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12 Hour Photo Challenge

There's been many challenges I've set myself over the years for photography. My last challenge was a 365 day one - and whilst it served well for nearly 90 days, it fell apart around Feburary. (Whoops.)  But with my move to Darwin now looking like it's only 13 weeks away - I figured that I should really start to re-document what my life currently is like.  Enter the 12 Hour Photo Challenge.

In theory - it's pretty simple.  Take at least one photo every hour, for twelve hours.   As far as a photo challenge goes - I figured this would be one I could actually do.  Which, in fairness, I did - but by jeez. I nearly failed a few times.  It's actually really hard if you're not a super social person to continue taking photos throughout the day.  You'll see at the end that it's mainly just photos of Wally that keep popping up because I just there listening to my phone on the couch.


10AM - Start of the 12 Hour Photo Challenge


 

I may have chosen Saturday to do this challenge because I knew full well I was getting that Corona hair fixed. (Thanks Nat!)  Gonna be honest, absolutely looked like poop in the photos taken just before these ones as I woke up late (as usual.)


11AM


 


12PM


 

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1PM


 

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2PM


 

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3PM


 


4PM


 


5PM


 


6PM


 


7PM


 


8PM


 


9PM


 

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10PM


 

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Hold up for a quick moment! This post contains some affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission for recommending the products featured. You're under no obligation to purchase these, nor are you charged any extra if you do decide you might like them! I do receive a small percentage of the sale if you use the links to help pay the bills.  Alright - back to our scheduled posting!

Behind the scenes:

I shoot with the Canon 6D + Sigma 50mm 1.4mm
I used the Camera Connect App + The R6 Remote + Manfrotto Tripod 

And edited using the Adobe Suite ♥


 

12 Hour Photo Challenge 1

I've gotta be honest - I really did love this photo challenge, even though it was super hard at times. Even uploading some of the photos I realised they weren't within the actual hour and had to go back to edit more.  I'd be excited to do more of these challenges over the next few weeks and months - and I think with everything that is going on with the world at the moment, documenting the little things is so, so important.

Let me know in the comments below if there's a particular photo you liked the most - or if there's a challenge you'd like to see me do.  Otherwise - if you'd like to join in with the photo challenge series, you can use the hashtag #ChallengeSGW on Instagram (and can follow me on there here!)

Stay safe everyone ♥

Clairesupersmall

Weight Gain: My Current Struggle

Look.  I know most of us have had some form of unwanted weight gain during the last few months. It was really to be expected.  We went from having gyms and parks open - to being told: "Don't leave your house."  This was rough, y'know?  If you've been following my journey for a little bit - I was just starting to get back into the gym so I could lose some kilos for my trip to Bali.  My end goal though was to get back and be like BAM. Let's do this and just smash out some super amazing weight loss and fitness goals.

 

But, I knew that I was expecting to gain a little bit of weight. I was (am?) stress eating. I haven't left the house. I hate walking. I despise running. Saying that - I went and bought like $100 worth of gym stuff. There's kettlebells, free weights, resistance bands, exercise balls - LIKE, SO MUCH STUFF, so I could have at least the things I do actually love doing there and ready to go.

 

Do you think I've opened any of it?
Ha. No.

The first issue I saw with weight gain

I wasn't really phased too much in April. I knew some clothes were getting a little tighter.  At one point I thought that I might've actually been pregnant (not the case.)  I could live with that though.  A little weight gain = a little more effort to getting rid of it.

The issues really started popping up though when I saw my health was getting compromised. My right knee keeps threatening to pop up.  I struggle standing up when I'm sitting on the floor.  The clothes that were a little tight are now digging into my skin or just won't do up at all.

Over the last few days, I've noticed a significant drop in my mental health.  Instead of being super chipper like I've been aiming so hard to be,  food has taken over and I've felt like a potato.  I like potatoes, don't get me wrong.  They turn into chips, and vodka, and baked potatoes - but I don't necessary like feeling like one.

See: these were taken today - and I'm not unhappy. Just not AS happy as I think I could be.

As I quite often do - I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I preach as much as possible that one should love their body - no matter what stage it's currently at.  On the same token though, I think when you're in a situation where you are physically uncomfortable, and you're noticing that your actual health is getting impacted - that focusing on making the best you that you can be, overrides that. It's not to say I don't love myself. I absolutely do. I just don't like the way that I feel, and that it's projecting outwards.

 

So after having this revelation last night, and also have read Bec's post on a very similar subject - I've decided that I'm going to start a 3-month journey into getting rid of this weight gain from isolation.   I actually started today by making sure I went for a walk around my streets when Wally brought his lead to me (an actual deal we made like six months ago when I was trying to teach him that lead = leaving the house.)  I admittedly haven't really followed through on that, so that's one of the biggest things I'll be doing.

 


 

My 8 Goals For The Next 3 Months:

    1. Fit back into the clothes I was wearing 2 months ago
    2. Do at least one strength exercise set per week
    3. Try to do one walk every day
    4. Start keeping an eye on food intake
    5. Restrict take-away food to once per week (twice if it's "healthy") 
    6. Up water intake to 2L
    7. Decrease coffee intake to 1 cup of coffee in the morning
    8. Increase green tea intake

 

How about yourself, dear reader?  I've created the #ShortPalProject on Facebook to have a community of people who are looking for daily positivism and uplifting content.  The exclusive Facebook group will be launched later this week.  For more details - you can follow me over on Twitter ♥

 


 

Let me know in the comments how you're going at the moment. Remember, as always, it's okay to be not okay - and if you are okay - that's even better!  Until next time,

 

Clairesupersmall

The Reality of Now: Nine Weeks In

I'm going to be super honest - I actually started writing this post about five weeks ago, but never quite got around to finishing it. I was fuming at the time, and no-one really wants to read about an angry Claire. (Maybe you do? Let me know in the comments?)  I've cooled down a significant amount, however, one thing hasn't changed.  The reality of now has not changed. Being stuck in a Long Distance Relationship in 2020 is ridiculously hard.

 

I'm not saying that it's the hardest thing in the world. I'm pretty confident my appendix bursting eight years ago was probably tougher than this, but it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Throw back to Bali in March before the world went into chaos
Throw back to Bali in March before the world went into chaos

"It's just really strange, y'know? Normally by this stage, we'd have our next holiday all booked but it's just not even on the radar this time around."

 

This was one of the hardest statements to come out of my mouth when I left Darwin back in March.  It's been nine weeks today since I boarded the plane back to Tasmania.  This has gone fast. The issue stands that at current, the plan for me to move is another fourteen weeks away, which means we're not even halfway through this process. I'm frustrated, and annoyed, and coping the best I can given the circumstances.

Do I sometimes wish that I just stayed put when the call to return to our home states occurred? Yep, absolutely.  The reality of now still stands that I didn't do that.  I chose to come home, and whilst I don't regret doing that (couldn't leave Wally behind, hey?) - it sucks to think that it's going to take so long to get back.  There's something comforting in the fact you've got someone to go back to every day - even if it's just to share a coffee with, or a cuddle when you're sad.  It's very humbling to know that you've got that option out there - but it's well out of reach.

In the wise words of Katrina,  "Bad times are just times that are bad."
I'm trying to remember eventually this time will end.  That we will be able to move forward and each day that we trudge through is another closer to what I'm looking for.  I'm still entirely grateful that we're still really in a good spot - and whilst it sucks, it's livable. We could have it worse.  It doesn't make the situation any easier - but it's always better to look at silver linings, right?

Clairesupersmall

Not pregnant at 28?

I'm looking down at the electronic test kit, killing time in that awkward three-minute wait before you get the "yes you are!" or, "no you're not pregnant!" results.   When I started to look online last night at the different types of test kits out there - I figured I'd bypassed the days of trying to decipher whether or not there were two lines on the stick, or if that was just a random smudge in the second window.

Sod it, I went. I'll just get the fancier version and go digital.

Depending on who's view you're looking at - I've been pretty fortunate. I've only ever had to do five of these tests before.  The first one was after my first time in college, and I nearly vomited in trepidation of waiting for the results.   There's a possibility that I may have fainted.  It came back negative.

The likelihood on each occasion has always been pretty low. I've been on some form of birth control for over half of my life.  I started with the pill when I was 12.  I'm now 28, and out of that period of time, there was only three months where I wasn't on something.  There was a great deal of time where I had no interest in ever falling pregnant. If I could just stay, y'know, not pregnant, forever - that'd be great. I'd considered asking how you get your inner bits out.

 

I look back down at the test.  The little clock is still flashing, and I'm guessing that it means it's considering whether or not it just wants to extend the anxiety out any further.   Realistically - it's a terrible time. If it is the case - it'd mean I'd be well into the 8-week mark.  It'd explain the bloating, and the SUPER amount of tiredness over the last few weeks.  Also the random increase in my boob size and why the sudden nauseous was rocking up at 4 am. (It wasn't like I went online and cross-checked symptoms or anything.)

But then, how absolutely inconvenient would that be?  Darwin's still another four months away at least, and that'd be put me at six months if that was the case? Are you even allowed to travel at six months? Nor would you realistically want to be on a plane for like five+ hours I wouldn't imagine.  Not to mention trying to find a house, and relocation costs and just -

The clock face flashes to a No. 

But I don't feel relieved. I almost feel a little sad. This wasn't the reaction I was expecting.  Maybe I'm maturing.  Maybe this is the part where I actually start growing up.   Being 28 and not pregnant is something that I didn't ever think I'd be concerned about, or would start to place thought into.  But here we are.  And I'm quite confused.

Clairesupersmall

Get to Know Me Questions – Part One

I had a super successful twitter poll last week where a bunch of people responded*,  and 50% said that they wanted to see a new "Get to know me" post.  I also realised the last time I actually did an about me post was two years ago when I first started the blog, and that's pretty damn terrible read if I do say so myself.

So! I'm listening to the masses and creating this sparkling new blog post of frequently asked questions and queries!**

*if you count a bunch of people as er, two people
**they haven't been asked at all, tbh.

1. What is a band that you listen to that people might not think you would?

 

One of my favourite bands at the moment is actually a hip-hop duo from South Africa; Die Antwoord.  Their music is actually crazy, incredibly in your face and the polar opposite of the usual Australian hip hop I'd normally be listening to - and yet somehow I  managed to get within their 1% of Spotify listeners a few months back.  They actually just released a new album which I was super excited for as I didn't think they were on this indefinite hiatus for a while, but I'm not super loving the new songs which is a bit of a shame.

2. Do you have any hidden skills or talents?

 

I'm not sure if I would call it a talent or a skill - but I'm really partial in learning new languages. I studied French for four years. I also started to learn Auslan (Australian Sign Language) for a few terms, and have also been dutifully logging into Duolingo every day to learn Indonesian.   Am I fluent in any of these? Nope.  Can I somewhat understand what people say and/or write?  Yes to French and Indonesian - not so much for Auslan anymore.

 

I can also touch type with an average speed of 92 WPM, and actually type faster if I'm not concentrating on the screen (ie, eyes closed) and I also freak people out by looking at them rather than the screen whilst typing which is always fun!

3. Where was your first trip that you can remember?

 

The first trip I can remember going on was when I was about five or six.  For some reason, my parents thought it'd be a fantastic idea for me to travel on my own halfway across the country to spend some time with my Aunt and Uncle in Alice Springs. (That was a fair solo journey!)  I had a really great time.  They had a spa in their back yard which was awesome.  I got my head stuck between the iron bars on their bed (not so awesome). We road-tripped across half of Australia to visit my other relatives in Sydney which was pretty sweet - until the last day when I lost my toy Dalmatian, I'd only got a few weeks prior for Christmas.  There are some pretty amazing photos of me in a total meltdown because of it.  Good times!

4. How do you want other people to see you?

 

This is actually a super tricky question now that I've written it down. (Slightly regretting putting it in!)  I guess I'd like people to see me as a really friendly person with a super bubbly personality.  I'd like to be seen as someone who will try and go out of their way to make people happy.

I'm super passionate about speaking up about mental health issues and awareness, and would also like to be eventually seen as a voice of said awareness as well.

5. When you were younger - what careers did you want to pursue?

 

  • A vet (I can't deal with seeing surgery)
  • An astronaut (too short)
  • A Disney Princess (also too short)
  • A Model (I get terrible, terrible mental health problems pursing anything model related)
  • A tour guide (still technically not too late)
  • A photographer (As above)
  • A sex therapist (also wouldn't say no!)
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6.  What is a quote that you relate to?

 

Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.

— “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk

 

I actually read the quote before reading the book - and the book is actually a really great non-fiction read and actually explained a lot of why my brain processes trauma different than some other people.  Admittedly, I had to stop reading about halfway through because it was a fairly confronting read, and my headspace went.  I'd be keen to continue it again at some point though ♥

7.  Name a place that you'd love to visit

 

Chicago has been calling me years and years. I'd love to visit.  Do I know what is there that I'd like?  Not a clue. But you know those times where you just have a feeling you need to do something, or go somewhere?  Chicago is that place for me.  Morocco and the Maldives are actually other places that keep popping up every couple of months which I'm sure means I should probably check them out as well sometime soon.  If you've got any insider knowledge about them - feel free to drop a comment below!


8.  What do you like to do in your downtime?

 

I actually enjoy being on the computer,  more than anything. I play a lot of online games. My favourite has to be Marapets, which is kinda like Neopets, except better. (I might be a tad bias considering I've been on the site for like nearly 14 years so...)

I also play quite a bit of World of Warcraft.  For offline gaming, I've also just picked the Sims 3 back up again.  I really am not digging Sims 4 (although I have nearly all of the expansions.)  I love Civ5,  and also just picked up Animal Crossing: New Leaf again after a few years ♥

 

 

 

 

I super enjoy watching Youtube and a couple of my faves currently are;

MrBeast - great for entertainment and heartwarming content
Jessica Kobeissi - she's a really good fashion photographer and I've found I've adopted a lot of her mannerisms (whoops)
Mango Street - a photographer couple who just produce AMAZING
Plumbella & Steph0sims - two of the best YouTubers who feature doing Sims playthroughs

You can also find my Youtube channel here!

 

 

9.  If someone wanted to be your friend - what topics could they bring up to start a conversation?

I think I probably covered a few of those in the last question!  I'm always up for conversations on:

 

  • The Sims
  • Harry Potter
  • Animal Crossing
  • Photography
  • Anything blog-related
  • Travel & Adventures

I also accept showing of hilarious Tik-Toks, and frequently used Vines.

10.  What are 5 songs that make you happy?

 

I actually made an Instagram post on how you should make a playlist for songs that make you smile.  You can check out my list here.  Some have particular memories attached to them, others are just really good for singing along to.  There's a couple there that just come with a bit of #GirlBoss vibes and I just love them.

A couple of my favourites:

  • So Am I - Ava Max  

    Do you ever feel like an outcast?
    You don't have to fit into the format
    Oh, but it's okay to be different
    'Cause baby, so am I

  • High Hopes - Panic! At the Disco 

    Had to have high, high hopes for a living
    Shooting for the stars when I couldn't make a killing
    Didn't have a dime but I always had a vision
    Always had high, high hopes

  • 7 rings - Ariana Grande 

    My wrist, stop watchin',
    my neck is flossy
    Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin'
    You like my hair?
    Gee, thanks, just bought it
    I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it

  • Price of Fame - 360

    That's what my passion is
    And I could go and buy a crazy, fresh Mercedes-Benz
    But I would rather help my mates in debt and pay their rent

  • 1955 - Hilltop Hoods

    We're living in the days when everybody sayin'
    "What a time to be alive"
    But I'm feeling out of place like I live in outer space
    'Cause it seems I'm stuck in time

Wooo!  That is it for part one!  Originally there was going to be all 28 questions in one neat list, but I realised that there's a lot to read so I'll let you get excited for the next part next week.

Was there anything thus far that you're surprised about? Do we have anything in common?
Should we be friends?  (insert *gasp* here)

Let me know in the comments!

Clairesupersmall

14/4/2020

Midnight

 

I've become the adult equivalent of an unsettled baby.  Grizzly, uncomfortable, and becoming increasingly frustrated that I'm unable to communicate exactly what it is wrong with me.  Another day's gone by and I'm feeling the pressure on myself that I had done absolutely nothing with it.   The action plan to go and start a new diet?  Didn't happen.  Going for a 30 minute walk? Nope.  Desperately craving some form of vegetable but had Maccas instead?  Yep.   I can feel myself going down hill and having an internal argument that we're stronger than this - but yet still can't grasp on how to fix being so overwhelmed.

 

 

Five Twenty-Two AM.

 

I know this because this happens to be the sixth time I've looked at my phone in the past half an hour.  I should have been asleep somewhere around three or four hours ago.  This isn't to say I haven't tried.  I absolutely did;  my brain was all ready to switch off, my eyes hurts - there should have been nothing preventing sleep.  Yet there was.  I'm 90% confident I'm allergic to the smoke from our woodfire and where blissful sleep should have been - I was yet again re-jolted awake with a runny nose and continual sneezing fits.  I wonder how many clarentine tablets you can take before you overdose on them?  Honestly I wasn't  in the mood to find  out.

 

 

One PM

 

Somewhere along the lines, I've fallen asleep.  I also awoke to a tissue stuffed up one of my nostrils,  so apparently the whole runny nose business got to me at some point during the last few hours.  I still feel groggy as all hell and start to consider how much I'm not appreciating this sleep schedule.  In fairness to my body - I'm getting my five to six hours, just not at the right time.  I tell my Mum about it,  she suggests I should probably get sleeping pills.  I don't disagree.

 

Five PM

 

Productivity today has so far been that I found three new species of fish on animal crossing, and planted a new row of trees.  Again, I ponder of the fact that I should be up and walking around.  That I spent an ungodly amount on work out gear that's just sitting in the bedroom.  4KG weights aren't fun to trip over, yet that's the apparent purpose they're currently serving.    There's a lot of judgement.  Not to anyone else, but only to me.  Why exactly can I not get up and actually leave the house and do what I need to do to feel better?  Why am I having consistent arguments about how things should go in such a time where everything is all topsy turvy?  A better question is why am I even talking to myself?  Surely it's from being stuck inside.

... which. Could be fixed.
By going outside.
Which I still can't seem to do.

Eight-Thirty PM

 

The blog post that was originally meant to be posted on Sunday sits awkwardly in my drafts folder.  It talked about how Easter didn't feel all that special any more, and whether or not that you needed to have little ones to respark that magic.

I feel like I need a lot of magic at the moment.
My sparkle bar is sitting very low.

 

I've given up trying to find a different photo to display for this post, and lazily accept that getting up to find my hard drive is too much effort. Everything just seems like an effort.  I keep looking for silver linings throughout the day -and there's been plenty of them.  Like how one of my plants has sprouted new leaves, and I've sort of taught Wally a new trick.

But there's just this ongoing overwhelming blanket that smothers the good bits.  I'm getting snippy towards the people in my family, and just wanting to get out and speak to others.  I'd kill for a coffee date.  On the flipside, I know how many messages are currently sitting in my inbox unanswered as I just don't have the energy to reply to the people who have so kindly reached out.  I feel like a failure wrapped up in a few extra layers of weight.  (The new stretch mark on my stomach confirms that.)

 

The colder months already bring out the worst of my anxiety and depression, and I'm cautiously suspicious how this year is going to go.

 

 

I'm exhausted already.
I just want some form of normality back.

 

Clairesupersmall

So, I guess I became a plant Mum

When I was little, my Pop had this HUMONGOUS veggie garden at his house.  He would always plant very similar things each season, yet I always loved it. It meant that I could eventually go and pick said vegetables at a later point in time.  The veggies always looked amazing, and it was always immaculately cluttered but also chaotically structured working order. (It sounds likes my bedroom.  Maybe that's where I got my messy but creative streak from. Who knows? Anywho.)

Sadly,  I never inherited my Pop's green thumb.  Over the years, I've been gifted many succulents, and each one of them have died.  There's a running theory that I either:

A) Over watered them
B) Didn't keep them in the sun
C) Under watered them, or;
D) Completely forgot about them  (the more likely option)

 

This isn't to say that I didn't want to keep them alive - I was just young and naive, and the whole idea of keeping a plant alive wasn't really cool back in the old days.  Or, not to me at least.

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Fast forward to my adult years:

Over the past few months,  my interest for plants has started to rise again.   A lot of the girls I used to work with grew plants, and my social channels, when they were being flooded with babies and engagements - there were plants.  I figured, well, I'm not getting engaged any time soon, and a baby is off the cards kind of indefinitely,  what about plants?  So I started on my journey for fake ones.

Kmart was a godsend for random-ass plants that looked pretty, and required el zilcho requirements on my part.  My favourite is one with a watermelon base (which was only like, $2 because the legs are cracked but that's a minor detail.)

This still didn't really feel like it was enough though. Y'know?  I loved seeing them, but I'm a hoarder.  The thing about being a hoarder is that all the inanimate objects that you collect,  you love them equally, knowing that they'll always be there for you no matter what.  Even if all your objects are taking up every inch of space in your available area.  (insert awkward smile here.)

The issue is though, unless you're super crafty, or at least semi-motivated, these don't actually change.  You can stare at your beautiful fake watermelon pot as much as you like - and it'll just sit there. Doing nothing. Year in, year out.

If we can remember one of the key points of my blog just for a key minute - I'm a midlife, mid-life crisis blogger.  AKA - I had a melt down at where my habits were getting me.

BRING IN: THE SIMS

How absolutely banging is Sierra's bedroom and downstairs area, right?  I spent hours downloading mods one night, before deciding that I was going to take on an amazing house reno.  Apparently my inner child wanted to make it super amazing and bright -

AND PLANTS EVERY WHERE

I'm pretty confident by now we've all seen the movie Inception  and the idea of plants has just stuck in my head.  For months now.  So, I decided to do a real life Sims episode and renovate my deck, and the inside of my house and became a plant mum for the like, fourth time in my life.

Now I'm not an individual to test the water and see how we go - oh no.  Not me.
I went a little crazy:

AND THERE'S MORE

These are just the ones that are outside.  There's another three cuties inside, plus a few other bright coloured ones that went to my front garden.  I'm pretty excited.  I worked my butt off making everything look pretty (and also avoided the builders next door which was a pretty large feat, if you don't mind me saying.)

I spotted a monstera today online which I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO ADD INTO THE COLLECTION but, I with withhold until I know I can successfully not kill at least all of these ones.  I shall keep you updated over the next few months.

 

Are you are a crazy plant person?  Do you have a favourite?
Let me know in the comments below!

Clairesupersmall