Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being positive. Because I choose to be.

Getting shitty at life is so easy.

I have found that thinking negative thoughts, becoming upset over spilt milk and always thinking the worst is a place where we, on occasion, find ourselves.

At times being a grumpy bum feels like the best option when you couldn’t be bothered trying to be upbeat – hey, if you’ve been by waves of disappointment, it’s hard to remain optimistic when you’re stuck in a rut.

Personally, I dwell on things. I try my hardest not to go back to these thoughts and think about something else, but certain things get a hold of me and I’ll find myself back in my little room of negativity, dwelling over what could have been, mistakes I’ve made and regrets I, regrettably, have.

Obviously I’m not divulging what these things are, but I can tell you that I’ve had enough of my own stupidity.

I am not sure why I choose to be this way, but from today onwards I am getting over it and moving on with my life in a positive way.

My dad gave me a beautiful book a few years ago by Dr Wayne Dyer called Being in Balance. It’s basically about the way you think and how you can take positive steps to change your thoughts, which in turn, change your life. It’s an amazing book.

This morning I read the most inspiring quote by Dr Dyer:

You can sit there forever, lamenting about how bad you've been, feeling guilty until you die, and not one tiny slice of that guilt will do anything to change a single thing in the past. Forgive yourself, then move on.

This is really what I needed to read – it sounds lame, but I think that I was meant to read this. The most important part of this quote is where it says “Forgive yourself, then move on.” I forgive others easily, but not myself, so that’s something I know I have to work on.

I want to be in a place of positivity – Lord knows that this year is going to be one of the biggest in mine and my husband’s life so I want to mentally prepare myself to be the best person I can be. I owe it to Ben and my family and friends and especially myself – if I allow them to, good things will happen.

With a lot of faith and most of all forgiveness, I feel like I’m heading in the right direction. I think it’s hard to admit you stuffed up, but it’s even harder to hang on to those thoughts and not let go of them.

Thanks for letting me indulge this little post – I hope that I’ve inspired others to let go of some negativity in their lives too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bad-weather baking

Recent wet weather has meant a lot of time indoors. After suggesting to my husband that we attempt to bake some scones he tells me: "I don't know if you know this about me, but I really love scones."

Well, thanks to this bit of information, we spent Friday afternoon baking scones! I've attached the recipe, which was really easy to follow, from Taste.com.au

A pic of our delicious scones

Lemonade Scones


300g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) thick cream     
125ml (1/2 cup) lemonade
40ml (2 tbs) milk


1.      Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly grease a baking tray.

2.      Place the flour, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the cream and lemonade and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead lightly until combined. Press the dough with your hands to a thickness of about 2cm. Use a 6cm round cutter to cut out 8 scones, place on baking tray and brush the tops with some milk. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm with your favourite jam.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Free therapy through letter writing

I’ve turned into a letter writer. You know, one of those people that have an issue, so they write letter upon letter until something or some kind of reimbursement is offered to make everything all warm and fuzzy again?

One thing I’ve found, that apart from the emotional kick I get out of giving people or businesses that have wronged me a blast, is that it is an incredibly therapeutic process.

Today I’ve written a scathing follow-up letter to our builder notifying them that I am appalled at the lack of response I received first round of communication. Sure our house probably isn’t even safe to live in, but I guess you’ll just return my email when you’re good and ready.

Well today I have been in a state about these ongoing issues, so I decided to draft up a few lines telling them how I felt:

“Dear Mr Builder – I hate your stinking guts. Signed, client who has paid you hundreds of thousands of dollars.” 

“Dear greedy-bloodsucking-losers with no duty-of-care – is my house going to explode? Regards, your unhappy customer.” 

“Yo – I’m going to sue your f*****g poor excuse for a company and then drag your name through the mud in the media until you fix my damn house issues. Love always, Ash (your very sarcastic and biggest non-fan).”

No I didn’t write any of this, but just I did write a very firm yet polite prose about exactly what I wanted and expected to be done. I think I get the sense of release after writing a few drafts of what I’d really like to say to them… you should try it.

I could resort to other, much more extreme means to try and get my point across (let your mind wander, and yes, I’ve thought of doing it!) but I concluded that writing a letter is much more socially acceptable than leaving a gaping, smouldering hole in the side of my target’s place of business.

So if you have an issue, write a letter, you’ll be surprised how good it feels to really bang on the keyboard and watch as page upon page is filled with your angry, bitter and (hopefully not regrettable) language.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heed to the call to the post

Frocking up for the races is something I’ve always loved. The girls and I used to get together as a big group, all dolled up and spend the day down at the Turf Club, placing bets on horses with the coolest names or because their jockey was wearing our favourite colours.

I’m lucky enough now to be working for the same Turf Club and from a corporate perspective, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes than meets the eye. 

I guess when you’re a casual race-goer you don’t have much to think about when attending a race day – your hot tip, what to wear, and the position of the closest TOTE or bar.

From what I have seen in my dealings gives me a whole different view to the runnings of a Turf Club – these clubs are the livelihood for so many people from the CEO, board of directors, owners, breeders and trainers down to the youngest of stable hands.

Not to mention the flow-on benefits a place like a local Turf Club can offer to the local community and its residents.

My parents-in-law have shared ownership in race horses for several years now and it was through them that I my intrigue about the industry grew.

Initially my love of horses and socialising were the two main factors that drew me to a race day event – swapping tips with girlfriends over a glass of bubbly and chatting about fascinators.

Now, I am inspired by the history and tales that I’ve heard and a new respect and understanding of the thoroughbred industry has more than cemented my passion for this fast-paced fusion of politics, sales, events, fashion and tourism that is all encapsulated into the one organisation.

With a major race day approaching in two days time and more than 15,000 people expected to make the trip to the local Turf Club, I will keep in mind that it’s not just about the frills, spills and Gee-Gees – but that race day events are an essential part of the welfare of the thoroughbred industry, from grassroots weekend meetings through to the prestigious Melbourne Cup.

If it not for the good men and women who devote their lives to the horses and the clubs and their members who patronise them, there would be no understanding of this incredible corporation.

Cheers to all things racing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Discovering my homeland

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."Saint Augustine

The New Year has got me thinking about things I’d like to experience this year and local travel rates highly.

I’ve decided that, instead of planning some grand escapade overseas, I’d like to see more of my own country where time (and some spare cash) will allow.

At a recent family dinner we were discussing weekend getaways and how good it is to go away, even if it’s for a handful of days. There are so many gems that we can visit that are only a few hours from home via plane.

There are so many places in Australia that I would like to visit – here I’ve noted a few that are on my must-see list:

Bay of Fires, Tasmania

The Bay of Fires Lodge

When I was working as a feature writer, I did a piece on the Bay of Fires and ever since, I’ve wanted to visit.

Showcasing the east coast of Tasmania’s truly picturesque landscape and bountiful flora and fauna, you can stay at the award-winning Bay of Fires Lodge and complete a trek along the coastline.
Go to http://www.bayoffires.com.au/ for more info.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland

The tranquil Whitehaven Beach

An aerial view

With its pure white sand and crystal clear blue water, the world famous Whitehaven Beach is Australia’s most photographed beach. 

Located in Queensland’s idyllic Whitsundays, a group of 74 pristine islands, you can get the best view of this stunning beach from Tongue Point.

You have the option of doing a day trip to Whitehaven via boat, or most overnight sailing trips stop her overnight as well.

There is a range of accommodation on the mainland, with Airlie Beach being the closest vantage point, for you to choose from.

Go to http://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/destinations/whitehaven-beach/ for more info.

Yarra Valley, Victoria

Visit the beautiful wineries

Dine on amazing local produce

Get a treatment from one of the many spas

As my husband and I are foodies and love a good drop of wine, the Yarra Valley in Victoria’s regional surrounds is a place I’ve always wanted to travel to.

With a range of activities and accommodation options to choose from, weekend getaway possibilities are endless.

Uluru National Park, Northern Territory

Latitude 131

Visiting our country’s most spectacular natural formations, Ayers Rock, is a spiritual journey I’d love to take one day.

My father has spent a lot of time in Northern Territory and always talks of its unsurpassed beauty and wonderful people.

There are several places to stay in the Red Centre ranging from inexpensive camp grounds through to pricey, yet opulent, wilderness camps; there is something for every budget.



The city of Perth
Rottnest Island

I have heard many good things about Western Australia’s capital – its beauty and natural attractions like Rottnest Island and the Swan River leave me wanting to find out more.

Enjoying more than 3000 hours of sun each year, Perth is definitely a place to visit if you like an outdoor lifestyle, like I do. I also want to discover why it has been named world’s most liveable city.

Apart from these places, some of my favourite destinations to get to by car (from the Gold Coast) include Brisbane, Mooloolaba, Noosa, Caloundra, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour. If you’re keen for a road trip, these gems are well worth the visit.

In the words of French novelist Marcel Proust:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Happy travelling J

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I am not one to make a New Year resolution. I don't see the point - why do you need the excuse of a new year to do something good for yourself?

In my opinion, if you want to do something, or change something in your life to make it better, there is no time like the present, no matter what the date.

This year I intend on enjoying one day at a time. Last year taught me that you can never be prepared for loss or tragedy and that it's the special moments that you share with your loved ones that make your life memorable. I just want to make the most of those moments this year instead of being preoccupied with silly little things.

If you told yourself that on January 1st 2012 that you were going to give up smoking, lose weight, take up a course in something crazy, or find yourself a new hobby, then good for you. Seriously, I really hope it works out for you, because there is nothing more frustrating that trying to do something and failing.

I hope that everyone's 2012 is full of special moments and that in 12 months time, you can look back and reflect not on the things that you failed to achieve, but on the things that made your life better - you should try and find the positives in every day.

Happy 2012!