Final blog post

Image result for onto the next chapter

It’s been a while since I have posted on this blog, and after some thinking, I’ve decided not to continue with it. I created this blog when I was 25, I had just walked away from a short-lived career in teaching and was in limbo. I was living on my own in Brisbane and had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I wasn’t in the best head-space when I created this blog – I was angry at the world because my life hadn’t panned out the way I had expected it to, and this negative mindset stayed with me for another year after. Despite finally finding the right career path, it took me a while to snap out of the previous mindset I was in. A couple of months ago I read through this blog, and realised that I can no longer relate to many of my posts – my perspectives have changed so much! There are even several posts where I just have no bloody idea what I was on about (i.e. please see redshift vs blueshift post). I thought for my final post I would look back on some previous ones and briefly talk about where I stand now.

Method of loci/memory palace – one of the posts I’m most proud of, not to mention, one of the best learning techniques I have ever come across. This method has helped me tremendously with my studies. And it is a technique I will continue to use for the rest of my life. Some people will spend hours upon hours re-writing their notes, making them look pretty. Maybe that works for them. But what I have learned, is that you only need one set of information – it’s how you actually process that information that really matters.

The future of humanity and the earth – let’s be honest, this blog post was quite a depressing read. While I have always been, and will always be interested in topics such as climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollution etc, what I have come to realise, is that sometimes it’s best to steer away from these topics. Even though these issues are incredibly important, many people interpret them as being negative, scary even. Negativity only attracts negativity. So I’ve sort of distanced myself from these subject areas. I don’t think purposely making yourself ‘unaware’ of these issues is the smartest thing to do, in fact I think its incredibly counter-productive, but on a personal and social level, I have found it to be more beneficial.

Life after teaching – going into teaching was one of the worst mistakes I have ever made in my life. Leaving the field, and changing careers, even though that meant starting from scratch again – totally worth it. I have not one regret in that decision. I am now half way through my degree in oral health (dental hygiene/oral health therapy), and all I can say, is that it makes the world of the difference when you’re career is better suited to you as a person. If you are a teacher and feel as though you are too introverted for the profession, that you want something more intellectually fulfilling (science oriented even), a job where you can work more on your own, and have primarily have one on one interaction – I would recommend working in dental as a career. I can’t speak for or recommend any other career paths, because I believe you need to actually walk in another person’s shoes to fully understand what their career experience entails. But from my experience so far, this new career fits me to a tea!

Childfree – by the end of my teaching career, I was so burned out, I decided that I never, ever wanted to have children in future. And the decision of whether to have kids or not, is something that has played out in my mind many times over the past few years. Now that some time has past, my mentality on this has again changed – and I currently feel completely ambivalent about this topic. Ideally, yes maybe I am leaning more towards the idea of having a family in future, but for the most part, it is something I am ambivalent about. And to be honest, having an ambivalent mindset on this topic, really helps to take a lot of pressure off. Life is too short to dwell on what your life ‘could’ have been. Whichever path my life takes, I will try to make the most of!

Well that’s all folks – it’s been fun writing this blog; a great place to organise your thoughts, get your ideas down and share them with other’s. It’s also been really interesting looking back and seeing just how much some of your perspectives can change in such a short space of time. Apologies, I know this blog isn’t as well written! But just wanted to give a quick final update.

Adios!

Healthy Pizza Alternative

IMG_1480

IMG_1481

IMG_1482

Ingredients:

  • Ready made pizza base (preferably a very thin base)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped courgette
  • 8 chopped brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Shredded roast chicken
  • Pizza cheese
  • Bocconcini
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
  • Balsamic glaze

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan, fry off the brussel sprouts and courgette until aldente
  3. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Leave aside.
  4. In a small pan, add another tablesoon of olive oil, then add the cream, parmesan, chicken stock cube, some salt and pepper, and stir on a medium heat
  5. Add the sauce to the ready made pizza base. Then add the shredded chicken, and pizza cheese
  6. Place the brussel sprouts and courgette on top, then add the bocconcini
  7. Sprinkle on some dried basil for seasoning
  8. Place in the oven for 10minutes, then add the balsamic glaze

Finding Happiness

Image result for happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The past ten years, I have experienced a multitude of highs and lows. Some of my biggest highs being – my first degree in psychology, moving countries on my own and travelling. And some of my lowest lows involved – going down the wrong career path, failed relationships and a lingering feeling of loneliness. Last year I decided to take action and change my most significant “low” – I left my previous profession as a teacher and  returned to University in pursuit of a new career, one much better tailored to my interests and personality. In 2017, I got to this weird place in my life where I was so grateful that I had new path ahead of me, yet, because my life had not panned out the way I expected, I felt angry at the world, at humanity and at life in general. Negativity attracts negativity, and last year I became very susceptible to this.

Luckily, I have had a bit of a revelation just in time for the new year. I realised, I am sick of being weak. I’m fed up of being an anxious person, I’m fed up of caring what others think, I’m fed up of not standing up for myself. I’m tired of hearing and internalising the same continuous criticisms from others. Maybe it’s time to do something about it and make a change.  I have one life, and as cliché as it sounds, I want 2018 to be the year where I find happiness. I don’t want to just be content in life…I want to be happy. It’s time to disconnect from the negative mentality that has skewed my mindset for too long now, and adopt a more productive one moving forward. And I would love to help others who are also going through the same process.

During my ‘low’ phases of life, I would occasionally experience what I can only describe as being “depressed ruts” or “funks”. Sometimes these ruts would last twenty-four hours, sometimes they would last several days, and sometimes they could go on for weeks. Over the years, I have learned several techniques that have helped me break out of these ruts. Below are the main tips I would like to share with you, if they can be of any help.

How to break out of a rut:

  1. Take a break from social media – deactivate it, delete it, just get off it. Various research has found a strong correlation between extended social media use and depression. Browsing through everyone’s ‘highlight reels’ sure isn’t going to make you feel any better about your reality. Just ditch it.
  2. Preoccupy yourself – take up a hobby, a sport, an art, just anything that will occupy your mind. Sometimes too much free time with nothing to do can be incredibly detrimental. It may result in spending excessive amounts of time overanalysing situations and focusing on your emotions. Do something that will distract you.
  3. Exercise – exercise leads to a release of endorphins in the brain, leading to increased feelings of positive emotion. Not only is exercise great for your health, but it also has tremendous effects on the mind.
  4. Vent but don’t create a pity party for yourself – talk to someone about what you are going through. Sometimes you just need to vent and be listened to, no matter how small or mundane the matter may seem. There is nothing wrong with this. However, make sure that your aim of venting is not to get people to feel sorry for you. If this is the case, then you may start relying on others to make you feel better – for them to do and say the right things. But ultimately, it is you that needs to get yourself out of the situation.
  5. Get out – on your own, or with a friend. Connect with nature. Just get out in the world and do something. One of the worst things you can do when you are experiencing a depressed rut is to stay in your room all day long, feeling sorry for yourself. It is more likely this will only prolong and increase the negative feelings you are experiencing.
  6. Put things into perspective – remember that there is always someone who has it worse than you. Make a mental note of all the things you should be grateful for in life.
  7. Treat your rut like a challenge – instead of letting the rut consume you, change your mindset and view it as a battle. Tell yourself that you are going to beat this rut and don’t let it take away anymore of your time.

For the year 2018, not only do I want to diminish my negative mindset, but I also want to become a more happy, and a more confident person. This goal is going to be a bit of a work in progress – but these are the tips I have learned so far and will continue to implement.

How to become more confident and happy:

  1. Keep a journal – use a personal diary to jot down your thoughts and ideas, it’s a great way to organise, clarify and make sense of your thought processes. Also, remember to write down positive comments about yourself. If you tend to be quite a self-deprecating person, writing down just a few things you like about yourself can really help boost your self-esteem.
  2. Be a good person – be kind, and be respectful. Even if you are a shy, guarded, or introverted person, if you treat others well, you will always have this to fall back on. I often try to remind myself – sure, I might be a bit socially awkward, but at least I am a good person and treat others with kindess, and that’s all that really matters.
  3. Keep in good shape – don’t get me wrong, you can definitely be out of shape and still be confident. But I think many of us would agree that when you look great, you  feel great. The past few months I have been going to the gym and have lost a fair amount of weight. I still have a few milestones to reach but overall it really has done wonders for my confidence.
  4. Make eye contact – lack of eye contact with another person can often portray a sense of disinterest and disengagement. This is a point I really want to work on this year because it is something I sometimes struggle with. While it may feel challenging at first, I’m sure in time, it will become second nature.
  5. Be aware of body language – similar to the above point, if you are with another person, and are constantly adjusting yourself/fidgeting, this can often make you seem anxious and insecure. I know this is easier said than done, but try to just relax and hold your head up high. Again in time and with practice, this will probably become second nature.
  6. Smile more – rather self-explanatory. Smiling will make you seem more warm, and others may warm to you faster.
  7. Say ‘yes’ more – put yourself out there, say yes to new experiences and opportunities instead of hiding away. I have always had a bad habit of avoiding certain social situations where I may be put out of my comfort zone. But this year I want to make a conscious effort to say yes to more opportunities and to meeting new people.
  8. Stay away from social media – as with the previous list of pointers, disconnect from the online world. Comparing yourself to others rarely results in positive feelings about yourself.
  9. Try not to care what others think – again, easier said than done. Just try to remember that you only live once – who cares if you embarrass yourself.
  10. Stand up for yourself – stop being weak, stop letting people walk all over you, be strong and stand up for yourself. If someone criticises you or doesn’t treat you well – speak up. Explain yourself, give them a piece of your mind. This can really help you to feel more powerful. Just make sure you have the right intentions when doing so i.e. don’t bite back at someone with the sole intention of putting them down.
  11. Fake it til you make it – this is a tip I have seen a lot online. Quite an ironic one to be fair. Even though I am always myself with other people, I often get told that I am ‘acting’ too reserved. While it is not an act, maybe putting on an act is the best way to go. I feel a bit iffy about this point, but am going to give it a try.

So those are my main pointers on how to break out of a rut, and how to be a more confident and happy person. I hope this post can be of help to anyone who has, and is experiencing something similar. I also hope that these pointers will change my mindset for the better this year and continuing onward. I would love to hear your best tips and pointers regarding your journey in the pursuit of happiness. What do you do to get yourself out of a rut?  And what are your best tips for being confident and feeling happy? Please leave a comment below.

Roast Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

IMG_1086

IMG_1085

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Broccoli x2
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 300ml cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Seasoning – parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper
  • 2 cups mozarella
  • 2 cups cheddar
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 1 ready roast chicken

Recipe:

  1. Add olive oil to a large frying pan, finely chop the onion, and fry until brown
  2. Add the garlic and chopped broccoli, fry off for several minutes on a medium heat
  3. Add the chicken stock, chicken stock cube and garlic powder to the pan, cover, and let the broccoli cook for 5 minutes
  4. Start cooking the pasta in a separate pan
  5. Once the broccoli is al dente, add the lemon juice, cream, seasoning and cheese. Combine all ingredients and keep on a medium heat for several minutes until the pasta is al dente
  6. Once the pasta is al dente, add it to the frying pan
  7. Shred the roast chicken and add it to the pan at the very end, mix well

The Future of Humanity and the Earth

Image result for overpopulation and climate change

A few days ago I was reading an article on overpopulation. In the comments section someone had posted “when I was born in the 1950s there were only 2.5 billion people on the planet”. I thought to myself – surely that can’t be right…if there are currently 7.6 billion people on the planet, how could there only have been 2.5 billion people just 67 years ago. I looked this figure up and it turns out these stats are correct. I don’t know about you, but that really puts things into perspective for me. Scientists predict that our earth can sustain a maximum of 10 billion people until we begin encountering major problems with resources, and we are expected to reach this in 2056. In fact, in 2023 Africa’s population is forecasted to overtake that of India and China. These regions combined will make up half the world’s population by 2023. Sure, there are some places, like Japan, that have an imploding population, but in its entirety, overpopulation is a huge problem, and I believe that most of us aren’t aware of the magnitude of this problem, as well as how many of today’s issues are linked, some of which are listed below.

Image result for china air pollution

Climate change – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 1.38 to 5.5 degrees Celsius over the next century. To maintain stable global human societies, we must prevent the earth from warming above 2°C relative to the pre-industrial level. To stay below two degree warming we must take the global energy system to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Scientists warn that we have a 5% chance of limiting warming to 2°C. If this tipping point is crossed, there may be catastrophic effects such increased droughts and heat waves, an ice-free Arctic, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and a sea level rise 1-4ft by 2100. In fact, recent research has found that many areas in Australia, such as Darwin and the state of Queensland will become uninhabitable in the very near future due to temperature rise. In addition to C02, another greenhouse gas, methane, is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, and there is more methane stored in the Arctic ice than there is C02 in the atmosphere. The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the planet. The IPCC also states that a 1.5°C average rise may put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 3°C, this will be detrimental to most of the world’s ecosystems.

Image result for africa food crisis

The Global food crisis – Sarah Menke’s models predict that the world could be short by 214 trillion calories per year by 2027. A food deficit we will not be able to replace (please see her TED talk for more information on the global food crisis). Earth Overshoot Day is an annual event when humanity’s consumption outweighs Earth’s production of resources. An event which is becoming earlier and earlier. This year, this event landed on August 2nd.

Image result for deforestation

Deforestation – The destruction of large areas of forest is disastrous for the local species and communities that rely on them. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.  Every year about 18 million acres of forest – an area the size of England and Wales is destroyed. Deforestation is also a driving factor behind climate change.

Image result for dead coral

Ocean acidification – one of the biggest threats facing humanity, yet one in which so many people are unaware of. Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the oceans has dropped from an average of 8.2 to 8.1. Projections of climate change estimate that by the year 2100, this number will drop further, to around 7.8. Increased human activity has ultimately resulted in the oceans becoming 30% more acidic since the beginning of the industrial revolution, taking a heavy toll on marine organisms. The impact of ocean acidification on plankton may have serious implications, as these microscopic organisms sit at the base of the food chain. Coral reefs are also at risk. If global warming remains on its upward path, by 2050 just 5% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef – will remain. Around half a billion people rely on fish from coral reefs as their main source of protein and these reefs also act as nurseries to young fish and smaller species. Researchers predict that most of our remaining coral systems will collapse even before a global temperature rise of two degree Celsius.

Image result for plastic pollution caribbean

Plastic pollution – Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. At least 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. Recent studies have found that sea salt around the world is also contaminated by microplastics – the effects of this on humans is not yet known. By 2050 there is expected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Overpopulation is the common denominator underlying the majority of these environmental issues. The most important question is, what can we do about it? How can we limit our population? While this may sound controversial, if you really want to help the environment – the most productive way you can do this is by not reproducing. Studies have found that having one fewer children per family can save an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. Scientists propose that everyone on the planet needs to reduce their carbon footprint to just 2 tonnes of C02 per year by 2050, to stay below the two degree tipping point.

In regards to my personal views on humanity and the status of the earth – I sometimes view climate change and increased weather patterns as the earths attempt to restore the equilibrium. It took literally perfect conditions for this earth to form, and every so often I questions whether humans are perfect enough of a species to survive and succeed on this planet. One thing I will never be able to comprehend is the sheer amount of ignorance people possess in regards to these issues. How so many humans can passively go through their lives, blatantly ignoring (and even disputing) the major threats to humanity, is beyond me. If you don’t feel educated or knowledgeable on these issues – go and make yourself aware.

While I may have somewhat of a skeptical take on the future, I do have faith in science and technology. I believe that advancements in science and technology could resolve a number of environmental threats, however, it is all a race against time. There are countless technological solutions (such as project Clean up, and Bill gates idea of lab grown meat), which have been proposed to alleviate the varying threats facing humanity, however, I feel slightly skeptical as to whether such solutions will be implemented in time. The outcome all comes down to who will win the race first – mother nature or technology.

I would love to hear your views on this topic.

Thai Chicken Salad

IMG_0936 (1)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 1/4 white cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 roast chicken
  • 1 packet of crispy noodles
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 small bag of peanuts

 

  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauace
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Grate and chop all vegetables and add to a large bowl, including the shredded chicken, peanuts, crispy noodles and cilantro
  2. Place oil in a pan and put on a low heat
  3. Fry off the garlic and add all of the other dressing ingredients
  4. Add dressing to the bowl and mix well

 

Meyer Lemon Molten Cakes

IMG_0193IMG_0194

 

Ingredient:
  • 8 Tablespoons (4-ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 (4-ounce) white chocolate baking bar
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 4 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 extra large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • The zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F
  2. Grease 8 ramekins and set aside
  3. In a bain marie, melt the butter and white chocolate, turn off the heat, then add all other ingredient. Make sure to mix well so the consistency is smooth and there are no lumps.
  4. Pour mixture into the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the ramekins
  6. Add icing sugar and raspberries for decoration