My top18 favourite kissable dates!

my_gothic_love DAY 104 He lent in to kiss me and for a minute my heart was beating so fast, I thought I might faint. Then I kissed him back. It was perfect. The perfect end to a perfect day. The sweetest first date ever. We had met on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO. I honestly didn’t think he would be there. Later on he told me that he didn’t think I would come either. He had asked me out in a minute of madness thinking I would say no. But in my own minute of madness I said yes. I still, to this day, have no idea why, but eighteen years later I’m really happy that I did. Our first date started on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO in the city. His suggestion was that we take each other to our three favourite haunts. It turned out to be one of our best dates. We went to Minotour, his favourite comic/book/anime store and ended up in my favourite cafe drinking coffee and talking as the Winter day stormed around us. In between we visited the Virgin Mega Store, checking out underwear and CD imports from the UK, Myer (a family favourite) and a few more book stores. We talked all afternoon and we learnt a lot about each other. By the end of the date we both hung onto each other until I literally had to run for the train. The kiss happened when he pulled me back, not wanting to let me go. In that moment we knew, and we have rarely been apart since. First dates can feel incredibly stressful, as if it’s your one chance to make an impression. There can be a lot riding on what you choose to do and how well you can get to know each other in a short amount of time. You want enough time to test the waters to see if the chemistry is there, and a chance to find out if you have some things in common. You also want to have a bit of fun and a few giggles. So it needs to be something that has you both curious and laughing out loud! So here are some of my favourite ideas for first dates…and perhaps the second, third and fourth. I’ve tried them all, and there was definitely some kissing in the mix!

  1. Take it in turns to take each other to your 3 favourite places to visit in the city…or in the country. Try to end up somewhere were you can talk with each other and grab a bite to eat or a drink.
  2. Go to a night football match (or similar sport), preferably where neither of your teams are playing. Take a good rug and organise a picnic dinner of finger food and beer/champagne. Have some fun working out the rules, and which player is which. Make sure you cheer for both teams so ultimately you win!
  3. Book a personal encounter with the elephants at the zoo. Believe me you will get big brownie points! Make sure you book lunch/brunch or morning tea afterwards, so you can both check out the photos and talk about the experience together.
  4. Have a royal dinner at the Queen Victoria Night Market. (Hopefully you have a similar market in your city or town). Every summer our local city market runs a mid week art and craft market with live music, food from around the world and art and craft stalls. It has grown to be a huge cultural event that Melbourne loves…You can literally have a 3 course meal with some great wine or sangria and a live show for under $20 each! Depending on your date you could go wild and taste different foods from each stall. There’s everything from fresh paella to organic ice cream! It’s a foodies paradise!
  5. Go and see a Burlesque Show. Treat your date to a night of circus performers, comedians, the odd magician and some very tasteful burlesque. Some shows also have dinner or pre-dinner drinks. Completely decadent and so much fun!
  6. Book a half hour dance class. Put on your dancing shoes and try some rock and roll or street Latin. You might like to meet for a cocktail beforehand to get rid of the jitters, and afterwards take your date out for burgers and a shake. Make sure you dress up a little to get into the theme.
  7. A night at the symphony orchestra. Melbourne has some fantastic orchestras and often there are free concerts in the parks throughout the Summer months. Pack a picnic and a rug and hang out under the stars or book in to a live concert. Once we flew to Sydney for the day to see our friends play in the Eminence Symphony Orchestra (well known for A Night In Fantasia concerts) and then went out for Japanese food in Chinatown.
  8. Take your date to your favourite spot in the city. Perhaps it’s at the top of a building with an amazing view, a bar with a view over the river, or an exquisite garden. Share your headphones and listen to your favourite tunes while you eat snacks, or drink hot chocolate.
  9. Visit your favourite exhibition or arts centre. We love going to ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images), or to the Melbourne Museum. They always have some awesome and inspiring exhibits, from some fantastic creators and artists. We always see an exhibition and then go out for afternoon tea or dinner to talk about the exhibit.
  10. Take a circus class. This doesn’t have to be about hanging from a flying trapeze! Many people circuses have tumbling, juggling, diablo, or basic intro to circus classes for adults. They’re lots of fun and a little bit quirky~so make sure your date is up for it!
  11. Perhaps this is a date for later on, but grab some fish and chips, drive to the beach, pop on your favourite music mix on the ipod and watch the waves. If it’s Winter you could go for a walk or stay snuggled up in the car together. If its Summer sit out on the sand and watch the sun set.
  12. Go rollerblading or get your scooters out and ride along the beach, or promenade. This is a great one for late summer nights. You can always finish with fresh ice-cream or hot chips on the beach.
  13. Cosplay at a Con! Seriously it’s just so much fun to pop on a wig and dress up. Go as your favourite super hero, or comic book character at one of the great Western Con’s like Supanova or Oz Comicon. Or you could be a little braver and transform yourself into one of the Japanese anime characters. There’s always a competition or two to watch, and plenty of people watching to be inspired by!
  14. Dress up in your best gear and take your date out to a fancy cocktail bar…at midday. Take it in turns to choose the next place to visit…make sure you eat something! Oh and have money for a cab home!
  15. Dress up in your Sunday best and head to one of the many five star hotels for a posh afternoon high tea. My two favourite’s are the Sunday high teas at the Windsor Hotel or the Langham in Melbourne. They provide a spread that ensures a completely decadent afternoon of chocolate, champagne and yummy morsels that will have you moaning in no time! Normally these events run for a few hours and come with some live music such as a pianist. The more up market hotels are great because they usually include a stunning view of the city. Just a heads up, there is always plenty of food so don’t eat lunch beforehand!
  16. Hunt down a good local book store that encourages reading. Find your favourite childhood books and share them with each other. Check out the travel section and talk about the lands and cultures you each want to visit. Head into the recipe books and discuss your culinary prowess! Buy each other a copy of one of your favourite books to read…then head off to a local cafe, preferable one with an open fire place and good coffee, to sit and read by.
  17. Organise a night in with a few good movies (you could each choose your favourite one) and each bring some food to share. You could add to the fun by wearing your favourite slippers, dress up in a onesie, or your best pyjamas and have a sleep over…sleeping of course!
  18. So hopefully you will get to celebrating an anniversary of sorts with your new love. Make sure its a special celebration for both of you. Book a really good hotel for the weekend, (in either the city or the country) and make sure you book the CLUB option. Apart from the endless food and access to the business centre, most CLUB options usually have evening drinks with canapes. It’s seriously fun meeting new people, who are usually celebrating something and there for the free food too, over a few glasses of bubbly and some yummy finger food. When you have had enough socialising on the 85th floor, you can always head back to your room for a bubble bath and a game of backgammon…

The trick is to leave the movies and dinner option for another day. Get to know the person you are dating, have some fun and don’t be afraid to be you. Who else are they going to fall in love with?

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” 
― Dr. Seuss

** Pic by Deviant Art!

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5 steps to have the cutest fun night in with your girlfriends!

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Whenever I feel a bit blah, I make time to hang out with my girls.

They always put a smile on my face and make me feel human again!

So if you are feeling a bit down or you just want to try something new with your ladies here are some really cute ideas for a fun night in. They are guaranteed to make you giggle, your tummy ache and have you feeling pretty awesome in no time!

The 5 steps to a cute night in:

  • Decorate! Set the scene. Whether it’s your bedroom, your friends house or your family lounge room~you need to decorate!  Yes, this may mean balloons, flowers, coloured napkins and glitter! One of my friends is amazing at finding decorations that just transforms the room. Things like paper lanterns, or floating butterflies make it special and create an expectation for the night ahead. Whatever your theme is, create a world for your girls to walk into. Strings of fake diamonds, bubbles, coloured scarves, faux fur rugs and pillows…Make sure you prepare a themed music list too, and line up some key movies!
  • Get dressed up! There are a few cute ways you can do this. You can invest in a onesie. I have Stitch and a very pink Hello Kitty onesie that I love. My husband has a Totoro and a panda. Our collection seems to grow every Winter! They are so much fun and really it’s hard not to feel both warm and cute in them. However, if you are not up to transforming into a fluffy being, you could theme with colours, characters or movies. Have a super heroine theme, or break out the bunny ears and tails. Everyone could wear purple and gold, or load up with (fake) diamonds and tiaras! Have a Frozen event, with plenty of iced drinks and icy themed clothing. Dress up in your best gothic lolita with cute skulls and deathly patterned skirts. (yes skulls can be cute too!)
  • Yummy food. Ask everyone to bring something to share. Then make something together. You could bake some cute themed cup cakes with plenty of sprinkles and edible glitter, or make some adorable snacks like the ones you would find in a Japanese Bento Box for kids! You can also ask everyone to prepare something for a take home party bag. Someone can organise the bags (themed of course!) and you can all add items like tiny bottles of nail polish, chocolate frogs, magic wands, cheap eye lashes, manicure sets, little bottles of champagne…well you get the picture!
  • Cute activities! Start with a pedicure or manicure. Paint your nails with crazy colours or head to your local chemist or KMart and pick up some nail art and extra bling with nail crystals and wild stick on designs. These are so much fun and not too expensive. Make sure you have a few bottles of champagne and some fresh strawberries to add to the excitement! Dance! Pop on some music that you can all dance to, or a great movie. You could make it a game. Every time someone burps, or swears or says someones name the music is pumped up and everyone has to do the bum dance or the mexican wave, or milk shake! Expand the night into a pyjama party with your favourite soft toy or pillow and animal slippers. Perhaps your girls are up for a trial make up session on each other? You can teach each other your favourite make up tricks, or buy some cheap wigs and have fun styling new looks!
  • Photo shoot! Get out the cameras and the iphones. Set up some funky music to pose to and take pics of each other. Add some frames, some sparkles and hearts then post away on Instagram! (There are some awesome apps available now on itunes). After the event print some photos off, pop them in a frame and send them to your girls as a reminder of the day or night.

Hope you all have an adorable evening with plenty of kawaii (cute) and fun!

Are we having fun yet?

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I sat was sitting on the floor building a tower out of coloured plastic blocks. My one year old grandson kept picking up my carefully constructed towers, breaking them apart and throwing them on the floor again. Every time the blocks bounced against the floor boards he erupted into a fit of giggles. Apparently it was hysterical. Our whole afternoon had been like this. We had built things, chased each other on the floor, cuddled, sung at the tops of our voices, read books and made plenty of mess. In between we stopped to investigate the contents of the fridge for something to eat or take a breather for a bottle of milk.

There was no reporting, no stress, no goal to achieve by 5 pm. Just Cruz and I hanging out together. Just the two of us rolling around on the floor giggling.

I have to say it felt a bit weird at first. Like I was trying on someone else’s jacket.

It wasn’t that my six ‘to do lists’ had vanished. I had just given myself permission to step off the roller coaster for a day. And once I stopped thinking about all of my life goals and tasks, and stopped feeling guilty that I wasn’t diligently ticking them all off, I surrendered to the bliss. I sank into the present and I started to have fun.

Hmmm fun. Remember that?

We often talk about a rage of key factors that support a healthy lifestyle and positive mental health. Things like having our basic needs met; a home, good fresh food, exercise, education, access to medical care and some form of work where we can contribute are the foundations of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy human being.

We know we need to feel safe and connected. Having a sense of belonging to our families, friends and our community helps us to feel that we matter, that we have a purpose in life and a tribe that we not only care about but we belong to. When we give something back to our world, beyond our normal daily work, it boosts our own mental health and our connection and sense of belonging to the world we belong to expands.

I often talk about how acts of kindness have a way of benefiting you as the giver way more than the person or people on the receiving end. These things help us to stay positive, to seek the goodness in the world and to connect with like minded people in our community.

However one of the things that seems to be missing in the equation is having fun. It’s as if we have forgotten to enjoy ourselves. We are so busy ticking of the to do list or the bucket list or chasing our dreams that we have forgotten to stop and have fun. If we’re not having fun, what exactly are we living for?

Frankly it’s exhausting. I don’t know about you, but it seems like even though I am making my dreams happen, achieving a lot and ticking plenty of those boxes I’m often tired and grumpy…and oddly a little sad. There is something not quite right when you are looking forward to the weekend or a day off just so you can sleep. How un-sexy is that? Woohoo! A few extra hours in bed not being woken up by the alarm clock.

So, as I lay in the pirate tent with Cruz, snuggling with the pirate bunnies and teddies and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with our hands in the air, I realised that I could learn a few important things from my little grandson.

  • Laugh. Loudly. And Often. Laugh as much as you can. Every single day. If you get to the end of the day and you haven’t had a good giggle, then make time to watch your favourite comedy or Youtube your favourite comedian. A day without laughter is pretty much a day wasted.
  • Be curious and explore. You don’t need to have everything sorted. You don’t need to know everything or have an opinion on everything either. Ask questions. Read. Talk with other people. In fact it’s much more fun when you haven’t got all the ducks lined up and you’re slightly out of control.
  • Step off the roller coaster (and the guilt) and breathe. Hang out in your garden…for hours. Step away from the housework, or the office. Lay on the floor and read all day. Hang out with people that make you giggle as often as possible. Go out with your girlfriends and do a cafe crawl (similar to a pub crawl but with coffee and cake!) and talk.
  • Watch how kids find the fun. Ever noticed how children instinctively seem to find the fun in almost everything they do? When the milk gets spilt all over the floor, it’s hysterical. When they fall over, they laugh. When it starts pouring with rain, they jump in the puddles instead of getting grumpy. When something supposedly goes wrong, or isn’t quite right try breathing and laughing instead of imploding.
  • Celebrate. Rock on. Party. Find reasons to celebrate with cupcakes. PUMP the music up and dance…yep even in your office. Sing loudly and often in your car. Party with your friends at least once a week. Party in your own way. Go out to that burlesque show, hit that Latin night club, find a cool and quirky cocktail bar, have a BBQ in your back yard, or organise a onesie sleepover with movies and pop corn at your place. However you party or celebrate make it happen! Enjoy your achievements. Enjoy having friends. Enjoy being here, right now.
  • Surround yourself with the ‘fun’ people. If you are struggling to wake up your funny bone, hunt down the people that always seem to be having the best time and enjoying their lives. Make them your mentors, or your role models. Watch what they do throughout the day and how they turn challenges into bliss.
  • Finally, give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy your life. Remember that life is pretty awesome when you are having fun.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…” Beautiful Boy, John Lennon

7 Wild little gestures of love

gothiclove

DAY 43

12th February, 2014

So with Valentine’s Day a few sleeps away, I thought it might be fun to share some wild little ways to love your precious.

I hope you have some loved up fun!

  • Kiss! If ever there is a time to kiss – It’s Valentine’s Day! Kiss your love everywhere and as much as you can. Be creative! Kiss your valentine’s hands, hair, forehead, neck, arms, tips of their fingers and backs of their knees. Remember to take your long winded time! Don’t rush a thing! Long luscious kisses in unexpected places are exciting. So kiss in the kitchen, or the car, or in the supermarket aisle. Kisses in the back of the movie theatre are seriously the best. Remember how you felt when kissing was all you were brave enough to try? How much effort did you put into that one kiss? Heaps right? So take your time and kiss your love in places that you have never kissed before.
  • Write a quirky little poem about how you feel about your Valentine. Make it rhyme…or not. Add pictures, even if you can’t draw, get as creative as you can with stick figures! believe me – your love will LOVE it! Pop your poem into a handmade valentine’s card, covered with hearts and filled with sparkles of love…you can get these at your local $2 shop in the craft section. Sneak it into their work diary, so they find it at the office, or leave it in their lunch box. Make sure it’s not just about getting a giggle, but also about expressing how you really feel about your Valentine. Remember to be genuine…as well as sparkly!
  • Prepare a love feast to eat in bed. I’m talking food here of course! This could be breakfast, or a late night snack. Make sure you put some effort into this. Set up a beautiful tray, or find a basket to present it all in. Theme in the colours of love. Add nice napkins, cups and plates and a cool table cloth, so you don’t mess up the sheets too much – well at least not with the food! Include your Valentine’s favourite yummy foods, but also add something healthy. You don’t want just beer and chips! This is all about expressing your love. So if she loves chocolate or he loves a special kind of ice cream, make sure it’s on offer. You could also bake some fresh scones, or bread, or make home made pancakes with fresh strawberries, jam and cream. Or champagne and late night nachos with your own home made guacamole! Make it yummy and make it fun!
  • Dance. Everywhere! Learn a few cool moves and dance with your honey in the street, in the supermarket aisle, along the beach, in the kitchen, or in an actual dance class! Book a beginners rock and roll class and have half an hour of awesome, breathless fun! Then head to a good burger joint for yummy burgers and milk shakes…and perhaps a bit more ‘dancing’!
  • Locate as many photo booths as you can and go on a wild photo booth, photo shoot adventure! Dress up in a Valentine theme or just dress up. You want to pose for the photos with lots of hugs, kisses and expressions of love for each other!  In between each photo shoot take a break – have something to eat or drink that inspires the next shoot! Eat strawberry ice cream cones, strawberries dipped in chocolate, hot chocolate, milkshakes or red fruit juices! You can keep your photos on the fridge or frame them, or perhaps put them in a special scrap book with messages of love to each other.
  • Plan a bit earlier, and plant some seedlings in a lovely pot or a second hand rustic container, so they are ready to give to your love on Valentines Day. Perhaps he loves herbs? Or maybe she loves jasmine? A friend of mine used to take an early morning walk every Valentine’s Day (or a late night one in the dark) and pick a flower from each of your neighbours’ gardens to make up a massive bunch of ‘wild’ flowers for his girl friend. Now, I am not advocating stealing your neighbours prized roses, but most gardens have a bush, shrub, tree, or flower bed that hangs over into the street, or lane way, so just pick one. You will end up with a huge bunch of flowers from the neighbourhood! Tie a ribbon or a scarf around the bunch. If it’s freezing cold in your part of the world, perhaps you could make some paper flowers, or origami flowers, and hang them in a chain around your bed, or your love’s favourite chair?
  • Massage your honey’s hands, head, or feet…don’t know how to give a massage? Head to google for a quick tutorial! Plan this before hand and find some yummy smelling massage cream or oil. Light lots of candles around the room and put on some gentle relaxing music. Put a soft blanket or fluffy towel down on the floor, or on the couch, and provide some pillows or cushions. Remember to take your time and have fun with it. Massaging should be about taking the time to explore and touch your love and shouldn’t feel hurried or difficult. It’s all about showing your Valentine how much you love them and making them feel awesome!

Of course, you could go for the grand gesture of romance and organise dinner at your love’s favourite restaurant, tickets to a movie or theatre show, or shower your babe with flowers or gifts ~ whatever you choose to do, however you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, remember to be genuine, and come from a place of kindness, love and gratitude…and you never know where the wildness will lead…

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars