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The Big Zeroes

watch us go from zeroes to 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]

Several years ago, my husband and I had a wonderful holiday in Maleny. We stayed in a beautiful boutique cottage, and enjoyed the rural view, the fog rolling in, the wood fire, the spa and the lovely town of Maleny, known for artisan food, drink and crafts. We’d often talked about returning, but had umm’d and aah’d for years, but when one of my best friends decided to get married in Maleny, we booked right away!

We stayed in a beautiful two-storey cottage and particularly enjoyed the wonderful view and wood fire… it was rather cold and windy during this trip, so sadly we didn’t get to enjoy the gorgeous verandah you see here. Nonetheless, it was wonderful to fall asleep in the quiet, looking out at the moon and stars and breathing the clean mountain air. As for where we stayed… it’s a secret! Maleny’s best hidden secret, in fact…

I’ve worked for a long time in the field of trauma – physical and psychological – and part of my professional development dream was to increase the strategies I had available to use with my clients. EMDR had been on my radar for a little while, but once I started reading the literature and seeing the great endorsements it had from practitioners working with traumatised people, I knew I had to give it a go!

I attended the training in May and enjoyed it immensely. The presenter was informal but informative, and I found the theory and practical elements fascinating. I’ve since been using it in my practice and I’ve found it to be very helpful for some of my clients. I’m now looking forward to doing further EMDR advanced training next year!

[Image sourced from here.]

In 2005, following many years of odd symptoms and ill health that noone could decipher, I was diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance. What followed my diagnosis was a significant change in my diet and a huge improvement in my health!

I’ve been meaning for many years to attend a gluten free food expo. I’m always trying out new products, and to be frank, some of them are absolutely DREADFUL, so I rather like the idea of “try before you buy”, particularly when GF food is often very expensive ($7 for a packet of crackers, for example!).

This year, the Irresistible Gluten Free Food Show was encompassed in the enormous Good Food & Wine Show, which meant that not only did I get to sample some great wares, but some lovely wines as well! I found beautiful oven-reheatable rolls, that are fresh, delicious and full of fibre (thanks Eskal!); some GF chips that I’ll put aside for Christmas that cost just $1.50/pack (www.mamee.com.au) and are available at the local $2 stores (miraculous – GF chips are usually around $4+/pack)! I now have a GF version of Twisties (Mamee), some amaaaaaazing cake mix for a mud cake and bread mix that is the most delicious GF bread I’ve tasted, created after 9 years of testing to get it right (www.wellandgood.com.au); and last, but not least, a lovely bottle of vintage port and a few bottles of bubbly for the silly season. All in all, an excellent day!