Mothers Day

Its a strangely empty Mothers Day this year for this empty nester, my girls are all off living fabulously exciting lives in different cities around the country, my parents are off visiting one of my girls in her fabulously exciting city and Hubby is away for work.

Mothers Day traditionally centres around family and food in our house, I would spend the day absolved of all chores such as cooking, cleaning, taking out rubbish, doing dishes and most importantly of all, nappy changing duties. We would always start the day with breakfast in bed on a breakfast tray.

Seriously Good Cereal

  • A glass
  • 1/2 a cup of really good quality muesli filled with nuts & grains instead of flakes & rice pops
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Greek style yogurt
  • Frozen berries

The night before get the kids to spoon the muesli into the glasses, pour over orange juice and refrigerate overnight. In the morning they simply need to top with a generous dollop of yogurt and some berries. Place on a tray and bring to mum in bed once she wakes up, accompanied with a small gift and card. (Preferably jewellery like earrings as apposed to small appliances like irons)

After breakfast Hubby and the girls ring his Mum to wish her a happy Mothers Day.

Lunch would be a strictly girls only event and would consist of my girls and myself meeting up with my mother and sister for lunch somewhere that served eggs bene, bearing flowers and gifts for my mum.

The afternoon spent at a park with the kids.

Dinner would involve all the family at ours, the men and kids setting a lovely table and cooking

Linda’s Chicken Couscous

  • 2 drumsticks per adult, 1 drumstick per kid
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 parsnips, cut in wedges
  • 1 potato, cut in chunks
  • 1 cubed swede
  • 1 cubed kumara
  • 1 chunk of pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed vegies
  • 1 tsp. of dried thyme
  • 500 mills of stock made with 2 tsp. of chicken stock powder & 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of couscous

Preheat oven to 180, place the drumsticks in a large roasting pan with onions, garlic, thyme,  parsnip, potato, swede, kumara & pumpkin. Bake for 30 minutes. Add stock, stir and cook for another 30 minutes. Sprinkle in frozen vegies and couscous, give a quick stir and return to oven for 15 more minutes. Serve straight from the pan with a glass of red wine

Easy Berry Instant Ice cream

  • 1/2 a cup of frozen berries per person
  • 2 Tbsp. of icing sugar per person
  • 2 Tbsp. of yoghurt per person

Blend all in a food processor until you get an ice cream like consistency, serve in chilled stemmed glasses.

Men and children cleaning up while we women enjoy a chocolate truffle or two, perfection. I understand this all seems very indulgent but it is just one day a year.

This year, I have opened care packages filled with good health treats from my girls and enjoyed the luxury of a day to myself. I will have to look at creating new Mothers Day traditions now the girls are grown and I’m a empty nester. I have missed the family and my thoughts today have often been with a Mum I’ve had the pleasure of knowing who lost her youngest son a couple of years ago on Mothers Day.  My heart goes out to her and all other Mothers who have known the tragedy of losing a child in their lifetime and I am filled with gratitude to have never experienced such a loss myself.





Make-Up, Clean Up

Lets keep it simple today and get done one of those nagging little jobs you always mean to do but keep putting off. Today lets go through all our cosmetics and biff out the old, clean up and organise the keepers and make a list of the missing pieces. Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that the start of May is the perfect time to reassess make-up colours now that your summer glow has gone.

This is how I like to organise my make up:

  • Start, Make time, remove distractions & get a timer. Find rubbish, recycling, re-homing,  return & donation boxes or bags. Go get our make-up bags now, to not be shy, tip it out on the table and be honest with ourselves about what we see. Take a before photo. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
  • Dump rubbish first, Messy tubes & compacts, Anything that’s broken or squashed, Everything you haven’t worn for the past year, Brushes that are losing their bristles, Sponges that look as though they’ve been eaten, Liquids that are separating, Mascaras that are more than 3 months old, Everything that smells odd
  • Now put aside anything for returning & re-homing.
  • Finally what will you donate? (All those samples you’ve never used)
  • Remember, Fashions change & bugs grow. Don’t try to keep that lipstick don’t try to keep that violet & orange lipstick until it comes back in, it’ll be a microbial mess by then & give you spots, just throw it out.
  • Solve, Take the rubbish & recycling to their bins, returns & donations where they will be delivered, put away the re-homes.
  • Restock
    • Cleanser
    • Toner
    • Serum
    • Eye Cream
    • Day Moisturiser
    • Primer
    • Concealer
    • Foundation
    • Highlighter
    • Bronzer
    • Powder
    • Blusher
    • lip balm
    • Lip liner
    • Lipstick
    • Lip gloss
    • Brow powder or pencil
    • Eyeliner
    • Natural Eyeshadow
    • Eyelash curler
    • Brown Mascara
    • Perfume
    • Make-up remover (liquid or wipes)
    • Masks
    • Night cream
    • Brushes
    • Tweezers
  • System: A one in/one out policy is a great technique to avoid cosmetic clutter accumulating, if you cant bring yourself to part with something, tape it shut & if it is still that way next time you clean up, you know you really don’t use it & can get rid of it confidently then. Check the bag itself, does it just need a clean or are you due for a new one?
  • Organise, I use to like to organise mine into little make up bags, 1 for getting ready for work, 1 for weekend wear, 1 for nights out/special occasions and 1 for travel. Each one contains everything I need from fragrance, & moisturizer to makeup right through to remover and night cream. The bonus of this system is not only does it save time by just grabbing the bag you need but also means you get a completely different look for these different parts of your life. Now I am lucky enough to have a rotating cosmetics organiser that sits on the bathroom counter that my husband bought for me online.
  • Stop: Now stop & take an after photo before anyone messes up your hard work. Have a cup of tea, relax & enjoy, knowing that your bathroom is slowly becoming a clutter free zone.



May Inspiration

I am off task and directionless veg’ing out with a glass of wine. We achieve nothing if we don’t have goals and I need a little inspiration from the wise women out there for ways in which to improve my May days.

Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project dedicates May to Leisure and being serious about play by recommending the following

  • Find more fun
  • Take time to be silly
  • Go off the path
  • Start a collection

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy lists the following Joyful Simplicities for May

  • Write your Mother a letter for Mothers Day
  • Learn about the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui
  • Tackle your junk drawer
  • Take pictures of the walls, clear the tables & mantle tops for a week before deciding what to put back & keep
  • Spend an hour pottering to your favourite music while you rearrange your collections of personal mementos and pictures
  • If you have a collection find a way to display it
  • Start regular foraging at garage sales & flea markets
  • Indulge in home decorating books
  • Preserve Autumn leaves
  • Make a vase out of a pumpkin
  • Create an Autumn still life seasonal table with your leaves, pumpkin vase, dried flowers, wheat sheaves etc.
  • Watch old movies from the 1930’s & 1940’s
  • Be happy
  • Be grateful

In Trinny & Susannahs book The Survival Guide: A Womans Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year they say May is all about making your clothes go further:

  • Its time to reassess your makeup colours now that your summer glow is gone
  • Go through your winter wardrobe & write a list of what’s missing
  • Wash & dry all your swimsuits & store them away in zip lock bags
  • Unpack & polish winter shoes
  • Clean & store away all your summer clothes
  • Start adding a capful of vinegar to your final rinse for woollens to make them more fluffy
  • Make new clothes from old by getting anything that doesn’t fit right altered
  • Get all your dry cleaning sorted
  • Cleanout & organise your wardrobe
  • Invest in a new Jacket

Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-Clutter Your Life she suggests the following activities for May

  • Have a hunt for out of season toys & put them away for example swap boogie boards & sand toys for gumboots & umbrellas
  • Organise supplies for mothers day breakfast, keep them together and in easy reach of anyone who may be needing to use them mothers day morning.
  • Make a note in your diary of all birthdays & anniversaries that are coming up in the second half of the year and put reminders a week out for any you need to buy cards or gifts for. Also make a note of any less than happy anniversaries that may require a comforting call, card or flowers for as well.

Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-By-Month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment she suggests that May is the time to show your laundry some love by

  • Assessing the laundry room & making sure you have the basics covered, washing machine, dryer, work bench, iron & ironing board, drying rack, dirty clothes hamper, shelf space, cupboard, rag bag, broom, mop, bucket, vacuum cleaner & large sink.
  • Clean & organise the room
  • Organise cleaning products into 3 zones: zone 1 laundry liquid, lavender rinse, lavender ironing spray, vinegar spray, cleaning paste, floor cleaner, vinegar & bi-carb: Zone 2 washing soda, borax, bi-carb soda, & essential oils all decanted into labelled containers: Zone 3 lux flakes, washing soda, borax, bi-carb, vinegar, napisan, caustic soda & coconut oil.
  • Deal with the washing; sort into whites & lights, darks & jeans, towels pillowcases & sheets, small items & pantyhose, stained & very dirty, wool, delicates; read the care labels & follow instructions; treat stains, soaking as required, machine wash & lastly hand wash.
  • Drying, set up an outside clothes line in the sun & one undercover for rainy days, a drying rack for inside and a tumble dryer for emergencies.
  • Iron & ironing board & iron spray
  • Try making your own pure soap, laundry liquid, stain remover, cleaning paste & fragrant ironing spay.

Meik Wikings book The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well says that May is the perfect time to spend the weekend in a rustic cabin in the woods. Make sure it has a fireplace, take board games to play and cook your dinners on a BBQ while having a beer.

Focus Your Energy

I am prone to procrastination and I have been particularly unfocused lately so it is very good timing that this weeks Take Action Challenge in Cheryl Richardson’s book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and  Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time is about focusing your energy.

She challenges us during this week to use the first fifteen minutes of each day to create our own ritual, find a comfortable place to write and identify our top three priorities for the week. Next list the actions we’ll take to honour these priorities during the day. And finally , challenge ourselves to identify at least three possible distractions and eliminate them before we start your day.

Personally I find the prospect of doing this every morning before I go to work a little daunting at the moment so I will need to adapt it a little to make it fit into what I’ve already got going on. Which is each Sunday having a meeting with myself and my planner (I use Lisa O’Neill’s Purpose Planner) and planning out my week. So now when I am doing that on a Sunday evening I will add in:

  • What my top 3 priorities for the week are:
  • What the 5 actions I need to take that week to honour these priorities are:
  • What the 3 possible distractions are:
  • What I will do to eliminate these distractions:

And most importantly, to remember to check in with this each morning before I start my day.


Role Models

Its super important to ask yourself “who do I Admire?” problems can arise when your authentic self and your conscious self don’t communicate about the new direction you are moving in so you need to use introspective tools like the Daily Dialogue, the Illustrated Discovery Journal and Meditation to avoid ending up feeling confused and disoriented

This seemed like such a strange thing then I saw it included as part of the Life tips for mums that Trinny and Susannah put out in their book, What Your Clothes Say About You. When you look at some of the media aimed at this demographic showing apparently real mums in action like, Toddlers to Tiaras, Dance Mums and any of the Real Housewives franchise. Maybe we do have to stop and put some effort into making conscious decisions as to who our role models are.

In Trinny & Susannah’s What Your Clothes Say About You, How To Look Different, Act Different and Feel Different, they talk about choosing a role model who is roughly your own shape and age who you feel is sexy and desirable. They give some examples: Cate Blanchet, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Nigella Lawson and Helen Mirren. They suggest you study the way your chosen role model dresses and carries herself in order to figure out what is that makes her seem so seductive.

In Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, she suggests that you use a tool could an Illustrated Discovery Journal (scrapbook) in which you begin to keep clippings and make collages of woman whose personal style you admire. She stresses that this is not to be used to imitate but instead as a source of clues to find patterns that will lead you to better understanding of your own authentic personal style.

In Cheryl Richardson’s Life Make Overs: 52 Practical & Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time, She asks you to identify someone who is very successfully doing what you would like to be doing. She then gets you to list three qualities that contribute to their success then to pick from that list the quality that you need to develop most of all. She then gets you to commit to three actions to take over the next week to develop that quality a little more in yourself.


Gleaning Tips From Your Imaginary Self Living Her Secret Life

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy urges you to look within today and have fun thinking about paths not yet taken, the paths of your secret imaginary self. Each of you leads many lives vicariously and often simultaneously. By acknowledging your secret lives and tapping into the wisdom of your alter egos, you can glean tips to help you develop your own personal sense of style. In your Journal answer the following questions:

  • So first divine who you would be if not you, if you had 10 other lives to leave what would you be doing?
  • How do they live?
  • How do they dress?
  • How can you reconcile fantasy with reality & bring more pizzazz into your life?
  • What can you do to bring some of the magic of your imaginary lives into your everyday existence?
  • What are you going to be when you grow up?

Your secret imaginary lives are full of surprises, be open to gleaning their secrets of personal style, so start saving and searching to find them on sale somewhere.


Spring Into Fitness

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways To Improve Your Life One Week At A Time wants to share the eight most important things she learnt about creating a healthy lifestyle, in the hopes that it supports you in your quest for a healthier body, mind and spirit.

  1. Remember there’s more to getting fit than eating well & regular exercise, getting fit is an emotional, spiritual, psychological & physical process & that if you don’t consider all 4 areas in your fitness plan, the chances of failure are pretty high.
  2. When you shift your focus from losing weight to creating a daily practice of self-care, your chances of long term success increase dramatically, even though weight loss may be important to you, let that just be a by-product of living a healthy lifestyle.
  3. There are no “one size fits all” eating & exercise plans, learn to eat well for your body type & find the form of exercise that best suits your individual needs & desires.
  4. Remember you don’t need to lose a certain amount of weight to feel good about yourself, you only need to take good care of your body today, focus on eating well & exercising just for today & eliminate negative self-talk which can be the biggest obstacle to getting & staying in shape.
  5. Take a break from the catalogue & magazine subscriptions that contain air-brushed, computer enhanced images, they only create self-loathing.
  6. Engaging in a simple, appropriate free-weight programme is a powerful way to reconnect with your body & burn fat as well as a form of meditation when you focus & move slowly, putting your full attention on the muscle you are strengthening, connecting to your body in a deeper, more spiritual way also allowing you to achieve much better results in significantly less time.
  7. Always remember when you fall off the fitness path throughout your life that getting back on track & feeling good about yourself is just one healthy food choice or one workout away.
  8. Its ok to give yourself a break, an occasional ice cream sundae or a missed week of exercise wont kill you, the quest for perfection on the other hand probably will.

This week consider the obstacles that might be preventing you from achieving your fitness goals. list five obstacles that might prevent you from creating a healthy lifestyle. Then next to each obstacle list a possible solution that will help you to overcome the obstacle so you can move towards a positive change. Once you have listed the five obstacles and solutions, choose one solution and implement the change this week. It only takes one small action over time to produce results.