Book Review – The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

All I can say is wow wow wow!  I pre ordered this book on my kindle when I came across Cait’s page on Facebook and knew straight away it was a book I needed to read.  Well I read the book in two days, I was even reading whilst cooking, my girls were like, “mum!!!  why are you reading and cooking?”  I actually could not put the book down.  I think the book struck a cord with me because it aligns with what I am trying to do with my own life and our lifestyle as a family.

So many things in this book resonates with me, a lot of our actions of over indulging is usually due to us hiding or masking our feelings.  Emotional eating, retail therapy, social media pressure, etc.  In the past whenever I was really angry with my husband I would go out and buy something to either piss him off or make myself feel better.  The thing is I thought I was hurting him, but in actual fact I was really just hurting our family by taking away money that could have been used towards other things, because it’s not his money or my money, it’s ours.  By Cait not spending any money for a year, when she had negative feelings surface she couldn’t drink it away, shop it away or eat it away.  She had to face these feelings head on.

Now I am not sure yet if I can ban shopping completely for a whole year, but I think I will try and do it on a month by month basis and see how I go.  Since starting on changing my families lifestyle I am definitely more aware of everything we are spending money on, I’m okay with going to the mall and not buying anything or actually not going to the mall at all!  Unless we need something that is going to serve a purpose or if something need replacing because it stopped working then yes we will look at buying it.

Today I went to Kmart and you all know what happens when you go to Kmart!  You go looking for one thing and come out with about 10 things.  I made a list of exactly what I needed, I bought just those 2 things only and we were out of there, and this was shopping with two kids as well.  I wasn’t even tempted to look at the clothes, shoes or homeware stuff.  So I am pleased that my mindset is starting to shift.

I want to travel more with my family and those memories created from these trips are priceless and I would rather spend my money on that instead of material things.

If you want to come out of debt, lead a life of less stress and just be more happy, I would highly recommend you read this book.  I cannot believe the journey that Cait has been through and how her story has just inspired me so much more now with what I am doing.

Happy reading!

R x

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My 11yr Old has a Smartphone!!!

As our eldest daughter is starting intermediate this year, we thought it was a good time to get her a phone.  I think a lot of other parents thought the same thing as the shop was filled with very excited and eager tweens and teens getting new phones, and parents re-directing their kids to the not so expensive phones.  It’s not a decision we took lightly, it seems kid’s are getting phones much younger these days and our rule was always that we would look at it when the girls start intermediate.  I mean I got my first phone when I was 19 and it was a Nokia 3210, however I don’t think waiting til that age now would go down well.

After much research and looking around and talking to the sales guy in the store we decided on a Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro.

j3pro

Having a phone now teaches her to be responsible for something, it gives her a bit of independence and freedom as well.  I am glad that I can now contact her or vice versa when she is out walking to school and home, at her after school activities etc.  But before we handed over the phone we had to go over some ground rules, and I wanted her to have some sort of contract between herself and us.  So trusty Google came up with the goods.  I downloaded a cell phone contract and a social media contract.  She isn’t on social media but has asked if she can get Instagram, which I am still considering. My husband and I were chatting the other day and we both agreed that technology is not the enemy, it’s when people abuse and misuse it, that’s when it becomes a problem.  Technology is moving forward and our kids are bang smack in the middle so instead of holding her back and sheltering her from it all, it’s better that she learns about it.

Now I know some people might think having a contract is a bit over the top, and that’s fine, but for us, since kids are getting phones younger now, we wanted to educate her and make her aware of cyber bullying, the many weirdo’s that are out there, what is and isn’t appropriate use of the phone and social media.  Even photographs, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Here are the links to the contracts that I have downloaded and used, the social media contract is from iMom and Cell Phone contract is from 30 Hand Made Days.  They are pretty good.

Social Media Contract

Cell Phone Contract

Ronell x

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

Last year in October I came across a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism by The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus).  They have a website as well so you can check them out here.  I also listen to their podcasts which are fab!  My husband and I both watched it and it was one of those light bulb moments.  For so many years I have been caught up in always wanting more and now looking back I think to myself, why the hell did I want more???  I got caught up in the whirlwind of social media, it is full of advertising and influencers whose job is to make us feel like we need everything they are promoting and they do a pretty good job because many of us fall into that trap.  Also you get a snapshot of people’s lives and what they have in their homes etc and you start to think that you need those things too when in fact you don’t.

So we began our journey of living a more minimalist lifestyle and keeping things simple.  First step was we needed to declutter our home, you know the saying, “Cluttered house, cluttered mind”.  You’re probably thinking there is no way you can declutter with kids, well we have so it can be done.  We tackled their rooms and either threw out a lot of junk that didn’t add any value and we donated a lot of stuff too.  As for the toys, we sorted through them all and they kept their really special ones and the ones they use on a daily basis, because at the end of the day they are still kids and it’s okay for them to have some toys to play with. We then donated the rest to kids that are less fortunate.

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We went through every box that we had in storage, and reduced the number of boxes we have by only keeping things that we use like our camping gear, suitcases, etc.   I had a massive storage box that was filled with books for the last 10 or more years, just sitting there collecting dust.  Boxes and boxes of dvd and cd collections, toys, clothes, etc  For 5-6 weeks straight every weekend I was dropping off boot loads of stuff to the charity shops, and every time I looked at the stuff I was donating I was shocked at the amount of money I spent on things I didn’t really need.

Decluttering is not easy, it’s not a process that happens quickly and may take some time. The problem is people have a lot of things that are handed down to them or they collected over the years, however no item comes with sentimental value, its human nature that we attach feelings to everything, which in turn makes it very hard to then let go of things.  At the end of the day it is just stuff, and in actual fact it is the memory that’s attached to that item which is important.  So if we give away those items, we still have the memories and that’s what stays with us forever.

I do a room at a time or a cupboard at a time, and slowly the process begins.  I had a linen cupboard filled with about 50 towels, who the hell uses that many towels, NO ONE!!!!  I found 3 towels from when my 6-year-old was a baby and never used it since she was 1 but they just sat there in the cupboard taking up space.  I can now say that the linen cupboard is no longer cluttered! The kitchen is another place that things just get stored or thrown into cupboards that we never use.  But because kitchens are usually big, I do a cupboard at a time rather than the whole kitchen because I am certainly not insane to tackle that whole space in one go!

I then moved onto other aspects in my life that I could declutter like emails for one! Over the years I have signed up to so many different newsletters and all they did was clutter up my inbox!  I installed an app called Unroll.me which helped sort through my emails etc, and now I have unsubscribed from 236 mailing lists.  This is a good thing for the wallet too because I am no longer tempted by the numerous sales or specials.  Now with smartphones we have all sorts of apps that we can get on our phones, I went through these and deleted all those that I don’t use.  If you’re like me and are part of many chat groups, for example What’s app, Messenger etc then it may be time to review those.  I have removed myself from a few groups not because I don’t want to talk to people but my phone was just blowing up with messages non stop and all I hear is ding, ding, ding and half the time I barely read them! I would now rather message them directly or actually pick up the phone and speak to them.  Facebook – how many friends do you really need and how many of those friends do you actually engage with?  Do people just follow others these days to be nosy or what?  If they are genuine friends then by all means keep them if not you know what to do!

I even looked at my relationships with people, and found that it’s time for me to also let go of some friendships.  There are friends who over the years I have learnt to be fake and are only nice to me at face value, friends that only need me when they want me to do something for them, and also friends who we have just grown apart over the years.  I now have just a handful of friends that I know are my true friends, I don’t need hundreds of friends, because it just becomes too complicated.  Also I find having too many different groups of friends is hard work and there has been lots of research that show’s physically our brains can only cope with a certain number.

m 1

I can honestly talk forever about this topic I am so passionate about it, for me now I am going to focus more time on myself, reading more books (on my kindle or borrowing from the library),  going for walks etc  I am going to focus on showing my girls that living a simple life is the richest and happiest life you can live and that we don’t need all the mod cons and extravagant things that the world tells us we need.  We will give them more experiences over material things.  I will no longer spend money on buying stuff I don’t need or doesn’t fulfill a purpose or add value I have already wasted too much money on that.  I think that life is pretty simple we just over complicated it.

Ronell x

585285f179f7236f19072eb2edb40e88--simplicity-quotes-simple-living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutella Christmas Tree

Last year this Nutella Christmas tree had been doing the rounds on the internet and I always said I wanted to make it. Well a year later I finally made it.

It was super easy and you only need 3 things. You will need:

2 x Edmonds flaky puff pastry sheets

Nutella

1 x egg

Pretty much to start you need to make a Nutella sandwich, so cover one sheet with Nutella (not too close to the edges as it becomes messy when twisting). Then place the other sheet on top.

Measure out the trunk and mark the shape of the tree out.

Once that’s done cut strips along the side to make the branches and then twist each one and top with a cut out star.

Now don’t throw away any of the scraps because you can still bake those p.s you will notice my first attempt of a star amongst the scraps, it’s a shocker.

Egg wash the pastry and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. When it’s cool dust with icing sugar so it looks like snow and I used red and green M&M’s to give a bauble effect.

There you go, the Nutella Christmas tree dessert.

Hope you have a go at making this!

Happy holidays

Ronell x

Wonder the Movie

WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING
RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

Well, let me just say one thing, this is the first movie that I have actually cried from the start to the finish, and I completely forgot take any tissues with me (amateur move).  It is very hard for your heartstrings not to be pulled watching this, and more so for parents because you automatically put yourself in those parents shoes or you think about your own kids and all that they go through at school.

For me it really hit home because, my oldest has had the shittiest time at primary school, because whether we like it or not there are mean kids in every school, but on the flip side there are also true gems that can be found too, you just have to look really really hard for those.  It showed me how having really good friends makes all the difference to a child’s life especially at school because they spend so much time in school and to be able to have that person you know will always be there to pick you up when you are down, stand up for you and never leave you behind, when others are being mean to you, well that is true friendship. The emotions that August went through at school made me think about the struggles my daughter has had and all the tears that we have to wipe away to this day.

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I am grateful though for her having the amount of empathy, kindness and sensitivity that she has because that gives her the courage to always stand up for the those been mistreated, and if I am being really honest I wish there were kids that did the same for her.  She has a few good friends now but I hope one day she truly finds her best friend who I know will be there for her always, because I tell you what you would want her by your side as a friend.

“Don’t try to fit in, because you were born to stand out” – R.J Palacio, Wonder

As a Mum going into school I look around and see other kids with their friends who have known each other for a few years and I can clearly see the close bond that they have, and every time my heartbreaks a little because I so wish that she had that too.

Friendships at school seems to be a number game, what’s the saying two’s a company three’s a crowd. Well she has always been the number 3 in any friend circle so she is always on the outs unfortunately. Anyway that’s another blog post!!!

Leaving the cinema tonight she said to me, “Mum if there was a child like that in our school I will play with them everyday.”

As parents you would want your child to take care of the Auggie Pullman’s of this world.

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I would seriously watch this movie again and again, and I will probably cry every time.  I urge everyone to watch it and if you have kids definitely take them to see it to too.  However my 6yr old was getting pretty restless towards the end (so I wouldn’t take a child younger than 6) but she did say she loved the movie!

Right time for bed now!  Hope you enjoy the movie too, and I would love to hear what you though of it.

Ronell x

Perfectionism In Children

Why is it that, we are so quick to say to others, that it’s okay, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, or you don’t have to have the perfect body etc. yet we expect our children to be perfect in all that they do (whether we are doing this intentionally or not)?

This topic came up because a friend and I were talking about our kids and the things that they have to face each day etc. and that as they enter into the next phase of schooling with intermediate and high school, the pressure and stress that comes with it.  Well it got me thinking about my family, especially my older daughter.  She is a perfectionist in everything that she does, and I don’t think this is a good thing.

She hates trying new things and would put it off out of fear of not getting it right the first time.  She get’s frustrated and gives up easily too.  In turn this frustrates me, because I know she can do it, if she just gives it a go (not a great combo – frustrated child + frustrated parent = everyone is having a meltdown).  I always say to her, don’t compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, and each person has different strengths and weaknesses.  Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and if that is in the middle or last it doesn’t matter, because it’s the best you can do and you gave it your all.  I want her to just be a kid and enjoy school and her friends while she can, with no added pressure or stress, because we know that shit piles up when you’re an adult.

This got me looking at ourselves and how we parent, and I started questioning how we do things.  Trust me we don’t always get things right, but that’s okay because we are still learning.  There is never a finish line with parenting, just a few hurdles that come up every now and again.  I thought is there anything we are doing unintentionally that is giving my daughter the message that you have to be perfect.  The biggest culprit I think is ME! I don’t say to her, you have to be perfect, or do things perfectly, however she must be picking things up from observing me.

I myself am a perfectionist, I didn’t really have this issue when I was in school,  but when I think back I was always really tidy, I loved cleaning my room and would usually rearrange everything all the time.  This got worse as I got older and had children I believe.  In regards to my house, I need to have it super tidy all the time (not ideal with children) and when it is messy (or any mess in general) my anxiety starts up really bad, so I just clean all the time. I know it is really unrealistic, but I do it anyway.   Messy play gives me heart palpitations, that’s why I loved daycares.  Growing up my mum let us do all sorts of crazy stuff, even messy things, and we never were told not to do anything because she didn’t like it.  So I am not sure how this came about in me.

I know I need to relax and ease up a bit, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, but foremost I need to help my daughter around not being a perfectionist, and I want to break the cycle and better ourselves as parent’s.   So please don’t judge me!

I am sharing this because I hope that there are people out there that can help me and others with tips or strategies that have worked for you.  If you are in the same boat as me, what are some of the things that you are doing to minimize the effect of perfectionism, in both yourself and your children.  Desperate parent right here, so I will take all the help I can get!

I came across an article from She Knows about Raising excellent, not perfect, children and it was very interesting.

Here is the link:  Raising excellent, not perfect, Children

Another good article is from the Anxiety BC.

Here is the link:  Overcoming Perfectionism

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migraines! Is there any escaping them?

What is a migraine headache?

A headache of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

That is what a migraine is in a nutshell.  But it can feel so much worse that just that simple explanation.  I have suffered with migraines for a long time but off course they have gotten worse over the years.  My migraines vary from tension migraines, where it feels like someone is squeezing the hell out of my brain and I can feel it get tighter and tighter.  Then I sometimes get cluster migraines, where those are right in and around the eye.  The other night I was sitting in the lounge and my husband looks at me and says, “Oh no I think you have pink eyes, as they are really red”, well I didn’t have pink eyes, it was my migraine that was right behind that eye and the pain was extremely intense.

Then after I had my second child I experienced vertigo migraines.  I had no idea what they were at all or that there was even such a thing.  I remember it was in the middle of the night and Chloe had woken up in her cot and was crying.  So I got out of the bed only to sway to the left and fall on bay window seat.  Seriously if someone had seen me, they would have thought I was drunk as anything.  I couldn’t walk straight at all,  but I managed to make it to my door.  Then I walked down the hall pretty much leaning into as it was propping me up, instead of falling.  In the back of my head I thought, shit something is gone wrong with my brain!!!!  I made it back to my room and then straight to the dr’s the next day! Now and again, when I get migraines my vision is also blurred by thousands of stars flying around.  So I pretty much get all the types……unlucky me!!

Type of headache

The worst part is when I have a migraine, and someone’s ask’s,  “what’s wrong?” and I go on to say that I have a migraine.  I always have this feeling of guilt like it’s not a valid illness and that they are probably thinking migraine…pffft you’ll be fine it’s just a headache.  But it’s so much more than “just a headache”, it’s hard for people who don’t get migraines to actually understand what a migraine is and the pain you experience.  I always say to my husband, “I wish that one day, you get a migraine, just once to fully understand what it is like”. But I think over the year’s he now knows how bad they get.  It is completely debilitating.  I can hardly open my eyes because of the light and the pain, all I want to do is sleep in a very dark room.

Unfortunately though as a mum, I never always get time to just lay down and sleep it off. I use Nurofen Plus as it’s the only thing that seems to help get rid of them, but because I still have to go on with everyday things like going to work, kids, cooking etc my migraines seem to last longer as I never take the time to really just rest and do nothing. There are so many things that can trigger a migraine, for me it can be lack of sleep over a few days, I can manage one or two days of broken sleep but after that, hell no!!!!  Also, if I don’t eat at regular times and skip meals because I am too busy that’s when I get them too. Recently I have noticed that my migraines are also hormonal, because every time it’s you know, that dreaded time of the month, well hello…… here’s a migraine to go with that too! So over the next few months I will be skipping my inactive contraceptive pill (the white pill) and I will see if that makes a difference to them or not!

There is no cure for migraines, like so many other things in the world.  So if you suffer from migraines, I would love to hear if you have any tips or is there anything that you do to manage them better.  At this stage I will take all the suggestions and tips that I can get.

To all the migraine sufferers out there, I truly feel your pain as you do mine!

Ronell x