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Monday, July 28, 2014 Things From Kenya

I think I've mentioned before that George, my boyfriend, is from Kenya. It's a really breath-taking country, and I would recommend it to anyone has a holiday destination. The people are beautiful, the landscape is beautiful, the food is beautiful, the traffic is horrendous, and I feel in love with that country - completely. George and I went there together to visit his family and friends about a year and a half ago now, and while I was there I accumulated quite a lot of accessories and materials from different markets and shops. I gave a lot of it away when I returned to Australia, but I kept a few beauties for myself. I've also been given a few other bits and pieces from Cami, George's sister, when she moved to Melbourne at the beginning of the year. I thought it would be nice to share these on the blog, because I think they're absolutely stunning and they bring back such happy memories. I know that George gets homesick from time to time (as is to be expected), and so we've really tried to ease that a little by bringing a bit of Kenya into our living space.

 How cool is that chess board?! Neither of us know how to play (George will deny that but it's true) so it just kind of sits there collecting dust, but I love it all the same. Happy Monday :) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Poison Jar With A Twist

On Sunday's post I mentioned that George and I went to a shop called The Industrial Revolution in Armadale. We ended up buying a few little things, including this poison jar. I didn't really have any ideas for what we could do with it... was planning on just plonking it on a shelf somewhere for display. Then last night I woke up in the middle of the night, and for some reason a thought immediately came to my head "you should put flowers in the poison jar". Just a bit weird. Anyway, so when I woke up in the morning, I did just that. Kinda cool ey? 

The print behind is done by the brother, Dom. You can check out his facebook page here if you fancy taking a look at more of his stuff. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 Homemade Lavender Shampoo

There are so many benefits to making your own shampoo. It's cheaper, it stretches further, you know exactly what is going in to it, and with a bit of research you're able to alter it to adjust to your hair needs. I wash my hair every single day... yes, I've been told many times how bad this is - that I'm "washing away all the natural oils" etc etc etc. but I seriously cannot deal with greasy hair on my head. I need to go live in a jungle for a year where I can have no contact with human beings, so as to allow the grease-ball of fibers on my scalp to adapt... but until I get the opportunity/ability to live in a jungle for a year, I'll continue to wash it everyday.This unfortunately means that shampoos and conditioners can be quite costly for me, and so I'm always on the hunt for cheaper alternatives. Homemade is the key. I originally found this idea on (a beautiful blog), and I love it. It works great. All you will need is:

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk. Organic would be the ideal but unfortunately my local grocery store doesn't stock it.
  • 1/3 pure Liquid Castille Soap (I used Dr Bronner's, Lavender scent)
  • A few drops of lavender oil or whatever scent you prefer. I like Lavender because it is said to have calming effects which is great for first thing in the morning right?
  • Finally, a pump bottle to store the shampoo

You simply have to mix all these ingredients together, shake it a bit, and you're good to go! If you've never given homemade shampoo a go, I really recommend it. There are heaps of great ideas out there, so with just a little research and little bit of trial-and-error, I really think everyone would be able to find something that works for them :)

Monday, July 21, 2014 University: My Experiences With Social Anxiety

It's pretty late at night but I just had the urge to get this down. It was the first day back at university today and while I'm happy that this means I'm another step closer towards finishing my degree, it's also hard to ignore that my good ol' mate, Mr Anxiety, is popping his big fat unwelcome head up to say “hello”. I'm sure many of you out there who have attempted uni degrees know this feeling and have experienced the anxiety in some shape or form... the soon-to-be looming deadlines and new classmates and awkward introduction sessions and getting lost trying to find classrooms and thinking back to the stresses you felt last semester while knowing that you're going to be feeling them all over again. I think that's the worst part... waiting for the ball to start rolling.

Last night I was reading through the Course Guides for each of my classes and I started feeling extremely nauseous.. now this, I'm not sure is “normal”. I had to put on an old episode of Masterchef just to get my mind off things (not my proudest moment, but it worked). For me, personally, the concern comes not from the assignments or the workload, all that stuff is stressful but I know I can cope with it. What really gets my heart thumping is when I learn that I am required to partake in a class presentation. I suffer from a fear of public speaking as a symptom of my social anxiety, and knowing that I have a presentation coming up, even months away, will make me sweat and panic. Whenever I think about it I can quite literally feel my heart start to pound in my chest. And so then I immediately start thinking of ways to get out of it – maybe I can put this subject off for one more semester, maybe I can pull a sicky on the day of presentation, maybe I can get a doctor's certificate to say that I cannot do presentations for medical reasons (desperate times, people). These thoughts, at their worst, sometimes even lead me to conclude that I should just drop the university degree all together. They're my lowest moments.

I usually manage to talk myself out of these states of panic. I reason with myself that the amount of time that I have to spend making these presentations will amount to about an hour of my total life. While those minutes will be terrifying, they will pass. I also tell myself “just don't care what other people think”... “life is short”... “conquer your fears” etc etc. These rationalisations work.. temporarily.. sometimes.. but their effects seem to be short-term.

One of the most frustrating things for me is not knowing how to communicate these feelings. I think that for anyone who doesn't suffer from these forms of anxiety, these concerns can come off as sounding a bit petty or immature. I've tried to talk to George about it, for instance, but as is to be expected from someone who hasn't experienced social anxiety, he doesn't quite understand. “The presentation will come and go”, he says. And he is right. But that doesn't help my immediate feeling of anxiety. I'm dreading THAT moment that hasn't gone yet. It is still looming. Sometimes I've tried reading online forums from other people who suffer this phobia, thinking that at least these people will understand, but these forums just usually work to make my anxiety worse – almost like it's putting new ideas into my head and establishing additional reasons or justifications to be fearful.

My brother also suffers from social anxiety, and I have taken comfort in knowing that he knows how I feel. It acts as a reminder that there isn't something wrong with me per se, and that I'm not crazy or immature or losing my mind. It helps me realise that, like all forms of anxiety, this has something to do (a lot to do) with the way I am wired. I am a very introverted person (that probably goes without saying at this point). I'm a perfectionist. I'm extremely hard on myself. I'm also quite an observant person, in that I spend too much time analysing people and too much time thinking about what other people are thinking. And I care too much about what other people are thinking. While I think this makes me quite an empathetic person, I also think it makes me quite a paranoid person. So when I'm standing up in front of a group of people, all these factors combine to create something that is completely overwhelming. I'm not concentrating on what I'm saying. Rather, I'm thinking about the fact that there are 40 people in this room and everyone is looking at me and I have no idea what they're thinking. That absolutely frightens me.

So what is to become of this semester? Well, I'm not too sure. But I'm going to give it my best shot.No medical certificates and no missing class. If I'm ever going to be desensitised to this fear, I need to keep confronting it. And I hope, if any readers out there have experienced something similar to this, you know that you are not alone.   

Sunday, July 20, 2014 Sunday Snapshots

Today George and I made the most of the fact that it wasn't icy cold and windy and raining in Melbourne... which seems to be a rare occasion this winter. Whenever we have a free day and don't know what to do with it, we usually look up and find a random cafe or restaurant to go to. Today it was a new cafe that opened up in Armadale, called Gardener and Field. I highly recommend it. The food was lovely and the place is filled with fresh (real!) flowers... Hence the name, I suppose.  

We also did a spot of shopping on High Street and stumbled upon a shop called The Industrial Revolution. Was a really cool place, but a confusing place. The stuff that looked new was cheap and the stuff that looked old was expensive. The power of vintage, ey? It's a crazy world we live in, folks.

 Hope you're having a lovely weekend :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014 Storing Clothes Without A Wardrobe (His & Hers)

It was only a couple of days before we moved into our current apartment that I realised.. crap, we don't have a wardrobe. This is the first place that George and I have moved into where there isn't a built-in closet, which means that neither of us own one. And with so many other things to be spending on money, we had to think of alternative, cheap ways of storing clothes while still making them easily accessible. *Enter Ikea*. We purchased two Rigga Clothes Racks from Ikea, one for me and one for George. Costing only $19.99 each, they seem pretty sturdy and they are quite "aesthetically pleasing".

Now that we have these racks, I've realised that they actually look much better in our apartment that a wardrobe ever would. Because our place is so small, I feel it's quite important to keep bulky items to a minimum, for they would have the potential to make the place look even smaller and too cluttered. Although having our clothes out in the open means that we have to put a bit more effort into keeping them looking neat and tidy (there is no place to hide), I think it pays off well. 

And now for some photos of "George's" rack.. half of which is occupied by my winter coats :P 

Friday, July 18, 2014 Recent Op-Shop Buys (aka thrifting)

I thought I would share some recently purchased items from a few different op-shops around Melbourne. Since going back to studying full time after finishing up at a full-time job, I've really had to adjust my spending habits. In a strange way (and although I would love to have the option of just splurging on a few items here and there) I think it's a lot more satisfying to shop on a budget. It's more of a challenge and hence more of a reward. I'm also conscious about how much we waste... Not talking about money here (that's a whole other story) but more so about materials. I was in a Target Outlet the other day, and I was looking around at the mountains of clothes, and it occurred to me... where do all of these clothes end up?? When we just keep producing everything in bulk, where does it all go?

1. Denim Shorts. I've been pairing these bad boys with feminine, lacy tops. 

2. Sheer black/silver dress. This is so easy to style because it basically does all the work for you. I wore it the other day with black stockings, black ankle boots and a black turtle neck crop top underneath.

3. Bohemian swirl top. It looks like a simple tank top but it actually fits very nicely. I don't know whether it's the material or the cut, or something else, but it's very flattering.

4. Navy blue silk "undergarment". I picked this up from the sleepwear aisle, but I've just been wearing it like any other top. Scandalous. 

5. Tie-dye patterned top. It's a very light material so I think it will be great in summer. Paired with a maxi/midi skirt, it'll work to give a certain "edge" to an outfit, I think.

6. These were so so so cheap! I think these three came to $2 all together. I've been using the tall, cream mug to hold some cooking utensils, I've been using the "terracotta" looking mug to hold my knives, forks and spoons for easy access, and I've been using the mini-milk jug to hold milk (revolutionary ey?)when we brew our coffee on the weekends. I love these!

7. Spotty teacups. Enough said.