of Brisbane. The Tourist Information Centre is a great place to accumulate all the info you need and the staff are proactive in helping you. We looked around the shopping area and then caught the FREE, yes Free, CityHopper. This takes you up the Brisbane River and is a wonderful way to see the city. This includes sights such as the beautiful parks, gardens, historic architecture juxtaposed with the Brisbane skyline.

The dynamic city of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, has a diverse range of restaurants and attractions appealing to all. The city is very well set out and has areas of gardens, parks and also shopping, cafes and a trendy bar culture.

The trendy bar culture, is in the Fortitude Valley area and we soon discovered the area may be a little sleepy during the day, but comes alive at night.

We then went to saunter around the Botanic Gardens which are lovely and very relaxing. This is also free and has a wide array of plants, trees and animals. We spotted some large lizards and the birds certainly make different squawking noises from the UK birds, at home.

Hubby had discovered, online, a free Comedy Hour at the local Brisbane arts and culture centre, so off we ventured to see what the Aussies are like at comedy. Very good actually, if a little over sweary. This was an interesting experience because we walked from the CityHopper to the theatre, through the suburbs and I was able to nose at the houses and gardens. Love wandering around the local suburbs to see how the locals live. The housing in Brisbane seems to be rather contained but very smart, as are the pavement, road areas and general infrastructure.

After a great hour of comedy, we walked back through the now dark suburbs, towards our apartment building. On the way back, we stopped at our new ‘local’ the splendid, Tippler’s Tap, for a swift beer or two.

Brisbane is an impressive city and another great location which is well designed and has lots to do.

We are off for a drive out tomorrow so that should be interesting…

Gardening, BBQs, beer and a funny story…

Can’t believe I’m revealing this, but think the gardening thing is coming back to me, a bit. During my younger days, the garden would be an escape. Hubby came home from work and enjoyed bathing and reading the children a bedtime story.

I used to sow seeds in the greenhouse and then plant them out in May and continue to tend the flowers, weed, prune and so on. During their teen years, I succumbed to study, because of my love of all thing literature and I guess that took over. Now they descend on us for Sunday roasts and summer bbqs and we have a fabulous time, putting the world to rights and enjoying a glass 🥃 of something…or two.

This year, I was dreading the gardening season (don’t succumb to soil activities in the winter) because it looked so overgrown. However, it has now been weeded and I somehow found the strength to mow the annoyingly long grass.

In the UK, the weather has suddenly improved. The everlasting grey clouds have been replaced by some white clouds and sun. It won’t last, but it is lovely while here. This has motivated me into a flurry of cleaning and gardening. What is surprising, is this year, I’m actually embracing the glorious weather and garden. We’ve even been to the garden centre to buy a supply of gardening acrutriments and plants. This includes copious amounts of gardening gloves, for our precious hands, garden forks and bbq tools, so the hubster doesn’t burn himself whilst turning the flaming meat over. Yes, we have a new bbq, bought by the kiddies. The previous one was disintegrating before our eyes.

Everybody visited on Sunday, for a bbq: “The weather is looking good for the weekend, so shall we try out the new bbq?” Son asks, with a cheeky smirk on his face.
I agreed, because I’m determined to enjoy, or endure, more bbqs this summer. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it rained. Luckily, we changed the time and cooked and entertained at lunch time, eat inside and then chilled out in my summerhouse. Beer was involved. Well you need to keep warm somehow, don’t you? We watched the rain pour down, but being typically British stayed huddled in the summer house.

My son-in-law, arrived during this time and after some painful deliberation, my hubby, bravely ventured out into the pouring rain, to unlock the garden gate. He arrived at the summerhouse, for some reason, declaring “You are all mad!” The summerhouse is not large. We huddled some more, I was introduced to a beer called ‘Elvis Juice’ and a funny tale (more later), the chaps then escaped and lit the chimnea. Then we huddled around that instead.

What a splendid day.

Oh, the strange tale… Apparently, the Elvis Estate, in their wisdom, decided to object to BrewDog naming the beer Elvis Juice. So, the BrewDog owners/brewers, in their wisdom, apparently, changed their names to Elvis! Well, two of the brewers (owners) did. They won their case and it is still called ELVIS JUICE and is the third best selling beer in the UK!

https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/elvis-juice-here-to-stay

Supporting Your Aims – Becoming Lighter Series (5)

Now you’ve decided on your aims, planned them and finding ways of pursuing them the next stage is all about how you can support yourself and the aims. You could reveal your aims to family, friends or even colleagues. This suits some, but not others and it depends on what the aim is. For me, it encourages motivation, but suggest divulging aims only to trusted peers, especially if it is a tough aim.

Reminding yourself about the benefits of the aim. List the benefits in a journal and read it when you are struggling. This may reinforce some positive thinking and encourage you to be proactive and continue with the process. Well, we can hope can’t we?

It is always wise to think about the good aspects of what you are doing. If you don’t feel like exercising then remember how you feel afterwards. Same with cleaning, decluttering or cooking a fancy meal. Pocket the emotion. Oooooh must take some of this advice as I’m struggling with going to the gym during the cold, dark weather.

To sum up…

Discuss your life aims with trusted peers

Remind yourself of the benefits of the aims

Write a to do list or journal

Pocket the good feeling you acquire after achieving new aims

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Analysis of your Life Aims? Becoming Lighter Series – (4)

Having pursued specific aims, found yourself following a plan or at least have a plan, then decide what is next.  For me, I tend to get value out of aims by measuring them. If I’ve lost weight, I’ll write it down so can see progress. If you exercise, it is fun to see how much, by recording it. By measuring results, you see how far you have come, which encourages you on a positive route.

If it is all a struggle, which it often is, see if you can decide on some sub goals or aims which helps with the fear and hopelessness. Everything is a struggle particularly as people or occasions often ruin good intentions and plans (family, friends, children, commitments). These can help keep stuff in control, measurable and time based.

To sum up…

– Measure your aims or goals

– Write down your progress

– Plan some sub goals if life is interfering

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Setting New Life Aims – Becoming Lighter (1)

Discussing your happy life is so ubiquitous it becomes a bit pointless. What we really need to do, is analyse what we want to aim for, how, when and where in order to arrive at “the happy life”.

For this reason, I am starting this blog series with meeting aims. Most people may call them resolutions or goals and set them at the beginning of the year. By February, the majority have rescinded their resolutions and probably even forgotten them. However, if you call them aims, they become an ongoing process and enjoyed and improved upon.

Mark Manson wrote an article called The Most Important Question of Your Life. He asks how much pain do you want in your life? This pertains to the idea that you need to encounter negativity and experience a struggle. What you get out of life is not determined by good feelings and desire, but derived from bad feelings you are able to sustain. Therefore, if you are good at negative experiences then you are good at dealing with life. Are you good at dealing with negativity? No, like most of us, probably not.

We all are good imagining ourselves as skinny peeps, living in gloriously immaculate homes and eating copious amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, but it isn’t that simple. Not in my world. Clearly how you define negativity, defines us.

If you want “the happy life” you have to determine what you really want. So listing goals can be helpful, but it is then better, in my humble opinion, to pick two and decide the route you are going to take. Therefore eliminate the goals and pursue two or three aims.

After you’ve narrowed down the ideas, start to break them down into a format that you are able to cope with. For example, last year I decided to start a blog. An arduous task because I was busy with lots of family stuff, etc. I broke it down and picked a blog site, chose a name, then started writing in the hope that somebody might read it! Still hoping, but there has been some good feedback and I enjoy it so what the hell! This year, am trying to write more intentionally and endeavour to make content my main aim.

To sum up…

– Brainstorm this year’s aims (family, job, travel, education, social life, hobbies, home)

– Pick the top two aims and focus

– Ask yourself if you are committed to the aim

– Break them down so they are not so daunting

Good luck and in a few day will post my pearls of wisdom about planning aims. Look forward to seeing you then.

Thanks for reading and please follow.

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Consumable gifts and family time tips…

Been away so had a break from blogging but back now and thought I’d pop in a quick blog about the upcoming festivities – tips for giving presents and being with the family…

The rules for present giving are that they can be consumed or experienced. So to play safe always give food, drink, toiletries or experiences.

Food

Chocolates or biscuits are best. Even better, if you make them yourself. They are always welcome this time of year because most people give up the fitness plan for a few days and over indulge. I know I do!

Drink

We always buy 12 bottles of wine for some relatives and they do the same back. Bit daft, but at least the wine in something that will be drunk. Also, saves aimlessly wandering around wondering what to buy them.

Smellies

Anything like body cream, perfume of bubble bath is always useful and will be used throughout the year.

Experiences

In my humble opinion always give a simple experience rather than somewhere people have to travel miles to enjoy. Recently had a superb meal in a posh hotel nearby and it was a wonderful treat. Or something like cinema tokens is a good option. Be careful the person receiving the experience will enjoy it rather than endure it.

Other bits that are pleasant to receive are candles, purses, bags, scarves, earings and necklaces.  Men just like beer don’t they?

Have a fantastic few days and don’t forget my family time tips for enjoying yourself.

– No political discussions (haha)

– Play some games (or catch up on holiday photos)

– Worry less about your diet but…

– Get out for some long walks in the fresh air

Have a fabulous time everyone. Thank you to everyone who follows, likes and reads my blog. It is much appreciated.

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8 Reasons why attending family events are useful…

Yesterday evening I visited a restaurant for a family meal to celebrate a birthday.  My small family unit (parents, children and partners) has always celebrated various family birthdays with a meal.  Sometimes we gather for a Sunday roast too.  It made me think how important these events are and question whether we are unusual to do this?  We have birthdays throughout the year, so it happens about every few months.

Yesterday, was a fantastic evening of debate, food, drink and laughter. We can all say what we honestly think about our own news, global and national events and so it is a great opportunity for discussion.

In my humble opinion, there are many reasons to do the above and I’ve decided to list them because it reminds me too.

Nurtures a bond between family members

Creates a debating environment

Good to catch up on people’s news

Provide advice and support

Gets you away from screens, hooray

Enjoy copious amounts of food and drink which is often home cooked

Stops loneliness and is good for the soul

Can devise plans for the next birthday year

Ok, my musings on family gatherings are over, for now, but I’ve one question. What do you enjoy about an evening out with friends and family?

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