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The Big Zeroes

watch us go from zeroes to heroes

Category Archives: Erin

It was Robbie Burns who once said “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry”, and such it is with dreams and goals sometimes. I’ve been a bit remiss about updating my goals since I turned 30. I completed 17 of 30 before my 30th birthday, which I thought wasn’t too bad! But I resolved that I would continue working on my goals, even though I didn’t hit the deadline, simply because they were important to me.

I’ve since turned 31, and I’m still working on my list. Life isn’t always as straightforward as we set out for it to be, but I think that this adds to its excitement! And just because we don’t meet a deadline, doesn’t mean that the goal is no longer worthy of our time and effort. Too often, I have abandoned something important to me, simply because it didn’t fit in with the timeline I had in mind. So – in the spirit of creating an amazing 2013… and an incredible run-up to turning 32 – I thought I’d give a little update – as much for myself as anyone still out there!

Disney12In March 2012, I achieved a goal I set out to complete in 2009 – to take my two youngest sisters to Disneyland. Growing up, my parents often promised to take us to Disneyland, and it was ever to my disappointment that (for various reasons) this didn’t eventuate. When I promised my sisters the trip, I was determined to see it happen. I am incredibly grateful to my parents for supporting me in my vision, which allowed the girls to take their first step into The Big Wide World at 14 and 17 years of age! The trip was wonderful (apart from some pretty hideous doses of flu) and we devoured Disneyland, riding rollercoasters and teacups alike; we delighted in Walmart (bargains galore) and all the interesting new shops to explore; and trekked across the desert for many (maaaaaany!) hours, so as to cast our eyes upon the gloriousness of The Grand Canyon (and it was grand!). All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and one I’ll always remember!

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I’ve always enjoyed sewing, but I must admit that I get into a panic when sewing with patterns. I tend to like to figure out how something is put together and make it up from there, but now that I’m getting older, I thought it time to overcome my phobia of following craft directions.

Enter Cath Kidston. I often joke that I am dreaming of a Cath Kidston world, so I was delighted to receive all four of her craft books, Sew!, Make!, Patch! and Stitch! as presents for my birthday and Christmas last year. After devouring and delighting in all the different projects I could choose from, I settled on a craft bag from Sew!, to stow my current knitting/crochet projects in as I go (I’m going through a wool phase, you see!).

The pattern I chose was not a traditional packet pattern, but was based on a template for hexagonal pieces (very “old school”!), to be sewn into a patchwork cloth. I had a great deal of fun choosing pretty prints at the local craft store, as well as digging up pieces from my fabric stash, inspired by the lovely vintage-styled prints Cath Kidston uses in the original craft project.

I had a bit of trouble with the handle, so I ended up adjusting the pattern slightly to accommodate a wider wooden handle, and I liked the shape of the hexagons over the lining, rather than under, so I trimmed with pretty blue embroidery cotton and some rosettes, to add icing to the cake! Every part of the project was hand-sewn – something I feel particularly proud of! A labour of love, indeed!

When I was a teenager, my mother nagged and nagged me about reading Agatha Christie’s novels. My mother’s a huge crime buff, and I’m a huge crime buff – it’s practically genetic – but for whatever reason, I never particularly took to her tomes.

Fast forward ten years, to my mid-twenties, and the wonderful re-imagined ITV Miss Marple Mysteries and Poirot series with David Suchet… I was hooked! I couldn’t get enough of the 1920s-1940s, the wonderful dialogue, the more genteel social manners and the murders! (Naturally!)

I decided that if Agatha Christie’s stories made wonderful films, then surely they must be fabulous books… and I began with a wonderful omnibus, gifted to me by my in-laws for Christmas in 2005.  After that, my appetite for Christie was voracious, and I set out to read all of her novels – all 79 of the ones she wrote up to 1979! My, but she was proliferous! Next step: to read all her plays and short stories… before I’m 40! (It’ll take that long, I’m certain!)

My favourite is… Well, it’s hard to pick… But I must say that I was particularly surprised by Murder on the Orient Express. I love her wit, her stoicism, her pure British spirit. She was a dame (quite literally), and will always be one of my literary heroes.

I love a good ball, especially a fancy dress one. I kept an eye out over the year for a themed ball, but when none was forthcoming – and this item on my list was niggling at me – I decided… what the heck! I’ll throw my own!

Thus began my all-consuming obsession with throwing a wonderful party to see in my 30th birthday (albeit, in February instead of my actual birth month!), one of the most full-on, ridiculous, time-consuming, AWESOME experiences in my lifetime.

After much umm-ing and aah-ing, I settled on a Hogwarts Ball (I’m a big Potter fan). I found a wonderful hall, which was a church from the early 1900s, the perfect setting, with all of its stained glass! After crazy planning, making decorations for the six weeks leading up to the party, searching for prizes for games, sending out Hogwarts letters to invitees and the likes… the Big Day arrived!

Isn’t it odd that your own parties fly by in a flash? It was a great night, with lots of friends, lots of laughs and WAY too much food (apparently I think that 100 people need food enough for 200!). The best decision I made, however, was to hire a photobooth. I have SO many hilarious photos of my guests – as well as some clever, poignant and downright cool ones! Given the rush and muddle of the evening, I’m so glad to have photographic memories and messages (in a fabulous photo book) that I will always treasure, of all the wonderful people I am blessed to have in my life.

One of my favourite things to do on the weekend, is to curl up in my wicker chair on the back patio and read Country Style Magazine, dreaming of the day when I will have my own little piece of land. Some dream of a sea change, but my heart is set on a tree change, and one of my most detailed daydreams involves having my own little vegie patch and orchard, from which I will harvest beautiful produce to feed my future family.

I decided, though, that waiting for a plot of land, before creating a vegie patch, was madness, so I set out to create a beautiful garden for our back patio, with a little help from my lovely, green-thumbed in-laws, who were visiting at the time. We planted passion fruit, peas, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, squash, capsicum, chillies, a patio lime tree and lots (and lots!) of herbs.

Over six months, we’ve seen the tomatoes flourish, the beans soldier on, the poor zucchini and squash succumb to white fly, we’ve watched the passionfruit climb and flower, and have lamented at how brilliantly the lime tree has grown, despite showing any sign of fruiting! We’ve discovered that having a garden is a bit like having someone special to take care of, and I’ll admit I’ve found myself talking to my plants.

I’ve grieved when some have died; congratulated some that have retired, after a long season; and have defended all, as best I could, from the elements. All in all, I’ve discovered that I love my garden, and can’t wait to watch it grow from here.

It has always been my secret dream to be a radio presenter. I love listening to informative discussions on the radio, not to mention bopping along to the latest song, singing to my heart’s content in the car. I’ve always longed to be a part of that kind of media, so I added ‘be on a radio show’ to my bucket list, without having ANY idea how it would come to pass.

My favourite station for years has been Brisbane’s 96.5FM, which is family-friendly and incredibly positive. They also have interest ‘bits’ and interviews with experts about families and relationships, from which I’ve gained some great tips that I’ve even passed along to clients. 96.5FM are predominantly funded by private donations and their advertising support. They’re a non-profit organisation, so every six months or so, they fund raise to help them run great programs, like ‘Choices’ – a program for high school students, which teaches teens about making better choices for themselves (and that’s just one of many incredible programs they run, which enrich the Brissie community!).

A couple of months ago, I phoned in to donate to their fundraising drive, and Sal (one of their lovely evening presenters, who does a great radio show with Scotty, aimed at teens) answered the phone. She asked why I was donating, and I said that I loved the radio station for myself, but that I also loved it for my clients – I often talk to clients about being mindful of the influences on their mindset that come from what they listen to, and have recommended 96.5FM in the past, as a more positive option. Sal said they’d love for me to speak with the afternoon presenter, Katie, to share that message, and I was put on hold. A few minutes passed, and all of a sudden, Scotty was on the line and said that he’d really like me for THEIR evening show, and would like to interview me about my thoughts on psychology and music and positive influences for teens. What passed was a dream come true – I got to talk about psychology (which I love) and music (which I love) and teenagers (which I love to do – my teen clients are usually my favourite to work with.) with Scotty and Sal for an almost 20-minute interview!

So, there you have it! Wish lists really can come true! I’m still trying to figure out how to upload the recording for you, but, alas, WordPress doesn’t seem to like .m4a files. “Improving my technological know-how” might need to go on my 40-before-40 list. 😉

Ok, so The Great Barrier Reef. I’ve never been there, and sadly, I didn’t end up getting there before I was 30. We’d planned to drive up to Cairns with my in-laws during their trip to Australia in June-July, but the untimely death of my uncle-in-law meant that their trip was postponed until late August, by which time the weather up north was far too hot for my in-laws’ Scottish sensibilities.

We compromised with a wonderful week in Caloundra, which included a day trip to Fraser Island aboard a private 4WD trip with Discovery Tours around the bottom third of the island. The highlight of the day was a leisurely hour-long swim in Lake Mackenzie (pictured), followed by a gourmet lunch… it won’t be forgotten quickly! We saw whales from afar, a dolphin, a turtle, amazing birds of prey, a dingo… and miles and miles of beautiful sand and varying types of forest. Our guide, Rick, was a laid-back delight, full of interesting facts about the island. Sadly, Discovery are no longer offering the private tours, but their bus-4WD tours continue. I can highly recommend the company – they were brilliant and I’d not hesitate to go again!

[Image sourced from here]