Christmas has become pretty overwhelming of late and each year I dream about taking the boys away to a secluded cabin on a lake somewhere and avoiding it altogether. In my dreams we fish for flatties during the day and play cards at night, we have long sleep-ins and read books out on the deck in the morning sun, me sipping hot coffee while the boys feed bread to the local birds…
Failing that dream ever coming true, I have been trying to work out ways to help the boys to focus on the important things and enjoy the magic and meaning of Christmas.
I have worked out a few things along the way…
1/ Involve them in the act of writing cards, and have a conversation about the person and what kind and meaningful words you can write together. Continue reading “Christmas”
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
– Leonardo da Vinci
Six years ago I met the lovely Shannah Kennedy and we spoke about this quote, my all time favourite… so one can imagine the smile on my face when I later saw it in her signature book – The Life Plan.
It has taken a long time to get here but I can earnestly say that meeting this woman changed my life, and today I am living my best life, intentionally and simply.
I don’t know where this journey will lead, but it made sense that the remarkable woman who set this course was the first to be interviewed on the Simple Origins podcast…
This recording discusses the importance of simplifying, boundaries, positivity and reading a good book. Over the years Shannah has collected a few:
You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay
Extreme Art of Self Care – Cheryl Richardson
Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy
The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
The Judgement Detox – Gabrielle Bernstein
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
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When we think about it, the most powerful vote we have isn’t the one coming up in the next election, but rather all the little ones we make every single day, with our dollars.
Every single time we make a purchase we are choosing to condone that brand’s behaviour, whether they’re a small family business or a large corporation, we are saying ‘yes I agree with your practices, keep doing what you’re doing’.
This is an incredibly powerful thing; we have the power to support those humans who are trying really hard to change the world and do the right thing, and we also have the power to starve the multinationals and bring about change for the better… Big brands are always trying to work out what their customers what, and nothing speaks louder than dropping sales. Continue reading “The little votes”
I have always believed that your name can influence your life; my friend Fabian’s name means bean counter and he’s a gardener, another friend Crystal has a salt business, and since I married and changed my surname to Jarred, I have developed an obsession with jars.
In particular I’m quite fond of the angular jars with gold lids that so often contain pickles and relishes, and have roped in both my mum and sisters (all condiment queens) to set aside their prettiest jars. From a sustainability perspective, I believe recycling should only ever be the last resort and that reuse is always a better option.
The trick to removing that sticky label glue is Tea Tree Oil (or any citrus-based essential oil that happens to be on hand, Eucalyptus likely works just as well).
Continue reading “A simple pantry”
Over the years, I have developed a few favourites:
+ Lemon essential oil is the secret trick to removing the sticky label glue from jam jars. After scrubbing the label off simply add 10-15 drops to a cloth and rub away the glue from the jar. It also makes for a nice cleaning scent for bathroom/sprays (although take care not to use citrus on wooden floors).
+ Jasmine. Makes for a simple perfume on spring days when the sun returns, or any time of year really… it’s a lovely scent to rub on the wrists with a little carrier oil – almond or jojoba. Continue reading “Essential oils”
The other day I was giving my niece a tour of our potted garden in the back courtyard and as I recounted a special story behind every plant it occurred to me that all of my favourite plants stem from my childhood.
They reminded me of fairy hunting adventures in the rose garden surrounding our farmhouse, or of my dad fondly recalling how his mother always had a Daphne bush by the back door.
Mostly though, my botanical preferences were instilled during holidays spent at my maternal nanas house in Wangaratta, who was also a Daphne fan (I imagine they featured in a lot of Australian backyards in the late 1950’s, kind of like lemon trees).
Continue reading “Frugal gardening”
Beyond going without a dryer and using natural washing powders, there are a few washing rituals that help to make the laundry a more sustainable place:
+ A washing day. Rather than doing little loads all week, a less taxing strategy is to wash larger loads all at once. I tend to have a washing day at the start of the week while Ol’s at school so I don’t spend the time I have with him worrying about the washing, but rather focusing on much more important things… like playing trains…
+ Choose reusables and natural materials. Forgo the cleaning wipes for a few thick cloths and a bit of home made spray, plus I always try to choose wooden scrubbing brushes over plastic ones when it’s time to replace the old ones… I don’t feel so bad throwing an old wooden brush away knowing that it will take about 5 years to biodegrade, over about 500 for a plastic one. One of my favourite sayings in life is that the truth is in the feeling… whether it’s a job that you love, a person you love to spend time with, or just picking a wooden scrubbing brush, it applies to all manner of decisions…
Continue reading “A simple washroom”
Just in the same way simplifying the way we eat allows the body to work as nature intended, I find keeping things simple in the bathroom helps to give your skin a bit of breathing space to decompress and get back to its natural rhythms.
There are some basic ways to simplify your beauty routine but sometimes it can be as simple as choosing a lovely old-school bar of soap, using a face washer rather than wipes, and buying your shampoo and conditioner in refillable bottles at the bulk store.
Continue reading “A simple bathroom”
Sometimes it’s the little finishing touches that make a home feel cosy; like a sheepswool draped over an armchair, a fresh bunch of flowers by the night stand or a few tea light candles above the fireplace.
Sometimes even a very basic bathroom can be made to look so much better with just a small vase of flowers and some fresh linens.
In fact, beyond our furniture, it’s often the little ‘accessories’ that actually determine the feel of a home. Over the years I’ve developed a few favourites… Continue reading “Making a rental house a home”
Rewind just 50 years when kitchens consisted of dry goods in jars, bulk meats stored in large freezer chests and imperfect looking fruit & veg – often grown organically, and we begin to realise that Zero Waste is not so much a futuristic idea but more of a homage to a more simple era.
If we take this lens to our kitchens today it’s easy to see the steps to take just by asking ourselves, what would our nan’s kitchen have looked like?
Continue reading “A sustainable kitchen”