For me, right now: August 2018

I am a bit bleary-eyed as I write this as I’ve just returned from Chicago. I took a short, impromtu trip to help out a family member. While the trip focused on practical matters, we also had plenty of fun.

For me, right now: August 2018 What I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about.
Can you tell I like pickles? Mustard application needs improvement

I’ve visited Chicago before, so this trip was more about hanging out and appreciating everyday local gems than seeing the sights. I discovered Jeni’s ice cream  and Dovetail brewery. I tried horchata and root beer for the first time. I ate at Chicago Diner  and could do so every day and be very happy. But, the highlight was going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, a smashing introduction to baseball … plus hotdogs!

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For me, right now: July 2018

For me, right now: July 2008 | Our kitchen and the joy sparking stools
Our kitchen and the joy sparking stools

“Does it spark joy?” For devotees of the KonMari method this is THE defining question as to what you should keep in your home and what you should ditch. I’m not a KonMari devotee – some aspects of her method appeal to me, others, not so much.

What I like about the whole sparking joy thing is the acknowledgement that our attachment to stuff isn’t purely rational. What I don’t like is some of the practices I’ve seen it lead to – what I categorise as rampant updatism. Like getting rid of all your towels, which, until yesterday, were perfectly functional, but now no longer spark joy and must be immediately updated to something more joy sparking.

Well, this month I did some updating of my own and it sparked a ridiculous amount of joy. We have new bar stools and every time I glimpse them I smile. I’m now considering updating something else. Is this the beginning of the end?

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For me, right now: June 2018

For me, right now: June 2018
There have been some cracker winter days

Looking back at June, a clear theme emerges – letting go. At the start of the year, with my son settled into school, I decided to pivot towards more paid work. I told everyone I know that I was looking for contract or freelance work. I crossed my fingers and hoped some work would trickle in. Well, there’s been a steady stream. It caught me offguard. I still consider myself a stay at home mum who works a bit on the side. Well, that was until this month, when some crunching of the numbers revealed I was working virtually full-time and pulling in pay cheques equal to my husband. It isn’t a blip – I’m a working mum now and there had to be changes for that to be sustainable. I couldn’t add in more paid work without letting other things go.

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For me, right now: May 2018

Slow living, simplicity parenting, ban busy
Highlight of the month – A family walk to the motorway to watch the cars!

The other day I was reading It feels good to be busy – that’s the problem on Tiny Ambitions when something struck me. In the post, Britt describes how she was drawn into some busyness-one-upmanship with a colleague. I could totally relate to the post. I started typing a comment to Britt, when the realised I can’t actually remember the last time this happened to me. While busy-bragging used to be a feature of my everyday conversations, it’s not anymore.

Regular readers will know that I’m making an effort to push back against the glorification of busyness  – in my own mind and in my words. And it has made a difference!

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For me right now: April 2018

April has been about two things: school holidays and decluttering. Term 1 was long and we all needed a break. I get the feeling that as a parent, I’m meant to dread the school hoidays, but I like them. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our moments, but I enjoyed not having to be anywhere by a certain time and having my wee buddy around more.

Minimalism Game April 2018 #minsgame Minimalism Decluttering
Minimalism Game April 2018

I just completed a round of the Minimalism Game. I did this for the first time nearly three years ago – wow what a difference.

I thought it was going to be more difficult than the first time around as I don’t have the same quantity of excess stuff. Gone are the days of finding a bag full of plastic takeout cutlery (that we’d taken when we moved house, twice!), 50 or more plastic bags and hundreds of old magazines. It was even difficult to find pens that didn’t work.

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For me, right now: March 2018

March 2018 Get Outside Slow Experiment
Get Outside – Slow Experiment March 2018

Who else is concerned with the pace of this year? It’s the end of March already and I’m still getting used to writing 2018.

February was a real whirlwind, but things settled down a bit in March. I participated in the Slow Your Home Podcast’s Get Outside Slow Experiment. I challenged myself to spend 45 minutes outside every day. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I know from experience that spending time outside does wonders for my physical and mental wellbeing. If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll see my frequent #beachwalk posts. I’m fortunate to live five minutes stroll from the beach and I try to get there most days, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

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For me, right now: February 2018

After all the fun of January, February has seen a return to the ordinary. I could lament that, but I’m not. Holidays wouldn’t be such a delight if life was like that all the time.

The wee guy is settled back at school and loving it, but it’s been a big change for me. I’m working around 20 to 25 hours a week, mostly from home, at the moment. I’ve struggled a bit to find my rhythm with blogging, but I managed to post 8 easy tips to simplify housework. In the post, I touch on one of the real successes I’ve achieved through embracing minimalism: that my home is pretty much guest-ready, most of the time.

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