Sunday, 26 March 2017

A year without buying new shoes

On the list this year is to go 6 months without shopping.  I thought it would be tough, but 3 months in, I'm finding it pretty easy and in fact it feels great!  So I've decided to up the ante and go for the whole year.  No clothes, jewellery, shoes, bags - stuff.  We just don't need more "stuff". 

In fact, we need less stuff.  We have so much that we just don't use and there it sits taking up space.  So I've also been doing my de-cluttering bit.  Not huge amounts, but now I certainly look at things and think, do I really love this or is it useful?  Because life is just way to short to wear those knickers that are cute, but roll under your belly or get eaten by your bum.  And don't get me started on uncomfy bras.

I've read a few books on minimalism (I like this Facebook page) and I really love the message.  Although sceptical at first, I'm finding that it really is a mindset and feels amazing.  Look at that, I've gone and become all spacey.  Have not turned into a hippy or given up all my worldly possessions to live off the land, run around naked and drink my own urine - yet.  I still love red wine (hang on, another change, I've been drinking bubbles of late), chocolate, ice-cream - food in general really.  OMG Emi cooked up a magnificent cocido today! Delish, and what becomes of all the leftover ham, chicken and chorizo - croquettes that's what. Crunchy, creamy, mouth watering croquettes.

Anyway, this "no buying stuff" hasn't really meant we've saved a heap of money, but we're spending it on doing stuff as opposed to buying stuff and it's much more fun.  So repeating my motto -  unless it's broken or a real need "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".

When $5 feels just as good as $500

Earlier this month, I was amazed that I had 2 articles published and had just about made $10. Now I know that doesn't seem like very much, but it sure felt great!  Since then, I've had another 12 articles published in Weekend Notes and I have made, wait for it.........$55!!  And what feels really, really good - winning not one, but two editor awards (OK, maybe it was a slow news day).  How much are these awards worth?  $5 each. To me it feels like $500 and proves that if you love what you're doing it doesn't feel like work at all.

To be honest, I would have been just as happy to have written stuff and not received any money.   On top of that, Gourmet Pawprints, a great company for which I did 2 short articles for their upcoming Doggy Wine Tours and Doggy Easter Egg Hunt, included a lovely thank you message on their website and Facebook page.  And then I received a lovely email from them inviting me on a doggy wine tour as their guest!  These tours are all day lunch affairs and not cheap, so that was very nice of them and completely unexpected.

I never even imagined that as well as earning some $$$ I might get offered stuff!  Hmmmm, maybe I need to start looking at holidays and caravan parks to do little articles on.  Already I am day dreaming of a life on the road in the caravan.

Now the only problem I have is finding the time to write.  I know, you need to make time for what you love, but I could write all day and there is that small matter of a full-time day job. Then of course, I need time to do all the stuff so I can write about it.  Those batteries better be heavy duty!  Sleep is over-rated.  On that, poor Emi had to work all day yesterday (a Saturday, so his batteries are pretty flat today). 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Energiser Bunny

A friend sent a message last week asking what type of batteries I ran on because we were always out and about doing "stuff".  Now I know that most people, especially those with kids, are also kept busy doing "stuff", the only difference is in the stuff we do.  Mind you, by Saturday night Emi had run out of batteries (I told him not to buy those cheaper ones), so I had to give the old bull a day off.

The last week or so has certainly been not too bad in terms of ticks off the list

Witches in Britches (a theatre restaurant), was OK.  Show was a bit silly and not as good as Dracula's, but the food was fine and as I had a voucher, it wasn't a bad deal.
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Finally got to see a football (sorry soccer) match at AAMI Park.  Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory with MV winning 4-1.  Great night, great stadium and a really good atmosphere.  Now we're not talking Real Madrid here, but a fun night.  Even took along our own bocadillo, snacks and water although we succumbed to the smell of hot chips.  We were sitting right next to the Glory supporters and I reckon there were a few diehard fans that I recognised when I first went and saw them play back in Perth during their first season. 
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Monday was a public holiday and I was in Burger Addiction heaven - The Big Burger Biannual! Food trucks and stalls serving burgers of all types and shapes, oh how to choose!?  Settled on a Skipping Girl burger seeing as that was one of the places on the list.  Cute buns, the Skipping Girl logo is stamped on the top, but the burger itself (I went the chicken) was a little disappointing. Managed to also try the Sliders on Tyres burgers and chicken wings (hey they're sliders OK i.e. baby burgers).  Rolled home, and I mean literally as we went on the motorbike.
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B's Farewell 40's Birthday Breakfast with bubbles at The Bank on Collins. Been wanting to visit this place because it's such a lovely building for ages.  Didn't disappoint.  Having to go to work afterwards did a bit. Talking of the lovely B, celebrating with her at her 50th at Riva was fabulous.  Great night had by all, stunning location, good food, drinks were flowing, band had everyone up dancing and a photobooth for a bit of a giggle.  May the Year of Yes continue to flourish for the gorgeous B and be filled with amazing experiences.

Batteries certainly felt a bit flat this morning after several glasses of bubbles.  But amazing what a walk along the beach and a little siesta can do.  So what's the secret?  No idea, but no time to stop and find out.  Just get those jumper cables out and keep on going.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Betty's Maiden Outing

Having won a shiny red bike as part of Febfast, today was the day that I took Betty (that's what I've christened her) for a spin.  Helmet on (thanks to Kirsten, I didn't have to buy one), water bottle in basket off I wobbled.  Been a while since I've been on a bike, but don't they say that you never forget?

Luckily we live near Beach Road and the great bike paths along the Bayside coastal trail so I wasn't on the road long enough to become a traffic hazard.  So there I was riding along, sun shining, starting to puff a bit thinking "this peddling bit is hard work".  Maybe I was in the wrong gear?  I fiddled around with them a bit, no idea what I was actually doing.  Do you stop peddling when you change gears?  Do you peddle backwards?  Anyway, didn't seem to make much difference, so onwards.

Where was I, ah yes, sun shining, water sparkling, seagulls flapping around, people splashing around in the water, thighs starting to burn.  Time for a water and rest stop at beautiful Green Point.  Now I probably need to point out that from my house to Green Point there is a total of 1.6km.  Surely, I'm not that unfit?  I can fast walk here in 15 minutes!

Lovely spot Green Point.  Great for a picnic under the Norfolk Island Pines, views across the bay to the city and look at that, a strategically placed Mr Whippy van!  Surely all my hard work getting here has earnt me an ice cream? 

Made it as far as the Brighton Bathing Boxes.  OK, I'll be honest, it was the start of the bathing boxes.

Several stops later, I was home.  Felt like I'd been riding for hours.  Total time 40 minutes. Kilometres completed around 5, rest/water stops 4, ice creams 1, number of times peddle hit me on ankle while wheeling the bike twice, accidents caused nil.  Surely that's the important thing right?

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Do what you love or love what you do

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Find a job I love is on the list for this year.  Working out exactly what that is, not so easy!  Obviously a career as a circus performer is not really a probability, Getaway are not hiring reporters at the moment (and even if they were I wouldn't leave Lucas) and we're still too young to be grey nomads!

The alternative to finding a job I love, is to love the job I have.  And I don't think this will happen.  Don't get me wrong, I work with mostly great people and I don't hate work or getting up on a Monday morning, but it doesn't rock my world!

Last year I did the Gallup Strengths finder.  What were my strengths? Positivity, Empathy, Communication, Developer, Deliberative.  Not really sure how deliberative snuck in there, I can be pretty rash at times.

After some thought, what do I really love (apart from Emi of course)?  I love travelling, reading, animals, doing new things, organising stuff, eating and writing. The writing thing was always in the background (hence the write a book that's on the list and has been a WIP for the past few years and  writing this blog) and I've now realised that I really, really like writing.  But I have a short attention span, so maybe short stories and articles are more my thing. 

So, how do I combine my strengths and the things I love?  Aha moment, I should write about the things I love!  And instead of always saying I'll get around to it one day, I did it!  I applied and got accepted to write for Weekend Notes and I've submitted and had printed 2 articles!  Am I going to make enough money to live on?  Who knows!  All I know is that I've made around $10 to date and I'm happy with that!  I've even joined a writers group and I'm doing a short course.

I can now say I have a "job" I love and a job that pays the bills so I can do the "job" I love. 

Do what you love or love what you do.  And if you haven't found out what that is - keep looking.

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Walking around our hometown

I love walking around this beautiful city we live in.  There are so many incredible things right under our noses and often we just walk right past without even noticing.  Sometimes, the things around us are not all beautiful, but that doesn't make them any less interesting and worth noticing.
On Saturday, Lynda and I caught up to do a No Fixed Address - City by the Yarra 3 hour walking tour.  Appropriate seeing as we met walking through Nepal!  No Fixed Address aims to show and tell a different story, delivered by Melbourne's experts of the streets who are either homeless or have experienced homelessness.  Not your usual Postcards, style tour, they aim to show a part of the real heart of Melbourne .
Our guide  Peter was the first guide to join No Fixed Address so we were in good hands! Extremely passionate about advocating for homeless and marginalised groups, he is involved in counselling and coaching youth football.  His relaxed commentary was interesting and enlightening and he was happy to answer any questions we had. However, we also enjoyed just being able to walk along chatting and enjoying the day without having to stop and listen every few minutes, so for us a perfect combination. 
Our tour commenced in Abbotsford which was once very much a working class industrial suburb and is now a melting pot with a bit of everything including many new and expensive inner city apartments springing up everywhere.  First stop, Victoria Park, the original home of the Collingwood Football Club.  Whilst not a fan (of any team really), it was an interesting walk around and great to see the facilities open to the community and being used. 
After a walk around Abbotsford streets with bits of the new and the old, we came to Dights Falls where salt water meets the fresh water of the Yarra River. Dight's flour mill, Melbourne's oldest industrial site is also located here.
We then followed the river along the Main Yarra Trail, past the Collingwood Children's Farm and into the Abbotsford Convent grounds.  Stopped at Lentil as Anything and had a chat with one of the volunteers there who told us a bit about their "Food Without Borders" philosophy .  Vegetarian and Vegan food without borders of "cash value, race or socioeconomic status". Guests contribute what they feel their meal is worth, and although we didn't have time to stop and eat here this time, having eaten here before can definitely recommend.

Continuing along at times it really feels like you are in the country and not just a few kilometres from the CBD.  There is also some great street art along the way.  Eventually walked along Victoria St (Little Saigon) and ended up at the funky Moon Dog Craft Brewery where Sam gave us a rundown on the brewery and several free tastings. Of course, had to stay on and do a proper taste testing of a couple of their offering.

A great way to spend a few hours enjoying the sunshine and some parts of Melbourne that I haven't seen before!
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Friday, 3 March 2017

Have a Hygge (HOO-GA) Day!

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I've just finished reading the Little Book of Hygge.  It's interesting, covering why Denmark is often considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world.  Is it down to Hygge and if so, what is it and how do we bring a bit of it into our lives? 

It's difficult to explain and the author quoted one of the greatest philosophers of all time - Winnie the Pooh with his "How do you spell love? You don't spell it. You feel it" as an example.  As an aside, I was reading some of Pooh's other quotes (OK, maybe they were written by A.A. Milne) and they are truly inspirational! 

Some of the words that I would use to explain "Hygge" are cosiness, the feel good factor, simple pleasures, warmth, atmosphere, togetherness, experience, homeliness and comfort.  Not sure if there is one word that encompasses all! Other people may have a completely different view.  And then it is also used in different ways - as a feeling, an adjective, a verb, a noun, a state.....

All this "happiness" stuff is really popular at the moment, but it's not new. I learnt that Robert Kennedy pointed out over 40 years ago that "The Gross National Product measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile".  And you've got to love a country like Bhutan that measure itself by its Gross National Happiness index!

So what else did I pick up from this book and learn about Hygge?  Well Danes love the following (not by any means a complete list) and believe they are good Hygge:
  • Candles (and mood lighting - but they appear very, very fond of candles)
  • Ugly woollen socks (the uglier, the Hygge-lier?)
  • Gloeg (mulled wine - who doesn't?)
  • Coffee (tea and hot chocolate with marshmallows seems to be up there too)
  • Blankets (including reindeer skin ones to run your hands over)
  • Christmas (must be because it's mulled wine and cake season)
  • Cake and sweets (Conditori La Glace is the oldest and probably best and in offices after meetings, they have "cake watch" to checkout leftover offerings)
  • Books (and curling up with a good book in a little cosy nook wearing ugly woollen socks, a cup of coffee in hand, cake on a plate and a blanket would appear to be very Hygge).
 I hope everyone has a Hygge filled day!
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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Febfast is a wrap!

And that folks is a wrap for Febfast 2017!  I won't lie, had a bit of a slip up over the weekend in Ballarat, so had to buy a get out of jail free pass.  The most expensive beesting, custard slice and milkshake ever - but they were good!

Weight loss = nil!  So much for thinking I'd lose a few kg's.  Oh well.  Not going to entirely undo the good work and will continue to work on cutting down on sugar.  However, this new range of Gelato Messina (this is still on my list - I am yet to try an actual ice-cream from here) Tim Tams have been tempting me all February.  And wouldn't you know, they're on special in Woolies this week. 

No I did not buy the whole range (Choc Mint, Salted Caramel & Vanilla, Coconut & Lychee and Black Forest) and yes I have shared them and only eaten 1. Verdict - they smell divine, but I prefer the good old original Tim Tam.
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I read an article recently about the overuse of the word "busy".  We use it as a feeling, an emotion, an excuse and a response to just about everything!  How many times do we say/hear “Things are good… busy.” "I’ve been okay. Really busy.”  “You know, same old… busy.”
“Busy” has become a catch-all phrase that pretty much covers everything without saying anything. So what does it really mean?  Are we still "busy" if we are reading a book under a tree on a sunny day?    Maybe instead of "busy" our lives are just full.  Some things are "obligations" but hopefully there is still time to be busy doing the things we love with the people we love.  It's all a matter of priorities.

So I am trying to conscientiously avoid using the word busy.  Right now I have to go, I'm a little time poor at the moment.
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