I wasn't going to write here today, I haven't for quite sometime. My intention for this space is that it is a place to share my thoughts when I want, but a place I feel no pressure to give time to if I don't want to, and certainly not a place that I feel I have a schedule to maintain. This may make me a bad blogger, but I think I'm ok with that! So this won't be a long one from me, but I do enjoy the coming of a New Year and inspiration has just struck..

I love this time of year not to make plans or resolutions, but to reflect and appreciate. And what a ride 2014 has been. It has included increased responsibilities at work, starting a new, game-changer of a relationship, scary but super exciting, adding more study, thinking up a new online project that will require a little more "scheduling" than this one has, and many hours spent dreaming of my next real estate adventure and the veggies that I want to plant in the backyard.

But more importantly than the list of things I've been up to or plans that I am making, I feel like this year has been a time of growth for me personally. I have slowed down, I've become better at saying "no", I think about what is important to me and I do my best to make it a priority. I eliminate things and people and commitments that don't add value to my life and I make decisions that are good for me. I'm still a work in progress, aren't we all? But I'm pretty happy with the way things are going right now and so the plan for 2015 is just to keep doing what I'm doing and continue to simplify and enjoy what I love.

I hope you have had a wonderful 2014, if it was everything you hoped it would be, keep doing what you're doing! If you're after a fresh start or feel like setting goals will motivate you to make the most of your life, I hope the New Year provides that for you, but just remember that we can create our fresh starts anytime we want, and if you feel like you haven't done what you wanted to be doing by the 15th of January, start again on the 16th, of if you"fail" by 3pm tomorrow, start again at 4pm! You make the rules here.

Sending you all lots of love and well wishes,
Zoe xx
Read More ...


 photo 77A12789-00D4-4F7B-9501-EF091895BEB3_zpst6dr8flo.jpg
Last month I stumbled across this post by my lovely friend Kate from Netherleigh blog. It is a series created by Helen from Helarious, whose blog I have recently discovered and can't stop reading, if you haven't come across it make sure you head over. This is a really nice way to reflect on what's been happening in the past month and collect your thoughts, here are mine...

My Health. Recently I had a little bit of a health scare and after a few tests and a fairly stressful wait for results I was given a clean bill of health, such a relief. Symptoms put down to stress so I'm working on that. It has reminded me that I really am so lucky to have such good health and has made me want to look after myself that little bit better to keep it!

My work. I will be the first person to admit that teaching isn't an easy job, but for me it is so rewarding. I have found recently that I have been enjoying it so much and enjoying my time in the classroom. I know teenagers don't have the best reputation but to me they are energetic, fun and quite frankly, hilarious. I am grateful that I get to spend my days helping them live the lives that they strive for.

How I want to feel. This may seem a little odd but a while ago my friend Cara recommended I read The Desire Map by Dannielle LaPorte and it has really changed my mindset about some things. Her philosophy involves deciding how you want to feel and then working towards a feeling rather than an actual goal (that we tend to beat ourselves up about if we can't achieve), I think it's so healthy and definitely keeps me motivated more than tangible goals ever has. If you're struggling with goal setting and feeling like it's a bit hard to keep up with the world and everyone else's achievements, as I was, this is a great read.

Travel. The above picture is from a trip to New Zealand I did last year with a friend, it was so beautiful and going to places like this just reminds me how much there is out there that I am yet to see and experience. That and seeing amazing travel pictures filling up my Instagram feed is enough to make me start a Pintrest board and a budget, stat!

Working with amazing colleagues. I am fortunate enough to be working with some of the most talented, motivated, inspiration people I have ever known and I have been working quite closely with one of them to look into more ways that we can work with our students and help them set goals, prioritise and develop lifelong skills, I am excited!

Family time. My nana is approaching her 80th Birthday and has decided she is going to celebrate in style! So in two weeks time my cousins and aunts and uncles from all corners of Australia are coming together to celebrate 80 years of one of the most amazing women I know, and I can't wait!

Relaxing. Last term I was acting in a higher job and being back to my normal job has been so great. It has opened up a bit more time and I am loving it. I am coming home and having time to cook some delicious food and watch The Block without trying to make to-do lists and my head and work out all of the things I ran out of time for that day, it is just bliss!

Making friends. Kate, whose post inspired this one, is a lovely blogger and earlier this month we got together (in real life!) to have some lunch and chat about life etc. It was so nice and although we had only met that day, we chatted like we had known each other for years, it's so nice to spend time with new, like minded people.

The Silkworn by Robert Galbraith. I have recently finished The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and although it took me a little while to get in to I eventually got to the couldn't-put-it-down part and am now reading the sequel. I wouldn't say that crime is my genre of choice but I have been enjoying these and find that they help me to escape/unwind after work.

The Collective Magazine. I love this magazine, it is interesting, inspiring, it doesn't make me feel bad about myself or like I need to spend more money on anything I don't need. It makes me feel motivated to be better, work hard, and look up to people who are making a difference doing what they love. If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend picking up a copy.

Anything Aesop. They're products are so beautiful and make my house look lovely! I also love how they work for my skin which makes me justify it completely... Loving the Parsley Seed skincare range and the Resurrection Body Lotion.

Other than that I've tried to be pretty good with my spending this month, I am about to head out to find an outfit for Nana's party, so by the time this has been posted it may be a very different story…

I'd love to know what's been happening in your life, if you've jumped on the Head and Heart bandwagon, leave me a link below, I'd love to check it out! If not, let me know what you've been up to anyway, I'm always up for a chat!

Zoe xx
Read More ...


Juice cleanses seem to be one of the latest crazes and after reading Rachi's review I was so intrigued I wanted to give one a go. For me it was about giving my body a break from difficult to digest foods and getting a big dose of nutrients. I had also heard that a side effect some people experience is that after the cleanse they find themselves craving healthier foods as opposed to sugary treats which is something I was hoping I would experience. 

I chose to complete mine while I was on school holidays as the life of a teacher does not always allow for frequent bathroom breaks and consuming 500ml of liquid every two hours or so. After contemplating the MANY juice cleanses available in Sydney I decided on Lucky You, I had read a few reviews and generally liked their philosophy and information. 

 photo ED24C58F-E0EC-4682-9F93-00F3DD00D14B_zpsawxqvknv.jpg
So in I booked and anxiously awaited the delivery of my juices! Here is how it went:

Day 1

10:30- Juices arrive! I feel like a kid at Christmas time, I have already had my morning lemon water as recommended and am ready to start. I am in the 9am-12pm delivery zone which is fine for me as I am hoping to delay the first juice a little as I tend to get hungry in the afternoon, but I would have struggled if they arrived later I think (something for those to consider in this delivery zone). I was very excited to start with my smoothie, as recommended I tried eating it with a spoon to encourage chewing and aid digestion, I kind of alternated between a spoon and small sips, I did however make an effort to chew, a little weird but nothing I couldn't get used to, I enjoyed the smoothie and it left me feeling very satisfied.

12:30- My second juice of the day, Green Juice B, was quite delicious. The 500ml size is really quite big, I don't think I'll be getting hungry over the three days, but I am finding it hard to keep up my water intake. I had quite a bit of water this morning though so I'm not too concerned. Energy wise I feel good, I am just having down time today with my family as I wasn't sure how I would go. Toilet trips are quite frequent, my body is not used to all this fluid!

2:15- Spicy lemonade time and it has a bit of a kick! The Cayenne Pepper leaves a bit if a burn in the tongue but it's actually quite a nice change and breaks up the green juice hit I've had this morning. My tummy is starting to feel quite full and I may struggle to get in enough water this afternoon but I may just have some herbal tea because I'm feeling a little cold so that will be good for my fluid intake!

4:30- Red juice time... I am not a fan of beetroot so this was the one I was dreading the most but it was ok, I struggled to get to the end because I was feeling quite full, but I got there!

5:45- This is by far the most "green" tasting of the green juices, no fruit except for some lemon, and to be honest it does taste a little like a garden. This is the time where we remind ourselves how much our bodies love these things and that we've almost made it through day one quite well! Heading off to the movies now with my Cashew milk and ice pack!

9:30- Movie was great! (Jersey Bous for those intrested..) Cashew Mylk was delicious, I think it's nice to have a "treat" to end the day with, it's a good motivator to have something yummy to end the day. Now it's bedtime! Feeling like I may have a slight headache but I also might just be tired, still feeling a little full but overall the day went well and I think I did ok! We'll see how tomorrow goes...

Day 2

9:00- I was a little restless at first last night but then once I was out I was really out and slept very soundly, I woke up feeling good, not bloated at all, quite flat-stomached actually, and not at all hungry. My skin seems a bit clearer, although I've been told that can happen and maybe it's my imagination a little! It's a little cold and raining outside so I'm having a it of a slow morning, I might end up a little behind schedule again today but that's ok, off to make my lemon water now!

1:00- I drank my spicy lemonade in the sun today, it was lovely to get some fresh air! I've been working on a painting today, I think it's good to have a little project to keep myself distracted, although I'm not really craving anything, mostly just over drinking so much liquid, but I'm at the halfway mark now which is exciting! The smoothie went down well as did Green Juice B, so far Day 2 is going well!

3:15- Struggling to get the Red Juice down, the taste is fine, I'm just struggling with consuming all this liquid! I'm going to aim for half...

4:15- Ok, I'd like some food now! I don't feel hungry at all, but I'm cold and I feel like eating real food, something warm, something crunchy! I'm not craving anything naughty but I saw my sister roasting some veggies yesterday and I just keep thinking about them...

5:00- It's time for Green Juice A now and I just can't bring myself to do it, it's the one I struggle with the most, so I've decided to have a warm bath instead!

6:00- Out of the bath and am feeling so much better! I gave Green Juice A a good go but I couldn't quite finish it, I've already had 2 litres of juice today, give me a break!

8:00- I even struggled with my Cashew Mylk tonight and I thought that would go down a treat. Overall feeling good just quite full and like there's no room for any more liquid in me! I am glad that I'm on the home stretch. Going to watch something and have an early night I think.

 photo F9F2477D-FA56-44F9-B8EC-FB38E88C8EB9_zpslcjixuk5.jpg

Day 3

8:30- Feeling good again! My skin is definitely looking good, possibly just because I'm insanely hydrated! I think today will be ok as I respond well to achieving things and already this morning have felt good about finishing my last Aloe Vera elixir, go me! About to have my last smoothie! Woo!

11:00- Last Green Juice B! I've just been shopping with my sister and watched my niece and nephew eat hot chips, that was tough. But I resisted, and I feel really good that I resisted!

1:00- I think the Spicy Lemonade might be my favourite, it's pretty delicious and the cayenne pepper kick really sets it a part from the others, this might be one I try and re-create post cleanse.

4:15- Feeling good today, better than I did yesterday but still over the drinking, there is so much to drink! Not hungry at all and energy levels pretty good.

6:30- Just finished my Cashew Mylk and am officially done! I'm proud of myself for completing it but I'm so looking forward to eating real food tomorrow!

10:00- Bed time! Note to self, watching Heston cooking on Masterchef is probably not wise while juice cleansing, I wanted all the food! I am looking forward to making something delicious in the morning. I really feel like veggies and meat, I don't feel like anything sweet which is usually what I crave so I think that's interesting, we will see what happens tomorrow...

One week later- I still feel really good, my cleanse has definitely made me more aware of what I am eating and I am still feeling like healthy foods which is very nice as the Winter months are usually when I snuggle in with a few too many treats… I am better at drinking water too, I guess consuming all that liquid got my body used to it..? Who knows.

The verdict-
Overall I feel good about the experience, I am glad that I did ok without any severe headaches or anything, I think I feel reassured that the fact that I didn't react badly means my lifestyle is ok! I don't generally drink caffeine or very much alcohol so for people that do the symptoms may be stronger.

I think I would do it again, I think it would be better to do in the warmer months as consuming all that refrigerated liquid would just be that little bit easier. I will remind myself that Day 2 is the hardest and that it really does go very quickly and you will be all cleansed before you know it!

Smoothie- alkaline water, kale, silverbeet, spinach, mango, banana
Green juice B- green apple, cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, silverbeet, cos lettuce, parsley, lemon

Spicy Lemonade- Alkaline water, lemon, green apple, stevia, cayenne pepper, Celtic sea salt

Red Juice- beetroot, cucumber, celery, spinach/kale, silverbeet, cos lettuce, parsley, green apple, lemon

Green Juice A- cucumber, celery, kale, silverbeet, spinach, cos lettuce, parsley, lemon

Cashew nut Mylk- alkaline water, activated raw cashew kernels, medjool dates

Have you ever done the juice cleanse thing? Would you do one?

Zoe xx
Read More ...


 photo 7F2B0282-DFA9-44DA-930F-CE9FEDF8E3E1_zpsnv63ssw0.jpg

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has to be one of the most talked about books that I have come across for quite some time, so I decided I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.

The story follows a married couple Nick and Amy in the time surrounding Amy's disappearance on their fifth wedding anniversary. The chapters are written alternating between their perspectives, I really enjoy books with multiple narrators and I find Gillian Flynn balances the storytelling between the characters well. She also quite cleverly manages to keep information hidden about the characters until it works with the story for their secrets to be released. Throughout the novel I constantly find myself trusting and not trusting characters and also not quite knowing what I want the outcome of the story to be, which is an interesting way to keep the reader involved in the story.

I have had trouble getting into books lately, I think because in my job I have been teaching three classes  different novels over the last two months, so when I come home I find myself wanting to catch up on magazine articles or blog posts, but as the school holidays approached I wanted to find something that I could just get lost in and remind myself why I love to curl up with a book. This was the perfect book to get myself back into reading, it is fast paced, easy to read, it hooks you quickly and the characters are interesting (and disturbed) enough that you want to know what happens to them.

Gillian Flynn is currently in the process of writing the screen play for the book and is rumoured to have changed the ending, there are so many points that the story could change and go in a different direction that I am intrigued to find out what she has done with it.

My friend Megan tells me that Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is also quite a good read so I might have to pick that one up next. What are you reading at the moment? I am constantly after good book recommendations.

Happy Reading!

Zoe xx

Read More ...


 photo CC5F83B5-85CE-4D70-AD0A-F691459A9E64_zpsc45gv54k.jpg
I am ashamed to say that in my almost nine years as a Canberran I have only done the Booroomba Rocks walk in Namadgi National Park twice.  It was initially Cara who told me about this little hidden gem and then Tara's post which  inspired me to check it out. This walk is beautiful, an easy to follow trail with incredible views after relatively little effort, what's not to love?

The Booroomba Rocks walk is usually around a 45 minute round trip after a 3km drive along a dirt road, but alas once we arrived to the sign telling us to go off road, the gate was locked and the road was blocked off. Puffy jackets and scarves at the ready we decided to climb the gate and walk the extra 3kms each way to get to the walking trail which made our total walking time slightly over 2 hours (including many picture stops along the way!)

 photo 325B1F0F-9891-4748-922E-04E99B8E9179_zps40vyshkn.jpg
Namadgi National Park has some gorgeous walking trails and even though it is less than an hour south of the city, you feel like you are in another world entirely. This was particularly true today as the higher we got the more snow we encountered, and not just a sprinkling on the ground, it was pristine white, gorgeous powder that crunched with every step. It was like our own little Winter Wonderland out there and with every turn came even more stunning sites and breathtaking views. As the day progressed the feeling of the sun on our faces as we walked through snow was amazing and my words (or my pictures) can't do justice to the view from the top.

This walk is definitely worth the drive down south to Namadgi and I highly recommend checking it out in the Winter as well as in the more popular walking seasons, just remember to layer up!

 photo 3FA987E9-8F6C-46DA-AEE4-B2F3AAF851A7_zpsclq2yrzz.jpg Where are your favourite places to walk around Canberra? This and Mt Ainslie are probably two of my favourites, I'd love to hear any recommendations!

Zoe xx

(Note: I looked online to find out why the road to the trail was blocked off but couldn't find any info, we assumed the ice on the road has made it unsafe for cars but still ok for people- either that or this post will get me in trouble for trespassing… But the view was worth it! As always with any bush walking in remote areas with fickle phone reception, make sure you don't go alone and let people know where you are and when you are expected to return, just in case, happy walking!)
Read More ...


 photo 4c0ab605-01a9-4210-aaec-b1ae108053b1_zps3ab020b2.jpg In my job I am given the opportunity to learn about concepts and ideas that could help me support the young people I work with, and quite frequently I find myself personally benefiting from some of the information I come across. When I was asked if I wanted to go to a seminar on Mindfulness and its benefits I jumped at the chance to learn about what seems to be the latest craze and buzz word in the health and wellness field.

It appears that the current trend among young people (and us a little older for that matter) is that most of our time is spent so far away from whatever it is we are actually experiencing. We are re-living things that have already happened; things that we regret or are embarrassed about or wish had done differently, or we are worried about things that haven't happened yet; worried about how things may go or stressing about different possible outcomes of situations, or, and this is probably the most common among the Gen X-ers of the world, we are multi-tasking, having conversations with people online while we eat at restaurants, checking our Facebook while watching a movie, watching the news while we eat our dinner, you know how it is… And I myself am guilty of all of these things, in no small or infrequent way.

The concept of mindfulness is quite simple really, and yet it is one that I am finding more difficult than I thought I would to implement. Mindfulness involves us living in the present moment, being aware of our surroundings and sensory experiences, and accepting whatever feelings, emotions or sensations we may be experiencing at any one time. Something I found particularly interesting is that we can be mindful while doing anything, you can be in a mindful state when driving (it's probably encouraged that we are really), when eating, when spending time with people, even when watching a movie. It just involves really engaging in what is happening around you and how you feel. 

During the day we engaged in various activities around the different senses which really opened my eyes to the things going on around me that I am just not always aware of. Little activities like stopping, closing our eyes and identifying five different sounds we could hear, not out loud, just ourselves being aware of what was going on around us. We also did some breathing exercises which are quite similar to the kind of breathing you would do in yoga.

Some of the activities are things that I will be able to use with young people who have issues with anxiety or anger management, but I also took away so many things that I want to implement in my own life. For me, one of the reasons mindfulness stands out to me is that it isn't about cutting anything out of your life, it is a common misconception with meditative practice that it is about blocking everything out, being at one with only your thoughts and feeling bad if you day dream or your thoughts wander, I realise now that is not the case.  For me it is just about being where I am and enjoying what is happening, if I'm having a conversation with someone I want to really make sure I'm listening properly to what they are saying, if I am eating something delicious I am going to savour it and if I decide I want to watch a movie or an episode of something I am going to pay attention to it and enjoy it without checking my phone at the same time. I think I might be a work in progress for a while but I definitely think this is something I want to have a real go at doing properly.

Do you engage in mindfulness practice? Or do you have trouble staying in the 'present moment'? I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences.

Zoe xx
Read More ...



 photo 63B8DC11-02BE-453E-9CE2-7EBF63B8B1A3_zps7sdaxotn.jpg
Last week I turned 26. I love birthdays, not only because I get to talk to and spend time with people I care about but also because it's a time of reflection and new beginnings, my very own new year to do whatever I want with! 

Over the last twelve months I have become a home owner, earned a promotion within my job that has challenged me and helped me decide the direction I am going in. I ended a relationship that for the longest time I thought would be THE relationship. I have unexpectedly started a new one, it's very much still early days but things are going very nicely so far. I have prioritised looking after myself and am working on balance and spending more time "switched off". Some small things, others significant. What I do know is that I am excited and ready for 26. I have a good feeling about this one… 

There was no big party for me this year, just some good food and great conversation with wonderful friends and I hope that that is a reflection of what is to come for me this year. 

I hope you're all doing amazingly and are having a wonderful weekend!

Zoe xx

Read More ...


I have always been a person who thrives on being busy, my mother tells me I was quite the high maintenance child at times.

Lately my attempts at multi-tasking have seen me over-committing and under-delivering, not a very desirable state. I am learning to prioritise what is important and, possibly more importantly, allowing myself some down time to rest and feel energised to commit wholly to the things I want to do and the places I want to put my time and energy.
 photo F6420338-0425-440A-8FF2-E4B6864B6216_zpsaxb3nulr.jpg I am learning to put more time into food preparation and I am enjoying it so much
Read More ...


A few weeks ago when I started telling people that I was spending the long weekend camping with my family I was either met with an incredulous "Why..??" (from likeminded souls) or uproarious laughter (from my more outdoorsy friends who know that this is way outside my idea of fun). Needless to say "Zoe" and "camping" are words that have seldom been used in the same sentence. But here I am, freshly showered with clean hair, living to tell the tale.
 photo 72B5E9FC-258B-481F-BD38-A9DD921E7885_zpsf1pqjycw.jpg I headed out, with my sisters, niece and nephew and some regular camper family friends, to Cattai National Park on Thursday for our three nights away.
Read More ...