“But will it make you happy?”


A beautiful friend of mine has helped me navigate through life over the last few years. When I contemplate a change or a desire to do something, I hear her voice inside of my head saying, “but will it make you happy?” This resonates with me as it is so important to simply be happy. I’m not saying everything we do will make us happy but it something to work towards, right?

A few years back I started journalling 3 things that made me happy during the day. At first it was a struggle, I really had to grasp at anything. Obvious responses included my children and husband but that was mainly based on what they were doing in their lives. I’m not surprised that work didn’t feature… On reflection, reading back over some of the entries, there are some strange ones. For example, “I love a clean home.” Well that’s nice but sad if that was one of the top 3 things that made you happy that day. Or this one, “I am recovering from a virus- health is very important.” Should that even count??

Not to worry, a couple of months into doing this I think I got better and wanted to share with you, a snippet of things that make me happy:-

Jacaranda trees

cool nights being wrapped in a doona
the sound of leaves rustling in the wind
blue skies
jacaranda trees
hot chocolate
likeminded people
crickets calling at night
the early bird catching a worm
rain on the roof
purring cats
unexpected gifts

If we take the time to be in moment, practicing mindfullness, we can really appreciate it. Simple pleasures can give us a sense of happiness if we let them. So why share this now? Maybe someone in the universe needs me to share this? Who knows? So what makes you happy?

Sliding off the Rat Wheel

Human society is sometimes described as the ‘Rat Race’. We’re all scrambling frantically, it’s survival of the fittest and if there are too many of us we may start to squabble and turn against one another. Let’s visualise a rat on a wheel, he’s focussed and racing as fast as he can and he’s going nowhere. This is kind of what we have become ‘trained’ to do.

Have our lives become like this? Do we pace on the treadmill of life, work our fingers to the bone, competing with our colleagues to get that one promotion that gets offered once in a blue moon? Are some of us treading water with the constant worry that we may not have work once our contracts are up? Are you working ridiculous hours to pay the mortgage, pay for childcare, pay for your next holiday, to buy a ‘jeep’ and to pay off the credit card? Are you happy?

The last question is something I am now continually asking myself. I worked in a job for about 13 years where I subconsciously was competing with work colleagues, my hours were never guaranteed and I did not feel valued. I was not happy and my health over the last few years started to seriously suffer. It took me about three years to finally quit last year. I needed time out. Unfortunately I made the mistake of jumping into another job about a month later-I still had this notion that I had to work to be a valued member of the community and I couldn’t quite let go.

Well I’m happy to report I ninja kicked the rat wheel over about seven weeks ago. I have taken a huge leap of faith and thrown in the towel (and no I did not perform an adult tantrum and walk out in a blaze of glory). My decision has been met with mixed comments from friends and family which I expected. However everyone has been supportive. I think those closest to me know that I truly have been struggling. For the record, I have no plan and no current intention to go back to work in the near future.

So what led me to this decision?
1. My eldest son has recently turned 15 and over the last 12 months has become more independent. I suspect that as soon as he finishes high school he’ll be heading to the big smoke and this is happening way to quickly.
2. My niece and nephew have both left high school and this has been a huge reality check for me.
3. My middle son is in his last year of primary school and every week I provide a personal taxi service to get him to his various sporting events. I don’t want to miss a minute of this!
4. Missing socks.

This decision to ‘slow down’ has only be made possible also by my very supportive husband who loves his job and is happy to provide financially for his family. To those thinking he must be earning mega bucks, by Australian standards he’s earning an average wage. Personally I haven’t worked full time since starting a family and I’ve also had about 5 years of unpaid maternity leave, so we know what it’s like to live on one income.

So how are we going to survive without an extra $30 000 a year? Good question…..

Well the plan is..
A. Growing more of our own food
B. Reducing our annual investments-the next 12 months we’ll focus just on topping up our superannuation.
C. Reduce the use of my car-however this will only have a small impact as we already live within 5kms of shops, schools and most sporting venues.
D. Making and preparing our own food-reducing take-away and prepackaged foods.
E. Taking advantage of our solar power-now that I’m home during the day I can do more in the daylight hours.
F. Every time I go to make a purchase I ask myself, “Do I really need this?”
G. We won’t be going on any big holidays-camping will do just fine.
H. We won’t be buying a jeep.

Well I’ll keep you posted with how I go…….

Learning to let go

Last year I spent a weekend away with a beautiful soul, Caroline (and yes it has taken me a long time to blog this). We celebrated her birthday in style at the Wanderlust festival on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. We immersed ourselves in in a diverse range of activities including singing, yoga, meditation, chanting and music.

Caroline and I attended mainly yoga and meditation sessions. One had me in fits of laughter, while another exposed my vulnerability and I spent most of the session with hot tears running down my cheeks. During our downtime Caroline and I analysed and reflected on our sessions.

It was no surprise to me that a lot of stuff bubbled to the surface. For years my sister in law (yes the older wise one) has continued to remind me that I hold on to ‘stuff’- some like to call this emotional baggage. I understand how unhealthy it is to carry grief, guilt, anger and some of my ‘stuff’ goes back over twenty years. One of the yogi instructors suggested we carry this emotional burden in our pelvic area and we keep on layering it if we don’t let it go. When I am highly anxious or stressed, my body seizes up especially around my neck and shoulder areas. It is certainly unhealthy.

Holding on to ‘stuff’ stops us from moving forward, being in the moment, forgiving and sometimes loving again. Can you be truly happy again if you hold on to grief so tightly it consumes every waking moment? Do you miss the magic of life if you’re too busy reliving the past?

So is letting go the same as forgetting or pretending ‘stuff’ didn’t happen? I think if ‘stuff’ resurfaces in some form such as a memory or a conversation, you can acknowledge it but then move on, don’t emotionally invest in it again. When I was seeing a counsellor several years ago she suggested you treat it as memory that passes across your line of vision but then it keeps moving on. She said if you try to block it out you won’t succeed so you need to acknowledge it.

My personal journey to improve my mental health is certainly ongoing and I am definitely a work in progress but hopefully me sharing this will help others.Wanderlust

Jamie Oliver and Me

Confessions of a foodie.  My ‘not so secret’ love affair.

Intrigued? Jealous? Well don’t be too shocked! My relationship with Jamie Oliver is purely based on my food obsession.  Have you ever made a list of people you’d love to invite for dinner? Well Jamie’s definitely on my list. Rest assured Jools (Jamie’s better half), I’m not one of those crazy stalkers who sends inappropriate gifts.  For heaven’s sake it’s not that sort of relationship. Besides I’m a happily married woman.

Although my relationship with Jamie is purely one sided we do share a love of food, the environment and helping others.  My apologies if my heading misled you, I really wanted to see if my husband is reading my posts (love you honey).

So I’m loving Jamie’s new series based on his new book, ‘Save with Jamie’ (Penguin, 2013). Jamie has such a natural way of engaging with people.  His passion is contagious. His book and the series is dedicated to cooking beautiful  home meals that are  reasonably healthy and cheap. Jamie’s instinctual cooking methods allows home cooks to feel good about being flexible and creative.  YES- it’s okay to not measure everything (lugs of oil, knobs of butter), get your hands dirty and substitute ingredients. More importantly though, Jamie’s committed to showing you clever ways to reduce food waste by snazzing up leftovers, freezing and planning.

Save with Jamie is far from being just another cookbook.  In addition to the 120 money saving meals, it also contains detailed nutrition information, shopping tips, kitchen organisation and plenty of inspiring photos.  What a great team Jamie must have!

So to wrap up my post, I thought $24 for Jamie’s book was a great investment.  I also don’t mind sharing my living room with Jamie on a Thursday night, 7:30pm,  when he brings the pages of his book to life with his TV series.  So Jamie if you’re reading this, feel free to pop in for dinner and we can talk turkey about employment opportunities for an obsessed foodie who wants to change the world with you. Love you Jamie (note to self-okay, that may be a little stalkerish).

For your own copy of Jamie’s book visit: http://www.jamieoliver.com/savewithjamie/


Food waste is one of my all time pet hates. Did you know that in  New South Wales (Australia), 800 000t of food from households ends up in landfill? This equates to 315kg of food waste or 38% of  household waste or $1036 per year per household. As it is a significant amount, it also contributes to climate change as the breakdown process of food creates methane. (http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au/love-food/environmental-impacts.aspx#production) On a more global scale, according
to a study conducted by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization,
one-third of all the food produced around the world, approximately 1.3 billion
tons a year, is never eaten. I know Jamie would not be happy about that.



A tough gig this Father’s Day

It has taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together to write about Father’s Day 2013. I want to firstly dedicate this post to three great men; my husband, my father and my father-in-law.

This was somewhat of a tough Father’s Day for our family.  My father in law passed away in July so it was our first year that he was spiritually with us.  My husband and I have not had the chance to talk about this yet, so thank you blog you have made me realise this.  I do need to sit down with hubby and see how he is going.  There is a bit of an emptiness knowing that he has passed over.  I know that my husband loved his Dad very much and that he will be missed. When we lose people it gives us the opportunity to reflect on what is important in life.  I have been struggling with this for quite a while but for me I do know that good health, love and time are on the top of my list.

We were fortunate enough to spend time with my father in law a couple of weeks prior to his passing.  This in a way was a wonderful gift for us.  In some ways maybe he knew his time was up for he shared some thoughts with us that he had never expressed before.  This was out of character as he usually just stuck with safe topics like trucks and rally driving (two of his passions). During our stay, he expressed some very kind words about my husband.  This I will always treasure as I know that my father in law was not big on sharing these types of ‘feelings.’ This meant so much to me.

My husband gave his sons a beautiful gift on Father’s Day too.  He spent most of the day canoeing and fishing with them.  He was showered with usual preschool and school handmade gifts which were gorgeous and I know he got a buzz out of these.  I refused to give out cash to the boys and take them shopping to buy ‘stuff.’  When it comes to commercial gift giving, it always been fairly low on our priority list so I know that hubby didn’t feel disheartened when he did not receive the token socks, jocks, quirky coffee mug, chocolates or bottle of rum.

My Dad on the other hand was a different story.  I felt SO guilty about not producing a commercial gift of some description.  My Dad is far from materialistic but it is so engrained in me (years of advertising brainwashing I suspect) to go out and get Dad something that I really struggled this year.  Here I am trying my best to change habits (one being buying less useless stuff) that I have lost sleep and may get a cold sore over this.  This year I gave my Dad the whole day with me.  (Mum and Dad have just spent the week with us as they live 4 hours away.) So we did a little day trip, had a picnic and Mum and I arranged a special dinner at home for my Dad, hubby and the kids. I don’t know?? Father’s Day was kind of a fizzer for my Dad and it will never be the same because I know deep down inside the only thing I think my Dad would dearly love is my brother back who with us in spirit.

So it really shows us all that we don’t need all this ridiculous commercial crap.  What we need is time spent with loved ones; young, old and in between.  So give someone you care about a big hug today because you never know what is around the corner.

Start by doing one simple thing…..

It truly is as simple as making one change.  I did the other day by putting up a “No advertising Mail” sign up on my letter box.  According to www.ecohub.perth.wa.gov.au Globally, it is estimated that 100 million trees are  harvested to produce junk mail each year. In Australia, 8.2 billion  articles of junk mail are produced every year, along with over 650  million articles of addressed promotional mail. So what are the pros and cons in doing this?

Cons- needed to outlay money to buy the sign, time to put it up, possibly miss out on a few specials

Pros-reduce my annual paper waste by about 40-50kgs, not be enticed in buying more ‘stuff’, time better spent doing something a little more constructive than reading junk mail

I have to admit that once the sign was up I felt really good that I was making a difference. In a way I felt empowered. To be honest with you I have not missed the junk mail at all. So, an easy DIY project for this weekend.

Source: http://www.ecohub.perth.wa.gov.au/categories/waste/actions/no-junk-mail-and-spam/


World Orangutan Day

Did you know that there are approximately only 7000 Sumatran and 45000 Bornean Organutans left in the wild?  According to the experts orang-utans have 97% DNA in common with humans. Over the last 20 years these beautiful animals have had a massive decline in numbers mainly due to habitat loss. Sumatra alone has lost nearly 80% of its natural forest. Orangutans are one of many species threatened with extinction.  It is estimated that if nothing is done they will be extinct within the next ten years. For me, they represent ALL species that face extinction in Borneo and Sumatra due to habitat loss.

Their rainforest homes are being wiped out for mainly palm oil and paper pulp plantations. Palm oil is something I’ll blog about later.  In brief, it is a used in many food products and personal hygiene products. Not all companies disclose its use in the list of the ingredients either.  There are a myriad of names it is listed as but most commonly in food products it is simply listed as vegetable oil.

So what can we do to support World Orangutan Day?

Without spending a cent you can help the orang-utans and the many other species who are facing a grim future by;

  • Spreading the word through social media
  • Spend some time in your pantry/bathroom checking out what products you use that contain palm oil and start buying palm oil free products or make your own
  • If you’re unsure whether your products contain palm oil email or message (via facebook) the company
  • Sign a petition about labelling, logging or palm oil
  • Find out more about the plight of orang-utans by visiting one of the many organisations that are doing amazing work to save them.
  • The following websites are a good place to start;
  • http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/
  • http://www.orangutan.org.au/index.htm

Just remember you can be part of an eco revolution. You have the power to act especially through social media and as a consumer. Your contribution may seem small but together we can make a positive change.




Blogs away!

We are go! I am so excited to be finally blogging! Hooray! This has been a while in the making.  So welcome to my blog.  My mission is to share with you all the triumphs and as one of my son’s would say, “Epic fail Mum,” of becoming a more sustainable family.

My focus is on changes we can make at home.  I will cover topics including health and well being, anything foodie and also any changes we can make to reduce our ecological footprint. Along the way our lives will hopefully improve through a slower and simpler lifestyle.  We will certainly be saving a few dollars too (that’s always a good thing)!

I would love you to be part of my blog as we  discover new ways to be more sustainable and improve our knowledge on environmental issues. So please share your thoughts too.