5 Ways To Use A Notebook To Change Your Life!

journalling to change your life

If you are anything like me, you just might have a pretty notebook or two ten that you have not written a single word in yet.

If you don’t have a stash of prettiness, now might be the perfect time to invest in one or two, but really any notebook will do. One of the most powerful ways to invoke change is to write things down and make a plan. With the new year only two months old, why not try some of these ideas to help make 2017 really awesome.

A word after a word after a word is power” – Margaret Atwood

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AWESOME AFFIRMATIONS

The stories we run on repeat in our brains, reflect how our outer world appears. If we continually put ourselves down we cannot thrive. When we continually tell ourselves I can’t do this or I don’t have that we create negative feelings towards that subject and the energy you project out is what you keep getting in return. Positive affirmations repeated over and over again, gently retrain the brain to think about things in a positive way.

For affirmations to be effective, they must be written in a way that declares you already have that thing, or feel that way. Using words like when I or if I etc. will keep fuelling the negative belief because you are affirming that you don’t have it.

Think about all the things you would love to have, be or do and how you would feel when they are reality and frame your affirmations as a statement that its already happened.

Starting affirmations with ‘I am’ is very powerful as you are declaring it is so, with no room for maybe’s.

Write down every positive affirmation you can come up with, or a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram for inspiration or google positive quotes/affirmations and start filling your book. When you need a lift or are having a tough day with a flurry of negative thoughts, read through your affirmations and feel your focus change and energy lift.

WEIGHT LOSS DIARY

The path to losing weight it one of those journey’s that can be long and arduous. Everywhere you turn their is another chocolate bar or vanilla slice waiting to be consumed. I have never been thin a day in my life and there have been a few times I have felt positively huge, so I totally get how hard it can be. So much emphasis is placed on what you CAN’T have when you want to shift some weight, but you can use a journal to focus on the things you can have and do to make it a more positive experience.

Obviously tracking your weight loss is a good place to start, but sometimes focusing on reduced measurements can be more rewarding. Use gold stars or cute stickers when you see the numbers go down for added incentive.

Make lots of lists such as exercise you actually enjoy, healthy meals that are easy to make, snacks that are good for you, clothes you would like to buy when you reach your next target and rewards such as a beauty treatment.

Adding photo’s of your success is a great motivator. You could also add pictures from magazines of how you would like to look and the clothes you would like in your wardrobe works a treat too.

Tracking everything you eat for a week or more can be confronting, but an honest list can be very powerful in helping you not eat that family size block of chocolate out of sheer terror of writing that shizz down!

BURN BOOK

This might not be the perfect choice for your prettiest notebook as some of things you use it for will be going up in smoke…literally!

Writing down your problems can be therapeutic in itself. Dumping your anger down on a page can help to release built up stress and rage.

When you have finished writing down everything that needs to go, tear the pages out and take them outside. You will also need some matches and a bowl or bucket. Set the pages alight and ask for all to released to the universe to deal with. Let it burn while you take a big deep breath or two and then place it in the bowl until it is only ashes.

If you are struggling for answers to a problem, take the time to write out what is concerning you, and then place the pen in your non-dominant hand and start writing whatever comes up. Don’t judge or analyse but let the words flow. By letting your other hand do the writing you are turning off the logical process of the brain and allowing the creative area to flow and this could be a way for you to tap into solutions that your logical thinking may not have thought of.

COMMONPLACE BOOK

This form of note keeping has been around for centuries and was developed as way of keeping handy information in one place long before the invention of computes, smart phones and tablets.

Rather than relying on memory, a common place book is an ideal way to keep track of things so that all the information remains in one place. Use it record scraps of information that you know you will want to remember them in the future.

Fill it full of quotes, ideas, cooking hints, reading suggestions, poems, movies to watch, quotes from articles or books, websites you want to check out, measurements and any other bits of information you don’t want to forget.

You can add photo’s, magazine clippings, paint chips or any other visual reminder.

This handy tool has eliminated all those little scraps of paper that I would continually jot things down on and then could never find them when I actually needed them. I leave mine on my desk but have a mini notepad in my handbag incase I need to jot something down whilst I am out and then I just add it in when I get home.

My middle aged brain is enjoying this one stop information shop!

GRATITUDE JOURNAL

We all have good days and bad days, but one of the worst things you can do for your emotional and physical well being is to go to bed angry.

Gratitude is a very powerful emotion that can open the doors to wonderful things. Giving thanks even when things are tough can really help to calm fear and frustration.

No matter how tough your day has been, going to sleep with your last thoughts being one of thanks and love will help you get a better nights sleep and will fill you with the energy of positive attraction.

Before you turn off the light, find one thing that you are grateful for that day. Even if it is just that this day is over and you have a bed to sleep in will be a good start. Write it down in a notebook that you keep beside your bed.

If you have had an awesome day, then write down more things. Flip through the book at the end of each month and bask in the feeling of all the great things that did happen. It is a surefire way to feeling good and inviting more of that into your life.

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Do you love pen and paper, or have you gone the techno way to keep things sorted?

Sharing for the #Lovin’ Life Linky with Write Of The Middle.com

17 Things To Do In 2017 To Make It A Great Year!

How to make 2017 great

Hello 2017! What wonderful things will you bring?

The new year is now in its second week, how are those resolutions going?

If you made some the odds are pretty good that you have not stuck to them. If you have, YAY! You deserve a glass of bubbles tonight.

One of the best ways to start off a fresh new year and have it go pear shaped is to make plans and promises that require major changes to habits that you have been used to living with possibly for years now. If you have not stuck to your resolutions you already feel like a failure.

Change takes time unless you have willpower made of steel. I sure as hell don’t but I also do not want to keep living the same ‘stories’ that have dominated over the last few years.

2017 is a ‘1’ year which in numerology is the start of a new cycle, so it is the perfect year to start making the changes you want to see for your future. Small steps taken daily will help you form new habits and by the end of the year you will see some real changes.

Here are some things worth giving a try, they might be a good fit for you, or may help trigger ideas so that you can make your own list.

ONEA WORD

Choose a word to guide you through 2017 rather than a resolution. What is the one thing you really crave or the part of your life you would love to change the most? Choose a word that will constantly remind you of the direction you want to head towards. This year my one word is RELAX, as it is one of the hardest things for me to do, but I know it is something I truly need to master. I feel guilty when I made time to play with art supplies or read a few pages of a book as there is always so many things that need doing and being a single mumma means everything has to be done by me, there is no partner to help with the work load. I made this little reminder with some scrapbooking supplies and I see it every time I sit down t my desk.

one word 2017

TWO – CHANGE IT UP

Change can be scary. Our ego would be much happier if we just keep doing the same old things as it is comfortable there and feels safe. So often fear stops us from trying new things incase we fail, but trying new things is the only way to realise dreams. Sometimes just trying to decide on what steps to take can stop us from even starting. Try this little Feng Shui tip for inviting in change. Move 27 things around your home. Keeping everything in the same place allows stagnant energy to build up. At the change of every season move 27 things into different spots and allow fresh energy and ideas to flow.

THREE – CHUCK IT OUT

Decluttering is a buzz word right now and for good reason. You need to get rid of old things to make room for new things to come in to your life. Just start with one drawer and then move on to the next and throw out everything that you really don’t love. I have so many things that I hang on to because I ‘might’ need it, but late last year I started tossing and will keep going until every room in the house is done.

FOUR – DRINK IT

This coffee addicted mumma would rather sip on a skinny cino than a glass of water, but we all know that hydration is vital for good health. Keep some lemon and lime slices in a snap lock bag in the freezer and put a fresh slice of each in a big glass or water bottle and keep sipping the water during the day. I drink coffee because I love the taste and it does not have much effect in boosting my energy when I am running out of oomph. When I do need a pick-me-up, an extra big glass of water makes a huge difference.

FIVE – SNACK SMART

Whilst a total diet overhaul would be a very good way to knock off the weight and improve how we feel, it takes super strong willpower to see it through. One easier way to start moving in the right direction is to watch what you snack on. Yummy treats are calorie laden and can make a huge impact on total daily consumption. Choosing healthy snacks will add boosts of goodness to your diet and help ease the guilty feeling you often get from stuffing a few biscuits or a bar of chocolate down your throat. Here is some easy suggestions.

snacks for clean eating

Image credit

SIX – CREATE A LITTLE SOMETHING

If you have a hobby, awesome, just make sure you find time to do a little every day. If you don’t, get one! If you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, an adult colouring book and pencils is the perfect way to start. Engaging the right side of the brain, will give the left side a break from all the plotting and planning that it loves to do. Its all about balance. The to-do list will still be there when you have finished spending a little time playing with colours but the world won’t fall into a big heap just because you took a little time for yourself.

SEVEN – 10 MINUTES A DAY

Big goals don’t get achieved in a day. Write down the biggest goal you would like to achieve this year. Does it scare you because you have no idea how on earth you can make it reality? Below that big goal, write down all the things that will have to happen to make it real. Then everyday pick one small thing you can do to get the ball rolling. Even if you just start off researching, spend 10 minutes a day learning what you need to do or get to move you towards your goal.

EIGHT – FRESH IS BEST

I don’t have a special someone to buy me flowers anymore, so I buy my own. Nothing lifts your spirit quicker than glancing at a fresh bunch of blooms. Bring them in from the garden if you are lucky enough to have them or buy a bunch each week or so. I always get great value blooms from the supermarket, and as I work there I know what has come in that day so always get the best. Just make sure you throw them out as soon as they start to wilt or they will have a negative effect on the energy in your home.

i love fresh flowers especially lillies

NINE – SAVE THE POINTS FOR THE SILLY SEASON

Woolworths have upgraded their rewards programme and you can now select to collect your points and have them released in time for that big Christmas shop. You just have to let them know via the website that you would like to choose that option. You can also do the same thing with Coles and have your Flybuys points credited to your card whenever you like. If you buy groceries you might as well get something in return, so swipe the card each time you go shopping.

TEN – GIFT CARD CLUB

If your bank does not offer a Christmas Club style account, you can make your own. Each month buy a gift card and hide them away at home. When its time to start Christmas shopping you can take the cards to use for purchases. This is a much easier way to deal with Christmas without putting your credit card through its paces and then having to deal with repayment pain in the new year.

ELEVEN – START SMALL

Investing in shares can be risky and volatile, but can also be a rewarding way to expand your net worth. It is possible to start the journey into the share market for literally pennies until your confidence grows and results are seen. I don’t have time to spend hours studying the market and making the choices to buy and sell. At the same time one of my goals was to find a way to invest in something that can grow over time.  Thanks to one of the Facebook groups I am in, everyone was raving about Acorns and I presumed it was an American only initiative. A quick app search lead me to discover the Australian version and I am starting small to test the water and see how it all works. A big oak tree starts as an acorn, so I am seeing how big this can grow.

TWELVE – BURN IT

We all have issues that take up valuable real estate in our brain. Stories that keep popping in and cause us to feel stressed or upset. One way that can help release the grip these memories hold is to right them down in vivid detail as though you were explaining the situation to a best friend. Just the exercise of writing it down can bring calm and clarity, but tear those pages off the pad and roll them into a cigar shape, take them outside and set them alight. As they are burning, ask that your issue release its hold on you and let the universe disperse the pressure. (Please make sure you have a safe vessel such as a BBQ or bucket of water to place them in once you have set them alight so you don’t burn yourself)

THIRTEEN – ONE GOOD THING

Gratitude is a powerfully positive magnet. When you are thankful for what you do have it draws more good your way. BUT we all have days where nothing seems to go right and it is very easy to stay wallowing in a negative state. Everyday this year, I am going to right down one thing that I am grateful for. Even when the going gets tough I can still be grateful that the day is over and tomorrow is a new one. At the end of the year it is going to be fun looking back over a whole year of good things.

FOURTEEN – GO OUTSIDE

No matter what the weather is like, make time to go outside, connect with the glory of nature and breathe in some fresh air. Direct exposure to sunlight (not for too long) is vital for Vitamin D production and serotonin levels, the hormone that helps us feel happy. It is so easy to stay locked up inside, especially when it is cold and this can directly influence how we feel very quickly.

two of my favourite things the beach and coffee

FIFTEEN – SCENTUAL

If you have never experienced the power of Pure Essential Oils, make this year the one that you change. At the most simple level all you need is an aromatherapy burner, a tea light candle, a little water to put in the dish and some citrus based Pure Essential Oils. Don’t buy the fragrance oils from the cheap shop as not a single plant goes into making those and they have zero ability to make a difference. Choose from Lemon, Orange, Neroli, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Tangerine or Mandarin. All of the citrus oils are not only anti-bacterial so great for killing off airborne bugs, but they are all powerful mood enhancers. They will make your home smell fresh and will help lift your spirits. Please ensure you place the burner high enough that little fingers cannot get close to the naked flame and only start with one or two drops to ensure no one in the household reacts to them.

SIXTEEN – NEW

Let this year be one of discovery. Try new food, a different restaurant, a different brand or cocktail. Find a new fragrance, new shade of lippie or try out a different hair colour. Visit a new destination, fly with a different airline or play tourist in your local hood.  Join a group, take a class or have a go at a sport you have never tried before. The list of possibilities is endless, just give it a go.

SEVENTEEN – HUG THEM TODAY

Every day is a blessing, let the ones you love know how you feel, as tomorrow is not guaranteed. Share the kisses around, send a text or make that call. Enjoy every moment that you can. Love is truly the highest power we can attain and the most powerful healer of past hurt. xxx

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What wonderful things do you want to experience this year?

Sharing for Lovin’ Life at Write Of The Middle.com

You Are Never Too Old To Try Something New!

Physie begginer ladies

For the past decade I have been your typical dance mum, ferrying my girls to Physie classes, waiting around during class time and getting home quite late and having dinner planned that was quick and easy.

As the competition time of the year arrived, I donned the red, white and black club colours and sat all day at a school hall bored out of my mind for most of it.

A couple of times I entertained the thought of actually doing Physie myself, but always came up with a myriad of excuses….I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, I am too old to start something new like this….etc.

At the end of the year break-up party last year, one of the mums said ‘we should be doing this too’.

She sewed the seed that stuck with me all Christmas break and on sign-up day, I put my name on the list.

OMG….what have I done?????

How can a 51 year old start something new like this?

BJP Physical Culture has classes from Tiny Tots all the way through to Beginner Ladies, so no matter what your age, you can join in.

At our club ladies classes are on Monday night, the one day of the week I usually work for about 10 hours on my feed all day and come home totally exhausted. Dragging myself to class has been difficult some weeks and my brain has felt like mush so learning the work has not been the easiest thing I have ever done.

BUT I have stuck with it, stretching and practicing the syllabus at home and finally last Saturday the first competition of the year arrived.

This required me to –

Make sure my  hair colour was done to cover the regrowth.

Exfoliate from top to toe.

Apply 3 coats of tan for a golden glow.

Redo my gel nails as bright red with gold glitter is not a good choice as it draws attention to your hands, so pastel pink with a hint of sparkle did the trick.

Pack a days worth of food.

Make sure I had my water bottle and energy drink chilling in the fridge.

Find all my red and white gear and pack a bag with thongs and active wear.

Go to sleep acknowledging the fact that I would have to display my far from perfect body in only a leotard and fishnet stockings in front of a packed school hall the next day.

And there is more..

physie hair

My hair had to be teased beyond recognition as I have such fine hair but it needed to look as though I did.

Physie hair poof and bun

At least I look as though I actually have a decent amount of hair.

Miss WW applied enough makeup to last through the day and beyond.

Waiting though more than half the day until it was my turn to be marshalled with all the other beginner ladies and trying to keep the nerves in check.

But miracles do happen, I actually managed to get through all the work without making a mistake and was rewarded with –

winning

2nd Place……..hell yeah!!!!!

The tears pouring down my daughters face with joy as I left the floor was worth more than anything!

The next competition is next week, guess I will be doing it all over again.

If there is something you would love to do, but you keep stopping yourself because you think you are to old, just do it!

What would you love to do?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

School Holiday Activities In Sydney The Whole Family Will Love!

What to do in Sydney during the school holidays

 

 

Sydney is such an amazing city to spend time in with your family. There are so many exciting things to do; the hardest part will be deciding how much you can actually fit in. Together with Accor Hotels we have compiled a fabulous list of school holiday activities in Sydney that will help you create wonderful memories that your family will talk about for years to come.

ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS ON A SUNNY DAY IN SYDNEY

If the weather forecast is for blue sky then make the most of it and get out and about and enjoy it. Don’t forget to wear really comfortable walking shoes, a hat and slap on plenty of sunscreen.

One of the easiest ways to get around Sydney is to use the fabulous ferry service. Traffic in Sydney can be really bad and you don’t want to spend too much of your day just getting to your destination. You will be treated to the most magnificent views of Sydney Harbour on the way and it is a really affordable way to get from the CBD to outer suburb attractions.

Taronga Zoo is home to over 4000 animals and is located in Mosman just 12 minutes by ferry.   Fill your day wandering around the beautiful enclosures or participate in a variety of interactive opportunities to get up close to awesome wildlife. There will be plenty of beautiful photo opportunities with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as a back drop. Kids of all ages who love going on rides will have the best day at Luna Park which is just across the harbor at Milsons Point. Roller coasters, the Ferris wheel and even a haunted house will keep them busy for the day.

No visit to Sydney would be complete without spending some time at one of the most famous beaches in the world, Bondi! Just 8 km from the CBD, there are bus services that run every 15 minutes from the city.  There is a huge variety of restaurants and café’s to choose from when the kids get hungry. How could you beat eating fish and chips sitting on the sand at one of the most photographed beaches in Australia?

RAINY DAY SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN IN SYDNEY

Don’t let grey clouds and rain stop your family from having a wonderful day. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is centrally located at Darling Harbour. Learn all about aquatic animals and even enjoy a glass bottom boat ride.  If the kids really want to swim, the Aquatic Centre at Sydney Olympic Park has a fun water playground and pool that is heated all year-round.

Inquisitive young minds will enjoy the Experimentation exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo. This hands-on display is a great way to learn about science and how things work. There are other fun exhibits that change a regularly. At the moment enjoy a life size Lego display of super heroes and little ones will be captivated by the Wiggles display plus so much more.

For a unique shopping experience, a visit to Paddy’s Market in Haymarket is just a short walk from Central Station. It is the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs, clothing, handbags, makeup, jewellery and toys in a large market atmosphere. Open on Wednesdays through to Sundays the upper levels have become home to many brand name outlet stores, so there really is something for everyone.

Have a look at this great list that has some more suggestions including some free activities so the budget can have a break for the day.

 School holiday activities Sydney by Accorhotels.com

Get all the details about these Great School Holiday Activities in Sydney here.

When you are planning which school holiday activities you will enjoy in Sydney, make sure you leave one day free to enjoy a big long walk on along the harbour’s edge to soak in the stunning views and maybe even watch a cruise ship or two sail on in.

What is your favourite way to keep the kids happy during the holidays?

When The Dance Mum Decides To Dance!

Physie dance

Like most mums, I have spent years and years chauffeuring my girls from after school activity to another.

They tried gymnastics, karate, jazz, cheer leading, yoga and goodness knows what else.

Nine years ago, a friend of Miss WW said she was going to do ‘Physie’ and she thought she might enjoy it too.

So off we went to another Tuesday and Wednesday night activity.

The only difference is that this one stuck.

Physie is an Australian only dance club that has been going for over 125 years.

We had never heard of this before and little did we know it would take over a big portion of our life.

Classes two nights a week, club competitions, inter club competitions, state finals, national qualifying in Sydney and nationals…at the Opera House, not for me but Miss WW’s finals are in the big white house.

Yep, the life of a physie mum is hard work.

There is tanning, hair pieces, make up, leotards and fishnets.

BUT there is one thing that sets Physie apart from other dance sports.

Ladies of all ages can participate.

Yes, there is a beginner ladies section that dance mums of any age can join.

This 51 year old dance mum is going to actually take to the floor too!

OMG, I must be nuts.

For the last few years I have said I would join, but came up with every excuse under the sun to not start.

Sign-on is on Tuesday night and I am going to sign on the dotted line and start.

Exercising on my own is usually a short lived affair, a group arrangement will make me get up off my butt and go to class.

I will have to wear a leotard.

I will have to tan.

I will have to get a hair piece.

I will have to stretch.

I will have to wear horribly uncomfortable fishnets.

At least you only need all this ‘fun’ stuff for competition time.

Then there is which leotard style to pick and what colour, oh boy!

Right now though, I am off to research super spectacular cellulite treatments, as the dimples need toning down stat!

Have you ever taken up a sport your child participates in?

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess.com

One Small Word – 2016

As the New Year approaches, spend any time on the internet and you will probably see a barrage of posts about ‘One Word’.

In case you don’t know what this is all about, quite simply you pick a single word as a point of focus for the year ahead.

I have played along with this for the last couple of years, but like many things you start off all hyped about a New Year and then you fall back into the same old habits by about the 15th of January…..if you even make it that far.

I am tired of playing the same old game, year in, year out.

As the saying goes “Nothing changes unless you do”.

I am long overdue for change, I don’t want another year like I just had.

I don’t want another year of not feeling good, of being my own worst enemy, of allowing the negative committee to have control in my brain, of feeling stuck, of procrastinating over everything for so long because I am such a perfectionist.

I want change.

I want things to be different.

I do not want to get to New Years Eve at the end of this year and feel as though I have achieved practically nothing.

So I thought long and hard about one word that I could focus on, that I could use when I had to make choices and that could help steer me in a better feeling direction.

I got one!

Nourish vision board

I have made myself a mini vision board that now stares at me every time I sit at my desk.

NOURISH

Reminds me to make better food choices and eat less sugar.

Reminds to drink more water.

Reminds me to take my vitamins everyday.

Reminds me to make time for what I love doing without feeling guilty.

Reminds me to focus on what will be best for me.

Reminds me to take some big deep breaths, often.

Reminds me to drink champagne regularly. 🙂

Reminds me to make time to actually sit and enjoy my coffee, instead of practically inhaling it whilst planning what to do next.

Reminds me to make time to catch up on the pile of books I want to read.

Reminds me to make time for fun.

Reminds me to spend more time at the beach (my happy place).

Just one word, encompasses everything I need to do to feel good in mind, body & spirit.

Have you got ‘One Word’ to guide you through 2016?

Successful Mirizzi Syndrome Gallbladder Surgery!

Living with an angry gallbladder is no fun.

It can be incredibly painful and surgery to remove it is the best solution.

It looks as though I have been living with a dud gallbladder for a very long time.

Thankfully the universe gave me the mega nudge I needed to discover this and take action to having it fixed when I turned a lovely shade of yellow due to my bile duct being blocked by my gallbladder.

After 5 days of continual tests in hospital, I discovered that I probably had Mirizzi Syndrome and it meant that my gallbladder had attached itself to my liver. Even an MRI was unable to 100% confirm this. It did mean that a normal, straightforward gallbladder removal was probably not on the cards.

A date was booked to have my removal surgery, but I was warned it was almost inevitable that I would not be able to have this procedure via keyhole surgery and would require a full cut to have it done.

But miracles do happen.

Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane

Thanks to three surgeons they not only managed to remove almost all my gallbladder, find a solution to a completely collapsed gallbladder duct, clean away years of built up gunk and remove a massive stone, they did it all via keyhole.

That was 8 days ago.

I am totally amazed at how good I feel only a week post surgery.

I am virtually pain free, I can move around freely and only have a couple of bandaids left as evidence.

I was expecting a much tougher recovery as I remembered only too well how uncomfortable I was after my hysterectomy that could not be done via keyhole surgery.

Totally blown away at the difference.

It looks as though I will be able to go back to work a lot sooner than I anticipated and will not burn such a big hole in my built up leave entitlements.

After my post op check-up next week, I will be able to plan my return.

I am deeply grateful to all the surgeons and staff at the Prince Charles hospital who did such a great job looking after me. I am also soooo grateful I don’t have to eat another one of their low fat dinners again. The rest of the food was great, but those dinners……no!

All those years of ‘back pain’ that I put down to my job are now a distant memory. My symptoms did not match the traditional gallbladder ones, but in hindsight I now know why I was often so uncomfortable.

Just before I left hospital they asked me to sign a permission form to allow the film of my successful surgery be made available as a teaching tool, so now my ducky gallbladder even gets to be famous!

Moving on upward and forward from here on in!

Do you still have your gallbladder?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

Two Easy Ways To Protect Your WordPress Blog!

For over four years I have been blogging away merrily, adding posts not quite as frequently as I would like sometimes and just really enjoying having my own little home on the internet.

A little while ago some prominent Australian bloggers endured our worst nightmare, they were hacked.

One of them, possibly more lost EVERYTHING and had to start again.

Protect your blog from hackers

I honestly don’t think I would have it in me to create all my content over again.

I would probably walk away and hang up my bloggy hat for good!

BUT I did not take action to secure my blog as I really didn’t know where to start.

Thanks universe for sending me reminders in my Facebook newsfeed quite regularly.

It was time to take the blinkers off and find some solutions for my peace of mind.

STEP 1 – INSTALL WORDFENCE PLUG IN

This was really easy to do and I am still using the free version rather than the payable upgrade option.

I now get sent an email when anyone tries to login to my site. I cringe and smile at the same time, as they were unsuccessful.

The default setting for login attempts is 20 and after that you are blocked from trying again.

I changed this setting to blocking after 3 attempts. I am mean like that 🙂

If I forget my login details well I kind of screwed, but thankfully I have never forgotten them yet.

STEP 2 – BACK UP

Hands up if you have never actually created a back up copy of your blog?

For a very long time I had not either.

There are plenty of ways you can back up a blog and I spent quite a bit of time researching an option that would work from me.

I am a set and forget kind of gal, I did not want to have to remember to regularly perform a back up myself. Nor did I want the data stored on my computer.

My solution that works perfectly for me is VAULTPRESS.

Every single day, Vaultpress backs up a copy of my blog and stores it externally for me.

It costs $5.00 per month and is worth every cent for ease and peace of mind.

If some wicked hacker can login after only 3 attempts and turn my blog to mush, I will have a complete copy to start again with.

Apparently it is very easy to do if necessary.

I am hoping I never have to find out.

Just this week I read about another blogger who had her site hacked, and this time it didn’t make me feel uneasy, just damn angry that people can do this to another person.

What steps have you taken to protect your precious piece of internet real estate?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

Extras Cover and Alternative Therapies

Using extras cover for alternative therapies

Medicare offers very little in terms of alternative therapies, other than acupuncture as part of a GP consultation. This means that you’ll need to have health insurance Extras cover to avoid out-of-pocket costs if alternative/natural therapies are important to you. Here’s what you need to know about using Extras cover for accessing alternative therapies services. This post is brought to you by Health Insurance Comparison.

What Kind of Alternative Therapies Are Available on Extras Cover?

A lot will depend on your health fund. Some policies are more generous than others in terms of what they will cover and depending on the health fund, you may be able to claim on things like acupuncture, aromatherapy, remedial massage, reflexology, shiatsu and Chinese herbalism. If you want to access a range of treatments, it’s definitely worth shopping around to see what different health funds are prepared to cover.

Who Can I See For Treatments?

Most health funds will require you to see practitioners that are approved by them to be eligible to make a claim. In some cases, this may just mean that they need to be licensed with the relevant professional body but it can be more complicated than this.

Seeing a practitioner that is not recognised by your health fund can mean that your claim is not valid so it’s important to know whether you can see a particular provider through your Extras cover. If you have already chosen a particular practitioner, it’s definitely worth checking to see if they will be recognised by your preferred health fund(s) before you commit yourself to a particular policy.

What Level of Cover Should You Have?

Alternative/Natural/Complementary Therapies will sometimes be available on basic Extras policies but this will not always be the case. Where it is available on basic Extras cover, you can expect to be limited in terms of the annual limits (and therefore, the amount that you can claim for Alternative Therapies per calendar year before you’ll start to incur out-of-pocket costs for future appointments). This is something to think about if you want to have treatments on a fairly regular basis but don’t want to pay out of your own pocket beyond a certain point.

Be aware that some health funds combine alternative therapies with other Extras such as physio, chiro and osteo when it comes to annual limits. This is something to stay away from if you know that you’ll get a lot of use from alternative therapies and may also want to access other services within the same annual limits bracket.

Mid to top level Extras cover is usually more generous in terms of annual limits but this can still be limited to hundreds (rather than thousands) of dollars per year.

Waiting Periods for Extras Services

For the most part, Extras services have waiting periods that you’ll need to serve before you are able to make a claim. This refers to the length of time that you’ll need to have had a particular Extras treatment on your policy before you are eligible to claim. Technically, health funds are able to set their own waiting periods for this but many of them have around a 2 month wait time for alternative therapies.

If you know that you’ll access this type of treatment fairly regularly, it’s therefore best to buy Extras cover or adapt an existing Extras policy to include alternative therapies at least a couple of months before you expect to make a claim to be sure that you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

If you’re switching to a different health fund and have already served a waiting period with them for alternative therapies, you shouldn’t have to do this again with your new insurer.

Getting Value for Money

Some health funds offer money back on Extras claims, which is a great way to get the most out of your health insurance if you are confident that the policy on offer will work well for you in terms of the therapies available and the annual limits. At HealthInsuranceComparison.com.au, we compare quotes from some of Australia’s major health funds to help consumers to find the right health insurance policy for their needs and budget.

What is your favourite alternative therapy you would like to claim for?

 

 

Diet Of Plenty – Book Review

The first day of Spring seems like the perfect day to dive into a book with the word DIET in it!

As we shed the layers of clothes and lament over all those warming hot chocolates and hearty winter fare we enjoyed, our thoughts turn to shedding some excess poundage and getting into shape.

How many diets have you tried?

How many products have you bought that promised amazing results?

If you are anything like me, you could make quite a list!

I love food and especially sweet things.

A little while ago I decided that my goal for Spring was not to find some amazing diet plan that would turn me into a super model, but would make a concerted effort to reduce my sugar intake, as my first step to a leaner and happier me.

When I saw a callout to review a new book that included the word ‘diet’ and ‘plenty’ together, I knew I had to put my hand up.

Diet of plenty book review

 This book is NOT about measuring, weighing, rules, must-do’s, guilt trips, denying or starving.

This book IS all about changing focus.

This book will gently guide you away from feeling guilty and deprived.

If you are like me, you start out on a new diet or program determined to succeed this time, and by the afternoon it’s all fallen in a heap because the pack of biscuits in the cupboard were just way tooooooo tempting and then you feel guilty.

Instead of that same old roundabout you will discover so many ways you can nourish your body and mind and reap the rewards.

Each chapter has a goal to be reached, but you get there at your pace, adjusting your habits as slowly or as quickly as you are comfortable with.

The first chapter is titled FEAST. There is no mention of weighing, measuring, portion control or restrictions.

Each chapter is full of hints, tips and good food suggestions.

There is also plenty of explanation as to why some foods and habits have such a negative effect on our health.

Bad eating habits develop over time and new good habits also take time.

This book is not just about food – exercise, shopping habits, cooking, discovering new ways to view your life and self love are all vital parts to becoming a healthier you.

Take Amy’s advice and throw away your scales and start to nourish your body and mind instead.

Before you join another club or buy another magic pill (that probably wont work), why not give this a try.

This could be the best $5.95 you ever spend on your health, download your copy NOW!

(This is not an affiliate link, I am simply sharing an awesome find)

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess.com

Why are Pure Essential Oils so expensive?

Why are these tiny bottles of pure essential oils so incredibly expensive?

I have been addicted to Aromatherapy for such a long time. I love these little gifts from nature that can make healing smell so delicious, but some sure do come with a hefty price tag.

If you have never experimented with essential oils, it can be so tempting to run into the discount store and score a little brown bottle for $2.00 and you are good to go.

Please do me and your family a HUGE favour and leave them exactly where you found them. They are created synthetically, so they are simply chemical cocktails that pretend to smell good, and they don’t even do that well.

Pure Essential oils on the other hand are produced from plants. Flowers, fruit, stems and even some barks are used to create these delicious aromatics that can be incredibly effective for helping the body heal, uplift your emotions or are a viable alternative from chemical based cleaning products.

Why are essential oils so expensive

Just to put a little perspective on what is required to create the real thing, have a look at some of these figures…

* It takes approximately 100 kg of lavender plants to yield 1.5 litres of pure essential oil.

* It takes 8 million flowers, all hand picked before the sun rises to extract jus  1kg of jasmine oil.

* You need 100 kg of rose petals to yield only 20ml of oil.

* Essential oils are usually sold in 12ml bottles and these contain 240 drops – for direct massage you use 3 drops, in a burner you use 6 drops and in a bath you use 9 drops. So each bottle has a lot of applications in it.

As you can see, it takes a lot of natural resources to create these precious oils.

It is imperative that you use quality essential oils if you wish to enjoy better health. Many people are put off from trying aromatherapy because of the cost.

Young Living and Doterra are a major reason that the costs appear to be so high. I have used both, and their quality is superb, but their prices are heavily loaded to ensure that their consultants earn good income. Not just the person that introduced them to you, but well up the line also receive monetary reward. I have no issue with MLM companies that offer a good product, but I am a bargain queen and I always want the best for less.

Thankfully I have found some great alternatives that supply awesome product without all the commissions loaded in.

Perfect Potion stores are one of my fav places to wander around. Beautiful scents and beautifully designed stores make shopping a pleasure. The quality is excellent and they also have lot’s of other products such skin care and detox teas.

When it’s time to do a restock, I can’t go past New Directions for quality and value. They have a huge range of essential oils that you can buy in a variety of bottle sizes which is handy. Essential oils that I use a lot I buy in bigger bottles and just get tiny ones for the oils that I only use occasionally. They also have fabulous fragrance oils  that I do occasionally use and even goodies you can use to make your own skin care etc.

If you have never experienced aromatherapy, keep your eye out as I am going to be doing some introductory posts on how to set up a basic kit for home and the myriad of ways they can be used.

Do you use pure essential oils at home?

What are your favourites?

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess

Happy Planning My Way To Increased Productivity!

Using a diary or planner to make lists and remember important things is nothing new.

Whilst many people have embraced modern technology to keep track of everything and have gone paperless, a few months ago I discovered a whole new world of planning like nothing I had seen before.

There are groups on Facebook (that I have joined) for people totally addicted to creating gorgeous planner pages that are inspiring yet practical at the same time.

I have been quietly watching from the sidelines as the planner world went into frenzy mode following the anticipation of Erin Condren’s release of her new planners and the subsequent waiting and then delivery of these highly sought after items.

I love pretty things, I love crafting and I love organisation and really wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Unfortunately these planner come at a price and if you live ‘down under’ a really big price.

rose gold life planner from erin condren 2015

Erin Condren.com has this and many more planners available.

With the Australian dollar tracking in the low 70’s plus delivery costs to Australia, you need to invest about $130.00 to get the rose gold edition.

That is a lot of money for some printed paper and a rose gold tone covered coil.

In the mean time I also found another alternative that you can buy in Australia for a much more respectable figure of just under $50.00.

Every year I buy a traditional diary and religiously enter in everything I need to do for about 1 week and then I slack off. It’s boring!

I decided I wanted a planner to decorate and use as an incentive to make better use of my time.

It is not hard for me to relax for a few minutes a few hours by scrolling through social media every day.

My goals and dreams are not going to become a reality if all I do is think about them.

I need to take action and use my hours at home after work to be more productive and procrastinate a lot less.

AND then something awesome happened…..

On all these group pages that I follow there are lots of RAK (Random Acts of Kindness).

I saw a post from a lady in the USA who offered a Create 365 Happy Planner as a ROK and to be eligible to win in you had to live outside the USA or Canada as she understood our despair at the prohibitive costs for us.

Well….I was the lucky winner!

Create 365 Happy Planner Australia

🙂

It took a couple of weeks to get here, but this baby is now mine!

To say I am excited is an understatement.

This planner runs from July but she even sent me some blank date inserts so that I could start using it straight away.

Decorating my Happy Planner

This is my first attempt at decorating a week layout and adding in the things I have to do.

Stickers, washi tape and goodness knows what else will fill my week with prettiness.

My new plan of attack starting from today is that I MUST complete my To-Do’s before I spend time on social media or relaxing in any shape or form, so that when I do I don’t have to feel guilty about it.

Being a single mum l do have very full days with work and running the household. As I experiment with this style of planning I will break up my week into practical chunks and get shizz done!

Wish me luck!!!

Do plan or just go with the flow?

Sharing for #IBOT with EssentiallyJess.com

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