Alana James

An Adelaide girl's thoughts on life, love and all in-between.



How to navigate the non-relationship

Ah, friends with benefits. That old chestnut. They do make for great Rom Com movie plots.

Friends with benefits on the big screen is either a complete (and hilarious) disaster OR a drawn out love story, where the ‘just friends, no commitment’ thing is part of the journey (before they realise how much they meant to each other, fall madly in love, pop out babies, get a dog blah blah blah). You know the story.

In real life, not so much. The ‘just friends, no commitment’ thing is generally where the story ends.

Continue reading “How to navigate the non-relationship”

Invasion Day makes me uncomfortable.

I’m a proud Aussie 364 days of the year (or 365 this leap year). I love Australia. I loved growing up here. I’m proud to call it home. I would say I’m patriotic.

I love Australia, but I won’t celebrate today. Continue reading “Invasion Day makes me uncomfortable.”


I get called naive a lot. As a young person, society tells me this often. As an idealistic anti-poverty campaigner I’ve heard this on many occasions. As someone working to create change, it’s thrown in your face all the time. Continue reading “Naivety”

Best of 2015: Ideas, discussions & octopus videos

My 2015 was full of really interesting ideas & thought-provoking talks. Here’s some of my favourite presentations, videos and discussions from the year (+ me freaking out about an octopus armageddon).

Feminism & gender equality

48 subtly sexist things women hear in a lifetime
I really like this video because it shows the invisible side of discrimination, the injustice that often go unnoticed because it’s not “real sexism” (aka something in your face like someone yelling abuse at a woman).

This kick-ass Facebook post
Love this one too for similar reasons. It captures all the contradictions and messed up things that are said without a second thought, because it’s all a ‘normal’ part of society.

If Hermione were the main character in Harry Potter
Hermione: The girl who gave literally zero fucks. A clever re-imagining of Harry Potter (with a fair bit of creative licence).

Continue reading “Best of 2015: Ideas, discussions & octopus videos”

Breathe. In. Out. Repeat.

^ the words I write at the top of all my to-do lists. Alive and breathing? Tick. Life can be stressful, busy, messy and sometimes you just need a reminder that you’re doing okay. Be kind to yourself.


When I started to write this, I was pretty much hiding out around the corner from my hostel because I didn’t feel safe waiting for the airport bus out the front. Why? Because I’d just had a guy all up in my personal space, forcibly attempting to kiss me, slapping my ass and generally making unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate comments. Apparently ‘no’ didn’t feature in his vocabulary.

But, it’s all good ‘cos he doesn’t come onto every girl. No, I’m special. I should feel lucky that he’s pressing his face up to mine.

“It’s your eyes”, he says. “And you’ve got a great ass”.

Now, I wish that we had a society where I could simply say


Continue reading “No.”

Why I love core values workshops

Passion. Integrity. Equality. Gratitude. Learning. My five core values as chosen at a staff training day today.

I get overly excited about core values workshops. As far as self-awareness sessions go, it’s pretty stock-standard. Choose a few nice sounding words from the list then share with the group.

It’s simple, but I love it. And because it is so simple it’s usually run with new teams and younger groups, which is where the magic lies.

There’s immense power in putting words to the inner fire and feelings that drive you. Being able to communicate to others (and yourself) the qualities you most admire is an important skill, especially for anyone wanting to be more independent and in control of their life and actions.

Continue reading “Why I love core values workshops”

Playing tourist

There’s not much better than being lost in a new city. I love the idea of choosing the road you wander down on a whim, taking the scenic route and ending up somewhere only the locals know to go.

Playing tourist in your own city makes getting lost a little tricky (especially living in the very sensibly designed Adelaide), but there are always nooks and crannies yet to be explored. Here are my favourite moments from the last few months ‘playing tourist’.

Continue reading “Playing tourist”

11 things to do in May

#1 – Live Below the Line

Live Below the Line

Get onto this fantastic fundraising and awareness campaign run by Oaktree. Live on $2 a day (the Australian equivalent of the extreme poverty line) for five days and get friends and family to support you taking the challenge! The money you raise goes to education projects in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

May 5th – 9th

#2 – Check out the Volunteer Expo

Oxfam and Oaktree present a Volunteer Expo

Held during National Volunteer Week in the wonderful new Adelaide City Library space, the Volunteer Expo and Q&A Panel is a great opportunity to celebrate volunteers, network and collaborate.

Friday May 16th, 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

#3 – This will get you fairly excited!

Fair Trade Fortnight runs from the 3rd – 18th of May & there are some great opportunities to get involved in South Australia.

Fair Trade Futures | Interactive online conference
What impact can my campus have? | Online seminar
The People Planet Purpose Fair Trade Store is opening!

The power of you - video

#4 – Schools as community hubs?

Discuss the opportunities and possibilities of using schools as community hubs at a YACSA consultation session. There’s also free pizza (unless you’re living below the line!)

Wednesday May 7th, 6 – 8pm

#5 – Hear from UN Women’s Dr Anu Mundkur

Launch Night

Join the UniSA United Nations & International Relations Society as they hear from Dr Anu Mundkur, Chair of UN Women Australia’s Adelaide Chapter, and launch their event program for 2014.

It’s a great opportunity to meet members of the UNIR society, chat to like-minded students and put those networking skills to use.

Everyone is welcome – If you’ve been involved previously, if you’re keen to get involved in 2014 or if you just want to hear from Anu!

Tuesday May 13th, 5.30pm at City West Bar

#6 Celebrate 100 years of the Red Cross

Head to the Hawke Centre to hear from Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner on war, laws and humanity.

Wednesday 21 May, 6pm

#7 – Join in a parade

Volunteering SA/NT are celebrating the power of volunteering with the National Volunteer Week Parade!

Monday 12th May, 10.30am

Check out the more National Volunteer Week events here.

#8 –  Settle in for a movie night

Amnesty are launching Meaningful Movies with a screening of ‘Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia’.
Wednesday May 14, 6pm

The Spanish film festival is on in Adelaide!
May 6 – 21st at Palace Cinema

#9 – Get quizzical

The UniSA UNIR Society are holding a quiz night, with part proceeds going to Tia International Aid, a fantastic organisation providing opportunities to people in Bolivia.

Get your team together and polish up those trivia skills.

Thursday 29th May, 5.30pm

#10 – Step back in time

Throughout May, celebrate, explore and learn about South Australian history for the About Time Festival. There are close to 500 events presented by more than 300 organisers around the state. 

Merge history with modern day with the History SA mobile app.

#11 – Check out the Flinders Street Market

Flinders Market

Open Saturday & Sunday from 9am to 3.30pm, the Flinders Street artisan market has a wonderful mix of stalls, collectibles and delicious things.

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