Sunday, June 30, 2013

Avoiding the winter blues

The boys have been sick this week. Yesterday was the fourth day of fevers hovering around 39-40 degrees. We've been inside all week, and needed to get outside and breathe in some fresh, clean sea air. We didn't stay out long, but it was enough to replenish our spirits. The sky was grey and moody, the air damp with gentle drops, but the chips were hot, the smiles real, and the cuddles warm. It was just what we needed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


"A portrait of my boys each week, every week, in 2013"

Oh, darling boys, you make me laugh.

Look at this kid; three going on thirteen. Check that attitude.
Roc. Well and truly sick of having a camera pointed in his direction. 
 And my Hame. Pretending to be grumpy, but can't hide the cheeky smile in those eyes.
"Take a photo of my grumpy face, mama!"
As ever, linking with Jodi.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The road to less - part 1: the kitchen

That day I woke up, with yet another mild feeling of panic, something shifted in my gut and I just knew enough was enough. I had to wrestle back control of our waste, our consumption, our consumerism.

I have no intention of living with radical minimalism. I simply want us to make conscious decisions. I want my boys to know that owning lots of things doesn't make you happy. That there is a huge difference between necessity and convenience. And a huge difference between needs and wants. I have no interest whatsoever in never fulfilling the 'wants', but I do have a strong interest in becoming more mindful consumers.

Our kitchen is the heart of our home. I spend hours in it cooking for my family, teaching my boys how to bake, sipping hot tea, entertaining friends, and sitting under the window, laptop fired up, in my 'office' with a view. It made sense for me to start my journey there.

My kitchen was overspilling with out of date food, utensils I never touch, appliances that we don't use or need, and junk drawers that were full of... junk, funnily enough.

But I tackled it.  It took a full day - from 8am - 5.30pm. Somewhere in the middle I wondered if I'd actually make any sense of the chaos. But I did. I gifted, and thrifted, and tossed a huge amount of stuff that wasn't needed or useful, that was beyond repair, or out of date.

It's not perfect. There is still too much stuff. But I have made a huge difference, and importantly, a commitment to review in a month and undertake another cull.

Here's a visual of the beginning. Imagine this in every cupboard and drawer.

Yes, that is an old receipt. And a formula scoop that hasn't been required for at least 2.5 years. Why???
And here's the midway point; when I wondered how I was going to make sense of it all.

And here's the end result.

I cook a lot. For pleasure, for health, and for economy. I try to avoid boxes, packets, additives and preservatives, which means we have a lot of raw and whole ingredients. Having them well organised so they can be identified at a quick glance is total luxury. 
Not even 'under the sink' escaped. As as much as I love the smell of these cleaning products, I won't be replacing them when they're finished. I have been using boiling water and eucalyptus oil to clean absolutely everything all year and I am fully converted. It's environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and a natural disinfectant.
Pared back. We had seven pairs of tongs. And so much plastic kiddo cutlery. Crazy.
I think the bathrooms are up next.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Week 24. How about that.

This week has seen a shift in the air. The boys seem to have suddenly grown up. Each day that passes sees a little less baby, and a little more boy. Watching children grow into the people they are going to be is such a privilege.

This is Roc. Everything about this photo is him. Fearless, cheeky, adventurous, (and not at all concerned about the 'sofas are for sitting' rule)

And this is my Hamish. Joyous. Happy. Delighted. And delightful.

As ever, playing along with Jodi.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Starting the journey to less

I can't ignore it any more. All year, I've been feeling overwhelmed - almost suffocated - by so much... stuff.

Stuff in every cupboard. In every drawer. On every available surface. I keep buying storage solutions, only to have them overspill within days of being in use.

Our bedroom houses a beautiful console. I envisaged a gorgeous vignette: softly glowing lamps, beautiful hard covered books, and precious ornaments. Instead, what I see each morning the moment I open my eyes is a screeching cacophony of unread magazines, cables and cords, carelessly discarded jewellery and receipts, birthday cards (from March!), miscellaneous plastic containers (yet more failed storage solutions) and mystifying detritus.

I've never had such a big kitchen. Ever. I doubt I will again. There are three tall vertical pantries, four under-bench cupboards, five overhead cupboards, and ten (yes, ten!) deep drawers. We also bought two butchers blocks, each with two shelves, and created an island bench from them. Yet, inexplicably, I have completely run out of room. The debris has migrated to the benchtops.  This slow moving but entirely consuming front of gratuitous waste knows no bounds.

Every room in our house is the same, and it's messing with my head. I can't breathe. Nothing is ever properly tidy or clean. Nothing seems to have a permanent home. There is nothing peaceful about the most important space in my life - my home. And when things are tidy (at least on the surface) there is absolutely no denying the joy I feel, followed by the most soothing calm. I wish I could bottle it.

None of this was intentional. And I don't quite know how we got here, but I suspect babies, parenting, working, and general exhaustion simply overtook everything else. Stuff has a very clever way of simply sneaking in. And bad habits are too easy to form.

So, I'm going to fix it.

It's going to be hard. We are going to have to get rid of lots of stuff. We are going to have to make tough decisions. It's going to take the rest of the year, undoubtedly, and then it will take a will of steel. The journey probably won't be pretty, but I know the end result will be.

And it will be more than that. We will have less waste. We'll probably save money too, not re-buying things we already own, or better yet, deciding that actually, we don't need it after all.

Our boys will learn that lots of stuff doesn't equal happiness. In fact, potentially the opposite. That it makes decisions more difficult. That it stifles their creativity.

Our environment will be calm. Clear. Uncluttered. Life will be easier.

We're going to live with less. I can't shake the belief that less stuff will mean more room for people, for love, for laughter and for living. I'm down with that.

I'm starting with the kitchen. 

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"

We dashed out, after the rain, and before the dark, to get some fresh air after being bunkered down with illness for the past couple of weeks.
I love how children are drawn to swings, like moths to the flame.
Roc: "Look at me mummy, I'm superman!"
Hame. Quietly enjoying in his own little world. 
As always, playing along with Jodi. How is it week 23 of 2013 already?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Ooh, look!

I've made my blog a bit prettier.

I've given it a new name, too.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, so I'm giving it a go. I'll see how it feels, how it fits, if it gives me a bit more freedom, if it feels more me.

My blogspot address is still the same until I am sure this where I'm headed.


Monday, June 3, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Roc. Rainbow boots. Very conscious of looking "cool" at the moment. Where did my baby go?
Hamish. Blowing bubbles is a BIG deal for this little one.
Serious big steps forward and I couldn't be more proud of him.