Sustainable sustainability

Simple living

Once you make the mental shift towards sustainability, you’ll find that slowly everything will just fall into place.

When I first had Oliver I began to think about the world that he would inherit, and how different it was to the world I was born into as an 80’s child with wooden toys and landline phones and long bike rides before sunset.

By comparison Ol has been born into a much faster era made up of overstimulating technology, plastic toys and extreme advertising.

As much as I can I try to create family rhythms at home that are based on my childhood, and even my mum’s childhood as a nod to my Nan, however these days the reaches of technology and plastic are pretty prolific… When I grew up we collected shells on the beach, now we collect plastic. 

As part of this journey I came across Zero Waste legend Bea Johnson’s interview on CGTN America (in a late night YouTube rabbit hole no less) – an unforgettable clip about how Bea and her family live without contributing waste to landfill.

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A simple pantry

zero waste shopping Australia

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).

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Frugal gardening

How to take flower cuttings for a potted gardenThe 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).

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Making a rental house a home

How to make a rental house nicerSometimes 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”

A sustainable kitchen

Simple home, sustainable homeRewind 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?

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Family travel

Travel tips for a minimalist

Nothing feels more freeing than travelling light, which is particularly true when you’re navigating airports with little people.

For me, packing twice and laying everything out on the bed in full view helps to eliminate the double ups and identify what would likely come home still folded and unworn.

I also start with packing my favourites, thinking through the various occasions as I fold – beach/pool, dinner, short walks, slow mornings..

Over the years of packing carry-on with little ones in tow, I have learnt a few things;

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Creating a simple home

simple home design ideas

By living without excess and surrounding yourself with just enough of the right things, you will feel an amazing sense of satisfaction.

– Simple Home, by Mark & Sally Bailey

I think creating the style of home that suits you is a similar journey to curating a wardrobe – working out your most flattering cuts, colour palette, and consistency without following the trends that will quickly date… like a collection of clothes, a thoughtful home is not something you can create all at once, but a journey over time where you happen upon that perfect jacket/pair of jeans/throw blanket.

There are a few elements that make for a simple retreat that is so nice to come home to, where you can hide away from the outside world to cook around a warm stove, listen to soft music, light candles and curl up in your comfiest clothes.

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Usage over ownership

Minimalist inspiration

It’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…

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.

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 “Baby gear”

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”