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Life at Number Eight: August 2018

Hello friends and welcome to my new series called Life at Number Eight! Basically this post lets us recap the month and catch up with everything that has been going on. It has been an eventful month filled with some big changes, so grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer) and let’s get into it.

Embracing Change

Probably the most significant thing to happen this month was that it started off for me with a change in job.

This change was full of emotions. Of excitement and anticipation and a decent serve of being nervous about making the change and wondering if moving away from what was comfortable was the right decision. I think big change has to ability to bring out big doubt.

Most of the worry that filled me was completely irrational but I think it came in the sense that I had never left a job in this way. I was pretty much ready to leave my old role, but I had not yet begun actively looking when this new opportunity was presented. I was leaving at a time when the work no longer challenged me and I began to not enjoy it. However the environment and the people were something that I would miss.

Moving into this new role was a transition straight away from being a big business to a small one, and with that came a slower pace allowing me to get a feel for a whole new team and process. I don’t usually like the first few weeks in a new role because I feel a little out of control and I try and take everything in and learn as much as possible. But one month in and I can say I am starting to get into the swing of things and really enjoying myself.

Oh and there has been a bit of travel involved already. I have been on a plane to Sydney twice now just for day trips, meeting clients in the eastern suburbs and having lunch at Bondi. They are big days, but it’s exciting to be travelling and meeting clients face-to-face.

How to you cope making big decisions? Any tips for getting comfortable in a new workplace?

Pretty much Whole30

Through the process of getting the new job, resigning and finishing up from my old job, and beginning the new one, I started noticing an increase in my anxiety. I am usually an anxious person but it is most often associated with a situation or trigger that I can address. In this case, the feelings were growing and I could not isolate the cause and I found myself feeling very overwhelmed.

It is something that when I think about it has been building over the year, but it was really this month that I stopped and looked at it and called it out for what it was. It was also the month that I decided I would do something about it.

So this increase in anxiety combined with the fact that I had to go out and buy a size larger jeans because nothing fit, was kind of the breaking point for me to actually take some action for my health.

Have you heard that everything comes down to diet and gut health? I strongly believe this, so I decided that why not try eating super clean and see if this helps with my anxiety. The bonus being that actually eating vegetables should help with how I feel about my body and may help me shift a few of those sneaky kilos.

Enter Whole30. Not a crash diet designed to starve you for a month with the purpose of losing weight only to gain it back again. Whole30 helps you with your relationship with food and I know from my first round, that it made me feel great. I also knew though that is was a big challenge and by the end I just wanted to eat all the foods I had missed out on.

So I am cheating. But there are rules around my cheating. The goal for me is to incorporate this lifestyle into my everyday. I don’t just want to stop after 30 days. I know that my body reacts really well to a paleo diet. When I eat this way it is when I feel my best. My skin is clear, my anxiety is reduced, and I feel so much less bloated and comfortable in my clothes.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the food I have been eating.

The idea is to be paleo about 80% of the time from now on. This allows me to still bake and enjoy a burger or pasta on the weekend, but through the week I will enjoy a strict paleo diet. Hopefully this gives me the balance I need.

I have cheated once by going out to a italian restaurant for my brothers birthday and enjoying a few glasses of wine and a big bowl of pasta, but I knew I wanted to celebrate this way prior to making my decision to do the Whole30 so I am ok with that. I have also enjoyed 2 or 3 soy lattes just when I really felt I needed them. But other than that I have been drinking my daily coffee black and mostly sticking to just the one a day, as I think more than that tends to have a negative impact on my anxiety.

We have also used some honey and soy sauce in cooking. Again yes it is cheating but it makes cooking easier and it is delicious so I don’t mind. The food is still really healthy and I don’t get any negative reactions to either. I think the main foods I need to avoid is refined sugar and grains – these guys have the ability to undo most of the good feelings.

Next month I will report back with how I went making it to the end of the 30 days, and how I am going incorporating the new paleo 80% of the time into my life.

Do you have any tips for dealing with anxiety? Do you find a correlation between how you feel and the food you consume?

What I Read This Month

I have found this year that I really miss sharing the books that I have been reading, so welcome to a standard feature of these monthly recap posts!

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (2018)

This was such a beautifully told story I loved reading every moment of it. Telling the story of an Indian-American muslim family, the book unfolds around the wedding of the eldest daughter. The story is told from each character’s perspective and tells little bits of their stories over the years as we piece together what has happened to bring us to this moment.

It is a story of family, of racism, of immigrants and of religion. I was just a beautiful debut novel from Fatima Farheen Mirza and while I wish I would have kept reading, I think it finished perfectly and I felt content. I cannot wait to see what else is to come from this author.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (2017)

After completely absorbing Milk & Honey, I was pretty eager to read more of Rupi Kaur’s poetry. While Milk & Honey caught me completely off guard with its power and emotion, I felt more able to process and absorb this collection. It explored more feelings and a greater depth and revealed a beautiful side to the author outside of just an exploration of trauma and loss.

With so many beautiful words, this one really stood out to me:

what is the greatest lesson a woman should learn
that since day one
she’s already had everything she needs within herself
it’s the world that convinced her she did not “

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

This book is one that I had been hearing a lot about and with a recommendation from John Green on the cover, I couldn’t help but pick it up. It is a sweeping story of young love among teenage understanding to learn who we are and where our place is in the world.

It was an easy read and a beautiful one that at times took my breath just a little. A beautiful story of finding oneself through finding someone else. And as for the three words at the end? I don’t feel cheated at all, I actually love the ending and I have my own thoughts on what those words might be.

Where I Ate This Month

I don’t eat out a great deal, but when I do I want to talk about it.

Kinn + Derm

Part of the new dining precinct in Chermside Shopping Centre, this Thai restaurant has been on my radar for quite some time and this month I finally got to try it. This was actually day 4 of me deciding to do the Whole30, and while I knew nothing I could order would be compliant, I decided to try my best and I ordered a prawn and vegetable stir fry. Jarryd had the Tom Yum Soup, and a friend had the whole fish.

The food was excellent and the staff were really friendly. This is probably the first time I have been to a Thai restaurant without ordering rice or noodles, but I really enjoyed it. The food came out really fast as well. But the standout dish for me was the appetizer of prawn dumplings with a coconut curry sauce. That sauce was outstanding, and next time I am definitely going to try one of the curries as the flavour in that sauce had me scraping the bottom of the plate leaving nothing behind.

Alcove Cafe

This is easily my favourite cafe. We came here to celebrate on the weekend before I started my new job. I love the friendly atmosphere and the people are so welcoming and lovely. Plus the food is the best.

There has been nothing that I have eaten here that I haven’t loved. I usually get the special as it is always something unusual and amazing. However this time we both opted for a menu favourite, the italian eggs. A big warm, hearty bowl of tomato sauce, pork sausage and poached egg with sourdough. You will not leave hungry!


A Brisbane institution, Beccofino came back on my radar as my new office is just down the road in Teneriffe. In need of a place to celebrate my brother’s birthday, but with last minute planning, we decided to try it out.

They do not take reservations so even after arriving pretty early in the evening, we still had about a 45 minute wait at the bar across the road for our table to be ready. Once we got in, the atmosphere was really lovely, as we were seated on big timber benches under the heater as the last of the winter chill came through.

I had been here before about 6 years prior with a group of people I used to work with, and I remembered the food being amazing. This was however prior to me actually visiting italy and trying as many italian restaurants as possible in Brisbane. I was eager to find out if it was just as good as it was in my memory.

We ordered a bottle of Chianti and an antipasto board and the evening got off to a great start. Following this, my duck ragu arrived – the dish I remembered ordering all those years before. I don’t think it was what I had expected, the sauce was quite creamy which I found unusual for a ragu, but the duck was rich and the flavours were great. While it may not take over as being my favourite italian place, it was really enjoyable and a great evening.

Where have you eaten out recently? Please send me your Brisbane dining tips!

A final thought.

Change is something that challenges us and may make us question a few things. But that is ok, we can show ourselves what is possible by pushing forward and embracing each new challenge as a part of our story. So if something is staring you down, forcing you to make a decision, grab it with two hands and take that control back. You have the power to make this decision and whatever it is, you will be grateful that you had the courage to make it, even if it may not be exactly what you expected.

I can’t believe it is already time to close the door on winter, I don’t know that I am ready to say goodbye to the comfort food, the blankets, the oversized jumpers and the warm drinks. But let’s try and get excited and say a big warm welcome to spring! I am actually excited for all the blueberries.

Thank you for sticking with me this far, that was a big post! And be sure to leave a comment below to keep the conversation going.

Sally x

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