Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop Is Now Live! Come & Link Up!

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

What a day to celebrate! This is the 57th week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! 

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of  The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! :)

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. 

Meet your hosts: 

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'

 and your co-hosts:
Micaela from Mind Your Madness

Kendra from Open Spaces
Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama
Jenna from The Year of Life

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:

Hi Loves! This is Chelsee this week! I had the pleasure of picking a winner this week and I must say it was a hard choice. Each of you linked up fabulous posts that I enjoyed reading. I do want to mention that you must link up and actual post and not just your blog to win. Now onto the winner!

Elizabeth is a Army wife living in the great state of Hawaii. I knew the moment I saw the picture in this post that I had to try this recipe. I found that Elizabeth gave easy to follow instructions on how to create your own delicious Shrimp Scampi. I live on the coast and love some seafood, so finding recipes like this is pure treasure. I find scampi sometimes to be quite difficult, but when I saw this post I knew that it was a great one. 

So if you like what you see above or just want to read this great love story, check out this awesome post. I have to say that I love reading all of your posts and can't wait to see what you all link up next week! 

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for me to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit! 

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

My Poor Little Neglected Blog...

It seems that in my quest to soak up the last warm, sun filled summer days has meant that my humble little blog has fallen to the wayside. It wasn't intentional and I didn't even realise it had been so long since I posted until I checked my email this morning and seen a blog related email. My first reaction was 'F***, my blog!".
In amongst the last few weeks of afternoon drinks in the sun, family birthdays, work events and hour long walks along the coast, I seem to have forgotten my little corner of the internet. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I don't regret taking a step back from the interwebs to enjoy time with some of my favourite people but I will jump back into blogging. I really do find this whole blog thing fun not to mention a creative outlet where I can unleash my thoughts on the world (insert evil laugh) - they may not always be succinct and may sometimes seem like the ramblings of a crazy cat lady but perhaps someone out there might be going through or feeling something similar. I know that when I read a blog post that is similar to something I am thinking or dealing with I have a little moment of 'YES! I'm not the only one". If I can give event just one person that moment I will be a happy lady.
So onwards and upwards for this little blog and its little band of lovely followers....
Much Love,
Jen Xx

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Life Lately

It is Sunday evening as I type this, I am sipping on a delicious grapefruit and lime cocktail, listening to Vampire Weekend on our record player and feeling optimistic that this coming week will be better than the last!

This week has been challenging; work deadlines, family drama and illness have all been present over the past 7 days and it has been draining to say the least.

Hubby and I have both been under the weather with sore throats and earaches but a busy work week has meant no chance of a sick day to rest for me "sigh" (yes, i'm a total mopey mess when Im feeling unwell). Luckily I have a super adorable husband who went to the farmers markets this morning to by me a pistachio bagel and strawberry macaron to help cheer me up - total swoon worthy move.

This week a lot of focus for me has been on my family. I have had an immediate family member going through a tough time with mental illness which has been really heartbreaking not only for that person but also for my family. Whilst i'm usually a very open person this isn't something I want to go into detail about - I think its still too fresh in my mind and personal for my family. Mental Illness is a real bitch isn't it?

On a more positive note here are some things I am loving this week:

  • Sochi Winter Olympics - I am crazy loving watching as much winter olympic action as possible. I don't think I have ever enjoyed watching an olympics as much as I have these winter games. I really love anything snowboarding! I also really love the sportsmanship and positive outlook of these athletes.
  • Exercise - The Jen of 3 months ago would never have said this but I am really enjoying going for a walk/run every morning. It puts me in a great mood for the day and side effect is that I have been losing weight and loving the results. Who knew exercise could be enjoyable?
  • Firmoo Glassess - After getting my eyes tested a few weeks ago I ordered glassed from Firmoo. I paid for express shipping (so worth it) and they came within 2 weeks. I am in love with the glasses! I love that Firmoo sell fashionable, fun glasses but without crazy optometrist price tags. Ill post a few photos of my 2 pairs of glasses in the coming days.

Here are some photos from the last week.

Sending love and positive vibes for the week ahead!

Peaceful afternoon watching the waves crash

Morning walk along the Foreshore - perfect time of day!

Friday night date night at Moneypenny at Honeysuckle - its our regular! 
Newcastle Town Hall by night

Jen, Xx

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Looks I Am Loving Right Now

Whilst I would definitely not call myself a fashionista I do love looking at fashion and putting an outfit together - plus I completely LOVE shopping! My style varies as I don't really follow trends - it feels like too much effort to me.

However, after spending "some" time on Pinterest (I won't admit how long, Pinterest is really addictive!) I started to think that I really would like to put more effort into my outfits.

Here are a few of the looks I love and that made me look forward to autumn!






How would you describe your style - do you follow or set trends or do you prefer to go for less fuss?

Jen Xx
Thursday, 6 February 2014

A Domestic Goodess I Am Not

I may be a 27 year old with who has lived out of home for the past 7 years but one thing I have come to realise is that I am so NOT a domestic goddess.

Here is how I like to tackle a few domestic challengers:

  • Spill red wine or nail polish on the carpet and want to clean it up quickly? My rule of thumb is to experiment with all cleaning products in the house until one of the works.
  • Hosting a dinner party for in the inlaws? Buy food that just needs to be put in the oven and served (burning the food is optional as is serving dry meat...ive done both of these...yum!). 
  • Need a dress ironed for work? Throw it in the clothes dyer for 20 minutes.
  • Accurate measurements needed? Meh, that looks close enough.

The downside of growing up in a home with an amazing mum who cooked dinner, baked cakes, cleaned rooms, washed clothes etc, is that you really don't learn to do anything for yourself. All of the women in my family are great cooks, have beautiful tidy homes and are domestic goddesses - I think I'm missing that gene. 

Don't get me wrong, our house is tidy and well presented but cleaning is not my favourite thing (thank god for a dishwasher!) and I hate having to schedule in time to clean and tidy on week nights or the weekend for that matter.

My cooking is slowly improving, I make a mean pasta and you better get ready for my kick arse cupcakes (made from a pack of course) but Im still a work in process on the cooking front. 

The good news is I have made it a goal this year to improve my domestic abilities by adding "bake a cake from scratch" and "host a dinner party and do all the cooking" on my 28 by 28 list. Im hopeful that somewhere down the line my domestic goddess side decides to show itself but for now I'm comfortable in my easy to prepare meals, my cupboard full of mostly unnecessary cleaning products and contestant need to google how to do things around the house.

Anyone else out there domestically challenged?

Side Note - my husband is much better at me with domestic tasks so thank good there is one adult in our house!

Jen Xx
Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A Happy Tuesday Moment

This post should probably be labelled "majorly self-indulgent" but Im going to go ahead anyway....

So I have had this work dress in my cupboard for 4-5 years, unworn and tags still on. It isn't anything too special, just a straight black work dress. I purchased it knowing at the time it was too small but for whatever reason I fell in love with it and thought "heck, I'm going to lose weight". Turns out that didn't happen right away. So the dress has remained in my closet for years, tags still on, moving from place to place and whenever I have had a wardrobe cull I just haven't had the heart to part with it.

Now for the exciting bit (well to me anyway) - after lots of exercise, positive lifestyle changes and improving my diet TA-DA it fits!!!! 

I wore the dress today as I knew I had a lot of meetings and I wanted to feel extra put together. It was a good day. I know in the big wide world its just a small possibly shallow and vain thing but it kept a big smile on my face all day. Sometimes its small unexpected moments like this that are most satisfying.

Here is a terrible, dark work bathroom photo of said dress - whilst it is a bad photo my day long smile is evident!

Have you had any small wins lately?

Jen Xx
Monday, 3 February 2014

Is it Monday already?

How did the weekend pass so quickly? I feel like I was just walking into the car park to head home Friday afternoon and now its lunchtime Monday - boo!!

I am feeling wayyyyyy to tired for a Monday morning so a few earlier nights this week are in order. I have made an effort to eat well and exercise over the past few weeks but I think sleep is the one area I have neglected to work on. 

I had a really fun weekend with beach time, drinks by the harbour, long early morning walks, time spent catching up with family, New Zealand holiday planning and quality time spent with Gav.

But alas the weekend is now over which means I need to get myself ready for another busy work week. 

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

How did you spend your weekend? Any big plans for the week to come?

Jen Xx
Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Personal Battle

My vision for this blog is to create my little corner of the internet where I can write about things that interest me, things that move me and to talk about different aspects of my life. I want to be honest and authentic which is why todays post is about something I am struggling with - anxiety and depression issues. 

This is where I am at right at this moment. I have been having anxiety issues on and off over the past few years and it generally has passed quite quickly but I have been a worrier for my entire life. Last year things deteriorated and my anxiety got much worse over the last 6 months of the year. What worried and frustrated me at the time was that there was nothing causing the anxiety - no relationship, family or employment issues. I'm lucky to be able to say I have a pretty blessed life filled with love and support. But that doesn't change the fact that anxiety has become a big part of my life.

With the increased anxiety over a long period with no none cause or trigger I started feeling quite down and when I spoke at length with my Doctor he explained that what I was feeling was really a mild form of depression. Over Christmas I began taking a small dose of an anti-anxiety antidepressant. The first 2 weeks were some of the hardest times of my life with severe side physical side effects. I wasn't in a great place but persevered with the support and constant love from my unbelievable husband and close friends and family. 

Starting taking medication isn't something that I have hid from those close to me and I in no way regret my decision, a decision I did not take lightly. I realise that some people feel that mediation for depression/anxiety is a sign of weakness and taking the easy way out but that is just not true. Im not ashamed to be on medication as it has honestly changed my daily life and outlook - I feel more myself then I have in a number of years. I can now see that the anxiety really has been heavily impacting on my life for longer than I thought. I was missing that spark that made me excited for life. I was too caught up in my own head and negative and worrisome thoughts to actually live my life.

I am now 5 weeks into my medication and whilst things really are great and much improved I still have the occasional off day, today is one of those days in fact but I know it will pass. I am also having very vivid dreams but I know this is a side effect which should settle down once the medication has been in my system for a little longer.

don't really know what I want to achieve by writing this post but I just felt I had to. I don't think i could write constantly happy posts about going overseas and about great aspects of my life without also talking about the bad times. I mean after all thats what life is really like - we all face challenges and battles. 

Writing this post has been difficult as i guess it always is when we talk about our own weaknesses,  shortcomings or battles. I think that mental illness is so common these days that people really should feel comfortable and open in talking about it. I know that chatting with my husband, friends and family is something that has really helped me. If you feel someone in your life might be dealing with mental illness open a dialogue with them and you may just make someone feel less alone. There is also a lot of access to free professional help these days.

The name of this blog, The Year Of Life was something I intentionally picked to remind me to live every day. Already this year I have had some of my best moments in a long time and memories I will treasure. I feel proud of myself for a lot of positive changes I have made. I know that everyday might not be rosy but I can now see the positives in the future and the experiences I have yet to enjoy. I want to make the most of everyday.

To end this somewhat heavy post here is an adorable photo of one of my cats because he is just too cute!


Monday, 27 January 2014

Sunday Edition

After seeing the Sunday Edition link up on Let It Be Beautiful over the past few weeks I decided to take part. For info on how to participate head on over to All The Things or Let It Be Beautiful.

Here is my image...

Jen Xx
Friday, 24 January 2014

Friday Favs

Its Friday!! This is a post I am going to do every friday. It is a list of my favourite things from the past week.

And here is the first list....

Fav Blog
A Girl Named Leney
I have been following this blog for a while but find myself reading it a lot lately. Love the dreamy photos! 

Fav Blog Post
How to support the bloggers you love
This is a good reminder of why people blog. I will definitely take a few of these tips on board and leave more comments and send more emails to bloggers I love.

Fav Song
Dirty Paws by Of Monsters & Men - I have been playing this song non stop since seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Fav Moment
Waking up in the middle of the night and hugging Gav and seeing both of our cats asleep curled up beside him - so much love!

Fav TV Show
The Mindy Project!! Mindy and Danny hooking up - LOVE! I just adore Mindy Kaling, she is such a great role model for girls!

Fav Quote

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Glorious Weekend To Come

It may only be January 23rd and I may have only been back at work for 2.5 weeks but a long weekend of rest and relaxation is already needed. Lucky for me thats what is in store for this coming weekend!

Hubby and I are headed off to Nelson Bay in Port Stephens for 5 relaxing nights staying in a beautiful apartment right in the centre of town near the ocean. Best of all, its free! Gav won his work Rugby League tipping competition and the apartment accommodation was first prize. I still don't know how he won, we do not watch Rugby League at all!

As I can't take today off work we are heading off tonight, its only a short 1 hour drive, and will come home sometime on Tuesday. It is a long weekend in Australia as Sunday is Australia Day so a group of our friends are coming up to stay for a night or two. The rest of our time will be spent lazing by the beach, BBQs and drinks on the balcony and walks along the water. I also decided this week that I really want to learn to knit (random, i know!) so I will be making an attempt to start learning.

For anyone that follows me on Instagram be prepared to be bombarded with lots of beach and yummy food and cocktail photos!

My motto for the weekend...

How will you be spending this weekend?

Jen Xx
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

a skateboarding cat - is there anything better?

For all cat lovers out there, enclosed in this post you will fine the best cat video of all time....your welcome!

Whilst browsing my favourite sites on the interwebs I stumbled accross the below video. It was posted on - one of my fav websites full of random and interesting articles - and it is to amazing to describe. 

Ladies and gentleman, here is the amazing skateboarding cat of Coolangatta....

Jen Xx
Sunday, 19 January 2014

Random Thoughts....

I'm sitting on our balcony as I write this post enjoying the cool summer sea breeze and watching people of all ages walk past. Groups of twenty something boys and girls heading off for a night of adventure in the city, couples heading to dinner, others off to have deep conversations with friends over a bottle of wine and families are heading home to tuck children into bed after a day at the beach.

People watching always reminds me that we all have our own paths in life. We don't all follow the same timetable for our life, we all make right and wrong decisions for ourselves and we are all entirely different people. The biggest service we can do for ourselves is to live our own lives. To not allow society pressures and meddling people change our lives to something we don't desire.

After having a year of personal struggle last year I am really appreciating my life in 2014. Im really thankful for the people I have around me that support me, even when I make mistakes or lose my way. The fact that I am married to my best friend who just "gets me" and who supports everything I set out to do is the biggest blessing in my life.

I am 27, still trying to figure out who I am and what I want in life but I know I am headed in the right direction and I am going to trust my instincts. 

The sun has gone down, the fairy lights on our balcony are on and that cool summer breeze is now a little too chilly - its time to head inside.

To finish, here is a quote from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that I really love....

Jen Xx
Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Wanderlust is something that I have been feeling a lot of lately. I have a strong urge to grab my husband Gav, jump on a plane and explore new places, have adventures, embrace the unknown and leave behind the routine of full tine work.

When I was putting together my 28 by 28 list I knew instantly that travel needed to feature - I couldn't resist the pull any longer.

Gav and I have only been overseas together twice (Gav has been a few other times for work). Our first overseas adventure was to London, a small part of the UK and then we did a 3 week trip around Europe. Our second trip was our honeymoon where we spent 5 glorious weeks travelling the UK in our hired little Fiat car. This trip holds our fondest memories and we still talk about it at least once a week even after 2 years!

Whilst we have only done a small amount of travel, each trip has had an impact on me. As I am someone that generally likes routine and what I know, each trip has put me outside my comfort zone and thrown away any type of preplanning - this is good for me.

Once we decided travel was a must in 2014 we started talking about destinations. We threw around a few Europe suggestions but realised we only have a 3 week window of time that we can go away and we both agreed that a Europe adventure required longer than 3 weeks especially when we wanted to hire a car and take our time exploring. So Europe is on the back-burner till another time.

But we have narrowed down a location closer to home - New Zealand! Despite its close location to Australia neither of us have ever been. With a plan to hire a car for 3 weeks we hope to explore as much of the beautiful landscape on both the North and South Islands as we can. Im also keeping my fingers crossed for some snow! There will be a few challenging hikes and maybe even a night camping (!) thrown in but there will also be some luxury and maybe some time spent in a spa. I also have some family in Auckland so it will be great to catch up with them.

All in all we are very happy with our travel goal for the year and hope to have the details of the trip narrowed down in the next few weeks.

Bring on New Zealand - really, how could you not want to see this?

Does anyone have any New Zealand "must do" tips?

Jen Xx
Monday, 13 January 2014

A great start to the day!

With my “New Year, New Me” attitude the hubby and I have been going for morning walks from our house to the beach. Most of my life I have been someone that hates early mornings and I have mostly avoided exercise at all costs. But let me tell you – I’m converted!

I’m finding that there is no better way to start the day then waking up early and walking along the beach as the sun is rising. At that time of the morning there is a beautiful sea breeze, people smile and say good morning and everything looks bright and shiny. Plus our 40 minute round trip makes me feel awake and energized for the day ahead.

As someone that has never enjoyed exercising I find myslf really getting into it and trying to walk quicker and further each day likes it’s a personal challenge to beat the previous days attempt.

It is just a small thing but morning walks have really helped with my mental health and overall feeling of wellbeing. Since I have made the effort to go walking in the morning I find myself trying to pick healthier food options throughout the day so I don’t waste the work I’ve done earlier.

Here is a photo from this morning’s walk – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @mrsjennachapman

How could you not love seeing this every morning!

Jen Xx

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The start of a new blog & new adventure!

Welcome to The Year Of Life!

Earlier this week I celebrated my 27th birthday. It's not a momentous age or particularly important birthday but with the start of a new year and turning another year older I have been reflecting on the past year. Whilst I didn't experience anything earth shatteringly bad, I spent most of the year feeling lost, suffering anxiety and being unsure of myself - basically I felt like I wasn't really living my life. 

So therefore I am planning to make positive changes for the coming 12 months to help me create the happy, healthy and fun filled life I want - hence the title of the blog.

This year is about being present in my life and saying YES to new things! Part of this includes a list of goals I have set for myself titled 28 by 28. You can read the list here. Whilst some things are fun and trivial there are many things on the list to challenge me. So I am both excited and nervous about ticking things off the list!!

This blog won't just be about big moments and my 28 by 28 list - I will blog about my daily life, things that inspire or interest me and I'm sure I'll throw in lots of photos of my cats because I just can't help myself!!

Love, Jen

The Year Of Life © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat