To Blog or Not to Blog…..

Keep going or stop????  The amount of time’s I have asked myself this question.  Recently I have realised it’s not only just me thinking this, a whole heap of other bloggers are in the same boat.

The thing is I never started blogging to get my followers up or anything like that, I did it because there are so many things I wanted to talk about and also share with people.  Like all my camping stuff, I had hoped that when someone was looking to go somewhere, there would use my blog as their reference point and say, hey thanks for this we checked it out!  But now I kinda feel like no one really gives a sh*t about what I think, let’s be honest here!  You write an article that you hope some people would relate to and then you get nothing from it, no likes, no comments, no nothing…..zilch! Now I get that not everything I blog about would appeal to everyone, but I love being able to engage with people.

I have about a handful of family and a very small handful of friends who actually show my blog a lot of love by their commenting and interaction with either photos or articles that I put up, and even people that I haven’t met interact with my posts more than people I have known for years.

So it kinda makes it hard to keep going when you get nothing in return.  And by that I don’t mean actual material things because that’s not what my blog is about, I am not one that does this to receive products to promote from PR companies, cause that’s not how I roll and I can’t be arsed with fluffing around with staging photos to promote something.  Thank goodness I don’t have the pressure of that.

It’s the same thing with supporting small businesses and all that, support, acknowledgement, interaction, that sort of thing.

So I am in a bit of a dilemma at the moment….I need to give this more thought.

Ronell x

p.s I did not write this so that people could comment and tell me how great my blog is or anything like that.  It’s just what’s going through my head at the moment.

 

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DIY Natural Cleaning Products

As a family we are becoming more aware of the effect that plastic and chemicals are having on our environment.  So over the school holiday’s my girls and I experimented with a few homemade cleaning products.  My aim is to slowly replace most of the chemical cleaning products that we have been using.  I use a lot of DoTerra oils already so it made sense to include these great oils into my products.

We first made some toilet cleaning pods.  Here is the recipe, now this was my first go and I noticed that it does fizz a little but not what I was expecting, so it is trial and error.  The next batch I will try and tweak it.

1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid
1 & 1/2 TBSP liquid soap (you can use castile liquid soap or the DōTERRA on guard cleaning concentrate)
20 drops essential oil, we used 10 drops Purify and 10 drops Lemon.

Mix all together and spoon into silicone tray. They will start to puff up but keep pressing them down until they stop. Let them dry for 4 hours. To use – throw a pod in the toilet and when it stops fizzing then scrub away.

This is great to do midweek between your proper full clean of the toilet.

Recipe for the toilet cleaning pods is from DōTERRA.

Next we made a carpet deodoriser, below is how to make it.
2 cups baking soda
30 drops essential oil.

I used Lavender for its great antibacterial properties and grapefruit essential oil.

I then placed baking paper on top and sealed the lid, then just cut the paper around the jar. Afterwards poke holes with a toothpick. Before you go to bed sprinkle on all the carpets and vacuum the next morning.  The holes didn’t work as good, so the second time I made them a little bigger.

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I was pretty much on a roll now and moved on to make a cleaning paste.  I was sick of having to clean the shower and inhale so much of the toxic smell from using Jif or bleach. Below is an image of the recipe and how to make it (sorry it was a lot to type out so just copied it from my blog facebook page)!

 

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So there you have it!  I will be experimenting a lot more as my current products are used up, and having to find alternatives.  If you are not into DIY there are loads of companies in NZ that currently make it really easy for you to order your own kits that you can make up at home etc. or already made products.

Ronell x

 

 

Romantic Getaway to Raglan

We recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Raglan.  I thought 15 years deserves a mini break.  We both have never stayed in Raglan before, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to explore the area.  The drive down from Auckland to Raglan is about 2 – 2.5 hrs.  A nice easy car trip especially if you are travelling with kids, however for this trip we were child free.  We could only check in at 2pm so on our way down we decided to check out the waterfall on our travels.

Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls

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The walk to the falls was pretty easy from the car park, it’s about 10 minutes.  The falls itself is a 55 metre drop.  There are a few viewing platforms that are easy on the legs, the two upper viewing decks have spectacular views and no stairs. We walked down to the midway viewing point, this was about 135 stairs and if you are keen you can walk all the way to the bottom which is 261 stairs (I was not so keen).  All I can say is that this proved how unfit I am!  My legs were like jelly!  But it was totally worth it.  Just a note that you’re not allowed to swim at the bottom of the falls due to the water quality, which is a kinda of a give away by just looking at it.

Accommodation

In regards to where we would stay, I wanted somewhere a bit unique and romantic.  After searching for weeks I finally found the perfect place, The Round Tent.  We booked this well in advance around July last year and again it pay’s to book early, so you are not left disappointed.  This place was everything we were looking for and more.  The tent is a Mongolian style yurt which was just unreal.  I could easily live in this permanently.

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Every detail was so well thought out and it was so comfortable.  We did not want to leave at all.  I could have stayed here forever.  The best part was the peace and serenity of the place, all we could hear was birdsong and cicada’s.

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The kitchen and bathroom were well equipped and had everything you could need.  Tea and coffee were provided as well as a bag of marshmallows to toast using the outside fireplace.

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There were plenty of games, dvd’s and books to keep you occupied.  The yurt is fully air-conditioned as well, and in current weather conditions it was our haven.

I loved all the art and special pieces that were around the yurt, it was not over done and just perfect.

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After the drive down and the hike to the waterfall the outside bath was just what we needed.  Sitting outside under the stars and just relaxing, was total bliss.  In winter I can just imagine how amazing it would be with the fire pit outside and a hot steaming bath.

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The yurt has a set of bunk beds and our two girls were not very happy that those were there, and we did not take them down with us!  So the option to take kids is available, but oh my goodness if you can experience this without kids I would highly recommend not taking them!  We took advantage of not having the kids around and just lazed around, read books, talked and laughed. It’s so easy to forget who you are as a couple after you have kids, that every now and again it’s great to just reconnect.

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It’s fair to say we absolutely loved it and we will definitely be back (maybe with the girls) to The Round Tent.

Stay tuned for part two where I share with you what else we got up to in Raglan.

Ronell x

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

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.

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

Despacito Lyrics

Okay so I love this song, and every time it comes on the radio we crank it up in the car and try really really hard to sing along.  If you guys are like us, and just make up the words as we go then fear not, here are the lyrics to the song.  I may not know spanish but at least seeing the word and trying to read might actually help my singing ability the next time this song comes on.

Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat Justin Bieber

Come on over in my direction
So thankful for that, it’s such a blessin’, yeah
Turn every situation into Heaven, yeah
(Oh, you are…)
My sunrise on the darkest day
Got me feelin’ some kind of way
Make me wanna savor every moment slowly, slowly
You fit me, tailor-made love, how you put it on
Got the only key, know how to turn it on
The way you nibble on my ear, the only words I wanna hear
Baby take it slow so we can last long

[Verse 1: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee]
Oh, tú, tú eres el imán y yo soy el metal
Me voy acercando y voy armando el plan
Sólo con pensarlo se acelera el pulso
Oh, yeah Ya, ya me está gustando más de lo normal
Todos mis sentidos van pidiendo más
Esto hay que tomarlo sin ningún apuro

[Coro: Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber]
Despacito
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito
Deja que te diga cosas al oído
Para que te acuerdes si no estás conmigo
Despacito
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un manuscrito
(Sube, sube, sube
Sube, sube)

[Bridge 1: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee]
Quiero ver bailar tu pelo
Quiero ser tu ritmo
Que le enseñes a mi boca
Tus lugares favoritos
(Favorito, favorito, baby)
Déjame sobrepasar tus zonas de peligro
Hasta provocar tus gritos
Y que olvides tu apellido

[Verse 2: Daddy Yankee]
Si te pido un beso, ven, dámelo
Yo sé que estás pensándolo
Llevo tiempo intentándolo
Mami, esto es dando y dándolo
Sabes que tu corazón conmigo te hace bang-bang
Sabes que esa beba está buscando de mi bang-bang
Ven, prueba de mi boca para ver cómo te sabe
Quiero, quiero, quiero ver cuánto amor a ti te cabe
Yo no tengo prisa, yo me quiero dar el viaje
Empecemos lento, después salvaje

[Bridge 2: Daddy Yankee]
Pasito a pasito, suave suavecito
Nos vamos pegando, poquito a poquito
Cuando tú me besas con esa destreza
Veo que eres malicia con delicadeza
Pasito a pasito, suave suavecito
Nos vamos pegando, poquito a poquito
Y es que esa belleza es un rompecabezas
Pero pa’ montarlo aquí tengo la pieza
¡Oye!

[Coro: Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber]
Despacito
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito
Deja que te diga cosas al oído
Para que te acuerdes si no estás conmigo
Despacito
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un manuscrito
(Sube, sube, sube
Sube, sube)

[Bridge 1: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee]
Quiero ver bailar tu pelo
Quiero ser tu ritmo
Que le enseñes a mi boca
Tus lugares favoritos
(Favorito, favorito, baby)
Déjame sobrepasar tus zonas de peligro
Hasta provocar tus gritos
Y que olvides tu apellido

[Verse 3: Luis Fonsi]
Despacito
This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico
I just wanna hear you screaming, “¡Ay, Bendito!”
I can move forever se quede contigo
¡Bailalo!

[Bridge 3: Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi & Justin Bieber]
Pasito a pasito, suave suavecito
Nos vamos pegando, poquito a poquito
Que le enseñes a mi boca
Tus lugares favoritos
(Favorito, favorito, baby)
Pasito a pasito, suave suavecito
Nos vamos pegando, poquito a poquito
Hasta provocar tus gritos (Fonsi)
Y que olvides tu apellido (D.Y.)
Despacito

So, go on and sing along!!!

Ronell x

source: Direct lyrics