After contemplating and discussing for the past two months I've finally done it. I have signed up for the March 2015 round of Michelle Bridge's health and exercise program 12wbt!
I've been looking for something to motivate me back into working out and eating healthy after letting everything blow out since the holiday season. I've decided to join up to 12wbt's Learn to Run program as I started running a little at the end of last year and I'd really like to run a 5k by the end of the 12 weeks. My dad currently runs in a 5k park run every Saturday and I'd love to join in but don't have the confidence in my running ability just yet.
The program is currently in it's pre-season phase where Mich sets tasks for us to complete in the lead up to the actual program starting. So far the tasks have included setting goals, recognising excuses and making our goals known to those around us. So, this post is one way I am holding myself accountable, by putting it out there that this is happening and promising to give 110% effort to the whole 12 weeks. You'll be able to track my progress here and feel free to virtually remind me to get back in the gym whenever I slip up!
If you're interested in joining in on this journey (you can sign up anywhere around the world), sign up now! There is a great community linked to the website and it'd be so inspiring to put together a little group of supportive friends and other bloggers.
Also, there is something in it for me... If 3 people sign up using THIS link I can get a $100 12wbt store voucher (and you can get the same if you sign up and then refer 3 friends too!). What are you waiting for!?
Have you done 12wbt? Any advice or words of wisdom?
LookingforasimpleDIYgift? Need something that can be sent through the mail? Stuck on ideas for an upcoming 18th or 21st? Need a simple but thoughtful gift as a party thank you?
Look no further! I present you with the...
I love putting together gift kits. You can put together something for almost any occasion, spend as little or as much as you like and make it personal or corporate depending on the recipient. The gift kits I'm showing today are most definitely of the personal nature (aka. probably not something you're going to making for your boss any time soon).
Hangover kits are a hilarious gift for any occasion that is linked to alcohol consumption (think bachelorette, wedding, engagement party, etc.) or "coming of age" events. This particular Hangover Kit was put together for a friend's 21st birthday party. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the event so I needed to find a gift that could be mailed (without spending a small fortune) and I wanted something useful but funny too.
In the Hangover Kit:
- Face Wipes
- Mouth Wash
- Bottle of Water (with personalised label).
I created a label for the water bottle myself as I wanted an extra personal touch. To make I simply used a word processing program to draw a rectangle (in landscape) and added the first aid symbols and a little writing. Print, cut out and tape around bottle.
Reads: "Hangover Helper. DRINK ME LUCY!"
I grabbed some Cello paper to pull the contents together and tied together with a little twine.
To finish I created a label to attach to the gift. To make I once again used a word processing program and drew a label shape before adding text and the first aid symbol.
And, voila! One Hangover Kit, ready to help my friend survive the day after her 21st!
I sat, I watched, I tapped my toes, I sang along when I knew the words (and, let's be honest, even when I didn't). As I did these things, I judged. I wasn't even aware I was doing it but I guess it was always there in the back of mind.
"Do I enjoy this style of music? Are they singing in tune? Do their original lyrics speak to me? Are they original? Is this cover better than the original? Is there a reason I'm hearing Folsom Prison Blues for the millionth time today?"
As I judged the different voices, skills and styles I came to develop a better sense of what I enjoy in country music and what it takes for a performer to impress me. So, why am I telling you all this? I want you to understand how I picked my Top 3 from the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
I wanted to highlight artists that have incredible songwriting skills, can confidently play at least one instrument and have that indefinable quality or charisma that allows you to happily sit and watch them for hours on end.
She's the whole reason we even went to Tamworth in the first place. Fanny did NOT disappoint. I've written about her and the Thrillseekers before HERE and basically I've played her EP on repeat ever since I got it and am eagerly awaiting her debut album release this year!
The find of the Festival! We looked these guys up online after seeing them in the guide book and knew straight away we HAD to see them live. We saw them first at Fan Zone and were instantly blown away. I just love their sound! When Tia mentioned that the song she was about to sing was about a farm once owned by her Mum's family in Bombala (a little town really close to my own hometown) I knew we were onto a winner. That song, Lord's Hill, has been stuck in my head ever since (check it out in the video below). I can't wait to see what's to come from these two... I'll definitely be keeping up to date and keeping an ear out on Triple J where they have just started to be played.
We saw Missy at Shoppingworld and thought her covers sounded great. Then, she explained the story behind her latest single and I thought "wow, this sounds like my sister's life exactly". I was excited to hear the song before it even started but once it did I knew straight away that I had to pre-order 'Til I Figure It Out'. Missy was just all around amazing, I'd love to see her perform again and can't wait til her new EP is released.
I had to mention just one more act (though there were plenty more I truly enjoyed). Dozzi sang two of my favourite songs that totally encapsulate my America experience so they earned instant brownie points for covering Cruise and Chicken Fried (check out their Dozzi-fried version below).
These girls are funny, entertaining and ofcourse, SUPER MUSICALLY TALENTED!
Wow. How do I even begin to explain the experience that was my first ever Tamworth Country Music Festival!? I absolutely loved every single, music-drenched, second!
Sidewalk Chalk Art.
My first tip for anyone considering the trip is JUST DO IT!
You don't have to be the biggest country music fan ever, or a farmer from way out west. You don't have to know every Adam Brand lyric or even know who the hell he is! There is something in Tamworth for everyone!
Which brings us to my second tip... Embrace the change in Australian Country Music.
Country Music is growing and evolving with the next generation. It's not all Slim Dusty and songs about the farm anymore (not that there is anything wrong with this branch of country either). There is a whole wave of new talent and it's time we all accepted that there is a place for everyone in Country Music.
Free hat, Free lanyard, Awesome photo op!
Onto the trip planning tips. Let's start with accommodation.
TCMF (Tamworth Country Music Festival) can be a daunting trip to make the first time round as many camp grounds do not take bookings. I, for one, was terrified at the thought of rocking into town and not being able to find anywhere to put the tent up. Instead, I did my research and opted to stay a little further out of town in order to secure a booked camping site. We ended up at Austin Tourist Park and it was perfect.
Our Campsite Setup.
"So, how do I get around Tamworth?"
Sooooo easily! The bus service for the event was super useful. We paid $20 for a wristband that allowed us unlimited bus rides for the duration of the festival. The buses came every hour to our tourist park and were able to quickly and easily take us to every venue we needed to visit.
More Sidewalk Chalk Art.
One of the biggest concerns going in for me was making sure I got to see all my favourites.
An essential purchase is the yearly guide as it provides the perfect starting point to workout the times people are playing and to start exploring some new (to you) acts. I went through and picked out atleast one time for each act I was desperate to see, making sure they didn't clash. Once that was sorted I was free to fill my time with buskers and seeing more of acts i'd discovered at the festival.
Addimi Acoustic Sessions.
You can easily fill your time at TCMF without purchasing a single ticket!
There is sooooo much going on down Peel St. I could spend a whole week just watching the buskers. If there is something you really want to see, by all means buy a ticket, but don't get fooled by the website suggesting that you will need tickets.
Last week I wrote about my new challenge for the year, #52friends. A whole year of connecting, reconnecting and maintaining one friendship a week for 52 weeks. Since the last post went live I have put together a list of friends/extended family members that I want to include and set about getting started with the 'friending'.
The first friend up was my high school bestie who I try to catch up with whenever I am back in my hometown. We headed out for coffee and took her kids to look around the petting zoo there. While I was sitting waiting for her to arrive I thought about how often my default catch up plan is to just grab coffee and as great as that is, I decided to put together this list providing a whole range of activities to help you connect with friends.
- Grab a coffee together
- Send a handwritten letter
- Send a gift
- Go for a walk and talk
- Pizza and a movie night at home
- Friday after work drinks
- Send a card for birthday
- Send a card of congratulations
- Send a card for Christmas
- Weekend getaway/road trip
- Cook them a meal
- Brunch date
- Hit the gym together
- Go SUPing together
- Go rockclimbing together
- Go to a cooking class together
- Go to a wine and paint night together
- Bake them a treat
- Play a game of tennis with them
- Have a spa day
- Make a collage of photos of the two of you
- Give them your favourite book to read and discuss after
- Go to the movies together
- Go to a happy hour to drink and chat
- See a band play
- Join a team sport together
- Send a surprise care package
- Go shopping
- Get drunk and dance on tables together
- Go camping
- Have a "junk" stall at a market
- Attempt a craft project together
- Go ice-skating
- Do a swap of some sort (eg. cookies, clothes, shoes etc.)
- Go grocery shopping together (make a boring task way more enjoyable!)