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.

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