Hot Topics, Life Stories, Life+Style, Uncategorized

CORONAVIRUS: NATURE’S WAY OF TELLING US TO SLOW DOWN?

When news of Coronavirus first broke, I was on summer holidays in Forster with my family and I thought nothing of it. I was then planning on making 2020 a memorable year as I turn thirty this spring and at that time, I was plotting ways to document my year. Coronavirus was in China, I was in Australia, so the chances of it happening here were slim.  

I have been learning many new skills during isolation.

February rolled around, at this time each year I assist in the marketing department of my local agricultural show. The first reports of a possible Coronavirus outbreak were just hitting our shores but I was knee-deep in my work, and was oblivious to the reports on the news. I just kept tabs on what was happening, world and to some extent, national news doesn’t interest me, unless it is rural or affecting small communities.  

March comes. The agricultural show goes on despite reports across the virus swirling and picking up pace. I was also planning my annual trip to the Easter Show, I had only paid my membership the week it was cancelled. I was pretty upset; I was in pain and I was mad. The next week, I was a bit more cautious about the virus, it suddenly became ‘real’ to me.I was helping to run the St Patrick’s Day celebration at my service provider, I don’t like crowded spaces at the best of times let alone at a time when a national emergency was unfolding before my eyes. St Patrick’s Day went on, but I went home early to avoid the crowd. On the Wednesday my friend and I went out looking for hand sanitiser and baby wipes because I figured that those items would be the first items to sell out, because they are such an accessible hygiene option. On the Thursday, we’d gone shopping at the local shops because my mother had said that I’d better go get my shopping fix while I could.  

It was a ghost town; it was bare and it was scary. I was so used to it being a bustling hive of activity. To see it like that, it will always stick with me.  

Saturday. The day that my world changed. My mother had a phone call from my service provider to say that they were shutting down until further notice. I thrive on routine, my routine was now in shreds and without warning, I was home all day, every day. Initially, I thought the closure would last 2 weeks, 3 weeks at the most so I didn’t start any home projects. The only things that was the same was my small business and I focused on that, I had time to build it up and improve the quality of content.    

Easter Time!

Easter came and went; I was still at home bored. My mental health was just intact, like scraping the bottom of the mixing bowl, getting out the last of the yummy cake mix, the novelty of staying home was wearing thin. I needed to get back to work or some type of work. I had helped my father outside in the garden when I was very young and loved every minute. I’m no stranger to gardening and shed work. I was getting into the slow life and the work I’m doing now is all about home-made stuff, stuff made with love. Every day I cook, do craft and help my father, all the things I did when I was at my happiest which was when I was younger.  

Now I am wondering whether this Coronavirus lockdown is nature’s way of saying “Hey, chill out!”. At the beginning of this pandemic I didn’t quite grasp the meaning, it was foreign to me and I just couldn’t understand. But as I stayed home for an extended period of time, I started to slow down as I realised that I will be in this position for the foreseeable future and I have to change into the slow life, and then appreciate the value of life in general.  

I watched the world shut down, London’s bustling Piccadilly Circus and Italy’s Venetian canals to Disneyland and the bright lights of New York’s Broadway. All shut down, all sleeping, and the benefits are out of this world. The air is clearer, streets are quieter and people have time to think about what really matters. This Coronavirus pandemic, although it’s very scary, it gives us humans time to slow down and think, what is this challenge teaching humans?  

I truly believe that we will come out of this as better human beings, each and every one of us.   

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How I got my scrap back!

I used to be a scrapbooker, had all the gear and was constantly on the lookout for photos to scrap. In the early stage of my scrapbook ‘career’ I was eighteen going on nineteen and struggling to make the post-school transition. I always loved photos and I always did art and craft growing up. It seemed a natural fit, even though I needed help with it  

Time passed and I got into my twenties, I still scrapbooked but the shine on it had worn off. It was becoming harder to instruct the person due to the I suppose, guilt that I couldn’t do it myself.  I was comparing myself to others and frustration that I felt deep down that I could not do it myself. I even tried a different type of scrapbook technique based on the Project Life movement. I could not afford the cost of the Project Life products.  So, I created my own spin on it using coloured cardboard and a basic four to a page photo album. This made me feel very insecure because I was copying somebody, somebody that I look up to’s work.  

So, long and short of it, I gave it up. Gave away nearly all my stuff and I silently bowed out of my scrapbooking career.  

Fast forward to March of this year and the reality of a Coronavirus lockdown became a real possibility. My mother told me to get the photos of our overseas trip four and a half years ago printed and she would then sit down with me and scrap.  

But I silently hesitated knowing that I wouldn’t be able to help much and it was a case of once bitten, twice shy. I was documenting my lockdown journey in Zinnia Journal one day, fooling around with photos and then it clicked.  

I can actually scrapbook on my iPad. Why oh, why did I not think of that before?  

So, I went on YouTube for inspiration and came across a video by Holly Pixels about iPad scrapbooking. It didn’t look too hard plus I had the materials to do a page left over from my DigiBuJo from the fabulous Jenny Gollan Designs. I also already had the app Holly used, Procreate.  

So, I set to work on a scrapbook page. I stressed about if I lost all my creativeness when it came to scrapbooking, whether I was still skilful enough to pull off a beautiful page and whether I deserved another shot at a comeback. I was proving myself wrong every step of the way. I still was creative enough to make beautiful pages and I was able to feel that pride that I could tell people “Hey, I made this scrapbook page all by myself!“ and enjoy the beauty of scrapbooking again. It may be in an unusual format, but this is my story and this is how I tell it 

I also wanted to get back into the Project Life App, a branch of Project Life by Becky Higgins. I liked the simplicity yet sophisticated style. I was inspired by Mery, over at The Mom Behind The Computer to have another go and at that time, news about Coronavirus was only just coming into the media so this format would be ideal to for my then busy lifestyle.  

I love both styles equally and they each portray a different side to the way I like preserve memories. I love preserving precious memories and this is something that I plan to do for the rest of my days.   

Project Life App layout
Scrapbooking layout made in Procreate. Materials from Jenny Gollan Designs
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SUPERCARS FUN FOR ALL ABILITIES

The 2019 Newcastle 500 was my first V8 event and I was very excited to see how the accessibility was like because I have Cerebral Palsy. I never followed the Supercars real close growing up in a town dominated by rugby league, but I kept up to date with events such as Bathurst 1000. I grew up loving sport, rugby league and hockey were my jam, but car racing always scared me because of the noise. When Newcastle 500 was first announced, I was thinking “Wow, what an opportunity for Newcastle! The Supercars are coming!” fully aware of the media coverage it got, both nationally and internationally. It would be two years down the track until I could attend in person.

On Friday morning on the 22nd November 2019I went through the gates, I had no expectations because I just got a General Admission ticket at the last minute. I just wanted to keep it as a surprise and just experience it as my adventure unfolded. And was I surprised! The Newcastle 500 is much more than just the final stop on the V8 Supercars tour. It’s a wonderful community event where everybody is made to feel welcome, no matter your ability. Car racing to me always looked like a non-inclusive, chauvinistic sport, it only took a trip over the bridge (via 2 lifts, which were awesome) into the centre of the action for me to change my mind. 

It was like a carnival atmosphere with food vans and games to be played, merchandise plus sponsor tents and the biggest surprise of all ramps were everywhere making my way around easier than anticipated. I felt a bit overwhelmed that a sport as big as the V8 Supercars had worked so closely with the City Of Newcastle to make it as accessible as they possibly could, even ensuring people with disabilities had the best view in town. I sat on a platform near the start line and it was amazing! Even though my ticket was just General Admission the view of a lifetime.

I have never felt much prouder of my community than I was on that day. I would like to thank everybody from staff at ticketing, the volunteer that looked after my spot when I went to explore the rest of the facility, the V8 Supercar organisers and Newcastle City Council for taking inclusiveness to the next level and making my first V8 Supercars event spectacular.  

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Start the New Year with me: Setting up and investing in a good planner

If you are a regular around here, you would know I tried digital planning last year, using a template I made entirely from scratch. Although I had lots of fun, it was a lot of hard work setting up every week and some weeks; I didn’t feel like doing it. In November, I fell ill, and everything just got put on the backburner (including this blog), so I could focus on getting better in time for the festive season.

I finally weighed the options up, whether I purchase a digital planner or continue with my DIY version. I bought my dream planner by Australian designer, Jenny Gollan. I initially went with an American designer, but as time wore on, I became extremely dissatisfied with a lot of things. So I went back to my belief of buying Australian where I can to supporting Australians. I hope I can review the DigiBuJo soon, and tell you how I like it.

As far as my planner goes, I feel the need to be more or less on top of everything and know when people are away, medical appointments and just simple things like when I go away to the Easter Show etc. I am a bit of a creature of habit and one of my “Planner Goals” is to document what I did. I’ll give you an example: Today I went on the train to the new Interchange and caught the Light Rail to Hunter St, so I’m hoping that I can not only get organised but try to document what I did for the next 12 months.

Fingers crossed that I can get that review started this week because I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the DigiBuJo.

Stay tuned!!

Hot Topics, Life+Style, Uncategorized

Start the New Year with me: Setting goals, simplifying life and enjoying the results!

Over the past few years, my life has been a pattern of setting a goal, working for it, achieving that goal and look towards the next goal.  Last year, all I did was live and breathe goals and didn’t really do anything else besides work to be my best.

“2019 will be different.  It’s time to simplify my life, identify what is weighing my soul down and look at life positively.” I thought because I want to improve my thinking.  I want to break free from the bad and focus on the good. 

Simplifying life just means going back to eating healthy, meditating, yoga and exercising.  It also means carving out time to do something that I’ve always wanted to do – keep a visual you could say yearbook full of photos, artwork, remnants and journaling. I want to document everything I not only achieve but things like events, photographs and items that I want to remember.

Basically, my aim for 2019 is to live life to the absolute full, whilst living simple.  It sounds like hard work, but I look at it this way, the less money I waste, the more money I can spend on stuff that I really want or if I go out, I can buy silly stuff like the traditional showbag at my local show.

In the next instalment of my New Year series, I will show you how I’m staying on top of everything using a journal! 

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Start the New Year with me: Getting organised

It’s 2019, and I decided to start this year with doing instead of planning. What I mean by this is instead of planning to do something, I do it. I shall give you an example, I always plan to clean my room before January ends so that my workspace is clean and organised for the year ahead. I’m sure that you can relate to what I’m about to say, by February, my desk is still messy and my room cluttered.

This week, I unexpectedly got a chance to carry out the dreaded clean-up, I could have done something else like go shopping but I stayed true to the month’s mantra “Do instead of planning” and I would love to add that my room is looking awesome!

I decided to take the cleaning a step forward by adding the year’s mantra “Let Go” into the mix. I threw out the majority of my artwork that was no longer serving a purpose and chucking it in the rubbish. Then, I hung up my artwork I did for the Easter Show a few years ago and my dreamcatchers are now all together.

The next thing on my list is to start the other major component of 2019, which is planning and embracing every single day. I will show the way I’m doing this once everything is set up.

Digital Life, Uncategorized

September Challenge – Monthly Overview

If you are a regular reader,  you know I have set myself a daily planning challenge for the month of September to see if daily planning is something I could do full-time.

I MADE IT!  I COMPLETED MY SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE. In this post, I will be analysing my efforts, what I learned and what I would do differently if I had my time over again.  There also will be a special announcement at the end.

My efforts:

I think I did extremely well, considering my disability.  I have trouble sticking to stuff for an extended period of time so the odds weren’t stacked in my favour.  I did do it daily for a week or two, then things came up unexpectedly and I had to step back because life got a bit tough and my anxiety levels needed urgent attention,,  so I had to take it easy.  However, I was adamant I had to complete my daily planning challenge, to prove to myself that I can do daily planning full-time, whatever life throws at me.

What I would change if I had my time over again?

I wouldn’t change much, but I would definitely change the layout.  I would do it in portrait so  I could not only plan my day but document anything special that happened that day eg: I achieved something or did something really fun because sometimes I need to look back to remember how ridiculously amazing my life is and how lucky I am.

THE SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

I have noticed that people who make planners, journals and digital supplies, are charging ridiculous amounts of money for stuff that isn’t physical.  I totally understand why, because they’re time-consuming and gorgeous, but I can’t really afford or justify to spend the money because I’m not rich and  I know note-taking apps cost around $14.  I wanted to make digital planning and journaling accessible to everybody regardless of their financial position and I wanted to share all the resources I make with others in my position.  Enter the Lifestyle With Kaity Google Drive, jam-packed with digital planning and journaling resources that are free to use.  The only repayment I want is a photo of YOUR interpretations of my templates so I can share them on social media. Click here to go to my dedicated Digital Planning and Journaling page!