Give yourself permission to live

My Mate Shaz is the bomb. She is funny and sweet and normal and kind and real and warm. We all have that friend who we text when we’re stuck on a train and busting for the loo (not necessarily based on real events….). She’s the person I text when I’ve done something dumb. She’s the person I text when something weird happens. She’s also the person I text when I feel like a total flop as a parent. And I count myself one of the most blessed people alive that Shaz in not my only Mate like this.

These friends are the most important thing in the world. They are your community, your family, they are your “people”.

So when Shaz asked me to meet up for lunch, I only had to think for about….er….a nano-second. In the picture, you’ll see I opted for something vaguely salady but which also came with hash browns, haloumi (always a massive fan of squeaky cheese), and hollandaise sauce.

Well, that’s not very healthy and simple and hippy-eating righteousness. No it was not. But I never intended to eat like a Tibetan monk when I went out for lunch with My Mate Shaz. That’s because sometimes you need to give yourself permission to live, to indulge, to enjoy, to delight.

I have a love-hate relationship with food. But one thing I have long known is that food is social. It brings people together. We engage over food, we talk, we laugh. My food choices today were not about having an excuse to blow out. I wasn’t trying to trick my brain into moving my boundaries. At the same time, I wasn’t trying to emotionally blackmail myself into making healthy choices.

My choices today were about Having Lunch With My Mate Shaz. The choices were yum, no doubt. But they were purely a mechanism by which me and Shaz came together to talk and be slightly inappropriate and giggle. It was just a framework in which to delight in friendship and act way younger than we actually are.

Life is about having healthy attitudes and discernment. It’s also about living and having a generous spirit and an open smile to the world. The two are not incompatible.

I loved every choice I made today. I reckon it’s taken 10 years off me (that’s what I think anyway. My kids do not think so, but what do they know?).

Live life. Love life and laugh always. Have joy and be silly. Find your People and treasure them, because we all help each other on this journey.

Sometimes Old-School is still the best

I started de-cluttering recently. Filing things in the bin is very therapeutic. One of the things I got rid of was a bunch of old Women’s Weekly cookbooks – my cook book shelf was a raggedy old mess and I could never find anything. Besides, everything is online now.

Obviously I kept my Nigellas, my Jamie Olivers, my Ottolenghis and so on, but all the old recipe mags and pages I’d ripped out, all gone. It was very cleansing. But how now to organise the bits and bobs I pick up from My Mates and broader community? How to record when I went googling for how to do or make something I have a hunch could be made cheaper at home?

Old-School journaling. I have a nice crisp new notebook (never was a shopping trip for a $4 item so exciting), and, because I am me, a special writing pen for when I am thinking thoughts of great import. Serious thinky-thinky brain moments n’that.

Now I have somewhere to put My Mate Jessie’s recipe for homemade hand wash, and My Mate Laura’s recipe for homemade spray and wipe, and My Mate Kathryn’s granola recipe.

This is where I can add recipes I see on TV or see online and add notes where I’ve changed ingredients. This is where I can add whatever recipe for hummus or cheese or pesto I have settled on as the best after trialling a few.

It makes my life changes organised but it also makes them real. They aren’t old ideas ripped out of magazines. They aren’t a million bookmarks in google. They aren’t that thing I saw somewhere but now can’t remember where to find it. And it’s not that annoying phone call to a friend to ask “What was that thing you told me for the thing?”

It’s my work in progress. It’s a diary of discovery. It’s a gold mine of tried and tested ideas.

Writing things down makes them real and permanent. I don’t know about you, but when I write things in my own hand, I tend to process them better, think about it, cogitate, mull, imagine (until my hand hurts, obviously). There’s commitment when you write things down. There’s momentum. It makes solid the values and hopes that you have for how you want to do life.

And you get to buy a pretty notebook.

Nothing says love like tomato chutney

Here’s a crazy awesome thing that I discovered – the more I have got into this whole working-out-how-to-do-life-cheaper-and-better-and-that, the more I have found community. I mean, I have friends and acquaintances like a normal person, but this has opened doors into people’s lives that I never would have thought.

My Mate Di is a gorgeous huggable wonderful woman I know from my church. I’ve known her for years and we’ve always chatted and laughed and taken the micky out of her husband. But I never really had a window on her life.

A few weeks ago I gave her a recipe for something I’d made and then on Sunday she completed a “swap” with me – she handed me a jar of her home made tomato chutney in return for the recipe I’d given her. First of all, I was blown away, because that’s awesome! Super thoughtful right? I mean it was only a recipe. She gave me an actual jar of something. Second, it was bleeding gorgeous. It kicked my sandwich’s butt.

Finally, it really opened a window on her life for me. This is her home made recipe. This is what she created with her hands. This is what she takes pleasure in making. It made me think. Not only loving on Di a whole lot more, but also seeing community in this endeavour.

We have our go-to recipes and life hacks and tips and tricks – what else do I not know that’s sitting in the gold mine of my social circle?

There’s richness in sharing our ideas and produce. Doing this journey alone is fun and it’s OK, but how much more deep is the experience when shared with others? Especially because it is a joyful one – we don’t talk about lack of anything, we talk about what we’ve discovered, what we’ve tasted, what we’ve saved.

Community is important is life. Especially now in the age of technology and isolation. Community is about belonging and loving and learning and sharing and growing together. I am really excited for what happens next on this journey.

PS The next time I see My Mate Di, I’ll tell her you all said “hi” 😉





Life happens all at once

pexels-photo-306533.jpegLife just happens. And it always seems to happen all at once. My life changed heaps which meant I had to start re-looking at how I do things. Except I’m not a domestic goddess and I’m not a shabby chic earth mother type. I’m a normal mother of two, half-arsing it through life just like everyone else.

But when I changed my diet and my budget, a strange thing happened. I actually started to enjoy looking at ways to live simpler – not just cheaper, but simpler. The side benefits were finding that things were healthier, more fun. AND, as a Christian, it felt good to reduce my reliance on “stuff” – which is better for me, better for the environment, and a better steward of the resources I’ve been blessed with.

So these blogs are basically me bumbling through various ideas on how to do things, because, you know, real life.

“A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.” Gina Carey