Shit Just Got Real

Shit Just Got Real

A few months ago I wrote a post about how I wanted to move to London. Guess what?

We’re doing it!


Now, this wasn’t an easy process to go through. We had our wedding in June, which came with a load of pressure and stress from planning our big day. Although we’d previously decided that we wanted to go overseas, we fell in love with some house plans and got ourselves seriously sidetracked – perhaps this can be referred to as good ol’ fashioned procrastination? Eeek.

We somehow found ourselves signed up with a local building company, we’d picked our plot of land, selected all of the things we wanted in our dream house, we told everyone that we were building a house and we even paid a deposit. What the hell, right? We were really slipping into the married life clichĂ© that we wanted to avoid and the plans to travel were rapidly disappearing out of our minds. 

Fast forward to August. Our quote for the build came back at Five. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. In short; we noped the fuck out after we calculated that our mortgage repayments/house expenses would be $1100 a fortnight for the next 30 years. Sure, we’re fortunate enough that we could afford it in our current situation, but we’d never be able to have kids or take a holiday without seriously struggling to stay afloat. That’s not the kind of life I want to live and it definitely doesn’t align with my desire to explore the world. 

After we recovered from the near death experience of $500,000 in debt, we jumped online and literally brought the latest possible flights to London for 2018 that we could. Remember that indecisive shit that I do? I didn’t wanna risk ANOTHER change of mind and having yet another plan that we’d never follow through with. We’re now $2500 deep in airfares so theoretically there’s no turning back.

Where to from here? Well, we’re almost finished with those pesky renovations that we’ve been struggling to complete and we’re going to rent our house out as soon as they’re done. We’re moving into Todd’s mums house so that we can save as much cash as we can until we leave NZ (keep an eye out for a post about our budget and savings plan) and my Dad has offered to care for the dogs while we’re away. I’m becoming an expert lurker on all things London related, Kiwis in London/Kiwis in London Chat are possibly my most visited Facebook pages and r/London keeps me in awe most nights.  I have to keep a very exciting secret from my colleagues and employer which I can’t let slip for another 8 months or so. 

It’s all getting very real and extremely scary. 

If you’ve made the leap I’d love to hear your thoughts on savings, job opportunities and any regrets you may have. Did it all work out for you?

Shayla xx

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Another Kiwi Moving to London?

Another Kiwi Moving to London?

So, in typical Shayla fashion I have decided that I want to move to London. Why do I want to go there? Because of the history, the opportunities and the adventure. It’s also because I’m getting married in 3 months and I’ve owned my own home for a few years now.. I don’t want to spend the rest of my “youth” in my hometown when we have the perfect chance to experience a new life overseas. I’m terrified that one day I will wake up in my forties and regret not seeing the world before surrendering my life the usual 9-5, white picket fence and 2.5 kids. I can’t do that to myself.

My husband to be is onboard which is half the battle, however this decision has become somewhat soul destroying because as he’s pointed out, we literally cannot leave NZ for nearly 2 years. TWO. FRICKEN. YEARS. I am a reckless person. I love to make rash decisions but due to the current state of my house and the impending wedding – I have to hold my horses and just wait it out until we have enough savings to achieve all that we need to next year. Having a sensible other half comes in handy but it also means facing reality head on when all you want to do is run away.

We have to replace our bathroom thanks to the previous owners neglect (goodbye $15k) and we also need to finish our outstanding renovations such as the office that we 75% completed back in 2015 and then just left it because we couldn’t be bothered anymore – who does that?!

Hint: We do. We suck.

Not only do we need to save around $20k to actually move, we also have to find the funds to finish off old projects and get the house ready to sell (or rent) so we can confidently leave.

It’s so hard having a long term goal when you’re impatient and crave instant gratification. The rough date we’ve picked to head off is December 2018 (two years was a slight exaggeration) and we’ll have to live like paupers for the next 20 months to make it happen. Unless I change my mind, which is stupidly common in this household.

UPDATED 03 October 2017: We’re doing it, bitches!

How do you find long term goals? Are you impatient like me or do you enjoy having the time to plan? I’d also love to hear about your experiences with moving overseas!

Fuck it, we’re eloping.

Fuck it, we’re eloping.

In April 2016, the love of my life asked me to marry him. I was thrilled and we couldn’t wait to jump headfirst into planning our wedding. I wanted to become his wife as soon as possible. I was quickly knocked back a peg or two as I entered the crazy world of wedding planning.

I fell for the traditions like a total sucker. I was in full big white wedding mode. I joined a wedding group on Facebook, started pinning ideas on Pinterest, booked a gorgeous historical venue with in-house catering, stunning gardens, capacity for 100 guests, and even a personal wedding planner. I looked up wedding favors so I could give my guests a tiny trinket to remember our day, booked a photographer, wrote up my guest list, planned invitations, got my dress and then suddenly it dawned on me that the day I was planning wasn’t what I wanted.. I’m a terribly shy person and this is going to be the most intimate day of my life – I want privacy and above all else, practicality.

Wedding planning for those of you that haven’t experienced it, can be a fucking nightmare. People will try to dictate your day, your invite list grows out of control because there are people who you must invite (like a family member that has never met your partner nor seen you for 6 years but because they share blood with you they have to come – WTF?). The cost is nuts too. If I said to you that I was planning to spend $18,000 on my party next Saturday, you would probably think I was a fucking insane, however if I tell you my wedding is only going to cost $18,000 – you’ll probably think “oh, that’s not bad”. For some reason, we as a society accept that the cost of a wedding should be in the realms of a house deposit.

We’d paid a few of our vendors and told our friends and family that we were doing the big white wedding. We had a tough decision to make – we were going to backtrack everything we had shared with our loved ones about our plans. After many long conversations with my partner, we agreed to cancel the planned day because we just didn’t envision ourselves in it. It dawned on us that we were following the normal standards for a wedding because we didn’t know any better. We have been exposed to over the top, expensive, flashy weddings in movies, people we know spend an average of $30,000 on their day and we were just conforming. It wasn’t true to us in the slightest.

We’re now eloping, and I couldn’t be happier.


Here are my few pieces of advice for the newly engaged:

1. Identify what is truly important to you and your partner

What matters the most to you and what are your nonnegotiables? Do you guys have strong bonds with family therefore need to invite everyone? Do you want to do it on the cheap because you’re saving for a house deposit? Do you want to take out a loan so you can afford the wedding of your dreams or do you want to be debt free on the other side? A clear understanding of both of your expectations will make the planning process much easier and it will save you from changing your mind and feeling like a bit of a dick later on.

2. Skip the bullshit

You only need a celebrant and 2 witnesses to be legally wed in NZ. Anything else is just an extra. You literally do not need to have a colour theme, photo booth, 3 course meal, bar tab, heck – you don’t even need to have bridesmaids if you don’t want to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting all of those things, but don’t feel pressured into having your wedding a certain way just because everyone else does. Your wedding, your way.

3. Create a detailed (and realistic) budget

You already know this one. Weddings aren’t cheap. But creating a robust budget and sticking to it will help you stay on track, and keep you grounded. Regardless of how much money you want to spend, identify clear goals and have a plan of how you will reach them. Saving $100 a week quickly adds up to $5200 a year, so work out what you can afford to save and stick to it. This savings calculator is a great tool to see the realistic outcome of what you need to save each week to hit your goal.

4. No matter what I, or anyone else says, do what is best for you and your partner

If you can afford the next Kim K wedding, fucking go for it. That’s sick. If you want to run away to Vegas, or the courthouse – go for it. At the end of the day you are marrying your best friend and that is all that matters.  The rest is just a nice extra.


How is your wedding planning going? Or if you’re married, what was your experience like? I’d love to hear the thoughts of other couples.

Advice I wish I was given

Advice I wish I was given

Lots of confusing and stressful things happen while you’re growing up. Here are 10 pieces of advice I wish I was given:

  1. Some friends will come and go. They’re going to stick around for the parts of your life where they’re needed. You will learn many lessons from them, including how to get hair dye off of your bathroom sink and the importance of keeping your nose out of other peoples business.
  2. You’re about to meet some people that will be your friends for the long haul. You will go through almost every experience together. You’ll sneak out and go to parties, you’ll try new things together, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll fight, but oh how you will laugh. Cherish the good times. One day you will see them get married, reach their goals, and you’ll know that they’ll always be there for the important moments.
  3. Sex should always be consensual. You shouldn’t be forced into doing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and you partner should respect your boundaries. Losing your virginity at 13 is something you will learn to accept, but you’ll never stop regretting it. One night stands aren’t really your jam either, you care too much about feeling loved.
  4. University is not for everyone. While you are more than intelligent enough, you are a bit too flaky to commit to a long term goal. You should save your energy for your career, as you won’t actually end up needing that degree for a successful future.
  5. It’s okay to cry yourself to sleep if you need to. Life is fucking hard, and sometimes crying makes you feel better. When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, it’s nice to be able to release those feelings. However it’s not okay to cry yourself to sleep every single night. A constant state of sadness could potentially point to mental health issues, depression being one of them. Antidepressants and counselling can really help you to overcome your obstacles, talk to your doctor asap.
  6. Be a fucking kid. Don’t be so eager to grow up. One day you will wake up in your mid twenties and realize that you never went to a school ball because you were so determined to be an adult and earn an income. If you prioritize and idolize “growing up,” you won’t stop to be a teenager.
  7. Orange foundation doesn’t look good on anyone. You can skip this stage by visiting a make up counter at the mall and getting them to match you to one of their products. As awful as you think you look in retrospect, keep all of your photos. They will bring you so much joy as you get older.
  8. Drinking on an empty stomach will fuck you up. You’ll behave in ways that you will regret, and it’s completely avoidable by eating something before or while you get boozed. You will push your friends away because of your behavior and it will take a while to regain their trust. Maccas is open 24/7, there is no need to be an asshole.
  9. You’re going to fall in love many times. Each boy will teach you something new about yourself and your limits. No matter how hard you try, most of these relationships will crumble. Insecurity and jealousy will be your worst enemies. They’ll creep up on you on both sides of the relationship. You will be accused of things you didn’t do, but that’s not your problem – it’s theirs. You’ll try and get out as soon as you can (but you won’t, you’ll stick around a bit longer even when you know it’s wrong).
  10. Know when to give up. There will be a guy that embodies everything you think you want in a partner, but he won’t be. You will sit and wait for his texts or his calls, and one day they’ll just stop. He’ll use you for a lot of things, but this will define what you will accept in a relationship moving forward. You will never let yourself be wrapped around someones finger again. You will learn to speak up if you’re unhappy. You’ll never be afraid to express your feelings again.

What advice do you wish somebody had given you when you were younger?

Which way do I go?

I struggle with wanting to do everything, all at once, with no real sense of direction or consistency. 

Some days I will wake up and decide that I want to travel overseas, explore the earth and grow because of my experiences. Other days I will crave a family, children of my own that I can teach and learn from. My dreams never quite align with each other, you can’t really travel the world while raising children. Renovating a house isn’t possible without a stable income, so being a full time student so I can get my degree faster won’t happen. Studying full time for 3 years will prevent me from being able to travel AND have the family I desire. You see what I mean?

I try to envision myself in so many different scenarios, yet none of them truly feel like they’re “me” enough. It’s an awfully confusing situation to be in. I second guess so many life choices and wonder if I’m even on track to end up where ever I want this life to take me. My goals change daily. My bar is set a little higher as each moment passes. 

It’s really weird going through life wanting so much while also knowing that it’s probably more than the future will bring. I want to do so many things, yet I know that I’ll only achieve a handful because of my overlapping priorities. I definitely believe that the grass is greener on the other side. I want to have an amazing life but I genuinely don’t know how to make it happen when I don’t really know what I want to do. 


I’m not sure if my feelings are normal for my age or if I’m just a complete mess, but I do know for sure that all I want in the end is to be happy. 

PCOS Awareness Month: My story (so far)


It’s been almost three months since my last period. Three months might sound like a long time but I’m the same girl that has gone years without having a period so at this point, I kinda can’t complain.

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.”

– Healthline.com

It was 2011. I was in my first year of uni and I went to see my doctor as it had been about 3 years since I had a period. She immediately freaked out – apparently my old doctor was very wrong when he said that it was just my body adjusting after a round of depo provera that I had when I was 15 (you’ve gotta love bad medical advice!). I was sent off for blood tests and an ultrasound of my ovaries. The blood test wasn’t so bad, but I am seriously scarred from having a strange man prod a giant dildo shaped ultrasound wand inside my vagina with a bladder so full that I almost pissed myself as he did his inspection. The experience was unpleasant to say the least.

My results came back and yep – she was right – I had PCOS. I was 19 at the time and absolutely mortified. I had so many thoughts running through my mind.. Would I ever get pregnant? Why the fuck didn’t that first doctor give a shit about my concerns years ago? Why me?!.. I was lucky to have a very supportive boyfriend at the time (thanks Johnny – I’ll never forget the way you always cared for me) and friends who were there to figure it all out alongside me. I was given Metformin to help control my insulin resistance and advised to go on the pill to regulate my period.

Now if anyone has ever had to take Metformin, you’ll know how much of a shit time it is. Literally. I followed doctors orders and took my 500mg pills once a day until I built up some tolerance, but then after I eventually got to 1500mg a day and shat myself in the car on my way home from work, I decided that I wasn’t yet ready for medication. Met does awful things to your stomach and I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone.

Women with PCOS have ovaries that create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg. PCOS can contribute to irregular periods, depression, excessive weight gain (despite diet and exercise efforts), acne, and excess facial hair.

– Women to Women

A few years have since passed and my biggest struggle has become my weight. I don’t have the hairiness issues, my acne has finally calmed down in the last year or so, but my waistline has increased. I’m not overly fat, but I’m far larger than the girl I used to be. I try really hard to cut down on unnecessary fats, sugars and additives, but as a busy twenty something it can be really difficult to be perfect 100% of the time. I’ve tried getting rid of gluten, and have slowly introduced a larger variety of veges into my diet, but I still have so far to go. I sit comfortably at about the same weight with little fluctuation, so at least I’m not getting bigger.

Fertility is something that I am going to have to take seriously someday soon. I know the stats – I have to reduce my BMI to increase my chances of pregnancy. I’m only 23, but I’m getting married in just over a year and kids are in my 5 year plan. I think it’s been about 4 or 5 years since I’ve properly taken a contraceptive (beyond condoms) and despite numerous amounts of unprotected sex, I haven’t fallen pregnant. It hasn’t really been a big deal to me in the past as I was in no position to have a kid anyway, but as my life is becoming a bit more stable the reality of children is much closer than it has ever been before.

At this point in time, I suffer with PCOS but I don’t have the motivation to fully kick it in the ovaries just yet. I’m comfortable with ignoring my problems for a little bit longer. If you thought this would be a positive and encouraging story about how I overcame my diagnosis, I’m dreadfully sorry that I haven’t been able to give you that today. This chapter of my life is still open and one day I hope to be added to the list of chicks that have an empowering message to share. I’d love to hear your experiences with PCOS, maybe you can motivate me!

 

Finding love in questionable places

Finding love in questionable places

Todd and I have been together for a little over 2 years. He’s a few years older than me (he’s 26, I’m 23) and our friend circles have always intertwined. I actually dated one of his mates in high school for 3 years and if you had told 16 year old Shayla that she’d end up with Todd, she would’ve told you to piss off with your ridiculous ideas. I always thought he was way outta my league.

It all started when I took him up on his offer to drink at his mates place one hungover Sunday afternoon in June 2014. I’d just got back from a festival, felt worse for wear and my flatmates were fucking me off so I figured – why not?

I rocked up around 5pm and after a wee bit of awkwardness, we were sitting on a couch in his mates garage sharing stories, reminiscing and joking with each other. He lived in Wellington and was studying down there and I was just about to start a new job in Wanganui. It was all just harmless banter in my eyes because I thought I would never stand a chance with him. One thing led to another and he ended up coming home with me (drunk Shayla clearly charmed his socks off). The next morning we were both extremely hungover so we decided to get a bucket of KFC to eat in bed while watching Disney movies. Everything about him just felt right. Kfry in bed is seriously the way to my heart.

Todd went back to Wellington and I carried on doing my thing but it was too late.. We had started something that neither of us could quit. Fast forward 2 years and we own a house together, co-parent two labradors and are in the process of planning the wedding of our dreams. As ridiculous as it sounds I genuinely found love in a seedy garage, while smashing back a box of vodka cruisers.  How about that modern romance, huh?

Moral of the story: If someone you sorta find attractive invites you somewhere that is a little bit outside of your comfort zone – take the risk. You never know where it might take you.

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We’re a classy duo. I still can’t believe I get to marry this man.