A simple bathroom

Back to basics beautyJust 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.

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A simple guide to reusable nappies

A few years ago, back when I was single, I rented a house in Richmond with a girlfriend and convinced her that if we put a door on the formal lounge room we could get a 3rd housemate in to reduce our rent.

As fate would have it a gorgeous vivacious girl named Meredith came to rent that room.

Back then I wasn’t that eco-aware, beyond doing my bit to recycle and turn the lights off, but Mez always had the big Sukin bottles in the shower, and was always a little bit earthy.

Fast forward a decade and it was Mez who I turned to when trying to navigate the possibility of cloth nappies. Here’s the advice that she gave me after years of trial and error:

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Slow living

Downsizing to a smaller place for a bigger life

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

– Graeme Hill, LifeEdited

Six months ago we started living closer to our values and moved from a big house in the suburbs to a narrow 75 square metre workers cottage that shared a wall with our neighbours on both sides, just a few streets back from the beach.

Our families thought we were mad to downsize just as we were expecting the pitter patter of more little feet, but the way we saw it we were gaining so much with a more walkable bayside suburb, a tighter community and a smaller cost of living and environmental footprint.

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Simple thoughts on usage over ownership

Minimalist inspirationIt’s rare that I get the chance to sit and have a coffee alone, but the other day Sam fell asleep just before I was about to drop into the green grocers and I took the chance to sit for a few moments at the back of Husk in Hawkesburn Village.

I sat there admiring the newly-tiled courtyard, after having walked though the shop listening to the creak of the big wooden floorboards, in awe of the open fireplaces and white washed walls and thought… ‘one day I would love to have a house just like this.’

Why is it though, that in order to enjoy something, our first thought is to ‘own’ it? For the cost of a four dollar coffee, I can enjoy it now, and every Saturday for the rest of the year if I wanted to.

I hope that one day we start enjoying things in that moment; appreciating that we already have it to enjoy, because really, isn’t that the key to having it all? Realising that you already do…

A simple guide to baby gear

It’s funny how you can know someone for years and never really connect, yet with others you meet once and become friends for life from that moment on.

My friend Gemma is one of those ones that I got chatting to one night at a party in my mid 20s and before long we were spending every weekend together; gossiping around The Tan on a Saturday morning, heading out together later that night and meeting up again for a roast of a Sunday afternoon.

I had always admired Gemma from afar; she was one of those girls who seemed to have it all figured out. She was beautifully spoken – a trait she gained from her mother and later honed as a journalist, and always seemed to be so well put together wearing ‘outfits’ rather than just clothes.

Anyway, Gem recently confined in me that she and her hubby were expecting later in the year, and asked about what baby gear she would need, which got me thinking about the true essentials.

You can actually get away with one tenth of the baby kit that so many of the parenting websites would have you believe you need. Here’s a quick list that I put together for Gem. Every baby is different, so if you find that you need extra kit beyond this list, you can always buy it once the bub arrives. Continue reading “A simple guide to baby gear”

A simple weekly shop

Zero Waste Shopping Tips.jpg

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

– Michael Pollen, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

My nan used to always say that what you spend at the greengrocer, you save at the doctor’s.

I have been going to the same greengrocer every week for the past six years – he has seen me single, pregnant, with a baby and now a son who tottles around the store with his little trolley opening blueberry packs and stealing nuts that fall into the dispenser tray.  I think Bob is about 70 odd and he’s told me before about watching kids grow up in his store; in fact I’m pretty sure that some of the boys who help carry my shopping back to the car are probably customer’s sons who were offered a job when they turned 15.

Shopping this way is good for everyone; the fruit & veg isn’t plastic wrapped like the supermarket’s and I know that the person who buys the fruit at the wholesale market has actually tasted it and had a conversation with the grower. I can do almost my entire shop here waste-free, save for the odd milk carton or yoghurt tub, and it’s cheaper overall when you consider that I’m not buying much packaged food and instead making most meals from scratch. A quick stop to the butcher and the bakery next door and I’m done.

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Making do with what you have on hand

Making do

What’s on hand may be even better: Rather than buying something new, look for things you already have in the house. Using things for unintended purposes, like a carafe as a vase or a white porcelain dish to hold small objects – can give your room an unusual and interesting touch.

– Muji Global Tip 07 for Living a New Way

This tip from Muji pretty much sums it up perfectly. Every time I have a problem where the obvious solution is to rush out and thoughtlessly buy a quick fix I always take a few days to think over what the solution might be and to go through what I have on hand to see if I can come up with a solution. Continue reading “Making do with what you have on hand”

A simple wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe minimalist

There is nothing more peaceful than living in a simple home that has been de-cluttered Konmari style so that you are surrounded only by a few things that you truly love. Realising that less is more certainly makes you a much more mindful shopper, enjoying the art of browsing and mentally absorbing the designers creativity without the impulse to purchase. Here are a few ways that I stay on track to ensure that my wardrobe contains only a few quality pieces that I adore:

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A simple garden

A Simple Garden

First and foremost we’re growing good soil.

– Fabian Capomolla, The Hungry Gardener

After years of getting overexcited by lovely books such as The Italian Way I have learnt that in order to make peace with the possums in our neighbourhood, I’m best to keep it simple and grow only herbs and lettuces. Herbs are so easy to grow (and exey to buy), and lettuces are a goodie to grow at home as they are often on the Organics Dirty Dozen list. Anything else I figure local farmers are probably much better poised to grow for our family. Here’s a list of the herbs that I grow:

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A simple beauty routine

Simple Beauty.jpg

One of the keys to living a simple life is having less in every part of your home including the bathroom cabinet which works to simplify your beauty routine in terms of time, products and ingredients.

Where possible I try and substitute highly processed beauty products for whole beauty products (kind of like whole foods for the skin), in order to reduce the amount of chemicals I’m putting on my skin each day. It’s usually pretty simple ingredients you can find at the supermarket or health food store. Here are a few of my favourites:

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