Monday, January 28, 2019

Why I didn’t celebrate Australia Day

I want to talk about Australia Day. 

Sure, it’s the type of day that people want to celebrate all the achievements and successes attributed to the Australian nation and its individuals alike. 

When you are far away from home, like I am at the moment, it’s so important to feel like you are connected to what’s going on back home. Or at least that is my experience. But I didn’t celebrate Australia Day here, yesterday... not yet anyways. 

The big problem with Australia Day, as it is, is what it stands for for those peoples whose families were in Australia before colonisation. Right now Australia Day is January 26, and is also known as Invasion Day by many Indigenous Australians. 

Here is some history behind it... 

Before January 26, 1788, “Aboriginal peoples had been living for more than 60 000 years on the continent we now know as Australia. At least 1600 generations of these peoples had lived and died here.” (Kwan, 2019).

January 26 marks the day in 1788 that the British claimed the eastern seaboard of Australia and claimed sovereignty over it. It was known as New Holland at the time. On January 1, 1901, Australias states and territories came together and became a Federation, marking it the Australia that we know it as today. It started out being a day of celebration and unity for white Australians. It wasn’t until 1935 that all states and territories even adopted the term ‘Australia Day’. On top of that it wasn’t until 1994 that it became a consistent date marked by a public holiday by all states and territories (Wikipedia, 2019). 

The date is so contentious because it marks the start date of atrocities against Indigenous Australians, including enslavement, destruction and genocide. It is referred to as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survivors Day’ acknowledging the generations of those who have and continue to live through racism and hate. Many issues for indigenous issues are ongoing including excessive incarceration rates and short life expectancy compared to other non-indigenous people (Russel, 2018; Australian Government, 2018). Sadly, Racism and Xenophobia exist in Australia toward many peoples, including Indigenous Australians. 

I, personally, struggle with anything that actively hurts people. After all, this is a blog about kindness.

This year I decided not to Celebrate... yet. 

However, I think another date would be kinder and more logical. 

A different date would NOT be a day marking the death and destruction of Indigenous people’s and culture. 

It could help everyone celebrate the unity and celebration of what is modern Australia in a more responsible and all together kinder way to ALL those who call Australia home. 

It would prioritise inclusiveness, community and kindness for all. 

Like many, I advocate for the new date to be May 8 (or Maaate). After all Australia does pride itself on mateship. 

 I saw this amazing video from Jordin, an awesome Indigenous Australian comedian, about why we should change the date to May 8. 

It’s clever, funny and gives this privileged white woman a tiny little glimpse into why it would be kinder to all to change the date. 

So, I’m going to be celebrating my Australia Day on May 8! Hopefully the weather is warmer here in England by then, so I can crack open the BBQ and throw some ‘prawns’ on, and some lamb and even some decent sized mushrooms for my vegan friends. I want to celebrate the memories I have of my home back in Australia as a kinder, and more inclusive, multicultural place to be. On a day that doesn’t make others suffer. 

I know that Australia Day is not a simple topic to write about. It’s not simple by any stretch of the imagination. But perhaps a new date will be a small step in the right direction. 

I hope you are all well,

Love Daena x


Australian Government, 2018, Deaths in Australia, accessed from:

IndigenousX Pty,Ltd, Twitter post: Tweets,

Jordin, 2017, Change Australia Day to May 8, Maaaaate, accessed from:

Kwan, E. 2019, History of Australia Day, accessed from:

Russell, S. 2018, As Indigenous incarceration rates keep rising, justice reinvestment offers a solution, The Conversation, accessed from 

Wikipedia, 2019, Australia Day, accessed from: 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A crazy Week - podcasts to inspire kindness & growth

I’ve had one of the craziest weeks. 

(I’ve been everywhere Man! The view from the work van this morning as the sun rose through the trees) 

Last Monday morning I left for a work stay away in Dorset. I was up at 4.30am on Monday and got to work at 9.30 by train. I worked on a quarry site for 5 days and then when it was time to leave work, I left at 2pm on Friday to get my train, to only walk in the door at 8pm at my boyfriends house in Wales (this did NOT include a stop at home in Reading). 4 trains, a few delays and some time for me to avoid getting rained on. Then I had one full day (Saturday) with my boyfriend before getting 2 trains (& a replacement bus) to get back to Reading by 6pm Sunday night only to be up at 5am Monday morning to get back to the office and I got to site at 9.30am yesterday, because we drove instead of train-ing it. I worked hard yesterday and today. My mum had some surgery early hours (for me) this morning and I had a few other commitments to juggle too. But all in all, I am happy and healthy, and so is mum back in Aus, so that’s what’s really important. 

I hope you’ll forgive me for getting the post done a few days late. I’ve been aiming to post a blog once a week. So far so good! 

There has been plenty of opportunities for kindness this past week including paying for a taxi, helping a mate out with money for a few unnecessary but nice little luxuries, smiling at strangers, talking to people at train stations and helping those who are lost (after I had gotten lost - using that knowledge to help others), doing washing up for others, cleaning up mud (a constant issue with Archaeologists) in the work share house, paying for parking, sharing food and so many more opportunities for kindness. 

I see so many opportunities for it yet I can always see opportunities for more. 

What is something close to your heart that you would love to share that is kind? 

Do you support a charity? 

Do you work with a community group? And online network that helps to be kind? 

What are the things that sustain you and your interest in being kind? 

I ask because I have a few things I consume that help me be the best me and help me to be kinder. 

My work (as an archaeologist) often means that I have long and boring hours on the opposite side of a site from other people. It’s the not-so-glamorous side to archaeology that people often forget to mention when you are watching Indiana Jones and imagining that will be your life! Just kidding. But they should mention the occasional boring nature of the work when you go to Uni. I don’t mind it really, but I know it’s not for everyone! 

What I do have though is, time! Time to listen. So I Listen to lots of music and podcasts. I do my best to find ones that inspire me and make me think about the world more generously. 

One such podcast is simply called “The Kindness Podcast”. I’ve been following this from day one. It’s an American based podcast but there is an opportunity to call in and share your own stories of kindness, which I appreciate. Plus the host interviews some awesome and interesting people going about living kinder lives in a range of ways. Each episode is about 20-25 minutes long 

Then when I want to focus on my mental health and being kinder to myself I listen to “The Mindful Kind” by Rachel Kable. This is a really sweet and short podcast about how to be more mindful and ... yes, Kind. It provides practical tools and tricks to help you get started to living a more mindful life. It is between 8-12minutes long and Is just a really nice show.

When I realise I’m acting like a chicken with its head cut off I know it’s time to SLOW-DOWN and so I listen to the “SlowHome” podcast with Brooke McAlary. I really appreciate this podcast because it helps me get grounded in what is really important to me and when I’m grounded I can be a better advocate for Kindness. Episodes can range from 35-70 minutes. But usually I’m so hooked on the episode that I forget the length of the episodes. 

“Optimal Living Daily” with Justin Mulik is a really great way to listen to blog posts kind of like a daily audiobook. I’ve heard essays and blogs from people I’ve meant to follow up on on a range of subjects. I haven’t had the chance to read the blogs myself so I feel like he gives me a great and varied look at self development. For me I want to keep learning how to be the best human I can be, in a range of ways from a range of different perspectives. Including how to be kinder. The best thing is the diversity because what works for some may not work for others and it’s like that with this podcast. I’ve found episodes that resonate and hit my souls to the core, some than make me think about life more deliberately and some I could happily ignore and be better for it. I enjoy the range of perspectives from a range of authors as you can try ideas on like shoes, if you like it and it fits in your life - keep it. If not, leave it behind. These episodes can range from 6-12 minutes. They do have advertising at the beginning and end but I skip through that. But if that puts you off, I understand - know you can become a Patrion supporter and get the podcast advertising free. It’s on my “to do” list when I’ve finished paying off some debts. 

Others that deserve a passing mention here because I listen to them when I’ve run out episodes from the above list are 

  • The Lavendaire Lifestyle - which is a great one for figuring out how to live your best life and sculpt the life you want. (Episodes are about 20 mins)
  • Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations - Some of these are a great conversation into Kindness. I enjoy listening to the diverse collection of people interviewed and the range of topics. (Episodes are approx 30mins)
  • The 10% Happier Podcast - is all about meditation and how meditation has helped the host, Dan Harris, become just 10% Happier on the whole. It’s both facinating and challenging as he talks to people of a range of backgrounds and experiences who all meditate and why. It can be a little academic at times but when you listen for a while you get better at understanding what they are talking about when it gets into some of the extreme Yogis etc. (Episodes are approx 60mins long. 

For those looking for a wildcard - this is for those interested in archaeology 

“Women in Archaeology” is a great and interesting podcast looking at a range of issues that female (& male) archaeologists deal with in both academic and commercial arenas. It’s been fun learning whilst work. This helps me be a better Archaeologist on the whole because I have learned a lot about the experiences of my peers in the field. It’s based in America but often they discuss the international consequences and influences which is great. 

These are not the only things I do to get me inspired but I feel like maybe I can put some other resources together for next week. 

Let me know of any good podcasts that can help me and any others reading this to live kinder. Or give us ideas and keep us inspired. Some days are harder than others to be kind so having a resource to help remind us why it is important is crucial to me completing another 365days of Kindness. 

I hope this finds you all well. 

Much love to you all, 

Love Daena xx

Monday, January 14, 2019

Looking after yourself: how to fill and empty cup

I wanted to start a new year positively with a kindness post a week. So here is to week 2! How fast has this last few weeks gone? Seriously?! 

This last week has been interesting work wise and exciting in my private life. 

I’ve been working on a couple of different archaeological sites this week. Plus I’ve helping another “new to the company” woman learn the ropes. Which has been both fulfilling and encouraging because I’m still relatively new myself so I find myself learning right along side this lovely lady. 

As for my personal life... well my boyfriend and I today celebrated the fact we survived 6 months together as a couple. Miracles happen. Lol. Whilst I make jokes, he has really looked after me and welcomed me into his family. I spent all of my time with him and his family over Christmas. They all welcomed me in with open arms which is nice because I was so far away from my own family. He has had to learn the hard way how to care for me when I’m not well and how to deal with me when I’m tired, grumpy and inevitably emotional. He’s also had to deal with my quirks and weird sense of humour. I really appreciate this man and his support and encouragement! Thanks G!

Kindness wise I’ve been doing all kinds of things. For instance I brought cheap (reduced to £0.05 per pack of 6) Fruit mince pies to work. I can’t eat them (they are neither Celiac friendly OR AIP friendly) but I thought they would bring a smile to the faces of my colleagues. It did. 

I’ve also smiled at people, complimented some, expressed gratitude for people and things that came my way, baked goodies to share, did a couple odd jobs for people, even made some much needed hot beverages for those I’ve spent time with. I even bought a mate a drink at the pub on Friday night. 

I also did some things to look after myself. Or alternatively put...Be Kind to myself!!!

I had a bath, Meditated (I love the Insight Timer App), Read a book (one of many I got for Christmas), Made a yummy meal and Baked yummy food even I can enjoy. 

I have a list now of things I like to do to help me improve my mood and be kind to myself. After all they do say you cannot give from an empty cup. 

Maybe you can take some “Sunday Ideas” from this list above. Or you could make your own! I keep this list in my journal which I have with me all the time.

What do you like doing that fills your cup up? 

What thing do you do that helps you to be kind to others? 

Wishing you all a great weekend. 

Love Daena x

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The first post of 2019 - A Call to Kindness

I bet you have been wondering what has taken me so long? Or if I’ve forgotten what kindness is? No! Absolutely Not! 

The truth is that would be impossible

This past year I’ve been working full time and I decided to be thoughtful about what I wanted to share on my blog.

There are a few things that I’ve stuck to in recent years that may continue this year like Sustainable September (but also may not depending on what this year actually brings). 

I am acknowledging my inconsistency with blogging too. I’m not perfect but I’m constantly improving.  Kindness is still so important to me that I keep coming back to it again and again. 

2018 brought with it some HUGE changes for me.  I moved between 3 countries, from Australia to Wales to England. I got 2 jobs (one which I had to leave in order to pursue the other). I moved to 2 new houses in two different counties. I also got myself a new boyfriend (well he’s not so new now... but the first I’ve had in a long time). It brought with it a change in my life circumstances all of which has made my life both easier and harder to bring kindness to peoples lives. 

It’s easier now as I am exposed to a diverse range of people on a daily basis, not many of whom know much about my kindness mission. This makes it quite fun to surprise people with thoughtfulness. 

It can be harder because Archaeology as a career is more often than not back-breaking manual labour. Even though I love it, it wears me out a lot and I come home exhausted regularly. 

However that hasn’t stopped me being kind... 

2019 had already brought with it kindness and encouragement from others for me. 

I’ve continued to joyfully worked to bring a smile to the faces of people I work with, live with and know. 

I wanted to start this year by reminding you that kindness is easy!  AND you can start a year of kindness at any time (even 5 days after New Year like today). If you want to do it don’t let anything stop you, least of all the date. 

So this is a call to kindness if you want to join me. It doesn’t have to be hard. 

For example: 

If you break it down to a weekly kindness schedule : 

Monday’s: smile at a stranger/compliment someone. A compliment could be about their outfit, their adorable pet, their lovely smile, or their ability to keep coming to work everyday when you know they have stuff going on at home or when they are dealing with chronic pain/illness (I have a few friends whose lives are crazy and yet they still show up for me when I need them). 

Tuesday’s: make or buy a hot/cold beverage for someone. it can be offering to get someone a glass of water or remembering and buying them that Double Dirty Chai latte with Coconut Milk they drink on a regular basis. The price or effort is up to you. 

Wednesday’s: take a treat into work to share... it’s hump day on Wednesday and everyone will appreciate a mid-week pick me up (I have been doing this at work - and mostly involved me baking yummy treated on a Tuesday night but this week I took some fruit mince pies in to work (I can’t eat them but they had a packet of 6 fruit mince pies on reduction for £0.05 per back so I grabbed two to make the day more enjoyable for everyone. I got to be kind they got to eat yummy things). If you don’t work regular days etc, make or do something special for your family or friends on a Wednesday if you want to stick to this plan. 

Thursday’s: write a thank you to someone for something good they have done for you. This can be as public as a Facebook post acknowledging their gifts and why you love them so. Or as private as writing them an anonymous hand written note to thank them for generally being a good person. 

Friday’s: do a job or chore for someone else. This can be offering to empty the bin at work or emptying the dishwasher when it’s your housemates/partners turn. It could be raking the leaves for your neighbour, helping them move snow in winter, watering gardens/plants in summer or just checking on an elderly family member/friend/neighbour. 

Saturday’s: Connect with someone you’ve been meaning to contact but keep forgetting to/putting it off. Simply sending a message to a friend or family member that says “I’ve been thinking of you recently, how are things? Hope you are well!” Or writing a letter or email to catch a friend or family member up on all they have been missing in your life. It could be calling someone for a coffee date or organising to go to the movies together. Or it could be sending a care package to a friend in another country (this has made a huge and amazing kindness for me when family and friends have sent stuff my way! 😊). 

Sunday’s: do something to be kind to yourself! This can be having a bath, Reading a book you’ve been wanting to read or even making your favourite tea/coffee/ chocolate/hot Carob drink and taking 5 minutes to sit and enjoy it in silence (yes parents - I know that’s a lot to ask but I hope for your sake you kids sleep sometime!). 

Other things you can do to spice up your kindnesses: 

When it’s someone birthday just send them a message to let them know you know they were born on this day and how special that is to you. If it’s YOUR birthday send a message to your mother (after all she did all the work of growing you inside her for up to 9 months) or a person who has been a mum/parent figure to you to thank them for helping you and keeping you alive this long! Or for teaching you the resilience you needed to stay alive on your own! 

Anytime it’s a special holiday (E.g.  Christmas just gone, Valentine’s, Easter, Hanukkah, Diwali, any festive card giving holiday etc) when you are sending a card, write one thing you are grateful for about that person. It can be hard sometimes but if you think about it, there is a reason you are going to the effort of sending/giving them a card why not make it extra special. 

Do you love books? Do you have a couple extra dollars to make someone’s day? Put some cash (I recommend notes as coins can cause damage to a book) with a post-it note in your favourite book/s at a book shop to contribute to the next person, who opens the book, to purchase it! 

Appreciate the work of those around you like Posties (postmen and women), ambulance workers, Firey’s (fire department workers), nurses, doctors, managers, street cleaners, cleaners in general, garbage men/women, service men and women, retail staff, regular delivery drivers etc. you could always thank them for their work by writing to their work places/ managers to compliment their work or contact these people directly by giving them a thank you note/card. Gratitude is by far one of the nicest and simplest kindnesses around and you can do it verbally or in written form. 

One idea for office workers: 

I like leaving one of our staff little compliments and encouragements at random places in her Post-It Note pad. She knows who does it, but if you were less obvious than I am... You could make it anonymous! Note: I do try to be sneaky but she’s very clever! 

Extra info: 

There are so many ideas if the weekly kindness plan doesn’t work for you! You can check out FB, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and so many places for kindness ideas. 

I am not the first and I won’t be the last to choose to do a kind deed a day. I REALLY WANT people to take this on... it really has changed MY life for the better. And I hope it works for you too! :) 

Here is to another year of kindness. 

Much love to you all, 

Daena x