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Cat Lady, Daily Life

Project Update – Hotels With Cats

August 14, 2017

I’ve been busy burrowing away at my new project and not much time for this blog. I am sorry but I am pleased to report that I am still alive and happy! It’s one of those times in life when everything is going well in writing land and my head is full of creative ideas after a really long slump. My mental health job that I am doing is going great guns (4 days a week), lovely supportive team and I have both trust and creative licence (a nice feeling in a Government job) and I am burning the candle at both ends working on Hotels With Cats, jotting down ideas for my book, and working on a big interesting report. And headed overseas in 11 days. But all good things. Right?

Sometimes you have nothing, and sometimes everything happens all at once. So I have to go with the flow and enjoy it.

So, apparently, Hotels With Cats is turning into a bigger deal than I imagined. And there are so many POSH Hotels With Cats.  And so many Hotels With Cats. I’m planning a world trip to basically pet cats in five-star resorts in the next few years. These cats are onto something. I have a clear plan now for my next life. I was aiming to be a cat with a crazy old cat lady but these cats have allowed me to reach for higher goals. Five-star all the way it is.

From left to clockwise around the right in the feature image, we have Cap Maison resort, St Lucia, where a prawn munching cat called Davidson lives, we have Dolphinfish (who might be my favourite look at his feet) from Seawall Apartments Adelaide, Oreo from The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins  and Skabenga from The Oyster Box in South Africa. Credit to all the hotels for sending me these images with permission to share. And their cat stories!  Continue Reading…

Daily Life

Barefoot Budgeting

July 25, 2017

I’m a terrible budgeter (although I do manage to save for the things I make a priority). I’m not so good week to week. I thought it was time to get sensible about money. After hearing some recommendations online, I’ve recently devoured “The Barefoot Investor” by Scott Pape and I am super keen to start. If you’re not all over your money and it freaks you out, then I highly recommend you read it. This post isn’t sponsored by the way, just a public service announcement. Pape knows about money. He’s an independent financial advisor and knows first hand what it is like to lose everything. He watched his farm and everything he owned burn down in the Victorian bushfires. But was able to turn to his wife at the time and say “I got this”, and he had.  This is the essence of the Barefoot Investor Budget. Pape wants you to be prepared for all possible events, but wants you to have fun too. He asks that you schedule dates to see how you are tracking, and five consecutive ones to get things going. Here are the principles of a Barefoot Budget and how you should allocate your money. Let’s do it.

via GIPHY

Expenses = 60% of your income

No more than 60% of your income should be allocated to living expenses (food, accommodation bills). If you’re pushing further than this quota then its going to be hard to do anything. Pape recommends to see a financial advisor if you’re in this situation.

Splurge = 10% of your income

This is fun money. For things like pedicures, drinks at the pub or meals out. I’m pretty good at allocating this. (Too good in fact.)  Continue Reading…

Daily Life

Why Do Shit Things Happen To Good People?

July 23, 2017

I’m going to start this post by saying that I was not best friends with Justine. I did not know her very well. While I grieve, I grieve for the loss for her family, partner and close friends. Justine was part of my Cantoo community. My lifesaving, amazing bunch of Cantoo friends who I love this week more than ever. Cantoo trains people for marathons, half marathons, triathlon and swims. Participants sign up to raise money for cancer research and in turn receive training. I’ve made a bunch of lifelong friends through this group, which can be hard to do in adulthood and it keeps me on the straight and narrow at least for three months per year.

Everyone that does Cantoo is kind of special. Dickheads don’t want to raise money for cancer.

Justine had done a few programs before me, but once you are a Cantooer you always are. Former participants often stay involved to cheer or energy champion other programs. Justine would often turn up to cheer our long runs while we were training for our marathon in the dead of winter. Always smiling like an idiot, on freezing cold days in her UGG boots. She was more excited than us runners. She had lost her mum to cancer years ago, and turned this experience into one of helping and healing others. Some would have gone the other way. She drove us to our race day, more excited than us, who were quietly shitting ourselves in the back. Whether you met her for a second, or several times, she would hug you and bubble over like you were best friends. And it wasn’t fake. This was the type of joyful and caring person that she was. This was further emphasised by the huge turn out at the vigil. She had touched many people throughout her life here and in the US. Continue Reading…

Daily Life

How To Return Phone Calls In 2017

July 17, 2017

Back in the day, receiving a phone call on the landline caused a sense of wonderment and achievement. We would run to the phone, in the fear that we might miss out on finding out who it was and if we did not answer then the caller identity would remain a mystery forever.  I fear that the old phone call, to find out how someone is doing is going way off trend.

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We are all busy people these days. I get it. Oh do I get it. On Sunday morning I found myself with some quiet time and I went for a walk. I used this time to call a few people I had not spoken to for a while. Not one person answered the phone. Nor did they call me back by the same means. As it may seem, there are many ways to return a phone call in 2017. The options are confusing. (This post excludes snapchat and twitter because they confuse me.) I shall explain a few ways that you can return a phone call below.

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Text Message

The text message is a fast popular way to return a phone call and requires minimal effort. In fact, over 23 billion text messages are sent each day. It can provide a delay tactic to having the conversation right then (for example “I’m out at lunch, how about I call you in a bit?”) or you can try and have the whole conversation without having a phone call at all (“If this is about Sophie’s baby shower, then I think we should get the blue one. I’ve put $30 in your account“). Either way you can delay the conversation, or the need to have it at all. Risk: Repetitive strain injury.

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Facebook Message

Similar strategy here to the text messaging above but requires slightly more effort. You will need to log onto Facebook, log into your account, find said friend and send a message. Example: “Hey, missed your call, we are away for the weekend. Speak to you in a bit.”  Now this option could go two ways. If you are silent, then it may go in your favour. Your friend may assume that you were indeed busy and got online in his/her busy day to quickly to send this lovely message (lucky friend you are!). But if you are indeed posting trip updates, photos and are Facebooking everywhere all weekend, then you might be caught out for just not being bothered, and get a rude message in return of your own. Risk: Being caught out by not being busy enough. 

via GIPHY Continue Reading…

Daily Life

Am I lucky, or do I choose?

July 7, 2017

I’ve been flat-out with a sore throat the last few days, and The Ginger Hunk has a cough. I feel that we are reinfecting each other without it leaving the house. Anyway I need to get my brain and my creative juices going because I have not been thinking much for the past few days and I’ve chosen a word tonight to write about to linkup with #fridayreflections finally, and the word is LUCKY. This is what Lucky means.

  1. having or marked by good luckfortunate: “That was my lucky day”
  2. happening fortunately lucky accident.
  3. bringing or foretelling good luckor supposed to do so: a lucky penny.

Now lucky is a word that’s bandied around a lot. In my opinion it it is often used to replace other words. (Like hard work, choice and sacrifice.) Here’ some lucky references that I always get:

  • “You’re lucky you get to travel so much”
  • “You’re lucky you’re in a good relationship”
  • “You’re lucky you live near the beach”
  • “You’re lucky you work four days a week”

I’ve even bandied it around myself and I even did it this week over on Instagram. Because I actually feel guilty that I am going overseas for the second time this year. Guilty for an overseas trip. Yes that’s right. Because there is that feeling that others are not so “lucky”.

On reflection, lucky isn’t a word that I would use to describe those other things on that list of mine, including the second overseas trip this year.  They come from the choices that I’ve made. I get to travel because I SAVE money for travel. I prioritise travel over other things in life. Fancy dinners out, home renovations, living in a bigger place and having children don’t have a spot over travel in my heart. Who is to say that that won’t change? It might one day. But for now, travel makes my heart sing in a way that those other things don’t. I’ve work in Government for eight years and got to the point where I’m pretty skilled in my line of work. I’ve accumulated long service leave and work for bosses that are willing to give me flexibility as they can see it makes me a better worker.

So yes. I do get to travel. But I choose travel in my life over other things. This does not make me lucky.

The same goes with the four days a week thing. I do not work four days a week because I am rich and have a hidden influx of money. I’m not lucky. I looked at my finances. I looked at our life. I looked at the value of my time over money, helping The Ginger Hunk recover and being around to help him grow his photography business. Having a day to not think about mental health is also good for my mental health.  This is a financial cut, but a personal gain. So it isn’t luck. It’s a give and take.

What is luck?

I’m lucky if I won the lottery.

I’m lucky if a ladybird lands on me.

I’m lucky to be  in good health and be born in Australia.

But the rest of it?

I choose.

Love Ashleigh XXX

Do you believe in luck?

Love to hear your comments.

Continue Reading…

Daily Life

Homecoming

June 7, 2017

When it came to leaving Bali, I didn’t want to leave. I cried when the car pulled through Amed for the last time, going over those mountains, looking over the rice fields. I think somewhere in Asia is my soul home. I’ve written about it before. I feel like I am home when I get there and I cry when I leave. I’ve had this feeling from the first time I travelled to Thailand when I was 22. How can you explain to people back here what your journey was when you were gone? (Even weirder when it was spending a month figuring out how to relax and hold your breath under the ocean). I describe it  to people who have not tried freediving is that it is like underwater meditation. Anyway, it was a journey of sorts but not a time-to-figure-out-my-life type journey. I dived 24 out of 30 days and was so exhausted every night I didn’t even read a book or hardly blog. Excuse the weird format of my blog by the way, I will get to it now I have better wifi and time. Plus all my delayed travel posts that are in my head!

So now I am back in the cold, with my cats and my love, and my new job. I missed some things about home. My bed. My exercise routine, normal food, a shower with water pressure and having something to get my brain ticking. If I lived there for longer I would need a business or to ramp up the writing.  My new job is great as far as jobs go. Continue Reading…