June Inspiration

The start of June a whole new month and a whole new chance to achieve a few more goals, here’s some inspiration to help you get started.

Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project dedicated June to Friendship: making time for friends with the following ideas:

  • Remember Birthdays
  • Be generous
  • Show up
  • Don’t gossip
  • Make three new friends

Sarah Ban Breathnach suggest in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests the following joyful simplicities for June:

  • Place photographs of those you love, family, friends, pets & other things you’re grateful for in magnetic picture frames on your fridge.
  • Stock your pantry for a winters idyll with real cocoa, mini marshmallows, a bar of good dark chocolate for shaved chocolate toppings, whipped cream, canned tomato soup & ingredients for cheese toasted sandwiches.
  • Bake some dense, dark, moist gingerbread for afternoon teas & deserts.
  • Get yourself a pair of white & pink flannel PJ’s
  • Find a good junk store to regularly forage in.
  • Visit the local library to scout out new magazines you might like to start subscribing to.
  • Force some miniature daffodils, paper whites, hyacinths & tulips to brighten your spirits & home with colour & fragrance in winter.
  • Browse through gardening catalogues & magazines & create your ideal garden in your illustrated discovery journal
  • Start ordering seeds & plants to begin planting next month.

Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that June is the time to think about being happy, healthy & wise by doing some of the following:

  • Send postcards to people you haven’t seen in ages
  • Plan your Christmas Holidays
  • Make an appointment for a cervical smear
  • Keep lavender essential oil in your handbag as an emergency disinfectant on the go.
  • Get a plan & stock your home with the essentials to cope with all sorts of medical moments from colds to emergencies.
  • Learn to stabilise energy levels, correct imbalances & conquer PMT
  • Buy yourself the perfect winter coat as a treat

Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-clutter Your Life she says June is the perfect time to plan a Mid Winter Christmas, invite the friends you don’t get a chance to see very often & serve a roast dinner, Christmas pudding & mulled wine.

Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-by-month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment says that Junes task is the preserving & storing of food.

And for all of you not in the Southern Hemispheres, Meik Wiking in The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To live Well suggests that June is the perfect time to celebrate the Summer Solstice with some homemade elderflower cordial.

Winter

Here in the Southern Hemisphere the start of June signals the start of Winter. While the weather outside may be frightful, you can still have a blast this winter and no one has better ideas to do this than RealSimple.com. So take advantage of the crisp weather with these following lists of wonderful things to do in the winter.

Nostalgic

  1. Have a snowball fight

  2. Build a snowman

  3. Go sledding

  4. Catch snowflakes on your tongue

  5. Make a snow angel

  6. Build a snow fort

  7. Collect pine cones

  8. Make paper snowflake cut-outs

  9. Reread a favourite books from childhood

  10. Have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup

Eat and Drink

  1. Bake cookies and share them with friends

  2. Drink hot buttered rum

  3. Make a pot of mulled wine or spiced cider

  4. Make a big batch of chili

  5. Bake a pie

  6. Drink eggnog

  7. Make snow cream

  8. Bake cinnamon rolls

  9. Make a warm, cheesy casserole

  10. Add some peppermint schnapps to your hot chocolate

  11. Pop open a bottle of Champagne

The Great Outdoors

  1. Go ice skating

  2. Hit the slopes

  3. Go snowshoeing

  4. Kick back in an outdoor hot tub

The Great Indoors

  1. Cozy up in front of a roaring fire and watch the flames

  2. Wear fuzzy slippers at home

  3. Curl up under a blanket with a good book

  4. Shop sales online, in your PJs

  5. Take a long bubble bath

  6. Complete a jigsaw puzzle

Just Because

  1. Cup a steaming mug in your hands on a cold day

  2. Watch the snow fall

  3. Wear mittens

  4. Breathe in the smell of pine

  5. Donate food/toys/clothing to a local charity

  6. Mail a handwritten card to an old friend

  7. Wear flannel PJs

  8. Watch a local hockey game

  9. Listen to the wind howl on a chilly night

  10. Wear something red

  11. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

Add To The Wardrobe

  1. A big, chunky knit heavy sweater that’s both comfortable & stylish
  2. A cashmere hoodie
  3. A pair of boot cut & wide leg dark was jeans
  4. A pantsuit
  5. A pair of grey flannel pants
  6. A lined pair of fine gabardine wool trousers made with a twill weave
  7. A brown, black or navy down vest
  8. A black cashmere wrap coat
  9. A fur trimmed, down or wool winter coat
  10. A pair of snow boots
  11. Earmuffs
  12. A plain cable knit winter hat
  13. A pair of leg warmers

Makeup

  1. Switch from an orangey blusher & bronzer to a pink one

Add To The Home:

  1. A throw or blanket for the couch
  2. Flannel sheets
  3. Fire place tools
  4. Board Games

Winter isn’t all play and no work unfortunately

Prepare Your Home For Winter

  1. Launder or dry-clean blankets
  2. Replace warm-weather bedding with cool-weather bedding
  3. Replace warm-weather clothing in your wardrobe with cool-weather clothing
  4. Rotate lightweight curtains, rugs & throws for heavier ones
  5. Clean gutters
  6. Scrub porch ceilings & walls
  7. Scrub porch floors, decks, patios, driveways & walkways
  8. Scrub outdoor furniture, umbrellas & awnings
  9. Wash outdoor light-fixtures covers

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.
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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.

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.

 

April Fools Day

Hilda ice creamOne of my favourite sources of women’s wisdom is Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. One of the things that I most love about this book is the lovely inspiration to introduce some good old fashioned traditions back into your life and I truly believe that by punctuating the year with these we can inject our lives with a lot more genuine moments of joy while on this journey in the pursuit of happiness. In her list of Joyful Simplicities for April, she suggests we remind ourselves what it’s like to have fun on April fool’s day. To Turn everything topsy-turvy, to start your day with English muffin pizzas for breakfast, surprise your loved ones and co-workers with whimsy, (Always remember that your jokes should be comical, absurd and amusing surprises never ones designed to embarrass) To meet a light-hearted friend who always makes you laugh for a lunchtime bagel. To pick up your children after school under the guise of attending a dentist appointment only to whisk them off to the ice cream parlour and to have pancakes or waffles for dinner. To finish your day off by carving out some time for yourself to honour the child within. Go play dress up in your own wardrobe just like you did as a little girl on rainy day in your mothers. Experiment with different combinations, explore the possibilities but most importantly, have fun.