Breaking free from my behavioural addictions!

With so many different types of people on the planet it’s understandable that we all have different views. We only understand and perceive the world through our own eyes. We have all been born with different genetics, mindsets, life experiences, influences, and been conditioned and programmed from birth in our own unique ways. After spending some time in Chiang Mai at healing school I’ve had the time to reflect on my life and the daily choices I make, my discovery; even balanced spiritual beings can find themselves with an addiction.

I’ve spent the past 5 years conditioning my mind. So from the moment I wake up I have chosen to re-programme the way I think. This started with a daily mediation, gratitude practice, exercising- moving my body, being aware of but an observer of my thoughts without judgement. Looking at the quality of my internal world to improve my external. Creating this inner peace takes time. To re-programme a lifetimes worth of thoughts and conditioning takes practice, but the rewards are so magical. Putting us on our direct path to creating literally anything we desire.

So if I have created this epic daily routine you’d imagine that my life is perfect right? Yes this daily routine has hugely changed my life in so many incredible ways I cannot even begin to describe, but (yes there’s a but!) I have still fallen prey to some addictions of my own.

Our lives are so busy these days. It’s easy to see how behavioural addictions can creep up on us. Even those of us that feel connected and in touch with who we truly are we can lose our way. For some people it may be during times of stress. Perhaps it’s the one thing you feel you can control in this fast paced sometimes crazy world we live in? but when should we stop and take note that something may no longer be an activity we are choosing to engage in but it may have become a full blown addiction.

An addiction is when we have lost the ability to abstain. A behavioural addiction specifically is a compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behaviour despite the negative impact it may have on your life. It may affect the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and even with this awareness of hurting themselves they continue the behaviour.

Some common behavioural addictions include shopping, partying, gambling, food, sex, internet dating apps, exercise, social media. Yes we may enjoy some of these things but if we are addicted to them, we cannot stop engaging in these activities compulsively despite our awareness of the negative consequences. We know they are not serving us! Perhaps they give us feelings of guilt, anxiety or depression but we still do them! Maybe they take up our time or affect our real human interactions with our friends, family or work colleagues. I wanted to dig deeper and to break down my behavioural addictions, to face them head on and then rid myself of them for good.

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I spent most of my 20’s partying and looking back I was addicted to the adrenaline rush of the wild, carefree behaviour. Blocking out responsibilities that I may have and living for the weekend. I’m not saying partying is bad, but if it means you cannot function properly after the weekend and you continue to engage in this behaviour despite it’s negative impact on your week ahead then yes, it has become an addiction. It’s so socially acceptable these days for people to drink wine every night if they have had a tough day in the office, to engage in mindless behaviour like computer games, binge watch TV series or use internet dating apps to avoid connecting with ourselves and how we truly feel. What is our internal state? Or are we just blocking this out, letting life whiz past us at a million miles an hour avoiding how we really feel inside.

If I fast forward to today, I have spent the past 5 years learning about the human body and mind, personal development, spiritual practices, connecting with myself, understanding that we are in control of everything. Life does not happen to us it happens for us to create our dreams. I have manifested and created everything from my vision board. I’m now building my new upgraded vision board! I have a connected loving relationship, I am surrounded by people that lift each other up. I am running a business that is true to who I am and my core beliefs and values. I live by the beach, I can swim in the ocean whenever I like and am blessed with a year round warm climate. These are all things that were once only a dream, a vision. I created my dream life yet having this time out of my normal fast paced every day life I have noticed that I have behavioural addictions I’d like to address. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of them before but like many people I just lived with them, and as life rushed by they just became part of my life.

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Nearly every day when I wake up I check my facebook and instagram. If I’m honest with myself it’s pure habit as I’m usually at that time in the morning not that interested in what I see. Living abroad these social platforms are amazing for me to connect with friends and family in the UK and across the world but even if someone has posted wedding photos, new baby photos etc am I really going to fully engage at 4.30am when my alarm goes off? The answer is no! It’s a pure addiction and I check my socials more often out of habit rather than the huge desire to see what has happened since the night before, which is realistically not much!

My second addiction is coffee. So whist I am mindful of my intake, I start each day with a double espresso. I don’t allow myself to drink any more throughout the day but still if this was removed I would feel anxiety about it! I would miss the smell, drinking it, the buzz of the caffeine hit.

My third addiction is food, specifically emotional eating. This is something that as a fitness professional and with so much knowledge in nutrition you would imagine is easy to crack but I find it quite the opposite. Having the knowledge about what to eat doesn’t eliminate the cause for the emotional eating in the first place. So often in todays society we are told to mask the symptoms. If you feel down take these pills instead of identifying the route cause for the problem in the first place.

Even during writing this blog post I have checked facebook and instagram twice. Seriously, that is ridiculous! I observe it’s often not because I am even interested in what I may read but a distraction technique because my attention span can when I allow it be short!

So here are starting steps to improving my behavioural addictions and perhaps it may help you with some behavioural addictions of your own! Always remember we are all different so do not compare yourself to others. I might need 8 hours sleep to function optimally where as my friend may only need 6 hours. I should perhaps only consume 1 coffee or caffeinated drink per day and perhaps my friend could drink 3 and the caffeine would not affect her in the same way. I might feel spending time online affects the quality of my relationships but for you maybe it gives you the confidence and ability to connect with people you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to. Remember we are all unique.

Step number 1 is awareness. We cannot change anything if we are not aware of the problem. Awareness is key to change. So sit and have a think of any behaviours you may regularly take part in that are not serving you. White them down and think about what ‘need’ are you trying to fulfil when you do that action. What are you feeling in that moment? Where are you? Who are you with? Are you alone? Do you feel lonely? stressed? bored? become aware of what is happening in that moment. What is your posture like, how are you breathing? Write it down, tracking is key to making changes. Trying the same things over and over and expecting a different result is not going to happen! Writing things down in a journal can help you become self aware and help you see things from a different perspective.

Commitment number 2 on my quest to kicking my behavioural addictions is I will not check my phone until I have finished my mornings work and I will not use my phone after 6pm. This is narrowing the amount of hours I can check my phone down from a possible 24 to only 6 hours. It will also ensure I am more present for the people around me instead of often walking around head down into my phone. I can already see the benefits and I feel good about taking action on improving the quality of my life.

Commitment number 3, I will reduce my daily double espresso down to 1 shot. I am a big believer in balance, I think 1 shot of espresso for me is fine. Always create a lifestyle that works for you. It doesn’t matter what works for your friend, they are not you! Live by your own standards.

Step number 4; I have spent some time identifying why I emotionally eat. The main cause is lack of sleep. When we do not get enough sleep we can be more sensitive to external factors but it also affects leptin and grehlin our hunger hormones. Lack of sleep will send us out of balance inducing cravings and often for high sugar or fatty foods. I have bought some lavender essential oil to help me relax before bed. I will not be using my phone after 6pm allowing me to wind down and switch off. I have new bed sheets and scented candles, creating a relaxing sanctuary in my bedroom. Yes, I have the noisiest neighbours in the world so this affects my sleep pattern but I am focusing on the the things I can control and letting go of the things I cannot. The other time I emotionally eat is if I feel stressed. I have spent some time re-structuring my work / life balance. When you work for yourself it’s hard to know when to switch off. Especially because the line between work and pleasure is a very blurry one. I am constantly reading and learning in order to give my best self to my business and clients and I love my craft but I am working on balance.

The first step to change is not always forward it’s often inward. Yes my ‘addictions’ may not sound that bad to you but I can see that they affect the quality of my life. They affect my self esteem, my choices and my life. I don’t want to spend hours of my day mindlessy checking socials with literally minimal reward. Yes I have very high standards for the life I chose to live, but I think why not! We might only have life in human form this one time!

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I have made so much progress in myself, learning how to live the life of my dreams. I am finally allowing myself to embrace my feminine flow and upgrade my life without judgement and from a place of love. I am grateful that I have the courage to look within, be honest with myself and to continually review my life choices. I am grateful for any challenges I may face along my journey, they allow me to understand and help others more authentically. We are allowed to be a master piece and a work in progress simultaneously.

SJ x

 

 

 

 

Balancing your masculine and feminine energies.

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In this blog I dive into discussing the juicy topic of our masculine and feminine energies. What they are and how they affect the way we live our lives. If you feel you need some more balance in your life, a bit more yin to your yang then this blog post is for you!

As I delve deeper into the self development world it fuels my fire to share everything I learn and fall in love with along the way. I’m sure everyone reading this at some point in your life may have found yourself in a situation where afterwards you wished you had acted in a different way. Or perhaps felt more in control of expressing how you felt? I certainly in the past have made many mistakes unconsciously. I did my best at that time given the knowledge that I had, hindsight is a wonderful thing! but I am hoping that this blog post will give you some insight. What space are you making thoughts, decisions and taking action from? Awareness is always the first step to change. I hope this blog may give you some self awareness to help you create the outcomes and ultimately create the life you want to live.

So lets dive in and see how to put this into action. Have you ever cried in front of someone and wished you had the strength to hold it inside? Have you ever shouted at someone and wished you’d just not said anything because your shouting maybe hurt the other person and it certainly did not help you achieve the outcome that you wished for? Have you ever wished you were more confident, creative or assertive? The list goes on, you get the picture. You do not need to wish for a different life you can create it by becoming more aware of what space you are taking action from.

Learning about my masculine and feminine energies really helped me obtain a deeper level of self knowledge. Understanding, awareness and self knowledge are the steps to personal growth. Growth is the path to inner peace.

Our masculine and feminine energy affects the way we think, act and live our lives. If our energies are out of balance it can affect our careers, relationships and life paths. Masculine and feminine energies have nothing to do with gender or sexual preference. We all have these energies inside of us. Some of us however due to up bringing, conditioning, life experiences, parents etc may have lived our lives with either a more dominant masculine or a more dominant feminine energy.

Lets break it down and discuss the masculine and feminine energy traits…

A human that lives with a dominant masculine energy would be self-focused, analytical, competitive, loves structure, very determined, self reliant, may think they can do things better than others, problem solving, logical, risk taker, defensive, works alone, target driven, lives in a state of doing.

A human that lives with a dominant feminine energy would be creative, caring, lives in a state of being, nurturing, magnetic, goal setting but can surrender to the outcome, community focused, likes to collaborate or do team work, magnetic, trusting, gentle, kind, open, lives in a state of flow and is guided by their intuition.

Let me make it clear that the masculine or feminine energies are both of equal importance. To live with a balance of both is the key to a happy fulfilled life.

 

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If I use myself as an example maybe you can identify with some of these things? My Mother and Father divorced when I was very young and I grew up living with my Mum. I used to see my Dad once a week. My Dad was a business man. He saw things very black and white and never really would identify with his emotions or feelings. He lived completely in his masculine energy driven by logic, facts, targets and hard work. My Mum on the other hand was the total opposite. She was a nurse, was very creative and in touch with her emotions. She lived in her feminine energy as she was light hearted, caring, creative, imaginative. She did also have a good balance of masculine as she worked full time and brought up 4 children and had to ensure we were all looked after. This involved a lot of hard work and structure. In her work life I imagine she operated in her masculine energy and in her home life more her feminine.

Whilst I was a child I was very much operating in my feminine energy. I used to sing, play the piano, paint and dance. These are all creative, expressive actions coming from a strong feminine flow state. As I matured I had a strong desire to please my Father as I only saw him once a week and even if he was really happy about something he is not the most expressive man. Once I reached my twenties I felt the pressure and responsibility to get a good job, to earn a lot of money. I used to work two jobs a day and lived in a permeant ‘doing’ mode. Never from a state of just being. There was no flow in my life, it was always go, go, go. I remember I would rarely relax. I would work or party 24/7, burning the candle at both ends. Even when I traveled and worked abroad I would party all night and work all day, rarely taking down time. I developed health problems and had severe acid reflux resulting in visits to the ENT at Leeds General Infirmary and 1 years worth of visits to a speech and language therapist as I had so much damage to my throat. I was not in touch with my body, my health or happiness. I lived for the moment. Whilst this was fun, I was completely out of balance and this reflected in my health.

As I moved into my late twenties I gained bit more balance but I still was operating strongly in my masculine energy. I felt the pressure to please my Father and because he operated strongly in his masculine energy I mirrored this for his approval. This was ok at first but for me personally it only lasted for so long before I became burnt out, stressed and was taking action from a mindset of scarcity and fear rather than love. A mindset of scarcity and fear means that I am motivated to work hard and make money because if I don’t I fear letting people down, not earning enough money to live, not being successful. Acting from a place of love would mean working hard because I love my career, I am excited about life, I see opportunity all around me and can’t wait to embrace it.

I noticed I was reaching burnout and that going to work just didn’t seem fun. In fact nothing seemed that fun because it was from a place of fear not love. My health reasons even though they were bad at the time upon reflection now I am actually grateful. Our bodies are always speaking to us but sometimes we are just to busy to listen. This was my bodies incredible way of asking me to stay true to myself, to re-gain more balance. To act from a place of love. To not only embrace my feminine flow but to be more myself. I realised I couldn’t live my whole life trying to impress my Father. I had to embrace things that made me happy, made me feel good with the knowing that he would love me ‘as I am’ and not how I think he would want me to be.

I started to meditate, learn and practice personal development. I would spend hours reading books from people such as Tony Robbins, Ekart Tolle, Robin Sharma, Stuart Wilde to name a few. I did a daily gratitude practice. I would meditate, allow myself to listen to my intuition. I began to write, to travel for pleasure not always work. I was giving myself permission to drop the structure and to go with the flow a bit more. This is where my journey from my masculine energy to embracing my feminine energy began. It was beautiful, magical and so much fun!

I used to actually feel guilty if I took time out. I used to feel like I was being lazy and had no purpose, but now I see that it’s during these times of self love, relaxation and fun that I am actually enabling myself to become my most successful. For me it’s actually a bit scary allowing my feminine energy to come out to play. I am secure in my masculine energy as I feel very much in control. Which is safe and secure but not usually the way to blissful happiness.

Since I have embraced my feminine flow more I have noticed my business branding has gone from a black and white logo with sharp angular edges to the new logo which I have designed that is blue and a soft curve. It fascinates me that as my mindset has changed, my internal world has changed and this has been reflected in my external world. I have attracted the most loving, exciting, energetic, wonderful humans into my life. I am blessed daily with magical experiences. Yes ‘bad things’ still happen but I am so much more at ease when they do. I view them differently. I view failures and problems simply as opportunities to grow. I am grateful for a so called ‘problem’ as I view it as the universe’s way of developing my strength and re-directing me to my true path.

If this resonates with you give yourself permission to explore your masculine and feminine energies. Do you feel more dominant in your masculine or feminine? Do think by embracing one a bit more it may improve your business, health or happiness?

Tony Robbins says ‘If you are going to blame someone for all the bad, you best blame them for all the good things too’. There are aspects of my masculine energy that have maybe limited me in some ways but it has given me the courage and strength to travel the world alone and to set up my own business. My tip is to explore both energies. Balance is key to a healthy happy life. Let yourself flow. Our passions are not coincidences, they are our calling. Take time out to do the things you love. Embrace life and explore both your masculine and feminine energies.

Health & Happiness,

SJ x

 

 

Binaural Beats: Beat Insomnia & Stress!

Every man and his dog is meditating these days. I remember when I first tried to meditate maybe 5 years ago and I honestly couldn’t believe that it was possible to clear your mind. I thought everyone must be lying or stretching the truth about these enlightening experiences I kept hearing about! but fast forward 5 years and I meditate every day. I absolutely love it and swear by it to create a healthy, happy, balanced life. Meditation for me did take some practice though. This is why when I found out about Binaural Beats I was so super excited! They are ideal for anyone suffering with Insomnia, stress or anxiety. They are also perfect for the fast paced busy lifestyles most of us live.

We all know that music changes our state and our day to day state shapes our reality. Binaural Beats just take it that one step further. There are several app’s that you can download some of them are free and some are for a small cost offering upgraded services.

So let’s get down to how it works! You must listen to the Binaural Beats using headphones as it plays a different sound in each ear. The brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons. The way these cells communicate with each other is by electrical impulses. If you have an EEG scan, this is where they hook you up via sensors placed on the scalp and look at the electrical activity in the brain, analysing the brain wave pattern. Research has shown that when using the Binaural beats you are taken from a Beta brain wave state on an Alpha state.

Most of us are live in a Beta state. This is stressed out and alert. An Alpha state is a relaxed state, your flow state. In the Alpha state you are open to learning new things and at your most creative. Remaining in the Beta state actually ages our brain faster than it needs to age. So it is really healthy for us to get in this Alpha state to boost productivity, energy and happiness.

Binaural Beats basically work by using brain wave entrainment. The frequency of the brain matches the step of a specific frequency. So the brain changes it dominant frequency to match that of the dominant stimulus.

The thing that I loved most about Binaural Beats is that I think meditation can be intimidating for some people where as this does it all for you. You just have to lay back and relax. Do not use whilst doing any activity that requires consciousness e.g.: driving! The sounds take you into a relaxed almost hypnotic state and the benefits are not only physical but psychological too.

Try them and let me know how you get along. I’m a Binaural Beats fan for sure!

Love SJ x

Whitehaven Beach

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The walk to Airlie Beach Marina was stunning. I walked along a wooden board walk with the white sandy beach below. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks was hypnotizing. I had forgotten to check in for my boat trip that I was taking that day but I was still feeling chilled out. It was hard to be anything but chilled in this place. I walked past a lagoon and wondered why nobody was sat on the beach. This became clear when I walked past a danger sign saying crocodiles! Did they really just have crocodiles roaming about?! If so, how cool!

Down at the Marina I chilled out sat on the dock side and waited until 7.30am to call the office to check in for my boat. I am booked onto a 2night, 3 day boat trip to the Whitsundays. The Whitsunday islands are a collection of Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. After a quick phone call to the office my place on the boat was confirmed, people were starting to turn up for the boat and I was getting excited. The boat I was to be spending the next 3 days on was a sailing yacht called Summertime. An Italien guy called Alexio turned up and checked everyone’s names off and helped us all on board.

Our journey out to the Whitsundays was quite rough. The waves were coming over the front of the boat and everyone was getting covered in salt and sea water. I found it quite exciting, but a few of the passengers looked anxious. I am used to spending a lot of time out at sea from working on yachts but I hoped that this wasn’t the weather we would be stuck with for our trip. There were 12 of us on the boat plus 3 crew. The skipper was a true Ozzie. Tanned with a huge smile beaming ear to ear. He spoke loudly and was really enthusiastic. He introduced us to the crew and told us what our next few days would consist of. This was going to be a trip of a lifetime. I love boats and a trip to a beautiful secluded island on a sailing yacht is my idea of heaven.

I woke up at 5am the next morning and made a strong black coffee. When I used to work on the yachts this was always my favourite time to be on a boat. The storm the night before had cleared the sky and it was bright blue without a cloud in sight. The water looked cool and crisp and inviitng. I sat on the edge of the yacht and dangled my legs over. Closing my eyes I relaxed and took some deep breaths, the warm sun felt amazing on my skin. I was so happy that this was to be my home for the next 3 days. I finished my coffee and lay down on the decking.

I must have drifted off to sleep as I was woken up by the clinking of tea spoons of the other passengers making coffee and talking and getting to know each other. I walked into the galley (the kitchen area) and said good morning to everyone. Evereyone was smiling and excited about going to Whitehaven beach. We were all given a wet suit to wear. If you want to swim on the East coast you need to wear a wet suit as there are hundreds of jelly fish. They were everywhere!

As the tender pulled up I wondered why everyone made such a big deal about Whitehaven. It was just a load of pebbles. We set off on a walk up a long set of steps. I was pleased to be doing some exercise as I had not trained that day, and wouldn’t be able to train for the next 3 days. Climbing the steep steps in the heat I think was most people’s idea of hell but I loved it. Little did I know how rewarding the view at the top would be.

It’s hard to describe the things I’ve seen in Australia. Every view takes your breath away. It truly is paradise. The sea is aqua marine and sparkling, the sand is whiter than white and the sun beams down warm and bright. I took a few photos but I wondered if I could ever describe how perfect this view was. As tides turned and seasons changed the elemants stripped impurities from the grains of sand until only brilliant white silica remained. This is what is known as Whitehaven beach. It was more than worth the long hot walk. It was breath taking. I couldn’t wait to walk on it and feel it between my toes!

After another long walk down the other side of the forest we arrived at the beach. The sand was the softest finest sand I have ever felt. Your feet just sank down into it. It was light and soft and fluffy. I lay down my towel and went for a walk down to the ocean. Spalshing around in the shallow water I looked around and the beach was deserted. Tropical paradise. What a great start to my Whitehanven adventure.

The next few days consisted of BBQ’s, kayaking, exploring deserted islands, turtles, stingrays, sunrises and sunsets. I wanted to stay on the boat for another few days but I had left my brother in the hostel and I had my bus booked to Rainbow Beach. There was also a rule on the boat in Oz that if the boat ran out of water you had to come back to land. This meant that we were only alllowed a 60 second shower each day. The idea of a long hot shower at the hostel definitely seemed appealing.

As we approached land everyone was quite emotional. We had shared some special times and I could tell that nobody wanted it to be over. I noticed I finally had phone signal so I called up this gym called Fit in the Whit. It was a crossfot gym run by a guy called Ben. He said it was cool for me to go and jump in a session with them so that softened the blow of me heading back to land. Whitehaven was emotional. Anyone that wants time out from the rest of the world should definitely head to Whitehaven. It could be a hundred years ago, there is no sign of civilisation or of what year we are in. It is a back to basics experience making you realise the important things in life and the beauty of mother nature. The magic of Whitehaven will be etched in my mind for life.

A Rainforest Adventure

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If someone told me I had been drugged I would believe them. I am literally floating along today. I am having one of those days where you feel like you could do anything, conquer my mind, the world, pretty much anything. Welcome to Cairns!

I flew into Sydney yesterday and then straight on to Cairns. The flight from Dubai was 13 hours but it went so quickly. I watched a couple of films and had some food and then we landed. In Sydney airport I grabbed a really tasty blueberry protein smoothie and chatted to Stacey (a friend that lives in Sydney) on facebook about the exciting adventure ahead, a few hours later I was in Cairns. I am staying in Gilligans hostel, it is the poshest hostel I have ever seen and for £13.00 a night I thought that was  a bargain. I have some cool room mates so I went down to get some food with them and chilled in the hostel bar over looking a huge pool with a waterfall and a pebble beach into it. I had the tastiest chicken salad with an egg on top and then decided to get an early night. I didn’t feel tired but I felt like I was swaying or rocking, the feeling you get from being on a boat so I called it a day. Back in the dorm room I was pleased I stayed up late the night before I left putting new music on my phone as the snoring from the guy from New Zealand on the bunk bed opposite me rivalled the sound of a numatic drill. This guy could seriously snore!

I was woken up by my brother and a guy called Casey from Birmingham way at 5am. They were telling me about the wet t-shirt competitions and the showed me all the photos of the girls that let them sign their names on their boobs and take pictures of it. Pretty funny, I think my brother was, for very different reasons, also loving Oz! At 8am a team of cleaners that were dressed like ghost busters came charging into the room. Wearing onesies and those masks that cyclists wear over their noses and mouths. It was crazy, they blitzed the room with cleaning products, hoovers, dusters etc and then left as quickly as they arrived. It was impressive. Speed cleaning! I went back to sleep and got up at 9am. My knee was feeling a bit dodgy as I climbed out of the top bunk so I have given my run a miss today and set off on my first adventure into Cairns.

I think places carry their own energies and you either fit into that energy or you don’t. In Cairns as like Chaing Mai, Thailand I felt instantly at home. I am totally at ease here. There is a nice vibe in the air. It has a buzz about the place. I sat in Lillipads, a chilled cafe that sold healthy organic foods. I decided to have muesli, fresh fruit and natural yoghurt with a black coffee. My brother ordered the biggest steak I have ever seen! He said he felt amazing, I had a feeling he was still drunk and this awesome feeling would not last all day. This was my first stop along my trip of the East coast of Australia. I sat there relaxed, soaking in the atmosphere, listening to the Ozzie accents all around me and watching people come and go all dressed in bright sundresses and board shorts. I love the fashion here in Oz. It’s effortlessly cool with a relaxed vibe. Everyone’s wrists adorned with countless friendship bands, beads and bits of leather. I think I will start to collect some along my trip to remind me of the places I have been. I finish up my coffee and set off on a walk to check out the local area and to book some trips.

Feeling happy and full up from breakfast I headed out into Cairns. On the way I got chatting to a guy that worked in Greece last summer the same as me. He knows this guy called Dan that I used to live above who is from Oz. So I get his contact details from him. Everywhere I go I meet people that have crossed my path in the past or know people I know. 6 degrees of seperation! I stumble accross a cool place called Travel Bug, a local travel agency. Then the adventure really begins. After a couple of hours with Cat a cool surfer chick I am now booked onto a 12 hour jungle treck tomorrow. I’m told we swim in waterfalls and get to check out lots of wildlife. I have also booked a 3 day 2 night camping safri trip in the Gold Coast, a sky dive in Byron Bay and a 2 night 3 day boat trip to the Whitsundays involving snorkelling and kayaking. As expected George’s hangover kicked in so I suggested he went back to lay down while I sorted all the trips out. I think he is asleep in the hostel. He is missing a glorious day. The sun is shining, Cairns is alive with people happy and smiling. The girl from the travel shop has invited me on a 3 hour river cruise tonight. It is just the staff from her work. Free food and drinks and we get to see crocodiles. I said I was definitely up for it.

On the way back to the hostel I stop and chat to an old man with a long white beard. He has hippy clothing on, is dressed in sandals, tie dye clothing and has a neclace with a blue stone on a piece of old black leather. He had a kind smile. It says on his little board all the tv apprearances he has made on This Morning Australia amongst other shows. I decide to treat myself to a palm reading. He only charges me 10 Ozzie dollars. He tells me that he thinks I will live a long life and that in 50 years time he doesn’t think I will look much different. My Mum is almost 70 and she still looks really young. I’d say about 20 years younger than what she actuaally is. So maybe I have these genes from her, I hope so! He tells me that he sees connections with America in the future and that he thinks I will have children later in life, he thinks a boy. He said that later in life he sees a lot of choice in my life and money. He also asked if I write, and said that I should do a lot of this. This makes me happy as I am really enjoying writing my blog. He tells me I am very creative and I should never neglect this creativity. He also said he sees connections with Scottland (my Mum is Scottish) and that I have a connection with the spirit world and someone watching over me. He said that not everybody has this line and that whatever I do I will always be ok. After my reading he gave me 2 small stones. He let me choose them so I chose a purple one for myself. It was an amethyst. This is an all round healing stone for spirituality and contentment. A stone for strength, invigoration and inner peace. For my Mum I chose a clear quartz stone, it had a small hole in it so I thought she could wear it as a neclace.

Feeling like I have had a productive and amazing first day I head back to the hostel to find George rotting away in the hostel dorm room. I open the balcony doors to let him some air in. I am now sat down by the pool on a pebble beach under a plam tree. I can hear jamaican reggae beats and the sound of the waterfall. Everyone around me is chilling out chatting, smiling, wearing cool caps and even cooler bright sunglasses in yellows, blues and greens. The pool is awash with the coolest board shorts, I love this place already. It’s 6.10pm here now and I need to go and shower ready for the river cruise. I was definitely born to travel. It makes me feel alive.

The next morning I am picked up from the hostel by Uncle Brians rainforest tour bus, an old looking mini van pumping out chilled beats. The driver Sid was an absolute legend from the word go. He was a big black guy with a deep voice and a smile from ear to ear. He spoke really slowly and had a little chuckle after most things he said. His playlist of songs was awesome, we rocked out to songs that matched our journey. As we headed up the long windy road to the rainforest on came ‘Every day is a winding road, I get a little bit closer, feelin fine’. Sid made us all introduce ourselves and tell the bus a bit about ourselves. There were people from all over the world. A boat skipper that worked in the Caribbean, a chef from Biarrits, a marine biologist from Norway and a few others. Everyone chatted, took photos and was in good spirits as we headed along the road towards the Attherton Tablelands.

Stepping into the rainforest was like steeping into another world so far away from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. All your senses are stimulated, it is an array of colours, bright green leaves and multi couloured fruits, flowers and berries. It was so noisy! The sounds of birds, insects and the rustle of animals moving through the vegetation. The air was thick and hot and there was a sweet scent in the air. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. I took a few pictures but I thought no photo could emulate the vastness of the rainforest. The sounds, energy and excitement of this place was unreal. I was steeping into a world of the unknown. With my camera at the ready we set off on our rainforest trekk.

Before getting to heavily into the rainforest Sid stopped and warned us about a few things that we may encounter along the way and how to deal with them. He told us of a plant they called Gimpy Gimpy. This meant pain pain. Australian aboriginals used to use this plant as a weapon. It’s sting lasted weeks and was meant to be a pain like no other. Sid told us what to look out for and what we must not touch. He showed us a plant that literally ripped your skin to shreds and if we were unlucky enough to get caught up in it, how to detach yourself! We saw a huge magestic looking tree called a Banyan that was around 1500-2000 years old, it was 44 metres in circumference and grew a fruit the size of a pea. The roots to this tree looked like the pipes of an organ. It was the craziest tree I had ever seen.

We saw these huge mounds built by bush turkeys, they build mounds to attract the females. Some of the biggest mounds were 5 metres high by 50 metres accross! The female finds the male with the highest mound and then they mate. Each year the same mounds are added to.  I also saw a rat kangaroo, it is exactly as the name describes along with a huge amount of tropical birds and other insects.

After a long trekk through the rainforest we arrived at a volcanic lake created 13,000 years ago. It was 65 metres deep and was one of the deepest lakes in Australia. We all jumped in and cooled off. The cool fresh water felt incredible after the hot humid rainforest. It was a strange feeling swimming in the lake knowing that it had 65 metres of dark waters beneath me. I tried not to think about what would be swimming around down there!

After cooling off in the lake we jumped back in the van and headed of to another part of the rainforest. On the way we stopped at the top of a steep hill and looked out over Mount Bartle Frere. It is the highest mountain in Queensland and stands 1622 metres tall, it is tropical rainforest in the lowlands up to low cloud forest at the summit. It looked stunning and I climbed up onto and old wooden fence, took a seat and took in the amazing scenery surrounding me. The air was fresh and crisp up here with a nice cool breeze. Oz was such an incredible place and within such a short distance your environment can change so much.

After another few hours trekking I step out of the thick vegetation to a clearing with the crashing sound of a waterfall and the sun beaming down onto the water, sparkling like diamonds. It was a tropical paradise. The kind of place you see in films. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I pulled off my shorts and vest top and jumped straight in, swimming to the waterfall. This piece of heaven on earth was called Milaa Milaa Falls. I think this was one of the number one experiences in my life. The water was icy cold and fresh and the waterfall was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The crashing sound of the water, watching tropical birds swoop down past the water, butterflies, beautiful plants and all kinds of bizarre creepy crawlies. Milaa Millaa Falls I found out was where they filmed the Herbal Essences shampoo advert so before I left I tried to emulate the hair flick the girl does on the tv advert! I don’t think I quite got it as good as the girl in the advert but it was funny trying. This was truly a tropical paradise. If I did nothing else on my Ozzie adventure I would not be dissapointed, this was the best experience of my life. Feeling lucky to be alive!

600 Burpees

So this 600 burpees craziness all started with a training session in the woods that got cancelled as nobody fancied training in the cold and wet. So I decided to do a few burpees in my Mums garden instead. The first 130 were tough, I then got into a bit of a flow. Again I wanted to stop at about 330, but after 400 it was plain sailing. In respect to Rich Froning, all round bad ass and legend in his own right I considered doing 1,000 but I think I will leave that challenge until I am on a beach in Sydney! The result of 600 burpees on a Sunday morning in a cold back garden in Lincolnshire equalled one very muddy tummy and an equally muddy lawn!

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