Love can change the world in a moment, but what I do know?

As a History teacher I sometimes have the difficult job of teaching my students about the current state of the world as part of our Modern History course. I see their expressions change and their faces drop when they make that switch from ignorant to informed and I hate the thought of them having to worry or be concerned about what may come in the future. It’s a difficult job because I feel in part that learning about the current state of our world makes them grow up a little and takes away some of their innocence – it’s almost as though I’m that awful kid at school who tells you Santa isn’t real. Although it’s difficult, it’s a necessary job. With the recent attack in Paris flashing on my news tonight, I thought these lyrics by Ed Sheeran were particularly important.

Lis x

Ain’t got a soapbox I can stand upon
But God gave me a stage, a guitar and a song
My daddy told me, “son, don’t you get involved in
Politics, religions or other people’s quotes”
I’ll paint the picture, let me set the scene
I know when I have children they will know what it means
And I pass on these things my family’s given to me
Just love and understanding, positivity
We could change this whole world with a piano
Add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go
I’m just a boy with a one-man show
No university, no degree, but lord knows
Everybody’s talking ’bout exponential growth
And the stock market crashing in their portfolios
While I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote
Sing, love could change the world in a moment
But what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment
But what do I know?

How you can spread a little positivity each day

Positivity. Not an overly long word. Not a difficult word to pronounce. In fact, if you sound it out it makes it even easier to pronounce. So why, in my day to day working life, is positivity so hard to come by? I’m not sure about you, but some days I will walk in to work and offer a smile and a ‘good morning’ to my colleagues passing by and I will get not much more than a glare or a mumbled ‘hi’. I know that life can get hectic and we can’t always be chirpy, however I’ve really started to enjoy the small things in life and I’ve learn’t that a little positivity goes a long way. Here are some simple ways you can help spread positivity – not only could it mean something to someone else, but it also generates good energy which ultimately can increase your happiness.

  1. Ask someone about their day/week/month and actually listen to their answer – often I find a “How you been?” kind of question a little bit tokenistic, but recently I’ve been asking people how they are and actually caring about their answer. This is a good time to share in people’s happiness and success, or alternatively offer some support in the not-so-good times. The sharing in success part is crucial – I’ve started to move away from people and old friends who find it hard to be genuinely happy for others, and I’ve noticed that I’m happier because of it. Life isn’t all about you, and taking some time to celebrate and enjoy other people’s achievements has really made me feel good.
  2. Happiness board – I started a happiness board a little while back. I stuck pictures on it that give me inspiration (that house I Googled in Paddington, that Museum I really want to work at), and also pictures that are nostalgic (St. James’ Park in London, my bike that I named Vada). Seeing these inspirations and nostalgic memories each day whilst I get ready for work remind me of where I want to be in life and how far I’ve come. They give me that little boost and remind me that I can start this day fresh. I also have a little whiteboard on my happiness board where I write down three things each day that I am grateful for. I can’t use the same thing twice. This makes me realise that even in times of sadness or uneasiness, that I still have so much to appreciate.
  3. Compliment someone – this isn’t always easy I know, but complimenting others is a positive way to interact with them. You can start out superficial, “Omg I LOVE your skirt”, but slowly start to build up more genuine compliments, such as “you have raised beautiful kids” (or whatever compliment applies!). Compliments go a long way and people tend to remember them when they are meaningful. I like to tell lex one thing I like about him whilst we are having dinner. This one thing needs to be different each night – some nights it can be silly and other nights it can be serious. This one is great for relationships too as it reminds you what you love about your partner and vice versa.
  4. Disengage with negative behaviour (aka gossip) – I wrote a post a while back about refraining from gossiping and bitching about people. I was stuck in a friendship group that always focused on bad-mouthing others (hair, work, clothes, weight – anything!). It made be sink in to a bit of a pit and I had to eventually leave that group of friends because I just didn’t want to be that kind of person. Gossiping is not only hurtful to others but it slowly and surely influences the way you see the world – you start to look for the negatives and you don’t embrace happiness and successes of other people. I’ve since found some beautiful friends and am much happier talking about superficial things over lunch – fashion, beauty, dogs! Our motto is that we’d rather talk about superficial things that make us laugh, than speak about other people for the sake of our enjoyment. Since making the switch I’ve noticed how much more approachable I seem to be to others – people at work approach me to have a chat and see me as someone that can be friends with. It’s a great feeling.

Let me know how your mission of spreading positivity goes.

Lis x

What my favourite TV show taught me about life…

Growing up I remember having a strict bed time on school nights. Mum used to usher me off to bed and close my bedroom door. She would say to me that she was doing her ironing and that I needed a good nights sleep to focus on school the following day. But Mum was hiding something from me, and it wouldn’t be until I was much older that I realised exactly what it was…

Enter the end of my high school days and the start of University, a young woman now, and feeling ready to take on the world. Now I would be finally be let in to Mums secret – Sex and the City!!

For me, Sex and the City was eye-opening in so many ways. Most importantly it taught me the value of friendships and that it was okay to not have a clear path in mind for the rest of my life – this was particularly useful as I was a Uni student who swapped degrees and really struggled to narrow down my focus. I became completely hooked on the lives of these four New York women and have watched every episode multiple times, including the commentary versions! In fact, when I first went to NYC with my Mum and Dad we went on the Sex and the City tour (don’t worry we didn’t force my Dad to come along, he decided to walk around town instead!). Mum and I snagged the front seat of the bus and got to spot all the sites used to film the series – such a cool experience! I even dressed up a little Charlotte-like for the day – think a big white and blue spotted dress, a headband, and heels.

So why am I even talking about Sex and the City? Well two reasons really. The first is that as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised that this TV show has taught me a lot about people and the kinds of qualities and characteristics I look to have and look to be around. And secondly, school holidays always brings out the lazy side of me and I decided I needed a Sex and the City fix. Unfortunately I left my box set at Mum and Dad’s place, so I settled with the next best thing, Sex and the City: The Movie and Sex and the City: 2. As soon as those opening credits started playing I was immediately taken back to Carrie’s world and wanted all things Bradshaw. Although I loved the fashion, the glamour, and the wit of the series, what I most loved was the fact that each of the four women were relatable. I used to always do those online quizzes “Which Sex and the City character are you?”, but I actually think that the women are each designed to represent a little part of the everyday woman.

I think we all have a little Carrie in us – that tendency to fall head over heels with something, be it a person, a project, or even a pair of shoes. Carrie for me often came across as a little irrational but that was only because she truly felt her emotions. She was loyal to her friends and she knew exactly what she wanted to achieve and how. I also think all have a little Miranda in us – practical, level-headed and firm in knowing what we like. Miranda was probably my favourite out of the four girls (closely followed by Charlotte), and I admired her problem solving and the way she perceived both problems and opportunities. As for Ms. York, I definitely think we all have some Charlotte in us. Charlotte represents the part of us which likes to dream – dream of that perfect relationship, that perfect place, that perfect job. Although she’s a dreamer, she works hard to realise those dreams and she remains a beacon of positivity throughout the series. What I love most about Charlotte though, is her ability to appreciate and be grateful for what she has in life. That is a quality that I’m working on every day. And finally, I think (at least secretly), we all have a bit of Samantha in us too. Samantha is the independent side of us, that part within us that wants to do it our own way. She sets her own rules and is never phased by people’s opinions of her. I would personally love to be a little more like that, going about my business without that fear hanging over my head of what people will think and how they will react.

I’m so tempted so buy the box set again, after all I can’t take it away from my Mum, she did share it with me in the first place!

Lis x

Working towards a healthier lifestyle

Over at Greenwich Lane HQ we’ve been working towards living a healthier lifestyle. Initially this started as limiting takeaway, not putting in that loaf of garlic bread with our pasta for dinner, and other little things along those lines. In January of this year I was feeling inspired by the start of a new year and what I ultimately saw as a fresh start and a chance to look after my body. I’m not overweight – in fact I’m one of those annoying people who eat a lot and rarely exercise but still manage to stay at the same weight. My new approach to my body was instead based on trying to make my body feel good again. I had been feeling sluggish, uninspired and tired all the time. I have suffered from low iron for as long as I can remember. I knew that if I wanted to be a happier and healthier version of myself then I need to do something about it. Queue the introduction of SuperGreen SuperFood Powder by Sally Obermeder and her sister Maha Koraiem. I’d been following them both on Instagram for a quite a while and was always inspired by their energy and smiles. They released their SuperGreen Powder and I decided that I was going to take my first step towards being healthier. I purchased two tubs and off I set, inspired and ready for the year ahead. The Powder is a blend of over 40 ingredients including apple, cucumber and  blueberry and is designed to detoxify and alkalise your body.

I must say, this SuperGreen SuperFood Powder has been life-changing. That is no overstatement. I honestly cannot believe how much of an impact it has had on my wellbeing and lifestyle. It’s hard for me to even explain how it has helped me. All I know is that my body has never felt this good. I feel light and healthy. My energy levels are up, my sugar intake is down, and my body just feels cleansed and revitalised. Every day I mix one teaspoon of the powder in to a cold glass of water. It is so refreshing and the flavour is great – lime! If I am feeling particularly tired after a day of work I will have a second glass in the afternoon on my balcony. It also takes away those afternoon sugar cravings which is a bonus. It’s weird that as soon as I get a bit lazy and stop taking it for a few days my body knows the difference, I just don’t feel as good anymore.

Swiish

The ladies have just released their SuperGreen Smoothies as well! These are pre-cut fruit + vegies that you just pop in your blender and add water to! I’ve been having one for lunch or when I come home from work.

Not only are these products delicious but they really have impacted the way my body feels, and in an extension of this, I have a greater awareness about what I am putting in to my body and what is going to nourish me. The Powder gives me a boost when life gets busy and is fast-paced. Also, Sally and Maha are two of the sweetest entrepreneurs around. They never hesitate to answer any questions on Instagram and look genuinely happy to see their product actually helping people. It’s great to know that the people behind the product are empowering, real, likeable and most importantly, nice.

Have a look at their website and see what I am going on about!:

http://www.swiish.com/

Lis x

(P.S. this is not a paid or sponsored post, it’s just a product that I really hope people can enjoy the same way that I have).

Urban Yoga, Surry Hills

Often when I’m holidays (the perks of being a school teacher), I go through little phases of inspiration and hope. Last week that little phase was yoga. Living in Sydney we are spoilt by options for yoga studios, although I think that makes it a little harder to narrow down which one’s you want to try. In some areas you can get a week free of yoga classes to test out the studio before you commit. To my dismay however, Sydney yoga seems to be in such high-demand that free classes just aren’t a thing. I really didn’t want to sign up to anything so I literally Googled away for what felt like forever, in the search for a free yoga class. That’s when I stumbled upon Urban Yoga – a chic yoga studio on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. As soon as I clicked on their website I was drawn to the aesthetic of the place – modern, inviting, and definitely urban. I signed up for the 4.30pm Urban Base class that afternoon.

When I walked in the studio I was met by a staff member who showed me around the GORGEOUS studio – every detail had been thought of and I was immediately transported away from the hustle and bustle of Cleveland Street (and trying to find a park), to this amazing sanctuary of calmness. They offer you Green Tea to drink before and after class, and some super comfy lounges to laze on. Being as I was there 30 minutes before class (habits of a person who fears being late), I definitely made the most of it. I made a conscious effort to put my phone in my locker straight away so as to not be influenced by technology. It’s amazing how so often when we are by ourselves or we are waiting, that the tendency to go to social media or web browsing pops up. I wanted to avoid that and spend the next hour or so completely to myself. I sat in the room on my mat, nervous but also intrigued. I felt particularly nervous because I was there on my own. I know that sounds silly, but sometimes having a friend with you makes you feel a little more comfortable. Unfortunately my friend Sarah is away in the US at the moment, so I decided to go alone!

The yoga room is pretty dark. If I wasn’t a self-conscious newbie I probably would have chosen a mat close to the front where the instructors sits so that I could actually see! The screen behind the instructor takes up the whole back wall and during the class images of nature are projected to immerse you.

I will admit, I tend to go to yoga when I want to feel good and do something light. Urban Yoga is not that. It was INTENSE. Never mind the projected images of nature, I didn’t even have time to look at them, I was dripping in sweat. At one point in the class I felt like I couldn’t keep going, but it’s amazing what the fear of embarrassment will do to you. I’m so glad that I persisted because I have never felt better after a yoga session than I did after that class. My body felt like it had worked out, but also felt relaxed and light. The next day my abs felt tight and I was on a bit of a high. The great thing about Urban Yoga is that you get to relax your mind as yoga teaches you to do, but you also feel like you’ve accomplished a workout afterwards. The whole 60 minutes I was 100% focused on the task at hand. I was able to shut out all my worries and forget the outside world and really just give myself 60 minutes to do something good. For me, that has always been the appeal of yoga – to offer a moment of calmness in an otherwise hectic world.

The instructors at Urban Yoga were so lovely and moved around the room guiding you in to various poses and aiding you with your breathing and technique. During the final mediation they also come around with some essential oils and give you a little head massage.

Whether or not its yoga or something else, I really want to make an effort to give myself 60 minutes of ‘me’ time a week. I encourage you all to do the same.

Lis x

Back when I knew it all

The first concert I ever went to was with my Mum. We went to see our favourite band Savage Garden at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. It was amazing and probably my favourite concert I’ve ever been to. The lead singer of the band is Darren Hayes and he penned a beautiful letter to his 15 year old self. I’m also inspired when I read the letter and it reminds me to not take things for granted, and to not dwell on the little things.

If I could tell my childhood self 5 things about the future they would be:

  1. The HSC exam at the end of school doesn’t and won’t define you. You’ll become a successful teacher and love your job. The HSC mark didn’t get you there, you won a scholarship where YOU got the chance to shine, not your essays
  2. Don’t take things so personally – those without tough skins can easily fall apart. Besides, constructive criticism makes you a stronger person
  3. It doesn’t matter about being popular – when you finish school the ‘popular’ group fade into the sea of new people you meet at university. No-one bothers to ask if you were popular or not!
  4. Don’t get caught up with having a high-school boyfriend – enjoy the time with your friends!
  5. Thank your teachers – they do a darn good job!

Lis x

Have a read below at Darren’s letter:

DEAR Darren,

I know this is going to sound insane, crazy even – but I’m writing this to you from the future. Of course, I can’t tell you what really happens. But I know you are in a lot of pain. You hide it from your friends and from your family, but I know you’re having a rough time. I know, for example, that the first two years of high school were hell for you. In May 1987 the bullying should be just about winding down.

If it makes you feel any better, that group of boys who called you ‘faggot’ and ‘gay boy’ – the ones who beat you up and harassed you so much you sometimes wanted to die? Well they end up getting the futures they deserve. What I want you to know is, the thing that made you a target is the thing that makes you beautiful. There will be times in your life where you will try to dull down your magic because it draws too much attention. But please, don’t do that. Please remember to shine because one day people are going to pay a lot of money to see you light up.

Don’t get too hung up on whether you like boys or girls. I know right now you’re confused because you have a crush on a boy in your maths 1 class and you had a crush on a girl in your French class. Stop thinking you have AIDS. You haven’t even kissed a boy … you can’t catch it from watching Bruce Willis movies.

Take that position in the girl’s choir. Your voice will stand out and Mrs. Landsdowne is going to realise you have a gift for singing. Imagine you’re Luke Skywalker. Being true to yourself is really no different to using the force. Remember that money changes everything. … the people who love you, won’t expect you to pay for your own birthday dinner. This will make sense in the 90s.

This will trip you out but in the future you live in London. Yes I know this is insane. You’re thinking ‘But I’m obsessed with America!’ Don’t worry, this won’t change, you will be there for seven of the best years of your life.

Today, in the future, you get a train to Paris to spend it with the love of your life who also happens to be the person you are married to. You’ve got a keeper. More than a keeper. You end up with someone who makes you laugh every single day of your life.

Ok, I’ve tried not to spoil too many secrets – but something pretty amazing is about to happen. You’re about to go to a Michael Jackson concert. November 25, 1987, am I right? Well just to prove to you I know what I’m talking about – the show is supposed to be in a football stadium but soon due to a ridiculous rumour about him performing behind a bubble, ticket sales are going to be so bad that several concerts in Australia will be cancelled and yours will be moved to two nights at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Through a twist of fate, your cheap field ticket will be randomly exchanged for a seat 4 rows from the stage and you’ll witness a performance so spectacular it will inspire you to do what you do for a living in the future. Hint: it’s not teaching.

Never give up!

I love you,

Darren Stanley Hayes!

London, May 7, 2012

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