Slow down and simplify

For me, right now: October 2017

I can’t quite believe I have been blogging for over over two years. I still feel like a beginner, finding my voice. I recently read a post by Cait Flanders on slow blogging. It prompted me to reflect on why I blog. For me, it’s about connecting with others. To increase connection, I want to put more of me into my blog. To date, I’ve shared a lot of advice about decluttering and slow living based on my experience, but not a lot about myself.

So here goes, I’ve put on my big girl undies and I’m going to get a bit more personal. I’m starting with a regularly monthly feature on what’s happening in life for me, right now. Let me know what you think.

October highlights

I’m a school mum now. My son started school in late September and the first half of October was all about the school holidays. We did a very good job of doing not much at all. After the intensity of starting school, the little guy was happy to take it easy at home, with some afternoons down at the beach.

Highlight of the month - riding a steam train - a metaphor for the benefits of slow living

Highlight of the month – riding a steam train – a metaphor for the benefits of slow living

We had one real adventure. We took a steam train ride. What at day! We all had a fantastic time. Generally, family outings end in an exhausted mess, but this was totally different. After leisurely bumping around for a couple of hours, we were all so relaxed.

The train took a route I’ve travelled many times, either by regular train, or on the adjacent highway. Going half the speed, it was like discovering somewhere totally new. A fitting metaphor for the benefits of slow living.

Loving my evening beach walks

Loving my evening beach walks

I’ve been enjoying spring and getting outside more. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been getting out for evening beach walks.

Following the spring theme of rejuvenation, I re-visited the daily explorations in How To Live a Good Life. This is one of books I recommend if you’re stuck in a rut. The contribution section was particularly timely, given the opportunity to tilt more towards work outside the home now my son is at school. Definitely haven’t got that one all figured out yet!

One of the exercises involved writing a letter of gratitude to someone important in your life. This was also an activity in the September module of A Simple Year. I’ve come across this exercise in other places before, but always been too chicken to do it!

With the support of some other Simple Year course members, I finally took the plunge and wrote a gratitude letter to my husband. I’d been totally overthinking it, wanting to write the perfect letter. Eventually, I resorted to my faithful turn-a-timer-on-and-just-do-15-minutes trick and wrote a perfectly good enough imperfect letter instead.

He was so touched. The embarrassment and vulnerability was worth it. I get why it’s recommended everywhere. I’m now on a gratitude mission, keen to appreciate all the little and not-so-little things that make life worth living. As part of this, I’ve started a regular #thankfulThursday post on the More Time Than Money Facebook page where I share one thing that I am grateful for and invite my followers to do the same. I’d love you to join me.

What I’ve been…

  • reading – I read three fantastic books this month that I must share:
    • The Martian by Andy Weir – I don’t usually go in for sci-fi, but I was gripped. This has prompted me to look beyond my usual genre’s.
    • The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin – if you want to understand yourself and others around you read this book! It’s all about how people respond to internal and external expectations. If you’ve read it and you’re wondering, I’m an Obliger.
    • How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson (the host of Dinosaur Train) – this is about the benefits of nature connection and how to foster deep nature connection in children. Written from one parent to another, it includes a whole range of simple, age-appropriate activities and strategies that you don’t have to be all crunchy to appreciate. Also great for teachers, tempted to buy a copy for my son’s teacher, but don’t what to be that parent!
Three great reads - add them to your library list, The Martian, The Four Tendencies, How To Raise A Wild Child

Three great reads – add them to your library list

  • Listening to – I’ve just discovered The Simple Show and This Family Life and they’ve dominated my podcast listening this month. Both feature everyday people (mostly women) discussing how they deal with the in’s and out’s of family life. Laundry, meal planning, extracurriculars for the kids. For a long time I wouldn’t have deemed such topics worthy of much thought. But, this is my life right now. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Acknowledging that this trivial stuff is not trivial remains the most important shift I’ve made in simplifying my life.
  • Making – In the kitchen, I’ve made batch after batch of this No Bake Apricot Slice. A little lunchbox snack that is high in iron. So easy and you can keep it in the freezer.I finally finished this baby blanket for Little Sprouts. There’s no pattern, just a giant grannie square with a double crochet edge. I’m now working on Christmas presents.
My second crochet blanket for Little Sprouts Charitable Trust, crochet baby blanket, slow crafting, made it my self

My second crochet blanket for Little Sprouts Charitable Trust

  • Thinking about – gender and minimalism. I saw this piece on Today about women choosing to simplify their wardrobes, essentially by taking the same-suit-change-the-shirt-and-tie approach long favoured by men. Then Jessica Williams published a post about why minimalism appears to be a man’s world when women need it more. The post discusses why women tend to gravitate more towards the concept of simple or slow living over minimalism. For me, it’s to do with the struggle being beyond physical stuff, and more concerned with letting go of the expectations (plus the corresponding mental load) piled on in a society that aspires to having it all. I think this warrants a post of it’s own. In the mean time, what do you think?

Phew, that was a lot! I hope you’ve enjoyed more of an insight into my life.

In the spirit of getting to know one another better, what was one highlight for you over the last month?


  • Heather
    November 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I LOVE this post! I’ve got half a dozen tabs open so I can pin all of your suggestions. Thank you! I am always, always most interested in the “here’s a slice of my real life” posts. I’ve been stopping and starting on a few projects of my own the past year and it is so helpful to hear what’s inspiring other bloggers.

  • The Daisy Pages
    November 11, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I love this post, too – like Heather I have multiple tabs open on my laptop to go and read 🙂 And what a beautiful place you live in, those beaches….spending time by the sea is one of my favourite things, too. I’m so pleased to find your blog via the No Sidebar group, I’m so pleased you linked up there. Rachel.

  • deanna in AR USA
    November 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

    A highlight for me is Autumn. This is my favorite time of year.

  • simpleslowandlovely
    November 17, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    We clearly have the same reading and podcast lists! And i’d love to know how you found the Simple Year Course? I am considering signing up for next year!

    • Amy @ More Time Than Money
      November 18, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Hmmm, I’m in two minds about the Simple Year. There were a couple of exercises that I got a lot of valuable out of, but a lot of the information I already knew. I think the depth of content is most suited for a beginner, but definitely not for beginners only.
      Another thing to consider is that you have to be self motivated, you only one email a month. There is also the Facebook group, but that is mostly self led by members. As an obliger, I would have preferred a bit more external accountability.
      I really enjoyed the webinar by Cait Flanders, I love her perspective on managing money.


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