The Time I…Saw Perth Like a Version

In Celebration of WA Day, I decided I would spend 24 hours In Perth City and look at it through the eyes of a tourist to try to gain a better appreciation for all that this wonderful home of mine has to offer. What I had not expected was to see that different parts of Perth reminded me of other places I have visited around the world. So please read on to see how Perth is ‘like a version’ of everywhere else…

Adventure Headquarters

I decided to stay at the Adina Hotel Apartments located on Barrack Street because they are located close to public transport (Perth Underground Train Station is a 5 minute walk) and within walking distance of both Northbridge and the city. The other Adina Hotel, located next to the Perth Convention Centre, would also have been a great location but just a bit further from the Northbridge side of the city, plus I got this amazing view of the city from my window on Barrack Street!

Adina Room 1 (1 of 1)

View of Perth from my room at Adina Hotels on Barrack Street

After forcing my friend to take multiple photos of me in front of the window, we headed out to explore the city and I quickly discovered that Perth was like a whole lot of worldly experiences all rolled into one!!

Perth’s version of London

The most obvious worldly influence on Perth is British. You can see it in the architecture all over the city. Many buildings are heritage listed with the facades reminiscent of an older era. As you walk around the street Malls on Murray Street and Hay Street you can see a blend of the original and modern architecture. It’s actually really interesting to look for the names of the original buildings and learn what they were built for. A prime example is the building where City Beach (surf shop) and H&M are now located. This massive and beautiful building was originally built as a bank. Other beautiful buildings include the Queen Victory Building and the Regal Theatre. If there is a show at the Regal, it makes for a wonderful evening out.

5773008911fb3_b88177740z.1_20160629064806_000_gjpjo88f.2_1-1bn6048

Perth’s British heritage

One of the Arcades in the city, fittingly named ‘London Court’, is Perth’s version of Tudor England. Built in 1937 It Is a bit of a tourist hot spot. I had to wait a while to have my turn taking a picture in front but think I nailed it!

Another reminder of Great Britain, though this one is located in Newcastle rather than London, are the tilting arches of the pedestrian walkway across the river entrance to Elizabeth Quay. They reminded me of a smaller (and less functional) version of Newcastles Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Compare the two (Left Newcastle, Right Perth)

Perth’s version of Paris

There are a couple of places in Perth that remind of Paris. Top of the list is King Street which is Perth’s version of The Champs-Élysées. A very small version mind you, but quintessentially the same thing right? White buildings, designer labels and some sort of photoshoot happening. Here is me being not so fancy in front of my famous shop!

Adina city 38 (1 of 1).jpg

Perth’s version of The Champs-Élysées

The next Parisian reminder I had was the Bell Tower. I turned to my friend and said “hey that’s Perth’s version of the Eiffel Tower”! Then as you walk up to the entrance of the Bell Tower there is Perth’s version of the Pont des Arts Bridge, the famous Bridge in Paris covered in love locks.

Adina City 16 (1 of 1)

Perth’s version of the Eiffel Tower

Adina City 15 (1 of 1)

Perth’s Version of Pont des Arts Bridge

Perth’s Version of other Australian cities

The latest edition to Perth is Elizabeth Quay which reminds me of Sydney’s Circular Quay boasting spectacular views of the city.

Adina City 26 (1 of 1).jpg

Perth’s version of Circular Quay

Another Sydney-a-like is King’s Park. Located alongside the city, filled with native Australian flora and city views just like The Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Possibly one of my favourite chill out spots in Perth, King’s Park is a perfect place for a walk and picnic. While the Valley of Giants tree top walk in Denmark, Western Australia, is hard to beat, Perth has it’s own mini version located in King’s Park, the Federation Walkway. Definitely worth a look.

IMG_3695

Perth’s Version of Valley of the Giants tree top walk

Perth may not have the same reputation as Melbourne for our street art or our coffee but we are certainly gaining ground. As you walk around Perth, be sure to head down some back alley’s and you can find some really cool cafe’s and street art. Wolf’s Lane is a prime example which has one of my favourite cafe’s, The Secret Garden.

Adina city 37 (1 of 1).jpg

Perths version of Melbourne Cafe’s and street Art

Perth’s Version of Italy

Did you know that you can take a Gondola ride along the Swan River from Elizabeth Quay?! I had no idea until I saw one gliding off into the sunset and of course this reminded me of Venice!

Adina City 30 (1 of 1).jpg

Perth’s version of Venice

Another import from Venice is the Italian crafted Carousel that features at Elizabeth Quay. I found out that this was actually commissioned and imported by a local Perth Jeweller for his children and generations to follow, what a gift!

Adina City 28 (1 of 1)

All the way from Italy

And of course what would be Italy without delicious Gelato? It wouldn’t! Which is why there is Gusto’s Gelato also conveniently located at Elizabeth Quay. Nom Nom Nom

A3.jpg

Perth’s version of Italy

Perth’s Version of America

Have you ever been to the famous palm-tree lined Sunset Boulevard? Well now you don’t have to because Perth has it’s very own look-a-like, Riverside Drive!

When I think of America, I think Burgers and fries haha! In the past few years Perth has introduced some awesome gourmet burger joints and one of my favourites is V-Burger also located down at Elizabeth Quay. Not only does it have great burgers (I recommend the Avocado Chicken), It also has a perfect view for enjoying the sunset and watching the city light up at night.

This may seem like a bit of a stretch…and it kind of is, but Perth’s version of the famous Hawaiian Stairway to Heaven is Jacob’s Ladder. This a local favourite for fitness fanatics who run or walk the 242 step concrete stairway to a sweaty heaven. The reward is not only physical, but beautiful views of Perth city and the Swan River if you can take your eyes off the persons butt in front you you!

Adina city 45 (1 of 1)
IMG_3608

Perth’s version of the Stairway to Heaven

Perth’s version of Asia

Asides from the obvious – China Town, Perth has a few other places with an Asian flavour. Northbridge and Perth are packed with Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese Restaurants. I highly recommend Lucky Chan’s Laundry & Noodle Bar, if you can get a seat that is.

e6970609c21c04b3d5bac90f2887f794_1439826279

Perth’s Asian Flavour

Thailand’s capital Bangkok has arguable the best roof top bars in the world and Perth with its Idilic weather has caught on and has some extremely cool bars with city views. The Avery, Bob’s Bar and The Revelry are my favourites for a cheeky cocktail.

20170604_184915

Perth’s version of Bangkok’s roof top bars

That’s a wrap!

After traveling all over the world in a day and having a well earned drink, I retired back to my bed at the Adina Hotel, but not before enjoying another glass of complimentary wine on the balcony and ordering an in-room movie to watch in bed!

The Time I…Lost my Cosmetic Injectables Virginity

Cosmetic Surgery…I’m not sure where your mind goes, but mine brings up images of people with plastic frozen faces. There is still such a negative stigma attached to certain kinds of treatments. Facials, IPL, breast reductions or chemical peels are acceptable, but getting cosmetic injections, fillers, liposuction or breast implants is frowned upon. In fact, when i told some people I was considering having some ‘work’ done, i was met with responses like ‘but you are beautiful just as you are, why would you do that to yourself?’ Read on to find out why I decided to get wrinkle relaxers and fillers in my face despite inevitable criticism, what each procedure involves and my views on it now.

Why I considered facial treatments:

I’m 30 and my skin no longer looks like it did 10 years ago. I don’t care what the celebrities or skin consultants say, no amount of cream or whatever else they are selling will get your skin to look like it did when you were 20. I had never had a cosmetic procedure done to my face, but I have tried a number of facial creams and treatments totalling hundreds of dollars for products that never produced much result. I’ve tried a broad range of products and ‘miracle’ creams and am yet to find one that would produce the same results that I got from cosmetic procedures.

I’ve watched over the years as my frown lines, smile lines and forehead lines grew larger and more prominant. My frown lines were my biggest concern, they made me look unhappy, concerned, or angry and it got to the point that I wouldn’t even be frowning but the lines were there.

IMG_4920

See those 2 lines between my eyebrows, always there.

Another part of my face that bothered me was the bags under my eyes. They were also ever present and made me look like I was tired or unwell. I tried under eye creams, serums and concealers but whenever I looked at photos I always noticed the big puffy circles under my eyes. This is hereditary for me so no amount of rest or cream would ever make it go away. I decided that going to see someone for a consultation to find out more about cosmetic procedures couldn’t hurt and then I could make an informed decision.

Where I went and what I decided to get done:

I’ve seen and heard of some cosmetic horror stories from overseas botch jobs or getting an inexperienced practitioner and I certainly didn’t want to be another horror story or to end up with duck lips. There are a growing number of places that offer cosmetic procedures in Western Australia so when it came to choosing where to go, I wanted to make sure it was somewhere safe, experienced and reputable.

My research quickly directed me to the Absolute Cosmetic website where I could see that they had many years experience (over 20) and to quote their Medical Director, Dr Glenn Murray, “we pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of aesthetic enhancements, using the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques to ensure the best results for our clients. We firmly believe in not ‘overdoing’ cosmetic procedures…” This is what sold me on them. I wanted something subtle and I wanted to be in the hands of the best.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 11.43.15 AM

My chosen practice

Having chosen where to go, I arranged a consultation with Dr Murray himself to discuss my concerns and my options. I was a little nervous but Dr Murray made me feel super comfortable. He asked me questions about my medical history, my reasons for coming and to make sure that I was being realistic about what could be achieved. I was actually interested to hear what his suggestions would be so I told him that I was hoping to appear more youthful and that I had some age lines I wanted to reduce. For my frown he suggested a wrinkle relaxer. I had no idea that there were more than one kind of wrinkle relaxer! Varying in price from $135 to $299 and how long the effect lasts.

He then asked if I was stressed or tired because of the bags under my eyes. I explained that they are always there and have gotten worse with age. He recommended a dual approach of putting some filler into my cheeks and also into the tear trough (bag) under my eye. Because my bags were both wide and low the dual approach would reduce the puffiness and dark colouring.

Out of curiosity I asked about my lips. I felt that my bottom lip was more full than my top lip and was surprised to learn that actually the ratio was about right. What is considered most beautiful is a top lip to bottom lip ration of about 40:60 or 50:50. So putting filler into my top lip  would result in an unnatural looking ratio. What we could do was put a little filler in both top and bottom so the ratio remained the same but made the top lip a little more visible. After some further discussion we would to do my brow, lips and tear troughs over 2 sessions.

Procedure 1:

I was very, very nervous about getting anything done. I didn’t want to end up with duck lips or not being able to show the full range of facial expression! Plus I HATE needles. I’m a fainter. Why was i doing this again!? Reminding myself of something my mum used to say to me “vanity feels no pain”, I followed Dr. Murray into the treatment room and sat back in the chair bracing myself. While Dr. Murray prepared the wrinkle relaxer (I couldn’t watch, even just seeing a needle makes my blood run cold) we discussed possible side effects and after care. Possible side effects include: headache, redness, slight bleeding, swelling and/or bruising at injection site, numbing, or temporary paralysis of eyebrow or eyelid (Gulp! Slightly terrifying).

The procedure was actually very quick. I would have 2 injections; one above each eyebrow. First the injection site was cleaned and then I held ice on each area for a few seconds before Dr Murray injected the wrinkle relaxer on each side. I couldn’t believe how quick it was! I felt a little bit of pressure, a slight sting and then it was over! No tears, no blood, no fainting! Although I did start to feel the faint-like symptoms afterwards, so Dr Murray reclined the chair and raised my legs for a few minutes. Seriously I am such a wuss about needles! I looked in the mirror half expecting to see my face frozen but i still had full movement and could still frown. The 2 injection sites were slightly pink but that went away within 10 minutes. I was trying not to move around or frown but I was told I should try to frown as much as i can over the next four hours to aid the treatment in seeping into the muscle. Two things to note is that you cannot lay flat for the next four hours and no exercise for 24 hours. I had no side effects and started to notice my frown decreasing after a couple of days. It can take up to 10 days to see the full effect. If, after 10 days, I was still able to frown, I could go back into the clinic for a top up.

20170407982062049-01

Trying my hardest to frown – no more lines!

The procedure for my lips was a little more intense. Dr Murray informed me that he would be injecting a blocker (local anaesthetic) into the four corners of my gums from inside my mouth. This hurt more than the actual filler! It stung but the effect was almost immediate and my mouth started to go numb. Soon after I met Senior Nurse Stephanie who would be the one doing my lips as she is known as the Queen of Lips in Perth (and she certainly is!) She was so sweet and helped me to relax by chatting to me throughout the whole procedure. Injections for the filler didn’t really hurt (thanks to the numbness of my mouth) they just felt a bit uncomfortable. Stephanie also mentioned the whole lip ratio thing and identified asymmetrical parts of my mouth where she would place filler to create symmetry. The procedure took around 20 minutes and again I had no side effects. I was very happy with the subtle result. My mum didn’t even notice until I told her a few days later!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Procedure 2

I was much less nervous going into the second procedure as I knew what to expect. To start with I had numbing cream put on under my eyes and on my cheeks. 15 minutes later Stephanie came to see me and explained I would be getting blocker into my cheeks. Again this was the most painful part. Stephanie explained how the centre of my face was quite flat and that putting the filler into my cheek would give me some nice definition but we would take a conservative approach because I have such a petite face and wanted to keep it subtle.

The weirdest feeling was when she used a tiny cannula to run the treatment along the tear trough (the actual bag under my eye). I could feel a little bit of pressure on the inner corner of my eye which wasn’t painful but a weird sensation! I had a total of 7 injection into my cheek. When Stephanie showed me in the mirror the difference between the left and right side of my face I could really see how subtle but effective the result was. After completing the other side of my face Stephanie suggested that we put some wrinkle relaxer into the the sides of my Mandible so that my muscle in my jaw would relax and appear less square. She showed me how strong the muscles in my jaw are which is creating a harsh masculine shape. Then we would put a little bit of filler into my chin so that it wasn’t disproportionate (small) now that we had adjusted other parts of my face.

IMG_20170407_170101

Sorry about the quality of the before shot but I think you can still see the subtle changes

I had no bruising except for a small dot on my chin, no swelling and no other side effects. It took about 10 days for the relaxer in my mandible to take effect and once again I am very happy with the subtle result. My friends and family do not notice I had anything done unless I tell them and even then they don’t believe me!

My thoughts on Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures after having it done

Getting wrinkle relaxer doesn’t hurt, it is temporary (3+ months) and it can have long term benefits in decreasing wrinkles. Despite stereotypes of plastic, unexpressive faces, Botox can look completely natural when done properly. So natural in fact that far more people have it done than I ever realised but because of the negative stigma attached people feel they have to deny or hide it. I want to be as authentic and transparent as possible hence why I am writing about this. I’m glad i broke my cosmetic injectables virginity, and I definitely intend to have it done again when my frown starts to return. My only regret…not having it done sooner!

Getting filler is a slightly more painful, involved and lengthy process. The effects of filler can last 9+ months so it’s important to be certain what you are getting done and to do small amounts at a time. Again, now that I have had it done, I can notice it more in others and believe me there are PLENTY of people who have had it done but would have you believe otherwise. I think that people should be applauded for being honest about having work done rather than shamed and criticised for admitting it. I look at images of so many woman who have these plump cheeks and beautiful full lips and it creates such an unrealistic idea of what is natural beauty.

20170402_105854 copy

A week after my procedures

I completely understand the concern for young girls and I in no way want to be a bad role model to them or encourage them to even consider any cosmetic procedure until they have finished fully developing (age 25 or older). But I think we forget to be concerned for us women who are starting the ageing process or who are middle aged and can’t figure out why they can’t achieve the wrinkle free youthful appearance of pretty much anyone in the media! Why are people so secretive and ashamed of not wanting to age?! Ageing sucks, wrinkles suck, and it’s scary! We’ve all tried tricks and magic formulas to slow it down so why can’t we just come out and say, ‘I had some work done’ without being shamed for it.

I hope that by writing this I am able to educate and enlighten some people on the reality of non-surgical cosmetic procedures. At the end of the day it’s my body, my face, my life and if this makes me happy and more confident then it really isn’t anyone’s business or concern. I’m single, I’m still trying to catch my fish and want to look my best. It’s a tough pond to swim in when your competing with all the other fish who have just entered the pond and are 10+ years your junior. I’m 30, not some child, and I made an educated and informed decision which I am happy with.

Until Next Time

XOXO

The Time I … transformed my body and mind using the Bikini Body Guide!

I’m not being paid in any way to endorse or sell Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (she makes enough sales on her own!) but I cannot express enough how much I believe in her program and how it has helped me to transform my body. I learned how to effectively and efficiently complete a workout and maintain a healthy diet using her guides. The proof is in the pudding (which you can eat in moderation!) Read on if you would like to find out more about the program and my results.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.40.01 PM

When Kayla came to Perth in 2015

Why I started:

Working as an air hostess had it’s perks, but weight gain was not one of them (you can read about my time at Emirates here). When I returned to Australia after 18 months flying I had gained nearly 10kg. I had gone from my natural size 6/8 to a solid size 10. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a size 10 but for someone who has always been naturally thin, I knew I was overweight. Going through my old wardrobe, I wasn’t able to fit into any of my old tailored pants or any of my jeans or short. I could have made the excuse that I was just getting older, my body was slowing down and accepted it, OR I could do something about it. I felt determined to fit back into my old clothes.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 7.53.54 PM

When I was living in Dubai and the heaviest/most unhealthy I’ve ever been.

It was also a time in my life where i was feeling particularly vulnerable; I was finding my feet again having returned back home to Perth and I was dating Richard’s (see my previous post) who I felt too weak to resist. I decided that if I couldn’t find the strength internally to protect myself, I would begin on the outside and work my way in.  With this double edged determination I went on the hunt for a fitness program.

I stumbled across Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG) on Instagram and after seeing the transformation photo’s of other women I immediately went online and purchased a copy of the exercise Guide and Nutrition Guide for AUD 110 (Now the program is available as an app and she has released a cook book).

Points that I shouldn’t have to state but I will anyway:

  • Everyone’s body is different. Everyone can be fit and healthy. Not everyone will look the same when they are fit and healthy. Like a haircut, everyone will look different even if they get the same haircut. Therefore, what fit and healthy looks like for me, may not be what fit and healthy looks like for you. Just because I have a six pack does not mean that you will have a six pack. Our bodies are all designed differently!
  • I am in no way encouraging people to make unhealthy choices to achieve results. Good nutrition, a regular exercise regime and persistence is the way to safely and sustainably achieve YOUR best version of you.
  • There are no short cuts or cheat steps when it comes to the health and fitness journey. Hard work and determination are the ingredients. Crash dieting or smashing out 6hr sessions at the gym for a week will (a) be horrible for your body and (b) not achieve long term results. Think of your body like a car, if you put the wrong fuel in it and never take it for a run it would crash.
  • I am not a fitness expert, I am merely sharing my experience of an exercise program and a diet that have worked for me and I am not saying they will necessarily work for you.
  • I am 30 years old. I started this program when I was 28. I had 28 years to get to know what is and is not natural for my body. Young girls and young women need to allow their bodies to grow and develop naturally (no fad diets or crazy exercise, enjoy all kinds of food, go out and play sports!) so that they too can know their bodies and what a healthy weight is for them. As I said, I have always been extremely petite.

Ok now that I have made that clear, let’s get back to my health and fitness journey!

What does a BBG workout look like?

The BBG program includes 12 weeks of 28 minute workouts which vary in intensity and have a polymeric focus (jump/explosive movements). Each week has 3 main workouts; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and introduces Sunday challenges after the first few weeks. The workout will either be legs, arms, abs or full body.

An example of a Legs Day:

  • Set A – 10 x burpees, 15 x jump squats, 24 x walking lunges, 30 x jump lunges
  • Set B – 24 x weighted step ups, 15 x sumo squat, 24 x knee ups, 10 x tuck jumps

The 28 minutes is broken into 4 parts. Each part contains 4 exercises which you do repeatedly for 7 minutes before taking a 30 second break.

Set A (7mins) – 30 sec rest – Set B (7mins) – 30 sec rest – Set A (7mins) – 30 sec rest – Set B (7mins)

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 8.11.59 PM

Tuck Jumps!

A False Start:

Determined to fit back into my favourite summer shorts, I got started on the BBG program straight away which happened to be just before Christmas 2015. It was sooooooooooo hard. I mean I couldn’t even do a single push up on my knees, skipping I had to do without a rope to start because I kept tripping on it, and burpees don’t even get me started! My body ached all over after the first day but I learned to slow down the exercises so that I could master the technique and prevent injury rather than go all out too quickly. This meant sometimes I wouldn’t complete all 4 exercises in the 7 minute round but that was ok because both my speed and strength each time. I completed maybe 3 weeks of the program before Christmas and New Years. Festive season however led to eating fairly unhealthy large meals and partying a lot (as you do during festive season right!!). I decided after i recovered from New Years that I would restart the program. This false start did actually help get my body into better form for when I started again. It also taught me that you can fall off the horse but just make sure you get back on it and the sooner you do, the easier it will be.

BBG1 Round 1:

When I started the program for the second time, I began to notice results after the first 2 weeks. Taking progress photo’s was vital for motivating me to keep going and I wish I had taken more from the beginning of my journey. It was only by reflecting back on where i started that I could realise how far I had come. After the first month, I was hooked. BBG was part of my regular routine. I started with just the 3 days of BBG per week plus 1 day of yoga, but as my fitness improved, I added in running and BBG challenges on a Sunday. I registered for the HBF Run For a Reason determined to be able to run for the whole 12km which I did.

I was working out almost every day and I felt so proud after completing the 12 week BBG program. Physically the changes were obvious, but mentally I had also changed. I was more confident, I was able to stand up for myself, and I felt like I knew what I deserved and what I wanted and would not settle for anything less. In fact I stopped dating all together for a period of over 6 months. For someone who is prone to anxiety and depression, the way BBG made me feel was absolutely invaluable.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.39.35 PM

My 12 week progress photos

 

A change in diet:

My physical and mental transformation was not all about exercise, in fact I would say that 70% or more of the results I achieved came from a change in my diet. I had a good read of Kayla’s Nutrition Guide but I chose to use it more to educate myself on making healthy food choices rather than to follow it verbatim. It does have some great recipes but I don’t like the idea of sticking to a meal plan especially one that doesn’t include some of my favourite foods! Prior to BBG I used to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and however much I wanted. So changing my diet was a very big adjustment for me. The changes I made were:

  • minimise or cut out alcohol
  • no simple carbs (white rice, pasta, potatoes, white bread)
  • no junk food! (chocolate, crisps, basically anything that comes pre-packaged).
  • lots of water
  • as much fresh produce as possible (fruit and veg)
  • complex carbs only (brown rice, sweet potato, rye bread)
  • foods high in protein.

I found the best way for me to maintain a healthy diet was to eat the same thing daily…now i know variety is the spice of life, but this is what worked for me for approximately 8 months! A regular day for me would begin with wheatbix and a banana for breakfast, rye bread with vegemite, avocado, tomato and feta cheese for lunch, a carrot or an apple for afternoon snack and a salad with marinated chicken for dinner. If I felt like something sweet for dessert I would have greek vanilla yoghurt with strawberries. Again, I’m not saying that this will work for everyone or that this is the best way, it’s simply what worked for me.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.38.09 PM

My daily diet for nearly 8 months!

 

 

Entering the maintenance stage:

When I returned from a holiday in Europe late 2015, having not doing any workouts for a month, I found it extremely hard starting up again. My motivation was not as high as it used to be and I had enjoyed being able to eat an array of foods and treats again. Going on holiday had been a big motivator for me but now with that gone I didn’t really have the urge to work out everyday. My fitness had been the top priority in my life, an obsession really, and a way to distract myself from dating and work. I now realised it was important to find a balance that worked for me rather than to continually try to see progress.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 8.21.56 PM

On holidays in Portugal!

At this point I had very low body fat percentage so the only progress I could make would be more muscle mass which I didn’t want to do. I entered what I call the maintenance stage where I was happy with my body and I felt good. I began to ease up on the exercising, doing maybe 4-5 days a week instead of 7, doing more Yoga and I also began to vary my diet. I was able to enjoy simple carbs again like pasta and french fries! I ate chocolate again which anyone who knows me will tell you I am addicted to 🙂 It took a while to figure out a happy medium of how much exercising and how many treats I could eat and still maintain my fitness. I was actually surprised at just how easy it was to maintain with the more relaxed diet and exercise regime.

Where I’m at today

After completing BBG1 three times and completing BB2 twice, I stopped keeping count of how many times I completed the program. Eventually I stopped repeating program and started mixing up the workouts. I know all the exercises in both guides and I can put together my own 28 minute workout without any reference. I do a range of different types of exercises now too, pilates, running, yoga, weights, and most recently LA Fit using a megaformer! I’m enjoying exercising again and I’m enjoying a varied (but still mostly healthy) diet. The hardest part was definitely getting to a point that I felt comfortable at and now I am enjoying the rewards.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.42.49 PM

On the left taken January 2015, on the right taken April 2017

I have a lot of people say that they couldn’t achieve the same results, or that I was never ‘fat’. I agree, I was never ‘fat’ but my photo’s above certainly show that I am capable of gaining weight just like anyone else and that I am capable of losing it, just like anyone else. Maybe you won’t end up with six-pack abs but I do believe we are all capable of toning and reshaping our bodies to find the best possible version of ourselves.

I hope this post shows that the health and fitness journey is a slow jog, not a sprint. It takes dedication, consistency and a wholistic approach, heck I’ve been at it for over 2 years now but I don’t regret a moment of it.

Until Next Time

Xoxo

The Time I…paid the price of fame

Fame is like Rumpelstiltskin, like making a deal with the devil, be careful what you wish for because it comes at a cost. For me the cost was high. Was it worth it? probably not. You may or may not know that I was a contestant on The Bachelor Australia in 2016 where I met and eventually fell in love with another female contestant from the show. While that story is an amazing one and maybe I will share it one day; this story is about how it all came crumbling down.

In October 2016, literally overnight, my relationship became the interest of media outlets worldwide. I was inundated with emails and phone calls from journalists and ‘fans’ asking to share my story. At the time, I had been dating my ex for around 4 months having moved to her home town of Geraldton, where we had been able to establish a relationship outside of the spotlight. Now that all eyes were on us we had to decide how we would approach things. For the first few weeks we ignored the media requests but there was more and more fan mail coming in, heart wrenching stories from woman who had found love with another woman in unexpected places or had left their male partners for a woman and it dawned on us that we were giving hope and inspiration to many. We made the decision (mistake) at that point to share our relationship with the public mostly via our Instagram accounts. This, i believe, would eventually cost us our relationship.

We had the best of intentions to inspire and help normalise same sex relationships, to show that love is love, to remove labels and stigma, to just BE. For a while it felt like we were on the right path, we were fulfilling a purpose, we were on the same page and we were happy. Side by side we fought back at the critics, we stood up for equal rights, we unashamedly and unapologetically put our relationship out to the world and felt we were making a difference.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.16.25 AM

When we were named Couple of the Year 2016 and cover girls for Maxim.

I couldn’t say exactly when things started to unravel, maybe around Christmas/New Year. We were going to a tonne of events and I was finding it more and more difficult to enjoy myself now that we were more recognisable to the public. Strangers grabbing at us for pictures, not even introducing themselves or talking to us, men asking for threesomes, people accusing us of faking our relationship. First Polo in the City, then Southbound, then Cuban Club – my patience was starting to wear thin and I started to become a bit reclusive. I was beginning to pay the price of being so public with my personal life and started to realise the down side of sharing so openly. We also had the added pressure of an impending relocation to Bali where we would be living together for the first time and I felt myself struggling to keep it all together. Can you remember how difficult it was to navigate your first relationship? Now put that relationship under a microscope with the whole world watching and that is how I felt. It was my first relationship with a woman and it was hard enough trying to find my way through that, let alone with the constant onslaught from media, fans and haters.

I have never shared this publicly before, and maybe I am making another mistake by choosing to do so now, but I have struggled with depression for the better part of my adult life. I hope in sharing this it may help some of the critics to understand just how hard all this has been and encourage those struggling to hang in there. I manage my depression with medication, with keeping fit and healthy, with meditation, with seeing a psychologist and with a good support network (I have written a seperate blog about my depression if you want to have a read). I don’t see depression as a weakness, in fact I see it as my greatest strength. I have HAD to learn to know myself extremely well and I have proved myself stronger than I thought possible time and time again. I have learned that my depression is brought on by ongoing anxiety. That is, situations that make me anxious which I am unable to resolve in a relatively short amount of time. I can handle stress, but when that stress is unrelenting and my anxiety builds, I start to lose my grip and this can lead to a very fast downward spiral. This is exactly what happened to me about 2 months ago.

I was due to fly out to Bali. I had my bags packed, ticket booked, passport ready. I had been excited. But as the date approached I felt more and more unsettled. I became so anxious I was physically ill. I couldn’t hold down food, couldn’t focus on anything, cried a lot, slept a lot, took a lot of valium. Crying hysterically I could not get myself into the car to go to the airport so I postponed my flight. I shared a post on Instagram that I was unwell and would head to Bali soon, but I chose not to share exactly what was wrong. I didn’t have the strength at the time to open up about my mental health issues as much as I knew it could help others, I really just needed to first help myself. Some serious mental regrouping and support from loved ones, I was able to head to Bali a few days later.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.06.44 AM

My Instagram post when I postponed my trip to Bali

The first week or so in Bali, I was doing ok, one foot in front of the other. It felt good to be somewhere that people didn’t recognise us and we could just go out and do our thing. We were working on some exciting projects that kept me hopeful and distracted. We were in discussions with Ratpak to have our own TV series with the aim of educating people on same sex relationships and sexual fluidity, we were writing up a book proposal to share the intimate details of our story, we were creating an underwear line called Miffties…it was all a grand distraction from what was really going on. With the focus being more and more on business, our relationship became secondary and we spent more and more time doing things separately. Everyone handles stress differently and in my case it was at a point where I couldn’t handle it. It’s hard to know how to help someone who is having severe anxiety and/or depression. The person really has to find the strength to want to help themselves. I know that, for me personally, if I don’t want to get out of bed then nothing anyone can say or do will make me, and the more I’m pressured, the more I withdraw. This can be an extremely difficult thing for people who love me to witness, which only makes me feel worse. It got to a point that I was spending day after day laying in bed, trying to just be asleep because I’d rather be in my dreams than be in the real world.

Around this time a fresh influx of media attention came when fellow contestants from the Bachelor accused us of faking our relationship. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. I vented some of my feelings in a letter I penned for Popsugar titled ‘Let me set the record straight‘ and then I took a massive step back from all social media. I stopped posting on my Insta Stories and only posted what I had to on my Instagram Feed (paid collaborations). I was tired of the scrutiny, tired of defending myself, tired of the negative attention and tired of pretending to be happy and smiling for the camera when inside I was empty. I remember sitting at the beach one day and feeling my chest tighten, I couldn’t get oxygen into my lungs, couldn’t remember how to breath, I was in the midst of a panic attack, something I hadn’t experienced since I was 17 and I knew I was in a very dangerous mental space. I made the decision to fly back home to Australia to be with my family and friends who have supported me through some rough patches over the years.

Trying to support someone who is struggling to stay afloat is tough, trying to support someone who is struggling when you are also struggling is near impossible. Realising that we were both very unhappy, that we hadn’t been happy for a while, and that we had lost our sense of self, we made the mutual decision to part ways; we had paid the ultimate price for sharing our relationship so publicly and putting so much pressure on it. Ending things then rather than waiting until they fell apart means that we have the chance of one day getting back the amazing friendship that we once had after some time and space allow us both to heal and find our selves again. We also agreed that we would not make any statements that we had split until we both felt ready to face the inevitable media frenzy that would happened.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.43.52 AM

One of our last pics together, Bali Feb 2017

Having learnt from our mistake of making our relationship so public we wanted to handle our break up privately. This was only met by more accusations of faking a relationship and constant pestering to confirm the split, like we owed it to everyone or some nonsense. When it comes to ‘fame’ you really are damned if you do and damned if you don’t in most decisions you make. Every message I received or comment I got about my relationship was a constant reminder that it was over and was upsetting and frustrating and it’s taken time to be able to just block it out, to grow a thicker skin, to not snap back at people even though I so want to. The decision to split was about 4 weeks ago now and around 7 weeks since I started spiralling downwards into depression.

Coming back from the dark dwelling I had settled in has been slow. Some days are better than others, every 2 steps forward I take one back, I still have days where I just don’t want to get out of my bed but those are happening less and less. My recent trip to Rottnest was my first proper outing in weeks and even that took a lot of effort. I was meant to go over 2 days before I actually did but when I went to catch the ferry I had another panic attack and I couldn’t muster the confidence to go. Two days later when I did make it to Rottnest, I felt like I broke through a sort of invisible barrier, I felt a weight lift and I started to remember who I am and what it feels like to be happy. Exploring and adventure is what I do, it’s what I’ve always loved to do, my passion and purpose. I felt hopeful, which is such a crucial part of overcoming depression.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.12.06 AM

My Trip to Rottnest

I started this blog in April last year but due to contractual obligation with The Bachelor and then all the other plans and things I had going on over the past months I never got the opportunity to launch it. Now that I am back to focusing on just me and what I want to do, I am overwhelmingly excited to finally launch it and start sharing in more detail the experiences I have had, the lessons I have learned and the adventures I go on. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I am sure to cop a whole new bunch of criticism and judgement but I know I am extremely resilient, and every time I get knocked down, I get up stronger and more determined than before. So for those of you who do want to follow my story,

Until Next Time

XOXO

 

 

The Time I…realised my greatest strength is my depression

Hi, my name is Tiffany and I experience depression…Speaking about mental health problems is a difficult subject for me, for society in general, to talk about! There is still such a negative stigma associated with people who experience mental health issues and yet it is becoming more and more prevalent. The thing about having a mental health issue is that it is not a choice…what is a choice is how you manage it and how you choose to look at it. For a long time I was ashamed for having severe anxiety and depression and I thought it made me less capable and weak, but I have come to realise that it is actually my greatest strength. Read on to find out why!

A little snap shot of what led to my depression.

There are several kinds of depression; some are episodic (brought on by a trauma or event), some are lifelong, some are mild, some are severe. I had my first encounter with depression when i was in high school, in year 11 heading into mid-year exams. It was brought on by anxiety and placing too much pressure on myself. At the time my depression went undiagnosed as it was masked by anxiety and I had always been a fairly anxious kid. When I was 19 a number of factors combined to bring out a six month period of diagnosed depression and the first time I was medicated for it. I had returned from an overseas holiday, I wasn’t sure what i wanted to do or where I was going in life and I had been rejected by a guy I had my first real crush on. After 6 months i was able to ween off the medication and had a relatively steady 4 – 5 years without another major episode.

At the end of 2011 I went back on medication and I have been on it ever since. I once again had several factors combine that sent me on a downward spiral that i couldn’t bring myself out of. I was working in a job that I hated, I was desperate to travel but felt trapped, I felt lost in life, I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t control my mood and I was having an out of body experience feeling totally disassociated from my life. I was going through the motions of living but i felt dead inside, I was numb and I felt I had no control. I then had (what I refer to as) a ‘quarter life crisis’. In one swoop I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years who I loved very much, I quit my job, I cut off my long beautiful hair and I moved to Dubai to work as an air-hostess for Emirates. In other words, I tried to run from my depression. It worked for a little while, but eventually it did catch up with me and I’ve been dealing with the fallout ever since.

What having depression does means.

For someone who has never experienced depression or who doesn’t have someone close to them who has had depression, it can be very hard to understand. It feels like an incredibly selfish illness, especially when the person with depression seemingly has nothing to be depressed about. I have a very blessed life, a very loving family, a privileged upbringing, I’ve been able to do most things I have set my mind to, I am healthy and I am capable. And yet I have depression. This is what I meant when I said it is not a choice to have this illness. It is just something that is there.

mechanism-of-depression

Image from The Jackson Laboratory

When i explain what depression is to someone, I explain that the little chemicals in your brain that make you happy, otherwise known as serotonin and dopamine, are fewer or are less effective for someone with depression. When I feel down, I feel very down very quickly and without medication (even sometimes with medication) I have a hard time to pick myself back up again. The medication doesn’t magically make me happy, it just makes it so that i am able to deal with my emotions the same way that someone who does not have depression is able to deal with their emotions. It took my parents years to come to the realisation that I would likely be taking medication for the rest of my life and that this is neither a good thing, nor a bad thing, its just a thing that i have to do. Just like someone who has heart disease has to take medication to manage their condition, I take medication to manage my mood. I don’t solely rely on medication, I also do a number of other things to manage it which I will discuss later.

What depression feels like for me.

Each person will experience depression in their own way but for me it feels like I am constantly balancing on a beam over a very dark deep hole. As long as I can stay on the beam, I can cope. I’ve slipped a few times, been hanging on by my finger nails, but most of the time I’ve been able to pull myself back up. That is until my recent very public break up which brought on my worst episode in years (I have written a seperate post about this).

When I feel sad or upset it can feel like I’m struggling to hang on , like there are weights on my ankles pulling me down into the hole and it would be so much easier to just let go and fall into the abyss, that I will find peace there. These times are frightening, my thoughts can be dark and my judgment is off. I’ve had fights with family and friends in moments like these that seem so silly now, I’ve made bad spontaneous choices that are out of character. The good news is that these times are few and far between. I know myself much better nowadays and I can see the signs that I am losing balance, I am faster at picking myself up again and I also know how to manage my depression so that I’m less likely to fall.

img_2678.jpg

Constantly balancing on that beam

How I Manage my depression.

Communicate! Firstly, although it has taken time for them to understand, I have incredibly supportive and loving parents and friends. Communication is key. It is so so so important that you are able to talk about what you are feeling so that both yourself and others can understand why you are feeling or acting in a certain way.

Prevent! While i don’t want to encourage avoiding any life experiences, for me, I know that i need to avoid overly stressful situations. This changed my whole outlook on work. I will never again work in any job that I hate or where I have little control no matter how much money I am offered, for me it is simply not worth risking my mental wellbeing.

Cope! When shit does hit the fan, and it always does, I have coping strategies. Exercise has been a great support for me. If you are running until you can’t breath, i guarantee no matter what was bothering you, you won’t be thinking about it when you’re gasping for air. Music has also really helped me. I have playlists for different moods. I have a ‘powerful’ playlist for when i need uplifting and empowering music, I have a ‘sad’ play list for when i want to cry, I have an ‘angry’ playlist for when I feel frustrated. I talk about it or I write about it and i try to learn more about myself and my experience of life. I have also found that meditation and visualisations help to lift my mood. I’ve found some really great guided meditations even just on youtube.

IMG_1524

Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation to help lift my mood.

Release! I do not let my emotions build up. I let myself feel what i need to feel so that i can deal with it and move on. This may involve lots of crying or yelling but it’s healthier than holding it inside. Sometimes pushing my body to breaking point has helped bring out any trapped emotion, for example, I’ve broken down in tears after doing sprints or after attempting difficult yoga poses. I’ve put on a sad movie to help release the emotion. I’ve screamed into a pillow or I’ve poured my heart out to a friend. Anything to get some of the energy out of my body.

Getting out of the deep dark hole.

There have been a couple of occasions where I have not been able to hang on and have spiralled into depression. When this happens I lose the will or desire to do anything. I lay in bed, not eating, not exercising, not finding enjoyment in anything, sleeping a lot, wishing away the days, just wanting to vanish. This can last for several weeks. The concern and fear this causes loved ones makes me feel worse, like they would be better off without me around, that I am a burden and that I am useless. At these times It is crucial I continue to take my medication and to be kind to myself. It does eventually pass, as much as it feels like it won’t, it always does. Speaking to a Psychologist can help but mainly it’s just time. Until I am ready, no matter what anyone says or does, I will not start climbing back out of the hole. The climb can take several weeks, with setbacks and falling back down. Tiny steps forward is how I have learned to move. It starts with getting out of bed for a few hours a day, then to having a meal, then going for a drive, then to having a friend come see me or take me somewhere for a quiet walk, then maybe doing some exercise, and slowly slowly each day improves.

How you can help someone with depression.

The truth is, there is not much you can do besides just BE THERE without judgement when and if the person wants you to be. Be patient with them and whatever you do, don’t ignore them! I have a tendency to have obsessive thinking which means I can repeat a point of frustration or upset many times without being able to process or accept it which I know can be very frustrating for the person trying to listen to you and help you. Do not pressure them, do not guilt them, do not tell them to ‘snap out of it’. Trust me, they already feel bad enough without you saying these things as much as you may think you are helping to give them a kick in the butt. Now is not the time for tough love. Encourage them with any positive steps they take and continue to invite them to things without pressuring them even though it is unlikely they will go. Check in with them  every few days just so they know that you are important to them, their existence does matter. You may feel like you are not helping them but I promise you that just by sticking by them without judgement you are helping more than you realise. If however, their depression starts to effect your own mental wellbeing, then you do have to put yourself first and do what you need to so you can be ok. You can’t help someone else if you are not ok yourself.

 

12289569_10153921336121535_135006165238263056_n

Surround yourself with a strong support network

Why it is my greatest asset. 

While severe anxiety and depression are not things I would wish upon anyone, I do believe they have forced me to be a better version of me. Being able to experience life from a very low place means I can also experience life from a very high place, I can feel things very deeply, I am very self aware, I have a true appreciation of happiness and I focus my life on doing things that make me happy above all else.

I know myself better than most. I have spent years learning about myself, understanding myself, making sense of life and who I am. I need to recognise when I am starting to feel unsteady and I need to implement changes and strategies to keep me balanced which means I need to know myself extremely well.

I am strong and I am resilient. The mental and emotional marathons I have run have given me the incredible strength and ability to run head first into challenges and situations others may fear. I do things that scare me because I know that if I can overcome depression I can do just about anything.

I can empathise and have an enlightened understanding of the human condition. We are all perfectly imperfect, we all struggle, we all need help sometimes. Most people are just better at hiding it and are less willing to discuss it. This is what needs to change. This is why I share my story and encourage others to do the same. You may just be helping someone else to open up, to know that it’s ok to talk about it.

Until Next Time

XOXO

The Time I…Was a Flight Attendant for Emirates Airlines!

I was drawn to being an air hostess like a moth to a flame. I love to travel, I love adventure and I am known to do things to the extreme. So naturally I set my sights on working for arguably the most prominent airline in the world, Emirates, based in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Dubai. If you have ever wondered what goes on behind those red curtains, then read on…

IMG_3234

The ‘family’ I chose for myself in Dubai

Hello Tomorrow – getting the job

The application process was very smooth, they know what they are looking for, and if you fit the mould, then you glide through. I filled out my online application, attended an open day, had an interview, did some medical and psychological testing, got jabbed with many immunisations and 2 months later was on a flight to my new home!

So what exactly are they looking for?

  • Diversity
  • No visible tattoos
  • Can easily reach an overhead locker
  • Not overweight
  • Attractive and well groomed
  • Friendly
  • Hard working
  • Conflict Management
  • Healthy
  • Empathetic
  • Culturally aware

Just to name a few. If you are what they are looking for and you talk up Emirates then you may just get the job. But please continue reading as it is not as glamorous as you may be thinking.

Off to a bumpy start

I had my first experience of what being an air hostess is all about on my flight from Perth to Dubai. A lady was walking down the isle and collapsed onto my lap! Unsure what to do, I started pressing my call bell in panic and luckily it wasn’t long before 2 cabin crew arrived, un-phased, and moved the lady into the galley where they gave her oxygen. I assumed that this sort of thing must happen often and realised it would soon be me having to handle that kind of situation.

On arrival at Dubai airport, I was met by an Emirates representative to help guide myself and 5 other new recruits through immigration and customs. The lines for immigration were long and only a few officials were working, others in their traditional white gowns or dishdasha’s were standing around, no one seemed to be in a hurry. I would soon learn this was the way things work in Dubai, people work at their own pace.

After sneaking through customs with a dildo in my suitcase, I was taken to a mini van with 3 of the others for accommodation drop off. Another girl from Perth and myself were dropped at the same building called Razooki, in Al Nahda. My new home was on the border of Dubai and Sharjah (the next Emirate over), pretty much out in the sandy sticks of Dubai. I signed in to my new building with the security guard and was escorted up to my room. I anticipated meeting my house mate but found the apartment to be messy and empty. In my room white cold room, I sat on my bed and all at once it hit me that I was here and I was utterly alone. I started to cry and phoned home fearing I made a huge mistake.

IMG_0117

My bedroom in Dubai

Hostie in training

My second day in Dubai marked the first day of Cabin Crew Training College. Dressed in office attire, a bus full of fellow ‘newbies’ came to pick us up from my building. The first day was mostly administrative; lots of paperwork, medicals, and some icebreakers. The large group of 50 was broken down to 4 smaller groups which would be our little family units for the next 7 weeks. My group had 14 girls and 2 boys, from all over the world; Australia, Serbia, America, Czech Republic, Portugal, Ireland, Argentina.

182565_10150869106057596_744777208_n

My training group during our last week in college

Training was split into 4 core areas. 2 weeks for learning the aircraft layout and emergency procedures, 2 weeks on medical conditions, 2 weeks on service standards, and 1 week on uniform and grooming. These weeks were tough. My brain was throbbing form over information, but they were probably the best weeks of my entire time with Emirates. It was the only time you had a regular routine, got to see your friends every day and go out on weekends.

556441_10150822929135882_608750754_n

Emergency procedure training

Training wraps up with 2 ‘Supi’ flights or training flights were you are an extra (supplementary) crew member and you get to sit in the cockpit with the Captain for take-off and landing. You can expect that the crew will play a few pranks on you. My crew got me to take a comb to a bald guy saying that he had asked for it! Poor guy was very confused but it made the crew laugh hysterically. After these flights you will begin your first flight roster and learn what fatigue and jet-lag  really mean.

Time to fly

In my 18 months working for Emirates I flew to over 50 destinations. I was able to use time off to travel – I hiked to Machu Picchu, swam in the dead sea and explored Petra, drank steins at Oktoberfest, Partied in Ibiza, sailed Croatia, relaxed in the Seychelles and celebrated at Ultra Music Festival. With work I travelled to many many cities I would never had the chance to see; St Petersburg, Kyoto, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Morocco, Dallas, Frankfurt, Milan, Hong Kong, Rwanda and many many more. I truely got to see so many places and meet so many people from different cultures that I am eternally grateful.

IMG_3642

Snapped in Calcutta

I got to meet some fantastic people during my flights, some I am still friends with today. The crew you were working with could really make or break a flight. I got to meet and learn about people from all over the world and recognise we are all not so different. A really fun crew could mean a fun day of sight seeing together or a fun night out in whatever destination we were going. Most flights included at least one person who spoke the local language and was familiar with the destination so they could share with you some tips on the best things to see and do. On the flight, we found ways to entertain ourselves, from taking bets on passenger behaviour, to racing to see which side could complete food service fastest, to playing pranks on each other. From time to time, crew did join the mile high club. Did I? Yes, yes I did. A Colombian, on my birthday in the toilets while we were working!

At this point I bet you are wondering why anyone would want to give all that up! What was the downside? For me the main issues were constant illness, fatigue, and loneliness. In those 18 months I had laryngitis 4 times, I had a back injury, I had colds and fevers, eye infections, I ended up with a full bag of medications. Alongside illness was the constant feeling of jet lag. Whenever I travelled with work I would spend the short time I had in each location sight-seeing and not having any time to adapt to the new time zone. This sometimes meant working for 10 hours and then sleeping for 2 hours before spending a day exploring a city. So whenever I was back in Dubai, I would sleep. and sleep. and sleep. Sometimes i would sleep for 14 hours straight. These bad sleeping habits and lack of routine also led to weight gain. I gained nearly 10kg during my 18 months in Dubai.

All that sleeping meant that when I was in Dubai I had little time or energy to see friends or go out. Even if I did, the chances that friends were not on flights themselves was slim. Every time you fly, you fly with a new crew, which is great for meeting new people, but not so great for forming lasting friendships. If you are a girl looking for a relationship with a guy, then this job is not for you. The ratio of male to female cabin crew is about 1:5. Of the already small pool of male crew, maybe half are homosexual. Of the half remaining, about half of them are already in a relationship (but willing to cheat). If there happens to be a single, straight, good looking male crew member, then you can bet that every other female crew member has her eyes on him and he has his pick for the night but is certainly not looking for a relationship. If you are a guy, gay or straight, then this is probably the best pick up job you could ever have!

IMG_3381

Snapped in Rio

Now the actual work involved in being Cabin crew is rather gross and exhausting. From the moment passengers board the aircraft until the moment they leave you are going to be hassled. From helping passengers lift their overweight carry on, to arguing with passengers not to leave their food trays in the isle, to changing seat cushion covers from the old man who peed his pants, to asking a lady why her baby is in the overhead storage. It is a thankless job. Forget about manners. Working for Emirates you can expect 80% of the passengers you have will be Indian or Arabic and majority will be demanding and rude. You will feel tired, dirty, and like you have been slapped in the face a few times by the end of a flight. And not all flights end in a nice layover at a new destination. About half of the flights you work are turn-arounds where you fly to the destination, wait while the aircraft gets cleaned, fuelled and reloaded, and fly back again. Sometimes this would be a 12 hour shift over night. NOT FUN.

Life in the sandpit

Dubai is a city unlike any other. Built in a seemingly unliveable environment, this city aims to impress. But once you see past the facade you see it is a soulless and pretentious city that has little to offer a nature loving free spirit like myself. Sure the Malls are massive and fancy, the desert safari is a fun experience, the hotels are flashy and the ‘beaches’ are…well the beaches are shit as they are hot and salty and man made…but after a week of doing the touristy things, the reality of living in Dubai sets in.

o

The Desert Metropolis that is Dubai

Say goodbye to fresh air, the fine sand of the surrounding desert is ever blowing and in the middle of summer the air is so hot it singes the hair in your nostrils and makes it hard to breath. Also say goodbye to fresh food. Nothing grows in Dubai so everything is frozen and imported. Say goodbye to your shoulders and knees, these need to be covered if you go out. If you choose to show skin you can expect to get stares from both the men and women and possibly approached and told to cover up. Say goodbye to public shows of affection. Two Arabic men are allowed to walk around holding hands, this is a sign of friendship, but heaven forbid a man and woman hold hands in public. Say goodbye to big nights out on the booze. Public displays of intoxication are illegal. If you get in a taxi drunk and by yourself, you may very well end up being dropped at a police station. If you even want to purchase bottles of alcohol in Dubai you need to get a liquor license, lucky for cabin crew you can bring bottles in from other countries.

When I had time off in Dubai I spent it at my apartment or at my friends apartments. There were a few clubs that we liked to go to when we were in training college but then you get over it and I had one really horrific experience at a club which involved a local man ejaculating on the back of my leg (and no I had in no way encouraged him, I had no idea he was behind me until that happened). I was very quickly put off the night scene in Dubai after that. The more classy clubs require you to have a table and they cost a lot of money unless you are willing to pimp yourself out to some of the local men to sit at their table, which I was not.

1013969_10151443592755882_1820229558_n

My favourite girls from all over the world

Having said all that, there are people who really love living in Dubai. Luxury cars and big fancy appartments are affordable, there are some very westernised areas with international schools where pilots and expats raise their families. Europe is a mere 6hrs flight away, you can throw out your winter wardrobe, and there is always something fun and exciting happening. It just wasn’t for me, and that’s ok! If it’s something you want to do, then don’t let the opinion of this Aussie stop you! Go get your wings and make up your own mind!

Until Next Time

XOXO

The Time I…Dated a Richard

Disclaimer: I wrote most of this post over a year ago, prior to being a contestant on the Bachelor. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the Bachelor’s name is Richie. This post was in no way specific to Richie. I use ‘Richard’ as a reference term only. No offence intended to anyone who’s name is actually Richard. Enjoy!

I am an expert at dating dickheads, or Richards as I call them. I’ve dated so many Richards over the years and become familiar with their behaviours that I came up with a theory for identifying these men which I call the Richard Theory. But first let me introduce you to Richard.

 

636066338520454358516282934_official princes

Prince Richard

 

Richard’s Profile

  • Name: Richard (asshole, dickhead, jerk, etc)
  • Age: any guy until he matures. This can be early in life or maybe never!
  • Appearance: generally good looking or at least confident/comfortable with his looks.
  • Positive Characteristics: charming, confident, funny, successful, driven, adventurous, affectionate, outgoing, charismatic
  • Negative Characteristics: lack of empathy, insensitive, unreliable, inconsistent, selfish, inconsiderate, blaming, does not take accountability, cannot handle emotion, lack of communication, manipulative
THE RICHARD THEORY IS FOUR-FOLD
1. Richard will Shawshank you.

If you’ve seen the movie The Shawshank redemption then you may understand this reference. In the movie, the main actor spends years in prison secretly chipping away at his prison cell wall until one day he is able to break free. I use this analogy to explain the way in which a Richard will chip away at your boundaries. Richard actually enjoys a girl with boundaries because this presents a challenge for him. The more you resist, the harder he pursues. He froths on a challenge. You see, the sad thing is that deep down you know he is a Richard but at the same time he is so damn charming and so peristent that resistance is futile. He understands how women work, he knows how women respond, he is used to getting the woman he sets his sights on. He can seem like the perfect guy; will hold your hand, give you a cute nickname, tell you you’re beautiful, make plans for the future, meet your friends and maybe even your parents – but as soon as he’s broken down your barriers, he will abort mission.

ShawshankRedempt_184Pyxurz

Shawshanking = chipping away at something

 

2. Richard will use a ‘get out of jail free’ card.
By this I mean that he will tell you very early on that he is not looking for anything serious. The exact wording of this will vary, ‘We are just having fun’, ‘I really like hanging with you but I’m focusing on other things’, ‘I don’t want a girlfriend’. BUT then he proceeds to treat you like a girlfriend, doing all the things I mentioned above that charm the shit out of you. The moment you start to get attached or show any signs of considering this to be a budding relationship, Richard will throw down the ‘get out of jail free’ card. He will say something along the lines of “I told you that I wasn’t looking for a relationship”, which effectively means that anything he said or did between the beginning and now is nul and void. He will not take accountability for the sleepovers, the cuddles, the movie watching, the breakfasts, the messaging, the late night phone calls because he misses you; the acting like your boyfriend. It was all irrelevant because you were warned and you’re left feeling the fool for believing it was anything more. OUCH!
oogg1

Ah good ol’ Monopoly, teaching us the rules of life…

3. Richard will end things on his terms.
Richard will end things by telling you something along the following lines:
  • “it’s just not the right timing for me” – why then did you get involved with me dickhead!?
  • “you deserve better” – which is true and you know it.
  • “I can’t give you what you want” – again, this is true
  • “it’s not you its me” – a classic, *eye roll*.
  • “I thought we were just having fun?” – oh so you can’t have fun AND be in a relationship?!
2903bf9c3e04b7ab3ca06e6787d6190c

Richard’s have been around for centuries

All of which leave you with a false sense of hope that maybe at some point he will be ready and  he could be the man that initially showed you so much potential. Sneaky Richard has succeeded in leaving the door open just slightly should he get bored in future and need an ego boost.
4. Richard doesn’t want a bad reputation.
You are not the first woman Richard has done this to and you certainly won’t be the last. Until Richard is ready to accept accountability for his actions and is prepared to show understanding and empathy, he will continue to go through life breaking hearts. He won’t want to be seen as the ‘bad guy’, in fact he actually believes that he hasn’t done anything wrong so he may offer you a ‘friendship’, the final nail in the coffin. Of course this friendship will be on his terms, as everything else has been, and he doesn’t really mean you will be friends…he means friends in title and maybe the occasional physical interaction if he’s desperate.
If you manage to muster the resilience to recognise that having him in your life, in any form, is not good for you and reject his friendship, he may get offended. ‘I’m offering you my scraps, don’t you care about my scraps, don’t you like my scraps anymore, are you too good for my scraps!??’ eerrrrrrr how about you take your scraps and shove them up your butt.
food-scraps-shutterstock-c

I’ve had my fill, do you want my scraps?

Having felt just the teensiest bit of rejection, something that you have been feeling in bucketloads, he will shut you out. You see at some point Richard was probably hurt and he doesn’t like rejection so instead he makes sure that he remains unattached and at this point he will probably block and ignore you. A cruel and cowardly retreat that leaves you with no way to express your feelings and blaming yourself.

NO RICHARD NO!
unnamed
I’m pretty good at recognising a Richard, but from time to time they slip though my defences and I delude myself that I can be the one Richard stops being a Richard for; the girl he doesn’t want to lose, the one that’s too good to let go. I’m still learning and still making mistakes but what I do know for sure is that Richard’s won’t change until they want to change and no girl will be what makes them change. I just have to get better at listening to my gut that always let’s me know that something is off. When I see the red flags that I’ve met another Richard, I need to learn to say “no Richard, not this time!” and walk away because I know I deserve better, and you do too!
Until Next Time
XOXO