If You Only Read One Post...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Over the last few months I've been featuring one post you should read every week. It was an attempt to create community, share the amazing content produced by other bloggers and an attempt to create a collection of beautiful posts that you could read through when you needed a little inspiration. This is the last 'one post' for the year and I decided to ask myself the question I've been asking other bloggers. 

I knew my one post would be one of the posts I wrote on infertility and within that category I knew it was this post. So, if you only read one post on my blog, let it be this one, on the meaning of life, without children.

Why this post? I return to this post often. Trying to understand the meaning of life without being a mother is something I'm still understanding and navigating. We've had Miss 10 for a year, she's currently on holiday with her parents and it's given a lot of room for reflection. It's not a post that I think you'll learn from but it's an honest, authentic account and one that in many ways is still very much my reality. 

I hope you've enjoyed these posts. Should I continue with them next week?

Dealing With Transition

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do you deal with transition periods well? I'm not too bad but I need to give myself time and space to transition. And this can't always happen and when it doesn't things kind of fall apart. I didn't envision being busy at this time of the year. As someone who picks and plans their work and projects I have the ability to determine periods of busy and not busy. There was a project I simply couldn't pass on and as I wrapped that up, another began, the next day. It was a period of five or so days but without a transition I struggled. I usually leave a week to transition between small projects and more for larger projects. 

As a result the home went unattended, there were no quick trips to the florist to pick up our weekly blooms (there wasn't even time to throw out the previous weeks blooms!). My usual work transition ritual of clearing my desk, filing away the notes from the project and starting my writing process again for the next project didn't happen. I was rushed, tired and a lot of the mundane things that I enjoy (like picking out flowers) were put on the back burner. I find that a lot suffers (including relationships) when these periods of transition aren't adequately dealt with. 

People who have known me for a while know that this whole year really was a transitory period for me and my little family. My method of simply factoring transitory periods worked until just now, until a point when there could be no time found for it. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Other than putting aside time and space to transition between projects or events or life changes, how do you deal with transition? 

What I Learnt Being Off Instagram

Monday, December 15, 2014

These past few days have been rather quiet for me on social media but a whirlwind in real life. I've been distracted with a project ending and another beginning straight after. I've still popped onto Instagram to have a look at what my friends have been up to or to look up something inspiring in spots of not-so-free time. One of the main criticisms that Patrick has had of social media, Instagram in particular, is that it constantly needs to be fed. In order to grow your following, your engagement and numbers you constantly need to create and cater for it. And he's right. You can't expect to get engagement unless you engage and create room for it. I don't worry too much about numbers but I do notice if they go up or down significantly. 

As of this post going live, I haven't posted on Instagram in 5 days. That's not typical for me, unless I'm travelling without great service (a situation which is typical of many places I visit but 5 days is still a stretch). But over these 5 days I've noticed my numbers have actually gone up - meaningfully (people are commenting, liking and engaging). Everyday I've had new-to-me people stop by and have a poke around my gallery and engage. This really struck me because I hadn't been posting content, nor had I been engaging that much. 

It made me realise that sometimes you just need to take a break, to sit back. I needed a break from the posting and my friends probably needed (without realising perhaps) a break for yet another person taking yet another photo. I felt that being off Instagram gave me time and space to see what content in my gallery people engaged with the most. It also made me realise that it is okay to take an extended break (even if it was unintentional) and that my friends wouldn't all run away because - shock horror - I hadn't posted in 5 days! I'm not encouraging myself to do this often but I am giving myself the freedom to step away when I need to. And if you've developed your social media presence organically, authentically and thoughtfully I feel like you'll be able to grow your engagement without constantly have to feed it. A few days here and there won't hurt you and might actually be just what you need to better understand yourself and your social media presence and engagement. 

I've written about Instagram before, this post on how I went on holiday and didn't Instagram!
After my 5 day Instagram leave, I'm back and you can find me on Instagram here

Do you post on social media regularly? 
What have you learnt from breaks away from regular posting? 

Espadrilles: An Unexpected Basic

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I rarely wear flip flops and I'm quite picky about the flat shoes that I wear. I'm quite partial to the Ferragamo Varina patent flats, monk shoes, oxfords and loafers (I only have one-ish of each ;)). A real game changer for me though have been espadrilles. I bought a black pair which tie at the ankle from Sportsgirl a few years ago and I still wear them all the time. I find that they are a stylish and more chic alternative to flip flops (or other less flattering flat shoe varieties). I wouldn't just wear them in the summer either, the ankle tie versions look quite nice when you're layered up a little in the autumn and early winter months. I've been looking to add a few more to my wardrobe and I thought I'd share my favourite ones with you. If you were looking for a way to quickly (and cheaply) update your casual, everyday style I think a pair of espadrilles would go a long way to helping you achieve this. I definitely think they can be dressed up as well which helps you get more wear out of them.

Soludos have a great collection with a lot of variety in styles, colours and prints. You can find them at Soludos Shopbop or Soludos at the Iconic (my preference - better priced, plus there are always discount codes and usually free shipping). 

Do you wear espadrilles? 
What is your favourite way to style them? 

If You Only Read One Post...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

If you only read one post on Sarah's blog Creating Contentment, let it be this one on 10 lessons learnt from doing fashion dares.

image credit Vanisha A Life Un-Styled

Sarah describes the influence of style dares and this post: I like fashion, yet I never felt that it liked me. With each baby birthed, with all my body changes and financial shifts, feeling fashionable or even like I looked good, got harder and harder. I got lazy and often wore my husbands track pants. Because I rarely left the house due to my autistic children, I figured what is the point of getting dressed. Why bother? This attitude seeped into everything. I felt horrible and low. Then I discovered Instagram, and fashion bloggers and the many style dares they run. I wanted to look better so to feel better. I wanted my husband to be proud of me. I wanted my wardrobe to reflect the fact that I am interested in and like fashion. So, with the help of these dares, I began to play. I started to have fun getting dressed. Because I was dressed, I started leaving the house anyway, even though my children are still autistic. I was suddenly better able to deal with these problems in my life. I wrote this post to document all of the lessons I learnt because of my attitude of fun that I have brought to my wardrobe. I am indebted to the wonderful fashion bloggers that inspire me daily on Instagram. Strangely, fashion has given me my confidence back. This post hopefully encourages others to let go of the fashion rules and get dressed to feel better as a step to having a healthy well-being

Vanisha's notes: After reading Sarah's post I changed the way I look at these style dares. I haven't participated in any myself. Reading about what Sarah has learnt from them has open my mind to the variety of reasons women would take part in these challenges. I think it's best if I leave this to Sarah, I'd love to know what you think of style dares and if any of what Sarah says resonates with you?

Country Stereotypes: Travelling to Papua New Guinea

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

early morning starts help avoid the traffic, the dust and heat | leaving Lae

Papua New Guinea isn't usually a country that makes it onto many bucket lists and I'll have to admit my trip there wasn't a holiday. It was work coupled with an intensive introduction to the country. I was there for a week and spent time in Port Moresby (the capital) and Lae (the industrial hub of the country). I'm probably not alone when I say that a lot of what I knew of PNG was from the media, and these revolved around issues of crime and violence. Two days before leaving from PNG I was told of the rape of three female journalists in Port Moresby. All I could think was "really, did you really need to tell me this right before I head out there?"

being the industrial hub and with development taking place Lae tends to look like this 

The truth though is that I went to Papua New Guinea willingly, excitedly, with an open mind and without too much apprehension about the security issues. Coming from Fiji has somewhat hardened me to the media portrayal of many countries. Fiji after all seems to be all about Frank Bainimarama and there's more to my country then Frank, and I was sure there was more to Papua New Guinea then rape! And there was, so much more. Papua New Guineans are friendly, their vegetables are amazing (agriculture started in PNG after all), there is a great sense of hope and optimism and the landscape is breathtaking. 

local market | Ramu Valley 

We did have armed security presence during our trip, especially in Lae but this was a precaution. It was a work trip that gave us access to many dignitaries and the security presence was necessary. I felt like my movements were quite limited. I didn't have the freedom just to walk across the road to go to the store or stop and chat with locals. Again, I think it was more reflective of the nature of the trip then the actual place. One of my absolute favourite memories was leaving the safety of our group and walking through the local market with one of our security guards. Sure he had a gun, but it was concealed in one of those bum bag type things and one of my men in our group said he looked over and it look like friends, talking and walking through the market. It was such a seemingly insignificant moment, in comparison to the fancy hotels, lavish dinners and influential people I had the honour of meeting, but a moment that was the highlight of this trip.

visit to Yalu village where the villagers talked to us about the challenges they face | Lae 

I still found enough time and space to take what I saw in and developed an understanding of the complexities the country and its people face. I'm so excited about taking my family back to PNG next year, and yes - I think I would still get security if we took Miss 10 but it's a small price to pay to be able to experience a  country that many people tend not to go to. I have a few more posts but the truth is I'm struggling to get the words down. Is there anything in particular you'd like to know about the trip or PNG in general? 

Do you know much about Papua New Guinea? 
Have you travelled to a country regardless of perhaps negative stereotypes? 

I'd like to thank my dear friend Clare from The Life of Clare who talked through and provided comments on an earlier draft of this post.  

Gifts For The Wanderer

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gifts For The Wanderer In Your Life
With all the travel miles I've accumulated this year and having the opportunity to hone and refine my wardrobe and my travel style I thought I'd share some of my favourite travel items with you. Also, after talking to many of you, I've tried to keep the cost of the items I share in mind. I know not everyone can, or wants to, shell out $400 on a sustainably made bag. Many people are trying to curate wardrobes that work for their budgets, look aesthetically pleasing and are durable. I get that now. I hope I'm able to strike a balance between what I would buy, which might be a little pricey, and what is equally as pleasing but not as pricey. 

Here are my picks for some practical and pretty gifts for the traveller in your life (or for yourself): 

pen | obvious but it never ceases to amaze me how many people ask me for a pen while travelling. This one is by Kate Spade 

phone case | i usually don't have a case for my phone but I like that additional bit of protection when I travel. This leather is one by Fossil

tote | more precisely a tote that allows me to easily fit and access my laptop and zip lock bag with cosmetics. I hate waiting while people zip and unzip and rezip their bags looking for the things they need to put on the tray while trying to get through security

water bottle | this clear one really caught me eye. Remember you can't always take liquids through security but you can take an empty bottle and fill it up on the other side

backpacks | i know these have come back into vogue but purely from a practical point of view I think backpacks are perfect for travel. Both of these, the metallic and stripe, are $50 each. I don't have a backpack but I wish I had bought one for my last trip, it would have made such a big difference. I'm definitely on the market for one.

luggage tag | i think little items like this are perfect for those people who have everything. This one is by Kate Spade

socks | i personally only wear socks if I'm wearing boots or sneakers on a plane (and I rarely wear either of those) but I like quirky socks at home sometimes, and I just thought these were cute!

small pouches | i'm the sort of person who just throws things into my bag, as a result everything gets lost in there. Having little pouches of a colour different to that of the inside of my bag helps me keep me things together and makes them easily identifiable in the chaos that is usually my hand bag!

What are your travel must haves? 
What I haven't been able to find is a decent travel/passport case, have you got any suggestions?

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