simplify me // 5 things making our home life simpler and easier.

June 7, 2016

After being in this old house for a full year now. We went all hands on deck these past few weeks and cleared out (most) of the remaining clutter. Focusing on everything finding a home and the rest earning us a bit of money to start saving for our next (and much needed) reno project.

Here are a few of the tricks we have found along the way to making space to breathe in our home.

1. Leave some shelves empty.

We tend to fill drawers and shelves with stuff. Habit, hoarding, whatever reason, if we have somewhere to hide something we will use it. We have a few unused spaces and they make my mind feel less cluttered and like I have space to move through my thoughts and to dos.
We have no built-ins so each of us has a single wardrobe. In it are clothing for both seasons, accessories and a laundry hamper.

2. Sell it.

A lot of the things we keep for memories do little to spark them. We have a tub of keepsakes each and the rest have been released. Our memories and moments are in our minds and with less upkeep and "stuff" we have the space for creating more memories. Plus we made a pretty little nest egg for our next big spend.

3. Don't organise.

I have one box for paperwork I have to keep. It's not neatly filed. It has insurance papers, vet records, birth certificates, all those things mixed in it. If I need them they are there and I am not juggling them monthly. Any other papers (bills/invites etc) are in one big magnetic clip on the fridge. Most of my documents are sent to me online and can be found again there.

4. Use plants.

Instead of fancy decor items, if a surface looks too empty we have used a plant to decorate. One simple potted plant makes the room pretty and the air clean. Feng shui at her finest.

5. Natural is always better.

We have carefully curated so we are minimal in the plastic and synthetics in our home. Natural rugs and throws of wool, hemp and cotton. Woven baskets. Wooden toys. These all make our home calmer and feel softer.

This simple old home and way is leading us to more time for getting things done, like bush walks and cookie baking and nights are less frantic packing away and juggling things. This quote is my newest and biggest influence on this part of my journey. 

“If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either” – Donald Miller: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


a new year.

January 30, 2016

I love the potential a fresh year holds. Like the flick of a calendar page means all sins are forgiven and we have the potential to emerge fresh and new. Which is part true, but takes some focus and direction.
I have never been one for resolutions. I am superb at making them, setting up ideas and hoping with all my might I figure out how to lose 30 pounds while earning thousands of dollars sitting on my bottom. Then accepting my failure at these changes I give up and stride along waiting for another excuse to dream about change.
This year I have no resolutions, I have some goals and ideas but I am not blowing them up into solutions for the bits of my life that bother me. I am accepting and finding happiness in the now. This moment. With my robust bottom and tiny bank balance.
Living in the now.



December 9, 2015

As a follow on to my gift guide for 5-7 year olds, I have searched high and low for some lovely and ethical items for the littler people in your life. Following the same simple rule of "something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read" we will be gifting our little Poppy a few keepsake items made with love and to be loved for a long time. I hope you enjoy this second round up of ideas.

1. Ostheimer wooden horse from Oliver's Twisty Tales // We have a handful of these beautiful wooden toys and they are always played with and when not look beautiful to adorn a shelf or dresser.

2. Oli & Carol forest animals from Wild & Whimsical Things // Made from natural hevea trees, these toys are safe to whew on, use in the bath or for any imaginative play.

3. Musical Marble Tree from Dragonfly Toys //  This marble tree plays beautiful clinking sounds when a marble is dropped in from the top. Brilliant for grown-ups too!

4. Wooden Australiana Puzzle from Shorties // Adorable vintage looking puzzle to start your little traveller dreaming about their next adventure.

5. Heirloom Bonnet from Mountain Honey Clothier // These bonnets are so loved by Poppy and come with ears that can be changed and is two sided so can be reversed. Handmade with love it is a keepsake and looks delicious on toddlers.

6. Wooden Stacking Boxes from Mr Wolf Kids // Stack, knock down, repeat. Fill with little collections, hideaway little toys. So open ended and well constructed. These will be loved and used often.

7. Wooden camera from Fanny & Alexander // These beautiful wooden toys can be taken on bush walks and adventures and encourage little ones to focus on tiny details in nature and "capture" them through the push of a button.

8. Maileg Baby Mouse in a box from Wild & Whimsical Things // Both of my girls have a handful of mailer mice and bunnies and treat them like real tiny babies, tucking them into their boxes for nighttime sleeps and cuddles.

9. Fleece Skirt from Bobo Choses // It's no secret and we adore our Bobo. This skirt has pockets for hiding little treasures and gems found on walks and has a beautiful mustard print. Swoon.

10. Enamel Mug from Bobo Choses // Hot cocoa, camping trips, water for naps, these little mugs are the perfect size for tiny hands and can take a banging.

11. Mini Saucepan Set from Oliver's Twisty Tales // Adorable toddler sized set for cooking up stews, and treats for all their wee friends.

12. Wooden Kitchen from Honeybee Toys // Beautifully constructed wooden stove with lovely details for your little chef. I can picture my grandkids playing with this one day.

13. Play silks from Sarah's Silks // Every home needs a handful of these, they feel beautiful and can be anything. Capes, baby blankets, oceans, table cloths, baby slings, the ideas are endless and inspiring.

14. Organic Fleece Friends by Mountain Honey Clothier // Made from the leftover scraps after making her beautiful bonnets, these tiny bears are beautiful and delicate and treasures for tiny hands.

15. Lyra Ferby Coloured Pencils from Wild & Whimsical Things // We started using Lyra pencils a while ago and never use anything else. High quality and these ones are shorter and fatter for tiny hands to grip.

16. Little Fairy Can't Sleep from Dragonfly Toys // A magical, dream inducing bedtime story.

17. Black + White Stars Nightie from G.Nancy // Poppy's favourite nightie and so well made.

I hope you find some inspirations here and remember that the biggest gift is time with you, so give that first and always. x


Want, Need, Wear, Read // An Ethical Gift Guide for 5-7 year olds.

November 1, 2015

I can hardly believe that we have already marched into November with Christmas and the holiday season a hop, skip and a jump away. I love Christmas. As food is a main love language for me, the chance to spend time with those close to us, eating, drinking and generally celebrating life is a wonderful thing.

The other thing I love is coming up with ideas and inspirations for gifts for our girls. I love that there is so much potential in choosing toys and items that will inspire and extend our kids and this guide holds those ideas in mind. Ethical, beautiful, meaningful and certainly blurring traditional gender lines. Stepping away from the commercial plastic, fantastic and into heirloom toys and belongings. Items you and your child will covet and cherish and eventually, should we be so lucky, will be passed along to grandchildren. Although some of these items carry a heavier price tag than what you can quickly buy in bigger shops, I beg you to consider purchasing much less but consciously and carefully. You may be surprised with how much more you can invest in a few beautiful things than many cheaper ones.

My girls will be getting one shared larger item this year (Piper has requested Father Christmas deliver "the biggest trampoline in the world") and we will be pooling money from grandparents and family for this item. Then they will get a stocking of little treasures and one item they want, one they need, one to wear and one to read. Sometimes they get two to wear depending on needs but this is the general and magical rule. We are lucky that we don't need for much, in the past this category has been swimming lessons, a lunch box, a school bag and even an electric toothbrush!

I hope you enjoy this year's gift guides. First up is the 5-7 year olds and in a few days 2-5.

Want (1-13), Need (14-16), Wear (17-19), Read ():

  1. Pip Rag Doll by Jess Brown from Fawn Shoppe // Piper has a few of these dolls now and they are cherished friends she takes on her endless adventures. They look beautiful sitting on a shelf or a bed but survive endless dirt baths and tree climbing explorations as well. 
  2. Binoculars by Fanny & Alexander // Old fashioned, hand crafted and enabling your child to create using imagination and get out into nature to explore.
  3. Cosmos Wonder Tent by Such Great Heights // Designed in both Australia and the US and ethically made, these tents are hard wearing and beautiful and perfect for little reading nooks or imaginary rainy day camping trips.
  4. Castle Building Set from Spiral Garden // Handmade in Vietnam, under a fair trade scheme, this set comes with many pieces to build a castle and a box to store it away. 
  5. Grimms Circle Coloured Spiral from Mr Wold Kids // Made from Alderwood and containing 72 pieces, this mandala can be made inside it's case or played with separately. 
  6. Vintage Hot Air Balloon from Oliver's Twisty Tales // These hand made balloons add a beautiful touch of whimsy to a child's room or play space.
  7. Classic Vintage Bike from Reid Cycles // These beautiful bikes are made to Australian standards and have optional add ons like baskets and bags. 
  8. Wooden Balancing Board from Spiral Garden // Made under a fair trade scheme, the balancing board promotes co-ordination, motor skills and balance and would be a great rainy day busy maker!
  9. Dumye Limited Edition Doll from Wild and Whimsical Things // This beautiful doll has a hidden purpose pocket where you can hide love notes and tiny treasures. Purchasing these dolls helps to provide jobs for women in a poverty stricken area of India, are made with minimal environmental impact using organic cotton, natural dyes and recycled materials. Best bit? For every Dumye doll purchased, another is given to an orphan or vulnerable child in need which they make in their own art workshop. If any item holds the spirit of giving...amazing!
  10. Bird Call from Dragonfly Toys // This little bird caller is easy to use as it doesn't require little mouths to blow it but twist the metal plug backwards and forwards creating a song that attracts many different birds, not one particular bird. Hand made in New England of birch wood, it would be a great addition to a little explorer's day pack.
  11. gg* Oekaki House from Kido Store // A classic drawing board that can be used again and again for jotting notes and budding artists.
  12. Recycled Kalimba from Mr Wolf Kids // A classic African instrument, made from a recycled sardine can to entertain little and big people alike.
  13. Large Wooden Sailing Boat from Dragonfly Toys // Wooden with a little cotton sail for floating in puddles or even the bathtub.
  14. Rose in April Big Grey Basket from Kido Store // Handmade straw basket they will need to store their new treasures!
  15. Baby Lapin and Me Lamp from Harley and Soo // Heico lamps are beautifully made and have a warm glow. Every child needs a light to sneak their book reading next to or to flip on to make sure they feel safe and secure in their world.
  16. Heirloom Seeds from Biome* // Produced by the Little Veggie Patch Co in Melbourne, packets of seeds should be a part of every child's life. Learning to grow plants and care for our world is one of the most important gifts to give.
  17. Ariat Distressed Cowboy Boots from The Stable Door // Piper actually needs these but they fall into the wear category. Every year she gets some high quality boots for the cooler, wetter months and this coming year, these are them. Built to last with room to grow. 
  18. Horses Skirt by Bobo Choses // Our favourite clothing brand, their maxi skirts are brilliant any season of the year and this print and mustard colour are timeless.
  19. Mini Gardenia Dress by Ace & Jig // Made of 100% cotton in an ethical and sustainable manner in India and aiding it's workers, this dress and brand tick all the boxes. Such a good print too!
  20. Jump In Story CD from Dragonfly Toys // Piper no longer naps and while Poppy still needs hers we have a midday mandatory quiet time (where I get a break and a cup of tea!) and rather than plopping Piper in front of a screen, she listens to stories on the computer while colouring or doing puzzles or just being. This CD has four stories and songs of summer. 
  21. Bonjour Camille from My Messy Room // One of our all time favourites! Camille adorned in a tutu and hat is so busy, jumping on beds and drawing faces on balloons...
  22. Emily and Daisy from Dragonfly Toys // Elsa Beskow is amazing. A springtime story and sure to be a family favourite.
Do you have ideas to add? Do you follow any rules on Christmas or just your budget?
Have a wonderful week.


salty soul food

October 14, 2015

If there is one thing this family agrees on it is that the sea cures all that ails us. From physical to emotional, we can never escape our yearning to have sand beneath our feet and the salty taste on our lips.
This old house continues to deliver surprises of the most challenging kind. Just the other day I could hear a drip in the laundry basin only to discover a hole in the drywall where the back of the basin cabinet is missing. Rotten through. It sits, along with the half torn out bathroom in the middle of the home as we scramble to push the numbers and figure a way to fix it all and keep me at home, raising the little people we so want to be in this old home.
But that old mate stress and regret is so buried in the past. I am learning to breathe in lessons learnt and the joy of discovering purpose and place. That things will be okay, even if they aren't okay in the way we initially think is "right" and direction can change and shift and sway with the simple changes of a water leak. I will sway with it.
Except for sister sea. She remains reliable and soothing and all consuming. My ultimate meditation. Staring at her as she washes any worries away. Something I know I have passed on to my water babies. Salty soul food.


le photogenic

September 29, 2015

A recent visit from an amazing photographer who lives to capture real beauty in the world. Weaving stories as she shoots, Michelle is magical and we are so grateful to have spent an afternoon exploring our bush. The smiles on our little ladies as they do what they do, from inspecting ant hills to searching for the faraway tree were contagious and beautiful. These really are the golden days.



August 13, 2015

I have really been all over the place lately and haven't been able to settle into a consistent peaceful thought. My ears are ringing in unsettled thought, questioning my path and the choices we make. I know I have read before that creative people are also the ones who have trouble finding inner peace, their minds forever racing with thoughts and ideas. I crave to just run away with my family and find a new place to start again. I don't know what is causing that feeling but it is lingering. It is probably hormones, or some sort of existential crisis. I know I need to slow it down. To find peace in my place (speaking of, this home is rooted in my soul, I know it is one of the places we belong right now) but I can't get past the need to figure it all out. Being a big kid is messy.


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