Category: Little Love Letter’s

Christmas Connection

Christmas Connection

Through the looking glass…

As one year closes and another one opens it’s been a long time between drinks as they say. So much has happened in the last 12 months and the year has flown by in what feels like a blink of an eye. It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, but the older you get – the faster time moves and before you know it you are once again preparing for Christmas and all the stress that seems to come with it.

Do you remember being a child and the days leading up to Christmas taking forever? Each hour felt like a lifetime until it was finally time to go to bed and wait to hear the thump of the reindeer landing on the roof. I would lie there willing my eyes to stay open so I could hear the ‘Big Mans’ arrival, only to wake in the morning to find I had missed it. The evidence of his visit however, was under the Christmas tree in the many beautifully wrapped presents.

I think as adults we sometime get so caught up in all that we need to do, we forget that there is a certain magic to this time of year and if you take the time to look, it’s right there in front of your face. This year our Christmas was a marathon. Lasting a week, we had back-to-back events with family and friends and I was exhausted just thinking about it, before it had even begun. It was definitely not a hundred meter sprint in which to drink too much on the first evening and be hung-over for the event to follow. No…. This was going to take some stamina! Pacing and bracing myself for the idle chit-chat, the getting along with family, saying all the right things and hiding the ‘black sheep’ of the family in me, was stressing me out more than preparing Christmas dinner and getting the fairy lights all to work, all at the same time!

My pre-game routine became a ritual, with a glass of champagne in hand; I would change my outfit 15 times and remind myself over and over again,  not to say anything controversial. Needless to say, I was nervous and despite the fact that I don’t care what these people think of me, I didn’t want to make it a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons. To my family, Christmas is a BIG DEAL. There are traditions that have been upheld since I was a child and although the people and landscape has changed over the years, their expectations of Christmas and bringing family together remains the same.

By Boxing Day I had seemingly survived a number of events relatively unscathed. But Boxing Day signalled the start of the ‘Main Events’ which had me worried. This was all my family craziness at its best. One must do ones best to look good, behave and get along for the sake of family and tradition. My mother doesn’t really expect us all to get along – except on Christmas. This is not a request – it is a given. And whilst I love her for that – it does take some effort!

KAM has been around now for a while and also knows what to expect and what is expected of him. I could feel the tension within us both as we drove towards my family home. However, as we turned into my mum and dad’s Street, the Christmas magic kicked in and all I could smell in the summer air was my dad’s roast meats cooking on the multiple barbecues he has going preparing to feed the hordes about to embark on his home. It’s fair to say my dad is a bit of a Christmas Grinch. But come hell or high water – he’s in charge of the meat, and don’t try to take that from him or dare to offer advice. It has been his role for a number of years now and happens to be one of my favourite things about this time of year. He slaves over them for hours – marinating, roasting and finally carving them, after sharpening his knives like a pro. I watch him take so much pride and care with his role at Christmas time and quite frankly, the result is amazing! My mum is like Christmas on speed! She decorates better than a David Jones window display, cooks, prepares and makes the house look just so. It’s important to her to have all the family together and wants everything to be perfect. Somehow despite how busy she is, she carries it off every year.

So as everyone has arrived, poured themselves a drink and is sitting around catching up, I merely sit and observe. This year, our table is full of children and the magic of a hot summer Christmas inclusive of cold ham, a sunlight pool and treats they wouldn’t be allowed any other time of year is evident. The smile on their faces and giggles coming from the kiddie table as they crack the bon-bons is infectious and you can’t help but smile along with them.

Some of our table are blood relatives and some are not. Some, I haven’t seen for 20 years and some I had never met until recently. Teenagers with so much spunk and their whole life ahead of them. Some who have lost love this year and some who have found it. We, who have been grounded and feeling sorry for ourselves, realise that we made it through yet another year of turmoil and I think are just happy to still be in one piece.

After all the presents are opened, our bellies are full and the champagne is giving me a nice buzz, I am glad that KAM and I didn’t pack our bags and run from the Christmas festivities (even though we talked about it a lot!). Christmas comes but once a year and there is no better reason to celebrate the people you call ‘family’ whether they are people you belong to, or people you have chosen.

So happy New Year to my fellow travellers, dreamers and gypsy’s alike. No matter who you are, no matter where you roam, family is a gift, and will always be your home.

Dedicated to a new friend who is clever, feisty and full of life. Put pen to paper girlfriend! People will love your sparkle! xo

The Duchess Returns for 2017!

The Duchess Returns for 2017!

Mixed Tape Mantra

Dear all,

The Duchess has returned for a new year. But first to our followers, my sincerest apologies for not writing for so long. 2016 was a tough year and I have been left grounded. Sore and sorry, and feeling like I have been through an emotional washing machine. But I should not complain. It seems as though everyone I speak to has had a rough year as well.

Friends have farewelled loved ones – and not unfortunately for them, on a jet plane. Loved ones have turned on ones they love, leaving the rest of the family upside down with anguish and fear for their safety. Human beings, just like us, around the world have struggled with far greater worries than I will ever have.

So a little thing such as a mixed tape, seems like nothing more than a whim. Call me an 80’s girl, but a mixed tape can be the soundtrack to everything. It can define a mood, it can define a moment. It can make you feel free and remind you of moments lost to time forever.

That’s why, on the eve of one of the greatest people I have ever known leaving us for a journey of adventure and self-discovery, I found myself listening to the mixed tape that started it all and reminiscing on just how important some lyrics can be. Like the Whitlams said “A letter to you on a cassette, ‘cause we don’t write anymore”. No one writes anymore. Its all through text, snapchat – any kind of social media really. That’s why I am still sentimental about music. Its old fashioned. Its original.

You can still stick a CD into the car stereo (at least for a little while longer anyway) or hit play on a play-list and dance your way to anywhere. The road becomes your friend  – It becomes all about you and the road. The journey is the calling. The destination at that point doesn’t matter. The journey is the adventure.

As Paramore said, “I am going away for a while. I’ll be back, don’t try to follow me”. Sometimes you just hear the road calling. It’s a sound that only the true gypsy knows and when it calls you must answer and go where the road tells you to go.

But you must have a purpose. Rob Thomas once sang, “You can go, you can start all over again, you can try to find a way to make another day go by”. But why go? What drives you? Fair enough that some days you just need to get away. But from what? And for how long before you have to come home and face the reality that is inevitably waiting for you at the airport or in the driveway.

Like Missy Higgins said “I’m half me and half you and I hate us both”. This does not necessarily need to relate to two people – we all have many different sides. Ask yourself, what are you running from? I have been running most of my life, from one thing to another, and still have not found the answer to that question.

Gypsy’s are gypsy’s. No fixed address. Never getting attached to a single place. I have been a gypsy the majority of my adult life and always wondered what I would do when I grew up. Now I’m grown up and I still have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life. Other than travelling the globe and writing about it, I have no real purpose. No training. No qualifications to get me anywhere of meaning. Just as Lior implies, all I have been doing is dancing. Dancing from one place to another not figuring anything out really.

But what John Butler said is true in ‘Better Than’ – “all you want is what you cant have”. But we have to continue to try right? So just like ‘Gillian’ by the Waifs we just keep on, keeping on. Going to work every day for the coin – making the money to just continue on, and hopefully one day get on a road (or a plane) for the unknown. For the adventure of a lifetime.

In a beautiful song written by Pete Murray he once said “I know I’ve been through black and white, I know I’ll put up a fierce fight, I know I lost my soul”. But like he also says, “I know there comes a time to believe in yourself”.

That’s why there comes a time when you must follow the sun. Xavier Rudd teaches us that. The sun will always shine eventually. Don’t sit and wallow – get up and “set your intentions, dream with care. Tomorrow is a new day for everyone”.

After all, Life is just a ride. If we don’t keep looking for hope of a better day; If we don’t keep giving room for love to find a way. Through this messy life I made for myself, heaven knows I need a little hope for a better day. Lenka taught me that and it has become somewhat of a mantra. Hell, KAM even has it tattooed on his body!

At the end of the day, after 365 days of 2016, the lesson I have learned is the same as it has been every other year. Get on the road. Get out there and experience all that life has to offer. Don’t sit and wait for life to come to you! Go get it! Grab life by the balls and make it happen. As the Cat Empire says “Its days like these that make us happy”.

Go find your sunshine. It makes us happy when skies are grey. So please…. Don’t wait. Don’t question whether it’s the right time. Don’t ask yourself if it’s the right thing to do. Just go. Find your sunshine. For the sunshine lives within us all. We just have to have the light to see it.

To one of my greatest friends – Erica, I love you. Get on the plane and don’t look back. Travel roads not yet run. Walk paths not yet discovered and sleep under skies full of stars. We will all be looking out for you. Send your happiness to the sky at night and wherever you are, we will find it. Say your prayers and we will hear them. For we are one. We are family. But this is not our journey. It can only be yours and know that we will be here welcoming you home with open arms when you finally return.

The road is calling. But home will always be here. Find yourself and then find your way home darling. We will be waiting.

Love, The Duchess xo

Little Love Letter

Little Love Letter

Soldiers Point Beach, NSW

I am missing Summer. The bright mornings, the sunny days and warm evenings. There is something about travelling through Summer that makes me feel like I am on holidays, no matter where we go. In an effort to remind me of an actual Summer Holiday taken last year, I had to share this photo of KAM, taking a dip at Soldiers Point, NSW. Near the busier, more popular Nelson’s Bay, we had the beach to ourselves. The water is crystal clear and you can see the fish swimming with you through the warm water. This place has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and it is a great secret spot for a quiet swim! You wont be disappointed!,_New_South_Wales

Little Love Letter

Little Love Letter

Fire Dancers, Byron Bay, NSW

Byron Bay is a beautiful beachside town full of eclectic people and travellers looking for adventure. By day its stunning! But by night it comes alive with bohemian entertainers who perform in return for a small donation. These fire dancers were amazing, performing under a full moon with the rolling waves as a backdrop! We don’t spend as much time as we would like in Byron Bay, but when we are there – like everyone – we make the most of it!

Little Love Letter

Little Love Letter

Nambucca Head’s Beach, NSW

This beautiful Little Love Letter is brought to you from stunning Nambucca Head’s Beach in Mid North NSW.  While we were there, I couldn’t resist taking my shoes off and walking knee-deep in the crystal clear water. The weather is always nice. The town is relaxed and everyone is chilled. There is a great pub across the road from the Beach too. Hopefully this Little Love Letter will inspire you to go and check it out for yourself!