All Day, Every Day

Today motherhood kicked my ass.  Well, I might be a little dramatic with that comment but truly, today it seemed there were a lot more tears, heightened stress, things felt rushed and our scooter got stolen.  It’s too easy to focus on these occurrences and too easy to play the mamahood blame game.  We are so incredibly hard on ourselves sometimes.

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What I want to focus on is the fact that I got to savor two coffees…well, admittedly one was gulped down, searing my esophagus, but the other was handmade by my husband in the wee hours of the morning and was sipped in all its splendor.

As the midweek monotony hits us, let’s focus on these fleeting moments of joy, followed by another, then another fleeting moment of joy.

The hard moments try to cling on, but then they’re met with a baby’s smile or a preschoolers bubble bath beard, and suddenly its okay…until there are tears over pajamas that are in the wash.

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Let’s be honest, parenting is much like writing reports (ahem, the teacher in me still exists) where we point out improvements that can be made and combat it with positive remarks too.

All day, every day we experience life and the sooner we embrace what that is for us personally, and what it is for our own little tribe, the better off this life will be.

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Are we there yet?

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Roots & Wings & Other Things

Branching out can more often than not feel like you’re hanging from a limb…or hanging on by a thread.

It seems that our little family generally takes the path off the beaten track, the road less traveled.  This makes for great adventure and whips our conversations with others into high gear most of the time.  At other times, it can feel that although we are taking the bull by the horns, we are also getting thrown around, and it’s our own doing.

That said, we’ve gone and done it.  We bought our first home.

I’m calling it home because it’s not just a house, it truly (yes, even in it’s fixer upper disguise pre-renovation) feels like home.  Our home.  So exciting.

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When we get those shiny keys, or in this case I’m sure they’re slightly worn and character-filled, we can start the initial renovations.  I’m excited for so many reasons: embracing slowing down by completing projects over time, learning to navigate home ownership, honing in on our budget, being in a place to call our own, the sense of pride that comes with doing something your own way.

White paint – oh wow, we are excited for some white paint.

Every nook and cranny and every blade of grass is ours to blissfully enjoy.

With this comes thorough excitement…and utter exhaustion.  Add to this the fact that we will be moving in when I am 37 weeks pregnant with our babe #2.

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Luckily, we seem to like living on the edge, flying by the seat of our pants and all that jazz.  First time around we figured moving countries with a 7 week old was well within our capabilities.  It turns out, it was…though I don’t quite know how we did it.  The whole process seems like a blur of excitement and stress when we reflect back.

This time, have we learned our lesson?  Not particularly.  The slight naivety that it is going to be a smooth transition and our excitement of home ownership helps with the inevitable stinging sensation that this is going to get crazy…fast.

We wouldn’t have this life any other way.

In the past few months I’ve welcomed beautiful friends back into my life who moved to Austin, and I’ve waved goodbye to these same friends that are off again on their own adventures with their families too.

It seems we nomads attract each other, making life heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.

New friends will bring joy, while road trips across the state and flights across the globe to my gems are still on the horizon.  Consider it how we fuel our wanderlust!

All this change brings with it a wave of emotions as we move away from the known and into a new chapter of our lives.

We are ready.  To jump and see where we land.  To explore a new part of Austin.  To settle into our new place in the world.  To welcome our new babe into our tribe.

At least we think we are, and that’s all that matters.

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Branching out can more often than not feel like you’re hanging from a limb…or hanging on by a thread.

Always choose to jump,

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A Penny For Your Thoughts

I used to love shopping, always entering a store with greedy excitement and a long list of “essentials” to grab and someday discard.  Since journeying on the Debt Free train with my husband when we moved to the States in 2014, that hunger turned to frustration.

At first, it was frustration that our new budget meant I didn’t have enough money to get what I needed.  Read: wanted.  This graduated to the frustration of realizing that I had spent more than the pennies I had earned for much of my working life.

For a long while, I’ve tried to be more mindful in many aspects of life.  Handmade, fair trade, vintage and thrift are creative and happy places in my closet and home and I implore you to seek even the idea of the above.

Today I openly admit that I struggle.  I struggle to say no.  To toys, to trendy decor, to a Starbucks coffee.  It irks me, especially when I think about what life lessons I’m teaching to our daughter.

She sees us go into a store, get things we want and go home.  These wants are merely treats, so why do we feel that we need to treat ourselves all the time.  Why do we search for validation that will likely never come from a purchase, far be it a purchase made spontaneously that won’t necessarily enrich our lives.

It’s not about not treating ourselves, or not spending our hard-earned cash, but rather about growing an awareness of what we are purchasing and the greater impact it has.  We wear the new item, display the on-trend decor, and then…just like that…it loses the shiny appeal we lusted after in the store.

It’s time to find some semblance of balance.  I visited Ten Thousand Villages in Austin, TX and came home with a bohemian fair trade cushion and a handmade basket that told the story of the maker.

These items sit proudly in my home and I am inspired by them, encouraged to be my own maker of things about the home and on my back.

This is what it should feel like. Not the emptiness that comes from busting $90 at Target on…

I actively made notes in my mind en route home, resolving to re-create decor looks I liked, learning to embroider and vowing to sew more clothing for my little one.  I’m now on a creative path again, re-energised and making lemonade from lemons.

I try really hard to use what I have.  Just the other day, I switched out the dining chairs that are unfinished and look, quite frankly, meh (not my finest DIY project and soon to be re-completed with TLC) for the mix and match trend that I was going for…using chairs I had lying around. This was a huge deal, as I’d spent weeks, months even, trawling Craigslist for mix and match chairs to create a farmhouse dining area.  It felt like creative freedom, it felt good.

Moments like these make me immensely grateful.

For spending every cent and travelling the world without regret.  Travel and experiences are something I would never count pennies on.  The wanderer lifestyle has been incredibly huge in defining who I am and a big part of my story in this wonderful world.  Travel far and often, as they say.  We have, in a sense, been “on the road” since my first trip to Thailand in 2004.

For settling into family life in a new country with a new baby and really mucking in to a brand new chapter.

For my husband and his tireless strength when it comes to budgets and money matters.

For the way I grew up, with dad teaching me to always “do the maths” and mum sewing everything from clothing to curtains and our costumes for school plays.  She places the cushions I made for her in pride of place.  It matters to her that I have these beautiful skills and use them.

Happiness comes in the strangest of doses and is found in the smallest inklings of what got us here.

And really, isn’t that all that should be on our must-have list?

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You Do You

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve mentioned these three little words in conversations this week.  Whether it’s been advice given to friends or something I’ve told myself.

It’s oh too easy to be in those little annoying bubbles of comparing ourselves to others when it comes to what we have, and this seems highlighted as I try to live a little more simply.

Defining what simple living is for our little family has given me interesting insights.  A constant struggle that comes to light seems to be the question:

“When does it stop?  The wanting, the lists, the must-haves, the but-i-just-need’s?”

We are all trying to find our feet, our place in the sun, our home, our jam.  And if it looks vastly different to someone else {I’m learning, I’m trying to say} that’s OK.  It’s really, genuinely, actually, truly OK.  You do you.

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This hasn’t always been a feeling I’ve had, or have had to actively accept.  I think that the fast-paced lifestyle was never really a question through our twenties, when we were travelling the globe, working in {mostly} decent jobs and flitting our earnings into plane tickets or happy hours or renting little 400 square foot apartments near the heart of London.

I look back on this time fondly, with wonderful memories: my life filled with interesting places and people who were all on a journey, living their story.

Maybe it’s motherhood and the pressures that come with it from peers, friends, family and society that brought this new musing to light.  Are we doing enough?  Our best?  Should our toddler be in “school” already?

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The pressures of a mama who’s had to {or wanted to} go back to work, wondering if she should have, feeling guilty & affected by mama friends who didn’t or didn’t have to.  The pressures of a mama at home wondering if this is the right thing to do, wanting a little time to herself, then feeling guilty for thinking about wanting it.

Myself and my mama friends fall into a lot of these categories.  Why are we so tough on ourselves and each other?

Let’s just call it motherhood, nod in absolute agreement that it’s beautiful and hard and wonderful and heartwarming and even ridiculous sometimes, and get on with being as we are.  We are doing an amazing job.  You do you.

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Maybe it’s seeing things from the eyes of a traveler.  We’ve been on the move since we jetted off in twenty-ten.  We’ve seen different ways of living and had the joy of appreciating other cultures.

We’ve never really unpacked our suitcases, sometimes we’ve not even known where we were going to stay.  Hmmm…sometimes I didn’t know what work or job I would be doing the next day!  I think this helps me {personally} in taking on twenty-seventeen as the year of living more simply and embracing everything as it is.

This isn’t everyone’s story.  It doesn’t mean you can’t see things with fresh eyes if you haven’t lived a traveling life.  This is just me {hopefully inspiring you in some way to reflect or make little changes to do things the way you really want to} and my chatter about how I’ve stumbled upon a refreshing way to live my life.  You do you.

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There’s a full life waiting for you, and it’s time.  Be mindful of when you’re comparing yourself to others, whether it’s parenting, work, friendships, where or how you live. Embrace the life you’re in, welcome it with open arms and hug it tight.

You do you,

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Fabric Jungle

The sun came streaming in today after some chilly weather in Austin, making it the perfect day to enjoy the sunshine.

I was inspired to tend to my growing indoor jungle and decided to make bohemian-style fabric cosy planters.

If you’re following along on my visual journey via Instagram, I’m sure you’ll see more of these cropping up on my feed.

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The sewing machine got dusted off for twenty-seventeen and it has completely re-energised my creative streak.  It seemed that the final hurrah of twenty-sixteen was all about reflecting on what was, and this first week of the new year has been about planning.

 Keeping with my lifestyle goal of truly learning to slow down this year, I was excited when this creative idea happened organically.  On a whim, something wonderful was handmade today and that brings me happiness.

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I’d love to try an iron-on Vinyl to create a somewhat water proofed version.

I have kept my original planters inside so the plant can be watered without ruining the fabric.

A simple plastic planter or terracotta one works wonders: make sure you have a saucer underneath for the water to drain.  Using a planter inside the fabric also adds to the structure, keeping the fabric taut and snug!

Oh, and I did Day One of the #winter10x10 challenge to inspire a minimalist or capsule wardrobe.

It felt wonderful to not stumble around figuring out what to wear.  I felt simply styled and it encouraged me to accessorize, which I used to do so often, but now as a mama I rarely do.

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This week is a goodie, and it’s only Monday!  Get inspired lovely folks,

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twenty-seventeen

The movement away from fast-paced living is a positive shift and makes now the perfect time to embrace my roots of sewing and cooking.

We are so caught up with immediate gratification, even if it seems tiny and insignificant, that sometimes we skip the wonderful feeling of the wait.  Don’t get me wrong, this is me too.  Only now do I feel like I’ve finally grown enough and am in the blessed position of being at a stage where I can embrace a slower-paced way of life.  

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We are no longer in our twenties, seeking fast fashion, food on the go, jetsetting, city life in London.  And that’s okay.  For the first time since we became parents and left London, we can finally own up to the fact that we need to slow down.  

The memories still seem like yesterday, and our wanderlust souls will always seek travel and adventure, that is certain.  But our lifestyle can now, well, relax a bit.  

For the first time since leaving Australia in 2010, we can truly unpack our suitcases and call this beautiful city of Austin, Texas, home.  It’s time to be, enjoy, breathe it in and find adventure around us that brings us joy.  We are still living the dream abroad, we will still see countless cities and landscapes in this wonderful world, but we will also find our way home.  Find your tribe, love them hard, they say.

And so, twenty-seventeen began in all it’s glory of a new dawn, new day…sometime while we slept anyway!  Here we are, refreshed and excited to create more memories for another year of who knows what.  Adventure awaits!

I’m excited to say that this year, I’m kick-starting my blog in the direction it feels most organic.  Put simply, I want to spend the year learning to slow down: savouring mommyhood, slow fashion, slow food, embracing simpler living and creating joyful makes for my home and family.

This year, we are saving to buy our own little slice of Texas and we are constantly learning and evolving as new seasons of our lives sprout and grow.

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As I scrolled through my Instagram feed recently, something I’m doing less of…oops…a post caught my eye from @caroline_joy on the 10×10 challenge with @leevosburgh.

And I’m in!  This is exactly the way I would love to start my year of spending less and experiencing more.  At first it seemed difficult to narrow my wardrobe (which I’d already minimised) to 10 items for 10 days, but as I started to pick and choose, I learned two immediate lessons:

  1. I could maybe do this and minimise my wardrobe for good!
  2. I was selecting the clothes that were exactly “me” and fit my lifestyle…purposefully & mindfully!

This seems like a positive start to shy away from the fast fashion micro seasons that are telling us what to wear and how to dress too often to fully appreciate the story behind our clothing and how it makes us feel.

I’ve selected my 10 after looking at the weather forecast…Austin is sure keeping it weird this winter…and so here is a sneak peek…

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For those of you that want the nitty-gritty details

{Paris tourist tee} {striped tee} {boho blouse} {grey bare-shoulder sweater} {soft black vintage jacket/cardi} {black skinny cropped jeans} {ripped blue jeans} {boyfriend jeans} {cowboy boots} {well-loved sandals from Spain}

As with any post or project on my blog, these are little snippets of what I’m up to that will hopefully interest or inspire you to enjoy the process of learning and making, and feel the joy in creating things yourself.

Follow along on Instagram for the daily vibes!  Happy #winter10x10 folks,

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Driftwood Memories

We collect things.  For this wanderer, trying to follow some simpler living and minimalism lifestyle changes is hard when I’m an avid collector of things.  Our mini loves rocks, and we are no exception.

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We’ve got those beautiful chunks of land from across the globe and we put them in pride of place among our gardens and on shelves.

Driftwood on our beach days seemed to be our “thing” in California, and I’ve dabbled here and there trying to work them into our decor, but they usually ended up sticking strangely out of a boho vase and just didn’t grow on us this way.

Hello photo wall hanging.

I’ve seen the beautiful wall hangings using dowel or other objects and wanted a way to display the moments we’ve been freezing in time.

As I sipped my cuppa outside whilst watching the sunset {a rarity unless we are on some lovely adventure, but something I’m wanting to experience more this year} the driftwood pieces, sticking out of an empty pot at the time, caught my eye and a project was born.

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Drill, cut twine & thread it through, attach photographs and hang on the wall to share your story.  Hopefully this inspires you to use what is around you, something that makes you happy, and make it into a wonderful feature.  Every time I look at it positioned happily near our dining table, it will evoke memories of sand in my toes, exploring and of course the moments we’ve captured along the way.

Happy twenty-seventeen lovely folks,

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