Where To From Here?

Monday, July 21, 2014

With 28 years and hundreds of humbling experiences done and dusted I'm at a loss. I can't help feeling that I should be doing something more. That I should be achieving more. Not in relation to anyone else but in relation to me. I set myself a lot of really challenging goals, somehow managed to achieve them all and now I struggle. For three years all I wanted was to successfully complete my PhD, be a mum and be engaged in meaningful work. I've done that - save the motherhood part, but that's beyond my control. I've carefully combed through my journals and notebooks, sorted through the goals I've had for myself over the years but I'm still left wondering - where to from here? The reassuring part in all of this is that I'm not being hard on myself. I have 'work' that keeps me happy and engaged, and just because it doesn't fit neatly into a career path doesn't make it any less important or authentic. It's my path, even though I don't always know where I'm going. All these paths seem to be leading to happiness and contentment, and that's not a bad direction to be headed in, is it? 

How about you, where to from here?

Creating A Lean Closet: Travel Edition

Monday, July 14, 2014

I've barely unpacked and it's time to repack and head off on another adventure. With all the movement and a conscious effort to accumulate fewer, but better quality things I've become smarter with what I pack and buy. This year I've invested in more basics than statement pieces. My collection of striped tops has steadily grown (I buy my favourites here) and has made travelling and getting ready a lot easier. They are effortless and can be dressed up or down easily. I've been considering the red breton from Popbasic but haven't committed as yet, only because I just don't wear red (remember you can get $15 off on your next Popbasic purchase by using this link). I'll spend between $30-$50 on my breton tops. They aren't overly expensive but I definitely get a lot of mileage out of them.

This travel cardigan was a fantastic investment. It's a cardigan that can be worn a few different ways. It's lightweight but warm and is made from Merino wool. I have it in black and this fossil colour. I can wrap it around my neck like a scarf and even use it as a blanket. It can be tricky to photograph but it's become my travel must have. This travel cardigan is by Australian designers 4Minutes33 and costs around $250, a little pricey but well worth saving your pennies for. 

I tend not to wear dresses a lot but sometimes the work I do and the cultural settings I work in make it necessary to swap the pants and shorts for dresses. I've recently worn a couple of dresses by Australian designer Leina Broughton and the feedback I got from people was encouraging! The cut of her clothes is impeccable and she doesn't compromise on the quality of the fabric she uses. I've dropped hot chocolate down the front of one of the dresses and was able to wipe it off with a dry tissue without leaving a trace. The fabric is perfect for travel - they roll up easily, don't need ironing and can be steamed by hanging them in the bathroom while you shower for a refresher. Her clothes sell at around the $250 mark or lower, but they have great sales - read $50-$80 for the dresses. While it might be a little pricey for some, the fabric is of great quality but it's still easy to launder and isn't precious (again - hot chocolate down the front, but all was well). 

Cuyana - this is where my dedication and commitment to 'fewer better things' this year stems from. In a small step towards fewer better quality things I swapped my numerous cheap travel cases for this Cuyana travel case set ($95). Having purchased this travel case set I've had to re-think what I lug around when I travel. This in itself has helped me throw out numerous products and once again focus on the 'essentials'. I've been honest and gentle with myself in this process though. Creating a lean wardrobe isn't something that can happen overnight for me. It's taking time and is on-going. I do find that having to travel really helps you put into perspective what you need, what you use, and what you don't need. With each trip I'm paying attention to what I use and what I don't and those items I find myself wishing I had. It's certainly telling me a lot about the 'gaps' in my wardrobe. 

What are your travel must haves? 
Do you feel like you have your style sorted, or is it something that's still evolving? 

Away Creating Content

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It has been rather quiet here. I have no excuses. I've been busy living life. Last week I had the amazing opportunity to merge my academic interests and my love for blogging. I facilitated a week long training on youth advocacy. I presented a session on 'Storytelling and Social Media Advocacy' which was by far the most rewarding presentation I have ever delivered. My career seems to have started carving a path of its own and I could not be more thankful or more humbled. Instead of trying to maintain my usual posting schedule I've allowed myself the room to live and experience these moments. I'm creating content, with so much to share and talk about, sadly I'm not able to get things out as quickly as they happen. So rather than compromise the quality of my posts for the sake of regular posting, I'm being kind to myself.  I hope you can remain patient with me while my family and I adjust to all the changes in our lives (all professional lovelies, no pregnancy announcement here). 

I'm also using this time to focus on you and reconnect with my blog friends and engage with your content. I'm slowly doing the rounds, it might take me a while to get to you, but I will. If there's anything in particular you want me to see, please don't be shy and let me know. You would be doing me a huge favour. I'm still all over social media, so this isn't goodbye, nor is it see you in a while. It's just a friend saying, don't worry about me, I have a few things to take care of but I am still here. 

Much love and gratitude, always.

When It All Falls Apart

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

7.45am woke-up, stayed in bed, snuggles 
8.38am got out of bed, got ready
9am started working on presentation 
12.15pm lunch 
12.40pm shower, again, because I felt like it
1.05pm working on program 
2.45pm pick Miss 10 from school/called PV on the walk/wait to touch base 
3.13pm prepared for 3.30pm meeting 
3.30pm meeting regarding training program 
4.30pm made cup of coffee (for the first time in years!) | planned dinner, lunch, breakfast 
4.46pm preparing documents for mentoring program 
5.23pm talking shop with PV 
5.50pm making dinner together/ PV helps Miss 10 with homework/ continue making lunches for tomorrow 
6.52pm finished cooking/sitting down to dinner 
7.28pm mentoring session/PV washing up & reading/spending time with Miss 10
8.30pm finished mentoring session - notes - points 
9.09pm haven't finished work but baking sultana scones for breakfast
9.45pm scones in the oven, PV washing up :) talking with PV 
10.04pm Person of Interest (I don't watch much TV, but we like to watch at least one show together)
10.53pm headed to bed/read/did my 'day' 
11.47pm sleep 

Days like this make me happy. I thrive on the movement, being engaged and active. I got so much done, the next day things sort of fell apart. There were more 'mundane' things to take care of and interruptions. Around 2pm I hadn't done as much as I had wanted and I burst into tears. I called Patrick. I wasn't upset that I hadn't got enough done, I didn't have a pressing deadline. I just didn't want to stop working. I didn't want to be pulled away from my work for anything - at this point, not even to go and get Miss 10. This isn't saying anything about her, at all. I think it says a lot about me and what I've been used to - which is concentrating on my work. Not having to worry about homework, school lunches, spelling tests and reading time. 

Now my responsibilities and obligations have changed quite significantly and I think this was me just resisting it a little. And now, now I'm sick and completely miserable that I am not at the computer completing my awesome presentation on online advocacy! Not because it needs to be done this second, but because I love what I do and that brings me infinite amounts of joy! 

Do you find that there are times when you want to cling desperately to what you're working on instead of having to do anything else? 
Also, do you keep time logs? I just love them! 

Creating Calmly

Friday, June 20, 2014

Even as I potter around the house, disturbing the stillness in the early hours of the morning I can feel an excitement in the air. There's been a steady air of excitement and joy here. Patrick is currently away talking about the findings of his research at a conference (and  though I am not entirely thrilled about the solo-parenting situation I find myself in) I have been bursting with happiness. A few days ago I was offered an amazing opportunity to further my leadership interests in a collaborative, positive and creative space. I've seen my blogging and my research and academic interests merge in a hands-on, interactive way. I haven't been able to stop myself from creating and writing.

In doing so, as is always the case with me, certain things have slipped. When I get excited and creative, the result is usually organised chaos! Routines go out of the window. I don't get enough sleep, because who needs that when you've been given the opportunity to mash together everything that you love doing? Looking around yesterday I saw very little 'calm' - everything was happening. The desk was overflowing, the lounge was an archive...It was time to stop. There was no hope for my desk, so instead I 'calmed' the chair by my desk down. I put things away, I cleared its surface, hung my bag, put some flowers (there was no space on my desk) and reminded myself to eat, drink, sleep, be calm, do things a little at a time. That one calm space gave me the energy and motivation that I needed to re-group. 

Over the next few months I want to focus on creating calmly. I want to focus on being excited without having the excitement absolutely overwhelm me. But my goodness it is an exciting time! 

How do you handle your excitement? 
Many of you are creatives, how do you keep the balance between the constant desire to create and the need to stop, and be still? 

A Day In The Life...

Monday, June 16, 2014


This is probably one of my most favourite photos of Miss 910 and I 

I've realised that a typical day in our little family of three often revolves nicely around what all three of us enjoy doing as a family and as individuals. With this realisation came the thought, how would we manage if our family were larger? I love the attention that we're able to give to Miss 10 and each other. I can't imagine having the energy (or finding the time) required to do that with more than one child. It scares me a little now thinking that I wanted three! 

Spending the morning with Miss 10 at the park, she's thrilled about her newly acquired skateboard skills. Patrick was impressive on it too. I, on the other hand, not so much. 

Patrick and I also celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. Unlike past years where we were able to celebrate alone, this year we had Miss 10. She made us a lovely card and we went out for a late lunch and drinks. 

I'm so lucky that both Patrick and Miss 10 are so supportive of my blog. Like most weekends, we spent today exploring and scouting out places for some photos. 

One of our favourite things to do as a family is go to museums or art galleries. The range and variety of exhibitions often means that we are all engaged and happy. 

On days which I know are going to end up being busy, or where we'll be moving from activity to activity, I try to keep my outfits simple. Today, I opted for a skirt and a knit and simply changed up the shoes, accessories and my lippie.

outfit details: Country Road knit | Leina Broughton leatherette skirt | Alias Mae mulberry boots | Jigsaw black boots 

How do you survive busy days that involve a host of different things? 

Finding The Perfect Travel And Make-up Case

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Travel cases – an item that I am constantly (and unnecessarily) spending money on. Each time I travel I rush out to buy something to throw all my travel essentials into. During the trip I realise how they just don’t work for me, or that I just don’t like them. So I toss them into the donate pile. I book another trip and then I go out and find something else, again… 

Like my clothes, shoes and bags I wanted a travel case that was roomy, structured and aesthetically pleasing. Something beautiful, practical and that would last. I finally settled on the Cuyana Travel Case Set in Olive. The set cost $95, plus extra for monogramming, and a little more for shipping, but it was money well spent. The large case is perfect for a full size moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, electric toothbrush and perfume, among other things. It seriously packs a lot. The smaller case fits all my cosmetic essentials neatly with a little extra room for a travel candle and perhaps another lippie that I might pick up along the way. The inside cleans easily. I use warm water and a face towel and give it a quick wipe. 

I guess travel cases aren’t really something a lot of people would pay too much attention to, but given how I was constantly buying and getting ‘rid’ of them, I knew that was an area/item I needed to address. I feel as if I am another step closer to reducing waste and curating a lean wardrobe, for all the different aspects of my life, that is pleasing and practical. 

What’s your travel/make-up case like? Is there an item (like the travel case for me) that you tend to buy and replace without really committing to? 

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