Internet Education: How I Learned To Manage My Finances Through Podcasts and Youtube. 

Lifestyle, Management & Business, missjessamy, Money

I’ve spent the last three months listening to and watching popular financial podcasts and videos targeted toward Millennials and Generation Z – so you don’t have to. And the knowledge I have learned I’ve compiled into the ultimate financial information list. So grab a notebook, coffee and get ready for my millennials guide to money.

To begin, here are the sources that provided the information I will discuss below. I highly recommend engaging in this content, as it has really transformed my financial situation.

My Sources

Podcasts

Youtube

All Round Financial Inspiration

Now that we have covered where I have gotten my information from, let’s get into my internet education in finances. Enjoy!

1.0 Super Important Superannuation

One of the most common topics when it came to Superannuation (Super) discussions was the focus on consolidating your accounts. When we start our first jobs we generally are signed up to our employer’s Super provider, and we get paid into that on every pay cycle. However, it is SUPER easy to have additional accounts opened when you change jobs, work more than one job or (overtime) forget about your high school job and the fact you ever even had previous accounts.

Not only is it vital that you are aware of ALL your Super accounts because it is quite literally the money that will support you once you retire. But it is also essential to be mindful of the fees you are paying. Because the more accounts you have mean more of the payments you’ll be making for administration and other company charges. So, the quicker you bring your accounts together, the less of a chance you have of losing track of your Super.

Unfortunately, like so many financial activities I have learned that they are not ‘cut and dry’. Meaning there is often not one clear solution for everyone and Super accounts and consolidation fall into this category.

For all the Aussies out there, the myGov website enables you to locate your Super accounts (if you have more than one) and consolidate them, if you choose to do so.

But remember, before closing accounts make sure you are no longer getting contributions from your employer to that fund. Also, ensure you tell your employer if you are changing your accounts, so you do not miss out on any contributions.

One piece of advice that is explained further on the moneysmart website is the importance of doing your research before consolidating your Super to ensure you are choosing the right account. They discuss how the account with the most money should not always be the one you choose to merge into. They also mention how research may show a brand new account to be more beneficial for you to consolidate into.

Interestingly, as I found on the moneysmart website, over 70% of Australians have life, TPD and/or income protection insurances through their Superfund. I had no clue that this was a thing because before listening to these podcasts and watching these financial videos, I had NO knowledge about Super and what it did. But this fact makes it super important for you to understand what insurances you have through your Super account/s to ensure 

  1. it suits you, and you are being insured for what you want; 
  2. the insurances you have from your fund plays a significant role when you consider consolidating accounts.

Also, be aware that some companies may charge exit fees, so make sure you are aware of this before closing and consolidating your Super. 

Also, another thing I learned is how one Super account equals only having one fund to keep track of and contribute additional money to if you feel financially fit to do so; making your life simpler.

2.0 Don’t Have Accounts With Fees

As Victoria Devine very simply said in her episode on the KIC Pod, there are plenty of accounts with no fees, so why are you paying for banks to hold your money and paying these fees?

It is essential to look into any bank account before you open it to ensure that these fees are either non-existent or understandable/reasonable. However, that is a critical discussion to have with a financial advisor or your banker.

I have spoken to a variety of bankers at a variety of banks over my life to get further insight into accounts I was looking into opening. This allowed me to get the full picture of the account in laymen terms, so I could make a personal decision as to whether or not I went ahead with opening the account.

3.0 Respect Everyone’s Money Story (including your own)

Money Story is a term I first heard the fantastic Victoria Devine delve into multiple times on the She’s On The Money podcast. And then she also continued to discuss it on other podcasts she appeared on including her episode on the KIC Pod. This concept is one that got me thinking when I started to focus on finances earlier this year and has helped me respect my money situation, but also be more aware and considerate of other’s.

I was fortunate to grow up in a family where money was an open topic. I never felt like I couldn’t ask my parents for money advice. And I think this has a lot to do with them opening a bank account for my sister and me when we were young and involving us in the process of going into the bank to deposit and withdraw pocket or present money.

I am incredibly grateful to have had such a positive money story, with my family always instilling within me the ‘it is not how much you earn, it is how much you spend’ mentality. And this advice is something I apply every day in my life which has empowered me to make sound financial choices and be considerate of my income before I make purchases. Also, coming from a family where they ran and continue to run their own company, the focus on hard work and commitment for long term success is something I saw every day. Understanding that success and money do not just come to you; you have to work every day for it and make sacrifices (within reason) to reach your goals.

I mentioned present money before because that was something that was always very present for me growing up. But is something I now know is a weird concept for other people. Being gifted cash is something that my family has always done. Always teaching me the value of money by being encouraged to save my money and buy something I really want. Rather than being continually gifted tangible items I really did not need or want. 

However, I have an extremely distinct image of me telling a close friend of mine that I got cash for my birthday, and she was quite surprised that that was considered a gift; always having been given physical items as gifts in her family. And from my money story point of view, I do not have a problem with that. I do not think that being gifted/not being gifted money is a massive reflection of money values or family financial situations. However, I do believe being exposed to actual cash and having to go into the bank to put that into a savings account, then withdrawing it when I wanted to buy something was a practice I am grateful for. Along with teaching me how to use an ATM, it also exposed me to the practice of taking out money and seeing my bank balance drop when I wanted to buy something. This taught me to value money and strive to shop as mindfully as possible.

4.0 Don’t Overlook The Importance Of Investing (& compound interest) 

Despite extracting so much knowledge and tips on investing from this content, investing is something I need to look more into to grow my financial portfolio. Apart from having a few term deposits over the past three years, I have not done any other investing.

Currently, I am looking into the super popular micro-investment platform Raiz, which is one that has been touched on a few times in the content I have listened to and watched. And I do have A LOT of friends who utilise this platform, but as I have been continually saying – you have got to do your own financial research, and that is precisely what I am currently doing.

However, as Victoria Devine and multiple other people have taught me, INVESTMENTS ARE KEY. With there being lots of small and large ways you can get involved in the investment game to boost your finances.

I always had the mindset that investing was for people with a cushy income and financial situation. And while it is vital that you can afford to spend money and part with it for however long your investment runs, you do not need to output massive sums to get a good return.

She’s On The Money’s ‘a rookie’s guide to investing: part one & two’ is a FANTASTIC starting point for understanding investing from a complete “I have no idea what I am doing” thinking process to a “hell yeah I am an in control money master” – that’s how I felt anyway.

As long as you can do so, consist investment is where I have learned you are going to get the most benefits, as it becomes part of your lifestyle. Also, the earlier you start investing, the more benefits you will reap from compound interest. 

Not sure what compound interest is? 

Well, as Victoria Devine very clearly discusses it on She’s On The Money, it is your interest’s interest. So, the longer you have money invested, the more interest you will receive. And then when you re-invest your investment with your interest, it compounds as you continually invest more. (how many times can I say ‘invest’ in one paragraph?).

But remember, that all investment ventures come paired with a certain level of risk. You must educate yourself to find out what suits your financial situation and seek advice from friends, family or a financial advisor.

5.0 Have Clear Long & Short Term Financial Goals 

Want to pay off your Afterpay? Buy a house? Pay off your HECS early? Go on a holiday? Get a car?

Financial goals are a MUST when it comes to getting your finances organised and feeling in control of your money. And these do not always have to be massive long term goals like buying a house or saving for your wedding. 

While long term goals are essential, I have also learned that we should all have short term goals that are easier to reach in terms of timeframe and monetary amount. It is easy to lose motivation or forget about goals when they are so far down the line, and we struggle to see the endpoint with the small amount of money we have in our accounts currently. 

However, short term goals that may only be a few hundred or thousand dollars allow us to ensure we stay on track. They enable us to receive the joy of reaching these goals sooner and reaping the benefits from achieving these objectives (e.g. no Afterpay debt!). 

These short term goals could be to paying off Afterpay, buying that handbag you’ve loved for years, saving up for a fancy dinner out to celebrate your birthday, buying your parents a really lovely Christmas gift of something they have wanted for a while. Whatever it is, make sure you are giving yourself the chance to reap the rewards of working to save so you can translate that motivation to maintaining your long term goals too.

6.0 Credit Cards Are Only For The Essentials 

We can’t always afford to cover emergency costs including doctor bills, car problems (etc) which make credit cards a great financial support system IF YOU NEED. However, if you are trying to get on top of your finances, getting a credit card and using it for everyday items like clothes, coffees and holidays it not such a good idea.

In the KIC Pod episode featuring Victoria Devine, Laura Henshaw commented on how her mum said there is nothing worse than going on a holiday and still having to pay for it when you return home; and I agree! Credit cards (especially at our age when we are trying to assist our financial situation to flourish) are for unexpected essentials that we need the money for right away. We can’t be dipping into our savings to cover these expenses or prep for them in our budgets, so these cards do offer peace of mind.

However, make sure you 100% understand the card you are signing up for and have read the terms and conditions; preparing for fees and charges that may occur for using the card or missing repayments. So again, make sure you speak to a professional before committing to a credit card.

7.0 Make Money a Talking Point 

One thing that these podcasts and youtube videos have made available is a source of accessible, honest and relatable financial discussion and education from a mix of everyday people and professionals.

For me personally, I don’t want to go a speak to my family accountant or a financial advisor at this stage of my life. Not only does that intimidate me a bit, but for right now I don’t feel like I need to be spending that money when I can find this generalised information online and then disperse it into my personal life as I need to.

Being able to find this wealth of relatable information online has empowered me to talk more to my friends about money. It has allowed me to strengthen my bonds with them as we learn each other’s money stories and help each other get our budgets in order. Between one of my friends (who I share the same pay cycle with) and myself, it has become an exciting Thursday night activity to split our money up into our saver accounts and speak openly to each other about our budgets for that coming fortnight. This has allowed the trust in this friendship to flourish and creating a supportive environment for us to speak frankly with each other within. We are also able to work through our money problems and worries together; taking the scary parts out of money and saving at this young age.

8.0 Empower Others

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to write this post was to empower others to deal with their finances. As I understand, not everyone wants to or has the time to listen to and watch the multitude of content that I have been immersed in over these past three months to educate myself around my finances.

And the best way, in my opinion, to empower others is to educate and support them. So, despite not being able to control other’s financial decisions as money is something so personal. We can be as open as we feel comfortable with and encourage others to do the same. Even something as simple as sending others a link to this blog post, or sharing a video or podcast link with them. Or also listening and watching this content together so you can both discuss your thoughts on the financial topics discussed is a great way to empower others and also grow personally.

9.0 Be Realistic and Honest With Yourself 

If you are only earning $1500 a fortnight, is it really attainable for you to be living in an inner-city, multi-bedroom apartment that is taking over 50% of your pay in rent costs? My answer to that and from what I have learned from all of the information I have taken away from these podcasts and videos is NO!

There is a broad mix of information surrounding how much of your paycheck you should be spending on things like rent, food and so on, but I have seen 20-30% as an average amount.

Being realistic is relevant to all aspects of your financial life. How often can you afford to eat out? Do you ALWAYS need to buy high end makeup and clothing? How about you try thrifting, or finding dupes online?

Can you only stay in 5-star hotels on your upcoming holiday? Or should you look at some nice lower star hotels that would provide you with similar experiences; allowing you to return home with money still in the bank?

Being honest with yourself will allow you to unpack your personal financial needs, so when you break down your paycheck, you can better organise the dollar amounts or percentages you are splitting into different accounts. Being transparent with yourself will also allow you to catapult your control of your finances and reduce the risk of overspending or unexpected costs popping up as you are always preparing yourself. Is your best friend’s birthday coming up? Well if it is, be honest with yourself and distribute money to a fund that will allow you to afford something for them. You may need to pull back in your clothes shopping or eating out budget for that cycle- but at least you are prepared and do not fear those extras costs.

10.0 Budgeting Doesn’t Have To Be Boring (it’s actually fun)

Not only does budgeting not have to be boring, but it also does not have to be as stringent and mundane as we all think it is. You don’t have to input every single thing you spend into a bland excel spreadsheet and pull your hair out if you overspend in one area. Budgeting should make you feel empowered and in control of your money, not anxious and stressed every time you go to add something in. 

What I have learned is that if you are feeling anxious when it is time to look at or edit your budget, there may be something more profound happening that you need to address. You might need to be more honest with yourself with what you are spending compared to how much you are earning and adjust accordingly.

There are levels to budgeting, all aiming to just bring your awareness to what is coming in and going out of your accounts—also bringing awareness to areas where you could reconsider or pull back your spending in. Furthermore, allowing you also to be more prepared for upcoming payments and financial requirements including bills, debt repayments, and so on.


So there you go- there is your ultimate guide to getting on top of your finances. I still HIGHLY recommended listening to these podcasts and watching these videos as I have merely scratched the surface on the wealth of information they provide. But I hope this post has inspired you in some way to get in control of your finances. 

Please remember that I am NOT a financial advisor and everything in this post is here to collate the information I have learned via the aforementioned sources and through personal experience. Please seek in-person professional advice for tailored financial guidance.

Have a great week x. 

A WEEK OF: Yoga

A Week Of:, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, missjessamy

After hurting my back at the end of February and it being too painful to do any of my regular gym activities, I wanted something that would keep me active, but that would not put too much strain on my neck, back and shoulder area—giving it time to heal through gentle movement and stretches. 

Yoga has always challenged me as I prefer high-intensity workouts and find it hard to switch off and hold my poses during a session to really ‘feel the energy’. 

Nevertheless, I decided just to do one morning of yoga when I woke up on Sunday, February 23rd super stiff and in pain, but wanting to be still active. And after this one morning, I thought I would set myself a challenge leading to A WEEK OF: Yoga. 

At the start of this week, I began with only stretching yoga sessions that focused on my neck, back and shoulders as I wanted to trigger some further relief after my chiropractor appointment and deep tissue massage. 

The first day I was focused on the pain I was experiencing and was moving slowly, trying my best to breathe through the discomfort. And I couldn’t believe it when my hour session was up, and I felt excellent. 

There were two main youtube channels that I used for my sessions. Predominately I watched Yoga With Adriene who I love. Her videos are so specific that I was able to target my problem areas during my stretching sessions and avoid those areas when I wanted more of a workout. And then I also really enjoyed Boho Beautiful. She has a more high-intensity yoga and pilates videos which were great as my back started to get better towards the end of this week.

So keep reading to follow my week of yoga. 

DAY ONE: Sunday, February 23rd 

After seeing my chiropractor on Friday and getting an intense massage on Saturday, my whole back, shoulder and neck area were quite aggravated. I woke up very stiff and in need of some significant stretching and slow movement. This was where I realised that the gym was OUT OF THE QUESTION and that I should try to give myself some TLC through mindful yoga. I did an hour session on Sunday morning after queueing multiple of Yoga With Adriene’s upper body focused stretching videos. I could not believe how fast my session went! I was super focused the whole time on my muscles and trying to move as mindfully as possible, so I did not further injure myself, and before I knew it, my time was up. 

Admittedly, I was still experiencing a fair bit of pain after my session, but I did feel a LOT better and felt that I could move more freely. I also noticed that I felt calmer and ready for the day. Initially, I was nervous; I would feel more tired after doing such a slow-moving workout early in the morning, but it was quite the opposite. 

I had a jam-packed day on this Sunday with a full shift at work and then an afternoon barbecue. But I feel that this session gave me the relief I needed to get through this day with lessened pain and a clear mindset. 

DAY TWO: Monday, February 24th

This morning I was not feeling well at all. My back was very tight again, and I had been woken up multiple times in the night with neck pain which had lead me to feel fuzzy in the head and nauseous due to lack of sleep. However, being the second day, I was still committed to doing my yoga session to see how I would feel afterwards. I only did about 30 minutes this morning, and I honestly felt so much better after. On this morning, I still did a stretching focused yoga session but thought I would give my back and neck a break and not focus on stretching them the whole time. So, I also stretched out my legs and abs, which felt great as well. I did not realise how tight I was in areas like my hip flexors, lower abs and feet. So this session brought my awareness to my whole body. 

DAY THREE: Tuesday, February 25th

After already beginning to feel the relief and benefits from my first two days, I was looking forward to my session this morning. I felt a lot better in my neck, back and shoulders and attempted to do a more strength-building yoga session. However, I soon learned that I was not ready and just resorted back to a slower session that focused on mindfulness and flexibility. I was starting to love the range of yoga moves and flow sequences that kept reappearing through the different videos. I was beginning to feel more confident in my steps; being able to extend further and become more focused on clearing my mind and breathing deeply through the more intense parts of the session. 

I also felt I was becoming better at zoning in on my movements and the flow; being able to control my thoughts. Although I was not 100% clear-minded, I felt a sense of zen I had not experienced before. 

DAY FOUR: Wednesday, February 26th

Today I felt great! Finally feeling the severe tightness in my back, neck and shoulders release and feeling that my ability to move become freer. At the halfway point of this challenge, I was surprised that I was still feeling committed to this. As I said before, I do high-intensity workouts daily and did not think I would be able to work up a sweat and get my muscles working through these mindful yoga sessions. 

Also, I’ve realised that I have felt a lot more mellow during this experience. Despite starting my day with yoga, I have felt that at the end of the night when it is bedtime, I am finding it more comfortable to wind down and fall asleep straight away.

DAY FIVE: Thursday, February 27th

I am slowly starting to increase the intensity of my yoga sessions with more weight loss and muscle building yoga sessions than the stretching ones. But I still love how, despite working up a sweat, there is still a sense of mindfulness and simplicity to my sessions. I also feel like I am getting post-workout muscle pain – like I have targeted muscles that I have been missing in my other workouts. I think that moving slower and focusing on my breathing and specific muscles has allowed me to target deeper areas that I often ignore. 

DAY SIX: Friday, February 28th

Today I WAS SORE and was so surprised. If you asked me before I began this challenge what I thought yoga did for your body, I would have said it was purely focused on stretching and mindfulness; but I was wrong. Yesterday’s workout worked my abs and legs, and I can feel it. My obliques and lower abs are quite sore, as well as my glutes. I continued with a more intense yoga session today with two videos from Boho Beautiful, which were an intense ab focused pilates session and a cardio session. 

DAY SEVEN: Saturday, February 29th

The final day of my one-week yoga challenge. Today I was feeling energetic and ready to do another yoga and pilates session that were more intense; as my back felt a lot better. As I workout first thing in my morning, I woke up today looking forward to getting my session started. I was also definitely still feeling like I had worked deep muscles in my previous days’ sessions as I was feeling super strong in my abs and legs.

DAY EIGHT: Sunday, March 1st

Today was my first day back to my regular high-intensity workouts, which felt great. However, I honestly noticed the difference in my mindset when I finished my workout and almost felt ‘not done yet’ when I left my session as I started to crave that mindfulness and stillness that the yoga sessions gave me. I am going to prioritise yoga from now on in my workouts. Because not only did it make me feel great physically, but mentally I felt so in control and ‘zen’. 

As someone who struggles with anxiety and stress along with being the queen of overthinking and fretting about things I really CANNOT control. Starting my day with time for myself that did not involve intense concentration and high-intensity craziness was nice. I did not expect to experience such powerful changes from this challenge. After my yoga sessions, I felt I was able to look at my day with a more calm mindset and felt more productive and happier throughout the day and week. 

Admittedly, I probably will not do yoga every day as I still love my high-intensity sessions, including running and weight lighting. However, I feel this week has taught me how to be more mindful within my body (physically and mentally), and it has shown me the importance of replacing some of my gym sessions with yoga sessions so I can refresh my mind and muscles. 

Do you like yoga? Let me know what benefits you get from yoga and let me know if you are going to try this challenge. 

Have a great day. x

Social Media: The 21st Century Business Non-Negotiable.

Lifestyle, Management & Business, missjessamy

We have all heard about the importance of having business non-negotiables that allow us to ensure our branding and workflow is on track as we strive for overall success. And these factors truly are ‘tales as old as time’ including: 

    • focus on customer service 
    • supply and demand considerations 
    • sticking to deadlines etc. 

However, there is now a new kid on the block, and despite it taking over the world at a rapid speed, it is still a seeming pain point for many companies due to the lack of education on its benefits. 

So, what are we talking about? Well, it is SOCIAL MEDIA

Gone are the days where paying big dollars for television and radio advertising during peak news and movie times was the only way to reach your customers. Nowadays, social media platforms have transformed the landscape for businesses when it comes to raising awareness and creating customer relationships. Additionally, it has also created a more cost-effective, controlled and insightful form of advertising and marketing that allows YOU to target YOUR target audience directly. Along with being given the ability to track their movements online (peak usage times, click-through rates, viewing time, what they are searching for, etc.). 

One of the most significant benefits of having an established social media presence and utilising adverting and marketing opportunities through this is that it is innately free. Even though to fully maximise the effectiveness of social media for your company, I would recommend putting some money behind your content and accounts. However, this is not to say you HAVE to pay to see growth online. Making a business social media account, posting branded content, hashtagging and tagging are all ways to propel your business to reach target audiences, and they are all free. Additionally, replying to comments and making genuine connections with your audience and other businesses without having to do face to face communication in meetings or at events are timesaving activities that offer an invaluable growth opportunity to your company. 

If I could say one thing about social media, it is that you truly never know who is watching you. You never know when you might gain 100+ followers instantly from a shoutout from a larger business or influencer. Or when your hashtags reach the right audience at the perfect time, which leads to a bunch of your followers tagging their friends and sharing your content on their accounts. 

In my view, the risk of consumers missing your advertisement on social media is a lot harder than something like television advertising. If you think about, when people are watching television, they are rarely sitting there totally committed to the footage they are seeing. Instead, they are talking, eating, taking toilet breaks, on their phones etc. However, when you are scrolling through your feed, you see each image or video that appears and can consciously or subconsciously take in that content. Also, instead of relying on customers to take the information from television advertisements to then further investigate the company (online or in-store). On social media, consumers can immediately click through to company’s accounts and websites; overall streamlining the advertising process and increasing the accessibility to your company’s information at a (literal) click of a button (or screen tap). Also, once your target audience shows interest in your company or similar companies, advertisements can be directly re-targeted to them to encourage further engagement and appeal to their specific interests.

Who Does Social Media Work For?:

Short answer? Everyone. 

On the surface level, pretty much every potential customer utilises some form of digital/social media through search engines or platforms. Even if they are looking up a phone number for a nearby plant shop, they are going to have to use an internet-based application to find this. 

And realistically if you think about, what is the first thing you do if you cannot figure something out? You Google it or look it up on YouTube. 

Speaking for myself, my Youtube watch history was filled with IKEA furniture tutorials when I first moved out of the home. And I am continually googling how to cook certain types of food or how long I can keep my Spaghetti Bolognese in the fridge for before it goes off. And, those searches right there should be opening me up to advertisements from cooking schools, food safety courses or groceries store deals; as they are all companies that could assist me in solving my problems I am turning to Google to solve. 

In this day and age, most of us cannot go a day without using the internet for something, and that is an EXTREMELY privileged opportunity consumers are giving to companies.

So, if you are not on social media, why not?

It truly needs to become a part of ALL successful business toolkits in the 21st century and it is definitely something that is not going away. So if you cannot fight it, then join in!

Top Tip – Engage, Engage, Engage: 

If you want people to comment, like and share your content, then why are you not returning that engagement? This is a trap I had fallen into before purely because I had become lazy and just continually scrolled on my feed instead of remembering to like, comment and follow new accounts. 

Do not be hesitant to tell people that you love their content/social media strategy. Because as this form of media continues to develop we are all striving to keep up and keep on top of everything to grow our accounts – so a pat on the back from likeminded strangers or companies is always really reassuring and creates a supportive online community.

Engage with me online today @jessicatathem and comment that you came from this post and I will be sure to return the social media love. 

What are your experiences with maximising social media’s offerings in your personal or business life? Let me know below. 

Also, if you want help understanding the world of social media more, let me know, and I can share more focused content around this developing topic. 

Have a great day!

Going from Miss Bossy Boots to being The Boss: A 20-year-old female manager’s thoughts on and experiences with the #girlboss movement.

Lifestyle, Management & Business, missjessamy

All my life, I have been called bossy. Told I should ‘rein in’ my personality at times because it might ‘rub people up the wrong way’ or make people, not like me.

‘Bossy Boots’ was a nickname I became quite accustomed to and to be honest, it never really impacted me too much until I became a boss in 2018 at 18 years old. Suddenly, I was extremely conscious of people thinking ‘the power had gone to my head’ and that I was ‘too demanding’ when requesting for specific work tasks be completed.

But WHY was I thinking this? Leadership had always been something I was involved with. Since Grade 6 (to be exact) where I was a semester year level house leader every year until I became one of two house leaders in my final year of school. Through my degree, I also requested the Account Manager or similar positions in group work to ensure I knew what everyone was doing and to enable me to learn more about leadership.

So, it makes sense that management is a field I have always had an enthusiasm for. I am innately passionate about management and leadership practices that promote growth in both the leader and team members. Along with being fascinated with the exploration of applying different management frameworks in various situations to maximise the effectiveness of company functions.

I also love the challenge of management. The constant demand and requirement to keep learning and need to stay connected to ensure I can empower and guide my team is exciting to me.

I also like how focused management keeps me. I quite literally can not be selfish or singleminded in leadership situations, and I love that.

However, as the second year of my management position rolls around, I have been reflecting on my management practices but also trying to reflect on how I have grown as a leader. And what has blown me away is what I have learned about the #girlboss movement through personal experience with staff and customers while trying to establish myself as a ‘worthy’ leader in a male lead workplace and with an at-times challenging and confronting customer base.

Being someone who tends to struggle with stress, anxiety and social anxiety as well as being a complete Type A personality who continually strives for the unattainable level of perfection in everyday life and work. Being in ‘control’ through leadership roles has allowed me to apply this energy into something beneficial to a community or workplace. However, after once being told to ‘leave work at the door’ I was faced with the reality that my mind wouldn’t let me.

Things affect me, and although I try my best not to show it publicly; I am incredibly vulnerable. Situations get to me, I work myself up so much I feel physically sick, I get shaky, I cry, I get angry, I second guess myself, my breathing increases and my head spins. I feel ashamed when I show that something has impacted me in a management situation, I think the only way to be taken seriously is if I am a brick wall and keep it cool. Acting like I can quickly shake things off and move on once I leave the shift, especially after an aggressive customer or other serious incidents.

Furthermore, I second guess myself in the way I ask for tasks to be done and tend to feel a sense of annoyance or judgement when I (respectfully) execute my managerial role to get staff back on task or deal with customer’s issues.

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where any emotion is a ‘female weakness’, instead of being interpreted as an individual working hard to maximise their workplace through their leadership skill.

In a recent work incident, I was put in a situation where I felt threatened and felt the safety of my staff, myself and the workplace was at risk and working through this issue was hard. Trying to hold back the fact that my stomach was flipping out and I was covered in goosebumps from my adrenaline was not easy.

And while I stood there, talking to the perpetrators, my mind was questioning everything I said. I felt that if I raised my voice and made my tone sterner, it would only worsen the ongoing situation and cause a more aggressive reaction from the male I was trying to deal with.

The condescending and derogatory way this male and many other people in the past have treated me while in a management position is shocking. I regret not writing down all my experiences so I could share them with you.

I became a manager in my workplace when I was 18 years old. Midway through my university degree, with chubby baby cheeks and a severe issue with second-guessing my decisions in and out of the workplace. I was forced to deal with customer commenting on my ability, age, gender, looks and more. Being questioned as to why I was wearing a blazer instead of the work uniform to being spoken to like it was my first day on the job was and still is a very regular occurrence to me. I couldn’t tell you on how many occasions I was met with a puzzled face from customers when the manager was called out the front, and little ole’ me came out of the office.

I had a discussion with my sister recently (who also works in a position of management) about how not only is the perception of women in leadership positions consistently condescended but also how vastly their road to promotion varies from their equal or lesser male co-worker’s journey and access. I look at males in similar or the same positions as me and see how easily they were accepted and integrated into management status. And how although I am there striving to always better myself, I still feel I am two steps behind with my ability to establish authority to staff and customers.

How about instead of judging someone’s leadership ability on their gender, let’s look at their skill set and ability to inspire and empower a group of people to reach their individual potential that promotes team growth and company success?

I have been fortunate to grow up with strong-minded females both in my family and friendships. Additionally, going to an all-girls school since my early school days exposed me to major #girlboss vibes throughout my whole upbringing.

However, I still grew up in a world where to not be reserved and accepting as a female was not the norm, where I was surprised to see females in management positions and where the glass ceiling was still very much existent.

Unfortunately, despite being very grateful for my private all-girls education which exposed to a high level of opportunity. At the end of the day, my school was a religious school that strived to ‘keep us in line’ when it came to the way we expressed ourselves physically and verbally. And I do not want this statement to be interpreted as me saying a level of respectful behaviour is not necessary! I think EVERYONE should learn how to be courteous and polite to one another and themselves. However, I believe these ingrained practices need to be reviewed to try to lessen the overt inequality that is still inflicted onto females in this modern age.

So, if I am still experiencing this level of inequality in 2020, do I feel optimistic that it will change?

Yes, I genuinely do. When I feel particularly defeated or low on my leadership ability or persona, instead of being pessimistic I make the active decision to fill my mind with powerful #girlbosses who show me that there are plenty of us out there fighting a patriarchy that is slowly breaking down, with shards of the glass ceiling slowly beginning to crack away.

I am a person whose mood can be significantly impacted by my surroundings, so taking the time to fill my mind with inspiring people helps me to refocus on my job and goals when it comes to management.

So, where am I going with this post?

Well a) I just wanted to express my feelings and experiences as a #girlboss. But b) I wanted to provoke thought about this topic and to inspire some other girls out there to know their leadership worth and ability. And c) hopefully, in the long run, I can make someone rethink their view on managers and how gender has NOTHING to do with one’s ability to lead a team to success.

So, can’t we create a world where a manager is a manager? Or even better, a person is a person, and we all speak and treat each other with respect and equality.

Being in front of house for a company turns you into the face of the company, and I think people need to learn that that does not negate basic human to human respect. You are not superior to the person behind the counter, desk or phone and vis versa. Nor are you superior to a different gender, age group, race, sexuality or personality type.

Just because I am a 20-year-old female does not negate my ability to be a BOSS who knows what she is doing and who is willing to lead a team to success and empower the people around me.

And I am not just saying this for other people, I am saying it for myself. Because change starts with one person, and I believe with confidence being key, my mindset and hopefully, this post will inspire me and you to think harder about how we view different genders in leadership positions. Or how we could work together to break that glass ceiling a bit more. Because all we need is a crack to start an explosion and for the #girlboss movement to gain further positive momentum; leading to a more supportive and empowering leadership industry.

What are some management or leadership barriers that you have had to deal with? Let me know! I would also love to hear your advice or thoughts on ‘the glass ceiling’ and the #girlboss movement.

A Rainy Rainforest Getaway

Food, Lifestyle, missjessamy, Travel

This past weekend, my family surprised my Dad with a weekend away to the Tamborine Mountains to celebrate his birthday. 

It rained ALL WEEKEND which we were not mad about at all because a) Queensland really needs the rain and b) this rainforest area turns into the cosiest and more beautiful area when it rains. So we still had a really lovely time. 

Even though the weather limited our activities of going out and about on walks and exploring the town, it was really nice just to have some downtime and cuddle up inside and enjoy warm drinks, wine and yummy food. 

So, here’s my breakdown of this weekend covering where we stayed, what we ate and what we did. Enjoy!

Accommodation: Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

We stayed in the Villa at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, which was a fully self-contained house with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious living area, kitchen and balcony. 

The only downside to this accommodation was that there was the need for some general maintenance in the house including shower nozzle and sink deep cleans and locks on the screen doors leading to the balcony. 

These issues were nothing major at all, and the end of the day may have led to making the experience more quaint and homey. However, to take this accommodation to the next level, this maintenance is needed. 

Gallery Walk offers a super quaint and cosy selection of cafes and local stores selling homemade/locally produced produce including fudge, honey, candles, Cuckoo Clocks, the lists goes on. 

We dined at two places along Gallery Walk, both for our Saturday and Sunday breakfasts. 

Songbirds’ restaurant is not open for breakfast, so unless you choose to have the breakfast basket delivered to your accommodation, you will have to venture out. 

Saturday Breakfast: The Treehouse

This cafe was very cosy and their menu offered a great mix of sweet and savoury breakfast options, including some very unique and delicious gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. 

I got the ‘bucket size’ turmeric latte on almond milk, and it was the perfect spicy drink to find comfort in on this rainy Saturday. This latte was definitely heavier on the turmeric side of things, which I LOVED! But the cafe supplied honey you could mix in to sweeten it up if you like. 

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I was most impressed with the gluten-free and dairy-free french toast this cafe offered. My mum ordered this dish, and I totally forgot to snap a picture of it- but trust me, it was DELICIOUS! And I would order it if I returned to the cafe without a doubt. 

However, I ordered the Vegan Breaky with added vegan cheese, and this was so yummy. A super comforting meal that was filling and full of flavour. It featured a tomato, onion and bean mixture with avocado, mushrooms, spinach and gluten-free bread. It was super yummy and was the perfect cosy breakfast choice in the rainy weather. 

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My Dad went for the salmon eggs Benedict, and my sister opted for the classic eggs and bacon on sourdough toast; both reporting back that their dishes were super tasty. 

All round, this cafe was a winner and I would 100% go back and would also recommend it all Mount Tamborine visitors. 

Saturday Activity: Songbirds Wine Tasting 

As part of the gift for my Dad, we set up to have an afternoon wine tasting onsite at Songbirds. This was a fantastic afternoon that exposed us to a variety of delicious local and international wines. 

The staff were very well educated and took the time to offer as much information as possible about each wine and tell us its full history; which was very interesting and enhanced the wine tasting experience. 

The only downside of this tasting was the variety offered on the charcuterie board. For the number of wines we tasted (10), a small amount of cured meats, a few pieces of dried peach and pickle and some bread was all that was offered. 

However, the overall experience was lovely, and the wines we tasted were all so varied, and most of them were delicious. The staff took the time to select wines my Dad would like but also offered us some that were unique, which was really lovely.

I would highly recommend this experience; it was a lot of fun and a great gift idea for any wine lover in your life. 

Saturday Dinner: Songbirds Restaurant 

For dinner, we booked the restaurant located onsite at Songbirds. The set-out and overall vibe of this restaurant was beautiful and very cosy. However, in my opinion, this restaurant was overpriced for the quality and complexity of the meals.

My mum and I ordered a chicken, coconut and pumpkin dish and it was extremely basic with not much going on at all. The portion size was enough for us without an entree, but for others, I would say it would be too small and I think some added vegetables would be great. 

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Also, this restaurant does not offer ANY side dishes, which is something that would have helped bulk out the meals and probably made me like my dish more because I could’ve added in some salad. 

On the other hand, my Dad and sister ordered the steak, which was pricey but it was a generous serving when compared to the chicken dish and was ultimately worth the money. 

We did not have dessert at this restaurant because we had brought along a birthday cake for my Dad and it was back in the room. However, across the board, the selection on their menu was minimal and slightly disappointing. See their menu here.

Although the food was nice, it was not overly exciting and it was overpriced, leading me to say that I would not go back to this restaurant. 

Sunday Breakfast: Wild Plum Kitchen

On Sunday morning we headed to this great cafe with many gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan food and drink options.

Another day, another big ole’ turmeric latte. This latte was one of the most unique ones I have ever had due to the kick of spice that was mixed in. I am assuming there was some kind of cayenne pepper in the mixture and it was delicious.

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My mango smoothie bowl was simple but delicious. Being made on frozen mango and banana and simply topped with nut-free granola and coconut chips, this was a fresh and light breakfast that was super yummy and tasted like mango sorbet. 

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My sister got the sourdough french toast with bacon and maple syrup, my Dad got the Croque Monsieur, and my mum got a mushroom dish that came with feta, pumpkin hummus, dukkah and gluten-free bread. All reporting back that they thoroughly enjoyed their meals!

The coffee here was grea with the coffee art and milk texture being 10/10. 

Both of the cafes I have mentioned (The Treehouse and Wild Plum Kitchen) are located at the top of Gallery Walk directly across the road from each other. They both offer a varied and delicious menu with options for most dietary requirements or food cravings. 

If you are looking the ultimate weekend getaway destination that takes you away from the hustle and bustle, then Mount Tamborine is a great option. Everyone was so lovely and the surroundings were stunning and tranquil. Overall, we had a great weekend getaway celebrating my fantastic father’s birthday <3. 

If you want to find out more about Mount Tamborine, check it out on Visit Tamborine MountainThis is not a sponsored or affiliated post, all opinions are my own. 

 

Simple Ways To Increase Your Productivity (& Grades!)

Lifestyle, missjessamy, Study

I graduated university back in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Mass Communication (Public Relations & Advertising). I am so proud of my acheivement and the effort I put into my degree to graduate with distinction at 20 years old. However, this was not easy and university really challenged me in both good and bad ways. Nevertheless, through my degree I feel I developed some really great study and time management skills that allowed me to meet all my degree requirments, work a full on job and still have time for friends, family and travel. 

So, now that school is back in session in Australia and university is almost back as well, I thought it was the perfect time to give you some simple ways you can increase your productivity that aim to improve your workflow and grades. All of these methods are ones that I used during my school and university years and are ones I still use now in my personal and work life. So if you want to ensure your 2020 is super productive then keep on reading!

#1 – Find Out What Kind Of Learner You Are

For me, I am a Kinaesthetic Learner which means I learn by doing. I am an active learner and love to immerse myself in the learning experience to extract the information from the situation. By understanding what kind of learner you are, you will be able to streamline your study approaches, so they benefit you.

Four Types Of Learners:

Visual:
  • Learn by visualising and seeing the content.
Auditory:
  • Learn by listening and hearing information rather than seeing or writing it out.
Reading/Writing:
  • Learn by reading content and writing about it.
Kinaesthetic:
  • Learn by doing and prefer to be immersed in their learning experience.

Keep in mind that you can be a combination of types of learners, or your learning style can change over time. But just try and identify the one the aligns with your learning needs the most at this moment in time so you can maximise learning effectiveness.

Understand How To Apply Your Learning Style Into Education

Sometimes you have got to get crafty when translating materials into your learning style. But this process is one that you must do to enhance your educational experience and to ensure you are as productive as you can be with your precious time.

So if you are a Reading/Writing Learner, then ensuring your lectures are transcribed into notes/flashcards is vital. Or if you are a Kinaesthetic Learner, then do practice quizzes to enhance your recall of content.

#2- Be Real With Your Schedule 

It is so great to write a massive schedule/ to-do list and be optimistic about what you can achieve in your day, but you HAVE to be realistic. This is vital because (on the flip side) there is nothing worse than trying to wind down at night knowing you have not achieved what you wanted to. I hate ending my day with an incomplete jobs list – I feel flat and disappointed; ultimately losing some my motivation.

Now being real with what you can achieve in a day does take some trial and error. And it is essential to be kind to yourself when setting daily or weekly expectations so you can feel accomplished and maintain your motivation. But ensuring you are honest with yourself with your time management and daily ability is crucial to the promotion and integration of productivity in your everyday life.

My Tip:

When beginning your scheduling journey, set low expectations for your days. This will allow you to gauge how much you can realistically achieve in your day.

#3- Write Out Your To Do’s

Do it on some paper, on your phone, in your diary, on some notepaper or on the back of your hand – whatever writable surface you have!

There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off to-do items on your list as you go through your day. And it also ensures you stay on track and use your time wisely when it comes to completing tasks based on their requirements.

My Tip:

Write EVERYTHING on your daily to-do list. This includes going to the gym, replying to emails, making your bed, washing your hair etc. Not only does this approach promote a more satisfying end of the day, feeling when you tick everything off. But, it gives you a realistic and visual overview of everything you need to fit into your day, so you can move items around if need be (and that’s okay)- DO NOT OVER COMMIT!

#4- Find Out When and Where You Are Most Productive

University libraries, cafes, at home, study groups, public parks, work offices etc. These are all places that I utilised to get my university work done.

Overall, I prefer to work alone at home as I find I can keep myself focused. However, when you are in the throws of intense study, a change of scenery can reinvigorate your motivation, allows you to refocus and overall enhance your productivity.

Often I would get myself out of the house and head into my university’s library or even go to work to use one of the empty offices as alternate study spaces that I was comfortable in and where I felt I could hone in on my work.

Finding places where you are most productive is vital for your workflow and like most things in this list, requires a level of trial and error. I am not productive everywhere, nor am I always productive at home. When you are consistently working, you need to be prepared to be fluid with your study spaces and be ready to move around.

#5- Read Your Feedback & Ask Questions

Life Lesson: learn from your mistakes to enable personal growth and and accept that effort will not always equated to your envisaged reward.

Okay, so you didn’t do as well as you had planned on a project? How you react and process this plays a BIG role in your ability to grow and improve your future work.

It’s easy to get annoyed and upset when a grade or some feedback is not as good as you wanted after you put so much effort in.

However, if you’re going to understand where you went wrong so you can improve and learn, you NEED to read or request feedback. And that means immersing yourself in the feedback by asking questions and then integrating this into future work.

I have always been one of those students and people in general, where I question everything because I feel the need to understand every possible aspect. This need to know where I went wrong really came out during my final year of school and through my university degree because I was always putting 110% effort into my work, but my grades were not always reflecting that. However, I learned quickly that although it was sometimes time-consuming and a hassle, whenever I requested feedback, I always felt better. The feedback always powered me through my next project and made me more aware and motivated.

#6- Base Your Timeline Schedule On Their Requirements

If you have four tasks that need to be done that will each take 2-3 hours each, is it realistic that you get them all done in one day? Probably not. And even if you did, would you be in the best and most productive headspace to do them all in one day along with your other day to day requirements as well?

These are all vital aspects to consider when crafting your daily to-do schedules.

To combat this need to get everything done all at once, I recommend writing a weekly to-do list that states all of the big items that need to get done. And then break these up into your daily agenda. This approach ensures you remain fully aware of what you need to get done but reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed and losing your motivation for day to day tasks.

#7- Commit To Yourself

Overall, If YOU want to improve your productivity, grades and overall success, then you HAVE to commit to yourself. There is no point in attempting to make changes and realign your organisation and study approaches if you are going to continually make compromises that interfere with your commitment to this vision. Like any goal, it is not always going to be 100% easy, and you are going to have to work at it daily to ensure you are on track. But like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more confident you become in being able to operate your schedule productively.

So, as long as you are prepared to make some exceptions so you can stay true to yourself to meet your goals – then one of the hardest parts of this goal is already done!

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the best feeling when all your commitment pays off to meet your goal.

Hopefully now you are feeling inspired to get your time management under control so you can maximise your 2020 productivity and workflow! I hope these tips have helped you out and that all your endeavours in 2020 whether they are study or work focused, are a success. 

My Japan Travel Diaries 

Food, missjessamy, Travel

I went to Japan twice in 2019, and I would have never expected it to become one of my favourite travel destinations! The atmosphere, look, feel, food and people all create a place that I truly fell in love with.

So, having visited this location twice last year, I thought I would accumulate the information and experiences I had on each of my trips and showcase my Japan travel guide (of sorts) to help you see why it is a MUST VISIT destination.

My Two Trip Summary: 

So firstly, why did I go twice?

Well, a Christmas/New Year’s family holiday was on the cards since the beginning of 2019. And then in March four of my friends and I decided to book a two-week-long trip during July, as flights were super cheap and we were all free (which is very rare).

During my July holiday, we remained in Tokyo and stayed a week in Shinjuku and a week in Akasaka.

Where as, for my December trip my family and I stayed in Ginza (Toyko), Hiroshima, Kyoto and then we went back to Tokyo where we stayed in Tokyo Bay for three days to visit Disney.

What amazed me about visiting Japan twice in one year was how different both of my trips were when I visited the same locations in Toyko. The most significant difference that I noticed between my two trips was the busyness of Tokyo.

Firstly, and sort of obviously, Tokyo was INSANE during Christmas and New Year’s. However, coming from Australia, Christmas is a public holiday for us, and it is a MASSIVE holiday celebration. However, we were super shocked to find that people went to work on Christmas Day and not only that, but, other than retail marketing and advertising there was nowhere near the presence of Christmas as there is back home.

However, this flipped when it came to New Year’s. Back home, New Year’s means a big party and fireworks show at midnight, and that is it. However, in Japan we found out it is a BIG deal. We were lucky enough to celebrate our introduction to 2020 at Disneyland, where we watched the midnight fireworks burst from the magical castle at midnight.

This was a great experience but having visited both Disneyland and Disney Sea during my July trip, I was shocked to see the massive increase in guests at the park over December and January. Now, we expected the festive season would bring extra guests to the parks. But boy, we did not expect it to be THIS busy!!

Having visited Disneyland in LA and Hong Kong and DisneyWorld multiple times, we thought we had seen a crowd, but we were wrong.

This is definitely something to be aware of if you are visiting during the festive season, especially if you are only going for one day. This is because it is tough to fit everything in one day with the crowds.However, crowd control (as always when it comes to Disney) was managed well. Also, with most of the rides having engaging lineups, it was not all doom and gloom; it was just time-consuming.

My Must Dos: 

1- Shibuya: 

Lights, sound, people, food and fun; what more could you want? Since my first visit to Shibuya, I was hooked. It is genuinely an absolute hub for full Tokyo immersion. The bright shop lights and billboards paired with soundtracks being played through the streets and the photo booth and game stores’ hustle and bustle spilling onto the street makes this place is unforgettable.

Tip: Don’t miss exploring the side streets to find some fantastic and unique meals. My favourite place to grab a yummy meal is at this Gluten-Free ramen restaurant where you order your meal on a kiosk before taking a seat.

Shibuya is so much fun and you definitely need to go more than once. Just be aware that it is push and shove, but it is worth it for the atmosphere and experience.

2- Yoyogi Park 

Pure magic in nature.

I visited this park during both of my trips and each time it was magical, calming and just so serene. Not only is the greenery so lush, but all you can hear it the crunch of rocks under your feet and you can smell and feel the crisp fresh air. This park is a great way to take yourself out of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo without having to go too far.

3- Studio Ghibli Museum 

Fan of Ghibli or not, this is a must-do (just make sure your pre-book your tickets well in advance)! The architecture at this museum is breathtaking and magical; you really do step straight into a Ghibli film.

Walking up the winding staircase, squeezing through the tiny doorways or adventuring to see the massive Castle In The Sky Robot on the rooftop; this place is a playground for people of all ages.

One of the most amazing parts about this museum is the tiny detail hiding on every  wall and floorboard. You have to keep your eyes peeled because character appearances and movie references are around every corner.

Tip: Make sure you visit one of the cinema sessions while you’re there! Although the two films were in Japanese, the visuals themselves make the film-watching experience worthwhile.

Also, note that the Museum address is 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan. We almost went to TWO of the wrong addresses before departing for the day.

4- Disneyland & DisneySea

The reason I added this one onto my top three is because a) it’s Disney, so it’s an OBVIOUS must do! But also, both of these parks are genuinely immaculate and so much fun. I didn’t think the architecture of a theme park could blow me away, but DisneySea did that! It is a STUNNING park that genuinely takes you to another world. The rides, food and just general parks are an unmissable experience for people of all ages.

5- Deer Island (Miyajima)

As long as you are happy to deal with beautiful Deer stalking you around the island and trying to eat your jacket, this island is truly unmissable.

Visiting this island exposes you everything Japan has to offer; culture, shrines, temples, markets, food and overall serene and stunning nature. So, make sure during your Hiroshima visit you put some time aside to hop on the ferry and visit this island.

Time Saver Tips:

Harajuku: 

This is a bit of an unpopular opinion but if you are pressed for time, you can probably skip Harajuku or keep your time there to a walk down Takeshita Street.

I found Harajuku to be overrated when it was compared to other nearby locations like Shibuya or Shinjuku; even the crazy rainbow foods were available in other Tokyo areas.

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Team Lab Borderless: 

You probably already know what this place is because it is in everyones Japan social media content. And do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed visiting this display with my friends during my July trip. However, it is extremely overstimulating and is something that was not very different to the photos I had seen online. I do not mean to sound negative about this place, because it is still stunning. But, if you are short on time, this can be missed.

Shimokitazawa:

If you love vintage shopping then this is the place for you. But buyer be warned, vintage shopping in Japan is SUPER expensive and it is very easy to be sucked down the ‘I should just get it because I am travelling’ mentality and end up spending $50+ on a casual printed t-shirt. So, if you are on a budget please be wary when visiting or give it a miss all together if your schedule is tight. That being said, I still enjoyed my visit here. Even though I didn’t buy anything, the vibe and overall experience was super enjoyable.

Food Allergies in Japan:

The only challenge that I encountered during both my trips was correctly communicating my dietary requirements and finding food on the go that I could eat.

I am gluten and dairy intolerant and my Mum is a coeliac. So, I did have some  leniency with my diet. However, when travelling with my Mum, it was essential we found appropriate food.

Unfortunately, after eating on the go and at multiple buffets, my mother and I can say that we consumed gluten due to difficulty communicating with staff about our needs. However, do not let this turn you off visiting this great destination. Even though it is not extremely easy to find dietary friendly options in Japan, there are still choices, you just have to dig around.

My number one recommendation would be to ensure you have Google Translate on your phone. This will allow you to scan packages to see if they contain the allergen you need to avoid. This app is a MUST if you do not speak your destination’s language and it saved us many times throughout the trip.

Secondly, Family Mart and 7-Eleven provide more snacks than you could ever imagine, and there are gluten and dairy-free options here. Sushi, edamame, salads, mochi, fruits, bars, milk alternatives and more are all available at these convenience shops and acted as lifesavers when we found ourselves in a food pinch. Also, these stores are quite literally on every street corner, so you can always get at least a small snack.

If you’re looking for something more substantial though, check out these places where I ate and had NO problem obtaining gluten and dairy free meals. All of the listed places had delicious food and fantastic service:

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Me with the best GF bread from Sodoh

We had breakfast included at all our hotels during our Christmas trip, and we found that most locations had allergens marked on the food labels which was a great help!

When these labels were not available, or we were in a restaurant, we used THESE cards. Having these cards enabled us to communicate our allergies to staff, and they were then able to disclose whether or not we would be able to eat there. Having pre-organised most of our eating arrangements/ eating out of convenience stores a fair bit, we mainly used these cards while we visited Disneyland and DisneySea.

Finally, we also packed multiple gluten and dairy-free snacks as backups in our bags that we were able to have when allergen-friendly food was inaccessible. We also packed some gluten-free bread that enabled us to bulk up some meals we would order through room service, as well.

Where I Stayed & Ratings: 

July Trip: 

Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho 

Location: Shinjuku

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Due to our late check-in, pillows were ‘sold out’ which resulted in our first night being a very uncomfortable sleeping experience on hard bean pillows. However, staff were incredibly kind and helpful with them providing directions and tips on local places to eat and explore.

This hotel is central in Shinjuku with many bars and convenience stores nearby. Also, Shinjuku station less than 10 min walk away.

Henn na Hotel Tokyo Akasaka

Location: Akasaka

Rating: 3.5 Stars 

Comments: Robot concierge were a great novelty but they struggled to read international passports which made our check-in difficult; resulting in the staff needing to come out and assist us.

The room was very lovely, but super small – so be mindful of large suitcases.

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December – January Trip: 

Tokyo Imperial Hotel 

Location: Ginza (Toyko)

Rating: 5 Stars

Comments: Impeccable service on all levels. From their check-in to bell boys, shops and food service staff. Rooms are well sized. I highly recommend the French restaurant on site. Central location in Ginza but still far enough from the mid-city craziness. Super close to Hibiya station and only a 5-minute walk from Ginza station.

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Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Location: Hiroshima

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Great gym facilities and location is right near Eki City and a FamilyMart for all your food needs. Staff were very accommodating; however, the entrance to the hotel is slightly confusing.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

Hotel Okura Kyoto

Location: Kyoto

Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Comments: Dinner buffet was a fantastic mix of western and Japanese cuisine. Also, the view of the river from the hotel is stunning both day and night. Customer service was fantastic, and we felt very welcomed.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

Location: Tokyo Bay (Disneyland)

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Great Disney flare even though it is not a specific Disney hotel. Fantastic dinner and breakfast buffet along with lots of amenities on site. However, due to the busy time of year and the language barrier, our check-in process was long and confusing. However, after this, the staff were very kind and helpful.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

So, Would I Go Back?:

To me, Japan is a place I could continue to visit regularly. Despite having spent a total of 4 weeks there in 2019 during two seasons, there are still SO many places I have not visited yet. I would love to go during Cherry Blossom season, and next time I would love to travel further out of Tokyo city and spend more time in traditional Japanese locations.

However, I think every time you go, dropping into Tokyo is a must! The atmosphere is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on visiting the more traditional and natural areas found in Kyoto, for example.

With tourism to Japan continually growing and airline sales happening more and more frequently, if you have been thinking about visiting Japan or want a holiday destination idea, then this place is for you!

Have you been to Japan? If so, what was your favourite place?

Check out more of my Japan highlights on my Instagram @jessicatathem

The Health Food Powders You Need In Your Pantry.

Food, missjessamy

I am a health food addict, I can easily spend over an hour in any health food shop just reading all the ingredients and powders to find out what is good for me and the benefits food can give my body. For me, healthy eating is so important, because it makes me feel good and confident; also it tastes really good.
So today I have compiled a list of some of my favourite health food powders that I feel make a difference to my everyday life. I have done some research into these to offer you key information on what these powders are all about. However, PLEASE do your own research if you want to introduce them to your diet, as I am not a healthcare professional.*

Raw Cacao Powder

I love Cacao and have used the powder for many years in baking, smoothies and as a base to warm drinks. Apart from its raw chocolaty taste, it has been proven to be a mood improver due to containing anandamide which brings on feelings of euphoria. It also has a very high ORAC score which shows it has high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are integral to our health as they increase our immunity to colds and flu, improve digestion, energy and sleep as well as improve circulation (which promotes the reduction of inflammation and cellulite).
Cacao also contains calcium, iron, zinc and potassium; cacao also contains Magnesium which helps with the absorption of calcium. It also assists with an increased metabolism which helps with weight loss and increased digestion leading to overall elevated energy levels.

Calcium

As touched on above, calcium is essential for our body’s health. At the core, it helps build strong bones! To have strong bones is so important, especially as we age as it reduces the risks of both arthritis and osteoporosis. Having strong bones also helps reduce back pain and allows us to live a life of free movement and activity (we all want to be strong and stable!). Calcium is something I am passionate about because I am deficient, so I am focused on rebuilding my calcium levels so I can be strong and healthy. There has also been a lot of research that has shown calcium plays a role in controlling or preventing high blood pressure.
So if you are allergic to dairy, vegan or are concerned about your calcium levels, calcium powder is such an important additive to your diet. The one I use is Green Nutritionals Pure Plant Source Green Calcium, and it is tasteless, so I put it in anything and everything I can think of including, smoothies, oats, hot chocolates, soups etc.

Pea Protein

I use Pea Protein because I’m allergic to dairy so Whey Protein isn’t an option. I use Tropekas’ Lean Protein in Vanilla. This protein and other high-quality Pea Proteins help build lean muscle and assist with toning and muscle recovery. So it is ideal to have post workout to help feed your body the nutrients it needs to build and repair muscle, so you get the most out of your workout. Protein is also renowned for keeping you fuller for longer meaning satisfied cravings and hunger. Additionally, multiple sources of research have discovered that Pea Protein offers a similar protein source that eggs supply; making it a great, healthy and easily digestible protein alternative.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is probably my least favourite out of all of the health powders in my life due to the taste. But the benefits it offers forces me to look past this, and once I mix it into a smoothie, the taste almost disappears. To begin, Wheatgrass is high in Chlorophyll which helps cleanse, alkalise and improve energy levels. Chlorophyll also acts as an antibacterial in the body making it a natural healer. Wheatgrass also contains an extremely wide variety of vitamins and is rich in proteins containing amino acids. Additionally, the Chlorophyll property in Wheatgrass helps with neutralising body odours and controlling blood sugar levels. And with its detoxifying properties, Wheatgrass can help with increased energy levels, weight loss, improved digestion and improved circulation.

Baobab Powder

Baobab Powder is my newest discovery out of all the powders in this article, but I am thrilled I have discovered it as it has so many health properties. To begin, it is high in Vitamin C, which promotes healthy skin, increased immune function and energy levels. It also assists with the absorption of iron and contains Prebiotics that assist with healthy digestion and promotes gut health. I use Green Nutritionals Organic African Baobab.

I use all of the above in my daily smoothies and sprinkle them on top of granola or coconut yoghurt. Despite my research and experience with these powders, it is essential to use and consume what feels right for you and your body. It is so important to do your own research because I am not a healthcare professional and you must ensure you are eating what’s right for you.*

Talk Soon,
Jess xx

* all research and information in this post has been done by myself and I have incorporated these foods into my diet accordingly. Please ensure you read your own articles before introducing these into your daily routine. 

My Day Through A Camera Lens: 23/2/18

Lifestyle, missjessamy

Today I thought I would share something different with you all and potentially make it a post series. I have designed ‘My Day Through A Camera Lens’ to show you what I get up to in my day to day life, and give you an alternate visual when visiting MissJessAmy. So I hope you enjoy.

8:07am

I didn’t have work or Uni today, so I allowed myself a sleep in. I always leave one of my blinds up at night so I wake up to the morning light.

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8:15am

First things first in the morning is a workout. I lay my gear out the night before to ensure there are NO excuses in the morning.

shorts: NIKE, top: Cotton On Body, bra: Kmart, shoes: NIKE

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8:23am

Here is my workout set up, morning news on the big screen, workout videos on my laptop, and workout plan laid out.

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9:07am

I was truly smiling post workout today because it was a hard one and I was happy it was over (40min HIIT).

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9:13am

Breakfast time = smoothie bowl. Banana, Mango, Spinach, Coconut Yoghurt, Coconut Water, Almond Milk, Ice, Cacao, Tropeka Protein Powder, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Calcium Powder.

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11:51am

Visited the ‘Mind, Body and Spirit Festival’ and treated myself to Cocofrio’s Coconut and Choc Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar-free). So yummy!

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2:06pm

Having some relaxation time after being out all morning. I am obsessed with editing the look of the blog at the moment to make it as user-friendly as possible. I was also multi-tasking by watching an Acting seminar on my laptop.

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2:10pm

Emails, Blog, Seminar are done and up to date = happy Jess

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2:18pm

On my way to meet my friend Mahlee to get my nails done and got a Green Tea to go. I have been trying to be more environmentally friendly this year, so I have been using my ‘Keep Cup’ and I’m obsessed.

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4:00pm

Nails are done, now time for a snack with Mahls.

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4:09pm

Time to go home as thunderstorms approach.

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4:44pm

En route home I stopped by my parents’ house.

Outfit detail: jeans: H&M, shoes: Steve Madden, bag: Target, jumper: Vintage, top: Decjuba

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4:49pm

PUPPY TIME! Meet our family dog, Beau. He is a 4-month-old French Bulldog.

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8:08pm

Winding down after a big day and after eating dinner by watching a movie, listening to the rain and writing this post. Goodnight.

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Talk soon,

Jess xx

My Tanning Routine

Lifestyle, missjessamy

As Summer begins to draw to a close here in Oz, I would like to think I have been able to finesse my tanning routine. So I thought I would share my carefully crafted routine with you all today to make it easier for any first time tanners out there, or to offer some tips for any tanning pros.

One: Dry Brushing

Something that I have recently gotten into is dry brushing. I have read about the benefits of this routine for a while and finally decided to give it a go. I don’t do it daily (because I just forget), but I do always do it before doing a tan. I find it assists in heightening the effects of scrubbing and shaving; leaving me with smooth legs that are easy to tan. I start at my feet and move in upwards circular motions all over my body.

Two: Exfoliation

An absolute must before tanning is to exfoliate. You want to ensure all of the dead skin is removed from your body, so your tan applies evenly and smoothly. I use Thankyou’s Coffee Body Scrub, and much like the dry brush, I will work in circular motions with the scrub, all over my body. I then allow the scrub to sit on my skin for at least 5 minutes, so all of the moisturising oils soak in. I also ensure to focus on rougher areas when scrubbing to ensure my tan applies evenly; so I scrub a bit harder on my knees, elbows and heels.

Three: Shaving

After my skin is smooth and prepped, it is time to remove the hair. When shaving I use Natural Instinct’s Relaxing Body Wash as my shaving cream as I find the natural oils and ingredients further help to soften my skin and assist in the reduction of post-shave bumps. I just shave my legs, underarms and bikini line. I find the hairs on my arms don’t interfere that much when I tan, as long as I have done an efficient exfoliating job.

Four: Moisturise

Now it’s time to moisturise, a key part of the tanning process. Before tanning, I use two different moisturising products that help me get a silky smooth and prepped body. I will first use Alpha Keri’s Anti-Cellulite Body Butter and then I will go over the top with Collagenesis by Skinn Essential Radiance Body Oil. I find these two products work well together as the cream is thick and focuses on firming up the skin, and then the oil offers major moisture and makes your skin silky smooth and shiny.

I will generally either do all the above the night before or morning of tanning. This allows enough time for all the moisturisers to soak in and for my pores to close before applying tan in the evening.

Five: Tan

Now it’s time for what we’ve all been waiting for, tanning time. Over the past few years, my go-to tan has been Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in Dark, and I would normally apply three pumps to each body part (so three pumps for the left leg, three pumps for right leg etc.), sleep in it and wash it off in the morning. But at the moment I am trialling Bondi Sands 1 Hour Express Tan. Personally, one of my least favourite things to do when tanning was having to sleep in it. I found it uncomfortable and messy and I always had to worry about which sheets I had on my bed because I didn’t want to mark the expensive ones. But with this express tan, I can just put it on for 1-2 hours (depending on the colour pay off I want) and I can get on with my day. This is especially great if you have an event at night and want a touch of colour before you go.
I apply my tan on a tanning mitt (mine is from Mecca Maxima), in long motions up my legs and arms. I then go in circular motions on my stomach and chest to around to my back. I don’t tan my face, as I find I just break out or go red, so when I am tanned I normally just up my bronzer ratio. I also tan my hands and feet, but will only do that right at the end by using the leftover residue on the mitt; just to make sure they don’t go too dark.

Six: Maintain

After all the effort you go to, to apply your tan, you want to maintain it. So, I recommend using a Gradual Tanner to assist in the maintenance and further development of the colour. I use Dove’s Summer Glow Gradual Self Tan in Medium to Dark Skin, and love it. It gives the most amazing tan colour, is easy to apply and smells amazing.

So there you go, insider tanning tips and tricks. I hope you enjoyed learning about my tried and true tanning routine and use some of my tips in the future. Talk soon.

Jess xx

@jessicatathem