30 March 2015

My...Morning Routine

The post is a bit tricky for me to write, because the honest truth is I don't have a morning routine. I, we, don't have a routine at all. There's no alarm set at the same time every morning, because every morning is different. 

Some mornings we have a full house, some mornings it's just me and the dogs. Some mornings everyone is up before ungodly o'clock because of school and tennis and international conference calls. Some mornings are slow, with newspapers in bed in the soft morning light and maybe, a little later, a giant family fry up with eggs and bacon and beans. Some mornings are not quite so calm, with I don't have any school pants and oops I forgot to print my homework and who is knocking on the door and making the dogs bark like crazy at this hour and dear lord I'm tired, is the week over yet

This chopping and changing might sound like your worst nightmare. I'm pretty sure it goes against every bit of parenting advice ever, but it works for us. The benefits of the life we lead are huge - my husband works crazy, long hours and he travels, a lot. But when he's home he's really home. He's there with his boys in the mornings, and when they come home from school too. 

And then, when I'm home alone, I get to do all the fun stuff I tend to postpone in the midst of family life. Things like blog writing and Instagram faffing, photo walks and late night yoga. Which in turn means that when the husband and step-sons are home I can really be home too. 

Having a flexible, adaptable routine helps makes all that possible. Although - and here's one to twist your brain a bit - I reckon you need to be a bit of a control freak to go routine free. People often comment on how clean and organised our house is, but that's because it needs to be. When you don't have a routine, when everything is changing and fluid and day-by-day, you need to have a bit of order amongst the chaos. Or is that just me?

There are three other touchstones that keep me sane amongst the constant changes; three things that happen every single morning regardless of whatever else is going on who whoever else is around. First up, there's a cup of green tea in one of my vintage Pyrex mugs. On the busy mornings I normally make it two or three times before I actually drink it. But it always gets drunk, eventually. 

Next is a shower. It doesn't need to be long, it just needs to happen. If you shower at night and not in the morning I can't possibly comprehend you. How on earth do you wake up and face the day without a shower? 

And my third touchstone? Walking the dogs, of course. Partly because Elfi barks at me nonstop if she thinks I've forgotten (which is exactly as relaxing as it sounds) and partly because - even if it's just a fifteen minute stroll - there is something about starting the day with a walk that helps settle your mind. I highly recommend it, especially if you have some dachshunds in tow.


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The My... posts are a way to get me writing more throughout 2015. There'll be one a month, each with a different My... prompt. You can play along as well, whenever and wherever you want. This month's prompt (March) is My Morning Routine. Next month's prompt (April) is My Sport. Interpret each prompt however you like - a story or a jumble of thoughts, fact or fiction, personal or not. Don't feel too constrained by the months either, if you like a prompt then have a go. And make sure to let me know if you do join in!

27 March 2015

Death by Doxie : Dogs On FloBro*

Our hounds are, of course, hounds of taste and distinction. As such they know good textile design when they see it, so this bench seat - featuring Florence Broadhurst's Japanese Bamboo print - has fast become one of their favourite spots in the house. At least I'm pretty sure it's because of their eye for design. And not because it gets the afternoon sun whilst giving them a perfect view of all kitchen related comings and goings...

Quick sequence of events below: 1. Treats!!! 2. Treats? 3. No treats...

*I wish a could lay claim to the genius that is FloBro, but alas - I pinched it from Steph Bond on Instagram!


24 March 2015

Three Etsy Things : Baskets


There's a lot of Etsy angst going around right now (see here, for example). People are talking about how this once idyllic haven for artists and crafters seems to have become a mega site full of cheap mass produced crap. They're talking about whether it's still 'the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace'. Sadly, much of this angst is well-founded. Etsy has changed, and sometimes it does feel like it's more mass made than hand made.

But Etsy is still my number one go to place for ace things of awesome, because amongst all the resellers and faux crafters and copycatters there are a heap of really great artists and crafters selling really great things. 

So I'm reviving Three Etsy Things, to help celebrate all those sellers who keep the original Etsy dream alive (with a little vintage on the side too because...well, vintage!). 

In this edition - baskets. Colourful, cute and just waiting to help your organise all your bits and bobs. I'm lucky enough to have one of Raspberry Rainbow's rope sewn bowls and I love it!




18 March 2015

In Training : Jabulani Challenge (Why Training Plans Are Ace)


One of my 15 things to get done in the Year of the Sheep is to complete three walking events. My first one is coming up in April. It's the Jabulani Challenge - I'm doing the 22km trail run walk. It's only my second event ever, and it's my first ever trail walk. And it's only 32 days away. But I'm not panicking. 

No siree, there's no panicking here. Because about a month ago I did a smart thing - after umming and ahhing for a few weeks I bit the bullet and got myself a personalised training plan. Zoey from Operation Move put it together for me, based on answers to questions about when I prefer to exercise, what my goals are for both speed and distance, and what cross training I enjoy. 

I've always thought about having a training plan, about getting some expert guidance. Back in my gym days I picked up so many personal trainer business cards, I had quite the collection going. I was always a bit scared of taking the next step though. Scared of what? Nothing and everything. Scared of interacting with a stranger for one (and the first step would mean interacting with a stranger on the phone. Ughhh.). Scared of having my bubble burst, scared of being told I was doing everything wrong. Scared of the unknown. Sounds silly now I write it all out. 

Long story short - it's a new experience for me, having a training plan. 

It's a new experience, and I'm loving it. There's a lot of variety in there - long walks and short walks, hill sprints and intervals. Things I never would have tackled without something telling me I needed to tackle them (namely hills and speed, at the same time!). Things get a little more challenging each week too, so you can see that you are in fact making progress (always a key motivator for me). 

But more than all that, having a training plan means I'm taking my walking a bit more seriously, I'm making it a priority. Previously I would have had a vague idea that I needed to fit a long walk into my week, but if the husband and step-sons were home I'd just let it slide to the bottom of the to-do list and it wouldn't happen. Now, if it's on my training plan it gets done. 

It also gives me a bit of confidence; it helps me feel like I'm doing the right things at the right time rather than just trying to do as many kilometres as I can, whenever I can. Instead of just muddling along and making it up as I go, I have clear goals and actions and things to get done. And yes, I tick each day off as I go (of course I do!).

A month in and I'm finding having a training plan isn't scary at all. It's actually awesome.

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Are you training for anything special at the moment? Do you have a plan? Do you want one? Are you scared of the phone too? Or is that just me?

13 March 2015

SYD V MEL : Weather Awareness

Yesterday was a really hot day; the kind of day where you sweat buckets just thinking about walking down the street. It was hot, and humid. So - how many Sydneysiders did I see dressed in ankle boots, black jeans and long sleeve tops? Too many to count. Yes, technically it's autumn but it was super light sundress weather, not jeans and boots weather. And this is not an uncommon occurrence. Unless it's a blue sky beach kind of day, Sydney just doesn't seem to bother with the whole weather thing. 

But Melbourne, Melbourne takes its weather seriously. Being a Melbourne girl the almost-first thing I check when I wake up in the morning is the weather forecast. (I say almost first - it goes email, Facebook, Instagram and then the weather.) I don't just use the standard iPhone weather app; I have one I paid good money for (okay, a tiny amount of money for). It not only tells me what the temperature is going to be, but what it will feel like too, because it cares about those things. And every morning I check the app and dress appropriately. 

The one thing that suggests I've been a teensy bit Sydneyfied? I've just got the one weather app on my phone. In my experience most Melbournites have at least two, one of which has to show the BOM radar. Yep, Melbourne takes its weather seriously. 

Being a Melbourne girl I also often turn to the weather as a conversation kickstarter whenever I find myself in an awkward social situation. In Melbourne this will usually generate heated debate and / or generalised concern about what the next week will bring. Melbournites will discuss emergency plans for upcoming outdoor events; they'll debate how hot the summer will be, how cold winter might be. Brows will knit and phones will be consulted.

In Sydney, I get blank looks. Worse, I get ignorance. "Really? It's going to be hot today?" they say. Yep, I reply, but there's a cool change coming later; there'll be rain. "Oh...really?" they say with a look of vague disinterest. 

The only time this topic of conversation works is right now, in early March, when pretty much everyone in Sydney is over the sticky heat and is willing autumn to arrive. At this time of year, they relish the chance to talk about the weather, but outside of that it's just not something that obsesses interests people in Sydney as much as it does people in Melbourne. Maybe you just get complacent when you live in a temperate climate where the difference between summer and winter is only ten degrees? Maybe it really doesn't matter so much if you wear ankle boots on a hot humid day?

But I'll be sticking with my Melbourne ways, I'll continue to check the forecast every morning before I choose the day's outfit. To be honest it drives me completely nuts that Sydneysiders don't seem to think or care to do the same. So I'm trying to change this, one Sydneysider at a time. I ask them about the weather, I discuss umbrellas and summer frocks and appropriate footwear. I recommend weather apps. I know I'm only one person, but I think I can make a difference, one ankle boot at a time. 

Winner: Melbourne. Clearly. 

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I grew up in Melbourne, and loved it. I'm now based in Sydney, and I'm completely besotted with it. My family is still in Melbourne, so I visit on a fairly regular basis. All of which is me telling you that I am absolutely qualified to wade into this completely ridiculous Sydney / Melbourne thing.