Christmas Conversation Starters #5TTT

Hi all,

I hate fake conversations and small talk. To the point where I would rather stay silent… and often do. David is the one in our house with the gift of conversation, not me.

It’s really tough sometimes and I just don’t know how some folks do it. Maybe practice makes perfect. Maybe it’s pushing beyond the stage of awkwardness to get to the other side. Who knows. But whatever it is, I ain’t good at it!

I have read the odd article here and there about how to start and grow a conversation. Some tips sound good, others you couldn’t pay me to do. I guess it depends on what situation you are in. Speaking to a high level bod at your work certainly differs from speaking to your Auntie at Christmas.

I do however, have a few that work. Conversation starters or changers that I am more than willing to bring up and chat about. These are tried and tested and have always resulted in a conversation I enjoyed and folks were engaged in. Score!

Before I go on to my 5 top tips for conversation starters (ideal over the holiday period in particular) I just wanted to say to my fellow conversation strugglers out there that it’s ok, you are not alone. Just remember, everyone loves a listener and being asked questions!Chase the Red Grape

What’s your next adventure?

For some it may be an adventure within their career. Others it may be travel or venturing into a new hobby or resolution. But wording the question this way allows people to be free to talk about all kinds of interests they may have. People actually light up when I ask this question!

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Talk about a conversation starter! Especially at a table with a several people. Everyone has an opinion on this and it is always different. Keeping the conversation light hearted, away from politics or work, and only getting as heated as ‘is Die Hard actually a Christmas movie’?

Anything you would recommend binging on Netflix over the holidays?

We all have a series we love or are loving watching right now. This question has lead to me bonding with many people, especially when someone has found the same hidden gem that you have! Get to know people on a person level. We all watch TV, it’s the way we chill out at the end of the day.

What was your most memorable Christmas gift?

Ah the question that allows us to bring up memories of times gone by. Was it the doll house they got as a child? Was it the PlayStation they literally spend all of their teenage years playing? This question almost always leads on to a conversation about childhood toys… and what could be more fun? Were you a Lego person? Playmobile? Sylvanian Families? Or how about Team Barbie or Team Cindy?

And for getting out of the conversation…

Be polite. Don’t say you will be right back or sneak off to the toilet! Simply move on by saying ‘it has been lovely having a chat with you and I hope to catch you again later on tonight/today. But I must go and do the rounds!’. Works a charm.

Do you find the art of conversation easy?

What is your most memorable Christmas gift?

How do you get out of a conversation? 

The gifts to give yourself this Christmas #5TTT

Hi all,

Christmas is a time where we think about everyone else. Our friends, our families, our neighbours, colleagues, even strangers we have never met. We give generously. We want to make others happy. We want to make them feel loved.

All of this is wonderful and really is what makes the season so special. But have you ever thought about giving yourself a gift this Christmas? I can tell you now that one of the most deserving people in your life that you neglect every festive season is you. Who knows you best? You. Who can really give you what you need? You.

It’s not going to cost you anything. No purchase necessary. This weeks 5 top tips will show you where you can give yourself a gift this Christmas. One that will guide you through strong into the new year.Christmas

Time

We all know how precious time can be. We all find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day on a frequent basis. Over the holiday period clock in some time for you. Find an allotted time if need be! It could be having a lie in. It could be snooping around the holiday sales. It could be taking a solo walk with the dog. Time is there for you if you make it a priority.

Your wants and needs

Last week I spoke about traditions and I want to bring it up here again. Make sure this festive season that you also do the things you want to do. Make sure at least one activity is on your ‘must do/see’ list. Pleasing others and others wants and needs only goes on for so long until you rebel. And guess what, they want to do the things that make you happy too!

Rest to restore

This goes hand in hand with time and I know it’s something I talk about all the time like a broken record but it’s true. Let yourself rest over the holidays. If you are lucky enough to be off work during this time make the most of it. Lie on the couch and binge watch movies. Take some time of your usual exercise programme and go for a walk instead. Sleep in later. If you rest now, and restore your body over this time, you really will be rewarded in the long run.

Peace

Got kids? Yeah maybe this one might not be so easy! Ha! But peace, contentment, joy, calm… these words really are synonymous with the season, let’s not forget that. When I was younger, Boxing Day (the 26th) and New Years Day were always a day of calm in our house. Little to no plans, house bound, eating leftovers. No one had to do anything or be anywhere. It was peace.

Drop the guilt

Oh I really want a slice of Christmas cake… I shouldn’t. Oh I really want a cookie… I shouldn’t. Damn I ate those chocolates…. that bit of cheese…. that eggnog. STOP IT NOW.

This is once a year. Holiday foods are treat foods. We indulge once a year to celebrate. Food and drink isn’t something to fear. If you want, have, but do so without the guilt. Savour, enjoy, celebrate, experience those tastes and flavours with family and friends. Decide to you what you love and be happy. And for those who decide to eat/ drink etc differently to you… leave them be. You do you and let them do them.

As for the other forms of holiday guilt – forgetting a present/ someone not enjoying your gift, not being able to see a loved one or someone who expected you, not having time to bake x,y or z… the list could go on and on. But remember what the season is meant to be. You wouldn’t want anyone else to feel guilty this year… don’t place it upon yourself.

Now get thinking about what gift you are going to bestow upon yourself this year!

Do you find the season busy or quiet?

Where do you find peace?

Are you someone who feels guilty?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Evaluating Traditions #5TTT

Hi all,

I adore traditions. They make me feel warm and cosy inside. They bring an instant sense of comfort and joy, that everything is the way it is meant to be.

During the festive period traditions are heightened. I don’t know about you but my December is full of them, starting from the opening of my advent calendar on the 1st of December. It’s just the way it is done, right?

From advent calendars, watching Muppet Christmas Carol as we put up the Christmas tree, going out for a meal on Christmas Eve, certain decorations being in certain places in the home and on the tree, stockings on Christmas morning, listening to Christmas FM every day to making Christmas treats, I could list my traditions until my hands hurt from typing!

But when we moved to Australia things changed. For one the season changed! No more Gluhwein at the Christmas market. No more snow (or snowmen). No more Christmas Carol concerts. No more Christmas shopping down the British high street. No more family. And my heart still pangs the most with that one.

So we had a opportunity, change things up the way we want them. Introduce new traditions, ditch old ones, really evaluate which ones mean the most to us and which did not. For this weeks 5 top tips I bring to you questions that you can ask yourself regarding the traditions (holiday or otherwise) that you have in your life. Too often we find that there is so much to do and so little time, so let’s stick to the good stuff!Traditions

Why do you do it?

Ask yourself this simple question – why am I/we doing this? And no, ‘because we always have’ is not an answer. Can you imagine the season without it? What would happen if you didn’t do it?

Does it make you happy?

So you have a reason, but does it make you happy? Does it fill you with happiness/ a glow/ those little butterflies in your tummy? Does having this tradition in your life bring a big smile to your face year after year? I can also understand that maybe for you it isn’t a deal breaker but for someone else it is. And seeing them smile makes you over the moon happy. To those of you out there, this is perfectly fine!

Does it serve a purpose?

Sometimes traditions are more practical. Maybe it’s the Christmas dinner or going for a walk afterwards (we all know how much we need that… or a nap!). So it’s not so much a happiness factor but a sensible tradition that ‘get’s things done’. But do you have those traditions that you struggle to squeeze in? Ones you have to force into your calendar? Does your mind wonder towards your ‘to do list’ when you are doing them? Maybe time to rethink.

Anything else excite you?

Ever looked at someone else’s December and wish you could do that instead? Feel overwhelmed by the amount of current traditions with no room for new ones? What intrigues you? Going out for Christmas dinner? Taking a Christmas shopping weekend away? Going to church on Christmas Eve. How could you make this happen? Never be scared to try something out. If it doesn’t work or feel right you can change it up next year.

What about the others?

You know what you want. But what does everyone else like to do? Maybe other members of your family would like to change it up. Maybe they simply do what is always done because they think that’s what you want. Pose the question to your family – what is a deal breaker when it comes to our traditions and which ones could you take or leave? Then what would you like to try? Sounds exciting right?

I would love to hear what some of your traditions are!

Or maybe you know of a few new things you would like to try?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

My ‘why’ with the 5 top tips series #5TTT

Hi all,

I began writing my 5 top tips on a Tuesday back in September 2015  and I have rarely missed a week since.

100 articles later, I am still going strong, first and foremost because I love writing them. I love connecting with you all and hearing your opinions on a variety of topics. I love passing on any information I have to you and sharing my knowledge. I love that you might disagree with me. I love that you might know in your gut that what I am saying is or isn’t right for you. I love that you come back with follow up questions, stories or suggestions. I am proud of my content because it’s my way of saying you already have everything you need within you, sometimes you just need to answer the right questions to help coax it out.

Asking questions and getting you thinking about what you do, what’s right for you, or how you feel is my jam. No one will have the same two answers. It’s what makes us so amazing. It is also exactly why my approach has never been, and never will be, one size fits all.

For this weeks 5 top tips, I simply wanted to share with you 5 reasons why I am here, each Tuesday, sharing information with you all. Hopefully understanding my ‘why’ will help you all know me a little better and as a result see my intention each week.chase the red grape

Helping me helping you

I have never hidden the fact that sometimes I write these posts based on advice I need to tell myself. Often I know what actions to take in a particular situation but I just can’t do it for some reason. Writing advice as if it was for another person clears all of that. It gives me the drive I need, the proof if you will, to know I am doing the right thing. But I don’t want to do it alone. I know that most of the time my issues are shared by many. If I know I can help myself then I know I want to help you all to do the same. I may pose questions that we have different answers to, but the process of thinking is where all the magic happens so that you can do the best for you.

Cut through the BS

Being in the world of writing about health and happiness, I read a lot of BS. Not because the opinions differ to mine (although that does happen frequently) but because, as I mentioned above, of the one size fits all approach. We are different people. A diet that works for you doesn’t work for me. Same goes for exercise, hours of sleep, motivation, stress levels so on and so forth, The BS is in telling you what to do. No one can do that for you, you need to work it out for yourself. Ask questions, experiment, stop comparing. I never want you to feel that you aren’t good enough. You are always amazing to me.

Keeping advice short and snappy

I ain’t got time for endless reading. I want short, concise and to the point advice, help or motivation. I want a snappy read that will get me excited or gets me thinking. It’s also why we created the podcast. Got no time to sit and read? Listen to Chase the Red Grape instead. Although the topics will differ, the essence is still the same.

Questions to ask yourself and takeaway

Questions, questions, questions. What do you think? How do you act in this situation? What do you feel in your gut? I am always asking you questions. These questions reveal your answers, the real call to action (if necessary). I am just the facilitator bringing up a topic. You have the answer to any factor within your life. I want you to feel empowered. I want you to know that you can and you will.

Embrace the suck…view it differently… if it is even there…

Somethings in life suck. Somethings in life we feel bad about because we think we should. Sometimes we feel alone in our unhappiness. Sometimes we feel bad that we feel so good. I spent too long living in the suck. Figure out what you can control and spend your time on that, don’t waste time living in the suck. However, sometimes I want you to see that often the suck isn’t really there. Maybe it can be seen in a different way. Maybe it’s a problem you have just become too involved in or maybe it isn’t even worthy of attention. All realisations after asking a few questions.

Life is too short to feel down. I want to help bring you up. But only you know what is best for you. 

Want to read some of my 5 top tips? Check out the 5 top tips page on the header of the site. Or click here.

Do you like being told what to do or do you like figuring it out for yourself?

Has anything you have read (not just from me) lead to an ‘ah ha’ moment?

What ‘one size fits all’ piece of advice have you seen online or otherwise that would be so wrong for you?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Why taking a time out might just be exactly what you need #5TTT

Hi all,

I don’t know about you, but I am tired.

The year is coming to a close, some are heading into the deep depths of winter, others the crazy heat of summer but no matter what, we can’t escape the change. November is always the calm before the storm. The reminder of all we have to do within the year before it ends. We all know December is madness. Our to-do lists are the size of our arms, weekends whiz past without stopping and before you know it, it’s the big day,

I can’t wait for Christmas and all it brings. It makes me feel so much joy. Right now though, do I even have the energy for it?

So how do I get that energy? How do I bring my mind and body into December with all it needs? What advice would I give someone else who was generally feeling a bit run down?

I would tell them to take a time out.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Take a time out. We can’t be go go go all the time, it just doesn’t work, we don’t work, we don’t thrive. Below are 5 areas where I believe folks can benefit from taking a time out. Even just one may help and it may only take a couple of hours, a day or two, maybe even a week if you have the time. Figure out where you would benefit from a time out and get ready to feel like you have the energy and drive to party and celebrate the rest of the year.chase the red grape

Work

So you are probably holding on right now… waiting for your Christmas holidays, right? Urgh who isn’t feeling like they need a holiday right now?! But there are still several weeks left, how do you want them to go? Have any annual leave left? Why not take a day or two to chill out? Have a Netflix day, do some Christmas shopping, sleep even! If you don’t have any annual leave left see if you company has a policy where you can take a mental health day. Your mind needs a break too.

If you have no option to take time off right now make sure you are putting yourself first. Take all the breaks you are entitled to. Leave work on time and get home where you can rest. Get an early night so your body has enough sleep to tackle the following day. You are number one.

Exercise

Whatever you do for exercise, ask yourself right now ‘at this present moment, is it serving me’? I get it, the gym is community, it’s so much more than just movement. But putting yourself through intense exercise day after day and telling yourself it’s worth it because of what it does for your social life isn’t the right way to go. What is your body telling you? Is it sore? Is it tired? Does it need a break, a bit of TLC? Maybe cut back on how many times you go per week. Maybe drop those weights or intensity for a couple of days and see how you feel. Or maybe just stay in bed instead. Your body will tell you what’s best, you just have to listen to it.

Diet

I’m not going to preach on what you should or shouldn’t eat. If your not eating great, you know it and you know what you should be eating instead. Don’t deny yourself or restrict yourself, just maybe eat some more veg or pass on the pizza. Get your tummy happy for the holidays. If you do eat well then great but make sure you’re not going too far. Does your body need a little more? Does what you eat make you happy?

And if like me you are pretty happy food wise but want to just take a break from alcohol for a little while then that’s always a good choice. I think a lot of folks would benefit from a boozy time out, just to reset our bodies and give it a little break from having to work hard to process the alcohol.

Routine

Why not throw a spanner in the works? I get really tired from doing the same old same old stuff day in and day out. Although I thrive from routine, I also know, if I’m not careful, it can drag me down into a rabbit hole and it’s hard to get out. Do something different. Go for a walk after dinner. Switch up one of your go to meals. Attend a class or go to the cinema on a weeknight. Break your self imposed rules. Take a time out from the grind.

Surroundings

Last but not least, take a time out from your surroundings. Maybe you are a Mum and you just need that night off from the family to spend with friends. You and your husband could book a last minute cheap deal for a stay at a hotel in your city. Or maybe you need some alone time. Work from home instead of the office. Even walking home a different way or trying out a new coffee shop can make a big difference. I like going somewhere new at the weekend. Just switch up what you see.

Don’t let yourself burn out. Take a time out instead.

How are you feeling right now?

Where would a time out be beneficial to you?

Are you patiently waiting for the holidays or longing badly for them?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

What has social media done to you? #5TTT

Hi all,

Remember back in the day when the internet started being something we could have in our homes? If you were lucky, you had a massive ‘piece of equipment’ PC and you spent your evenings talking to friends on MSN messenger about the same things you had also spent the past 8 hours of school talking about.

Fast forward a few years and I was off to university. At this point Facebook was only available to people attending select universities, and it never really fussed me. Until a few years in and my university was accepted. Of course we signed up! This looked so cool! Still, it was only something you looked at when and if you were connected to the internet… and even then it was about posting when you were having a party… and revealing said pictures from party!

Fast forward 13 years and social media has just exploded. Everyone has constant access to the internet. Everyone is on Facebook, your mum, your auntie, all of your friends. And then there is Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and so on and so forth. Has the way we communicate as a society really changed so much in the space of 13 years? I don’t think anyone could argue that the answer to that has to be ‘yes’. 

What has social media done to you?

For this weeks 5 top tips, I dug deep to look at the relationship I have with social media and what it has done to me. What does social media reveal about the world around me? What has it brought to my attention? These are my thoughts. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, maybe social media means something very different to you. Let me know below what you think.chase the red grape

Connection

Social media will always be worth it’s weight in gold to me, simply because of connection. Being on the other side of the world from my family and friends has been tough but social media allows me to be a part of life over there still. It allows me to keep connected with my old communities and friends. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to have to disconnect from all these important people and places – thankfully I don’t have to.

Desire

Social media has enabled me to desire more than I ever could have dreamed of. Maybe for you this desire is a good thing, you see something you want and you figure out a way to get it. It pushes you, it drives you, you can see an end. For me, desire can lead to pressure, confusion and often unhappiness. Most of the time it’s about things or opportunities I never even considered or was aware of. Social media can make me feel bad for not wanting it or not having it.

Why not me?

Yes the comparison game. Why don’t I have this? Why do they have it and not me? What have I done wrong? Do I not deserve the same opportunities? Am I no good? We glance at something, take one look and that’s all we need to bring ourselves down and tear ourselves to shreds. We no longer live in our bubble. We can see every single bubble in the world. We feel judged, we judge others, it feels like there is no escape. (Unless we disconnect… but then face being left out!).

People can be cruel… but cruel people are not worthy of your attention

The ability to be cruel, cause hurt to others and bully has exploded throughout the evolution of social media. I see good people everyday being torn down by comments online. It’s horrible. However through trolling we have learned that both online and in real life we cannot tolerate people who are cruel, people who bring us down, strangers, as well as those we know, who believe it is ok to cause hurt with their words. As much as I wish no one has to ‘learn how to deal with trolls’, it has become part of our world. What counts is that we stand up to it and realise that trolls are not worthy of our attention.

We are stronger together

Finally, I believe that social media has made me realise that we truly are stronger together. We feel with others on the other side of the world. We can be a part of helping afflict change in areas where we used to feel helpless. We can be more informed, have a strong basis of knowledge, share because we care. Yes there is a lot of ‘fake news’ out there and so much nonsense but the more time we spend with social media as part of our lives the more we realise its worth, its power and its ability to help us do good.

Be the good, promote the good, share the good and all will be well.

Have you always had social media in your life?

What does social media enable you to do?

What has social media done to you, both positive and negative?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

F**k keeping up with the Joneses! #5TTT

Hi all,

Keeping up with the Joneses. Since the start of social media I think we all can agree that the Joneses are no longer just our neighbours. They are our Facebook friends, bloggers, celebrities, anyone that hashtags the same as us on Instagram. Yes you guess it, it’s the old comparison chestnut again!

But rather than write yet another blog post about how we are unique and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others online, I’m going to get you rethinking the entire concept so it pretty much becomes obsolete.

You are a Jones. I am a Jones. Everyone wants to be a Jones but don’t you realise in some shape or form you already are.

I was having a moan one day about my work, or lack of it as I was moaning about. I looked at other bloggers and writers and craved for what they had. I looked up to them, then looked down at me. I wanted the status, I wanted the credibility, I wanted the break. But then I read a comment on my blog. Someone had mentioned how lucky I was to live in Perth Australia. To be that close to the beach, to have all the sunshine. She wanted it, she craved it. To her, I was a full blown Jones.

And of course to them, your life is perfect…. even if in reality it’s not.

We are all each others Jones. Everyone has something that another craves, desires, wants or looks up to. Below are simply 5 common ones (blown to the extreme for effect, as we do in our minds), but don’t let the stature of these points fool you, your desire to be like the Joneses can be big or small.chase the red grape

Career Jones

Career Jones seemingly got everything she wanted. Good grades at university, stepped into an excellent job with prospects and is now climbing up the ladder. Maybe she got promoted younger than you or got a ‘job well done’ bonus. Career Jones is also that woman (or man) who left their career behind to go where their passion lay. And guess what, it all worked out and they have made a successful business from it!

Body Jones

Body Jones looks stunning. Perfect hair, makeup (maybe even without makeup), toned, tanned and fabulous, right? Everything is so effortless from their style to how they fix their hair, oh did I mention that they have the time and money to get regular hair cuts, manicures and pedicures? No need for a spray tan, they seem to go from gorgeous to glowing whenever summer comes around. And who cares if someone takes a bikini picture, they will always rock it!

Travel Jones

Travel Jones jumped on a plane with her husband for a new life in one of the most beautiful areas of Australia without a second thought. She lives 10 minutes from the beach, which, is just an endless vision of crystal clear golden beach and sand. Every weekend is new adventures exploring and there are so many countries near by. Every day is wonderful, exciting and picture perfect…. right?

(Sound good? Yeah life is good, but as with everything, perfection it aint!).

Fitness Jones

Fitness Jones, gosh I see so many Fitness Jones that I simply want to be! They are so strong and fast and they make everything look so effortless. How does it come so naturally to them? And let’s face it they often are our Body Jones too. Everyone at the gym looks up to them, and everyone wants to be their friend because they are so cool and can do all these things I wish I could do too. Sigh!

Family Jones

Family Jones is happily married to the most wonderful man/ woman. They love each other deeply, give each other little gifts, especially flowers. They never forget birthdays or anniversaries. And why would they argue? Family Jones often has children, perfect, adorable children. Children that always behave and have their own cute wee style that everyone just coos over. We all want children like theirs.

Sound crazy but also familiar? Extreme maybe but I’m sure you have thought about someone else in this shape or form before.

As I mentioned above, don’t let the nature of the above fool you into thinking that no one sees you as a Jones simply because those 5 things aren’t on your lap. There are people who I want to be like because they can cook better than me, can sing or dance, have belongings I want, are more intellectual, heck sometimes I even want to be like someone because they are busier than me and I crave the buzz of deadlines! So don’t beat yourself up for looking up to someone else and wishing you were like them. Just simply remember than someone else is doing the same thing to you. Aspire to be a Jones by all means… but just as you aren’t ‘on a pedestal’ perfect, remember they aren’t too.

Do you have a Jones that you wish to be like?

What Jones like quality do you have that, if you were honest, you know others would crave?

Do you ever look at someone else’s seemly perfect life and blow it out to the extreme? Aka their whole world is effortless?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

5 words that guide your life #5TTT

Hi all,

Over the past year or so I have really been drawn to reading and researching about who we are as individuals. How do we work? What makes us tick?

Not only has it lead to a greater understanding of how other people work but it has also allowed me to dive into who I am as a person. Sometimes it’s in the form of a collective, like my tendency (as per Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) but often it has me exploring the minutia of my core. What’s in my gut driving me each day, helping me make the choices I do?

Recently, I asked myself the question ‘what are 5 words that guide your life’?

By guide, I mean words that take you by the hand and help you make the choices you do, because they describe who you are. Initially I came out with 5 words that I thought I ‘should’ write. Those things that describe who I feel we should be. But then I looked deep into my core. Those answers were very different.

For this weeks 5 top tips I bring you the 5 words that guide my life. Most importantly though, I want you to think about what 5 words guide your life. What words have deep roots in your core, shaping you in and out each day?chase the red grape

Kindness

I know from a young age I was brought up to value the importance of kindness. Kindness to others in particular but more recently I have truly appreciated the importance of being kind to myself. My thoughts, feelings and emotions find it easy to pull me apart, to pick upon a perceived flaw and attack it. I know kindness is in my core because I couldn’t fathom doing this to anyone else. I just need to work on applying it to myself.

Hygge

You all know my pull towards the concept of hygge (check out my post on hygge for more information). I thrive when I am content, happy, cosy, in my own wee nook… however you want to describe hygge. I know that feeling, I adore that feeling, I crave that feeling. It just makes so much sense to me. I feel it’s importance in my life and I strive to have access to it always.

Generous

Similar to kindness for sure but for me being generous is the art of giving… and allowing yourself to feel good about how that makes you feel. We all have so much to give whether that be money, time, gifts, donations of clothing or even lending an ear to a friend. Being generous makes me feel good and the more I give the more I want to keep on giving. I feel drawn towards helping others and it’s no surprise to me that I grew up wanting to become a teacher.

Faith

Faith can mean so many things to different people. For me, I don’t speak of faith in terms of religion, more that sense of knowing, knowing that things will be ok. I have faith that I will do in life the work I am meant to do. I have faith that David and I will live in the place we were meant to live. I do not meant to say that I have no aims or goals and that hard work doesn’t create what I want. My faith is not in fate. My faith is in myself and the world that guides me.

Realistic

This last word for some could be seen as a negative but for me couldn’t be further from the truth. I am a very realistic person. Sometimes that makes me a glass is half full person, sometimes that makes me a glass is half empty person. However I take comfort in knowing the realistic outcomes or potentials in any situation, even if that means being classed as negative. But if it makes me happy and is who I am then I am going to embrace it!

Now, what about you?

What words guide you in life?

What do you think those words say about you?

Is there anything you wish you could be but aren’t?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Jen, you’re a loser #5TTT

Hi all,

This has been a post that I have wanted to write for a while now. It may sound really abrupt, hard on myself, actually it’s downright bullying (me on me).

I’m a loser.

In my core I’m a very competitive person. I want to win. I want to be the best. I want to come out on top. I take pride and value on working hard and winning. I thrive from it.

But to tell you the truth, I very rarely win. I did well in school and university, but was by no means the best and never got the top grades. I moved into a job where I strived a lot more than I should have just to feel the sense of doing more and being more… but it never led to more. I created this blog and I fell into an even bigger hole of feeling like I was constantly losing.

Then I started CrossFit.

I realised that I was never going to win at this sport. I was never going to come first in the class, I was never going to lift the heaviest or pull a skilled move out of the bag that others couldn’t. I can’t ever win at this one – my body just isn’t able. But I love the sport. Something had to change. I needed to quit or really look at how I view myself in terms of winning, losing and competing. Otherwise I was never going to be happy. And I ain’t no quitter.

So what has happened in the past four years since I placed that ultimatum upon myself? I’m still doing the sport, but I am a lot happier in how I view myself – both inside and outside of the gym. I worked out ways on how to change my mind set around feeling like a loser if I didn’t win. And today I want to share them all with you. No one should feel this way.chase the red grape

Defining what a winner is

This was the biggest question for me – what is the definition of a winner? Coming first/ on top every time? Really?

Winning is so much more than getting that gold star. Winning means learning lessons. Winning means trying something new. Winning means doing what you can when you can. Winning sometimes means having a shower and getting dressed when you feel like all you want to do is curl back into bed and hide from the world. We win every day, we just don’t always have to compete against others to do so.

Defining what a loser is.

Someone who didn’t win right? But as discussed above, you probably already have won at being you today. So where is the loss? I understand, maybe you went for a job and didn’t get it. You feel like a massive loser. But often we feel the loss for something we never had to begin with. Mourning for that is one thing. Tying your personal worth into the loss however is not. You may have lost but you are not a loser. They are two different things.

My best has to be enough.

As I mentioned above, winning is doing what you can and doing your best. I give my all to everything in life, I can’t help but do otherwise. My relationships, my writing, CrossFit… So how can I ask anymore of myself? Your best (and that can vary dependant on days and circumstance) is all you can and should ask of yourself. Sometimes that may mean you come out on top but when you don’t it simply means that another persons best was enough for the prize that day. Don’t ask any more of yourself when you know you can’t give it.

Winning doesn’t make me a good person.

Getting the role, winning the trophy, getting an A plus… these things are great. But it doesn’t make you a good person. Yes you may get the glory, but people don’t want to be around you because you win, they are around you because you are a good person. A good person is kind, generous, friendly, welcoming. You don’t define a good person as a winner. They win in life because they are good.

Remembering what your priorities in life are.

One massive question I asked myself at the beginning was, why do you do CrossFit Jen? The answer, for my health. Health is my priority. Four years ago I was weak, I had lost all muscle on my body, I was skin and bone. I wanted to be healthy again. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to feel human again. That was my why. Did I do that? YES 100%. Am I still doing that? YES 100%

I’ll never see my name at the top of the leader board at my box. But I truly believe that I am finally at the top of my own leader board now. So call me a winner, call me a loser, who cares. I’m doing a great job at being me right now and that’s all that matters.

Do you ever feel like you are a loser?

Do you place a lot of merit on winning?

Have you ever had to place an ultimatum on yourself?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Is it too early to start thinking about the holidays? #5TTT

Hi all,

‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose’. Well, not in Australia but you catch my drift! The holiday season is coming!

Maybe you are like me. Maybe you are already thinking about the holiday season – from both the excitement and organisational point of view.

Or maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe the thought of the holidays isn’t even on your radar… and seeing the decorations etc hitting the shelves of the stores doesn’t really put you up nor down.

Either way, today I want to bring you 5 reasons why right now is the perfect time to start thinking about the holidays. Trust me, if you want a stress free season, start thinking about the holidays now.

Family plans and commitments

This is the biggest one right here. Who is hosting Christmas/ New Year/ Thanksgiving? Do you want to join your family or have a simple celebration in your own home?

After a couple of years of marriage, David and I decided we wanted to do Christmas alone. We talked to our parents far in advance, letting them know what we wanted to do and suggested having a mini Christmas with them both earlier on in December. As much as they wanted us with them, both sets were happy and we managed to arrange mini visits. These mini visits actually turned into new traditions on their own. But my main reason for mentioning this was that this was a big shake up in our family celebrations. However, it had less of an impact as we made it known in advance and set up new plans to always make sure we had time together in the season. Know your plans and commitments. Get them in the diary ASAP!

Want to host a party? Book a date now!

Email already gone around about your office Christmas party? Not only is it because they need to book the venue in advance but, more importantly, they need to lock in the date with you! Weekends in December are precious, so if you want to host a party, lock in a date now and let everyone you want to invite know.

Present buying

You can easily work out two things right now. Who are you buying gifts for this year and how much do you want to spend. Even if that is all you do right now it will save time and money later. You probably only have two more pay checks left before the big day, maybe time to put some money aside? And if you want to go one step further, start looking for these gifts in the shops. Or at least brainstorming some ideas.

Expectations

What are you, your family and your friends expectations of the season? Are you expected to attend your spouses Christmas party? Do you and your friends want to meet up in between Christmas and New Year? Are you gifting with a spending limit? Do you actually want to go out for Christmas lunch this year? Have a chat with your family and friends and see what they are thinking. Usually a chat about this now leads to some revelations! But also it often means that the conversation can be had with less stress and emotion involved as the holidays aren’t imminent.

Needs vs wants

What is a need vs a want during the holiday season this year? This can be from the big to the small and often gives clarity to priority planning. Here are some of my examples. Need a turkey – Want to see the new Star Wars on Christmas Eve. Need a skype call with my parents on Christmas Day – Want to visit a Christmas market. Try sitting down with your partner/spouse/kids and listing three needs and wants each. Then make sure the needs are met and plans put in place and the wants are on another list for the second stage of priorities.

Keep the holiday season this year for simply having fun! Make all your plans and have all your discussions now so you can be mentally and physically ready for anything the season may throw at you!

Have you thought about the holidays yet?

Do you like to host?

What is a major holiday stumbling block for you/ your family?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape